Monthly Archives: October 2017

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Chapter 8

Jiang Le stared at the Celestial Mirror Pool and began to count the stars. The stars were not always in the same position but were constantly moving, making it difficult for him to remember.

He thought, “If I try to remember all 1080 stars, it will be difficult to remember their exact positions. But if I try to remember one star and its position, it is not difficult because it may be moving but it always returns to the same position after a while. After I remember one star position then I will move on to the next.”

He took a glance at the four maidens but they were had their eyes closed and he could not even hear their breathing sounds. Their mastery of the breathing techniques was astonishing on the master level!

He returned to the Celestial Mirror Pool and began to follow his plan. But after a while, he was sighing miserable. “By the time I am watching the hundredth star; I have already forgotten the pattern of the previous stars except those at the start. This is really a test of my mental endurance and focus. The more I rush myself to remember, the faster I will forget. To remember these stars, just memory alone is not enough. I ought to relax my mind first and retry again.”

Others would try until they were exhausted mentally. But Jiang Le was different. He always had his own bright way of approaching problems from another angle and he was not one to give up easily. He had always been patience because he knew that a wandering pugilist like him that had no influential background would find it hard to survive in the intrigues of the martial fraternity.

So he started by counting the stars as he thought, “Is that really 1080 stars? It will be hard to count since the stars are not stationery but let see how it goes from here.”

By the time he had counted the three hundredth stars, he was thinking. “Why is that the more I have counted, I have found these stars patterns to be so vaguely familiar?”

When he had finished counting all 1080 stars, he was smiling because he did not even miss a single star even though his eyes were burdened with fatigue from seeing too many stars!

He was also nervous at the same time as he stared at the Celestial Mirror Pool, thinking. “If these stars are the constellations of the heavens then there must a pattern. Why is that I feel that these stars so closely resemble the intricate formula of the swordplay…”

All of a sudden he jumped up as he stood and stared at the Celestial Mirror Pool as the images of all the patterns of the stars flashed into his mind!

He muttered almost incoherent, “I can remember!”

He turned around and said, “Can I go to the Celestial Revealing Pool now?”

The Verdant Scarlet Fairy was the first to open her eyes and speak, “It is barely even half a day and you are giving up so soon?”

Jiang Le smiled weakly as he took a quick glance at Yue Ling. Even though she appeared to be composed but from her solemn expression eyes, she seemed to be expressing her disappointment at him.

Yue Ling nodded lightly and said softly, “Do you need more time? You have only this one chance.”

Jiang Le smiled even more weakly as he firmly said, “No need my protégé teacher. I am done.”

Even Xia Ji and Xue Ji were looking at him with a disappointing look but he was firm so he walked to the Celestial Revealing Pool on his own.

Yue Ling said with a soft sigh as she walked next to him, “Since you have decided then so be it. I hope that you know what you are doing. This concerns your divine fate and this testing is the basis of your confidence level in your future trials.”

Jiang Le nodded weakly as the Verdant Scarlet Fairy, Qingshuang, Xue Ji and Xia Ji had also gathered near him.

Yue Ling said gently, “Now put your hands into the pool and the reflections of your memories will surface.”

Jiang Le looked at the dark pool and thought, “Isn’t it too surreal to be true? Can this pool really reveal the number of stars that I have remembered? Never mind that first, let’s try.”

As he was about to put forth his hands, he was thinking with fond memories. “I have remembered seeing my protégé teacher lying naked in the pool. What a good sight…”

As his hands were in the pool, the black reflection of the black pool disappeared and a reflection of his naked protégé teacher was lying on a pool of water. And in the scene, he was caressing her bosom…

Jiang Le was so startled that he quickly pulled his hands out of the pool and he was flushing so red that he was speechless!

Yue Ling’s ears were completed red as she said coldly, “So is that what you are thinking when you are supposed to be meditating on your divine test?”

The Verdant Scarlet Fairy, Xue Ji and Xia Ji were all averting their eyes and their ears were all red as well.

Xue Ji was muttering incoherently, “I didn’t see anything…”

The Verdant Scarlet Fairy had lost her usual cool composure and was saying weakly, “He, he…he is really a lecher!…”

As for Xia Ji, her flushes were redder than the others and she was speechless!

Jiang Le was stammering, “No, let me…explain…I was checking for heartbeat…that isn’t what you are all thinking…”

He panicky thought, “It is over. Jiang Le, Jiang Le! What are you thinking? Curse you! You can’t explain yourself anymore…”

Yue Ling seemed to have tears in her eyes as she said coldly, “I am so disappointed in you!…”

At the same time Jiang Le had put his hand into the black pool again. He did not know how to explain himself out of this awkward situation!

Instantly the reflection of the black pool turned into the starry heavens and mirrored exactly the same as the Celestial Mirror Pool.

Yue Ling, the Verdant Scarlet Fairy Qingshuang, Xue Ji and Xia Ji were all stunned for it mirrored exactly all the 1080 stars and even their swirling positions without missing a single movement!

They were all looking at Jiang Le with unbelievable eyes.

Xia Ji who had flushed the most was the first to ask, “How did you do it? This is impossible! No one is able to do it except a Celestial!”

Even Yue Ling was looking at Jiang Le in astonishment, “You can really remember the positions of the stars? How did you do it?”

How did Jiang Le accomplish this was the question that was in everyone’s mind!

Jiang Le was glad that he now got everyone distracted from what was happening earlier. He quickly said, “I have seen the positions of these celestial stars before. I can only remember a third of it in the past but now everything starts to come back to me.”

Yue Ling asked with a startled surprise, “Where have you seen it?”

Jiang Le was trying to contain his excitement, “In the secret chamber where I told you about…when I was just a kid…”

Even the Verdant Scarlet Fairy Qingshuang could not contain her excitement, “What secret chamber?”

Xue Ji shook her head as she kept muttering, “It is impossible. Impossible, impossible, even for a celestial practitioner to remember all the positions of the stars…”

Xia Ji was staring blankly at Jiang Le, not knowing what to say and she was blinking her eyes nonstop.

Jiang Le laughed softly, “What is wrong with everyone? Why are you all looking at me like this?”

Yue Ling looked at Jiang Le intently, “If you have known what you have done, you will be stunned as well. Do you know that hundreds of thousands of celestial initiates and practitioners alike have spent all their lives trying to unravel the mysteries of the celestial stars and yet it elude them. Every hundredth star contains a hidden star formation that will shift its position from the last point while the last eighty stars each contain an intricate star celestial formation each and it can contain 6400 changes.”

Jiang Le smiled weakly, “Lucky you did not tell me earlier or I would really be freaked out.”

The Verdant Scarlet Fairy Qingshuang was trembling, “He is really a genius. No, not even a genius can visualize the entire map of the celestial stars. He is not mortal…”

Yue Ling said quietly, “You are the first person to ever remember the entire celestial star map. Your future may be boundless. How did you do that?”

Jiang Le heaved a soft sigh, “I don’t know. I just remember. When I was just a kid, I was drawn to a levitating sword in a secret chamber. There are many stars within the sword and I was mesmerized by it. However I have long forgotten about it until I see the same celestial stars pattern again.”

Yue Ling asked, “Where is that sword now?”

Jiang Le shook his head, “I don’t know. I told you I was orphan after that tragedy.”

Yue Ling said solemnly, “That heavenly relic may not be an ordinary divine sword. It may even be a celestial sword or an immortal sword. We must find it.”

