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"THE MARTIAL KING" SEASON 3, EPISODE 44"

THE MARTIAL KING

 Season 3

Episode 44

(Zen unshaken determination)

Zen's soul was getting roasted by the flames. In spite of his strong will, he couldn't bear the excruciating pain. He trembled and moaned in pain as he rolled side to side on the ground with his hands covering his head.   

 He found it hard to stand up, let alone take another step.     

Zen slid on the 2, 000th step and eventually fell to the 1, 999th step.    

 Although he had to endure the pain of the soul thorns pricking him when he went down to the 1, 999th step, he looked so much better. He looked up at the steps above him and sighed, "This is harder than I thought. How can I overcome these obstacles?"    

Zen had an iron will and never backed down from any challenges or difficulties. He triumphed over many predicaments with his perseverance.   

But for the first time, he doubted himself.    

 The remarkable flame was terrifying and overwhelming.     

"I can't quit now even if I want to," Zen murmured. There was no way he could back out now that he was inside the fairy palace. Besides, Saul told him that he would be accepted in the fairy palace if he could pass this stage of the test. 

    However, he couldn't even stand up steadily at the 2, 000th step, so how could he possibly move up another step?     

Zen's soul had great strength that could withstand any pain, so there was no reason he should fear being burned by the flames.     

His soul had been exposed to the black fire in his brain. The flame that he was now encountering was not even close to the power of the black fire.   

But then, Zen could not endure the pain of his soul being burned.    

 "No, it can't be like this!"    

The soul test was indeed quite dangerous. The puzzle must be difficult, but it could not be unbreakable. There must be a way to deal with this.   

  Zen stood at the 1, 999th step and thought for a while. His face lighting up with an idea, he said, "Ah! How can I be so stupid to have forgotten about the state of forgetting myself?"    

Back when Zen was mastering the Spiritual Thorn, he inadvertently discovered the state of forgetting himself. In the sphere of nothingness, his consciousness would become subtle and he could ignore himself as if becoming the second person.    

 If he entered that state now, he could completely ignore the pain of his soul being burned. This was the only way he could think of that could help him pass the 2, 000th step.   

Thus, Zen closed his eyes and began his meditation. The moment he opened his eyes, he could feel nothing.    

 He felt as if the world had lost ties with him, including his own body.     

Zen was now ready to try the 2, 000th step again. With this renewed determination, he said to himself, "All right! Let's do this again!"   

 In his state of forgetting himself, Zen walked up to the next step.     

When he finally reached the 2, 000th step, he felt so much better. The flame still burned his soul and he could still suffer a sting of pain.    

 But since he entered the state of forgetting himself, he could endure the pain and ignore it completely.    

 Now that he made a way to ignore the pain, he continued to move on and finally reached the 3, 000th step.   

As he continued to ascend, the difficulty level of every 1, 000 steps became higher.    

 He might have found a way to surpass the challenge at the 2, 000th step by going into the state of forgetting himself. But he didn't know what was waiting for him on the 3, 000th step.     

When he took a step on the 3, 000th step, he waited for something to happen. But after a while, he was surprised that nothing he imagined ever happened. 

    There was neither soul thorn nor flames that could burn souls. It felt that he was back before the 1, 000th step again.     

Zen was doubtful, 'It can't be this easy, can it?'    

As he observed, the farther he got into the soul test, the harder and more complex the test would be. There was no way that they would let Zen pass the test that easily.   

Zen tried his luck and walked up a few more steps to see if anything would change. To his surprise, there still wasn't anything unusual.     

"Well, I don't know what is happening. But this must be my lucky day!" Zen murmured as he went up straight. He could not comprehend what was happening with the test. If there were no more obstacles, he could finish the test in no time. But if there were, he was ready to deal with anything.     

After he took a dozen steps from the 3, 000th step, he suddenly felt a gust of wind pass through him. It was so strong that he could not see clearly.    

 When the wind had passed, a lot of fierce creatures were approaching Zen from the higher steps.     

