A Martial Odyssey Book 3: The Stellar Sanctuary – Chapter 15

The Iron Formation

The entire passageway was shaking resounding with metallic echoes which was piercingly cold in the hearts of everyone! 

Yi Ping smiled bitterly, “There are so many passages to choose from that I have taken a random passage…”

Youxue was smiling weakly and comforting Yi Ping at the same time, “We are practicing the Deific Divine Skill while on the move. None of us really pay any heed to where we are going.”

Yixian muttered weakly, “It is my fault…”

Alice said weakly to her, “Not really. The nearer we are to finding an entrance to the next floor, the more dangerous it is.”

Lingfeng nodded nervously, “Whether it is life or death gate, we still have to face it eventually.”

The Universal Old Man immediately said, “There is still time to turn back. There are several passages behind us. Combat trials are not rewarding at all and will only weaken us further.”

The hallway of this passage was large. Even if the seventeen of them were to stand shoulder to shoulder, the width of this passage would fit them comfortably. It was because it was meant to fit gargantuan creatures! 

Yi Ping had already danced to the foremost front as he readied the Celestial Alice in a defensive position, “I will delay the enemies ahead. If our enemies are too much…”

He stole a glance at Alice, Isa and Xiang, “…please flee. I will buy everyone the time.”

The Heavenly Temptress Lie Qing and the Ascension Goddess Ye Yin leapt next to Yi Ping as they said together, “Yi Ping, we will fight with you!”

Lele had unsheathed the Divine Echo while the Celestial Yixian had also unsheathed her Heavenly Tears Divine Sword!

Yunzi had raised her White Phoenix Divine Sword in a defensive stance while Youxue had stepped protectively in front of her.

Lingfeng, the Goddess Aiel, the Universal Old Man, Han Lin, Yu’Er and Mei’Er had formed a defensive line behind Yunzi but in front of the Goddess Isa, the Goddess Celestial Alice and the Goddess of Mercy!

The Goddess Isa, the Goddess Celestial Alice and the Goddess of Mercy were sighing softly that today that they actually need others to fight their battles for them. They were secretly moved in their hearts even though they were expressionless and emotionless…

All of a sudden dozens of Iron Golems which were a head taller than Yi Ping had suddenly appeared, wielding short swords and shields!

Lingfeng gasped, “This is the deadly Iron Formation!”

The sight of so many Iron Golems marching together struck awe in the hearts of everyone!

The first thought that came into the minds of everyone was, “Can we win?”

Youxue immediately said, “There are exactly eighty-five of them!”

Yi Ping was startled that Youxue was able to count so fast!

Yunzi nodded and added, “It seems that there are five Iron Golems for each of us here.”

Lingfeng smiled weakly, “Right. If our group is bigger, more of these Iron Golems will be here. This is a fifth degree formation and the numbers of spawning mobs are a multiple of five.”

Shen Xingyue sighed softly, “No wonder numbers in strength have no effect in the Stellar Sanctuary and will only be a hindrance.”

Lingfeng warned solemnly, “Be careful. These Iron Golems are impervious to most attacks. We should flee while we can…”

But Yi Ping had already charged headlong into one of the Iron Golems and had slashed it apart with an exploding burst of his martial power!

Lingfeng was startled as she gasped to herself, “He can cut this monster apart with his martial strength…”

Even Alice, Isa and Xiang were slightly taken aback as evidenced by their expressions but they were soon praying hard for Yi Ping. It was because they knew that there was a limit to the number of martial power burst that Yi Ping could muster. Moreover this Iron Golem was caught unaware by him and had accidentally exposed an opening…

Yi Ping was startled by his sudden increase of martial strength when he had exercised his martial power. He had expected his martial strength to suffer due to excessive use of his martial power earlier against the Esper Formation and the artefact manifest monster. 

Yet now with a sudden burst of his martial power, he had ripped this Iron Golem apart!

That was not the only change that had happened to him!

When he had exercised his martial power, the sense of fatigue had temporary departed from him and he felt so lightweight!

But he had no time to think because three other Iron Golems had attacked him on all sides, startling him!

