The Divine Lot
A large golden tripod had been placed in the stairs below the golden platform!
And behind the large golden tripod was a large map of the Stellar Sanctuary with the gates clearly marked with numbers!
The Lord Supreme reverberated throughout the Golden Ascension Hall, “There will be twenty-four divine lots inside this golden urn. Once all twenty-four divine lots have been drawn, the lots will be re-cast back again. We shall let the major celestial clans that are in the golden seating position pick the divine lot first. Naturally, that will also include the Holy Ascension Sect.”
There were nine other celestial clans that were seated at the golden platform; they were the Mythical Seal Clan, Infinity Sword Celestial Clan, Tranquil City, Celestial Aiel Sect, Erudite Sect, Wind Chimes Sect, East Verdant Sect, White Pristine Clan and the Hegemon Clan.
Everyone was gasping!
Whether it was drawing one divine lot or two divine lots, it did not matter for these ten clans!
The Northern Tyrant who had a seat at the silver platform muttered aloud, “If we are unlucky then we won’t go in with one of the major orthodox celestial clans…”
The truth was that the Northern Tyrant had never been to the Stellar Sanctuary. He had thought that all the celestial clans that had gathered with the Holy Ascension Sect would be going in together!
So this time it was actually his first time. He knew how perilous the Stellar Sanctuary was; every time the Stellar Sanctuary had appeared, only less than a hundred celestials survived the trip.
What was mystifying was that none of the Celestials seemed willing to share anything that they had seen inside!
That was why he had hoped to follow an experienced celestial clan first so that he could take all necessary precautions!
But the Lord Supreme had made it very clearly. The bigger the group, the higher was the risk!
But of course there was something else that was quite explicit but was never openly mentioned. It actually made more sense to enter all twenty-four gates of the Stellar Sanctuary rather than just a single gate for a number of reasons. Firstly, there were more celestial treasures to be shared and if one of the gates was a dead end then everyone would not perish together!
The White Ape Scholar looked coldly at Yi Ping’s direction before humming coldly to the visible hearing of the Northern Tyrant and all the others that were nearby, “That may not be the case. If we follow one of the more experienced celestial clans, it will be difficult to seize the celestial treasures for ourselves.”
The White Ape Scholar was a top exponent of the Celestial Solstice Clan. He had a grudge with Yi Ping and for the past year he had been practicing his Sovereign Martial Force. He had a lucky break and had succeeded in raising his martial force to a new staging level.
The Celestial Solstice Clan was late for the meet and had just arrived just a few days ago.
“I have been to the Stellar Sanctuary and have survived so there is nothing to worry about,” Wan An said coldly.
Wan An was the Domain Lord of the Celestial Solstice Clan and his influence in the Celestial Realm was not beneath the seven major orthodox celestial clans!
The Northern Tyrant smiled coldly, “You must have found quite a few celestial treasures in the Stellar Sanctuary to be this conceit…”
Wan An smirked coldly.
At this moment Old Hare the grand patriarch of the Mythical Seal Clan who was also an Ancient Celestial laughed aloud, “Let the Mythical Seal Clan be the first to draw the divine lot then!”
He had leapt down from the platform!
The Lord Supreme nodded.
Old Reverend Vanquishing Sage asked, “One or two divine lot?”
Old Hare laughed jovially, “Just one. This time only two of the elders of the Mythical Seal Clan will accompany me.”
He rolled up his sleeves and then laughed aloud as he reached into the golden urn to pick a divine lot!
A golden metal slip was seen in his hands as he flashed it to Old Reverend Vanquishing Sage who said aloud, “Number three!”
Many of the celestials were thinking, “If our divine lot is also number three, with Old Hare’s amicable personality and experienced guidance, this gate is probably safer than going with the Holy Ascension Sect…”
Old Reverend Vanquishing Sage asked, “Next?”
Lady Snowflake rose up as she smiled sweetly, “Alas! Unfortunately the Erudite Sect is a little too weak. We may have been offered the golden seats but our martial strength is even lower than the bronze seats!”
There were several jovial rumblings from the crowd!
