137 Inside the Stellar Sanctuary
And it is this brilliant flash of stunning light that woke Yi Ping up in cold sweat!
He found himself surrounded by all the panicky maidens who showered him with all kinds of concern!
He was startled as he stammered out, "How long have I been unconscious?"
Lele smiled warmly, "You just give us a shock! But you wake up as soon as you have fallen to the ground. That is weird…"
Yixian was inspecting his pulses tenderly as she replied gently, "Ping'Er, you appear to black out for just for a few moments. Are you feeling well? Any discomfort?"
Lie Qing was embracing him by his arm as she said tenderly, "Ping'Er, I was so worried earlier…"
Youxue heaved a soft sigh as she looked shyly at him, "Brother Ping…"
Shi Shi was wiping his cold sweat for him as she muttered affectionately, "Look at you. You must be too tired and didn't have enough rest…"
Lingfeng had straightened him as she hit him rapidly on his back with her fingers to revitalize his energy channels as she comforted him anxiously, "How are you feeling now? Much better?"
Yi Ping was so moved by affectionately attentions that his spirits was aroused warmly that he said aloud, "I am really good…"
Han Lin said, "Good! You just give me a good scare. Let's us hurry into the Stellar Sanctuary. I am dying to see what is inside!"
The rest of the maidens soon became enthusiastic as they eyed the darkness of the entrance with caution!
Yi Ping was soon looking at the towering crimson gate of the Stellar Sanctuary even as he muttered a quick prayer for the dead.
Lingfeng said, "If the sealed gate of the Stellar Sanctuary has already been opened, that will only mean that others are already inside."
The Universal Old Man was trembling lightly even as he was saying, "Even though we are late by only one day but this is the first time that I have got almost three months to explore the Stellar Sanctuary. Excellent, excellent…"
Lingfeng immediately warned them, "There is an inscription on the sealed crimson gate. It is forbidden to speak of your experiences in the Stellar Sanctuary or you surely will die. Don't say I didn't warn you. In the past there are some practitioners that did not take this threat seriously and they had all lost their lives. The only time that we can openly share our experiences is when we are in the Stellar Sanctuary. In fact that is why the Stellar Sanctuary is also called the Great Forbidden Place. I am also not sure if it is divine forces or curses at work here but where we are stepping into is actually the boundaries of the Immortal Realm. So don't be fooled by the exterior appearance of the Stellar Sanctuary!"
The Sagess Ai was startled as she thought, "She actually know this much?"
With quick nods and approvals from everyone, the group immediately stepped into the entrance of the Stellar Sanctuary!
The inside of the Stellar Sanctuary was equally imposing with tall stone pillars etched along the side of the long hallway.
The height of the hallway measured some sixty meters tall and twenty meters wide!
Yi Ping was stunned at the grandeur of the place as did all the first timers among the group!
Even though it was the first time that Yi Ping had entered the Stellar Sanctuary but he had a familiar feeling…
Yang Min gasped, "So this is the Stellar Sanctuary! Who will possibly want to build such a large hallway? This doesn't seem like it is meant for us…"
As she gasped out, her soft echoes began to reverberate in the hallway!
Lingfeng whispered softly, "Everyone be careful and don't touch anything strange. Make sure that we are always in a group…"
The Sagess Ai was also issuing the same commands, "Stay together as a group and look out for one another…"
The Celeste Wind Maiden had suddenly drawn out her Celeste Wind Divine Sword with a brilliant light as she warned everyone, "There is stench of blood ahead!"
At the end of the hallway was a flight of stairs made of huge solid blocks of grey stones that clearly marked an entrance at the top.
Immediately the entire group quickly made haste as they ascended the long flight of steps!
When they reached the entrance, they were greeted by a gigantic huge chamber that was in similar gigantic proportions as the hallway behind them.
But only this time, there was a huge black stele and lying all over the gigantic chamber were dozens of dead bodies!
Yang Min immediately turned pale as she took a step back in horror!
Even Jing'Er was flabbergasted but it was not from the scene but from one man that was lying next to the gigantic black stele!
A dead man!
The dead man was none other than the Bai Liangong, the Martial Grandmaster of the Martial Deviant Clan!
He had died a gruesome death and his heart had been torn out of his body!
Yi Ping muttered as he took slow steps forward, "What is he doing here?"
Yang Min had quickly regained her composure as she dashed past Yi Ping to give the dead body a kick as she cried out, "Good! You are finally dead! You have ruined me!"
