Chapter 68: Ascending the Peak
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
“How did this lad train his body? That level of nimbleness, harmony and stretchability is something that even a Spirit Beast can’t match.”
“His movements resemble an ape and python, yet there are many differences. He might have learnt them through observing wild beasts. Seems like this lad is rather talented.”
“I wonder how many tribulations of the Eight Distresses Formation he can pass.”
At that, both Wen Xuan and Xuan Yi froze with a startled expression.
Wen Xuan murmured softly, “The Eight Distresses Formation is set up within the abyss beneath. If this lad truly ascends the peak, wouldn’t it be equivalent to him passing the Eight Distresses Formation?”
On the surface, Ethereal Sect’s third Life and Death Stage was for the cultivators to ascend the peak. However, in reality, they had set an obstacle and it was intended for everyone to fall into the realm of the Eight Distresses Formation within the abyss.
That was the reason why the fat child had almost let slip at the beginning of things.
After all, no one would be able to ascend the peak.
Only those who manage to pass through life and death tribulations within the Eight Distresses Formation would be sent to the top of the peak where they would be able to join the sect.
If they failed the two tribulations, they would be teleported outside and would not be able to join the sect. At the same time, those cultivators would not know what had happened at all, merely feeling fortunate that they did not die.
The Eight Distresses Formation was a type of illusory formation that consisted of eight tribulations – life, age, illness, death, meeting with what they hate, parting with what they love, unattained love and all ills of the five skandhas of Buddhism.
There were two reasons why they had to beat around the bush by requesting the cultivators to climb the peak before knocking them down.
First, the steep peak would first deter the cowards and those who lack resolve.
Immortal cultivation was a heavenly defying act and was a path of extreme difficulty. If even those who had resolves of steel and bravery may not even reach the endpoint, there was no room for cowards at all.
Second, if everyone were mentally prepared that they would be faced with the Eight Distresses Formation, the illusory realm would not be able to bewitch them that easily Ethereal Sect would not be able to achieve their full aim.
In the cultivation world, be it illusory skills or formations, there would definitely be distinct loopholes to it. If the affected party were to be able to maintain their composure and alertness, they would be able to see through it and would not be bewitched by it.
However, by sending the masses up the peak before beating them down, no one would be prepared and as they were faced with death, they would definitely panic before they enter the Eight Distresses Formation of the abyss.
Right then, with everyone assuming that they were dead, they would then accept the illusory realm and go through the death tribulation.
Once they pass the death tribulation and endure through the life tribulation, they would be considered to have passed the third stage of Ethereal Sect’s tests and would be able to join the sect.
Of course, there were eight tribulations to the Eight Distresses Formation and the more tribulations one could pass, the better.
This was not just a simple test; it was a rite of passage for the mind.
After all, everyone would have to endure the pain of the eight distresses in their lifetime and cultivators were no exception to it.
Yet, a problem had appeared.
If Su Zimo managed to ascend the peak, Ethereal Sect’s third stage would have been set for nothing.
Wen Xuan lowered his voice further and said, “Let me attack and strike him down secretly. We can’t go against the rules of the sect by accepting someone that hasn’t gone through the third stage.”
Xuan Yi shook his head and chuckled. “No matter. Right now, I’m honestly curious as to whether he can ascend the peak with just his own strength.”
Pausing for a moment, Xuan Yi’s eyes lit up as he remarked gruffly, “If the lad truly manages to ascend, I’ll set an array formation for him myself to let him have a full taste of the Eight Distresses Formation!”
As the peak master of Array Peak, the Eight Distresses Formation was his masterpiece.
For a peak master to declare that he wanted to lay an array formation personally for an unknown scholar was something that had never occurred through the history of Ethereal Sect.
On the wall.
The man and the crane were still going at it.
Su Zimo was already sweating all over. His eyes remained bright as always, emanating an endless fight in them.
Initially, the little fatty kept his eyes shut and was extremely frightened. However, he was now fully excited, yelling from time to time from Su Zimo’s back to taunt the crane.
Despite trying everything, the crane could not stop Su Zimo in his tracks at all. Coupled with the little fatty’s mocking, it was even more furious and its attacks turned fiercer.
Su Zimo was pent up as well after being chased by the crane for such a long time.
Seeing that he was merely a step away from the top of the peak, Su Zimo took in a deep breath and circulated the Anaconda Eclipse’s mind sutra before bellowing, “Damned bird, take this!”
A sharp slicing sound rang through the place.
Su Zimo had retrieved the Cold Moon Saber on his waist and slashed upwards!
A cold light shot through the air.
Stunned, the crane no longer dared to attack Su Zimo as it flapped and ran away.
It had not expected Su Zimo to make a move.
More than that, it had not expected that Su Zimo would DARE to make a move on it!
Within Ethereal Sect, no one dared to bully it. Notwithstanding the five peak masters, even Ethereal Sect’s master would dote on it!
The job of pushing potential sect applicants into the Eight Distresses Formation was initially done by other cultivators of the sect.
However, the crane volunteered to do it thinking that it was interesting.
Indeed, it was rather fun at the start to see people being chased into the Eight Distresses Formation one by one.
Yet, the crane no longer found it fun after encountering this bow and saber carrying scholar.
A feather glided by slowly.
Even though the crane had managed to dodge the attack, the Cold Moon Saber still sliced away one of its feathers.
That sight caused the two peak masters watching above to freeze momentarily, almost striking out as they gripped their spirit weapons tightly.
“The gall of that lad to dare bully lil crane!”
“He’s definitely going to have a hard time in the future if he gets accepted into the sect.”
Both Wen Xuan and Xuan Yi looked at Su Zimo with a trace of pity.
Right then, Su Zimo did not know what was going on.
After that slash, he was overjoyed as he burst out laughing. “Damned bird, you’re still too weak! Go back and train for a couple more years!”
With a reverse throw, Su Zimo stabbed the Cold Moon Saber into the wall of the peak and in one swift leap, jumped onto the blade with the tip of his toes. He then hopped up while conveniently pulling the Cold Moon Saber out of the wall with his feet.
The entire process was fluid as water without any pauses at all.
In the blink of an eye, he had arrived at the top of the peak!
Looking down at the crane that was still circling around in midair, Su Zimo waved and smiled. “Goodbye!”
The crane was still in its infancy stage. In human years, it was nothing more than eight years old and that was when it was most playful. Even though it wasn’t injured by that slash, it still felt upset about it.
Looking at Su Zimo’s actions, the crane blinked a few times as though it was about to tear up before flying towards Ethereal Peak while crying non-stop.
The cries of the crane reverberated through Ethereal Peak, alarming many people.
“Eh? Didn’t lil crane go to the front peak to bully them? Why does it look as though it was the one that was bullied?” A brown haired youth seated within a palace on Elixir Peak asked curiously.
From a palace on Talisman Peak came a cold looking middle aged lady. Watching the crane fly through the air, she frowned slightly and muttered, “What’s wrong with lil crane? To think that someone of Ethereal Sect would dare bully it?”
A disheveled old man appeared on Weapon Peak as well. Slovenly dressed, he burst out in laughter. “How dare to see lil crane being on the losing end! Interesting, interesting!”