Jiang Le asked, “Find it?”

Yue Ling nodded and said quietly, “No matter what the cost is, we have to find it before the other celestial practitioners. If it is already in their hands then we must seize it.”

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Chapter 7

Jiang Le followed his protégé teacher to another winding passage before entering a spacious hall. It had an aura of grandeur and he was awestruck by the beautiful walls, the pools and the yellow curtains that were there.

The Verdant Scarlet Fairy Qingshuang, Xue Ji and Xia Ji were already waiting in the hall when they had approached.

He was a little afraid of the Verdant Scarlet Fairy as she had slapped him real hard the first time but as soon as he caught sight of their enchanting figures, he was thinking as he looked at their perked bosoms. “Let bygones be bygones. We are one protégé clan and we have to get along for many years to come.”

The Verdant Scarlet Fairy said aloud, “I have thought that we should give an appropriate welcome to our new protégé but it seems that he has plenty of disturbing thoughts.”

Xia Ji smiled sweetly, “Dirty thoughts I suppose,”

Xue Ji laughed softly, “Oh really?”

Jiang Le smiled as he quickly bowed with his hands, “My respects to Protégé Aunt and Sisters!” But he was actually thinking, “Terrible, is this the start of my misery? They may be beautiful but they all have thorns, sharp thorns!”

The Verdant Scarlet Fairy Qingshuang asked with a amuse smile, “Are you ready for the testing?”

Jiang Le nodded slowly as he took in a deep breath and proclaimed loudly, “I am ready!”

Yue Ling walked to a crystal clear pool and gently tugged him along, “Did you see this large pool? This is the Celestial Mirror Pool.”

Jiang Le nodded slowly as he stared at the crystal clear. As he looked into the pool, he noticed that shiny dots began to surface in the pool. He was slightly startled because there were no lightings around!

Yue Ling explained, seemingly reading his mind. “There are 1080 stars in this pool. These represent the 360 visible stars and the 720 hidden stars that form our celestial constellations. You have to remember the movement and location of each of the stars. This will test your aptitude and your mental focus. You have to be very serious about this for this determines your self-confidence level in your long journey as a celestial practitioner. Do you have any questions?”

Jiang Le took a look at the rapid moving shining dots in the reflection of the pool and asked, “How much time do I have to remember and after I have remembered, how do I tell you if I remember?”

Yue Ling said unhurriedly as she pointed out to a black pool that was behind her, “That is the Celestial Revealing Pool. All you have to do is to concentrate and put both your hands inside and your memory will reveal inside it.”

Jiang Le was astonished, not believing what he was hearing. He had wanted to interrupt but thought that it was wiser not to say anything.

Yue Ling continued, “You have three days to meditate in front of the Celestial Mirror Pool. However, you may give up at any point of the time. During this period, you are required to fast so if you need any food or water now, you may request for it. At any point of time, you can choose to go to the Celestial Revealing Pool for your final testing.”

She paused for a while before she looked intently at Jiang Le, “I hope that you will take this test seriously. Because I have already accepted into the Tranquil Palace as a protégé, you will not fail the testing. You will need to remember at least a hundred stars in order to be accepted as our clan protégé. I hope that you use as much time and endure as much as possible.”

When she was looking at Jiang Le, he could feel his heart pounding hard and he managed a weak smile, “I will not fail. After all, I am regarded as a genius in the martial fraternity…”

Yue Ling interrupted with a resigned soft sigh, “Pride will only get into your celestial way. In order to reach a new divine state, you must cast away all your past glory and achievement.”

Though her words were simple, it pierced through Jiang Le’s heart as he looked intently at her. He thought, “My protégé teacher is so sincere and she wishes for me to do well. I should not fail her. After all, I am a genius.. no, I am not a genius. I am just a mortal trying to be immortal. Only when you are an immortal then it is not too late to declare yourself a genius!”

He asked with a grin as he looked at the Verdant Scarlet Fairy, Xue Ji and Xia Ji, “I got it now. Just wondering, I wonder how good is good? I am sure that my fellow protégé seniors are much better than me.”

The Verdant Scarlet Fairy noted the sarcasm in his remarks but she was smiling, “I can only remember six hundred and thirty of the positions of the stars.”

Xue Ji smiled gently and said, “Alas, I can only remember three hundred of the star positions. I am really not that good.”

Xia Ji smiled weakly, “I can only manage two hundred and seventy of the star positions.”

Yue Ling said simply, “Eight hundred and ten. Do you have any more questions or require some food?”

Jiang Le shook his head, “No more questions. I am good for now so I like to take the test now.”

As soon he had said that, he was startled to see his Protégé Teacher Yueling, the Verdant Scarlet Fairy Qingshuang, Xue Ji and Xia Ji had already positioned themselves in a meditating pose!

He asked, “You are not leaving?”

Yue Ling had already closed her eyes as she said softly, “We will fast with you as well. When you are ready then we will end our meditation.”

Jiang Le was startled and he was feeling remorse as he thought, “If I starve myself for 3 days then they are going to starve for 3 days as well?”

He sighed softly as he began to sit down in front of the Celestial Mirror Pool and began to count the stars in the reflection of the pool.

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Chapter 6

Yue Ling said quietly, “Your first lesson is to remember the intricacy formula of the celestial practice by heart. Genesis, Enlighten, Emotion, Transverse, Seventh Sense, Crisis, Ascend.”

“Genesis is the beginning of your celestial beginning. This is the stage when all your senses will be heightened. You have overcome the limitation of life and death, you are not yet an immortal but you will cease to age. Only one in ten celestial protégés will be able to survive their encounter with the Divine Calamity and reach this stage.”

“Enlighten is the second of the celestial stage and is the only stage that the Divine Calamity won’t descend upon you. You have awakened and your body is half-celestial. No matter how grievous your wounds are, as long as you have one vital breath left, you won’t die so easily. However If you are unable to realize the true enlightenment and reach the Emotion Stage in time, you will be disintegrated into dust when it is time up.”

“If your first Divine Calamity is your first major heavenly tribulation then the Emotion Stage will be your second major heavenly tribulation that you have to overcome. Only one in ten of the celestial practitioners will be able to overcome this stage. This is also the stage where most of the celestial practitioners lose control of the demon of their hearts and become dark celestial practitioners.”

“The Transverse Level is the harmonizing of your energy levels as one. Even before you have reached this stage, you must be wary for whatever qi energy techniques that you have learnt previously may prove to be your downfall. Only one in three of the celestial practitioners survive to overcome the last level of the Transverse Stage. Your two protégé sisters Xue Ji and Xia Ji are at the early stage of the Transverse Level.”

“The Seventh Sense is the pinnacle level of all your innate senses, alertness and reflexes. Unless you wish to court your own death, you must be careful to avoid celestial practitioners from this level onward. My protégé sister Qingshuang is at the Intermediate Seventh Sense Level. ”

“Next is the Crisis Stage…”

She was melancholy and with a soft sigh, “Should I succeed in my Divine Calamity then I would have reached the Intermediate Crisis Level. The Divine Alma Pearl has preserved my life…”

She paused for a while before continuing, “I have already used it for the third time. Alas, I am too weak. The Crisis Level is also called the Transmigration Crisis. It is where your third major heavenly tribulation will occur. When you have successfully reached the Crisis Level, your eyes will lose its dim and turn gray as the darkness before the dawn…”

Jiang Le thought with a sudden realization, “No wonder her eyes are gray!”

