A Martial Odyssey Book 3: The Stellar Sanctuary – Chapter 16

The Predestined Eighteen

They had all just stepped through the shimmering portal and found themselves in another enormous hallway!

This enormous hallway was grander than the previous hallways that they had seen in the Stellar Sanctuary, floor thirty-eight of the Stellar Sanctuary!

Lele was a little disappointment, “Not another dark and miserable hallway! I am already missing the flowers and the drifting clouds that are outdoors!”

Youxue smiled weakly, “I like the interior better.”

The Ascension Goddess Ye Yin laughed softly, “This may be madness but it is also interesting!”

Han Lin stared blankly at her, “You are as crazy as Yi Ping!”

Ye Yin laughed softly. She did not mind at all. 

Ye Yin had expended only a little of her martial strength so far and had quickly recovered. But even if she had lost her combat ability, she would still be as gutsy as ever or else she would not be Ye Yin and would not be one of the seven top celestial fighters!

She simply was game enough for challenges! 

Ye Yin shot her a question, “Aren’t you a Dragon Practitioner? Where is your dragon guts?”

Han Lin replied weakly, “You…”

She quickly hummed coldly, “No wonder you have no friends. I don’t see you having anyone to talk to!”

Ye Yin hummed coldly, “Who cares about having friends?”

The Goddess Celestial Alice, the Goddess Isa and the Goddess of Mercy had raised no objections. 

It was not because they had thought that this was a wise decision but because they had long put the fear of death behind them. Even if they were pushed off a cliff, they would still be as composed as ever and would react accordingly!

If that was Yi Ping decision, then they simply adjusted their will to follow his will!

The same went for the Goddess Aiel! 

The Heaveness Lingfeng muttered weakly as she gave Yi Ping another kick, “I can’t believe that we have actually chosen to enter this passage…”

Yi Ping smiled bitterly, “Lingfeng, you have been kicking me till now. You are not tired at all?”

Lingfeng hummed coldly as she raised her alluring eyes at him, “If it is you, I will never get tired!”

Yu’Er stepped panicky in front of Lingfeng to shield Yi Ping, “Yi Ping has already explained to us. No matter which passageway we are going to take, it won’t be easy for us. But if we take the most difficult ones, we have a higher chance of avoiding our opponents.”

Lingfeng replied, “That is just his warped logic. He must have taken too much of a beating and he had a screw loose in his head somewhere. I can’t believe that all of you will actually agree with him!”

Mei’Er smiled, “Sister Lingfeng, don’t be angry alright? Or Yi Ping won’t like you anymore.”

Lingfeng sighed, “Mei’Er, do you have any idea how difficult the Stellar Sanctuary is from the thirty floors onwards? Moreover our group is really big…”

Mei’Er answered, “But what can we do? Our only hope is the Goddess Asura but we don’t even know where she is now. Even Ziyan…”

Alice gave a sudden cough. Clearly, that name was only reserved for the privilege of Yi Ping!

She quickly corrected herself to address her by her title, “…even the Goddess Celestial Alice doesn’t know where she is now.”

Alice said quietly, “We are supposed to move up the Stellar Sanctuary from different positions to harass the immortals and we did not make any contingency plans. It is because we doubt that any groups of immortals would be able to make their way to the very top.”

Yi Ping asked gently, “If you can make your way to the upper levels the last time, surely the other Immortals are able to do so too?”

Alice smiled weakly, “No that is impossible. That is only because I have a map of the Stellar Sanctuary to circumvent the most dangerous route.”

Yi Ping asked, “Do you still have the map now?”

Alice gave a weak smile, “It is useless now.”

Yi Ping was startled, “Why so?”

Alice answered, “If we are outside then I may be able to identify the route to the higher levels. But now we are within the internal citadels of the Stellar Sanctuary. There is no map at all. In short, we are lost and have to use all our wisdom to navigate through now.” 

Yi Ping began to sigh melancholy, “Is that so?”

That was a question that he had posed to himself!

