Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Li Changshou stood in a neutral position on an ordinary-looking white cloud. He drifted at ordinary altitude and returned to the Little Qiong Peak in an ordinary manner.
Yet, his heart felt far from the peace he was expressing.
At first, he had successfully averted the responsibility of leading the team. He had not expected Youqin Xuanya to kick the role back to him out of nowhere.
Soon after that, she had even locked the door shut and placed two Heaven-Immortal-grade seals over it.
Fortunately, Li Changshou had already dumped the blame on Jiu Wu. He painted himself to be an innocent victim who had been played by his uncle-master. Now, he was not in that much danger.
As for ruining Jiu Wu’s reputation, he could not be blamed. Jiu Wu had set up the trap first. Li Changshou had only accidentally kicked the short Daoist’s head when he was trying to climb out of the pit.
In any case, nobody would stand up and fight against one of the Nine Jiu Immortals. One could say that the matter had come to a close.
Li Changshou pondered deeply in his heart why Jiu Wu would do something like that.
‘Perhaps the short Daoist found it fun.’
Jiu Wu had tried to encourage Li Changshou to make a name for himself while they had been drinking together the past few times. Jiu Wu had said that this would give him important opportunities to be nurtured.
Li Changshou could also feel that this uncle-master had a strange sense of responsibility towards him. For some reason, he wanted to make Li Changshou expose the fact that he was in the Sixth Stage of Void Return by leading the team this time. From there, he hoped the sect would pay more attention to Li Changshou, and do more to nurture this outstanding disciple into an immortal seedling.
‘Yet, to do it this way… is meaningless! You’re purely causing trouble for me!’
Li Changshou could not help but rub his temples.
His cultivation level was his biggest trump card. Even revealing a bit of his true cultivation level would increase the threat to his safety. Other people would begin to pay attention to him and even fear him.
The Immortal Du Sect looked harmonious on the outside, but there were many undercurrents. There were only that many resources inside the sect and yet the number of disciples on the various peaks kept increasing. The competition between the peaks was extraordinarily intense.
‘Do you think I don’t know how my master got injured back then?’
He did not have the exact evidence for it. However, after theorizing and verifying, he concluded that someone in the sect had set up his master!
Even after this, his master refused to talk about what had happened. Li Changshou guessed that the person who had plotted against his master was still relatively powerful in the sect. He must have wanted to paralyze Li Changshou’s master and break the Little Qiong Peak’s line of succession. However, Li Changshou’s master had worked hard to get back on the cultivation path and had not given that rascal another chance.
Immortal Du Sect’s rules were very strict. Disciples who had not ascended to immortality but who wanted to go out on expeditions had to first report to the Bai Fan Hall to make preparations. They were only allowed to step out of the mountain-protecting array after they got permission.
If these people were immortal seedlings who harbored great potential, the sect would even send Essence Immortals or Perfected Immortal out with them.
80 to 90 years ago, Li Changshou had already guessed that his master had probably gotten injured under one of a few circumstances.
First, he had gone out on an expedition.
Second, he had been in a competition within the sect.
The chances of it being the latter were higher.
A few thousand years ago, when Jiu Wu had entered the sect, he had taken Exalted Wang Qing as his master. He had started in a better position than most and advanced extremely quickly. He was from the strongest line of succession in the Heaven-Breaking Peak. He had been so sheltered that he could not see ‘dogs’, who would do anything for personal gain, in the sect.
Yet, Li Changshou could not help but guard against them. The Little Qiong Peak was the weakest in the sect. This made it necessary for Li Changshou to see through the peaceful environment and hold back one—cough—two, three… or even ten moves.
‘Forget it. What has happened has happened. There’s no suitable way to turn down this role.’
If he pleaded illness or said that he was showing signs of Qi Deviation, there was an 80% chance that the experts in the sect would step in and investigate his claims.
If he acted like he was having an epiphany at such a critical juncture, and insisted that he needed to go into seclusion to cultivate, there was a 90% chance that someone would inspect his body as well.
‘What if I beat Ling’e until she is half-dead and then say that I have to remain behind to take care of her?
‘Er, I’m just joking, I’m just joking. I couldn’t bear to hurt her. After all, she is the adorable junior sister whom I watched grow up…
‘I have a backup plan.’
In four days, he would depart for the East Ocean. As long as he did not speak unnecessarily and allowed Youqin Xuanya to become the true and indisputable leader of the younger team, Li Changshou would be able to remain inconspicuous.