“Only one in ten of the celestial practitioners will ever survive this stage and this stage is many times harder than the other levels.”

“Should the Crisis Level be overcome then the eyes of the celestial practitioner will turn golden and they will reach the Ascend Level. The Ascend Level has only one stage because that is already the final stage and they cannot remain in the mortal realm for too long lest it affects the balance of the heavens and the earth. At this point, they would soon ascend to the Celestial Realm.”

Jiang Le had already turned pale as he listened on. He had thought that as a celestial practitioner, he was supposed to gain immortality but it seemed that what awaits him is eventually death! What are the odds of ascending to the heavens?”

Yue Ling seemed to hear his thoughts and said gently, “Now do you realize how much hardship and hard work that you have to put as a celestial practitioner?”

Jiang Le smiled weakly, “It seems harder than I expect. I have thought that I can be an immortal simply by joining a celestial clan and be a celestial practitioner.”

Yue Ling nodded at his honesty, “Once you are a celestial practitioner, you will be constantly racing against time to reach one level after the next level. It is because you can only remain in each stage for 60 years. A full celestial divinity level consists of 180 years. If you fail to reach the next stage, you will be destroyed by the Divine Calamity. The only exception is the Ascend Level celestial practitioners; they can only remain in the mortal realm for 60 days.”

Jiang Le muttered, “60 years to a stage, 180 years to a level. There are seven celestial stages minus one, so that’s six, 180 years multiple by 6 is 1080 years, that’s the time that I have…”

Yue Ling said quietly as she made a prediction rapidly with her fingers, “Jiang Le, your Divine Calamity will be forthcoming in less than six month time. You must be prepared for it.”

Jiang Le was startled as he jumped out, “So soon?! I don’t even know what I should do!”

He had returned to the lesson earlier as he muttered out, “Only one in ten of the celestial protégés will be able to survive their first encounter with the Divine Calamity and reach the Genesis Stage…”

Yue Ling whispered softly, “Do not be afraid. Don’t forget we still have the Divine Alma Pearl and you are the master of the Celestial Gallantry. It is rare for a celestial practitioner to possess a divine sword and your divine sword will increase your odds in overcoming your Divine Calamity.”

Jiang Le asked, “Protégé teacher, you don’t have a divine sword? Why can’t you use the Celestial Gallantry?”

Yue Ling shook her head, “It is the only heavenly relic and divine sword that we got. That’s because the divine sword chooses its own master. You have seen its earlier form? In our hands, it is just a heavy broken sword but in your hands it has transfigured into its true form.”

Jiang Le nodded slowly as he slowly recalled the scene when he had first seen the Celestial Gallantry, “It’s a heavy sword but why is that it is able to levitate on its own?”

Yue Ling replied, “I cannot explain fully. The heavenly relics originate from the heavens or…”

She was melancholy as she said, “Or can be created when a celestial practitioner fails the final stage of the Crisis Level. Who knows, maybe my remains will be turned into a heavenly relic when my end comes. In either case, it seems that a mysterious force is pulling it towards the heavens where it should be. Maybe when we are able to ascend to the heavens then we will be able to fully understand the mysteries of the heavens.”

Jiang Le was still fascinated by the past scene of the levitating heavenly relic as he seemed to be trying to recall something.

All of a sudden he shouted excitingly, “I have previously seen another one of the heavenly relic. I have almost forgotten about it.”

Yue Ling was startled, “You have seen it before? Impossible!”

Jiang Le said as he narrowed his brows to recall, “When I was very young, I have seen it in a secret chamber. I remember seeing a broken sword hovering in the air exactly like when I have seen the Celestial Gallantry and I have reached out to touch it.”

Yue Ling blinked at Jiang Le, “Serious?”

Jiang Le laughed jovially, “Really. After my adventure into the secret chamber was discovered, my father and grandfather gave me dozens of whippings. They made me sworn never to tell anyone and forced me to forget what I have seen. Only when I have seen the hovering heavenly relic again, did I recall my childhood memories. I don’t even know if that is dream as it happens such a long time ago.”

Yue Ling said quietly, “You have sworn to your close relations never to reveal to anyone about the heavenly relic but you have told me. So how about your oath that you’ve made earlier?”

Jiang Le smiled weakly, “Surely you don’t think that a five year old would be able to know the meaning of an oath at that time? I will definitely uphold my oaths, after all I have now grown up.”

She nodded with a soft sigh, “Jiang Le, you must always remember that our oaths are sacred. All celestial practitioners hold their oaths sacred. If you fail to honor your oaths then your Divine Calamity will destroy you, do you understand? A celestial practitioner never promises lightly. Got it?”

Jiang Le nodded, “Protégé teacher, I will heed your teachings.”

Yue Ling nodded as she said, “Your close relations may be celestial practitioners as well. Do you know? If so then I should never have accepted you into the Tranquil Palace in the first place.”

Jiang Le smiled weakly and there was sadness in his expressions, “I don’t know if my parents and close relations are celestial practitioners or not. I am an orphan now for my entire clan was massacred when I am eight. I have only survived because my aunt had carried me and had thrown herself into the dry well…she had used her body to shelter me…”

His voice was hoarse and he was trembling as he brought back the painful memories, “She told me before she closed her eyes, Jiang Le, if you want to live then you must keep quiet for three days, if you still got the strength, you must use all your strength to climb up the well, you must avenge your family, they are demons and they are the devourer of hearts, their eyes are red and their fingernails are purple.”

He gave an anguish outcry, “Father, mother! My brother and sister! My beloved aunt! Until today, I have not found the whereabouts of these demons!”

“They are the dark celestial practitioners. They consume the hearts of mortals to sustain their life and consume the hearts of the other celestial practitioners to advance their dark celestial practice. The purple fingernails are the insignia of the Seven Malevolent Sect. They are a major dark celestial clan. Forget about your revenge. You will only be courting your own death!” Yue Ling said quietly. She did not know how to comfort him and only stating matter of fact.

Jiang Le looked at Yue Ling with a weird expression, “The Seven Malevolent Sect…the Seven Malevolent Sect…dark celestial practitioners…finally I have a clue now. Father, mother, I have finally found your killers!”

He grabbed Yue Ling’s shoulders and said haltingly, “Protégé teacher! Aren’t you my protégé teacher now? Help me to take my vendetta!”

Yue Ling pushed Jiang Le flurrying away with her sleeves, “Child, the Seven Malevolent Sect is stronger than us. Their protégé grandmaster the Old Venerable Sage Sha Moshen is rumored to be at the late stage of the Crisis Level. Moreover I have no idea where the location of the Seven Malevolent Sect is!”

Jiang Le was startled, “You don’t know?”

Yue Ling nodded gently, “Very few celestial clans will reveal their whereabouts or they will soon be the targets of the other celestial clans.”

Jiang Le looked extremely disappointed…

Yue Ling comforted him gently, “Though that may be the case but it doesn’t mean we cannot fight them at the first opportunity. This is allowed by our celestial sect rule.”

Jiang Le blinked at his protégé teacher, not understanding.

She smiled, “We are the orthodox celestial practitioners. Since time immemorial, we have been fighting against the dark celestial practitioners and vice versa. It is also your duty to slay the dark celestial practitioners.”

Jiang Le muttered, “I can…then I can have my vendetta?”