Alice took a shy look at Yi Ping, “You are afraid now? You wish for an easy trial?”

Yi Pin smiled, “I don’t think that it will be any easier outside than in here.”

Alice smiled, “You are wise. Knowing the way doesn’t make the trials any easier.”

Yi Ping gave a soft sigh…

The Goddess of Mercy smiled, “I can’t believe that we are now on the thirty-eight level of the Stellar Sanctuary. If this goes on, we will be at the top in no time. And we have only taken one week. You shouldn’t be gloomy or fearful. At most we just have to find a safe place to recuperate first and our martial strength will surely recover in no time!”

The Heaveness Lingfeng, the Universal Old Man and the Goddess Aiel who had been to the Stellar Sanctuary previously could not help but gave a weak smile; it was because there was no safe place in the Stellar Sanctuary especially from level thirtieth floor onward! 

All of a sudden the Goddess Aiel was melancholy as she called out to everyone, “Everyone, come over here!”

Everyone was startled but they nevertheless gathered around her.

She had taken out her pouch as she began to distribute the pills that was inside to everyone, “All my precious pills…my precious…”

But she quickly said, “Even though my pills may not be able to help much at this stage but it is better than nothing.”

Alice looked at her and her eyes were full of appreciation, “Thank you…”

Isa sighed softly, “Not Again. I am forever in your debt, Aiel…”

The Goddess of Mercy said, “I did bring my own pills but yours is much better…thank you…”

Han Lin muttered, “Mistress, you are the best!”

The Universal Old Man sighed secretly to himself, “Aiel is such a kind maiden without peer…”

The Goddess Aiel sighed softly, “These are the last of my divine pills already…”

These divine pills had taken her a long time to concoct and it supposed to last her throughout the trip to the Stellar Sanctuary but now all her pills were finished in less than one week!

Yi Ping had immediately taken out the dark ore that they had found earlier and placed it gently into her hands, “It is for you. I know that it is really difficult to compensate you…”

Han Lin was startled, “It is more than enough to compensate her. You are really going to give it to her?”

Everyone was also gasping!

The Universal Old Man naturally was on the side of the Goddess Aiel, “Ping’Er! That is the right thing to do!”

The Goddess Aiel clashed her hands to her bosoms but she did not reach out for the dark ore as she muttered almost incoherent, “But if…I take this treasure first…then…won’t I will miss out on…the…better artefacts…that are to be found…later…”

But Yi Ping smiled, “Don’t worry. Take this first. We should give you something in return for your troubles. This won’t be counted against you when we have more loot in the future.”

The Goddess Aiel was delighted, “Really!”

Yi Ping nodded again, “That is right. I am sure the others have no objections…”

Lingfeng interjected with sarcasm, “He is indeed generous!”

Lie Qing laughed jovially, “Indeed!”

Youxue sighed softly, “Extremely generous!”

Shen Xingyue could not resist adding, “No wonder he is as poor as hell. Sisters, we must not let him handle the finances in future or we will surely regret it!” 

Yi Ping smiled bitterly as he protested immediately, “Xingyue, that is two different matters entirely. Aiel really helps us a lot…”

Shen Xingyue was unhappy that Yi Ping was defending Aiel so she added sarcastically, “Since she has helped you so much then why don’t you take her as your consort? Then you don’t have to worry about repaying anything to her. Good for us and good for you!” 

When Aiel had heard that she began to flush with a deep flustering red!

Yi Ping protested immediately, “Xingyue, Aiel helps us so much already. This is the least that we can give to her. It is a matter of honor. As the saying says, a gentleman should always repay what he has owes…”

Shen Xingyue smiled coldly, “Unfortunately, only you are a gentleman and we are not! We are ladies!”

Yi Ping sighed softly, “That is only a metaphor. Everyone should strive to be a gentleman…”

The Goddess Aiel muttered shyly, “Yi Ping, I don’t mmm…”

But she was quickly interrupted by Han Lin who winked at her, “Mistress!”