The beasts looked like the monsters crawling out of the hell and each seemed to be ten times more powerful than Zen. No, they were one hundred times more powerful than him.   

Zen got anxious at the sight of the beasts coming towards him, but he quickly calmed himself.     

He took a deep breath and completely shut out the fear in his heart.     

Looking by the beasts' appearance, Zen felt they could tear him to shreds in an instant.     

But since this was the soul test, the purpose of these beasts was to test his soul and will.    

 With this thought, he knew not to be confused with appearances.     

"They are not real. The moment I think they are, I will lose," he whispered to himself and repeated this like a mantra. Thus, he stood his ground and watched as the beasts rushed towards him.   

  Truly enough, the beasts were not real. They passed right through Zen and instantly vanished.   

"Excellent! You have just reached the third but most dangerous stage of this test. If you had just a hint of fear in your heart at previous stage, the beasts would have devoured you!" Saul said from the outside. "As long as you can go through this stage, you will be successful to pass the entire test. Fight on!"    

Saul said. This confirmed Zen's assumption that fear would have ended his life. If he showed a little fear or violence, the beasts would devour him.  

   Though it wasn't like the previous test where physical endurance was required, it was the most challenging for Zen.     His life depended on his mindset.    

 It was a test in between fantasy and reality. Zen admired the deity's tricky but wonderful mind for that test.     

Now that Zen knew the difficulty of the tests he could possibly face, he became more vigilant.   

After passing through that level, he continued to move up.    

 As he took his steps, he could smell blood and the thick mist around him slowly turned blood-red in color.    

 Zen caught sight of a man in a snow-white robe. Zen could not see the man's face clearly, but he looked familiar to him, the figure at least.    

 "Father!" Zen exclaimed in surprise.    

 Zen could not be mistaken. He knew the figure very well as it was imprinted in his memory even after all these years.    

 Mike was the name of Zen's father and he died three years ago. And every time Zen remembered his father, his heart was filled with endless sorrow. Until now, he had not told Yan the truth because he didn't know how.   

The moment he saw his father, he could not help but feel excited.     

He called him repeatedly, but the man didn't respond.     

When Zen slowly stepped forward, the man suddenly looked up at him. Zen was surprised to see a face with no flesh at all.     

He was stunned and froze in fear.     

The skeleton let out a terrible cry and suddenly attacked Zen.    

 The skeleton was coming at him on high speed and there was no time for Zen to dodge. He suddenly felt a terrible pain as if his soul was torn apart.     

"Ah!"    

Zen screamed in pain as the skeleton munched on his skin.     

The pain of the soul being eaten was extremely excruciating.   

If he could not snap out of this illusion, the skeleton would eat him to death.    

 Zen was screaming with pain when he heard Saul's voice, "Hold on to your belief!"    

"My belief?" Zen mumbled. His eyes widened in bewilderment, "What is my belief?"    

Despite the pain of the skeleton munching on him, Zen reflected on his belief.     

Since his father's death, Zen's heart hardened like solid rock.     

When he encountered an illusory devil transforming into a group of fierce beasts, he was able to calm himself down and eventually passed the stage.     But when the illusory devil turned into his father's image, it hit him hard. He became vulnerable.    

 'My… my belief... is the relentless pursuit of martial arts mastery. Since I decided to follow this path, I must go on, and no one can shake my determination.' At first, he couldn't figure out his belief out of the pain. But with focus, he was able to remember what he believed in and what pushed him to take the test. 'Even if my father stops me, I will not falter or give up! No one can ever stop me in mastering martial arts!'  

His eyes now glowed with fortitude.     The skeleton slowly weakened until it finally disappeared.     

Zen gasped for air and sighed with relief. If his determination wasn't firm, his soul would have been bitten to death.    

 Without wasting any more time, Zen stood up and kept moving up. When he finally reached the top, the surrounding slowly changed and he found himself back in the hall again.    

 "Congratulations! You have passed the Soul Test! Now, you are considered the temporary owner of the fairy palace," Saul greeted Zen and smiled at him with excitement.
_________


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