A Martial Odyssey Book 3: The Stellar Sanctuary – Chapter 22

The Sanctorum Relic

All the maidens were all looking shyly at Yi Ping, their eyes were full of affections and tenderness for him. At this moment all their hearts were fluttering as they appraised him. 

Yi Ping was stoned as he stared at them dreamily. He had never have imagined that one day, he would have standing in front of so many heavenly maidens, beautiful in their own ways and actually would be reciprocating his heartfelt sentiments for them.

As he gazed at them, his memory began to recollect his exploits with all of them; their escapades together, their battles, their close shaves and many other things. It seemed like a long time had passed…

The Universal Old Man was still looking a little shaky as he murmured, “I can’t believe it, really. Ping’Er, the Celestial Fairy, the Heavenly Temptress and the Joyful Goddess had attacked so swiftly that this Bestial Emperor Satyr could hardly even react after the initial charge. And the entire fight only lasts a minute. Moreover this is the death gate boss monster of the thirty-eight floor! What says you, my Heaveness?”

Lingfeng sighed softly as the Universal Old Man interrupted their quiet moments. This was followed immediately by the soft sighs of the others…

She took a shy look at the valiant Yi Ping and her heart was secret fluttering, “This is already the limit for our past attempts in the Stellar Sanctuary. Even the Immortal Saint of Swords won’t be able to get past the fortieth floor…”

She smiled when she saw Yi Ping’s curved lips because she knew that he was going to ask her for the reason so she replied him, “It is because past the thirtieth floor, the passages can get increasing complex and there are more trials at every intervening turns. Therefore the progression is really slow. We are simply lucky that we have found the exit so quickly.”

Youxue smiled weakly, “Not that lucky it seems. It is the death gate that we have found.”

Youxue, the Universal Old Man and the Goddess Aiel were the only ones that did not have any divine artefacts and they would have required an additional week of rest to recover from their internal injuries. This was considered to be quite rapid especially since they could recover ten times much faster in the Stellar Sanctuary than elsewhere.”

The Goddess of Mercy Gusu Xiang may not have a divine sword but she had miraculously recovered from her internal injuries. It was because her Heavens Sunder Mirror was a potent divine weapon in its own and could be affected by the Ancient Swords Pool. 

Yi Ping continued to inhale deeply, “This Bestial Emperor Satyr is really strong. It is able to take in so many hits of my techniques without faltering.”

Lele smiled, “But we have won!”

Alice sighed softly as she lifted her eyes to look regally at Yi Ping, “Yi Ping, from now on you mustn’t fight solo anymore.” She proceeded to look at Lele, Yixian and Lie Qing, “Or display the Celestial Star Formation anymore.”

Lele asked curiously, “Why so?”

Alice replied eloquently, “This is for your safety. Future fights may not be as easy and you should exercise caution. As for the Celestial Star Formation, it may be a formidable formation but your opponent is a brainless monster that can be defeated by sheer martial strength. But against the intricacy moves of the Immortals and the more powerful Guardians of the Stellar Sanctuary, it is completely useless.”

Yi Ping nodded as he said warmly, “Maiden Ziyan, you are right. I will listen to you.”

Alice gave him a quick smile before looking at Lele again, “Though the Celestial Star Formation is formidable but it is also extremely physical taxing. What if you can’t defeat the opponent in time then won’t all of you be defenseless?”

The Celestial Fairy Yixian nodded with an appreciative smile, “The Great Goddess is right. That is what I have feared too.”

She turned to say gently to Lele, “Lele, I am sure that we have finally fulfilled your wish to execute the Celestial Star Formation with you as the lead this time. Next time, wait for my lead alright?”

Lele replied weakly, “Oh well, we still got a long way to go before we can perfect the Celestial Star Formation. Alright then.”

But from her determined eyes, Yi Ping knew that Lele was not going to give it up so soon.

This prompted him to think, “Is something going to happen soon? Why is Lele so insistent on perfecting the Celestial Star Formation?”

But his thoughts were quickly interrupted by the sudden manifestation of a brilliant light that was near the shimmering blue portal that was in front of them!

It was a rainbow prism and its divine light was absolutely stunning to behold!