She nodded, “But you must be stronger than you are currently at. Or else you will be of little help when the confrontation between good and evil occurs.”

Jiang Le nodded excitingly and swore in his heart, “I must be strong. I must be stronger than anyone else!”

Yue Ling looked intently at Jiang Le as she thought, “Good and evil is but a thin line. If you are not careful and are blinded by hatred then you will be the same as the dark celestial practitioners that you have hated. I hope that I am wrong in this.”

Jiang Le was spirited again as he asked, “So how many celestial clans are there?”

Yue Ling smiled gently, “I have no idea as well. Maybe a hundred or so.”

Jiang Le was startled, “This many?”

“Most are quite secretive and we won’t know exactly how many. The current celestial fraternity is dominated by the six major celestial clans, the Seven Malevolent Sect, the Celestial Palace, the Quad Aegis Protégé Clan, the Iron Pioneer Sect, the Ancient Swords Clan and the Mohism Canon Clan. The balance between good and evil is at its thinnest now. Only the Iron Pioneer Sect, the Mohism Canon Clan and the Ancient Swords Clan are orthodox celestial clans.”

Jiang Le asked, “We are allied with them then?”

Yue Ling shook her head, “Even if they are orthodox celestial clans, you must not trust them nowadays. The Quad Aegis Protégé Clan used to be an orthodox celestial clan but is now a dark celestial clan. It is better that we keep our distance and practice our celestial arts on our own.”

Jiang Le nodded.

She continued, “Of the six major celestial clans, the most dominating is the Seven Malevolent Sect. But you should be wary of the Celestial Palace as well. The martial fraternity has long been infiltrated by these two dark celestial clans. That is another reason why we do not accept a protégé from the martial fraternity.”

She turned around all of a sudden and said, “Follow me.”

Jiang Le was startled, “Where?”

She smiled gently, “Don’t you want to learn some celestial arts? Don’t you want to find out more on your divine potential? We are going to the testing hall. The others are waiting there for us.”

Jiang Le stared after her as he recited slowly, “My divine potential?”

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5

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Chapter 5:

Just as Jiang Le was still staring at the dragon’s gigantic skeleton remains, Yueling had quietly walked to its tail portion and had taken a tiny bone fragment. She proceeded to grind it into powder before mixing it into a wine cup.

With a soft sigh, she proceeded to take out a red pill and dropped it into the wine cup, “You have no idea how fortunate you are. This is the Sacred Dragon Blood Divine Pill, a precious celestial treasure of the Tranquil Palace. Now it will be given to you. Gulp it down.”

Jiang Le was startled, “What is it?”

Yue Ling replied, “Do you want to improve your internal strength? Then drink it.”

Jiang Le almost jumped out as he said excitingly, “Your meaning, my internal strength will increase after drinking this? I have only heard of miraculous herbs and pills that can improve internal energy cultivation but I have never seen any. Surely it is not real…”

Without hesitating, he grabbed the wine cup and gulped down every single drop.

Immediately he was feeling hot and full of energy!

Yue Ling gently placed her hands on his back, “Don’t move. I am helping you to dissipate your vital energies throughout your body or you will surely die.”

Jiang Le was perspiring already as the internal heat swelled from within him. He jokingly said, “Alas, it is really my lucky day. Say, how much do you think my internal strength will Improve?”

Yue Ling answered coolly, “One period.”

Jiang Le was stunned. One period means sixty years of internal strength!

Sixty years of internal strength cultivation could propel anyone to a super exponent!

“This is not real?” Jiang Le was blinking his eyes nonstop dreamily.

All of a sudden he felt like grabbing his protégé teacher and kissed her foot. Moreover she was such an alluring maiden! And even grabbing her to bed…

But he soon shook his head as he thought, “I mustn’t have these awful thoughts. She is my protégé teacher and it is taboo for such a relationship. Jiang Le, are you such a beast for repaying kindness with evil? You have prided yourself as an iron blood man!”

His thoughts quickly returned to reality, “Who are they? If they can get one period of internal strength this easily then they must all be super exponents and they can easily dominate the martial fraternity. But why didn’t they? Are they really a true celestial clan?”

Yue Ling heaved a soft sigh, “It is done. Continue to circulate your internal energies for a little while.”

Jiang Le nodded as he took a deep breath. He felt so light yet he was seemingly so energetic and full of strength, “I feel like I am reborn again!”

Yue Ling nodded gently as she seated herself, “That’s good. Now I shall tell you the origin of our celestial clan.”

She heaved soft sigh and said, “Listen and pay heed. Our celestial clan was found thousands of years ago and is an ancient order. The founder was the Lady of the Tranquil Mists and this dragon skeleton remain was her dragon and steed. She was a Dragon Practitioner, the last of her kind who was able to tame and communicate with the Dragon Kind. She had found the Tranquil Palace to aid the potential celestial practitioners to ascend to the Celestial Realm.”

Jiang Le was muttering, “Thousands of years old? Hold! This doesn’t sound right. Aren’t you just…”

Yue Ling interrupted softly, “Aren’t I the 24th protégé grandmaster? Jiang Le, do you know how old I am? I am already eight hundred years old!”

Jiang Le was shocked, “Are you an Immortal or a Fox Vixen Fairy. No one can live this long!”

Yue Ling firmly said, “We are celestial practitioners. We are able to overcome the limitations of life and death. From now on, you are one of us. However for that to happen first, you have to overcome your Divine Calamity first before you can begin your celestial practice.”

Jiang Le muttered, “What Divine Calamity?”

Yue Ling answered, “That is part of your heavenly tribulations that will obstruct you from being a Celestial and your ascension to the Celestial Realm!”

Jiang Le asked, “What is it like? Is it deadly?”

Yue ling said, “You have witnessed it already.”

Jiang Le was puzzled, “Have I?”

She took a melancholy look at him, “That day when we have first met. I was facing my Divine Calamity.”

Jiang Le smiled weakly at that and he quickly muttered, “Well, it doesn’t look so deadly.”

Yue Ling replied with sorrowful eyes, “You are wrong. You will die if you fail to overcome your Divine Calamity.”

Jiang Le was startled, “I will die?”

Yue Ling nodded, “Yes. But once you have overcome your first Divine Calamity, you can begin your celestial practice at the Lower Genesis. There are seven celestial divinity to overcome in order to transcend to the Celestial Realm; Genesis, Enlighten, Emotion, Transverse, Seventh Sense, Crisis and Ascend. There are three tiers to each of the celestial divinity; lower, middle and upper. There will be heavenly tribulations that awaited you at every stage. This will be a long journey for you before you can ascend.”

She looked at Jiang Le and asked gently, “Have all these sink into you?”

Jiang Le was muttering nonstop, “Overcome my Divine Calamity, Genesis Stage, be a celestial practitioner, eight hundred years, Immortality…”

He bowed to the ground earnestly, “Protégé teacher, protégé mistress! What must I do to experience my first Divine Calamity? What must I do to be a celestial practitioner? What must I do to attain the Genesis Stage? Please enlighten me!”

Yue Ling nodded in approval as she said gently, “The celestial arts of the Tranquil Palace will be imparted to you. I have already given you the Sacred Dragon Blood Divine Pill so you should have already reached the pinnacle level of mortals. All you need is a trigger point for your Divine Calamity.”

