A Martial Odyssey Book 3: The Stellar Sanctuary – Chapter 36

The Divine Nine Cauldron and the Divine Icefire Skill

The gate beyond the towering statues was extremely cold and there were white mist everywhere. The visibility was poor and they could only make out the rough outlines of the cliffs around them.

Yi Ping said quietly as he scanned his surroundings keenly, “This place is really cold…”

He began to wonder, “Is this gate a Boss Stage or a Tribulation Stage?” 

Either way, he was caution. It was because being caution was better than being careless! 

Alice looked at everyone as she warned, “If I am not wrong, we are now entering the trials of the enduring cold. It will only get colder and colder as we go deeper.”

Youxue, Yu’Er and Mei’Er were looking at each other. Because they were protected by the Icy Heavenly Tears, they were not really affected by the bitter cold. 

Han Lin looked at the thinly dressed Aiel, “Mistress, don’t you feel cold?”

Aiel yawned softly, “What do you think? I am an immortal so do you think I am afraid of cold? What about you?”

Han Lin smiled, “I am a Dragon Practitioner and isn’t afraid of the elements.” 

Ye Yin was wearing the Heavenly Empress Robe which rendered her immune to the cold elements of her surroundings. She thought, “This divine robe of the Goddess Celestial Alice is indeed wondrous. I don’t feel cold at all.”

Shen Xingyue was looking at her with envy, “Poor me!”

All of a sudden Yi Ping held her tightly as he asked after her, “Xingyue, you are cold?”

Shen Xingyue was startled!

It was because she had not expected Yi Ping to hear her and react so swiftly. The truth was, even though the vicinity was extremely cold but it had not reached the point of affecting her yet. But she was touched by Yi Ping’s gesture. 

She nodded shyly, “Yes, I feel a little cold…”

Yi Ping immediately tightly his grip on her as he warmed her through his internal strength!

Shen Xingyue panicky said, “Ping’Er, I am good! You need to conserve your internal strength. I am…really not that cold.”

Yi Ping sighed softly, “Xingyue…”

Ye Yin laughed softly, “Next time we must be careful of what we have wished for!”

All the other maidens began to laugh softly, much to the embarrassment of Xingyue which caused her to mutter, “Alright, it is my mistake.”

She hummed away shyly as she broke freed of Yi Ping as she hastened her steps, “What are we so slow? Let’s hurry!”

Xingyue like all the other maidens had a common goal. They would rather Yi Ping to be well enough than allowed him to do anything for them. It was because all the maidens had already come to a consensus between themselves; he had already done so much for them that they did not want to abuse his good heart!

That was why Xingyue was flustered while she had walked away shyly!

All the maidens would rather they would do something for him. Now this common consensus was not something that came easily. At least it was not something that would happen to the others!

Yi Ping called out after her, “Xingyue, don’t go too fast…”

Xingyue turned around as she gave him an angelic smile, “I am just exercising my legs!”

Alice suddenly said as she pointed to the lofty slopes below, “Be careful. The path here is narrow and treacherous.”

Yi Ping nodded as he took a look at the bottomless misty ravine below. Instead this pathway was only big enough for two or three to walk at the same time. Moreover the pathway was slippery and there were strong icy winds that were blowing against them at the same time!

That was why he was worried when Shen Xingyue had suddenly walked up ahead of them!

Lingfeng sighed softly, “How are we going to fight in this place if a divine monster would to manifest in this place?”

The Universal Old Man smiled bitterly, “Maybe the monster will slip down the slope and fall into the bottomless ravine below…”

The Lord Supreme added wryly, “If the area monsters are flying monsters then we are really in trouble.”

Yi Ping smiled, “Hopefully not.”

The Immortal Saints of Sword sighed, “You never know.”

All of a sudden Ye Yin warned aloud, “Everyone, I have sensed something ahead. I think is a fire.”

Yi Ping, Alice, Isa and Asura were startled, “Fire?”

Alice was perplexed. It was because her paranormal sense would sense an intruder even from a mile away and yet, she had sensed nothing out of the norm!

She patted the golden Kirin cub as she smiled, “You can sense a fire?”

