Chapter 37: The Deadly Celestial Annihilating Star Formations
It was only a few days later that Yi Ping had managed to find a possible exit. It was a dark cave in the ravine opening.
After exploring the cave for some time, Yi Ping found the cave to be immensely huge. So he had returned to find Ding Yun and Lele.
Yi Ping said solemnly, “I have searched the entire gorge valley and although there are many caves, many are a dead end except for one. I’m going to explore this cave more thoroughly as it is too huge and it may take some time.”
Ding Yun said softly, “I will go with you.”
Yi Ping sighed, “The cave may be extremely treacherous and it is very slippery. It is better that I go alone.”
Lele looked at Yi Ping serenely with an earnest woeful expression, “Yi Ping, even though we have not gone through any marriage rites but…” She looked at Ding Yun who nodded silently, “We should go through woes and joys together. We are now together. If you are to die inside the cave, we will follow you!”
Ding Yun said with equally firm conviction, “That’s right!”
Yi Ping was moved as he looked silently at them. Finally after a while, he said. “Let’s us go now.”
He thought, “Yi Ping, with two such companions that willingly follow you onto death, even death is not to be feared!”
Yi Ping lit a torch as he walked in front when they had entered the dark cave.
When they had entered the cave, Ding Yun began to cling to him closely. It was not out of fear though but she was guided by her natural instinct and being closed to Yi Ping, gave her a feeling of assurance.
The moving light of the torch was not bright in this dark cave. Fortunately, both Yi Ping and Lele had already cleared their eight extraordinary vessels. Even if there were little light, they could see what was in front of them clearly as they avoided the dangerous pitfalls and slippery slopes.
Lele was astonished that Yi Ping could walk so steadily.
She gently asked him, “You can see in the dark?”
Yi Ping nodded awkwardly.
Lele asked again, “You have an owl eyes or have you cleared your eight extraordinary vessels?”
Yi Ping said, “I have accidentally cleared my eight extraordinary vessels.”
When Ding Yun had heard it, she was astonished and began to look at Yi Ping again with a new light.
Lele smiled, “Really? What about your conception and governing vessels?”
Yi Ping smiled weakly, “I have accidentally cleared my conception and governing vessels due to an incident.”
Lele nearly tripped as she almost missed her steps. She was in utter disbelief. It had taken her more than two centuries and with the help of the Jade Emperor to clear her conception and governing vessels!
Her beautiful composure changed as she said, “Do you know what that means? If you have cleared these two vessels which means that you have in control of your life conception and can govern death. These two channels are called the life and death channels. Do you really know how difficult it is to do so?”
Yi Ping smiled even more awkwardly, “Is that so?”
Ding Yun was stunned as she gasped, “You have really cleared your life and death channels?”
For the very first time, she had felt that her martial progress between Yi Ping and hers were so vast.
Lele said, “And you have lost to Yuan Hao, Sister Ding Yun and me?”
Yi Ping asked, “What’s wrong with that? You have lost to Yuan Hao too.”
Lele gave a soft sigh as she said, “That’s different. I am careless and I did not expect to meet an exponent of that caliber.”
She quickly added, “That means that you can see all our strokes clearly?”
Yi Ping nodded slowly, “But after exchanging more than two hundred strokes with Yuan Hao, I could not see his attacks too clearly. Then you have come…”
After exchanging more than two hundred strokes with Yuan Hao, Yi Ping was in a daze and hardly maintained his focus. It was only due to his sheer mental fortitude and endurance that he had persisted.
Lele had arrived just after she had seen Yuan Hao stabbing Yi Ping with his cane and fatally wounding him with a blow. Her first thought was that this young man was going to die anyway and why was she even bothering trying to save him?
But the irony happened. Instead of saving him, it ended up it was him saving her.
Lele could only scolded him gently, “You are so pathetic.” But she was actually secretly pleased and was proud of him.