She took out a blue pearl and looked intently at it, “This is the Divine Alma Pearl, the most sacred treasure of the Tranquil Pearl. It’s a precious divine treasure that our first founder had left behind. Do you know how precious this is?”

Jiang Le had recognized it. When he had first seen his protégé teacher, it was clutched tightly in her hands. At that time his mind was occupied by something else…

Yue Ling groaned softly, “Why are your ears so red? What are you thinking?”

Jiang Le turned even redder as he quickly said, “Nothing. It is just that Protégé Teacher you are really just too beautiful.”

Yue Ling was startled by his reply. She quickly regained her composure and chided him gently, “You mustn’t have any thoughts for me, is that understood? I am your protégé teacher and moreover the protégé mistress of the Tranquil Palace. I forgive you this once.”

She quickly returned to the Divine Alma Pearl and it up, saying dreamily, “Naturally you won’t be able to comprehend how precious this is because you are not a celestial practitioner. Listen Jiang Le, you must safeguard the whereabouts of this Divine Alma Pearl and never divulge to any one that is not from the Tranquil Palace of its existence. Can you make an oath?”

Jiang Le nodded and lifted his hand, “To the Heavens I swear, I shall tell none about it or else I will be destroyed by the Heavens!”

Yue Ling nodded and said quietly, “This Divine Alma Pearl contains the essence of the Universal Force, the most powerful force in the entire universe. It is able to give insight of the Divine Calamities to the celestial practitioner and help to avert the worst possibilities. However it cannot be used more than three times by each practitioner. I have already used it for the third time and that is the time when you have first seen me.”

Her eyes were full of melancholy as she continued, “I can no longer use the Divine Alma Pearl anymore…”

When Jiang Le saw her sorrowful expression, he was heartache so he said loudly. “Protégé teacher, you don’t have to be so sad. I, Jiang Le will find you another one!”

Yue Ling smiled, “I am afraid that it will be quite impossible. Moreover even if you found one, it is futile as this limit is still restricted by the power of the Divine Calamities. There used to be two others, so I know.”

Jiang Le asked, “Used to be?”

Yue Ling nodded, “This is the only Divine Alma Pearl that is left now. One was consumed when our founder first ascended to the heavens and the other was destroyed by a Divine Calamity.”

Jiang Le asked curiously, “It can be destroyed by the Divine Calamity? Then how do you use it?”

Yue Ling looked intently at him before saying, “The willpower of the celestial practitioner is particular important. If your will is weak then the Divine Alma Pearl will be destroyed as well. In order to gain the insight from the Divine Calamity, you must be able to survive its furies with sheer willpower and strength. Only then can the Divine Alma Pearl protects you and preserve your life should you fail the Divine Calamity.”

She paused before saying quietly, “You can be destroyed but not the Divine Alma Pearl, do you understand? The fate of the Tranquil Palace depends on this last remaining Divine Alma Pearl. You still have no idea how precious it is. If you fail your Divine Calamity, the Divine Alma Pearl will protect you if your will is strong enough. Nothing is more precious than life itself to the celestial practitioners. Do you know now?”

Jiang Le nodded and said slowly, “Nothing is more precious than life itself…”

How would he not know? All this while, all his life, he had been trying to live and fighting to keep his life!

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Chapter 4:

“Where am I? I just have a bad dream?” That was Jiang Le first thought when he opened his eyes with terrible sore joints all over his body. He was lying on a stone bed and the room was dim.

“You have awakened?”

Jiang Le almost jumped up and he quickly turned around to see Yue Ling who had positioning herself in a meditating prose!

Yue Ling smiled gently, “You are not dreaming. You are a protégé of the Tranquil Palace.”

Jiang Le was ashen as his wobbling headache returned as he muttered. “It’s not just a bad dream, it is a terrible nightmare that is real!”

Yue Ling looked at him and said with a quiet melancholy, “You ought to address me as your protégé mistress from now.” She hesitated a little before saying, “Is it really such a nightmare for you?”

When Jiang Le saw her sudden quiet expressions, his anger dissipated and he answered coolly, “My respects to protégé mistress then. I do have a right to be unhappy, am I right? After all, you have toyed around with me and I have nearly lost my life. Moreover I don’t know what diabolic plans that you have planned further for me.”

Yue Ling nodded gently, “You’re right. It is true that I want to take your life earlier but no longer now.”

Jiang Le smiled, “I’m glad that you realized that it is just so petty to kill me for just trespassing.”

Yue Ling stared at him and she appeared to be flushing for her ears had turned rosy red, “You have seen what you shouldn’t have seen and you have touched where you shouldn’t have touched!”

This time it was Jiang Le who was flushing as he protested weakly, “I am just trying to help you, to revive you. I am just trying to be a good guy…”

Yue Ling interrupt as she rose up, “That’s enough. You are a protégé of the Tranquil Palace now. Come with me to pay your respects to your protégé grandmasters.”

Jiang Le found himself following her and admiring her back view, probing. “You, you are really not taking my life anymore?”

Yue Ling answered casually without turning back or slowing down her pace, “I have plenty of opportunities when you are down. Therefore you should be rest assured of your well-being.”

Jiang Le thought with a weak smile, “I am not a naïve and inexperienced greenhorn. The intrigues of the martial fraternity are many. Only Heavens know if you just toying with me. I am in a strange place and surround by strange people. I need to be extra cautious. Since I am not their match, I should seize the chance to escape when I can. But the thing is, this group of people is so skillful yet I have never heard of their names or this Tranquil Palace. Are they using an alias?”

Yue Ling stopped in her tracks all of a sudden and said coldly, “Don’t court your own disaster so readily and put aside your mistrust. It is better for you and for your future attainment. You will soon know that we are the only ones that you can trust. But for that to happen, you should prove that you are worthy of trust first. You are the master of the Celestial Gallantry and you have a divine destiny that is awaiting you.”

Jiang Le was startled as he thought, “She can read my thoughts?!”

Yue Ling said quietly, “Your emotions have betrayed you. It isn’t because I can read your mind.”

Jiang Le was even more startled, breaking into cold sweat as he thought. “She did not even turn around. How did she even read my emotions?”

Yue Ling said as she hastened her steps, “Follow me!”

Jiang Le smiled weakly as he hastened his steps. But at the same time, he was secretly looking at his surroundings and making a mind map. He was in a walled passage and it was clean of dirt. It could only mean that this passage was frequently visited and swept. He was not an ordinary pugilist that admitted so readily to his fate and he would find an opportunity to regain his freedom at the first possible option.

As they continued to hasten their steps, Yue Ling said coolly. “There are more than three hundred rooms in the Tranquil Palace. Exactly how many, I do not know as well. Some are small while some are large. If you are not careful, you will be lost easily. Many of the rooms and secret passages are in disrepair as our numbers have dwindled over the years. You are free to explore the Tranquil Palace in your free time but there will be certain areas that will be forbidden from you. As for your meals, I will deliver to you. In my absence, someone else will deliver in my place.”

Jiang Le smiled weakly, “Protégé mistress, you are too esteemed. You can simply order your underlings to do this mundane job. I can also go to the kitchen on my own. After all, I am pretty much a good cook myself…”

Yue Ling interrupted coolly, “You are forbidden to go to the kitchen. Also…”

Suddenly she turned around and looked at him sternly, “In our celestial clan, there is no underling here.”

Jiang Le was startled by her sudden stare and he found himself petrified on the spot. Somehow no matter how much he tried to muster his strength, he simply could not move and he found himself staring at her gray piercing eyes!