Lady Snowflake laughed softly before she said, “Therefore the Erudite Sect has decided to abstain!”
Vengeful God Shuntian from the Hegemon Clan had also rose up to say, “The Hegemon Clan will abstain!”
Thousands of celestial practitioners were startled!
They had all expected the Vengeful God Shuntian to go to the Stellar Sanctuary!
It was because the Hegemon Clan was also one of the stronger celestial clans in the Celestial Realm!
The Lord Supreme nodded quietly at the Vengeful God Shuntian.
The Lord Supreme asked, “Who else?”
Lingfeng whispered to Yi Ping, “For him to give up that will only means that his injuries and several of his clan protégés are not light.”
Yi Ping nodded as he recalled the fight that day when the Vengeful God Shuntian was injured by Maiden Ziyan.
He whispered, “Lingfeng, I think I should go alone…”
Lingfeng gave him a cold glance, “Don’t forget that other than the Universal Old Man and I, none of you have been there before.”
Lie Qing laughed softly, “With Lingfeng around, we have nothing to be afraid of. Just go and take the divine lot!”
Yi Ping nodded as he leapt down the platform.
At the same time the Sagess Ai had also leapt from the platform as she laughed softly, “It seems that I should let the Lord of the Tranquil City have the first pick.”
Yi Ping bowed respectfully with his hands, “You can go first.”
The Sagess Ai laughed softly, “Then I shall not decline your kind offer.”
She immediately said as she reached for the divine lot, “The Celestial Aiel Sect will pick just one divine lot.”
Old Reverend Vanquishing Sage declared, “Number one!”
The Sagess Ai laughed, “It seems that we get the closest position! Woes to those that have to travel for three days to the furthest gate!”
The Sagess Ai looked shyly at Yi Ping, “It is your turn now.”
Yi Ping nodded as he turned around to look at Yixian, Lingfeng, Lele, Lie Qing, Youxue, Shi Shi, Shen Xingyue…”
Yu’Er smiled shyly as she whispered softly, “Master Yi Ping, how are you?
Mei’Er was also whispering softly, “Good luck! We will be going to the Stellar Sanctuary too.”
Yi Ping was startled, “Not you too. It is too dangerous…”
Yu’Er smiled, “Let fate decides our destiny. Moreover, Ye Yin will be with us. Let us hope that we can meet in the Stellar Sanctuary…”
Ye Yin the Ascension Goddess was looking at the Sagess Ai and was quiet all this while.
She whispered exasperatingly, “Ping’Er, it is good to see you again but I don’t think you miss me as much!”
Even though her voice was softly whispered but to the Lord Supreme, Reverend Sacred Sage, Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage, the Sagess Ai, Yu’Er, Mei’Er and even the four Ascendant Priests, her shy words resounded within their earshot!
They had not expected the Ascension Goddess to be so bold!
Ye Yin had a tinge of flush as she looked at Yi Ping shyly, “Never mind I will forgive you. Goodness knows if we are all going to survive this trip or not. I hope we do!”
Yi Ping was startled, “Ye Yin, you are really going to the Stellar Sanctuary?”
Ye Yin nodded, “This is a once in a lifetime chance and moreover I am now an ancient practitioner. If I don’t find some useful celestial artefacts to aid me then I probably would not survive my next heavenly tribulation. Moreover I have been preparing for this day.”
Yi Ping sighed softly and was startled that the Lord Supreme had suddenly patted him on his shoulder.
The Lord Supreme said, “There is always a chance that you can all meet in the Stellar Sanctuary. I understand you perfectly.”
He looked at Yu’Er and Mei’Er quietly.
How could he not understand? He had been trying to persuade Yu’Er and Mei’Er not to go too!
The Ascension Goddess laughed softly, “Ping’Er, quickly pick the divine lot. We surely meet in the Stellar Sanctuary. It is because you are the righteous man…”
She wanted to say the righteous man that would aid her to overcome the Stellar Sanctuary but she remembered her vows so she quickly said, “…the righteous man in my heart. I will surely sniff you out!”