Ding Yun said gently to Yi Ping, “You have lost only because Yuan Hao has the superior techniques and he is also more experienced. In time to come, you can certainly defeat him.”
Lele said all of a sudden, “Yi Ping, when you are able to defeat Yuan Hao, don’t kill him alright?”
Ding Yun and Yi Ping were both startled at her sudden request.
Yi Ping asked, “Yuan Hao has wounded you and you are always threatening to kill those that have slighted you. I am just surprise why.”
Lele sighed softly, “Yi Ping, it is better for you to restraint from killing. It won’t be good for your progression in the future. As for Yuan Hao, his malevolent air is too heavy and it won’t be possible for him to progress further in his state of divinity. Should he encounter the Divine Calamity, he will surely die.”
Yi Ping nodded, “Lele, you are too kind…”
Lele smiled mysteriously as she blinked at him as she said to herself, “Yuan Hao’s blood is far too precious to be wasted.”
Ding Yun said to Lele, “I notice that sister seem to lack the killing intent when you are fighting and it will be your undoing.”
Lele sighed incoherently and with great sadness, “I have long forgotten how to fight. Maybe that is why I have survived the Divine Calamities. Or rather, the past Divine Calamities have spared me…”
Ding Yun nodded.
Yi Ping could sense that Lele had suddenly become overwhelming sad so he quickly said, “Let’s us be on our way. The torch won’t last long.”
The cave complex was large and had many paths. After several hours, they were all getting worried and they had already used up two torches. It became apparent that they had lost their way and was too deep.
Lele asked, “So, do we continue or backtrack to the entrance?”
Yi Ping was staring blankly at the surrounding, “This cave is impossibly huge…”
Ding Yun was looking keenly at the surroundings. All of a sudden, she gasped and pointed to a passage, “That passage over there seem to have been used before.”
Yi Ping looked at her as he asked, “How do you know?”
Ding Yun said, “Part of the walls is smooth and it looks too unnatural. It is likely to be man-made. Look at the other sections of the passages; do you see that it is rough and uneven?”
It gave Yi Ping hope as he quickly said, “Let’s go!”
They soon reached a large cavern and was immediately stunned that that this cavern was actually a large chamber that was constructed by granite and limestone!
Even though it was in disrepair and it seemed that no one had ever been here for a long time, the grandeur and the size of the chamber was astonishing!
At the far end of the chamber, there were three seemingly white statues of three maidens in beautiful poses.
Ding Yun muttered, “It makes no sense to build a chamber here out of nowhere. Unless, there is a possible exit somewhere near here? But shouldn’t it be inside the gorge where water is more accessible?”
Lele nodded too but her attention was totally drawn by the objects in this chamber. There was a sense of familiarity and a sense of déjà vu. As she raised her slender fingers to touch and felt the walls of this chamber, she was trembling!
Somehow Yi Ping was drawn to the fading white statues as he seemed to be pulled irresistible to it.
When Yi Ping had walked to the statues, he was totally stunned!
It was not because the statues were so life-like or their workmanship was so exquisite that had stunned Yi Ping!
It was because the white statue that was standing regally in the middle with a noble air was the exact replicate of Shui Yixian and even their standing mannerism was the same!
The other two statues were looking down and had swords in their hands. And the two statues look vaguely similar to Lele and Lie Qing…
Yi Ping simply could not believe his eyes.
Yi Ping said, “Lele, come over here quick…”
Lele snapped out of her trance and with Ding Yun, she quickly walked towards Yi Ping as she smiled, “What’s wrong with you? You have never seen life size statues before?”
When she saw her replicate, she was stunned.
Ding Yun was startled too, “Isn’t this Lele and Lie Qing?”
Lele smiled weakly, “My statues are all over the fraternity but none of it really looks like me. Maybe it is just a coincidence. I am so upset. I should stand in the middle, right?”
It was only then did she notice that Yi Ping was not heeding her and he was touching the face of the statue in the middle.