It was because he had suddenly realized that he was being fooled by these slow moving Iron Golems; their attacks were on him in a blink of an eye!

YI Ping immediately raised the Celestial Alice as he blocked two of the attackers and exercised the Ultrapowerful Force with his left hand as he struck the third attacker on the chest with a powerful impact, sending it slightly off-balanced!

He was startled that the Iron Golem was able to take the blunt of the powerful Ultrapowerful Force without any ill-effect!

This Iron Golem immediately punched Yi Ping with its shield in retaliation and sent him flying backward!

These Iron Golems had an impervious body therefore they did not even need to defend itself and could focus on attacking!

Yixian, Lele, Lie Qing, Ye Yin, Shen Xingyue, Yixian, Yu’Er and Mei’Er immediately gasped after Yi Ping as they flew hastily to aid him! 

Shen Xingyue had raised her Blue Heavens as she flashed and attacked one of the Iron Golem, repeatedly slashing it and causing sparks to blaze from the Iron Golem! 

She was confident of her martial strength and the piercing sharpness of her Blue Heavens until she realized that she was only scratching the surface of the Iron Golem!

In desperation she displayed the Big Dipper Hands, causing the air around her to explode thunderously with her martial force. This had the effect of causing the Iron Golem to stumble slightly backward!

An opening!

She mustered all her martial strength as she pierced through the Iron Golem with her Blue Heavens, sliding her divine sword past the heavy shield and the exposed armor of the Iron Golem!

Just as she had thought that victory was hers to claim, the same Iron Golem had slammed her aside with its heavy shield!

Shen Xingyue coughed out blood as she was swept aside, leaving her stunned!

If she was not protected by her Divine Rejuvenation Force, she would have been killed instantly!

These Iron Golems were all capable of one hit kill any of the practitioners using their shields or swords!

She broke into a cold sweat as she realized that these monsters were not alive at all and would not even feel any pain!

She looked up only to see that the sword wound that she had just given the Iron Golem did not even have any effect on its mobility at all! 

She was stunned as she thought, “Don’t tell me that I have to use the Big Dipper Hands to weaken their defenses each time. If these freaking monsters did not die first, I would have died of exhaustion first…”

Her Divine Rejuvenate Force was a powerful divine skill that could protect her and weaken her opponent at the same time. The drawback for this skill was that it was also extremely draining to use but it compensated itself by having the ability to feed the surrounding life forces of her opponents by gathering their martial force to herself.

But these Iron Golems did not emanate any life force and were non-living entity!

If she wanted to use the Divine Rejuvenate Force, then she had to pay for its heavy cost herself!

She quickly picked herself up and took several steps back even as several attacks were made against her, “Alas! Even a divine beast is easier for me than these Iron Golems…”

But she was not the only one having a hard time!

Lie Qing had sent several sword energy bursts at a group of Iron Golems and she was expecting for them to come apart but to her stunned surprise, these Iron Golems had absorbed her sword energies with nothing more than a few crack lines on them! 

Lele had flown with lightning speed against one of the Iron Golem that Lie Qing had just struck with her Pandora Sword Energies. She immediately displayed half a dozen of fierce piercing and hacking attacks that were enhanced by her Celestial Force as she broke an Iron Golem apart!

They had taken down two Iron Golems!

But none of them could smile because there were still eighty-three more left!

Lele inhaled deeply as she broke through the encirclements of Iron Golems, “Lucky! I was almost trapped by them! This is so tiring!”

She quickly turned to urge Lie Qing, “Sister, hurry and assist me with your sword energy attacks!”

Lie Qing blinked her eyes at Lele’s request as she muttered, “Someone please kill me…”

Sword energy attacks were not only demanding but taxing on the practitioner!

The Celestial Fairy Yixian was faring a little better. She had just hacked off the sword arm of an Iron Golem by executing several displays of the Icicle Sword Energies at point blank and was blocking the advance of five Iron Golems with the Absolute Defense Stance of her Divine Emerald Skill! 

There were several golden halos that beamed across the blade of her Heavenly Tear Divine Sword when she displayed the Heaven Forward Stance as she pierced through the Iron Golem whose arm that she had just hacked off!

