A Martial Odyssey Book 2: The Celestial Realm – Chapter 38

The Three Known Realms

The atmosphere had suddenly become very tense.

Yi Ping’s group was all looking at the forbidding heavenly maiden in stunned silence. It was because they had never expected her to admit so readily that she was after the Celestial Alice and had lured Yi Ping to the epicenter of the Astronomic Stellar Formation!

After a close fight with a rampaging Kirin, climbing an imposing ten thousand steps up the mountain, traveling at a rapid pace through the confusing passageways of the white monument palace for two hours and another thousand steep steps; the entire group was both physically exhausted and mentally stress while the forbidding heavenly maiden was still as invigorate as ever!

Whatever advantages they had previously was gone now!

Yi Ping could only smile bitterly for his strength was spent and he was struggling to stand straight…

The Universal Old Man and all the maidens immediately readied a defensive stance as they confronted the forbidding heavenly maiden apprehensively.

The forbidding heavenly maiden said icily, “Just because I have hinted that I have the slumber sickness, you suppose that I am a Dark Celestial?”

Lingfeng said coldly, “So, are you? At this point of time, you should savor this moment of victory and delight in telling us who you really are, for being stupid enough to fall into your well planned ruse.”

That was a taunt and was an effective taunt against most; praising the opponent and playing on their pride while being contemptuous on own self!

Everyone hopes were now with just a few players; Yu’Er, Mei’Er, the Stellar Heaven Fairy, Lele, Lie Qing and the Universal Old Man!

Among the six of them, only the Universal Old Man and Lie Qing were the strongest exponents.

Lie Qing smiled coldly and her eyes were beaming. She had been spoiling for a fight for some time. She exercised her martial power as nine hovering blue wisps exploded into sight and at the same time, she had raised her Perpetual Darkness, “You may find us a little bit hard to swallow and so please don’t choke!”

The forbidding heavenly maiden raised her thin eyebrows as she hummed coldly, “The Invincible Divine Force. I have heard that there are five major staging to this skill; the Virtuous Level, the Pious Level, the Righteous Level, the Holiness Level and the Divine Level. The Holiness Level and the Divine Level are almost mythical levels and you have actually reached the Holiness Level. No wonder you aren’t afraid. Moreover, judging by the ease that you can execute the Invincible Divine Force so effortless, your Holiness Level should be in the middle tier. I supposed that you can display between tenth and eleventh of these hovering blue spheres. So, am I supposed to be afraid or praise you?”

Yi Ping was startled and so were the rest. That was because they had never seen Lie Qing displaying more than nine of the hovering wisps before!

Lie Qing winked at Yi Ping while stroking her hair; she was hinting him that he may not necessary be her match even when he had fully recovered. Yi Ping had been persistent in challenging her seventh intricate level of the Invincible Divine Force. And he had thought that he could now overcome her eighth and even ninth level of her Invincible Divine Force when he had fully recovered!

At the same time, Lele muttered. “My good protégé mistress…good sister…surely not?”

The forbidding heavenly maiden walked past everyone quietly to the enormous monument black stele that was in the middle of the platform as she muttered softly, “Come.”

No one stopped her and as though they were drawn by her commands, they walked slowly towards her direction. It was because they knew that they were now at her mercies. This was her territory. What else could they do except to wait until she had laid out her diabolic plans to them?

The Universal Old Man was staring at the black stele and not so much on the forbidding heavenly maiden now that he could see the inscriptions of the black stele in close proximity.

The inscriptions of the black stele were tidy, starting from the top right in vertical lines. The writing was the Celestial Alp, the only known celestial alphabet. There were few celestial practitioners that were able to decipher it. It was rarely seen in the Celestial Realm except in the Stellar Sanctuary.

Even the Universal Old Man could not read all the runic characters. He had often depended on the Heaveness to decipher the celestial inscriptions that they had found together. So he stole a glance at her now but to his disappointment, the Heaveness was having a face-off with the forbidding heavenly maiden and her entire focus was on her!

But his attention soon turned immediately back to the black stele again and he had even forgotten why he was looking for the Heaveness in the first place!