Everyone quickly fell into silence as Yang Min vented out her bitterness…
Finally the Celeste Wind Maiden quietly stepped forward to stop her, "That is enough…"
Yang Min burst out into tearful sorrows as she turned around.
Because Yi Ping happened to be standing behind her and also because she needed a shoulder to cry on, she fell into his embrace as she cried out incoherently!
Yi Ping was stunned when Yang Min had suddenly dashed into his embrace.
He was even more flustered when Jing'Er and Shi Shi had also surrounded him in an attempt to console Yang Min!
The Celeste Wind Maiden had kneeled down to examine the dead Martial Grandmaster before she said quietly, "He was killed by the Soul Chaining Aerial Fingers."
Lie Qing nodded after making the same observation as she said, "In other words, he was killed by Yong Le the Right Martial Protector."
Lele had drawn the same conclusion as well, "Internal strife. This sort of thing is always happening. But why would Yong Le wants to kill him?"
Youxue looked at the Goddess Isa as she said, "If the Martial Grandmaster is not injured by the Goddess Isa' ruse, he would not be in this state."
By now Yang Min had composed herself as she said with a deep flush after realizing that she had been crying in Yi Ping's embrace, "The dead here are mostly those that are loyal to the Martial Grandmaster. I have recognized most of them. Yong Le…has always been ambitious. I am not surprise if he did that. There are three other exits in this chamber. He must have taken one of these exits."
The Celeste Wind Maiden said, "Yong Le is one of the seven most formidable fighters in the Celestial Realm. I am even more surprised that he is able to heed under the command of another for so long."
The Sagess Ai laughed softly, "Xiao Qian, surely you are not thinking of leaving the Celestial Aiel Sect and to establish your own clan?"
The Celeste Wind Maiden said coldly, "Perhaps."
Han Lin laughed, "I hope that you are not serious. But if you are, maybe you can consider asking me as well!"
The Sagess Ai hummed coldly, "Han Lin, do you know what the rules are for betraying your own clan?"
Han Lin simply said, "I really can't remember! Jing'Er please help me to say something in fairness!"
But Jing'Er was looking at the black stele monument silently. She seemed to be completely mesmerized by it!
Finally she gasped out, "There is a celestial sealing within this stele monument…"
Everyone's attention was already on the black stele monument!
The Universal Old Man nodded as he pointed at the black stele monument, "This black stele monument must be familiar to some of you here."
Lingfeng, Han Lin and the Sagess Ai nodded at the same time…
Yi Ping smiled weakly, "What does it says?"
Lingfeng laughed softly, "I know you will say that!"
Lele sighed softly as she muttered incoherent, "I don't understand it too…"
Youxue was also smiling weakly…
The Universal Old Man laughed, "Let me show you!"
Yi Ping was bewildered, "Show? How?"
All of a sudden the Universal Old Man hit the black stele with an execution of his Ultrapowerful Force with a mighty impact as he shouted, "Like this!"
Immediately there was a thunderous martial force explosion that shook the vicinity!
The martial power of the Universal Old Man was startling!
Yi Ping was startled for the explosive impact of the Ultrapowerful Force matched the Asper Divinity Horizon Hand!
The Universal Old Man laughed jovially, "I have just overcome my divinity calamity so therefore I don't need to conserve my true strength anymore!"
He stole a look at the Sagess Ai who was utterly stunned by his martial display and he was immensely proud of himself!
While the monument black stele did not even bulge at all from the sudden manifestation of the Universal Old Man's martial force, the entire chamber was suddenly vibrating furiously as though an earthquake had suddenly occurred!
Suddenly the gigantic chamber appeared to be moving and shifting shape!
When it had ceased, a black portal had appeared from one of the walls in the black chamber!
The Sagess Ai asked, "What is this?"
The Universal Old Man laughed, "This black portal will take us directly to the upper levels of the Stellar Sanctuary!"
Yi Ping was astonished as he asked, "There is a shortcut?"
The Universal Old Man nodded, "It is only discovered by the Heaveness on our third attempt here. This shortcut will be able to take us to the tenth level of the Stellar Sanctuary. This will save us the time and get us ahead of the others. Do you know that the first ten level of the Stellar Sanctuary is like a gigantic maze? It is because the floors and levels of the Stellar Sanctuary are always changing every now. If we are not careful, we will either be lost or died from its numerous traps."
Han Lin clapped her hands as she exclaimed happily, "Wonderful! There is a shortcut!"