Ye Yin closed her eyes as she pointed ahead, “It is still quite a distance away but I am sure it is a fire but it seems that this fire is burning in an open space.”

Yi Ping was dumbfounded, “A fire that can burn in such a cold and icy environment?”

Xiang appraised Ye Yin anew. That was because like Alice, she was startled that Ye Yin the Ascension Goddess could actually sense a fire amidst the strong icy howling winds!

Yi Ping said, “I trust Ye Yin’s sixth sense. She has such an astonishing uncanny sense that sometimes I can’t help being in awe of her.”

Ye Yin was delighted as she smiled at Yi Ping sweetly, “Stop heaping praises over me!”

Shen Xingyue suddenly called out, “Look, there are two forks here. Do we go to the left or the right path?”

Yi Ping turned to ask Ye Yin, “Where is the fire?”

Ye Yin pointed to the path to the right, “There!”

Yi Ping looked at the path to the right with a curious expression before he took a step to the left but Youxue was tugging him lightly as she winked at him, “Are you afraid? Let’s check the path to the right. I am curious about the path to the right!”

Lie Qing laughed softly, “Same here!”

Lingfeng said unhappily, “You are all daredevils!”

Han Lin chuckled softly, “To the right path then!”

Half of the group was actually the daredevil types with courage to match their curiosity! 

Youxue looked at Yi Ping with pleading eyes, “Ping’Er, what do you think?”

Yi Ping looked at her with a smile, “I actually can’t decide on which paths to take. If there may be a fire to ward off the cold then let take the right path then!”

He had of course used a random reason. It was because he knew that the half of the group was actually curious to take a look.

Lingfeng muttered, “Any fire would actually be extinguished by then. Why don’t you think of a more convincing better reason? You are so lazy to use your brains.”

Yi Ping laughed softly as he took broad strides toward the right path before turning back, “You know I am waiting for you to help me out…”

Lingfeng chuckled softly as she went up to him as she kicked him from behind lightly, “Fat hope!”

Isa said to Alice, “What do you think?”

Alice said quietly, “We are already at the end of this Floor Fortieth-Eight. Danger lurks everywhere. For a lower floor, this atmosphere is indeed unusual.” 

Isa asked solemnly, “You think that this is the death gate?”

Alice shrugged her shoulders, “I do not know!”

Sometime later after walking cautiously around the steep edges of the icy mountains, the howling winds were getting more and more furious.

Yi Ping stood by the edge as he kept a careful watch on the rest of the group. As Han Lin walked past him, he muttered. “Han Lin, be careful. The icy winds are raging furiously now.”

Han Lin flustered shyly as she recalled the time when she had tripped and fallen off a treacherous path. 
It was precisely Yi Ping had remembered that situation that he had muttered a cautionary note to her out of concern.

Aiel tugged Han Lin quietly as she gave her a sly look, “Han Lin, I think you are going to fall off again…”

Han Lin said exasperatingly, “Shut up, mistress!”

All of a sudden Shen Xingyue pointed to a pillar that was protruding up from now the mists; there was a fire on top of this pillar, “A fire in this place? Let’s take a closer look!”

Yi Ping looked at Ye Yin, “There is really a fire here!”

Ye Yin smiled gently as she gave him a wink, “You mean you don’t believe me?”

Yi Ping stammered, “Not that…”

Ye Yin threw him a light punch as she said aloud, “I am just teasing you. Let’s take a closer look!”

The Lord Supreme and the Immortal Saint of Swords looked at each other…

The Immortal Saint of Swords said, “That is no ordinary fire for sure…”

The Lord Supreme nodded as he sunk his fingers along the sides of the small pathway as he looked at his daughters, “Yu’Er, Mei’Er, be careful!”

Yu’Er replied, “We will…”

Mei’Er was exercising her Divine Emerald Force to keep the furious icy howling winds at bay while saying, “It seems that that fire is away from the pathway. How are we going to reach it?”

She was right!

A little while later, everyone was leaning against the edge of the cold mountains while the furious icy winds lashed against them!

They had all paused in their tracks; it was because they had all caught sight of a burning fire on top of a pillar that was protruding from of the mist!