In that single split second, she had exercised her Eternal Heavenly Tears to her fullness martial power and becoming one with her divine sword as she sent bursting chilling sword energies to explode outward!

Immediately splintering cracks started to appear in the body of the Iron Golem as it exploded in all directions with a thunderous cold piercing explosion!

Three Iron Golems down and eighty-two more to go!

The Celestial Fairy Yixian continued to display several defensive and offensive stances against more of the Iron Golems!

There was no hint of her current emotions even though this fight was demanding and extracted a lot from her. She was as emotionless as these Iron Golems and continued to fight her best!

“The Iron Golems are many but they are too big and not all can fight me at the same time. I just need to make sure that there is always a room for me to maneuver.” Those were her only thoughts! 

Ye Yin was cursing softly.

It took her several attempts as she hacked an Iron Golem with her Heavenly Despairing Divine Sword before she kicked the Iron Golem apart with a thunderous implosion! 

Four Iron Golems down and eighty-one to go!

At the same time she had evaded several Iron Golems by moving rapidly!

She did not stay in a single position. To stand her ground would mean suicide for anyone, including for her!

“This…this is getting nowhere. They are too many…to think that I can be reduced to such a pathetic state!”

Mei’Er and Yu’Er combined their swordplay together as they took out one Iron Golem finally. But like the Ascension Goddess Ye Yin, it had taken them considerable effort! 

Five Iron Golems down and eighty more to go!

Youxue and Yunzi had come to Yi Ping’s aid!

Youxue said warily, ““Ping’Er…these Iron Golems are impervious to exterior forces and even sword energies. We can’t hold them much longer. Maybe fleeing is a better option now!”

Yi Ping nodded, “Youxue, Yunzi, flee first. I hold them back!”

Leaning back to back against him, Yunzi said quietly as she raised her divine sword to slash an Iron Golem aside, “Ping’Er, I have a technique that may be useful. Maybe I can try it.”

But Yi Ping said solemnly as he split the Celestial Alice into two divine swords protectively around her, “No Yunzi. I know you are talking about the Inverting Eternal Occurrence.”

Yunzi gasped, “You know?”

The Inverting Eternal Occurrence was the most powerful sword technique and formation of the Immortal Saint of Swords!

Yi Ping answered breathlessly, “Since you are the chosen and you can even display the Ley Negative Sword Techniques, it is not hard to guess that the Immortal Saint of Swords has also imparted to you the Inverting Eternal Occurrence. Indeed, it may be the only sword technique that can injure these Iron Golems but I plead with you. Please don’t use it! It is obvious that the Inverting Eternal Occurrence is a sword technique from the Immortal Realm. You will be consumed by it if you use it. I really don’t want anything to happen to you…”

Yunzi kept quiet.

Indeed Yi Ping had been right! 

But if she did not use it then it would only be a matter of time before their whole party would be wiped out!

At the same time the Universal Old Man, the Heaveness Lingfeng, the Goddess Aiel and Han Lin were fighting a dozen of the Iron Golems that had broken through the defense lines of the main defenders.

Lingfeng said panicky, “We mustn’t let them reach Alice, Isa and Xiang. We got to protect them!”

The Goddess Aiel raised her martial power as she struggled against five Iron Golems who were hacking at her with short swords while raising their shields to batter her at the same time!

She panicky stepped back as she broke into cold sweat, “Help…”

Han Lin interrupted the nearest Iron Golem that was almost on the Goddess Aiel, “Mistress, aren’t you an immortal? Why are you so weak?”

The Goddess Aiel smiled weakly, “Han Lin, now is not the time for this. Pay your full attention to our opponents first.”

But she could not resist adding, “I am a peaceful immortal. That’s why.”

The Universal Old Man had suddenly come to the aid of the Goddess Aiel, “Watch out!”

The Goddess Aiel gasped softly as an imminent sword attack was knocked aside by the Universal Old Man’s Ultrapowerful Force!

She had turned ashen, “Thank you…”

All of a sudden on the frontline, Yi Ping had given a great martial shout and it was immediately followed by several martial shockwaves!