The Sagess Ai was looking at the Heaveness as she asked, "You have actually discovered this shortcut?"
Lingfeng looked at her curiously, "Don't tell me you did not know about that?"
The Sagess Ai sighed sheepishly, "I really did not know…"
Lingfeng said quietly, "At the thirty level of the Stellar Sanctuary, there is an inscription that describes how to do so. You have to hit the formation center of the black stele with enough martial force. Failure to do so will result in a severe repercussion."
The Ultrapowerful Force was an external martial power skill that released a tremendous amount of martial force with a single impact!
The Universal Old Man laughed jovially as he said to everyone, "Come let us hurry and enter this portal!"
He had already dashed into the dark portal!
Yi Ping hesitated for a while because he could not see past the portal but it did not take him long enough to follow right behind the Universal Old Man.
As Yi Ping dashed into the portal, he could feel an electrifying sensation tingling through him and he was immediately surrounded by darkness!
While he was startled, he was not afraid at all.
In that split second, he could see the stars beyond the darkness!
But before he could appreciate the beauty of the dark heavens, he was pulled into a bright light and he found himself staggering forward in another gigantic chamber!
The Universal Old Man was smiling at him as he laughed, "Do you feel wobbly? Don't worry, it will past quickly!"
Yi Ping smiled weakly at his protégé master as he looked at his surroundings keenly. He did not feel wobbly but rather, he had a weird familiar feeling about it. As a matter of fact, he was reluctantly to leave the darkspace!
He was soon joined by the other maidens who had all stepped forth from the dark portal.
Only Lingfeng, Lele and the Goddess Isa did not seem to suffer from any ill-effects as they exited from the dark portal but for the rest of the maidens, they appeared to be nausea and were holding each other weakly!
Jing'Er and Yang Min seemed to be hardest hit. They were extremely pale!
Yixian looked at the gigantic pillars quietly as she said gently, "This place is like the same place that we have come from but is only subtly different. There are many stone beasts that are engraved in the walls here."
The Sagess Ai nodded as she said quietly, "That is where the Stellar Sanctuary really becomes very dangerous. Welcome to the true face of the Stellar Sanctuary…"
Youxue had immediately noted that there were seven passage ways and she had an uneasy feeling all of a sudden…
Yi Ping asked, "So we can take this dark portal back to the first floor?"
The Universal Old Man laughed, "Unfortunately it is a one way portal. We can only move forward and never backward."
Yi Ping muttered, "We can only move forward from now on…"
Lele had walked quietly next to the Goddess Isa, "Hey! Do you care to shed some clues for us in the Stellar Sanctuary? Surely with your attainment, you must be really experienced way in and way out in this place. It is not forbidden to share this knowledge now that we are in the Stellar Sanctuary?"
The Goddess Isa was startled that Lele had dared to approach her without feeling intimidated by her icy cold aura and moreover Lele did not seem to be suffering from any ill-effects!
She asked Lele, "Impressive. You are not affected by the Heavenly Stellar Formation."
Lele laughed softly, "I have seen even more impressive formations than this. This is nothing to me. You haven't answered my question yet."
The Goddess Isa replied coldly to Lele, "Don't ask me. I have never been to the Stellar Sanctuary before."
All of a sudden Yi Ping, the Universal Old Man and Lingfeng the Heaveness were stopped in their tracks by her sudden proclamation!
The Universal Old Man stammered, "You have never been to the Stellar Sanctuary?! Then how did you get your divine sword and achieve such a stunning level of attainment?"
The Goddess Isa may be able to hide her real state of divinity but when she had fought with Yixian the Celestial Fairy previously, her true level of divinity was revealed to be an Ancient Celestial!
Maybe even higher!
That was the conclusion of Yixian and Lie Qing after the duel!
Lie Qing was the first to ask this question, "In my opinion, the fighting level of this Goddess Isa exceeds anyone that I have ever seen. Though Shen Xingyue is able to move as fast as her but she is not able to defend and attack at the same time while she is doing speed attacks…"
Yixian closed her eyes as she visualized the battle with her again as she replied gently, "When I am fighting her, I can feel the surge of her martial skills. But that is not her limit. I can feel it. Or rather, she seems to be restricted by her internal injuries. And when I…"
She hesitated briefly for a while before saying firmly, "When my Heaven Eyes is opened, I can feel that I can still go further beyond my speed. However, my mind is strong but my flesh is weak. In the end I am still unable to go beyond my physical limitations. That is why I think that if the Goddess Isa isn't injured, she can still stretch her physical limits even further."
