Chapter 38 – The Exquisite Pagoda
The Seven Treasures Exquisite Pagoda was constructed by the masters of the Seven Profound Valleys. The mysterious and unknown materials that made it were from beyond the borders of the Sky Fortune Kingdom, and the light that filtered through it made it glitter like translucent gems in the daylight.
The Exquisite Pagoda had seven floors altogether. Each was engraved with subtle and meticulous formations; these were a magic array.
However this magic array was different than the one on the jade platform. The jade platform’s was only an illusion array that provoked harmless dreams, but this Exquisite Pagoda’s magic array was a killing one.
The killing array was able to utilize illusions to kill. Those who were trapped in the illusion and died, would truly die.
Of course, the Exquisite Pagoda was only used for the entrance exam, so a death inside was not real. Instead, those that were defeated would only be kicked out from the magic array.
Inside the Exquisite Pagoda, one would not be able to use rare weapons or armor. They would only be able to use ordinary weapons. The trial would depend on one’s own ability to pass.
As time passed, the number of candidates on the jade stage began to decrease. Each flash of light that appeared signified that another candidate had failed. Out of the hundred people that had started, sixty or seventy percent had already been eliminated, which even included someone at the Third Stage of Body Transformation.
When he was ejected from dreamland, the Third Stage martial artist slumped his shoulders and looked dejected. This was his third time participating in the Seven Profound Martial House entrance exam, and he had not thought that he would be defeated this time around. He was already eighteen years old; this had been his last and final opportunity.
After less than a half hour had passed, a second person on the jade stage finally opened their eyes. That person exhaled a single long breath, and with a pale face and trembling legs, he stood up. His back was soaked in sweat.
This person was the high fourth-grade talent, Wang Yanfeng.
After he stood up he turned to looked for the tall and burly youth and Lin Ming who had stolen his spotlight during the Strength Trial. However, he only saw the suffering burly youth, and did not see Lin Ming. Wang Yanfeng’s lips turned up to form a proud and happy smile.
However, when the staff led him to the lounge, he saw Lin Ming already inside and meditating in silence. His face darkened. He had thought that Lin Ming had already been eliminated, and hadn’t thought that Lin Ming could possibly have passed the Dream Trial first.
Wang Yanfeng felt a deep crisis in his heart. Without resting, he left the lounge and found his hanger-ons. He whispered to them, “Look up what talent this fellow is.”
Lin Ming noticed Wang Yanfeng’s hostility towards him. But this was normal. Each candidate was in competition with the others, and there was only one first place reward.
Slowly, the number of people in the lounge increased, and the second trial had reached its conclusion.
In the end, out of the candidates that had participated in the second trial, only 92 remained. Nearly 90% had been eliminated!
The candidates who had just barely managed to pass the Dream Trial were not given time to rest, the last trial would begin immediately.
If they passed this final trial, then they would be a disciple of the Seven Profound Martial House. If they failed, then all of their previous efforts would have gone to waste.
“The third trial – The Exquisite Pagoda.”
A loud and forceful voice resounded in the crowd. This time the supervisor for this trial was a tall, thin, middle-aged man. Though he looked ordinary, his body had an imposing manner that made one’s heartbeat speed up. Lin Ming only needed a glance to tell that this person was a master, perhaps even someone who was at the Houtian stage.
Lin Ming could not help but sigh. Before coming to Seven Profound Martial House, he had not seen many martial artists who were at the Sixth Stage of Body Transformation – the Pulse Condensation Period. But now he had seen at least five or six Houtian masters.
However this was also normal. In Sky Fortune Kingdom, Houtian masters would usually not be found at the Imperial Palace or even the Martial Quarters. Instead they would be at the Seven Profound Martial House. Here, most Houtian masters came from beyond Sky Fortune Kingdom, most were disciples of the Seven Profound Valleys.
“Follow me.” The middle-aged man said, and then turned around and walked away.
The 92 remaining candidates followed after him. Some onlookers also followed after. Not everyone could watch the second trial and third trial. These people following were either nobles or were students of the Seven Profound Martial House.
The middle-aged man’s pace seemed slow, but the speed was similar to running. The candidates had to race forwards to keep up.
After a period of time about equal to how long it takes to finish a meal, they arrived in a valley of the Zhou Mountains. In this valley was a large and magnificent building. The building’s entrance plaque had four calligraphic characters written with a large brush. ‘Seven Profound Martial Pavilion’.
As they entered, they saw a building that was 200 feet high. This was the Seven Treasures Exquisite Pagoda.
This was Lin Ming’s first thought as he entered. He had never seen a building that high before. It had seven floors, and each floor was about thirty feet high. It would take several men standing on each others’ shoulders to reach the ceiling of one floor. The grandest temple of Green Mulberry City could only match up to a single floor of this Seven Treasures Exquisite Pagoda.
“Now, you can go in. There is no time limit. As long as you pass through the first floor you have qualified. The second floor is good and the third floor is outstanding. The fourth floor is for geniuses. As for the fifth floor…heh heh…” The middle-aged man slyly smiled and let the anticipating crowd hang onto his word, “It’s simply impossible.”
