A Martial Odyssey Book 2: The Celestial Realm – Chapter 34

The Astronomic Stellar Formation

Yi Ping pledged solemnly, “To the Heavens and the Earth I pledge!”

All the other maidens exclaimed one after another, “To the Heavens and the Earth I pledge…”

The Universal Old Man asked, “Yi Ping, are you willing to swear and to take them as your wives, protect them, never forsaking them and always love them?”

Several of the maidens, Shen Xingyue, the Ye Yin, Lele and Lingfeng immediately exclaimed aloud. “Hey! Wait! Isn’t that a little too mushy?! That isn’t part of the ritual right?”

Shen Xingyue was abandoned by the White Sage before she had become a celestial practitioner. When she was young, she was really excited to marry the White Sage and had memorized all the rites that were related to the marriage customs.

Lingfeng said exasperatedly, “Old Man! You are not taking this seriously, aren’t you? Where did you learn all this stuff from?”

The Universal Old Man protested, “My Heaveness! It…is my first time too. You know I didn’t know anything about mortal affairs or customs. I am just trying to make this as perfect as possible. And you know, I may look old but I am actually young so stop calling me old man all the time…”

Lingfeng said coldly, “Oh really?”

The Universal Old Man replied quickly, “Really. You are older than me…”

All of a sudden, Lingfeng had thrown three pebbles towards the Universal Old Man which exploded in mid-air as the Universal Old Man used his martial force to display the Ultrapowerful Force to intercept the attacking projectiles!

Lingfeng hummed coldly, “Don’t evade my projectiles if you dare!”

The Universal Old Man panicky said, “I really dare not!”

Yi Ping interrupted panicky, “Lingfeng, protégé master, my two masters! It is alright. I will recite it. It really doesn’t matter.”

Lingfeng said coldly, “I only let you off just because Yi Ping says so!”

The Universal Old Man smiled bitterly, “Yes, yes, yes…you haven’t married and yet you are already listening to him. Have you forgotten about our years of friendship?”

For the first time, Lingfeng smiled at the Universal Old Man. “Oh? What friendship?”

All the other maidens were feeling amused but they knew that they were just teasing each other.

Yi Ping said his oath solemnly, “Heaven and Earth is my witness. Today, I am going to take Shui Yixian, Xiao Youxue, Shui Yujian, Shui Meijian…”

He glanced at the four maidens who were all in deep flush. At this moment, they seemed to have cast off their Emotionless Rhyme Skill completely!

He continued, “…Ji Lingfeng, Dugu Yunzi, Lie Qing…”

The three maidens had all lowered their glances shyly and were looking at one another when they recalled how they had all first met.

Yi Ping nodded tenderly at them while continuing, “…Huan Le, Shen Xingyue, Shi Shi, Ye Yin…”

The four maidens were all gasping softly as they looked shyly at Yi Ping when he had called out their names…

He paused for a while before raising his voice, “…as my wives, always protecting them, never forsaking them and always loving them!”

Shi Shi laughed softly, “Today is really a happy occasion!”

Yu’Er, Mei’Er, Yixian, Lele and Lie Qing were all smiling at the same time.

Ye Yin sighed softly, “To think that Xingyue and I will actually marry the same person. This is something that is so unexpected…”

Shen Xingyue laughed angelically, “If you can predict it then you must be regretting why you are not amicable to me in the past?”

Ye Yin laughed softly, “Right! If I have known about this earlier, I would surely be ten times as nice to you!”

Shen Xingyue turned solemn as she looked at Yi Ping quietly, “Ping’Er, we are betrothed by our families in the past but you have run away and have broken my heart…”

Yi Ping was immediate flustered. He could not deny or confirm it. When he saw Shen Xingyue for the first time, he was jolted and had remembered lingering memories of the White Sage and the Dark Enchantress.

On several occasions he had tried to convince himself. “There is no such thing as reincarnation.” But when he saw the look in Shen Xingyue’s eyes, the feeling of familiarity was so strong that he found it really impossible to shake it off…

Shen Xingyue smiled. “You may or may not be the White Sage. But does it matter to me now?”

When she had said that, Yu’Er and Mei’Er were suddenly flustered too.