Alice gasped immediately, “This is…”

The Goddess of Mercy gasped with shock, “I can’t believe it that this thing will actually appear at this level. This is the…”

The enchanting Aiel blurted out to continue for her, “The most forbidden of the forbidden, the Sanctorum Relic!”

The Goddess Isa took a step forward but she quickly mindful of the many stares. She began to flush as she stammered, “I am just trying to take a closer look…”

The Heaveness Lingfeng asked, “What is it?”

The Goddess of Mercy stole a glance at Alice before she smiled wryly, “This is the most precious of all heavenly metals. It is so scarce that it can even spark a war in the Immortal Realm!”

The Heaveness Lingfeng was startled, “And it can be found on the thirtieth eight floor? What actually is it?”

Everyone began to look at the Goddess Celestial Alice for an answer.

Alice explained coolly and she was smiling brightly, “I can’t explain why the Sanctorum Relic is here but I am certainly glad that I can see it. Perhaps it is due to the impossible difficult of this death gate or others.”

She soon gave a piteous look, “Unfortunately there are so many of us and there is only one Sanctorum Relic. I won’t be contesting for it so the rest of you will have one less competitor.”

Youxue smiled weakly, “You still haven’t told us what exactly it is and what does it do?”

The Goddess of Mercy sighed softly, “It has the effect of further enhancing our divine weapons. You really think that Alice is giving it up because she does not covet after it? That is because she already have one and it is within her Astronomic Eulogy Divine Sword. Why do you think we fear her sword so much?”

The Goddess Isa smiled bitterly, “The Astronomic Eulogy divine Sword has altogether seven seals. The power of her divine sword is in its restrictive sealing and that last seal is the augment power of the Sanctorum Relic. If my Divine Constellation Sword has a Sanctorum Relic to augment its power then I may not lose to Alice.”

The Goddess of Mercy laughed softly, “And now this Sanctorum Relic is right in front of us. Isn’t it a perfect match for my Heavens Sundering Mirror? Why waste it on the lower grade divine swords?”

The Goddess Isa smiled coldly, “Or my Divine Constellation Sword?”

Yi Ping was quite upset that the harmony between Xiang and Isa had been broken just because of one Sanctorum Relic. 

Therefore he raised his voice as he said coldly, “Since the two of you like it so much, you can have it! Why are you fighting over a piece of metal? Isn’t friendship more important than anything else? I have thought that the two of you are going to be great sisters from on now but I am so wrong!”

Xiang and Isa were startled by Yi Ping sudden admonition so much that they had turned slightly pale and everyone could see that they were shaken! 

As one of the most powerful immortal goddesses in the Immortal Realm, it had always been the others that got the receiving end of their admonitions and not the other way round. Anyone that dare to be insolent to them had to bear the consequences with their own lives! 

They seemed to have lost their superior air and they were looking at Yi Ping with humbled eyes! 

They really wanted to please Yi Ping and were at a total loss. 

Some of the other maidens had also turned pale immediately. It was because they had the desires to claim the Sanctorum Relic for themselves but were not as quick to speak out. 

But it was a lucky thing for them or else they would be at the receiving end of Yi Ping’s reproach! 

Lele was smiling weakly because she had almost stepped forward to claim the Sanctorum Relic as did Shen Xingyue, Ye Yin, Lie Qing and Han Lin!

Only Yixian, Yujian and Mei’Er were not tempted! 

Yunzi smiled gently as she said, “Didn’t we agree to make Yi Ping our party leader? Didn’t we agree to have him distribute the loot for all of us?”

Immediately the rest of the maidens began to nod and muttered among themselves! 

Yi Ping said unhappily, “I know that I am a leader but in name only. I only wish that everyone will be able to put aside your own personal interests and work towards our common goal, in harmony and in contention.”

The Goddess of Mercy Gusu Xiang immediately took small steps toward him before she tugged his sleeve lightly, “Xiang’Er knows that I am wrong. Xiang’Er will listen to you in future. What do you say? Please forgive my rudeness. I really don’t mean it at all. Don’t be angry alright? Xiang’Er doesn’t want the Sanctorum Relic anymore. You can give it to the rest. I don’t mind at all!”