The fire was burning from a square bronze cauldron with four legs and various words could be seen from its sides!

Yi Ping muttered, “This cauldron…”

The Immortal Saint of Swords said, “The words are too far to be seen clearly but I am sure that they are martial intricate formulas!”

The Lord Supreme agreed, “But getting to that pillar may be a problem!”

The Immortal Saint of Swords immediately snapped his finger as he sent a beaming sword energies toward the fire but his sword energies was immediately dissipated when it had reached midway!

He said quietly, “No good, it is too bitter cold in the middle. I am afraid that it may be quite impossible to reach that pillar.”

The distance between them and the pillar was just 10m but because of the cold and the strong icy winds that were sweeping the entire vicinity, it seemed quite impossible to reach the cauldron that was alone on a pillar! 

Yi Ping took a step forward toward the edge of the chasm as he looked at the misty bottomless abyss as he muttered, “Even if we can leap to that pillar but given the space there, it seem impossible to leap back…”

Yunzi nodded as she tugged Youxue lightly. It was because she could tell that Youxue was particular interested in the cauldron and was unwilling to give up. 

She whispered, “Sometimes curiosity kills the cat and it is better to know when to give up.”

Yi Ping said, “That is right!”

The Lord Supreme said with a soft sigh, “There are many that have entered the Stellar Sanctuary and chanced upon many of the intriguing martial treasures. But these martial treasures are often dangerous to obtain and because they did not know when to give it up, they subsequently lose their lives. They have cultivated in vain!”

The Immortal Saint of Swords was also sighing because he had witnessed numerous infightings and plenty of celestial practitioners that lost their lives in the Stellar Sanctuary over the centuries! 

But Youxue lifted the long edge of her dress with her fingers as she looked defiantly at everyone, “Others may not be able to succeed but I am also to!”

She willed her mental state to the highest level with the Absolute Spirits, exercised the intricate energies of her Icy Heavenly Tears and the Divine Emerald Force at the same time as she smiled, “Yunzi!”

Yi Ping panicky shouted to her, “Youxue no!”

But there was nothing he could do because Youxue was at the back while he was at the front of the column. 

Yunzi sighed softly as she unsheathed the White Phoenix into a flying sword and it flew with a startling speed as it pierced through the pillar!

She had instinctively known what was on Youxue’s mind! 

Youxue laughed softly, “Thank you!”

Yunzi’s White Phoenix Divine Sword was 1m long and the hilt was 20cm long. It had pierced a good 20cm into the hilt and it had shortened the distance between the pillar and where Youxue was standing to 9m!

Youxue smiled; with her lightness swiftness skill, she was confident that she could leap upon and carry her own weight on top of Yunzi’s sword!

She muttered softly, “Now that I am an immortal practitioner now, I wonder what is the martial strength of my Divine Emerald Force now?”

She immediately raised her fingers as she exercised the Divine Emerald Force to the seventh level!

Yu’Er was startled, “Sister Youxue had mastered the Divine Emerald Force to the seventh level?!”

Youxue took another deep breath as another burst of martial force erupted around her as the martial strength of Divine Emerald Force increased once again!

Mei’Er gasped, “The eighth level of the Divine Emerald Force! The Recurring Force!”

But before Yu’Er and Mei’Er could recover from their surprise, Youxue had raised the level of her Divine Emerald Force once again to the ninth level!

Yu’Er gasped in astonishment, “That means that her Icy Heavenly Tears is also on the ninth level too!”

Even Yi Ping was startled at Youxue’s current martial progression but he quickly looked at Shen Xingyue who nodded gently at him.

Shen Xingyue was confident of leaping across to the pillar naturally but she was not confident of taking the gambit against the supernatural wall of extreme coldness that could be felt like an impassable wall all around them!

But if Youxue was in trouble, she could immediately jump to her aid!

Alice said with her divine voice, “I will help to keep a lookout on her. Youxue, don’t be afraid.”

At the same time, Yunzi had unsheathed her waist sword as she displayed the Ley Negative Sword Energies, sending it in a collision course against the icy howling winds!

“Youxue, now!” Yunzi called out to her!