Yu’Er said quietly, “You may not remember the past but you are the White Sage for sure. And you have the same distinct aura as him. Every person and everything has their own distinct auras. Your aura is unmistakably to us. You are indeed the White Sage!”

The Ascension Goddess was startled. She had long heard of the aura interpretation abilities of the Eclipse Heaven Goddess and the Axis Heaven Goddess. Their aura claircognizance abilities were so sharp that they could recognize insects and grass! That was their Midheaven Epiphanies Divine Skills!

Mei’Er said coolly as she looked at Yixian, Lele and Lie Qing. “As a matter of fact, we know every single celestial practitioner that we have ever seen before. That includes everyone here. Even though some of you may not notice us but we had indeed spied on you in the past. Our protégé mistress is indeed Revelation Star and you are Melody Star (Lele) and Luminous Star (Lie Qing). All of you are the celestial practitioners of the Melody Palace.”

Immediately, Yixian, Lele and Lie Qing were startled as they took a step backward.

Mei’Er looked at Youxue with a smile, “You are the Endor Vixen Fairy, the most mesmerizing celestial maiden in the celestial practice fraternity and now in the Celestial Realm.”

Youxue began to fluster as she whispered softly, “Hmph! Mei’Er, later I settle with you for teasing me!”

Mei’Er laughed softly before looking at Yunzi, “And you are the Celestial Ocean Heavenly Maiden from the Great Quiescent Sect. Given time and with your celestial practice, you will surely be one of the strongest celestial practitioners. In fact, the Ascension Sect has specifically identified you as one of the strongest contender to ascend!”

Yi Ping looked quietly at Yunzi. Through the memories of the White Sage, Yi Ping had remembered that the first time he had met the Celestial Ocean Heavenly Maiden, he had actually been overwhelmed by her imposing quiescent aura. In fact the Celestial Ocean Heavenly Maiden was a highly attained celestial practitioner that was about to ascend. But because she had taken him as her protégé, her ascension was delayed.

As a matter of fact, the White Sage had caused her quiet mediation to be delayed or else she would have already ascended to the Celestial Realm long ago!

The Celestial Ocean Heavenly maiden was one of the most highly attained celestial practitioners whose renowned rivaled the Eclipse Heaven Goddess and the Axis Heaven Goddess!

The Ascension Goddess was startled as she gasped, “Yunzi is the Celestial Ocean Heavenly Maiden?!”

The Celestial Ocean Heavenly Maiden was her senior in the celestial practice fraternity. But for unknown reasons, she had not ascended.

She had been in the Celestial Realm for the past one hundred years. One hundred years in the Celestial Realm was equivalent to one thousand years in the lower realm! But she had no news of either the Celestial Ocean Heavenly Maiden or Shen Xingyue whom she considered her greatest rival in the Celestial Realm. It was something that had been baffling her!

The Stellar Heaven Fairy sighed softly, “What a pity…” The Celestial Ocean Heavenly Maiden was her contemporary. The Melody Palace and the Great Quiescent Sect were very close and were ranked two of the three most powerful celestial clans in the lower realm but yet they had virtually no presence in the Celestial Realm…

Yunzi seemed to know their thoughts as she laughed softly, “No matter. There is nothing to be pitied about.”

She took a forlorn look at Yi Ping and smiled quietly at him.

Yi Ping began to fluster. All of a sudden Yi Ping looked at Yu’Er and Mei’Er, asking. “Yu’Er, Mei’Er, how come you can remember your previous self?”

Yu’Er looked silently at Yi Ping before she took a look at Yixian but she did not say anything while Mei’Er looked at Lele and the Heaveness…

Finally Mei’Er answered softly, “We can’t be sure but we think that Revelation Star had created a new type of celestial formation to bring together three others who shared familiarities with her sisters’ destinies and to replay their lost celestial practice. Then something happened…”

Yi Ping muttered incoherently to himself out of the blue as a headache seized him, “It is my entire fault. I am the one that cause the deaths of everyone…I hurt everyone…I am the one that force Yixian to suicide…the White Sage gave up his celestial practice to fulfill Revelation Star’s hopes…”

Yixian quickly caught hold of him as she said gently, “No matter!” But there were tears in her eyes. “It is all in the past. We are together now…”

Lie Qing said quietly, “That’s right. We are together now. It doesn’t matter who we are in the past. We are not going to live in the shadows of any others. We are ourselves.”