Yi Ping was smiling weakly as his heart immediately melted when he saw how she had humbled and reproached herself. In fact, he was now flushing as he blamed himself. So he quickly said, “Xiang’Er, I am sorry too for raising my voice…”

Lie Qing was smiling weakly as she thought, “This Goddess of Mercy is now resorting to a soft approach. She is really a quick learner…”

The Goddess Isa was renowned for her pride or else she would not be called the battle maiden for nothing. So she found it hard to swallow her pride on many occasions. But today she was really worried that she may lose Yi Ping. Prophecy or not that she would be one of the Great God’s consorts it did not matter to her as long as her beloved was Yi Ping and no one else. 

So she was really afraid that she would fall out of favor with Yi Ping especially when he already had so many beauties around him that were fighting for his attention. Moreover the Yi Ping now was even more powerful than some of the more powerful immortals so in the future if he were to go to the Nine Heavens Realm, he would surely captivated the hearts of countless heavenly immortal maidens!

A look of helplessness came over her as she lifted her hands close to her bosoms while averting her eyes from Yi Ping as red flushes appeared on her melancholy countenance, “Yi Ping…I am sorry as well. I really do not know what to say to you. Please forgive my rude audacity. I…I…really want to be with you so please give me a chance. As for this Sanctorum Relic, I do not want it either. You can give it to the rest!”

Everyone else was shocked that the Goddess Isa would actually be professing her affections for Yi Ping in front of everyone! 

Yi Ping was the most stunned and his heart was suddenly pounding hard in embarrassment! 

The Goddess Isa had disclosed her heartfelt emotions within her. Her heartfelt expressions, the sincerity in her countenance was extremely moving and it gave her a different allure from Xiang’Er.

So how could Yi Ping not be moved? 

This caused Yi Ping to stammer especially when he had realized that he was actually holding Xiang and Isa in his embrace in the presence of everyone, “Alas! I…It is really my fault! I shouldn’t have raised my voice and have frightened you. I am not a man!”

Isa cuddled against Yi Ping as she whispered shyly, “That day when you have already seen all of me, I have already given my heart to you…”

Yi Ping had suddenly exploded into red hot embarrassment as he lie panicky, “I…have my eyes closed all the time…”

Ye Yin, Shen Xingyue, Yu’Er and Mei’Er were so startled that they gasped out, “What?” 

Ye Yin said exasperatingly, “Now I know why she is so close to you!”

Yi Ping smiled weakly, “Ye Yin, hear me out first. The others are also with me that day…”

Lingfeng had a blank expression on her, “I will like to know of it very much too!”

All of a sudden Aiel said solemnly, “Yi Ping, do you still remember that you owe me a wish?”

It caused Yi Ping to be paused in his tracks as he nodded gently to her, “I remember. As long as it is not against the code of righteousness, I will surely accede to you.”

Han Lin asked, “Mistress, you really want the Sanctorum Relic?”

Alice raised her alluring thin brows in alarm…

The Heaveness Lingfeng asked alarmingly, “Why would you promise her a wish out of the blue?”

Yi Ping smiled weakly, “She is the one that saved Xian’Er and Isa. I am grateful to her for lending us such valuable help.”

He turned to look gently at Aiel, “Aiel if you want the Sanctorum Relic, you can have it as part of the party loot. Is that alright for you?”

Lingfeng smiled wryly, “How generous of you!”

The Universal Old Man was naturally on the side of Aiel, “Ping’Er, you should be a man to hold your oaths and not to think of your personal advancement!” 

Yi Ping nodded, “Surely! It is only a Sanctorum Relic. We can always find more later.”

Isa, Alice, Xiang, Han Lin and Lingfeng were smiling weakly. It was because there were no assurances that they could find more! It was extremely rare!

Aiel stammered as she looked shyly at Yi Ping, “I…you have completely misunderstood my intentions.”

Yi Ping was startled, “I did?”

Aiel heaved a soft sigh as her ears had turned completely red, “I…I…I want you to take me…as your consort…”

Yi Ping was so startled that he had taken a step back!

Han Lin was shocked by her mistress’ boldness that she was staring blankly in disbelief. It was because Aiel always took seemingly forever to decide things so she had never expected her to blurt out her innermost feelings!

