"The mountain trial."
As they watched Zhou Yuan's figure disappear into the mist, high up in the sky, sect master Qing Yang sighed and said, "The mountain trial is treacherous and unpredictable, while filled with countless dangers. No one knows what kind of test he will encounter…"
"Back when teacher was still in control of the Cangxuan Sect, any disciple that managed to pa.s.s the mountain trial would be able to ascend the peak, and receive guidance from him. However, there were rarely any disciples who succeeded even in our golden age."
"I wonder how Zhou Yuan will fare."
By the side, old man Bai Mei stroked his long eyebrows as he said, "Due to its location within the seal placed by teacher, even we cannot know what is happening inside. It seems that we can only wait for the Xuan bell to ring."
"The Xuan bell can sound nine times, and six bells signifies that the partic.i.p.ant has pa.s.sed."
Patriarch Cang Xuan had placed an ancient bell in the main peak. It would ring when the mountain challenger was done, and give an a.s.sessment of the partic.i.p.ant.
The best evaluation was naturally nine bells.
However, one would have considered to pa.s.s as long as one reached six bells. Even so, generation after generation of chief disciples had failed to reach the sixth bell.
The best had been five bells, which had been a very regrettable result.
The Snow Lotus Peak master Lianyi said with a wide smile, "The little guy seems to be quite lively, and he may be able to reach six bells."
She cast a glance at the peak master Ling Jun as she spoke, who had been keeping silent from the start. The latter had clearly not been feeling good over the past few days, because a fifth Sword Cometh Peak's cultivation resources had already begun to be handed over. This was a tremendous loss to Sword Cometh Peak.
Peak master Ling Jun indifferently said, "Six rings of the Xuan bell. Not many have achieved it even in our era."
His meaning was clear. He did not believe Zhou Yuan would be able to achieve it.
"Weren't you singing the same tune before the chief disciple selection?" Asked peak master Lianyi as her lips curled.
Peak master Ling Jun's eyes turned slightly frosty as he coldly snorted.
"We shall wait and see."
Zhou Yuan felt the world around begin to change the instant he stepped into the mist. A split second later, he found himself standing below an old mountain path.
On the two sides of the path was a dense, impenetrable fog. The long stone path reached upwards like a stone dragon, ultimately disappearing into the mist.
When he stood alone at the bottom of the path, Zhou Yuan appeared very very small indeed.
"Is this the mountain trial?"
Mumbled Zhou Yuan to himself as he gazed upon the path.
"The mountain trial is filled with unpredictable danger. Be cautious."
While Zhou Yuan was observing the old mountain path, an emotionless, robotic voice suddenly echoed.
Zhou Yuan blinked a few times. This voice seemed to be a little familiar. After pondering for a while, he suddenly jerked in surprise. Wasn't this old Xuan's voice? However, it didn't sound as elderly as usual.
Was old Xuan the one who had left this voice when the mountain trial was constructed?
Zhou Yuan secretly chuckled inside, casting away these thoughts as he prepared to take a step forward.
"Remember what you said earlier."
However, just as he was about to lift his foot, a soft murmur seemed to enter his ears.
Zhou Yuan was a little stunned. This was old Xuan's voice...
He blinked, but did not say anything. Old Xuan had likely transmitted it in secret.
However, what did he mean?
Zhou Yuan pondered over this for a brief moment, before setting it aside for the time being. He gathered his calm as he gaze swept around, but did not discover anything out of the ordinary.
The mountain path before him seemed to be nothing but ordinary.
But Zhou Yuan knew that this was impossible. Otherwise, the many previous chief disciples of Saint Genesis Peak would not have ultimately failed to reopen it.
He muttered to himself for a while. In the end, he lifted his foot and stepped forward, fully vigilant.
A foot landed on the stone steps, but nothing happened. After a brief hesitation, Zhou Yuan continued to advance.
However, there was only silence around him after several dozen steps, no activity at all.
"Is the mountain trial broken?" Mumbled Zhou Yuan in bewilderment.
However, the instant his voice rang out, Zhou Yuan's pupils abruptly shrank. At this very moment he had indeed felt that something was wrong.
But the wrongness was not from the outside, but instead from inside his body.
He could feel a Genesis Qi star in his Qi Dwelling dim somewhat, as if some Genesis Qi had stealthily disappeared.
It was not being consumed or depleted, but as if some unknown ent.i.ty had devoured it, causing it to be lost forever...
"What is going on?!"
Shock thundered through Zhou Yuan's heart, his expression fluctuating rapidly as he stared at the extremely quiet old stone path before him. The latter now made him feel a heart-palpitating strangeness.
He raised his head and gazed at the path that snaked into the mist.
"Could it be… am I supposed to reach the end before my Genesis Qi disappears?" Zhou Yuan's eyes flickered in thought. Soon after, he took in a deep breath. Hesitating here was pointless. He needed to first find out what kind of test this mountain trial was giving him.
After making his decision, Zhou Yuan cast away his hesitation and boldly stepped forward, advancing step after step on the long stone path.
With each step he crossed, Zhou Yuan could clearly feel shining star after star in his Qi Dwelling dim one after another, before ultimately disappearing into nothingness.
Disappear, not deplete.
The Genesis Qi that spread from his body weakened little by little.
Zhou Yuan's expression was rigid as still water, tightly clenching his hands, while feeling a mix of negative emotions inside. No one would be able to calm, while helplessly feeling the Genesis Qi in one's body strangely disappear.
After all, every drop had been the fruits of his effort.
As his Genesis Qi disappeared bit by bit, Zhou Yuan's pace grew faster and faster.
Nearly an incense stick of time later.
A sliver of paleness had already appeared on Zhou Yuan's face. More than half of the four thousand stars in his Qi Dwelling had already disappeared...
In such a bizarre situation, anyone with lesser mental fort.i.tude would have already lost himself to panic and fear.
Zhou Yuan took in a deep breath of air. The mountain trial's reputation was well-deserved indeed. It was a fearfully strange test.
"Another hundred stars…"
Zhou Yuan pursed his lips, an unreadable look in his eyes as he stared at the winding path that reached into the mist. In the face of such a situation, even he felt his heart begin to tremble at this moment.
He was not certain if he would be able to reach the end before all his Genesis Qi disappeared.
Moreover, his greatest worry was that… even if he did manage to walk to the end, would it be over?
In the face of this incomparably bizarre mountain trial, unease began to surge out in Zhou Yuan's heart.