She looked coyly at Yi Ping and smiled. She did not care for the White Sage except for Yi Ping!

Seeing the solemn mood all of a sudden, the Universal Old Man interrupted with a merry laughter, “To think that today I am going to be a witness to the Heaveness wedding…”

Lingfeng glanced at him with a cold smirk, “It is everyone and not just my wedding except for yours. Hurry up and finish the ceremony.”

The Universal Old Man smiled bitterly, “Right, right…”

“Bow to the Heavens and the Earth!” The Universal Old Man declared solemnly.

Yi Ping and the eleven maidens kneeled together and bowed!

The Universal Old Man said aloud, “Husband and wives bow to one another!”

Yi Ping and the eleven maidens bowed to one another but they were all smiling at one another discreetly while hiding their secret thoughts that they had intended for Yi Ping later!

The Universal Old Man announced, “That it! The rites are done! You are all happily married and no one, nothing is going to disturb any one of you today!”

Lingfeng took a quick glance at the Universal Old Man who responded quickly, “No one is going to disturb any of you today except for me. I am going off now of course.”

All the other maidens began to laugh, “Go, go, go! And don’t come back!”

But all of a sudden, the Heaveness and the Universal Old Man had turned ashen at the same time; huge columns of white mists were rapidly forming and enveloping everything in all directions!

At the approach of the mists, trees began to dry up and the green grasses turned to brown in an instant!

The air around them had suddenly turned extremely cold!

Lie Qing asked, “Why is there a fog all of a sudden and it is freezing cold now?”

The Universal Old Man panicky shouted, “Everyone, be careful! Quickly exercise your vital breath!”

Lingfeng quickly raised her fingers to do some quick calculations.

The Universal Old Man panicky asked, “It can’t be right?”

Lingfeng closed her eyes as she mediated quietly with her Heavens Eyes while moving her fingers in rapid succession to divine the outcome.

Yi Ping and the rest of the maidens were startled as they exclaimed aloud in confusion!

Yi Ping asked panicky as he looked at the rolling white mists that were around them, “These white mists? What is going on?”

Even the Ascension Goddess did not know how to answer Yi Ping but she had already broken into cold sweats!

Lingfeng said quietly and she was trembling, “These white mists are not ordinary mists. We…are now in the Astronomic Stellar Formation…”

The Universal Old Man said nervously too, “Impossible…the Astronomic Stellar Formation shouldn’t possible descend at this time. To think we are so unlucky…I don’t know what is going on too but it is true that we are now in the Astronomic Stellar Formation. Unless we can find a way out soon, we are all going to die.”

Yi Ping and the other maidens with the exception of Lingfeng were looking at the Universal Old Man with stunned horror.

Yunzi coughed weakly as she asked, “Why is the Astronomic Stellar Formation in this place?”

Lele muttered, “We are all going to die?”

The Universal Old Man answered solemnly, “That is right. In the past when we had entered the Astronomic Stellar Formation, we are always careful in determining the positioning of our entrance. But this…we are in the middle of nowhere! The Astronomic Stellar Formation has actually formed in our midst…this…alas!”

The entire place had turned extremely cold and Yunzi was the first to suffer from the ill effects of the cold!

Yi Ping immediately tapped Yunzi gently on her shoulder and expelled the cold from her with his internal strength as he said, “Yun, I am here. I will protect you!”

Yunzi nodded appreciatively and her heart was overwhelmed by his gesture!

She muttered quietly, “Ping’Er, you have not recovered from your internal injuries yet. Don’t aggravate your injuries because of me.”

Yi Ping said coolly, “I am alright. Don’t worry too much for me…”

Lingfeng interrupted by issuing a warning, “Everyone stays close to one another! Be careful of our steps! If we miss a footing, we may plunge right off the cliff!”

It was because the thick mists had reduced the visibility levels and everyone could hardly see one another!

Yi Ping panicky said, “We need to find a way out!”

Shen Xingyue was bemused, “Of all places, we have to pick a peak. Of all places, the Astronomic Stellar Formation has chosen to descend on us…”

All of a sudden, Lingfeng gave her a curious look. “You are right. Of all places, why did the Astronomic Stellar Formation has chosen to descend on us?”

Lele asked, “Is it pure coincidences?”