Hearing the words of this middle-aged man, some of the youths remained unconvinced. Wang Yanfeng saw these youths and sneered. What a group of idiots. As if the Exquisite Pagoda would be so simple.
The Seven Profound Martial House entrance exam had three trials. The first trial tested the foundation, the second trial tested the heart of a martial artist, and the third round was the most important; it was a practical test of combat prowess and degree of genius!
These genius talents, when compared to their contemporaries, had those with differing levels of combat strength.
The Exquisite Pagoda contained a killing array. The enemies inside came at various levels of strength. The magic array used the age of one’s bones to determine which enemies would be faced. The older the bone age, the more difficult the opponent.
Because of this, there had only been one person who had reached the fifth floor. This person was not elder senior brother Ling Sen of the Heavenly Abode, but the girl who seemed to be like gentle water, Qin Xingxuan.
A sixth grade talent, this was not a joke. Many people did not know Qin Xingxuan’s cultivation, but Wang Yanfeng knew. She was at the peak of the Fourth Stage of Body Cultivation.
She was similar to Ling Sen in cultivation, but she was younger than him by five years!
Although Wang Yanfeng was an arrogant man, he was not arrogant enough to think that he could match Qin Xingxuan. He would be satisfied with the fourth floor.
Looking at this Seven Treasures Exquisite Pagoda, Wang Yanfeng’s heart surged with an overwhelmingly strong fighting spirit. For him, the first and second trials of the exam had been empty and he was unable to show his true strength, so those powerful feelings could go nowhere, but this third trial was a measure of true battle.
Strength, skill, agility, and combat skills were all involved inside. Wang Yanfeng was confident in himself. He would amaze the world with a single brilliant feat and become an overnight sensation in this third trial!
“Go in! The difficulty of the trial will be decided by your age.” As soon as the middle-aged man waved his hand, the gate of the Seven Treasures Exquisite Pagoda swung open.
Beyond the arched entrance, there was a brilliant light shining from inside. Lin Ming took a deep breath and slowly stepped in.
At this time, Qin Xingxuan had arrived and was watching the scene. She saw Lin Ming’s fading back in the distance and kept her gaze on him as he vanished past the seven colored gate.
“Haha, Xingxuan, you are very concerned about Lin Ming.”
Rather abruptly asked this question by her teacher, Qin Xingxuan lowered her head as she bashfully blushed. She said, “Xingxuan cannot hold a candle to the inscription technique and achievements of Lin Ming. But if we compare our fighting ability, then Xingxuan is a little confident.”
“Mn, concerning fighting strength, Lin Ming is truly inferior to you Xingxuan. What floor do you think Lin Ming will reach?”
“This is…well, according to common sense, a fifteen year old at the Second Stage of Body Transformation would already have a very difficult time. But Lin Ming’s strength is much stronger than average…I think he has a possibility to reach the third floor.” Qin Xingxuan thought that this was already a very high appraisal of him. If Lin Ming wanted to reach the third layer he would at least need to cultivate to the Third Stage of Body Transformation.
“You’re right, but…. I think that Lin Ming might be able to give us a pleasant surprise.”
As Muyi and Qin Xingxuan were talking, in an obscure corner of the valley, Lan Yunyue was also distantly looking at Lin Ming’s fading back, and her eyes were full of complex emotions.
As a disciple of the Seven Profound Martial House, Lan Yunyue had the authority to enter the valley and observe the entrance exam. This was the last trial of the exam. As long as one passed, they would become an official disciple of the Seven Profound Martial House.
With Lin Ming’s current condition, he would probably pass the first floor of the Exquisite Pagoda.
She had not thought that only after half a year, Lin Ming would have such an astonishing growth…
If she had to practice martial arts with Lin Ming in the Martial House, Lan Yunyue didn’t know how to feel about this in her heart.
At this moment, Lin Ming could not read the thoughts of others who were thinking about him. He had already arrived at the center of the killing array.
As soon as he entered the Exquisite Pagoda, the other candidates disappeared from his vision, and only he was left.
He appeared in a dark world faded in black. The night sky was carpeted with stars and the ground underneath his foot was hard, black rock. In front of him not too far away, a shadow gray miasma gradually congealed into reality. It became a warrior holding a longstaff.
“This is the enemy?” Lin Ming judged that this shadow warrior’s cultivation was around the early Second Stage of Body Transformation.
The middle-aged man had said a moment ago that the strength of the enemy was determined by one’s own age. Lin Ming was fifteen years and eight months old. The enemy’s cultivation was the early Second Stage, those older candidates would naturally face enemies whose strength was higher.
For a fifteen year old youth, it seemed he had to defeat someone at the Second Stage of Body Transformation in order to pass.
Lin Ming no longer wasted his time. His supple body shot forward like a ferocious and vigorous leopard. The ‘True Primal Chaos Formula’ revolved in him and true essence pooled in his muscles. The first strike would be a killing one!