Chapter 11 – Four Great Tribulations

“Since you’ve arrived, Ji Ning, that means we are all present. Let’s head out tonight to the tribulation area, then,” Immortal Diancai said.

Ning and Immortal Fivecraze exchanged a glance, then both nodded. “Fine. We’ll head out tonight.”

This tribulation had to be kept top-secret. Ning and the others didn’t dare be even the slightest bit careless. Even during a normal situation, one would have to be extremely careful in attempting the Celestial Tribulation, but given that the Three Realms were currently in a state of chaos…Ning and the others naturally had to be even more careful than normal.

Late night.

Immortal Diancai, Immortal Fivecraze, Ji Ning, and the Whiteweater Hound stealthily used a spatial teleport to depart from Stillwater City.

……

In the air above an awe-inspiringly vast sea, a spatial ripple suddenly appeared. Three human figures accompanied by a large, snowy white hound appeared from within the ripple.

“Where are we?” Ning looked at the surrounding area. Because it had been his master, Immortal Diancai, who had used the spatial teleport, not even Ning knew where they were exactly.

“The great Darknorth Sea,” Immortal Diancai said. “The location that I’ve chosen for my tribulation is a minor world which I discovered by accident when I was adventuring through the Darknorth Sea as a child. This minor world was extremely well-hidden, and it is extremely well-suited for attempting the tribulation. Follow me!”

Clouds instantly appeared around them as Immortal Diancai used a technique to lead Ning, Immortal Fivecraze, and the Whitewater Hound in quickly flying forward. Soon, an island appeared in the distance. The island was scorchingly hot, as there was a live volcano atop it.

“The entrance to that minor world is within the volcano on that island.” Immortal Diancai led the group to fly into the air above the island, then charged straight into the mouth of the volcano.

The region within the volcano was extremely strange. A large amount of lava was bubbling and frothing about.

Immortal Diancai quietly glanced at one corner of it, a complicated look in his eyes. He said softly, “In my youth, I was young and arrogant; I roamed the world in a fearless, untamed manner. And now, I am about to attempt my tribulation…life truly is a marvelous, strange thing.”

Ning and Immortal Fivecraze could both sense that Immortal Diancai’s mood seemed rather off.

“For this tribulation…if I fail, I shall die!” Immortal Diancai said softly. “If I die…then I’ll reunite with you, junior apprentice-sister.”

Deep within his memory…

There was a young, carefree, brilliant genius youth; Immortal Diancai, the number one peerless genius of his generation within the Black-White College.

With him was a reincarnated Immortal maiden who was known as Fairy Drizzlerain, and who had countless admirers and pursuers.

They adventured together, shoulder-to-shoulder, expericing life-and-death events together. They had roamed through countless places, entering mountain ranges and passing through seas. And then, one day, they had encountered an ancient Primal-level Fiendgod of fire. The ancient Fiendgod had emerged from within the lava…and their parting on that day truly became an eternal one. The flames of the Fiendgod caused his junior apprentice-sister’s soul to be shattered…

“Master.” Ning was shocked. His master was actually planning to die if he failed?

It must be understood that the Celestial Tribulation was extremely dangerous; even the Goldlotus Primal would be heavily wounded. Some would realize halfway through the tribulation that they wouldn’t be able to succeed, and so they would give up, choosing to become a Loose Immortal. Because the amount of damage sustained by each person’s Goldlotus Primal was different, the purity of the elemental ki would vary amongst Loose Immortals. Formidable ones were comparable to peak Void-level Earth Immortals, while weaker ones might only have elemental ki comparable to early-stage Void-level Earth Immortals.

Some Earth Immortals, however, would go welcome the tribulation with the intent of rather dying to it than giving up!

This did indeed give someone a significantly higher chance of overcoming the Celestial Tribulation. But at the very end, if they failed…then their souls would be shattered!

“You still haven’t forgotten.” Immortal Fivecraze shook his head.

“Forget? Why should I forget? How could I bear to forget?” Immortal Diancai replied softly.

Ning said, “Master, leave yourself a sliver of a chance, so that you can have a chance at reincarnation. If you fail in this life, you might succeed in the next one.”