Yi Ping muttered, “That is a promise then! I will choose only a divine lot!”
He reached out and picked up a divine lot!
Old Reverend Vanquishing Sage proclaimed, “Number twenty-four!”
Yi Ping was startled, “The last divine lot. We have to travel so far…”
The Stellar Sanctuary was colossal and spanned several mountain ranges!
In order to reach the other end of the Stellar Sanctuary would require at least three days! Or probably a week!
The Sagess Ai laughed softly, “Great! We are so near to each other!”
Yi Ping was bewildered, “We are near? I have drawn the last divine lot…”
Ye Yin said coolly, “The furthest divine lot is actually between the twelve and the fourteen. The shape of the Stellar Sanctuary is actually round so in actual fact, number twenty-four is actually quite a close distance from the number one divine lot.”
Yi Ping muttered, “I get it now…”
The Sagess Ai laughed softly, “So we can actually travel together. The map indicates that we do have to travel on the same mountain course!”
Yi Ping could only smile weakly…
Old Venerable Vanquishing Sage said, “Who is next?”
The Immortal Saint of Swords said, “The Infinity Sword Celestial Clan will be next. We will draw two divine lots.”
Two divine lots!
That was so astonishing that loud rumblings could be heard throughout the Golden Ascension Hall!
The Immortal Saint of Swords smirked coldly, “I have never liked to go in a big group and prefer to go alone. Yunzi, go and draw two divine lots on our behalf.”
Yunzi said quietly, “Yes, grand protégé master!”
She leapt down gently as she walked toward Yi Ping, the Lord Supreme and the Sagess Ai.
With a gentle smile, she said to Yi Ping, Yu’Er, Mei’Er, Yu’Er and the Ascension Goddess, “Ping’Er and my good sisters, good luck!”
Yu’Er muttered, “Yunzi, you are going to the Stellar Sanctuary?”
Yunzi shook her head, “This time, only my grand protégé master and the Immortal Sword Sages will be going. My grand protégé master says that I have much to learn and I should stay to succeed their mantle. It is bound to be chaotic in the next few months when the new leadership of the Celestial Realm will surely try to exert their new influence. My role is to stabilize and ensure the stability of the Infinity Sword Celestial Clan.”
Yi Ping was relieved to hear it that he said excitedly, “That is a good thing! Yunzi, I will surely come back to see you again even if I have to traverse the high mountains!”
Yunzi was almost beaming with tears as she nodded gently.
She quickly said, “Soon!”
As she said that, she had reached out and picked two divine lots from the golden urn!
Old Venerable Vanquishing Sage proclaimed, “Number ten and Number twenty-one!”
Many of the celestial practitioners had secretly taken note of these two gate numbers!
It was quickly followed by the Wind Chimes Sect, the East Verdant Sect and the White Pristine Clan who picked number six, nineteen and eighteen respectively!
Ouyang Feipeng the Windy Blade of the Wind Chimes Sect was overheard saying to his protégé leader the Black Demon Windblade, “Number six. This will take us two days at the earliest to reach.”
The Black Demon Windblade nodded before smiling to the Lord Supreme, “It seems that only the Holy Ascension Sect is left to pick the divine lot.”
The Lord Supreme and the Black Demon Windblade were old acquaintances too. At one point of the time the Lord Supreme had even saved his life and presented him a demon blade from the Stellar Sanctuary.
The Black Demon Windblade did not disappoint the Lord Supreme. With his skills and resolute, he had over the course of several centuries established the Wind Chimes Sect as one of the seven major celestial clans in the Celestial Realm!
The Lord Supreme laughed aloud, “Indeed! The Holy Ascension Sect will pick two divine lots!”
This result was not entirely unexpected.
The Lord Supreme put his hand into the golden urn before flashing two divine lots in his hand.
Old Reverend Vanquishing Sage declared, “Number seven and number eleven!”
Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage said, “The clans that are in the silver section will draw first followed by those in the bronze section.”
All the celestial practitioners began to mutter nervously among themselves. Now it was time for them to pick the divine lot accordingly!
Ten out of twenty-four gates were taken by the major celestial orthodox clans!
Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage laughed, “So, can I have all the representatives from all the celestial clans that are going to the Stellar Sanctuary to step forward first?”
Only thirty-eight out of two hundred clans had stepped forward!
The draw was quickly concluded.
It seemed that for each of the gates of the Stellar Sanctuary, there would only be two celestial clans!
Including the clans that were in the golden section, only forty-six clans had the courage to storm the Stellar Sanctuary!
It was not a surprise to Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage and to the Lord Supreme.
It was because most of the celestials that went to the Stellar Sanctuary would never survive the trip especially for the first comers!
And most of these celestial clans that did not go were actually preserving their own strength and waiting for an opportunity to exert an ever greater influence should these forty-six clans met with a mishap!
An additional two dozen other celestial clans had decided to abstain from the divine lot because they felt the odds of surviving were too low. If the Lord Supreme would lead them into the Stellar Sanctuary then more would surely be tempted to join!
But half of the celestial clans had secretly hatched another plan of their own. They had secretly join hands and would secretly attempt to enter one of the safer gates after a careful observation…
The Deadly Wanderer was laughing, “My luck isn’t that bad. I got twenty-forty. So Master Yi Ping, we can make the trip together!”
Yi Ping said, “You are alone?”
The Deadly Wanderer sighed softly, “The Longevity Clan is but a small clan. I have come with a few protégés but only I will be entering the Stellar Sanctuary…”
The Northern Tyrant muttered, “Number five…”
A gray faced priest from the Raven Swords Sect bowed respectfully to the Northern Tyrant, “I am Priest Xuquan. It is our honor to join hands in hands with the Northern Continent Clan!”
Wan An was the Domain Lord of the Celestial Solstice Clan had drawn the number six draw, the same as the Wind Chimes Sect.
The White Ape Scholar laughed, “What luck!”
Ouyang Feipeng who dislike the White Ape Scholar and was caution of the intentions of the Celestial Solstice Clan hummed coldly, “What luck.”
The Black Demon Windblade looked coldly at Wan An, “Let’s put aside our feuds aside first. The Stellar Sanctuary is our first priority.”
Wan An laughed coldly, “We should decide first how are we going to distribute the treasures of the Stellar Sanctuary first.”
Yi Ping was not paying attention to their rivalries.
Instead he was taking a last look at Yu’Er, Mei’Er and Ye Yin with a melancholy look…
Old Reverend Vanquishing Sage said to Yi Ping, “We will pick the number seven entrance and there will be six of us. Other than I, the Eclipse Heaven Goddess, the Axis Heaven Goddess, Reverend Sacred Sage, the Ascension Goddess and the Fiery Phoenix will be in the same group. The Lord Supreme will go alone.”
Yi Ping was startled, “Xingyue is going with you?! Didn’t she get expel from the Holy Ascension Sect?”
Shen Xingyue had quietly walked next to Yi Ping, “I was reinitiated again a few days ago. Please be careful.”
She stole a glance at the Heaveness and the Universal Old Man before adding, “I know that you are in good hands. But I got to help Yu’Er, Mei’Er and Ye Yin. Or else, the Four Aggregates Sword Formation that we have been practicing won’t be completed. Do not worry…”
Yi Ping said approvingly, “You too. If you are with them, I feel safer…”
Reverend Sacred Sage laughed aloud, “Old Reverend Vanquishing Sage and I are experienced hands in the Stellar Sanctuary and we will surely guide them to safety.”
Yi Ping immediately bowed respectfully to Reverend Sacred Sage with profuse thanks, “Senior, let me extend to you my thanks!”
Reverend Sacred Sage smiled warmly, “Defintely!”
The Goddess Isa who was watching from the top of the platform had an uneasy feeling as she looked quietly at Reverend Sacred Sage…
A dedicated maiden, Lady Winter Plum of the Three Plum Sect was also offering her thanks to Reverend Sacred Sage, “Our divine lot is the same as yours. I will be coming with four of my protégés. Please do take care of us as well!”
Reverend Sacred Sage laughed, “Definitely, definitely!”