Yu’Er called out as she displayed the Divine Emerald Force, “Sister Youxue, be careful!”

The rest was also calling out to her, “Be careful, be very careful!”

Youxue nodded as she displayed the Golden Impervious Body to better resist the supernatural chill as she leapt across with a startling burst of martial force that was generated by the Divine Emerald Force!

No sooner had she jumped across the chasm, she was greeted by a powerful blast of condensed ice and it seemed that her weight had increased more than ten times!

She was panicky!

It was because she had now realized the dire situation that she was in!

She was startled as she exerted all her martial power to display the Divine Emerald Force to its fullness. 

All of a sudden Shen Xingyue had forced her forward with the extraordinary power of her Big Dipper Hands and Lele had raised her Divine Echo to reduce the drag of the icy howling winds that were on her! 

Even the Goddess of Mercy Gusu Xiang had raised her Heavens Sundering Mirror and the Immortal Saint of Swords was displaying his Ley Negative Sword Energies in all directions to aid her!

Yi Ping had also raised his divine swords; there were two golden haloes as Yi Ping divine harmonized himself to the sanctorum manifesting level as one with his divine swords as he displayed the Asper Continuum! 

And the rest of the group was also giving aid by sending their martial force to collide with the invisible wall of extreme coldness and the furious howling winds! 

Because of all the help that she was given, she had managed to land on the tip of Yunzi’s divine sword and in the next blink of an eye, she had landed on top of the pillar! 

She was grateful as well as guilty at the same time!

The middle of the trek was eerily cold. Had it not for the anti-force of her Divine Emerald Force and the Icy Heavenly Tears which rendered her almost impervious to the supernatural cold, she would have stumbled immediately!

Yi Ping sighed with a soft relief! 

Alice and Asura were looking at each other wordlessly in the meantime. 

Asura divine whispered Alice secretly, “You are really not interested in the martial inscriptions that are on that cauldron? I think that must be the epitome martial intricate of the Divine Icefire Skill!”

Alice shook gently as she whispered back, “I think so too. Unfortunately, it runs counters to Mystic Stratosphere Divine Skill. I am just one tiny step to the pinnacle of my divine skill. I mustn’t have any further distractions…”

Asura smiled as she looked quietly at Alice. It was because she knew that with the skill levels of Alice, she could inspect that cauldron anytime she pleased. 

But because they were immortals, they were reluctant to help the rest directly for it would only hinder their future progressions. Since Youxue decided to take this risk then it would count toward part of her total tribulations. If she succeeded then it would only benefit her!

In the meantime Youxue had landed on the pillar and was looking at the cauldron. Even though the weird fire was burning fiercely but the surrounding was still so cold that she was actually shivering!

She was startled, “Even with my ninth level progression of the Icy Heavenly Tears, it is still not enough…”

As she took a quick look at the inscriptions on the bronze cauldron, she had also hastily committed it into memory as she gasped, “The Divine Icefire Skill! The divine fire within and without, the source of the refine essence of martial internal strength…”

She knew instantly that this was a most wondrous divine martial skill without peer but could she be able to master it?”

She was beginning to worry anxiously because she had already combined several epitome skills into one and she had almost lost her life several times because of that!

She was not only evolved her Divine Virtuous Force to the Invincible Divine Force now, she was also versed in several epitome divine skills such as the Dominating Force, the Icy Heavenly Tears, the Divine Emerald Skill and even a little of the Martial Emperor Unifying Force!

Getting the Invincible Divine Force and the Dominating Force to amalgamate to work together was a lot of difficult than she had thought and until now, she had failed to combine both martial forces together. 

While her martial level was a lot higher, she had ranked herself a little lower than the Heavenly Temptress Lie Qing and the Heaveness Lingfeng. It was because Lie Qing, like Yixian was wholly focused on perfecting their original martial divine skills to the highest level. Moreover she had a divine sword to aid her too. 

As for Lingfeng, she had a talent to use two divine skills at the same time. Also, she had an invisible divine short sword that she had rarely allowed it to be seen. 

Youxue sighed softly as she recited the Divine Icefire Skill in her heart. But all of a sudden as she delved into the intricate formulas of this skill, she was startled that she may have a chance to actually master this divine skill!

