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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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