The Goddess Aiel quickly kept mum. It was because she had caught Han Lin’s hint to keep quiet for the time being. That was because if she declares her intention first then she would have earned enmities from Yi Ping’s consorts.

So if she wanted to win over Yi Ping then she must play the part of a vulnerable and generous maiden. 

She stole a glance at Yixian and an idea had formed in her mind; first she got to win over the Celestial Fairy Yixian to her side first!

Han Lin interrupted her, “Um mistress, what is this prophecy about the Great God and the three consorts that will share the three realms with him? What about the rest then?”

Immediately all the maidens stopped in their tracks as they looked at the Goddess Aiel and Han Lin as though they were all waiting for them to finish!

Han Lin noticed their expressions immediately. So she raised her voice, “Don’t look at me like this. I am just being curious, you know.” 

Yi Ping smiled bitterly, “Let us be on our move and find a place to rest first…”

But none of the maidens including the Celestial Fairy Yixian seemed to be paying heed to him!

Lie Qing smiled to the Goddess Aiel, “Good sister, why don’t you tell us a little more. What will happen to the rest of the Great God’s consorts or there are only three?”

They were all thinking, “If only three consorts are predestined then does it mean that none of us would live to ascend to the Immortal Realm?”

This was a thought that shivered their hearts!

After all, it was well known that the attrition rate for the celestial practitioners that failed to overcome their tribulations were astonishingly high.

So if the predestined Great God would only have three consorts, it was not at all surprising. 

Youxue said coldly, “Go on and share with us. We don’t mind hearing about it.”

Yunzi said quietly, “We are in the same group now? Why don’t you share with us some interesting tidbits about the Great God?”

Lele said coldly, “Hmph! I will sooner castrate Yi Ping than…”

Both Lie Qing and Yixian interrupted her, “Lele!”

Yi Ping smiled bitterly and he had broken out in cold sweat at the thought of being castrated…

The Goddess Aiel smiled bitterly, “Even though the prophecy states that only the first three of his future consorts that acknowledge him first as the Great God will partition the Three Known Realms with him but the Great God will have other consorts.”

Lele asked curiously and her malevolent air debated slightly, “Really?”

Yu’Er gasped softly, “You are telling the truth?”

Mei’Er was delighted as she heaved a sigh of relief!

The Goddess Aiel nodded, “Right, right. The Great God will be acquainted with nine maidens from the lower realm and nine maidens from the upper realm. These eighteen are destined to be his soulmates and future consorts. The Great God will have many tribulations to overcome but these eighteen maidens will be destined by heavens to aid him. That is all to this prophecy.”

Youxue gasped with shock, “Eighteen…”

The Goddess Aiel nodded, “That is right. However, being the consorts of the Great God is not easy either. Their trials and tribulations will be equally punishing.”

Lingfeng stared coldly at Yi Ping, “So the Great God is nothing but a lecherous man!”

Yi Ping smiled bitterly as he pretended to look away! 

The Goddess Aiel said panicky, “Not a lecherous man but a Great God…”

Lingfeng stared coldly at the Goddess Aiel, “Why are you defending him for? You want to be one of the eighteen? You can have my place!”

The Goddess Aiel said panicky, “I dare not. But this place is the domain of the Great God. We ought to be careful not to offend him…”

Lingfeng immediately shut up. She had almost forgotten about it!

Yunzi smiled, “Oh well, if Yi Ping is the Great God then the number is just about right. There are nine of us from the lower realm that is accompanying him now. But I can’t say about the other nine maidens!”

Youxue said quietly as she looked around her, “At least three maidens are already confirmed if that is the truth. They are the Goddess Celestial Alice, the Goddess Isa and the Goddess of Mercy!”

Everyone began to take a look in the direction of Alice, Isa and Xiang! 

But the three of them were totally expressionless as though they did not hear or see anything!

The truth was that they were secretly blushing with embarrassment beneath their extremely cool composure! 

But they chose to pretend not to see or hear anything!

Yi Ping said, “That is enough already. Let’s go…”

But again, everyone including the Universal Old Man was not paying any heed to him!