Aiel was beaming with tears as she thought, “Will he reject me? Is it too sudden?”

She had finally found the courage to bring up what troubling her throbbing heart after hearing the heartfelt confessions of the Goddess of Mercy and the Goddess Isa!

The Universal Old Man was totally stunned by Aiel’s confession! 

When she noticed that Yi Ping was not replying to her confession, her eyes began to swell up as she averted her eyes as she quickly said dejectedly. “I won’t force you to accept me…I am inferior to…”

All of a sudden Yi Ping patted her on her shoulder as he nodded to her.

She was startled as she looked into his eyes that were full of warmth. She wanted to say that she was inferior to Alice, Isa and Xiang but Yi Ping had suddenly cut her short!

This one pat and one nod said it all. 

If it was Yi Ping in the past, he would surely reject her but today he really did not have the heart or the resolute! 

But because he had some remnants of the White Sage and the Dark Chaos Lord, he was constantly hunted by his past tragic memories that were deeply etched in his mind. Moreover, it was really hard to resist the Goddess Aiel after all they had been through and he felt responsible for outraging her modesty in the past. 

Yi Ping said with a heavy sigh, “Alas! If the Lady Aiel does not mind a boorish and illiterate fellow like me for company, if the Lady Aiel does not mind…”

Aiel had immediately put her finger on his lips as she answered delightfully, “No, I do not mind. I do not mind at all! All I want to be is to be with you and I will really be extremely content!”

The Universal Old Man was extremely stunned as he was not expecting Ai to be so bold. After all he had known her for a long time and knew that she had always kept her innermost feelings buried inside her even though it had been really obvious…

In the past, she had dropped him numerous hints. It was not that he did not know but he sort of enjoyed the feeling of being on his own and being loved by Ai. Also, there were numerous beauties in the Celestial Realm like the Heaveness too…

The Heaveness Lingfeng whispered to him, “You are already half-expecting it so why are you having this funny expression?”

The Universal Old Man smiled bitterly, “You don’t understand…”

The Heaveness Lingfeng whispered without any expression, “You really ask for it. With your reputation in the Celestial Realm, you have no lack of love interest. Therefore I do not pity you, not even a little. You have better go with the Lady Winter Plum. She is really a wonderful lady with a good heart…”

The Universal Old Man smiled bitterly, “I am a highly attained celestial and preferred to focus on the path of cultivation…”

The Heaveness Lingfeng hummed coldly, “Oh really. Then don’t you follow me from on now.”

The Universal Old Man protested immediately, “My Heaveness, we are in the middle of nowhere now!” 

Even though the Universal Old Man and the Heaveness were whispering and was barely audible, they knew that their conversations could not be hidden from the group who were all super exponents. 

Fortunately, they were ignored by the group as the rest was all captivated by the exchanges between Yi Ping and Aiel. 

Everyone was secretly hoping that Yi Ping would not be so dense and would reject Aiel. Even though they did not know Aiel for a long time except for Han Lin but her attentive ministration of her pills to them was a great deal. No one knew how to repay her for this gratitude in this age of honor. Perhaps this would be the next best thing!

Han Lin on the other hand was totally stunned by Aiel’s boldness. It was because she had always been more outspoken and less shy than her. But today, she could actually be so out of character and to muster her courage in declaring her affections?

Aiel had always been more compliant than most. But today she had actually dared to break the sacred law of the Goddess Theocracy in the presence of the Goddess Celestial Alice! 

Yi Ping said gently to Aiel who was teary, “Let’s go. The end of the passage will lead us to the next floor. I promise you but first of all we need to get out of the Stellar Sanctuary then only can we have a future.”

Aiel nodded delightfully to Yi Ping before stealing a glance at Alice who nodded to her. 

What was Alice thinking? She was certainly not revealing any!

Immediately Aiel was surrounded by Isa, Xiang, Mei’Er, Yu’Er, Yixian, Lele, Lie Qing, Youxue, Yunzi, Ye Yin and Shen Xingyue as they started to laugh jovially together!

Han Lin teased Yi Ping, “Yi Ping, don’t you dare to bully Aiel in the future or I won’t spare you!” 