Youxue, Lele, Yunzi, Yu’Er, Mei’Er, the Stellar Heaven Fairy and the Ascension Goddess were all smiling bitterly at the inscriptions of the black stele; they could not decipher any of the characters but they were still staring mesmerizing at the black stele and secretly hoping that they may find some clues to decipher it!

The Ascension Goddess was cursing silently, “This is the ultimate secret of the Astronomic Stellar Formation and yet I am unable to read any of the inscriptions except for a few words…this word and that word; what is the link?”

Of the remaining maidens, Only Yixian, Lie Qing, Shen Xingyue and Lingfeng were uninterested in the black stele. It was because they knew that a strong opponent awaited them. Even if the Immortal Practice awaited them, what good would it be if they were killed?

Yi Ping was completely uninterested in the Immortal Practice. He was only concerned with the safety of everyone and even though he could no longer fight, his righteous air was extremely imposing and that spoke volumes of his innermost feelings!

The forbidding heavenly maiden looked at everyone one by one, lingering at Yi Ping more than the others. Finally she touched the edge of the enormous monument black stele gently as she said, “Good! Just the five of you are remaining now.”

Yi Ping was baffled as he asked, “There are thirteen of us here. Why do you say there are five of us here?”

All of a sudden, Yixian gasped. “Ping’Er, the others…”

Lingfeng, Shen Xingyue and Lie Qing were also gasping at the same time. It was because they had suddenly noticed that the rest of the group was all staring mesmerizingly at the black stele without any expressions!

Yi Ping had noticed it too. He quickly shook Lele as he called her name, “Lele! You can hear me?” But Lele was totally oblivious to him!

He called out to the rest, “Protégé master! Yu’Er! Mei’Er! Yunzi! Youxue! Shi Shi! Ye Yin! Can any one of you hear me?!”

The forbidding heavenly maiden said quietly as she moved her finger gently from top to bottom of the enormous black stele, “You don’t have to worry for them. They will be alright. At this moment, they are grasping the heart intricacies of the Immortal Practice. Whether they can truly decipher the true meanings of the Immortal Practice depends on their destiny.”

Lingfeng asked, “The inscriptions on the black stele are really the Immortal Practice?”

The forbiddingly heavenly maiden smiled wryly, “Not really.”

Yi Ping, Shen Xingyue, Yixian, Lingfeng and Lie Qing were startled!

The forbidding heavenly maiden explained, “The inscriptions on the black stele are actually the history of the three known realms. However, within this stele are also all the alphabets of the celestial script in an intricate arrangement. Each of the character is only used once. And on this black stele, there are several celestial formations that are on it. That is why they are mesmerized by it. However, if they have the sufficient enlightenment, they may be able to free themselves from it and gain some useful knowledge that may further their own celestial practice.”

Yi Ping could only smile bitterly. He was only interested to know if everyone was going to be safe. For the very first time, he had actually wished that he was the White Sage who was one of the most enlightened sages ever so that he could understand what was going on.

So he asked a stupid question to the forbidding heavenly maiden, “You…are you a good guy or a bad guy? Why did you bring us here? I really don’t believe that the Immortal Practice will be so readily available and so accessible without any hard work.”

Lingfeng, Lie Qing, Shen Xingyue and Yixian were all looking at each other with a stunned expression! It was because even though Yi Ping’s questions were crude and even dumb, it was also the most direct! Without hard work and practice, there were simply no shortcuts! And Yi Ping had just reminded them of that!

To Yi Ping’s astonishment, the forbidding heavenly maiden had actually nodded at him with a smile, “That is right. Without hard work and self-awakening, it is impossible to start even on the Immortal Practice. Your level of enlightenment is really impressive. In fact, I have never known anyone that is like you before.”

She had actually praised Yi Ping with a smile!

Immediately Yi Ping was flustered as he noticed her smiles and he was feeling awkward.

Shen Xingyue muttered softly, “For someone that is sleeping for a long time, what a thing to say.”

Yi Ping began to stammer, “Can you…tell us who you really are? And also free all of us?”