“No need to try and dissuade me.” Immortal Diancai shook his head. “My decision is made. Let’s go. Let’s go inside.”

Whoosh!

The lava below them suddenly parted as Immortal Diancai led them deeper downwards. At the very deepest part, a winding tunnel suddenly appeared. Immortal Diancai led them through the tunnel in an extremely familiar manner, and a dark cave soon appeared before them.

“Go in.” Immortal Diancai led Ji Ning and the others to fly into the black cave.

……

This was a world that was filled with an infinite aura of death. Even the mountains had turned black, while the earth itself was a sickly yellow. Not a single hint of green could be seen, and no ordinary grass lived here. This world only had a strange type of vegetation that was pitch-black and covered by spikes.

Whoosh…

The side of a large mountain began to ripple and shake. Immortal Diancai, Immortal Fivecraze, Ji Ning, and the Whitewater Hound flew out from within it.

“Such a strong aura of death?” Immortal Fivecraze frowned as he stared at the surrounding area. “What happened to this minor world? Logically speaking, even if it suffered some sort of disaster, given the power of the Solar Star and the Lunar Star, it should have eventually recovered.”

“This was a world where a Fiendgod of fire hid within,” Immortal Diancai said. “The Fiendgod caused this minor world to become completely filled with lava, causing all the living creatures within it to perish. Although that Fiendgod is now dead, for this minor world to recover…a very long period of time will be needed.”

Ning nodded.

It was easy to ruin a minor world, but in order for it to recover, a million years would be needed or perhaps even longer. Only then would new vegetation arise and new creatures and birds be born.

“This minor world is extremely well-hidden, and it has no living creatures; I don’t have to worry about any ordinary life-forms being killed as collateral damage. It is very well-suited for my tribulation attempt,” Immortal Diancai said. “In a normal situation…chances of being discovered while undergoing a tribulation in such a well-hidden place should be very low. However, now that the entire Grand Xia world is in a state of chaos…I’ve heard that quite a few Void-level Earth Immortals have suffered attacks during their tribulations of late.”

“Right. All Void-level Earth Immortals choose extremely well-hidden places for their tribulations…but they were still discovered and assaulted,” Immortal Fivecraze agreed somberly. “We have to be careful.”

“Don’t worry, Master. Leave everything to me and big brother Fivecraze,” Ning promised solemnly.

“Alright.” Immortal Diancai nodded, then began to fly far away. Ji Ning, Immortal Fivecraze, and Uncle White hurriedly flew after him.

After flying for a period of time.

Immortal Diancai descended upon a wide area that had been completely scorched black. He then sat down in the lotus position…and began to wait quietly.

“After eight days, the Celestial Tribulation shall descend. Everything will be up to your master, then.” Immortal Fivecraze was worried.

“He will have to rely on himself.” Ning was worried, too.

When the Celestial Tribulation descended, all outside sources of help were forbidden.

Even Daofathers of the Great Firmament wouldn’t dare to intervene and assist others in their tribulations. If anyone tried to help someone else defeat a Celestial Tribulation…then the tribulation would instantly unleash a divine punishment upon the offender, even if the offender was a Daofather. If the Daofather immediately stopped, that was one thing, but if he tried to continue and resist…even the Daofather would be annihilated by the divine punishment!

Thus, from ancient days till now, no one ever dared to help someone else resist a Celestial Tribulation.

In addition…

Even setting up formations was considered ‘outside help’. If Immortal Diancai himself had been the one to set up the formations, that wouldn’t be as much of an issue! At most, the formation would be destroyed and the power of the Celestial Tribulation would be increased. But if someone else, such as Uncle White or Ji Ning, was in control of the formation…then the two of them would suffer divine punishment!

This was the reason why Ning hadn’t invited his master to go to Swallow Mountain for the tribulation.

There were far too many places in the world with extremely formidable formations. The headquarters of powerful sects all contained exceedingly mighty formations; for example, the formation within the imperial citadel of the Grand Xia was something which a major power had set up. If a Void-level Earth Immortal could temporarily borrow the strength of a formation to fight the Celestial Tribulation, then overcoming it would become far too simple!