Lie Qing tapped her foot lightly as she said coldly, “It is because they have secretly stolen a march on everyone by acknowledging Yi Ping as the Great God to fulfill this prophecy!”

Ye Yin immediately protested enchantingly, “Hey, have you forgotten that Shi Shi and I are also Yi Ping’s consorts? That makes at least five!”

Lie Qing did not answer her but said, “I guess that clear up what we want to know. Let’s us go now!”

Immediately, Lele, Youxue, Yunzi, Mei’Er and Yu’Er nodded; they had gathered around Yi Ping happily as they said aloud at the same time, “Let’s go!”

Yi Ping was shaking his head, “Our fate is in our hands. We mustn’t trust these prophecies. How can I be the Great God? Moreover I don’t have any infinite wisdom. There is always a superior man and heavens above!”

But the Axis Heaven Goddess Mei’Er called out playfully, “Great God Yi Ping! If I say you are, then you are!” 

The Eclipse Heaven Goddess smiled shyly to him, “No matter. We have already waited thousands of years for you. In our heart, nothing else is important!”

Ye Yin was bewildered by their actions as she called after them, “Hey wait!”

Shen Xingyue smiled weakly to her, “Ye Yin, let it go. They can’t be bothered anymore.”

Ye Yin was baffled, “What do you mean?”

Shen Xingyue sighed softly, “Since they have already known that they are the predestined nine maidens from the lower realm, their positions as consorts are already cemented. So why then must they enquire about the others?”

Ye Yin was speechless, “These selfish…”

But she quickly shut herself when Yu’Er and Mei’Er had suddenly turned around to wink at her!

That was because the Eclipse Heaven Goddess and the Axis Heaven Goddess were her seniors in the Holy Ascension Sect! 

She sighed softly before smiling, “I am already his consort now. So why must I think so much?”

She took around to wink at the Goddess Aiel and Han Lin!

Han Lin gave the Goddess Aiel a pitiful look, “Mistress, why is that I think that we are in the company of wolves and vultures?” 

The Goddess Aiel smiled bitterly, “I…have the same feeling as well!”

The Universal Old Man hastily defended himself, “I am certainly not wolf or vulture…”

But before he could finish defending himself, Han Lin and Aiel had hastily walked away!

The Universal Old Man murmured, “I haven’t even finished yet…”

Lingfeng laughed alluringly, “She doesn’t seem to be interested in you!”

The Universal Old Man laughed heartily, “In the past, she is and I used to think that she is like a pest that is bothering me.”

Lingfeng sighed softly, “You ingrate. Why must we only start to sorely miss the people that are around us when they are gone?” 

The Universal Old Man sighed, “If we don’t continue the path of cultivation, we will surely die. If I don’t seek enlightenment back then, I wouldn’t be one of the seven top Ancient Celestials and I wouldn’t have met her again…”

Lingfeng gave him a frustrating kick, “I seem to remember that you are already an unfathomable fighter before we ascend to the Celestial Realm! You are just an unromantic old fellow!”

All of a sudden the entire hallway began to shake violently and it seemed that it was actually moving!

Yi Ping and the maidens that were around him were startled as they immediately exercised their martial strength to steady themselves!

Lele asked panicky, “What is going on here?”

Alice smiled, “The Stellar Sanctuary is reshaping itself.”

Lingfeng nodded, “There is nothing to worry about. The higher the level that we are in, the more frequent the Stellar Sanctuary will rearrange itself.”

The Universal Old Man nodded and called out to everyone, “Let’s wait a little longer first. It is dangerous to be on the move while the hallways are still shifting.”

Yi Ping nodded quietly as he looked at everyone…

Did he make the correct decision?

The state of their party was really bad. If they encounter another combat trial then they would not be able to survive. Moreover they were eighteen levels ahead and were on the thirty-eight level now. 

But he also knew that if they took their own sweet time then they have to face even more trials and none of the trials would be easy. In the end, they would be drained both physically and mentally!

But no matter what, he was determined to protect all of them!

Whatever the cost that it would take him!