For this, he decided… to adopt a certain persona. He would act elegantly, maintain a mild temperament, and dress plainly.
‘Speaking of which, when Youqin Xuanya went to the North Continent the last time, she probably suffered some kind of trauma. She went into seclusion for several years once she returned to the Heaven-Breaking Peak, and kept achieving breakthroughs in her cultivation level. She is now already in the Eighth Stage of Void Return. She has far surpassed her senior brother from the Heaven-Breaking Peak, who had been at the top in terms of cultivation.
‘That’s probably why Youqin Xuanya dared to step up today and take over the role by force.’
Achieving continuous breakthroughs was something that one could chance upon but not seek. It was not necessarily a good thing either. For all Li Changshou knew, this was a foreshadow of the Heavenly Tribulation that Youqin Xuanya would have to endure in the future.
The principle of more haste less speed applied to cultivation as well. The realm that Li Changshou was in was the same. He had to advance slowly and steadily, step-by-step, one breakthrough at a time.
About 60 years ago, when he had broken through the Void Return Realm in secret, Li Changshou had witnessed how the Heavenly Tribulation had disintegrated someone from his sect.
After that, he had begun to suppress his own cultivation level. He focused on comprehending the details at each realm, constantly revising what he already knew in order to learn more.
He made sure that he had a complete and solid grasp of every bit of progress. Only then would he take the next step. Also, he would do so cautiously so that he could increase the chances of survival through the Heavenly Tribulation.
At that time, Li Changshou had already made up his mind. Even if it took him 200 years to set a firm foundation, he would do whatever was necessary to prepare for the Heavenly Tribulation.
Yet, for some reason, his cultivation progress did not slow down because of this decision. Instead, it became increasingly hard for him to suppress his cultivation.
This was probably the unique trial that the Great Dao wanted to put him through.
When he returned to the Little Qiong Peak, Li Changshou saw his junior sister cultivating.
Li Changshou remained silent under a tree, and then shook his head and blessed Jiu Wu. He hoped the latter would have children soon, and that whether they turned out to be male or female, they would be eight feet tall.
Then, Li Changshou turned around and went back to business.
He began to create a folding Faraday Cage.
His master’s Heavenly Tribulation had already proved that the Faraday Cage could fend off and weaken the lightning’s power.
The Faraday Cage Li Changshou had made for his master had been blasted apart after channeling the first bolt of lightning away. However, he knew that the Heavenly Dao definitely permitted this thing.
One Faraday Cage could fend off one bolt of lightning?
That meant he had to prepare nine in order to make it through the Heavenly Tribulation without getting injured.
At that, Li Changshou could only shake his head and smile.
To his master, enduring the Heavenly Tribulation meant facing death. Yet, to Li Changshou, as long as he could be 90% sure that he would not die, it would be the greatest benefit he ever gained in his cultivation journey!
First, the Heavenly Tribulation was the critical step for cultivators to turn from caterpillars to butterflies.
Once the thunder tribulation descended, one would sublime.
The mortal body would be transformed into an immortal one, and the soul would form an immortal nascent. The one enduring the Heavenly Tribulation would be transported to a whole new world. At that moment, he would become a stronger ant in the Primordial World.
Apart from that, the Heavenly Tribulation was a chance to meet the Great Dao face to face.
If a cultivator could gain insight while enduring the tribulation, there was a chance that, at that moment, between life and death, they could see the difficulties of their cultivation journey ahead. Then, they might be able to ascend.
Immortal Du Sect’s records showed that Exalted Wang Qing had broken through the Perfected Immortal Realm an hour after enduring the Heavenly Tribulation. He had skipped the Essence Immortal Realm, but it had not resulted in an unstable foundation. Instead, he continued to progress in his cultivation journey with irresistible force.
The ancient texts also described cultivators ascending after enduring the Heavenly Tribulation in ancient times. Some of them had even managed to break through the Heaven Immortal Realm.
Of course, Li Changshou did not harbor such high hopes. He was aiming for much less.
He wanted to make it through the Heavenly Tribulation safely and make sure that his Dao base was complete and flawless.
In order to scale this high mountain of longevity, he had to have a firm foundation!
Li Changshou was creating this Faraday Cage to help him endure the final second last bolt of lightning.