Lele interrupted with a soft glee, “What’s wrong with you. You actually fallen in love with a statue? Even if you like this statue, you can’t move it.”
She raised her pole and seemed to threaten to destroy the statues but till Yi Ping paid her no heed and was still looking intently at the statue.
After some time, they could hear Yi Ping muttering, “Yixian, Yixian. How I miss you so. I have finally found you…”
Lele was startled for she knew that Yixian was Yi Ping’s rightful wife.
Ding Yun had seen Shui Yixian before and she was many times more moving and beautiful in reality than this statue here. The statue could only capture her likeness but could not capture her unparalleled beauty.
Lele was not pleased as she gave Yi Ping a tug.
Yi Ping woke up from his stupor as he quickly said, “Lele, isn’t this statue you?”
Lele smiled, “And what are you touching now? It is just a coincidence. All statues look alike to me.”
Yi Ping said, “No, it really look like you and I have never seen such perfect craftsmanship before. Lele, why are you here?”
Lele brushed her silver hair with her fingers. She seemed to be deep in thoughts before she finally laughed softly, “Oh well, I am a Goddess. Someone must be secretly worshipping me here.”
All of a sudden, Lele had noticed that Yi Ping and Ding Yun were looking at her intently.
Lele fingered her silver hair as she asked, “What is wrong? Why are the two of you looking at me like that?”
It was because Ding Yun and Yi Ping had suddenly noticed that when she was stroking her hair, she had the exact same mannerism as Lie Qing!
She asked again, “What’s wrong?”
Yi Ping was too bewildered as he said, “Nothing…but just wondering what is this place? Who had built it and where are we?”
Lele said softly, “It seems that this place is very ancient and has been abandoned for a long time.”
All of a sudden, Ding Yun exclaimed excitedly. “There are inscriptions engraved below the statues!”
Yi Ping quickly shone the torch at the base of the statues. Indeed there were inscriptions engraved on the floor base. He quickly wiped away the soil and dust with his hands.
The words were very ancient and they could barely read it.
Yi Ping stood up as he said miserably, “I can’t read it. I don’t understand…”
Ding Yun said, “I can read it but I can’t really translate the meaning…”
Lele laughed softly, “You uneducated boor. Let me read it. These characters are still in use from my time.”
But when Lele began to take a look, she was dumbfounded.
She began to recite as she translated, “Heaven Wrath had descended upon the three realms. My transcendent had been interrupted not by the Divine Crisis but by the most terrible of all the calamities, the Dark Malevolent Star Crisis. In that crisis, all three realms were given acquiescence to destroy in order to transcend. It was a crisis that was so woeful that many celestials were slew including my two celestial sisters, Luminous Star and Melody Star.”
Lele said, “It makes no sense at all…”
Yi Ping said, “Could the Divine Crisis refer to the Divine Calamity?”
Lele began to ponder, “In that case, she was trying to overcome the Divine Calamity but had encountered the Dark Malevolent Star Crisis? No, that is not right. She had already overcome the Divine Calamity. She was trying to overcome the Celestial Wrath. It was because the next line was more apparent.”
Yi Ping said, “Did she succeed?”
Lele continued to translate, “Even though I had a thousand years of divinity and had created a formidable star formation, I was not able to overcome the Divine Crisis. The Ascend failed because the deaths of my sisters had a lasting impact on my attainment and my end was near. In my final moments, my heart still reaches out for my sisters and was not regretful that I did not succeed in my investiture. Even if I take another thousand years, I will do so.”
Yi Ping said regretfully, “So she still fails.”
Lele said softly, “I didn’t know there are others with such high attainment ahead of the Jade Emperor and the Sage King. Apparently, they had either all been killed one after another or had all turned into ashes by the Divine Calamity.”
Ding Yun asked, “Why are they forced to kill one another? Don’t they have a choice?”