She said coldly, “The Verdant Scarlet Fairy Qingshuang is my protégé sister. In terms of seniority, we are on the same level. Xue Ji and Xia Ji is my junior. As for you, you are Xue Ji and Xia Ji junior. You are to address Xue Ji and Xia Ji as your senior protégé sisters and Qingshuang as your protégé aunt while I am your protégé teacher. Is that understood?”

Jiang Le nodded as he broke into cold sweat!

What was going on? It was like a spell was cast upon him and causing him to be immobilized!

Yue Ling said nonchalantly as she snapped her fingers, “Good!”

All of a sudden Jiang Le was breathing hard and he had regained control of his limbs!

He muttered, “What did you do to me? Is this some kind of a spell?”

Yue Ling reply coolly, “It is only because your state of divinity is too low. Come with me.”

Jiang Le nodded as he looked at her with a perplexed look. All of a sudden he was thinking, “Maybe I can make use of my bad situation? Obviously their martial skills are superior. If I can only learn a feat or two then I can evaluate my status in the martial fraternity and earn the respect of the pugilist heroes!”

With this in his mind, he began to follow her hastily.

It was not long before they reached the end of a passage.

Jiang Le was feeling lost after walking in the dim darkness and through the multiple forks of the winding passages. He thought, “Why doesn’t she use a torch?”

Yue Ling pushed a brick into the wall and then the brick wall that was in front of them was opened, revealing an opening.

Yue Ling said quietly, “Come.”

Jiang Le nodded and found himself in a large chamber and there were several tablets in front of them!

Yue Ling whispered respectfully, “These are the tablets of our past protégé grandmasters. Hurry and kneel.”

Jiang Le did as he was told.

Yue Ling said solemnly, “Good. Bow three times.”

Jiang Le did as he was told and bowed thrice, saying as he bowed. “Your protégé Jiang Le pays my respects to all the protégé grandmasters!”

As he bowed for the last time, he noticed that Yue Ling was also kneeling next to him as she said respectfully, “Yueling is here to pay my respect to my benevolent grandmasters! Today, we have a new protégé Jiang Le. He has the divine destiny to revive the Celestial Gallantry and has become the new master of our heritage divine sword. Therefore Yueling can only accept him into the Tranquil Palace and is forced to break the celestial rule of not accepting anyone from the martial fraternity!”

She got up and said to Jiang Le, “Now it is your turn to pay your three bows of discipleship to your protégé teacher.”

Jiang Le nodded and bowed immediately, “My respects to protégé teacher!”

Yue Ling nodded, “Your first bow is to obey the celestial rules of the Tranquil Palace. Second bow, you must be respectful to your elders and to your fellow protégés. Third bow to the heavens and the earth, honor your oaths and never betray your protégé clan.”

She sighed softly as she poured a flask of wine on the floor, “I, Zuo Yueling, twenty-forth protégé grandmaster of the Tranquil Palace hereby accepts Jiang Le as a celestial protégé of the Tranquil Palace and bestowed upon him the Celestial Gallantry as his divine sword. You may rise now.”

As Jiang Le got up, Yue Ling had opened another walled secret passage before saying quietly. “Jiang Le, I am going to reveal to you your divine destiny and the history of our celestial clan.”

Jiang Le was amused as he secretly mused, “I am just a vagabond swordsman. What divine destiny will I have? She is probably going to talk endlessly about the glory of her clan and the renowned deeds of the former grandmasters whose names I can’t be bothered to remember…”

All of a sudden his jaws dropped as he stepped into the secret passage. What he was witnessing stunned him; a gigantic skeleton bony remains of a dragon stood looming over him!

“What is that?” He stammered in disbelief.

Yue Ling answered coolly with beaming eyes, “This is the secret of the Tranquil Palace. From now on, you will be initialized into the celestial secrets of our celestial clan. You will soon realize that how close you are to immortality.”

Jiang Le was too awestruck as he gasped, “The celestial secrets of our celestial clan… immortality? But this? Is it really a dragon?”

Yue Ling nodded, “It is real.”

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Chapter 3:

Jiang Le was led through a winding of passages and finally he found himself facing a huge windy entrance. Judging from the cool temperature, he judged that he must be somewhere underground. He thought, “So this Tranquil Palace is somewhere beneath the ground?”

Now that he had regained his strength, he found himself observing these four maidens who were keeping a close watch over him.

He was feeling a little flush because he had realized that they were in a flimsy see through silken robes and as little as just two piece of robes. He had not realized earlier because he had lost too much blood and his vision was hazy.

He sighed softly to himself, “What a delightful sight!”

He took a glance at Yue Ling, “I wonder why her eyes are gray and so devoid of colors? It seems that she is containing a deep sorrow within her.”

The Verdant Scarlet Fairy noticed his sigh and asked coldly, “Are you afraid? We have reached. This is the entrance of the trial.”

Jiang Le smiled weakly, “Of course not. I’m a perfectly crazy man.”

Yue Ling smiled for the first time, “Good. You do not fear death. Follow me in.”

Jiang Le muttered, “Of course, of course.”

He was soon taken inside the entrance and saw a huge cavern.

Inside, there was a long wooden suspension bridge that linked two ridges.

Jiang Le smiled bitterly, “I see nothing here.”

Yue Ling smiled coldly, “The divine sword that you are holding now is christened the Celestial Gallantry and is the heritage divine sword of our clan. Since the divine sword has chosen you as its master, no doubt your courage is not lacking.”

Jiang Le looked at the silver beaming sword that was buckled by his side and said weakly, “You can have it back anytime. Oh I forget that you cannot pick this sword at all. I can throw it on the ground and then I run off. Maybe you can pick it up later…”

Yue Ling interrupted, “We can do it once you are dead naturally. You don’t have to teach us. You should consider this to be your blessing instead.”

Jiang Le smiled bitterly as he put on a solemn face, “Seriously yes.”

Yue Ling replied, “I hope that you are not afraid.”

She looked at the other two maidens and said gently, “Xia Ji, Xue Ji. Bring him the torch.”

The two maidens immediately answered in concert as they bowed gracefully, “Your celestial will is the divine will.”

The maiden who was standing the nearest to Jiang Le, gave him a quick and mesmerizing smile as she handed Jiang Le a torch, “I am Xue Ji. If you pass the celestial trial, then we will be as one protégé clan. Therefore you can only succeed!”

Jiang Le was a little startled by her and his heart was flurrying. This was the first heartfelt words that he had heard since he was in their company.

The other maiden who was Xia Ji giggled, “Protégé sister, it may be a little too early to wish for it yet. But yes, he certainly looks like he has some potential.”

Jiang Le laughed softly as he was suddenly overwhelmed by the flattering, beating his chest and saying, “Then I can only do my best for my beautiful protégé sisters. So what are the rules of this celestial trial?”

Yue Ling said gently, “Simple. All you need to do is to carry this torch to the other side of the bridge without extinguishing the fire. Then you will pass the celestial trial and you will be initiated into the Tranquil Palace.”

Jiang Le was solemn as he examined the environment with his eyes. It may appear to be an easy trial but he knew it was not going to be easy. The winds were strong here and this was causing the wooden suspension bridge to rock to and fro.

He took a quick look at the bottom of the ridge and was disturbed to see a bottomless darkness. If he tripped then his life would surely be forfeited!