Lie Qing shuddered when she had thought of that, "So you think that this Goddess Isa is really an immortal practitioner like the Goddess Celestial Alice?"
Lie Qing concluded softly, "If there is one immortal practitioner then there must be others too…"
Yixian said, "And it appears that it is the immortal practitioners that have guided the celestial practitioners from the lower realm to this realm which we call the Celestial Realm."
Lie Qing asked, "They must have hailed from the Immortal Realm if that is the case."
Yixian said, "May or may not be the case. We don't know their true purposes yet or maybe they are testing us…"
Lie Qing said unhappily, "I don't like this feeling at all. It is like someone is watching us."
Back to the present…
Lie Qing said to the Sagess Ai, "And you too. Do you think you can fool my eyes? Or shall I call you the Goddess Aiel instead?"
Lie Qing looked at the Sagess Ai before looking at the Goddess Isa, "So my two goddess, am I right to say that the two of you are no strangers to each other? But how long exactly have you known each other?"
The Sagess Ai hummed coldly.
Lie Qing said coldly, "What interesting feud did you have with each other?"
The Goddess Isa looked shyly at Yi Ping before she said aloud, "Aiel, you don't have to tell them anything. It is our personal feud. It is none of their concerns."
All of a sudden the Sagess Ai completely paused in her tracks as she turned around to ask Lie Qing, "Who is the one that instigate you? The Heaveness?"
Lingfeng hummed softly, "Definitely not! I am not interested in your affairs!"
She smiled alluringly as she looked at the Goddess Isa, "But as for her, I will be delighted to know her who she is really is."
The Goddess Isa smiled coldly, "You think you are able to?"
Lingfeng smiled alluringly, "Since you are new to the Stellar Sanctuary therefore I must warn you first that having mutual trust is important here."
Youxue smiled coldly, "Sister Lingfeng is right. Don't you think so too, Brother Ping?"
Yi Ping sighed softly as he looked at Youxue and Yixian, "As long as they did not harbor any ill-intentions toward us, it is really their secrets. Let's us not forget how the Celestial Mistress had helped us so surely she is not our foe. As for the Goddess Isa, we could not have possibly escaped from the camps of the Martial Deviant Clan unscathed without her aid."
While Yixian gave a slight nod but Youxue continued to smile coldly as she said unconvinced, "I do want to believe that she has good intentions but don't you think that it is too bizarre if we do not question her? Fancy the Celestial Mistress of the Celestial Aiel Sect that we all know as enemy of the major celestial orthodox clans has now become the Sagess Ai who is actually one of the two Ascendant Custodians of the Holy Ascension Sect?"
Youxue had suddenly shot her mesmerizing eyes at Lingfeng, Yi Ping, the Sagess Ai and the Goddess Isa as she said coldly, "Does the Heaveness knows her as the Celestial Mistress, the Sagess Ai or the Goddess Aiel?"
Lingfeng replied with a soft sigh, "The Sagess Ai. I didn't know that the Goddess Aiel and the Sagess Ai is actually the same person. But I do know who is the Goddess Aiel. The Goddess Aiel is the high priestess of the Eternal Goddess Celestial Alice, the Goddess of the Pangu Clan and she dwells in the Celestial Realm…"
Lingfeng hummed coldly, "I must say what a surprise."
The Universal Old Man immediately rushed to defend the Sagess Ai, "That is only because she did not want anyone to accord her any special treatments…"
Lingfeng the Heaveness smiled alluringly, "Oh really? The Goddess Aiel led us on a crusade against the Dragon Clan and promises us a place in the Celestial Realm. But she had remained on the lower realm. What is her purpose?"
The Universal Old Man pointed out, "That not possible. You know that she is in the Celestial Realm with us or else we wouldn't have acquainted with her. For a time we have even fought against the monstrous denizens of the Celestial Realm together!"
The Sagess Ai hummed coldly, "I am glad that you still remember that."
Lingfeng ignored her while continued to say coolly, "When she had first appeared to us, she had with her a divine sword, the Heavenly Tears Divine Sword. But she doesn't have that sword anymore…"
The Universal Old Man laughed merrily as he pointed at Yixian, "That is because the Celestial Fairy has her divine sword now!"
Lingfeng nodded, "And that divine sword is known as the Heavenly Earth Sword. It is also the founding heritage artefact sword of the Melody Palace!"