Lele said weakly, “I didn’t know that is real…I don’t know…”
Yi Ping asked, “Lele?”
Lele said, “The Jade Emperor once told us that there is a deadly calamity that reverse and realign the cosmos. Once that happens, Order can only be restored through an infinitude Chaos when all the Celestials must battle and kill the other Celestials until the cosmos are realigned once again. In the distant past, the Celestials were said to be split into three major fractions as they fight for supremacy. The result of that secret battle is never known. How true that is, even the Jade Emperor does not know.”
She added, “Yi Ping, can you smash through the floors of the inscriptions?”
Yi Ping was startled, “For? It is a pity to ruin the inscriptions even if it is not true…”
Lele said coolly, “Just do as I say please. There is something inside the floor.”
Yi Ping was startled as he asked, “How do you know?”
Lele said, “This is my guts feeling.”
She was looking at him tenderly and she seemed to be pleading with him.
Yi Ping sighed deeply before he mustered all his martial power with his Aspire Invocations and smashed at the inscriptions with his Aspire Horizon Hands!
To his surprise, the floor broke through easily and indeed, it was shallow and had an opening at the bottom!
Ding Yun was startled as she said, “It is really hollow.”
Inside the hollow floor, there was a yellow scroll and a long sword. Lele immediately grabbed it and unravel the scroll.
Yi Ping asked, “What it is?”
Lele held it with trembling hands as she gasped startlingly, “This scroll…this scroll actually lists all the state of celestial divinity from start to end. Even the Jade Emperor does not know all the stages and we have been practicing blindly! Genesis, Enlighten, Emotion, Transverse, Seventh Sense, Crisis and Ascend. So she was actually at the last state of divinity when she turned to ashes…”
She continued to read, “Alas, I am actually at the Emotion state of divinity.” She looked tenderly at Yi Ping and sighed, “No wonder I am so vulnerable to emotions. The scroll says that every state of divinity have a hidden crisis and the practitioner would get particular vulnerable towards the very end. I didn’t know that and did not guard against it…I would die soon?”
Yi Ping immediately turned ashen as he said firmly, “Lele, you won’t die. No matter what, I will protect you.”
Lele was touched. She looked at Yi Ping shyly as she said, “Actually I know that I won’t survive the next Divine Calamity. I won’t lie to you. I am…glad to know you, however briefly.”
Yi Ping was stunned. He quickly said, “No Lele, you won’t. I will help you…”
Lele smiled gently, “You can’t and you will only get yourself killed. You have no idea how terrifying the Divine Calamity is.”
Ding Yun said, “The maiden in the center, she is able to get so far ahead?”
Lele nodded as she browsed through the scroll as she muttered, “There are many intricate heart formulas and methods recorded in this scroll. This scroll is simply too amazing…but it is already too late for me.”
All of a sudden, she saw something towards the end of the scroll that startled her. She did not read it aloud.
The end of the scroll wrote, “Dearest Sister, even with my divine cultivation, there is a limit to my divination and it will add on to my calamity. However, it is my last resort already. As you read this, I am no longer in this world. If destiny is willing and fate allows, we will surely meet again in another time. I hope that I may have reached you in time to avert your Divine Calamity. By now, your state of divinity would be high enough to enter the Celestial Annihilating Star Formations. This is the only way to undo your past mistakes. Your sword is the key to the seal.”
She kept the scroll and picked the long white sword, unsheathing it.
When she unsheathed it, she was mesmerized by its ringing sound and its brilliant light.
Ding Yun immediately said, “It is a good sword!”
Even Yi Ping who was not good in appraising swords was awestruck by the resounding beauty of the sword. He said, “What a good sword. I wonder what the name of this sword is.”
Lele said quietly, “Divine Echo. The name of this sword is Divine Echo. I seem to have wielded this sword before…”
As she held this long sword, it seemed that her fighting spiriting was aroused and a part of her memory was revived.