To his startled astonishment and everyone else, the forbidding heavenly maiden nodded at him. “I will, if you say so.”

Yi Ping gasped, “Really?”

The forbidding heavenly maiden nodded as she said, “But first, let me tell you something that you should be interested to know or else it will be a wasted trip, am I right?”

Lingfeng folded her arms as she laughed alluringly, “Well, if you insist.”

Yixian nodded gently while Shen Xingyue said, “I am all ears.”

Lie Qing dispelled her Invincible Divine Force as an indication that she was also willing to listen.

The forbidding heavenly maiden looked at the imposing black stele monument as she sighed softly, “There are three realms of existence; the Mortal Realm, the Celestial Realm and the Immortal Realm. This, as you are all aware is the Celestial Realm. It is so vast that it is almost like an endless sea of mountains. However it is not an infinite realm. There are in fact, a total of nine such realms that are interconnected around it. When a celestial practitioner transmigrates from the Mortal Realm, they always appear somewhere in the center of the Celestial Realm.”

Lingfeng asked, “Is that why the Celestial Realm is also called the Ninth Heavens?”

The forbidding heavenly maiden nodded slowly, “So you know. That’s right. The first heaven is the realm that you are in. Beyond the first heaven is the great wilderness where few celestial practitioners dare to venture, if they can survive the trip of course.”

Lingfeng was silent. Even though she was an Ancient Celestial and had spent a long time in the Celestial Realm, she had never been to the furthest edge of the first heaven of the Celestial Realm. Therefore, she had never really known about the existence of the Second Heaven. Most of the celestial practitioners that had chosen to remain at the furthest end of the Celestial Realm were the Autonomous Celestials; they had chosen to be out of the way of the major celestial clans to continue their own cultivation or for their own self-preservation.

In the past, the first heaven of the Celestial Realm was a much more dangerous place than it was now with many powerful beasts. But the Ancient Celestials had battled fiercely against them and with the arrival of more of the Exalted Celestials, they had gained a foothold in the safe areas of the Celestial Realm. As for the perimeters of the Celestial Realm, few celestials were bothered with it for they knew that death only awaited the foolish…

The forbidding heavenly maiden pointed at the enormous black stele as she said, “This black stele describes exactly the origins of the three known realm.”

The forbidding heavenly maiden sighed softly, “Mortals are ordained to die unless they are able to attain enlightenment. The Celestial Realm is a testing ground for the celestial practitioners and dark celestial practitioners before they can finally ascend to the upper realm which we call the Immortal Realm.”

Yi Ping asked curiously, “Even the dark celestial practitioners have a chance to enter the Immortal Realm?”

The forbidding heavenly maiden replied casually, “The virtue of Heaven is for all life to thrive. All the celestial practitioners must cultivate their virtuous self in order to be oneness with the Heaven and therefore they can be eternal. The dark celestial practitioners may be evil in mortal eyes but a compassionate Heaven will always give them a chance to repent. What is good, what is evil? Just like righteous celestial practitioners may turn to evil anytime, dark celestial practitioners may truly seek penitence.”

Yi Ping immediately thought of Lele and the Celestial Liege. Lele was a dark celestial practitioner by circumstances rather than choice and there were many like her. However she was lucky enough to return to the enlightened path. The Celestial Liege realized the follies of his ways and to this day, continued to seek repentances and a way to attain true enlightenment.

At the same time, Shen Xingyue was reminded of the Divine Descendant that had forced many of the celestial practitioners to fight among themselves.

The forbidding heavenly maiden continued nonchalantly, “To cultivate the self is just a doorway to know the Heaven. Only by respecting Heaven and by embarking on a path of loving righteousness to all, can a mortal reaches the highest pinnacle of divinity. It doesn’t matter if they are mortals or celestial practitioners.”

She waved her hand and there was a fierce righteous fire in her eyes!

Yi Ping and everyone were startled at her transformation!

The forbidding heavenly maiden continued melancholy, “Mortals should follow the way of the Heaven and learn the virtue of the Heaven. Heaven is always truthful, never deceitful, always fair and righteous. The expansive virtuous spirit of Heaven sundered throughout the three realms. Mortals should humble themselves with true sincerity to commune with the Heaven.”