Everyone was startled and as they looked in the direction of where Yi Ping was.

Where Yi Ping was standing, two more Iron Golems had suddenly collapsed into a pile of iron pieces next to him!

Before they could see what was really happening, Yi Ping had sprang forward again as he slashed apart two more Iron Golems seemingly like slicing tofu!

In a blink of an eye, he had executed hit, evade, movement, jump, block, parry as he raised his two divine swords to slash through the columns of Iron Golems!

Twelve Iron Golems immediately exploded into iron fragments and fell apart, one after the other!

Yixian gasped, “The Perfect Swordplay!”

But Yi Ping’s Perfect Swordplay seemed to be even faster than usual and he had cut down the Iron Golem without being slowing down!

Even for immortals, taking down one of the Iron Golems would take considerable effort especially that all these Iron Golems were like solid armor and their shield guard technique caused them to be temporary impervious to even their divine swords. 

In short, unless they could find an opening and had exercised their full martial strength, they could not even pierce through the body of these Iron Golems!

And even if they could do it, they still had to expend considerable skill, mental willpower and martial strength to avoid the sharp exploding fragments when an Iron Golem finally ‘died’! 

Yi Ping gave another martial shout all of a sudden; he had suddenly slashed across a company of Iron Golems with the Heavens Encompassing Stroke with the Celestial Antonym Alice and destroying five of the Iron Golems with a single technique!

Now the Celestial Antonym Alice was the heavier of the Celestial Alice. The divine power of the Celestial Antonym Alice was its ability to enhance heavy martial power techniques and this caused the power of the Heavens Encompassing Stroke to be enhanced as though it was the Ultimate Heavens Encompassing Strike! 

Everyone was astonished and did not know what was exactly happening right now!

It was because…

Just as Yi Ping was getting desperate and his martial strength was faltering, he had suddenly realized that these Iron Golems were not as simple as he had initial thought.

They were all in the super exponent class and if anyone thought that these Iron Golems were slow moving then they were surely making a great mistake! 

It was because these Iron Golems were actually counterattacking with the principle of immobile against the mobile; the first to attack would have opening and instead of becoming the first to strike would become the first to be strike!

To explain it in greater detail, the first second of a strike was the strongest and it was also when the martial strength was the strongest. After extending it out, the strength and accuracy began to weaken! 

Therefore these Iron Golems would immediately counterattack with its short swords with devastating effects when the opponent’s ability to defend had also weakened as a result of an extended attack! 

Now this was very similar to the quick draw techniques of the Virtuous Palace and the techniques that the Ascension Goddess Ye Yin was using! 

Faced with such deadly and organized martial formation, everyone’s offensives were not able to bring into full play!

Yi Ping broke into a cold sweat as he raised the Celestial Antonym Alice and the Celestial Synonym Alice as he attacked and fended in quick successive while desperately thinking of a solution!

Just as he muttered out to Youxue and Yunzi, “Run! These Iron Golems are too overwhelming…” Alice had suddenly whispered to him via her Great Divine Whisper, “Yi Ping, don’t be afraid. Surely you can do better than this. If the Dark Chaos Lord is here, what will he do? If we are fighting with you, what will we do?”

Yi Ping was startled as he thought, “What will Alice, Isa and Xiang do?”

“What will the Dark Chaos Lord do?”

What Alice meant to say to him was obvious. If they were not in their pathetic state, they would surely be able to overcome this Iron Formation!

But how?

Yi Ping immediately focused with his Absolute Spirits, fighting off the Iron Golems while thinking what Alice had just said to him…

He began to recall his first encounter with the Goddess Isa; he was in the midst of a battle with the Martial Deviant Clan and her allies that numbered into thousands. She had shown up without fear and had even destroyed the Eight Trigram Formless Formation of the Brilliant Access Clan effortlessly by going after a single target at a time!

Yi Ping furrowed his eyes thoughtfully when he had remembered that scene…

Alice whispered alluringly to him, “Is that the best that you are do? Do you still remember how you have stopped the Black Kirin? These Iron Golems are far weaker than that Black Kirin. They may be many but they are after all just mere numbers. You have the divine strength of the Kirin’s blood and the Essential Righteous Energy of the Great God Pangu. Are you even using them?”