He turned around to look at Yue Ling and the Verdant Scarlet Fairy and was slightly disturb that they appeared to be smiling at him. He thought, “Are they so confident that I am surely unable to pass the celestial trial?”

With that he took a bold step on the wavering wooden suspension bridge!

He said softly, “Jiang Le, you mustn’t die here! You still have to extract vengeance on the martial fraternity!”

The howling winds are much stronger on the bridge!

Jiang Le positioned the burning torch close to him. It was because he knew that if he was not careful then the burning torch would soon be extinguished by the strong winds.

He mustered his vital energies to display the Delude Steps, a type of swiftness movement skill as he threaded on the rocking suspension bridge carefully. While his Delude Steps was not an epitome or even first rate swiftness movement skill in the martial fraternity, he must admit now that his very life depends upon it now!

He was now afraid!

Very freaking afraid!

And he was regretting why he had agreed to challenge this celestial trial in the first place!

This feeling of hovering death was worse than death itself and it seemed that with every caution step that he had taken, he was always so close to death!

He shivered and muttered, “Jiang Le, Jiang Le. You must not die because if you do then there is no one in this world that can pity you!”

After what seemed to be like an eternal agonizing moment, he finally took to the last step and had made his way across to the other side of the ridge.

He was so ashen that he had turned completely pale and his legs were trembling nonstop!

He gasped out as he collapsed on the ground, “I….I have made it!”

Barely had he said that, he noticed that the four maidens were already by his side!

He could not believe his eyes!

He thought wearily, “Are they really phantoms?! When did they cross the bridge?”

But he could not think further. He was so exhausted that he had blacked out completely now!

Xue Ji giggled, “I knew it! He has really made it!”

Xia Ji clapped delightfully, “Only one in a thousand is able to pass this celestial trial. He is really amazing. Now we have a protégé brother!”

The Verdant Scarlet Fairy nodded quietly, “He has proven that he possesses courage, willpower and most important of all, luck. One misstep and he would have fallen down the ravine.”

Yue Ling nodded gently, “He has indeed proven that he has the basic survival instinct to be a celestial practitioner. Whether he can prove that he has the ultra instinct to overcome the many divine tribulations and be a true celestial is still early yet.”

The Verdant Scarlet Fairy smiled, “Indeed we shall see. Protégé Sister Mistress, your divine calamity, you have gained any insight?”

Yue Ling sighed melancholy, “The Crisis Level is still too difficult for me to overcome. Thanks to the Divine Alma Pearl, I have preserved my attainment at the Lower Crisis Level. I have lost a good chance to advance my attainment.”

The Verdant Scarlet Fairy nodded and said with sorrows in her eyes, “The chance will come again. But something good comes from this right?”

She turned and looked at the unconscious Jiang Le before saying, “After all, he has revived the Heavenly Relic Celestial Gallantry, so maybe he would be able to aid Protégé Sister Mistress in the future.”

Yue Ling shook her head as she said gently, “I am afraid that I don’t have the time to wait for him…”

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Chapter 2

When Jiang Le opened his eyes, he was shocked to see himself chained in iron shackles and his body held onto a wooden stake. He was in a huge hall and there was a huge bonfire that was burning in the midst.

He was surprised to see the beautiful naked maiden earlier sitting on a throne but this time, she was fully clothed.

Other than her, there were also the three other maidens that he had seen earlier!

He found himself mesmerized by the seated beautiful maiden again, having recalled her naked image in his mind. But he quickly regained his composure and asked hastily, “Where am I? Why did you chain me? Let me go…”

The beautiful maiden that was seated on the throne interrupted coldly, “Not only did you trespass the sacred grounds of the Eternal Virtue Sect, you have…”

She was suddenly flushing and her voice was colder than ever, “Therefore you will be sentenced to your death and your blood feed to our heavenly relic.”

She pointed to a levitating sword that was near and smiled endeavoring, “This is your honor.”

Jiang Le was startled and even more astonished when he took a look at the so call heavenly relic. It was because he could not believe his own eyes and thought, “This sword just hangs in mid-air? How is it possible?”

He was enthralled by the levitating sword as he stared at it.

He muttered, “What a fine sword…”

All of a sudden one of the three maidens that were in the hall had walked quietly next to him and had slapped him hard!

Jiang Le was enraged as he raised his voice, “Who the hell are you that give you the right to slap me?”

But his angry voice began to dissipate as he noticed that the maiden that had just slapped him was equally as stunning as the beautiful maiden that was sitting on the throne.

Up close, she was so captivating!

She smiled gently, “You deserve a slap because you are too stupid to realize the situation that you are in. You ought to be begging for mercy and pleading for your pathetic existence.”

Jiang Le answered unhappily, “You have the face of an angel yet you have the heart of a demon. You’re a…”

She interrupted him with a haughty look, “Hmph, indeed I am a demoness. You may well address me as the Verdant Scarlet Fairy. Now you can report to your maker who your slayer is.”

Jiang Le smiled bitterly, “And I am Jiang Le. I will haunt you if I am dead.”

He turned to look at the beautiful maiden seated at the throne, “And what is your name?”

The beautiful maiden appeared to be surprised as she seemed to ponder for a while before she said coldly, “I am Zuo Yue Ling the Autumn Concubine, mistress of the Tranquil Palace. You can die now!”

Jiang Le smiled weakly. It was because he did not expect her to tell him her name so readily. He said weakly, “I have never heard of any Tranquil Palace before. Do you think this is a little too much to sentence me to my death just because I have accidentally trespass your abode? Is there no law or…”

Yue Ling smiled coldly as she interrupted him, “Here I am the law. You are a pugilist. Surely you are aware of the rules of the martial fraternity. Whatever your intent is, it does not matter at all. You are in our hands now and if you are wise and wish for a quick death, you have better shut up.”

As she had said that, she had walked to the levitating sword and had flashed it in her hands!

Jiang Le turned ashen immediately and he panicky tried to use his strength to free himself from the chains but no matter how forcefully he had tried to muster his strength, he was still being held in place!

The Verdant Scarlet Fairy hummed coldly, “It is futile to struggle. Beg for your mercy.”

Jiang Le broke into cold sweat as he thought, “Am I going to die in this place? These bitches really mean business!”

He clenched his teeth and fists, “I am an iron blood man. I will never succumb to threats and beg them for mercy. Even if I beg them, I doubt that they will even let me live and I will be sports for them to take delight. Darn it.”

Yue Ling smiled with cold malevolent as she raised the heavenly relic sword to his throat, “I won’t let you die so peacefully. Instead I will slice your flesh bit by bit, slice by slice…”

All of a sudden there was a shrieking sound from the heavenly relic sword as it vibrated nonstop!

Yue Ling was startled as she murmured, “Divine echo of the heavenly relic? How is this possible?”

The Verdant Scarlet Fairy and the two other sword maidens were equally startled as well, “This is the Divine Echo of the divine sword?”

Even Jiang Le was startled by the trembling resonating sword that was at his throat. He was muttering, “The sword has no eyes. You…you….hold it steady….”

Yue Ling looked at him with disbelief as she tried to pull the heavenly relic sword away but it seemed to have a will of its own!

She gasped, “What have you done? Release my sword now!”

Jiang Le was more panicky than her for the sword was slashing to and fro his throat as he cried out with great alarm, “I did nothing! Put away your sword!…”

All of a sudden there was a flash of light as the sword cut off his chains!