All of a sudden Alice said quietly, “We still haven’t settled the ownership of Sanctorum Relic yet. It is too invaluable to be distributed later. Can I suggest that we give it to Yi Ping?”

Yi Ping protested immediately, “I am alright really…”

But all of a sudden he froze as all the maidens began to look tenderly at him in total silence; it was all too clear that they wanted him to have the Sanctorum Relic!

He muttered with a soft sigh as he walked to the Santorum Relic as he lifted the Celestial Alice, “Alright then.”

Immediately everyone followed Yi Ping excitedly as they were also curious to know what would happen!

There was a bright binding flash of light as the Celestial Alice Divine Sword absorbed the Sanctorum Relic.

As Yi Ping lifted the Celestial Alice to inspect closely, he could feel a wondrous harmony within the Celestial Alice as if it had just been reborn. Because he had already divine harmonized with the Celestial Alice, he could sense the transformation within the Celestial Alice and he was excited!

Lingfeng asked curiously, “Is there any changes? I don’t see any…”

Ye Yin was also baffled, “Same here. My aura sense didn’t notice any different either.”

Alice smiled mysteriously, “There is but it is not obvious. Yi Ping will still have to further divine harmonized with his divine sword to bring the augment power to the surface. But it will definitely be good, even wondrous.”

She looked at Han Lin, “Han Lin.”

Han Lin was startled when the Goddess Celestial Alice had called her, “Yes?”

Alice gave her a quick smile, “Do you know that your Green Dragon Sacred Sword is already imbued with the Santorum Relic. If you are able to divine harmonized further with your Green Dragon Sacred Sword then you will be able to reveal its true strength.”

Han Lin was startled as she looked delightfully at the Green Dragon Sacred Sword as she made a silent resolute to grasp its intricacies , “Really?…”

Aiel called out to her with a tease before she walked quietly shyly behind Yi Ping, “Han Lin, we are entering the portal now. Hurry or we will be leaving you behind!”

Yi Ping took a last look at Aiel before he entered the shimmering portal. It was because he simply could not believe her physical makeover; she had suddenly become extremely enticing and her countenance was unbelievably mesmerizing that it took him quite an effort to pull away his glances at her!

When Yi Ping entered through the shimmering blue portal, he was surprised by a bright light that was in front of him! 

Immediately he could breathe the fresh air and see the rolling clouds!

Lingfeng laughed softly beside him, “What takes you so long? Can’t bear to let go of Aiel even for a while? Isn’t it beautiful? We are finally in the open again.”

Yi Ping immediately looked around; they seemed to be in a light forest and there were tall cliffs around as he murmured, “Where are we?”

The Goddess Isa who was one of the first to enter the shimmering portal immediately pointed to a towering black monument behind them as she gave Yi Ping a warm smile, “I know you can’t read so I am translating for you. We are on the fortieth floor now!”

Immediately Yu’Er and Mei’Er were chucking jovially behind Yi Ping followed by Yunzi, Youxue, Xiang and Isa. 

Yi Ping did not feel upset but he was clearly captivated by their heavenly sights and that made his heart grown glad. He was slightly disappointed that this passage did not take them as far up the Stellar Sanctuary as he had hoped. 

But Lingfeng and the Universal Old Man had suddenly become very solemn!

Lingfeng said quietly as she casts nervous look at her surroundings, “Yi Ping, we ought to be really careful on this level. It gets really dangerous at every tenth levels in the Stellar Sanctuary. Naturally the rewards are also greater but it is often not worth the risk if we want to live through it…”

Just as Yi Ping was listening attentively while also waiting for the rest of the group to step through the shimmering portal, there was a sudden shriek that came from beyond the cliffs!

The shriek was eerily chilling to the spine! 

Yi Ping and the Goddess Isa had turned pale immediately; it was because they had recognized the familiar voice of the Goddess Asura! 

Yi Ping did not pause to think why the Goddess Asura could be ahead of them. His first thoughts were that the Goddess Asura was in trouble and that he had to go to her aid quickly before it was too late!

Therefore he said panicky, “I will go and take a look first! Wait here! There may be formidable opponents ahead of us.”

The Goddess Isa called out after him, “Yi Ping, wait for me!”