She paused briefly before adding, “And the martial strength of your Seventh Heaven Cosmos Positioning is not to be underestimated. Are you using them? Is this your limit already? Then I am really disappointed in you!”

Yi Ping began to tremble lightly at her words…

She continued, “Why are you hesitating? Use all you can. Surely you can do better than that. The Esper Formation is much more difficult than this and you have persisted!”

Yi Ping smiled bitterly at the mention of the Esper Formation. Precisely because he had did his best against the Esper Formation that he was now drained…

Alice whispered gently, “Remember your first strike!”

Her whispering soon became melancholy, “I don’t want to be a consort to a loser. The man of my heart has to be a hero!”

Yi Ping gritted his teeth! 

In all his battles he had never hesitated before, doing his best until he had dropped dead. But after he had stepped into the Stellar Sanctuary, he had learnt caution and restraint! 

If he had to fight then he had to fight as like before!

One tiny doubt or holding back was a big discount to the strength of the martial practitioner. In the past because Yi Ping had no hesitations, he was able to go beyond his limits many times and his progressions were rapid.

But it was easy said than done. Only an exceptional person like Yi Ping was able to fight his best under the most severe of conditions!

Fear, fatigue, mental stress, injuries, courage, endurance were just a few factors that affected the peak performance of a practitioner. To sum it up, there were hundreds of reasons and conditioning to be taken into factor!

Yi Ping gave a loud martial shout as he mustered his martial strength again!

His eyes had turned a deep beautiful golden as he drawn upon the martial strength of the Seventh Heaven Cosmos!

At the same time, he forgot his fatigue and pain as he mustered his entire martial power with his Boundless Divine Force!

At first he had difficulty mustering it to its peak because he had already used too much of his martial power in earlier battles but at the most crucial mustering, he had succeeded and an overwhelming martial force began to envelop around him! 

Yi Ping was startled because it seemed that the martial power of Boundless Divine Force had advanced and was even stronger than before! 

He did not know that when he was using his martial power to cancel out the explosive projectiles of the Esper Formation, he had unwittingly distributed the Essential Righteous Energy into all his vital energy channels! 

In a way the Esper Formation had unwittingly aided him by distributing and reabsorbing the Essential Righteous Energy into his martial power! 

If Yi Ping did not distribute it in time, he could only use the Essential Righteous Energy when he projected his martial power as an added martial strength. 

But instead now, by distributing the Essential Righteous Energy into his various vital energy channels, his strength, power, internal strength, reflexes, speed, precision and senses had all enhanced! 

But there was no time for Yi Ping to utilize his new potential at the moment.

But again because of this, Yi Ping had forced himself to drawn upon this new potential much earlier. Because his willpower was absolute, he could do so and once again, broke another martial limit and it had the effect of increasing his seven martial levels tremendously! 

That was when everyone was startled when suddenly two of the Iron Golems were slashed apart by Yi Ping like tofu and exploding into shattering iron fragments!

That was not all.

Before his party could really reacted what was actually happening, Yi Ping had displayed the Perfect Swordplay in a continuous flux of startling sword movements, blocking and attacking at the same time as he rampaged through tens of Iron Golems and destroying twelve more of the Iron Golems!

The Universal Old Man gasped shockingly as he glanced at Yi Ping, “What is it? He is like a Warrior-God…”

Even the Goddess Celestial Alice was stunned!

She began to tremble as she collapsed into the embraces of the Goddess Isa and the Goddess of Mercy.

The Goddess Isa was stunned as she asked Alice, “What did you really say to him that caused him to become…so…”

She paused to find words before adding, “…so freaking awesome all of a sudden?”

The Goddess of Mercy was like jelly as she watched Yi Ping. Like Alice, she almost could not stand straight as she gasped shockingly, “Not just freaking awesome. His martial level is now on par with the Heavenly Kings!”

She stared at Alice, “What actually did you say to him?”

Alice replied shyly, “I say I will divorce him if he is not going to buck up.”

The Goddess Isa exclaimed enviously, “Oh really?”