For no hymn and reason, there were silent tears in her eyes.
Yi Ping said, “Lele?”
Ding Yun said softly, “Sister Le, you are alright?”
But still Lele did not respond. She was completely mesmerized by the long sword!
Yi Ping was worried as he held her and shook her, “Lele, are you alright? Is something amiss?”
It was only then that Lele recovered from her stupor.
Lele asked all of a sudden, “Where am I? How long have I been away?”
Yi Ping and Ding Yun were both startled by her.
Yi Ping said, “You are here all along. You seem to be in a daze for a while.”
Lele sighed softly before she sighed gently, “Is that so?”
Her voice seemed to have changed and it had become more gentle and compassionate.
Ding Yun gasped, “Lele, your hair has turned black!”
Lele stroked her hair as she smiled, “Oh really? That’s wonderful.”
Yi Ping was so astonished. It was because her transformation was so rapid and she was even more stunning than earlier. He could scarcely believe his very eyes that Lele would suddenly be so incredible mesmerizing. It was still the same her but her animus seemed to have changed.
It was a good thing that Yi Ping had the Absolute Spirits or else he would be mesmerizing by her in an instant for at this time, her transformation was at its strongest.
Even Ding Yun was incredulous at her sudden transformation. The other person that had this presence was the Celestial Fairy!
Lele said softly, “Thank you, Yi Ping…”
Yi Ping was startled, “Why are you thanking me?”
Lele said gently, “It is you that brought me to this place. I…I have averted the Divine Calamity and could practice the Celestial Force again.”
Yi Ping was startled, “You have averted the Divine Calamity? How?”
Lele said softly, “Just now. I have gone through several tribulations. It may seem like a minute to you but to me, it seem like a hundred years had just passed. I have not only reversed my state of divinity but have also regained it again. I have not only made a breakthrough in my Emotion state of divinity but has even reached the Transverse initiate state of divinity.”
Indeed while Lele was in a trance, she was guided by her memories and the Divine Echo as she entered one deadly Celestial Annihilating Star Formation after another that was in her mind. In some of the formations, she was trapped for years and could not escape. It took her considerable efforts to overcome one formation after another.
The Celestial Annihilating Star Formations, the only known Celestial Formations that could stop the Divine Calamity from reacting. This Celestial Formation consisted of sixty-four formations and another eight inner formations. It was a formation within a formation!
What seemed like a minute to Yi Ping and Ding Yun, had actually taken Lele one hundred years to be freed from the Celestial Annihilating Star Formations! That was why Lele had asked, “Where am I? How long have I been away?” That was because she had been away for so long that it took her a while to actually remember!
Because of her high state of divinity, she had averted the Divine Calamity and did not trigger it or else they would all be dead in an instant in this place!
Lele muttered to herself as she trembled slightly, “So I am Melody Star? Then where are Luminous Star and Revelation Star now? Do they have still had their memories? Sister Yun Xiao seems to have found a way to bring us together?”
She immediately extended her hand as she began to move her fingers rapidly. She gasped, “Uh, Luminous Star is in danger and Revelation Star has a forthcoming Divinity Calamity…”
Lele said to Yi Ping and Ding Yun as she took bold strides forward, “Follow me quickly!”
Yi Ping asked, “Where to?”
Lele smiled enchanting, “Out of course. I know the way out.”
Yi Ping was startled, “Lele, you know the way out?”
Lele laughed softly, “I think so. This place is created like a celestial formation. How on earth you have managed to find this chamber is pure luck. But luck alone won’t get us out as we are already trapped in this formation. But I know how this formation works and may get us out. So, follow me.”
Ding Yun nodded, “No wonder this place gives me a weird feeling and seems to be like a huge maze.”
Yi Ping smiled bitterly, “The minute I enter this cave, I am already lost.”
Lele rebuked him gently, “You should study more, especially on the eight diagrams. Then you won’t get lost and it would be good for your martial progression.”