All of a sudden, she seemed to be looking melancholy at Yi Ping while saying, “The humble ones will be gifted with the virtues of Heaven while the sincere ones will be gifted with the virtues of enlightenment. To be humble and know the virtues of Heaven, mortals therefore must be sincere and truthful, knowing right and wrong and be filled with the expansive air of righteousness; only then can they be one with the virtues of Heaven and be oneness with the heavens and the earth.”

She paused for a while before saying casually, “When that happens, they too will be serene, peaceful and be eternal just as the Heaven is always eternal.”

The forbidding heavenly maiden walked quietly next to Lingfeng and whispered softly, “You are supposed to be eternal and have unwittingly become an eternal already. If you have decided to stay in the lower realm, you will be untouched by the divine tribulations. Why have you decided to come here and begin your heavenly tribulations once again?”

Lingfeng gasped, “You know?”

The forbidding heavenly maiden said coolly, “Each has their own destiny. No one is able to help the others to reach enlightenment. What a pity.”

Yi Ping was alarmed when he had heard it so he asked, “Lingfeng, what is going on? What does she means?”

Lingfeng’s eyes were melancholy but she soon smile alluringly to Yi Ping, “Nothing important.”

She added hastily, “Maybe she is referring to my Heaveness old self.”

Shen Xingyue, Yixian and Lie Qing kept quiet…

The forbidding heavenly maiden was quiet as she appraised Lingfeng silently.

However, Yi Ping, Shen Xingyue, Yixian and Lie Qing were unconvinced that Lingfeng was telling the truth but as they did not have the same state of enlightenment as Lingfeng, they could not point a finger to what was missing. It was because they could all see from Lingfeng’s eyes that she was hiding something from them and not so much of what she had said to them!

Lingfeng immediately regained her composure as she asked the forbidding heavenly maiden, “Just who are you? And what do you want?”

Yi Ping was startled. He had almost forgotten about it!

Shen Xingyue asked as well, “Surely you did not ask us here to listen to this?”

The forbidding heavenly maiden looked up as though she was viewing the heavens, “Who am I? Only he knows. Who is he? He is the first that is able to ascend to the upper realm. He knows that the majority of the celestials here are not interested in pursuing further enlightenment given their long life span and can’t be bothered to venture beyond the first heavens. He also knows that unless an action is taken, sooner or later Heaven will reduce their life spans just as the mortals have their life spans reduced due to wickedness. Therefore, he creates the Stellar Sanctuary to aid the celestials to ascend and to avert Heaven’s wrath.”

Her eyes were melancholy, “He…gives up his immortal life to do the impossible. Such an action is against the laws of the Heaven but he believes that is the right thing to do. He has paid for that price with his immortal life…”

Shen Xingyue muttered, “The Stellar Sanctuary is also responsible for the deaths of thousands of celestials. To save the celestial practitioners, so many others must also die at the same time. What an irony.”

The forbidding heavenly maiden answered, “It is for the greater good. Do you think that these celestial practitioners will be content with just their cultivations and won’t try to dominate over the weaker celestial practitioners? If the more powerful celestial practitioners are not killed, will the weaker celestial practitioners thrive? In that sense, that is the reason why time runs much slower in the middle realm than the lower realm. It is to give the younger generations an opportunity to cultivate at an unhurried pace in the lower realm and not subjected to the mercies of the celestials of the Celestial Realm when they have finally ascended successfully.”

Shen Xingyue was quiet…

Lingfeng asked of a sudden, “Who is he? He is the Dark Lord of the Chaos Cosmos?”

The forbidding heavenly maiden hummed coldly, “Who is the Dark Lord of the Chaos Cosmos compared to him? The Dark Lord of the Chaos Cosmos is nothing and is just another challenger trying to overcome the challenges of the Stellar Sanctuary!”

Yi Ping said unhappily, “No matter. You should be respectful to others. After all, he is an enlightened celestial practitioner…”

The forbidding heavenly maiden smiled. Her smiles were extremely stunning and Yi Ping was suddenly flustered as he tried to avert his eyes from her.