Everyone was shocked at the sudden martial display of Yi Ping as another fourteen Iron Golems were destroyed in just a few blinks of an eye!

This created several opening and space for them as they hastily stepped out of danger and gave them the opportunity to give each other aid!

Yixian said sternly, “Yu’Er, Mei’Er, Lele, Lie Qing, Youxue, Yunzi! Don’t waste this chance that Ping’Er has created for us. Continue to hold them back! Xingyue…Ye Yin…”

Shen Xingyue immediately understood Yixian’s intention, ”I will go help the back!”

Ye Yin however was surrounded by several Iron Golems and were in a dangerous position therefore she had not heard Yixian…

Shen Xingyue had flashed to the back as she slashed against an Iron Golem that was almost on Han Lin!

Han Lin heaved a soft sigh of relief, “Thank goodness you are here!”

Lingfeng was smiling weakly, “What takes you so long…”

Shen Xingyue smiled weakly, “I almost got trapped…”

All of a sudden five more Iron Golems were destroyed by Yi Ping’s Heavens Encompassing Stroke and exploded with a thunderous martial burst of shockwaves! 

The Goddess Aiel was stunned, “What is going on? I think I am going to faint…”

Lie Qing was also stunned, “Is that my Yi Ping?”

Ye Yin was looking at Yi Ping delightedly, “My righteous hero…my protégé master is right…I am right…”

While everyone was gasping with shock, Yi Ping was struggling with his faltering strength!

His speed attacks, his movements and the released of his martial power were taking a toll on his body! 

He could feel his trembling arms and shaking hands already!

But his first thought was not on giving it up as he hacked two more Iron Golem into pieces, “There are still so many. I need more strength and speed!”

The reasons that he could hack these Iron Golems to pieces were not because of his martial strength only but also because he had increased his attacking speed!

Earlier in a blink of an eye, he could hack an Iron Golem six times but now in the same blink of an eye, he was able to hack and slash twelve times! 

A thought suddenly came into Yi Ping, “The Asper Continuum Horizon Hand!”

“What if I can make use of the martial speed of the Asper Continuum Horizon Hand to increase my speed of my swordplay attacks? Can I?”

Without even pausing to consider a second longer, Yi Ping had already expended his remaining martial strength for the Asper Continuum Horizon. He knew that he was nearing his limit because his vital flow was now reversing and black blood was now foaming from his mouth but he did not care anymore!

He muttered, “Is that the best that my Seventh Cosmos Positioning can do…”

A burst of golden radiance had suddenly burst forth from his shoulder!

But instead of splitting his martial power into martial force to execute his palm attacks, Yi Ping used that martial force to lift himself up as he continued to rampage through the columns of Iron Golems with the continuous attack flux of his Perfect Swordplay!

It seemed like his sword attack had suddenly split into four with each slash!

Instead of requiring twelve slashes to destroy an Iron Golem, Yi Ping now required three slashes! 

Instead of destroying the usual two Iron Golems in a blink of an eye, Yi Ping had destroyed eight Iron Golems!

Everyone was gasping!

Lele stared at Yi Ping, “What swordplay is it?!”

This improvisation version of the Perfect Swordplay was still unnamed! 

The Asper Continuum Horizon Hand was short lived and could only persist for three quick blink of an eye. But that was enough for Yi Ping to take down twenty-four of these Iron Golems!

Yi Ping coughed out blood as he staggered dully!

He had unfortunately reached his limit!

“Is that the best that I can do…” He muttered weakly to himself, “This is not the result that I want…”

Altogether he had taken down fifty-six of the Iron Golems all by himself!

“You have already done very well. Leave the rest to us.” 

A gentle hand was also supporting him! 

Yi Ping looked up to see that it was Yixian who was supporting him gently!

Yixian smiled gently to Yi Ping, “Look in front of you!”

Her eyes were beaming not with sadness but with hope!

Yi Ping strained to focus his eyesight and he was startled to see the last group of the Iron Golems had fallen by the combined assault of Lele, Lie Qing, Lingfeng, Yunzi, Ye Yin, Shen Xingyue, Yu’Er and Mei’Er!

