Ye Chen lightly nodded toward Holy Maiden Xue Wei before controlling his rainbow light to gravitate toward the auspicious cloud.
Ye Chen’s arrival had the representatives on the auspicious cloud secretly shaking their heads.
“Is that the new Peak Lord?of Qingyun Peak? His divine light reminds me of a candle flickering in the wind, and the speed at which it moves is as slow as a turtle. Why does it look like he has just stepped into the Wave Realm?”
“I heard that Ye Chen was appointed as Qingyun Peak’s Lord before Martial Granduncle Changsheng passed away. But his aptitude is nothing impressive. He had access to all the cultivation resources on Qingyun Peak and yet it still took him three to four years to enter Wave Realm. It’s no wonder the Peak Lords of the major peaks had some complaints about Qingyun Peak.”
“Qingyun Peak has indeed declined!”
Ye Chen ignored everyone’s discussion as he slowly approached them.
Holy Maiden Xue Wei gave a slight nod at Ye Chen before her gaze swept toward the crowded plaza below. Her red lips parted slightly and a clear, melodious voice reverberated throughout the entire plaza. “Everyone, I am the Holy Maiden of Xuantian Holy Land and will be the representative overseeing your test this year. The theme of your test today is ‘Illusion Realm Heart Refinement’.”
Once she was done speaking, Holy Maiden Xue Wei gently spread out her jade-like hands and an inch-tall jade-green mountain appeared in her palm. It was filled with boundless spiritual might that seemed to captivate one’s mind with just a single look.
With a flick of her wrist, Holy Maiden Xue Wei tossed the mountain in her hand. The jade-green mountain grew as it flew through the air, transforming into a gigantic mountain peak several thousand feet tall. It stood in the center of the square, carved with nearly a hundred winding paths leading to the peak.
“This is Heart Refining Peak and each path leading to the top is filled with dozens of illusions. You must have a firm will if you want to reach the peak. The time limit is two hours. Anyone who gets to the top in time will be allowed to enter Xuantian Holy Land. The test begins now!”
And with that, the young candidates rushed off to start their climb, each of them choosing a different mountain path.
From afar, one could observe the illusions on each path of Heart Refining Peak. Some places burned with flames; some had snow falling. Other places roared with thunder or were filled with miasma. There were also places filled with thorns or bone-piercing cold winds.
The experience and performance of each candidate started to come to light, used as a reference for the representatives of the major peaks in selecting their disciples.
Not long after, the distance between the better-performing and underperforming candidates had widened, getting bigger and bigger as time passed.
In just an hour, someone had reached the top.
It was a young girl who looked to be about seventeen or eighteen years old wearing a light purple dress. Despite being the first, there was no joy in her eyes as she quietly looked at the huge stone tablet in the middle of the peak’s square. The tablet was engraved with mysterious symbols and the longer she looked at it, the more furrowed her eyebrows became. Yet, one could tell, even from afar, that there was an air of arrogance and stubbornness around her.
When Ye Chen’s eyes landed on this person, a clear system notification pinged in his thoughts.
[Detected a Qi anomaly. Do you want to check it?]
Ye Chen was a bit surprised and decided to be led by his curiosity as he responded to the system through his thoughts. ‘Check it!’
[Name: Zi Menghan (Qi anomaly)]
[Identity: The ninth princess of Zi Wei Empire]
[Aptitude: Innate Crippled Body – abandoned by the Heavens and Earth since birth; unable to gather any energy in her Dantian; unable to reach Wave Realm.]
[Character experience: Zi Menghan was born in Zi Wei Empire, ridiculed her entire life due to her Innate Crippled Body. Three years ago, she left Zi Wei Empire alone and kept her identity secret. She tried to join six holy lands, great religious sects, and ancient sects but was rejected by all due to her Innate Crippled Body. Yet, her Dao Heart remains as firm as a rock. As such, no illusion can shake her mind.]
[Remark: The so-called Qi anomaly can increase one’s cultivation without being restricted by one’s aptitude – it has the potential to change one’s fate. One will experience countless calamities in one’s life, but also encounter countless opportunities.]
Ye Chen sighed internally. The princess of Zi Wei Empire had an Innate Crippled Body and had been rejected by holy lands and other major forces. But she was a Qi anomaly. Why, weren’t these the traits of a main character?!
‘But what does a Qi anomaly?have to do with me?’
‘Can it make me live forever?’
The system had already said that the life of a Qi anomaly could be followed by countless disasters. If he provoked this person, who knew how much retribution he would have to face in the future? His small Qingyun Peak would not be able to handle it!
Ye Chen was ready to avoid such a Qi anomaly?and take in a random disciple with ordinary talent. But then, a system notification came along again.
[The host has transmigrated here, breaking the original trajectory of the Heavenly Path. At some point, the Heavenly Path will want to balance its accounts. Becoming friends with a Qi anomaly will reduce the host’s presence from the Heavenly Path, thus delaying the time for retribution.]
Ye Chen’s pupils contracted with slight fear.
‘My transmigration has been detected by the Heavenly Path?’
‘Does that mean I will be punished by the Heavenly Path sooner or later?’
Ye Chen’s expression changed several times. But he quickly took several deep breaths to calm himself.
‘Since befriending the Qi anomaly could weaken the Heavenly Dao’s ability to detect me, I will have a slightly higher chance of survival in the future, especially since I have the system too!’
[The host has encountered the Qi anomaly, Zi Menghan. Now, you have the following options.]
[One: Refuse to accept her as a disciple and obtain the Thousand-Year Turtle Shell, a defensive magic tool.]
[Two: Accept her as a disciple and inherit a Sword Path skill]
Ye Chen silently chose the second option but it was not without hesitation or doubt. Zi Menghan was the first to reach the top, which meant that she had performed quite outstandingly. Wouldn’t it be too shabby for her to accept being a disciple of Qingyun Peak?
With the deafening chime of a bell, two hours had passed.
“The time is up! 536 people have reached the top and are now qualified to enter Xuantian Holy Land!” Holy Maiden Xue Wei’s voice rang clear as she made the announcement. With a gentle wave of her hand, thousands of light rays shot out and accurately wrapped around the people who had not reached the top, placing them at the edge of the square.
“To those who failed to reach the top of Heart Refining Peak, please leave!”
Upon hearing Holy Maiden Xue Wei’s instructions, the regular disciples of Xuantian Holy Land who had been waiting around the square for a long time glided over with their rainbow lights to send away the many young men and women who had failed the test. The lively square instantly became much emptier.
Holy Maiden Xue Wei’s gaze turned back towards the many successful candidates at the top of Heart Refining Peak. With a smile, she said, “Congratulations on passing the test! Xuantian Holy Land has 108 peaks each, with different inheritance. It is important that we allocate the suitable peaks according to your aptitude for the benefit of your cultivation.”
Zi Menghan’s pupils contracted slightly as she pursed her lower lips tightly.
‘Do they have to evaluate our aptitudes too?’
“The stone tablet at the center of the small square at the top of Heart Refining Peak is the aptitude test tablet. All you need to do is press your palms on it and your aptitude will be evaluated. First up is Zi Menghan!” Holy Maiden Xue Wei finally revealed the purpose of the stone tablet that Zi Menghan had been observing ever since she arrived at the top.
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