The Sagess Ai laughed softly as she turned to glance at Han Lin, "So what then?"
Han Lin smiled weakly, "Yes, so what?"
Lingfeng looked at them piercingly, "She can't possibly appear in two places at the same time. When we found a way back to the lower realm, a Goddess Aiel the Heavenly Tears had already founded the Melody Palace. And the Heavenly Earth Sword was left behind in the lower realm. That is to say, our Goddess Aiel here can move freely between the two realms…"
The Goddess Isa hummed coldly, "So what? That is not really a great feat. If I want to, I can traverse to the lower realm too."
Lingfeng snapped her fingers, "Only the immortal practitioners can do that!"
The Goddess Isa replied quickly, "Not all obviously. The Icy Dragon Maiden is also an immortal practitioner. She can't do that for sure."
All of a sudden she had noticed that everyone was looking at her with startled expressions!
She asked curiously as she blinked her eyes, "What is wrong?"
Han Lin moaned, "You shouldn't have said that and now…"
Lie Qing continued for her, "…everyone knows that the three of you are immortal practitioners!"
The Celeste Wind Maiden looked at Han Lin and the Goddess Aiel coldly, "To think that we have been together for so long and only today did I know that you are immortal practitioners. Very good, very good!"
Jing'Er was flabbergasted, "Our Celestial Mistress and Han Lin are immortal practitioners?! So is the Goddess Isa?"
Lele demanded an explanation, "Han Lin, why didn't you tell us?"
Lingfeng asked coldly, "So may I know what brings three immortal practitioners to the Stellar Sanctuary if it isn't for the immortal practice intricate heart formula?"
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The Universal Old Man was stunned, "Ai…Aiel…is an immortal practitioner?"
Yi Ping was stammering, "You are all immortal practitioners?"
Lingfeng explained to him, "If they are immortal practitioners then they are one step ahead than anyone of us. You must know that since time immemorial, mortals have been thriving to reach the Celestial Realm. And these practitioners are known as the celestial practitioners. But for those immortal beings that we know that are from the Celestial Realm, they are known as the immortal practitioners and they have been trying to ascend to a higher realm which we all known as the Immortal Realm."
The Universal Old Man nodded, "But alas! For the Ancient Celestials like us it is too hard for us to fathom the mysteries of a higher state of divinity without any guidance. In order for us to translucence this realm, we have to thrive to ascend to the Immortal Realm. But we are not in a real sense the true immortal practitioners like the Goddess Celestial Alice who can remain indefinitely in this realm. It is because our divine calamities simply get more and more powerful each time…"
The Goddess Isa interrupted softly, "You are partial right and partial wrong. Like you, we also have our own heavenly tribulations to overcome and cannot remain here indefinitely. But one day, we will surely ascend to the Immortal Realm because that is our given destiny!"
She seemed to be so sure of that!
Yi Ping, Lingfeng, the Universal Old Man, Youxue, Shi Shi, Jing'Er, Yang Min, the Celeste Wind Maiden, Lie Qing, Lele and Yixian were all startled!
It was because they were all equally surprised that the immortal practitioners were not spare the heavenly tribulations!
The Universal Old Man asked, "If the immortal practitioners also have their own share of the heavenly tribulations then how did you manage to survive for so long…"
Yi Ping murmured as he recalled the dark abyssal vortex that he had seen in the Astronomic Stellar Formation, "That is right…"
The Goddess Isa had a spark in her eyes as she said, "Heaven's secrets. It is forbidden…"
But Yi Ping simply said out of the blue, "That is because they have a way to delay the inevitable through their superior divine state. In reality, the divine calamities that occurred to us are the same as them. So in a real sense, they are able to stay on for indefinite even when we have all passed on."
The Goddess Isa, the Goddess Aiel and Han Lin turned pale immediately!
Judging from their startled expressions, Yi Ping had made the correct guess!
But before Lele, Lie Qing or even Lingfeng could question further, there was a thunderous roar that shook the entire chamber!
Almost immediately, an overwhelming killing malevolent was piercing the hearts of everyone present!
Lingfeng, the Universal Old Man and the Goddess Aiel were suddenly warning panicky, "Everyone find a place to hide immediately!"
The Heaveness and the Goddess Aiel had immediately scale up to the ceilings of the gigantic chamber with a few quick movements while the Universal Old Man was cursing as he ran up a stair, "I should have focused on my lightness skills…"
Something terrifying was approaching them!