Inspired by Yi Ping and because the number of Iron Golems had also been greatly reduced, everyone had launched a fierce counterattack!

They had won!

They had destroyed the Iron Formation utterly!

Yi Ping soon found himself surrounded by everyone as everyone began to ask him excitedly, “Yi Ping, what swordplay is that? You have become so strong now!”

Lele and Yunzi were secretly thinking on their own, “I have almost used that technique…”

He smiled gently at them because he was glad that they were all alright and his blood was fired by their concerns for him! 

The Goddess Celestial Alice smiled gently, “You have all forgotten something. If you don’t want to claim your rewards then I am going to lay claims to it!”

The Goddess Isa laughed softly, “I am about to say that too.”

Everyone gasped!

At the center of the passage was a dark metallic ore. 

Everyone was gasping, “The Heavenly Relic!”

This was no ordinary Heavenly Relic!

From the look of it, it looked like a superior Heavenly Relic. The darker the ore, the more refine it was when it was made into a divine artefact! 

Ye Yin smiled, “What a rare drop. From the look of it, this Heavenly Relic may be able to be refined into a divine sword!”

Yunzi smiled, “What a rare find. But we have seventeen of us here so how are we going to divide it in a fair manner? What about next time?”

It was a tease but Yunzi was right!

Even if many of them already had a divine sword on their own, the desire to own another divine sword was strong even though they could only divine harmonized with only one divine sword! 

Yixian said quietly, “Even though we are many but we have all look up to Yi Ping as our leader. Why don’t we let Yi Ping decides how to distribute this loot and future loot? What does the newly arrival have to say about this?”

She smiled gently at Ye Yin, Shen Xingyue, Yu’Er, Mei’Er, the Goddess of Mercy and the Goddess Celestial Alice. 

Yu’Er smiled, “Of course I am perfectly alright with it!”

Mei’Er winked at Yi Ping, “Naturally we are alright with it. But I am not sure about the rest who are not so close with Yi Ping!”

The Goddess of Mercy said shyly, “Who says I am not close to him? I am alright with Yi Ping being the leader and distributing the loot on our behalf. I don’t really care much for these pathetic loots other than the ones on the top levels.”

The Goddess Celestial Alice smiled, “Indeed there are plenty of enticing loots at the upper levels. Since the majority of you have already picked Yi Ping as the leader, this shouldn’t be a contentious issue at all.”

Ye Yin, Shen Xingyue and the Goddess Isa were smiling. They had no disagreement with letting Yi Ping taking the leadership role!

Yi Ping said awkwardly after he had kept the dark ore, “Let’s us hurry. This place isn’t safe to stay.”

Everyone nodded as they exchanged encouraging looks with each other! 

“Let’s go!”

And they were all soon on the move!

Yixian whispered to him, “Ping’Er, you…are alright? You really don’t want to take a rest?”

Lingfeng laughing softly, “He is a wooden block and won’t feel pain or tired. We shouldn’t show him too much concern lest he will forget his place!”

Though she had said that, she was quietly transferring her internal strength to him via her Divine Invigorating Force. 

At the same time Shen Xingyue was also by his side to aid him with her Divine Rejuvenation Force.

Yi Ping muttered, “Xian’Er, Xingyue…”

All of a sudden they halted in their steps! 

It was because the passage had expanded into a huge hallway and there were four passages in front of them!

Indeed in front of them were four imposing shimmering gates but no one could see beyond it! 

Youxue asked, “Which way should we take now?”

Yi Ping was pondering the same question too!

Alice immediately said, “This is easy.”

Yi Ping was startled, “You know the way Alice?”

Alice shook her head, “But I do know where these passages will be leading us.”

Yi Ping asked, “Oh?”

Alice pointed to the passage on the extreme left side, “This passage is the easiest. It will lead us one level up the Stellar Sanctuary. The next passage will lead us three levels up the Stellar Sanctuary. The one next to it will lead us six levels ahead while the passage on the right will lead us nine levels up the Stellar Sanctuary.”

The Heaveness Lingfeng exchanged a quick look with the Universal Old Man before she stepped forward to ask, “How do you know? We have been to the Stellar Sanctuary so many times and we always thought that these passages are an endless split?”