It was because practitioners of the Divine Icefire Skill had to start with an icy intricate formula, a fiery intricate formula and a neuter intricate formula at the same time to begin it. And all three intricate formulas must be an extreme cold, an extreme positive and a neutral absorbing martial force skill in order to practice the Divine Icefire Skill!

This one condition was already an extreme impossible task to fulfill!

Youxue muttered, “The Icy Heavenly Tears, the Dominating Force and the Invincible Divine Force fulfill this condition…but can I successful amalgamate them as one, as the Divine Icefire Skill?”

As she stared at the intricate words of the Divine Icefire Skill and the burning fire that was in front of her, she had forgotten about the bitter cold.

All of a sudden as she continued to recite the Divine Icefire Skill, the burning fire that was on top of bronze cauldron exploded and consumed her!

Yi Ping was stunned as he shouted for Youxue!

But he had no sooner shouted to her, the divine fire had disappeared and Youxue had emerged from the burning fire unharmed! 

And on her forehead was a fire mark!

Everyone was stunned.

Lingfeng gasped, “She has awakened her Heaven Eyes!”

Youxue was startled when the divine fire had suddenly burst into a raging fire as it consumed her but instead of burning pain, she had felt a soothing experience as the divine fire was absorbed as part of her new internal strength; the Divine Icefire Internal Energies! 

She had actually amalgamated all the divine skills into a new divine skill! 

Alice said quietly, “That is her destiny and there probably won’t be another like her. This Divine Icefire Skill requires the practitioner to practice three different types of conflicting divine forces before they can begin it. Most practitioners will have already met a mishap by the time they learn the second divine skill.”

Asura nodded as she trembled, “She has even gained the Divine Fire and the Divine Nine Cauldron. That is really the most precious of all treasures!”

Yi Ping was startled as he looked at where Youxue was. The bronze cauldron and the divine fire had both disappeared! 

He asked, “What is it?”

Asura replied as she looked at Youxue admiringly, “This Divine Nine Cauldron is a divine manifestation of the Heavens. It is only heard of but has never been truly seen. It is said to be able to aid the practitioner to refine their divine practice as well as to cultivate their martial strength. It seems that Youxue has now become the new mistress of this immortal artefact. This is even better than most divine swords!”

The Universal Old Man said with a laugh, “If I know that that is an immortal artefact, I would have gone after it in the first place too!”

Isa said coldly, “Immortal artefacts are sentient and can manifest anywhere with the correct conditions. You don’t go to it thinking that it is an immortal artefact as it is the one that is choosing you. Even Alice and I didn’t know that that bronze cauldron is actually a manifest of the Divine Nine Cauldron! So if you try to lay your hands on it, it will probably just be an ordinary bronze cauldron!”

The Universal Old Man was startled as he patted his belly in disappointment, “I see…”

Meanwhile Youxue was trembling lightly as she tried to muster her Divine Emerald Force. It was because the Divine Emerald Force only works with the Icy Heavenly Tears and after amalgamating her Icy Heavenly Tears with the Divine Icefire Skill, her internal energies was no longer the Icy Heavenly Tears Energies but the Divine Icefire Energies!

She was delighted when she had displayed the Divine Emerald Force unhindered! 

Next she began to display the intricate formula of the Invincible Divine Force and was startled when a burning force began to envelop around her! 

But this burning force was soothing to her and she was also not affected by the extreme cold now!

She looked out and saw that Yi Ping and the rest were smiling to her and waiting for her to return to their side.

She pulled out Yunzi’s divine sword as she mustered her entire martial power. There was a bursting burning force in her and she could feel that her martial level had up another notch!

This time, the leap was much easier than the first time!

As she tiptoed back to the narrow path, she said to everyone with a smile. “Thank you everyone…”

All of a sudden, a terrifying howl could be heard and this howl was so earthshaking that the entire mountains were now shaking!

Alice had turned ashen as she muttered, “In front of us…”

Yi Ping asked, “What is that sound?”

Isa was trembling as she looked blankly at Yi Ping, “That is a Divine Dragon…one of the four guardian beasts!”