Thus…

All sources of outside help were completely forbidden! The Celestial Tribulation was the test which all Immortal cultivators faced on their Immortal path! Even experts in the Dao of Formations such as Uncle White would only be permitted to use magic treasure formations, such as the Fuxi Staff Formation. When the Celestial Tribulation truly descended, they would be allowed to use the Fuxi Staff Formation to defend against it.

The [Heavenraker] and the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation] were all considered types of sword-formations.

However, formations that were locked onto one location and which were set up using precious ingredients were considered outside sources of help! [Heavenraker], the [Lesser Thousand Swords Formation], and the Fuxi Staff Formation, however, were all considered part of one’s own strength.

“Master.” Ning suddenly walked over.

“Yes?” Immortal Diancai raised his head to look towards Ji Ning.

“Master, I have five top-grade Immortal-ranked flying swords. If you use them, your chances of overcoming the Celestial Tribulation shall be greater.” Ning willed it, and five pitch-black Immortal swords suddenly appeared out of nowhere to hover next to him. These were the Heavenraker Immortal swords. Ning had already dispersed his elemental ki from within them; they had become ownerless items now.

Immortal Diancai was stunned. “Five top-grade Immortal ranked swords?”

“Top-grade Immortal-ranked…and five of them?” Immortal Fivecraze revealed a look of crazed joy as well. “Wonderful! Ji Ning, you truly have been hiding some incredible secrets.”

Ning laughed.

Items at the level of a top-grade Immortal-ranked flying sword could no longer simply be purchased; they had to be traded for! Five such swords, and all from the same source…they were far more valuable than the combined value of all of the Immortal swords Ning had acquired from killing the monster kings and that vile Patriarch. These were items from the underwater estate’s Treasure Hall; they were naturally exceptional!

“Take them,” Immortal Fivecraze said with a chortle. “Your disciple is telling you to use them; are you going to be wishy-washy about it?”

“Fine.” Immortal Diancai’s aura instantly changed. “With these five top-grade Immortal-ranked flying swords, my chances of overcoming the Celestial Tribulation shall be much greater…at least for the first three tribulations.”

The Celestial Tribulation was divided into a total of four great tribulations.

They were the wind tribulation, the fire tribulation, the thunder tribulation, and the demonheart tribulation!

The first three could be blocked, but they would grow increasingly powerful and terrifying; the vast majority of Void-level Earth Immortals would perish over the course of the first three tribulations. The thunder tribulation in particular…bolts of divine lightning would crash down, completely disintegrating the bodies of many Void-level Earth Immortals. The Goldlotus Primal would be heavily injured by the slamming thunderbolts, and many were so terrified that they would give up and flee, becoming Loose Immortals. In the past, Immortal Juhua had also failed during the thunder tribulation…and it was because he didn’t have any good Immortal-ranked magic treasures!

If he had top-grade Immortal-ranked magic treasures, given Immortal Juhua’s power and Dao-heart, he might’ve become a Celestial Immortal.

“Right. Your chances are now much greater…but you still need to be careful. The Celestial Tribulation…magic treasures are only one part of your power. When iron is being forged, it has to rely on its own innate hardness. The Celestial Tribulation primarily tests one’s personal power,” Immortal Fivecraze said seriously.

“I understand.” Immortal Diancai nodded.

Even many disciples of True Immortals or Empyrean Gods would fail during their tribulation. Generally speaking, disciples of True Immortals or Empyrean Gods all had top-grade Immortal-ranked magic treasures, and yet many still failed. Clearly, the Celestial Tribulation was different for each person! The more monstrously talented someone was, the more powerful one was, the more ridiculously terrifying the Celestial Tribulation would be.

……

One day after another went by

Immortal Diancai familiarized himself with the Heavenraker swords, then began to wait quietly. Ji Ning, Immortal Fivecraze, and the Whitewater Hound also quietly stood to one side, standing guard for him.

And finally…

Whoosh…

Suddenly, a gentle wind began to blow, rustling Immortal Diancai’s Daoist robes.

Immortal Diancai opened his eyes. “Senior apprentice-brother Fivecraze, Ji Ning, brother White…stand guard for me. My Celestial Tribulation has begun.”

Ning and the others could sense that the nearby wind was beginning to slowly grow increasingly fierce. They couldn’t help but nervously look towards the seated Immortal Diancai.

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