He was certain that he had to endure the first few bolts because he wanted to reap the greatest benefits. Also, he was 100% confident that he could make it through them!
To ensure he was prepared for a breakdown of apparatus, this foldable Faraday Cage was the sixth one he was making in those two days.
With this powerful piece of equipment, he could be more assured of survival. In fact, he was 99% sure that he would at least be able to survive the Heavenly Tribulation.
In addition, he could make time to study the Inaction Sutra. Once he broke through the Ninth Stage of Dao Requital with that strong foundation, he could be 95% sure that he would smoothly endure the Heavenly Tribulation.
These were enough to make him put his life on the line.
It was also worth mentioning that in the early days of his cultivation journey, when Li Changshou had been calculating the chances of him making it through the Heavenly Tribulation, he had shamelessly assumed that he would be enduring nine bolts of lightning.
He was putting pressure on himself to remain humble and keep working hard.
Why was this shameless?
After all, only prodigies would endure nine bolts of lightning in the Heavenly Tribulation. Li Changshou did not think he was a cultivation prodigy.
It was just that while other people rested, he would use his spare time to train hard.
“Oh, yes! There’s another urgent matter. I’ll note it down.”
Li Changshou suddenly recalled something and stopped working on his cage. He retrieved a jade slip and used his spiritual awareness to write a title and a paragraph underneath it.
Etiquette to Adhere to When Enduring the Heavenly Tribulation
The Heavenly Tribulation is the Heavenly Dao’s training for cultivators. Although the Heavenly Dao is completely impartial, the Dao Ancestors probably gave the Heavenly Tribulation a hint of humanity when they formed it.
I will keep in mind the principles of being safe rather than sorry and not aiming for outstanding results but merely to avoid mistakes. When facing the Heavenly Tribulation, I have to pay attention not to point the middle finger or curse. I also cannot countdown the number of lightning bolts in my heart. I must keep telling myself that the Heavenly Dao is a great gift and the intersection of risk and opportunity. It is the fundamental calamity that proves everyone is equal.
I’ll first give the Heavenly Tribulation a Dao salute…
“Should I thank it? What if the Heavenly Dao delivers the first bolt of lightning while I am too busy thanking it?’ Li Changshou mumbled to himself for a while and then continued writing with his spiritual senses.
He had worked so hard and paid attention to such detail. Although he was already very skilled, he still had to prepare for the other aspects of enduring the tribulation several times.
Of course, he could relax with the Inaction Sutra.
Four days passed quickly. Li Changshou had been working for three and a half days in his Pill Chamber. He spent the remaining half a day assembling everything.
On the journey, 16 Perfected Immortals sat together with 11 disciples on a huge, white cloud. They each sat cross-legged, minding their own space.
A few Heaven Immortals took a cloud each. Those clouds floated above, giving them a bird’s eye view of the situation below.
Exalted Wang Qing was on the lotus-flower-shaped cloud, right in front of the group.
With so many experts guarding them, Li Changshou felt comfortable.
He was seated in the corner, enjoying the gentle breeze in the sky. His spiritual awareness was scanning his surroundings, and he held two paper dolls between his fingers.
As the true leader of the group, Youqin Xuanya was seated right in front. She was dressed in her favorite fiery red dress and had a delicate Phoenix tail hairpin on her head. Once again, she looked like a blooming Fire Spirit Flower. Her attractiveness and extraordinary pride…
As the fake leader, Li Changshou hid in a corner in the back. He kept his eyes narrowed as he meditated. His robe was clean, but it was very ordinary. Anyone could get their hands on a robe like that from the Bai Fan Hall.
Yet, it was obvious that Youqin Xuanya did not want to remain in front alone and be the image of par excellence.
Less than an hour after they started cruising, Youqin Xuanya elegantly and slowly stood up. She walked with her large sword on her back towards the empty space next to Li Changshou.
“Senior Brother Changshou,” said Youqin Xuanya in a low voice. “Can I sit here?”
Li Changshou thought, ‘You can sit down, but I’ll move somewhere else later on.’
“Junior Sister Youqin, don’t stand on ceremony. Please.” Li Changshou smiled and pointed to a spot slightly further away from him.
Youqin Xuanya nodded subtly, picked up her dress slightly, and then sat down, cross-legged. She looked extremely elegant as she did so.
Li Changshou subconsciously glanced at her hands…
She was wearing a thick pair of gloves, which did not seem to match her dress.
It was quite considerate of her.