She smiled enchantingly as she looked intently at Yi Ping. “Thank you for saying such kind words to me but I don’t deserve it.”

Yi Ping was startled as he stammered, “What do you mean?”

Even Lingfeng was startled as she asked, “You are really the Dark lord of the Chaos Cosmos?”

The forbidding heavenly maiden nodded, “That is right. But that is just a name that I have used in the Stellar Sanctuary and not my real name. That is also not my real celestial name either.”

Lingfeng asked quietly, “So why are you here? Aren’t you supposed to be in the Immortal Realm now?”

The forbidding heavenly maiden sighed softly, “I am just a different challenger than the others.”

Lingfeng was startled, “What do you mean?”

The forbidding heavenly maiden said melancholy, “I am the first challenger. Maybe that is why you have thought that I am the one that have created the Stellar Sanctuary. He is also the one that has creates the Stellar Astronomic Formation as my sanctuary.”

Lingfeng muttered, “For him to do this for you, then the both of you must be very close.”

The forbidding heavenly maiden began to smile bitterly, “You really think so?”

Lie Qing who had been keeping quiet all this while, was secretly startled. It was because she had noticed the unusual body gestures of this forbidding heavenly maiden. Her instincts immediately warned her that she was only telling half-truths but because she lacked evidences, she dared not speak her mind.

She was the only person that had noticed it because she was a good liar herself. But in order to lie well, she had to perfect her acting skills. However in her eyes, this forbidding heavenly maiden was a terrible poor liar; she could still manage to fool the others but not her.

The forbidding heavenly maiden was suddenly sorrowful, “Regardless. That is all in the past. During my last undertaking into the Stellar Sanctuary, I have discovered that the Universal Force is required to open the ninety level of the sanctuary. Therefore after researching for a long time, I have managed to create the Cosmos Stellar Formation to take me to the lower realm. Finally I have found the Celestial Alice. Unfortunately, I have failed to harmonize with it…”

She heaved a soft sigh as she looked at Yi Ping, “I am the one that have placed the Celestial Alice in the Stellar Sanctuary. I have placed a seal on it to alert me when someone else has managed to divine harmonize with the Celestial Alice. In the meantime, I will slumber until that day comes.”

Lingfeng said curiously, “I don’t understand. Since you have discovered a way back to the lower realm, why don’t you stay down there and reign supreme?”

Shen Xingyue said, “That’s right. You don’t have to return to the Celestial Realm anymore!”

The forbidding heavenly maiden said nonchalantly, “While I am in the Astronomic Stellar Formation, I cannot be touched by any heavenly tribulations. Therefore, I can be considered an immortal being here. Moreover, my ultimate aim is to reach the upper realm and be oneness with the Heaven. What joy is there to become a supreme being of the lower realm when you can become a supreme being of the three known realms?”

Yi Ping nodded as he muttered, “That is right. True, true…”

The forbidding heavenly maiden took out a pouch and casually tossed it to Lingfeng, “This is the Golden Kirin Heart Stone.”

Lingfeng was startled as she looked at the inside of the pouch with excitement!

Shen Xingyue, Yi Ping, Yixian and Lie Qing were also curious what was inside.

When the pouch was opened and Yi Ping took a sniff of the golden stone, he had immediately thought of the Negative Core Divine Pill that he had swallowed!

Shen Xingyue gasped immediately, “This is…”

Yixian and Lie Qing exchanged curious looks with each other…

The forbidding heavenly maiden said, “There are enough of the Golden Kirin Heart Stone to make one Negative Core Divine Pill for all of you. Beware and do not take more than two doses of the Negative Core Divine Pill or else it is surely fatal. The Negative Core Divine Pill is able to save your life and advance your martial advancement at the same time. Make the full use of it.”

Lingfeng was stunned. The Negative Core Divine Pill was one of the most sought divine pills that could only be found within the Stellar Sanctuary and yet this forbidding heavenly maiden had simply tossed them a great quantity of it as though it meant nothing to her!