The Universal Old Man stammered, “That is right! What makes you say so?”

Alice smiled gently, “You must know that on our very first trip, I have already been to the ninety level of the Stellar Sanctuary. But of course that is not why I am familiar with the layout of the Stellar Sanctuary…”

Everyone was gasping as they interrupted her with looks of disbelief, “The ninety level of the Stellar Sanctuary!?”

It was because they were all still on the lower levels of the Stellar Sanctuary and they had all almost died from it!

Alice smiled weakly, “But that is already my limit. Moreover it is easier to explore the Stellar Sanctuary on my own than with a big group which will increase the difficulty tremendously. From the Artefact Core of the Stellar Sanctuary, I know that the way up to the Stellar Sanctuary has a fixed pattern after a defense formation is overcome and it is always numbered one, three, six and nine.”

Lingfeng gasped with understanding, “So that is why.”

The Universal Old Man laughed heartily, “So where we are now? I am a little lost.”

It was because this place had no marking to indicate its level as it was a hidden in the mountains!

Alice said coolly, “This is actually the twentieth level. Till now, I am surprised that your group is able to find this place. That is because it is easier to find the next level of the Stellar Sanctuary than to find the secret passage that enables the practitioner to skip a full ten levels. Even for me, it is impossible for me to find it all the time or else this place won’t be a trial for both immortals and celestials alike.”

It seemed that every tenth level was the magic number! 

Yi Ping had remembered that they had skipped a full tenth level as well…

Youxue muttered, “So this is the twentieth level. So where passage should we take now?”

Most of them were waiting for Yi Ping to make a decision but they were mostly looking at the passage on their left which was the one that could lead them one level ahead in the Stellar Sanctuary. It was because they were all drained from the earlier battle and they could only imagine how difficult it would be if they advance to the higher levels of the Stellar Sanctuary!

More than half of their group were now invalids and without any martial strength, including Yi Ping!

The Celestial Fairy Yixian asked gently, “Ping’Er, what do you say? After all, you are the leader.”

But Yi Ping was staring at the four shimmering passage as he muttered, “There are four passages here because the entire Stellar Sanctuary is arranged according to the trigram formation, am I right?”

Lingfeng laughed jovially at him, “You illiterate fellow. A trigram has eight openings and not four!”

Yi Ping rubbed his nose weakly, “Actually I do know. But what I am trying to say is that there shouldn’t be four passages here but five!”

Lingfeng asked, “What do you mean?”

Yi Ping said quietly as he looked at the imposing empty wall on the most extreme right side, “What is inside the trigram formation? It is the five element formation. The inner workings of the Stellar Sanctuary have to be structured accordingly to the five elements. So there must be a fifth passage here!”

He had drawn out the Celestial Alice and had slashed across the white celestium wall with a mighty burst of his martial force!

Immediately the hallway was shrouded in a cloud of dust but what was behind the wall that Yi Ping had just struck was equally startling!

A fifth passageway had been revealed!

Alice gasped, “How did you know?”

The Heaveness Lingfeng was also dumbfounded, “A secret passageway!” 

Yi Ping replied quietly, “If I am not wrong then this secret passage will lead us eighteen levels ahead to the thirty-eight level of the Stellar Sanctuary!” 

Yunzi smiled, “But surely we are not going to take this passage, am I right?”

Lingfeng stared at Yi Ping, “When have you become so smart all of a sudden?”

Lie Qing laughed softly, “Because he is a badass rascal!”

Lele, Ye Yin and Shen Xingyue were exchanging startled looks! 

Yu’Er muttered, “Why is that I have such a bad feeling about this?”

Mei’Er was looking at Yi Ping, “Surely not! Or he will be such a bad leader!”

Yi Ping smiled weakly at Yu’Er and Mei’Er, “Only Yu’Er and Mei’Er can read my mind…”

Lingfeng gave Yi Ping a hard kick, “You are crazy!”

Han Lin immediately protested, “I request that we have a re-nomination of the party leader immediately!”

The Goddess Aiel was smiling weakly, “I am going to faint…”