As she had said that, there were several waves of powerful earthquakes and shockwaves!

Even though everyone was almost caught off guard by the sudden earthquakes, they were quick to balance their footings.

The Universal Old Man shouted, “Earth changes! Be careful! Earth changes are frequent occurrences in the Astronomic Stellar Formation. Mountains can be raised or plunged here! Because we cannot see clearly here, many of the celestials had actually plunged to their deaths in the past!”

Lingfeng said solemnly, “These earthquakes won’t cease until the Astronomic Stellar Formation is lifted. Do not underestimate these earthquakes and shockwaves. It won’t be before long our hearings and senses will be affected by the endless rumblings. That will eventually impair our abilities to make proper judgments. That is not the worst yet…”

Lie Qing said solemnly, “The extreme cold here will also sap our strength and martial strength slowly. We don’t have inexhaustible internal strength to keep ourselves warm as long as we are in the Astronomic Stellar Formation. Even if we don’t plunge to our deaths, we will also die from the cold…”

Yu’Er looked at Shen Xingyue, Ye Yin, Shui Yixian and Yi Ping before saying, “Moreover, some of us have not fully recovered from the last recent fight…”

Yi Ping smiled weakly, “I am alright. Don’t worry for me. Ye Yin, Yixian, Xingyue, Lingfeng…”

Everyone could tell that Yi Ping was forcing himself. He had suffered both physical and internal injuries. His wounds were healing badly as injuries inflicted by sword energies were extremely difficult to heal. That Yi Ping was still able to stand was a miracle by itself!

The Ascension Goddess was also injured by deadly sword energies and had nearly lost her life. Even after recuperating for three months, she had not recovered her internal strength yet.

As for the Celestial Fairy Shui Yixian, the Heaveness Lingfeng and the Fiery Phoenix Shen Xingyue, they had expended their internal strength to save the Ascension Goddess. Even after three months had passed, they were still unable to recover fifty percent of their former martial strength!

Yixian smiled gently, “This amount of cold means nothing to me. I have often meditated in the snowstorms.”

All of a sudden, Yixian, Lingfeng, Shen Xingyue, Yu’Er, Mei’Er and the Ascension Goddess gave a startled cry. It was because they were the first to sense a powerful killing malevolent aura that was heading their way!

The Ascension Goddess said weakly as she trembled, “This killing malevolent…is so strong…”

Lingfeng quickly said aloud, “Follow me!”

Everyone began to follow Lingfeng but they were all soon bewildered.

Lele asked curiously, “There are so many of us here. Why are we are fleeing from a single opponent?”

The Universal Old Man had completely turned ashen as he interrupted sternly, “Move! Do not engage anything in this place without the permission of the Heaveness and I. This place has now turned into the most dangerous place in the entire Celestial Realm. Quick, follow the Heaveness. We can talk while we are moving.”

Yi Ping was startled. His protégé master was rarely serious but this time he was deadly serious!

All of a sudden, he had heard a bellowing thunderous roar that shook the entire ground. The shockwaves of the thunderous roar had even exceeded the tremors of the continuous earthquakes!

Lele gasped aloud as she asked in fright, “What is that?”

Lingfeng said quietly, “That is the Kirin, a powerful mythical beast. There is no way we can win against it. You have no idea how powerful it is…we got to move fast.”

The Universal Old Man was trembling as he said quietly, “Many of our friends, the Ancient Celestials were killed by the monstrous Kirin. They all thought that they have a chance given their state of divinity but the truth is not. The Kirin is covered with impervious scales and is extremely scorching to the touch. Mere flesh will simply be scorched on contact.”

Yi Ping was startled, “It must be a terrifying monster…”

The Universal Old Man nodded, “The Kirin is an extremely sure-footed monster with extreme agility despite its monstrous size. Once, we witnessed a battle between a Kirin and several celestial experts of the Celestial Realm. The Kirin was lured into a pre-emptive trap that plunged it down a steep mountain cliff. But before the celestial experts could celebrate, the Kirin was back to the top again and massacring everyone.”

Lingfeng said softly, “No one has ever escaped from the Kirin before. Their leaps can cover a mile in just a few blinks of an eye. When the Kirin has taken notice of you, it won’t give up until you are dead. So never engage it. It will always remember your scent!”