Yue Ling cried out in pain as she flurried backward as the heavenly relic sword flew into Jiang Le’s hand!

Yue Ling was stunned as she looked at her burned hand, “What is going on?”

The Verdant Scarlet Fairy was by her side in the next instant as she called out, “Mistress, are you alright? What is going on?”

Jiang Le was even more startled than any others. Just a moment ago, he was at their mercies but now he had found himself freed from the chains and with a sword in his hand!

What was more, his wounds were now miraculously healed and his vigor was renewed!

Jiang Le allowed himself a smirk as he said coldly, “I won’t surrender my life so readily. You have no idea how accomplish I am as a swordsman in the martial fraternity…”

All of a sudden the Verdant Scarlet Fairy had flashed next to him and had thrown him onto the ground!

Jiang Le blinked in eyes in disbelief and in the next instant, the two other sword maidens had their swords aimed at his throat and they were giggling!

He was back to square one again!

Jiang Le stared at them in disbelief. Not only had this Verdant Scarlet Fairy knocked him back with a single move but these two other maidens had also placed their swords on his throat seemingly like phantoms. This hurt his pride and ego. All of a sudden he felt like an amateur swordsman despite the fact that he had fought at least three hundred battles with some of the top pugilists in the martial fraternity. At such he was ranked as a first tier fighter but now his self-esteem was wounded!

Yue Ling hummed coldly, “It seems that you have the celestial fate. I will give you a choice. Join the Tranquil Palace and live. Otherwise…”

Jiang Le quickly fell to his knees and said hastily, “There is no otherwise! I have always been looking for a worthy clan to prove my worth. So this is the Tranquil Palace? Who is the protégé master?”

The Verdant Scarlet Fairy smiled coldly and pointed at Yue Ling the Autumn Concubine, “She is standing in front of you. You ought to address her as your protégé mistress.”

Jiang Le was startled as he stared at Yue Ling, “She is what? She is so young?…”

Yue Ling smiled coldly, “So are you regretting your choice now?”

Jiang Le hastily replied as he took a glance at the two beaming swords that were at his neck, “Erm, no. Just surprise. My respects to protégé mistress.”

Yue Ling nodded gently before she said coldly, “Good! I shall see if you are worthy of deserving this heavenly relic sword first. We are a celestial clan and therefore you have to obey the strictest commandants of a celestial clan. Do you understand?”

Jiang Le was perplexed as he murmured, “Celestial clan? Do you mean like the monastery clans and orders?”

Yue Ling said slowly, “You will soon know what it is to be a celestial practitioner. However, you have to face a trial first. If you fail to pass the celestial trial then you still have to die!”

Jiang Le was ashen as he suddenly got a wobbly headache, “Is this a joke? I just acknowledge you as my protégé mistress and you still want me dead? What kind of heretic sect is this? Rather than being insulted, you have better killed me straight away then!”

The Verdant Scarlet Fairy drawn her long sword with a resonating shriek as she smiled coldly, “Since that is your wish then I shall grant you then.”

Jiang Le broke into a cold sweat as he called out hastily, “No wait! Hold it! I shall take this whatever celestial trial that you have mentioned!”

Yue Ling hummed coldly, “It seems that he is a slippery fellow and one without any honor.”

Jiang Le was indignant as he replied coldly, “You have never died before but I have. Therefore you did not know what it is to live. But let me warn you, don’t you test my tolerant or…”

Yue Ling interrupted coldly, “Or what?”

Jiang Le lowered his eyes and said solemnly, “I am an iron blood man. I will never neither forget a debt nor vengeance. Or else even if I were to become a ghost, I will haunt you down!”

Yue Ling smiled coldly as she lifted her long sword to point at Jiang Le’s throat, “Unfortunately, I am not afraid of any ghosts.”

Jiang Le smiled coldly, “Oh really?”

Yue Ling stared coldly at him as she said, “You have better be wise and honest at the same time. Otherwise my sword will cut open your throat. I am not averting to killing in case you are wondering. Do you understand or not?”

Jiang Le lifted his eyes to look at her, “If I pass this celestial trial then you will let me go?”

Yue Ling smiled wryly all of a sudden, “Let you go? This is only the beginning!”

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1

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Chapter 1

Jiang Le heaved a soft sigh as he gripped his long sword tightly.

His steps were wobbly and he was trembling from his injuries after falling from the steep cliff.

It was a lucky thing that a tree branch cushioned his fall or else he would have been killed.

He pondered wearily, “Where am I? It is nearly nightfall soon…”

But he was suddenly cheerful, “At least I am still alive…”

How did he fall off the steep cliff?

He was ambushed by a masked assailant after receiving an unknown invitation. Usually, he would be sceptic about any unknown invitations but the contents of the invitation were simply too tempting; what is pinnacle level of the sword? It is beyond your heart. If you have the courage to know, come at dusk at the ten mile pavilion.

As a swordsman, he was naturally tempted.

It was especially tempting when he had already been regarded as one of the top ten swordsmen in the martial fraternity and was trying to seek a breakthrough in his current sword level.

And as one of the best swordsman in the martial fraternity, he naturally did not have much to fear!

That was a great mistake!

He had never expected that the masked assailant would have an upper hand over him by the tenth strokes and by the thirtieth strokes he was sent flying down the steep gorge!

He was left stunned and was demoralized now. After all, he had always thought of himself as an accomplish swordsman and he was a young genius with plenty of potential ahead of him.

The truth was that he could barely parry off the masked assailant and he was forced to take evasive action before he stumbled down the steep cliff.

Or rather, he had chosen to stumble down the steep cliff because he had decided that he was not prepared to die just like this!

All of a sudden a brilliant thunderous lightning had flashed down and had ignited a tree. This was followed by the scream of a woman!

Jiang Le was alarmed and he thought, “There is someone else here?”

Despite his serious injuries, he quickly sprang in the direction of the thick forest canopy.

When he had reached the scene of the burning tree, he was so startled that he was momentarily frozen!

It was not a horrific scene that had greeted him!

Instead, it was the sight of a most wondrous beauty was lying naked on a pool of water and in her right hand she appeared to be clutching a blue pearl!

He found himself staring at her, forgetting the reason why he was here in the first place!

While he was experienced with women but he had never seen such a wondrous beauty before and he found himself looking at her secret vulnerable areas.

He swallowed his saliva and thought, “Why is she here? Is she an immortal fairy? Is she dead?…”

At the thought that she may be dead, his rational began to return as he quickly snapped out of his trance and he quickly kneeled down to her to examine her pulse and her heart.

His fingers were trembling as he felt her bosom before he heaved a soft sigh, “She still lives but her vital signs are weak…”

He thought, “What should I do to revive her?”

He sighed aloud as he took off his robe, “This is the only thing that I can do now…”

All of a sudden there was several feminine shouts from behind him, “You lecher, what are you doing?! Prepare to die!”

He turned around and saw three maidens in blue and white running towards him with beaming long swords!

Even before they had reached him, he could sense the malevolent sword energies of their swords!

He was startled as he thought panicky, “These maidens are so young and yet they have already attained the sword energy level?”

That was because he had not attained such a level yet therefore he was staring at them in disbelief!

Just as he was about to raise his sword to defend himself, the naked maiden that was lying on the ground had opened her eyes all of a sudden and she had raised her fingers to strike him from behind his neck!

Before he knew it, he was seeing doubles and he had blacked out!

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