The forbidding heavenly maiden turned to Yi Ping to ask, “I have heard them calling you Yi Ping. That is your name?”

Yi Ping replied, “That is right. That is my name.”

The forbidding heavenly maiden smiled, “Do you see that white gemstone that is inlaid at the walls at the end over there?”

Yi Ping strained his eyes for a while before he finally said, “I see it now.”

The forbidding heavenly maiden nodded, “Good! Now I need a favor from you in return. I need you to use the Celestial Alice and to destroy that white gemstone for me. Only you are able to do it. That is because only the Universal Force that is contained within the Celestial Alice is able to destroy that white gemstone.”

Yi Ping was startled, “You want me to destroy that gemstone? It is not that I won’t do it but it looks extremely precious to me. Why do you want to destroy it? Isn’t this supposed to be your sanctuary?”

The forbidding heavenly maiden pleaded quietly, “Surely by now, you should know that I have harbored no ill-intentions towards you? If I tell you that I wish to keep the reasons a secret, will you still be willing to do it?”

Yi Ping nodded as he assured her, “You have already told us so much and gives us something so precious. As long as you are willing to let us off and assure the safety of everyone, I will only be most willing to help you!”

The forbidding heavenly maiden nodded gently, “I…I am most willing…”

As he had said along, he had walked towards the white gemstone that was laid on the perimeter of this platform!

The forbidding heavenly maiden smiled at him while walking quietly behind him…

Lie Qing broke into a cold sweat all of a sudden. She had no words for it but somehow, she had sensed something was amiss!

Even Lingfeng, Shen Xingyue and Yixian seemed to be looking uneasily as all the maidens began to follow quietly behind them!

They were all asking themselves secretly, “What is that white gemstone? Why did it require the Universal Force to destroy it?”

Lingfeng and Shen Xingyue were not newly celestial practitioners. They knew very well that precious gems and heavenly relics were used as formation eyes. Destroying the formation eyes would mean the destroying the entire formation at the same time too!

The questions were, was she trying to destroy the Astronomically Stellar Formation or some other formations?

Their thoughts were soon interrupted by Yi Ping who had yelled aloud as he mustered his remaining feeble strength, wielding the Celestial Antonym Alice and Celestial Synonym Alice as he hacked across the white inlaid gemstone with a tremendous force!

As the gemstone shattered, several tremendous shockwaves burst out thunderously. It was so violent that the entire white celestium platform was breaking apart and was shaking violently!

At the same time, the Universal Old Man, Lele, Yunzi, Youxue, the Stellar Heaven Fairy, the Ascension Goddess, Yu’Er and Mei’Er were freed from their trance as they were knocked to the ground by the violent shockwaves!

The forbidding heavenly maiden quickly got hold of Yi Ping and pushed him away in the direction of Lingfeng, Shen Xingyue, Yixian and Lie Qing as she muttered inaudibly to herself while coughing out blood at the same time. “Sorry…I broke my promise to you…but I can finally join you now…”

As she stumbled onto the ground, she was muttering. “My celestial name is the Celestial Alice…”

All of a sudden, the ground beneath her had collapsed and a dark abyss had appeared!

As she dropped into the dark abyss, a strong hand had grabbed her right wrist!

She opened her eyes and was startled to see that it was Yi Ping who had grabbed her wrist!

Yi Ping was as white as sheet as he lay flatly at the edge of the collapsed platform!

She protested weakly, “Let go of me…or you will surely be pulled into the dark abyss…this is my heavenly tribulations…”

This dark abyss that had suddenly appeared was no ordinary hole. It was like a black hole that was sucking everything into it!

Even though Yi Ping was trembling nonstop, his grip was firm as he muttered weakly. “I refuse…”

The forbidding heavenly maiden gave a gently smile as she said, “You…silly…”

In that instant, their eyes were seemed to be locked together. A weird and wondrous feeling had suddenly formed between them…

But all of a sudden, she had raised her martial force with her left hand and had sent Yi Ping flying backward with a tremendous force. But at the same time, she had fallen into the abyss!