All of a sudden, earthshaking thunderous roars were heard in all directions!

Lingfeng was extremely pale as she said quietly, “The Kirins have picked up our scent…”

Ye Yin said softly, “They are coming in three different directions. West, Northwest and East.”

Lingfeng nodded, “We must hurry but be careful. There are steep cliffs all around us.”

As Lingfeng hurried along with the rest of the group following her, she took out a handful of sticks. “Everyone, draw one stick quickly.”

When the Universal Old Man saw the sticks, he had immediately turned ashen as he murmured. “Do we have to do this?”

All the other maidens were startled.

Yi Ping asked, “What is this for?”

Lingfeng said, “The shortest ones will be responsible to lure the Kirins away from the rest.”

The Stellar Heaven Fairy Shi Shi picked a stick, “Who is afraid of the draws?”

Yunzi laughed softly, “That’s right. Someone has to sacrifice for all of us.” And she too picked a stick.

Youxue said coldly as she picked a stick, “That’s right. No matter what is the outcome of this draw, I am the willing and have no one to blame.”

Lie Qing laughed softly as she picked a draw, “That’s right! It will be interesting to fight the Kirin on my own, yes?”

Yixian said gently, “It is my turn!” She picked without any hesitation!

Lele laughed softly as she picked her draw, “The Joyful Goddess isn’t going to be cowed by some beasts.”

Shen Xingyue nodded as she draw a stick, “Life and death is predestined.”

Yu’Er said nonchalantly, “We are all sisters now and married at the same time. Isn’t this the right time to show some solidarity?”

Mei’Er took a longing glance at Yi Ping as she picked a draw…

She had secretly draw a stick and break the hidden halve of her stick as she thought, “My stick is the shortest. I shall lure the Kirin away…”

Ye Yin tapped her foot with a smile before she picked a draw, “I am not afraid either.”

The Universal Old Man said solemnly, “Now it is my turn.”

Yi Ping looked at Lingfeng who was quietly holding two remaining sticks as he coughed weakly, “You…Lingfeng…surely…”

Lingfeng said emotionlessly, “Now it is your turn.”

As soon as Yi Ping reached out to pick the stick, Lingfeng hit his fingers aside to reveal a long stick as she quickly declared the last stick that was in her fingers. “I have the shortest stick. When the Kirin comes, I will lure the beast away.”

Yi Ping was startled as he protested immediately, “Lingfeng! You…”

Yu’Er and Mei’Er had interrupted at the same time, “I have the shortest too!”

Lingfeng said gently, “Very good. After me, Yu’Er and Mei’Er will be the next decoys.”

She looked gently at Yi Ping, “I know all your little tricks. You want to break the stick after you have drawn it. Unfortunately, you have one of the longest stick.”

All the other maidens were quiet. It was because they had all secretly broken their own sticks but Lingfeng, Meijian and Yujian had seized the initiative to be the decoys!

The Universal Old Man sighed sadly, “What is love? Love is the most mysterious thing ever…”

Lingfeng’s eyes had become very ancient as she exchanged longing glances with Yi Ping, “Love is unconditional and self-sacrificing. If…there is a next lifetime, I will want to be with you again…”

All of a sudden, Lingfeng kissed Yi Ping gently on his lips…

Yi Ping muttered tearfully, “Lingfeng…you are leaving me alone again? That time after the battle at the Honor Manor, you have risked your life to carry me away. You have even risked your life to draw the pursuers from us that day…”

All of a sudden, something landed with a tremendous impact on the ground, sending shockwaves of martial force, dusts and debris rippling throughout the vicinity!

The martial shockwaves were so powerful that Yi Ping had to muster all his entire martial power to steady himself as he raised his arms in front of his face!

After he had steadied himself, he was stunned to see the shadow of a huge colossal beast that had a dragon head in the thick mists that were in front of him! And the colossal beast was breathing with a rumbling that was resonating loudly!

Yi Ping who was normally fearless, had suddenly realized that his fingers were trembling lightly with fear; that was because the martial level between them were simply too vast!

So startled by the suddenly appearance of this colossal beast that everyone with the exception of Lele and Lingfeng were all experiencing varying degree of fear!

Lingfeng said quietly, “This is a Kirin, a most terrifying beast. I will lure it away. Don’t turn back please…”