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Season 4

Episode 56

(The people he wanted to protect)

It was said that no one taking the test could earn fifty-five thousand points, and even the legendary Yehudi, who had reached the consummation was unable to hit that mark.

What did it mean, if it was beyond even Yehudi's ability to achieve? The significance to that revelation was that Zen's combat level was higher than the consummation. Added to that, Zen was probably comparable to a master in the Illuminating Soul Realm.

Everyone admired and hoped the best for him.

Rankings among the thirty-three peaks were determining factors in how the peaks fared and the award amount. The monthly pay of disciples in the top peaks, including Skytop Peak and Blackrock Peak would make the Drizzle Peak disciples green with envy.

Moreover, the Cloud Sect could send the masters of magic array to build magic arrays of a large scale as secret cultivating spots where the inner disciples from those peaks could practice their refining techniques away from prying eyes.

These secret spots probably couldn't compare to ones that were required to pay, but, that didn't make much difference because they were completely different from those on Drizzle Peak.

It was a rule of thumb at the Cloud Sect that only the powerful could enjoy better treatments.

Therefore, it was difficult for a powerful man to cultivate his skills at Drizzle Peak. In all the years of Drizzle Peak, only Yehudi, had risen so high, but, he remained stuck in the consummation, unable to achieve a breakthrough.

On the other hand, Skytop Peak and many other peaks attracted talented disciples yearly because of their competitive benefits.

As time went by, powerful men grew more powerful, and weak ones became even weaker. The gap only widened, gradually.

Although the situation improved with Aura's arrival, it would take more than just Aura's strength to make serious changes. Even Aura couldn't forcibly make the candidates choose Drizzle Peak over Skytop or Blackrock Peak and their perks. Why would they willingly come study at the least powerful peak of the Cloud Sect?

But now, finally, Drizzle Peak had a spark of hope. Zen was truly an exceptional disciple. Possessing such powerful strength, he might be able to compete with the talents from the other thirty-two peaks and win a better ranking among them for Drizzle Peak.

They might not have been dreaming as big as earning the top spot, but, even if Zen ranked in the top thirty to fifty disciples, Drizzle Peak would be rid of the moniker of being the worst ranked peak.

It was thought by some disciples that Zen would accomplish what Yan achieved that year.

Now, since Yan had only been incarcerated within Hell Mountain since two years ago, many of the disciples could still recall her brilliant record. As a girl, it was unusual for her to rank so high, but, she'd defeated so many opponents that she was a finalist. By her efforts alone, she earned the ranking of second for Lady Peak.

A lot of the disciples who indulged in gossip noticed that Yan and Zen shared the same family name, Luo, and whispers were abound that the two were brother and sister.

But, even with the resources available, the gossipers couldn't ferret out what relationship, if any, there was. All they could do was guess.

It was even more difficult to discern since Luo was one of the most common surnames in the world. How would they connect the two simply by a shared name?

After reaching the peak, Zen, Nory and the others who were just promoted to inner disciples underwent some formalities before trading the disciple cards and robes they had for new ones.

As part of his daily routine, Zen practiced at the Lake of Magical Fish as well as on the Seven Star Sword Light Platform. Here, he cultivated his entire corporeal body and the sword intent, respectively.

There were only two more months until the All Peaks Competition would be held which wasn't enough time in Zen's opinion. He needed every second possible to work on his refining.

Zen kept his routine for one week. No inner disciple dared challenge him. Even Yehudi realized that Zen surpassed him and gave up his plans of challenging Zen.

If he didn't challenge Zen, Yehudi could keep his pride, but, if he were defeated by a warrior at the nature level in grade two, like Zen, it would be mortifying for Yehudi.

At the end of the week, Aura came to Zen. Her news that she would be away for the following two months surprised him. She repeatedly advised Zen to practice hard over the next two months, and that she would return before the All Peaks Competition.

Zen didn't pay much attention to Aura's advice, but he was more interested in where she was going. Master Su seemed to be in such a hurry, which had him wondering if she'd met with some problem that was difficult to handle.

But, since Aura didn't offer an explanation, it would have been rude if Zen came out and asked her. When Aura was gone, Zen made a few discreet inquiries of the other masters at Drizzle Peak, but they didn't know either.

Zen thought back to several days ago, when he saw Aura sitting in the pavilion looking lonely. The sight of her affected him, and he found himself worrying about her. After all, she was the empire's princess.

He'd heard a rumor that the crown prince would most likely take the throne in a year.

Throughout history, every time a new emperor took the throne, it caused great strife and turmoil. The fight for the throne was crueler than what people imagined. Because failing was unacceptable in the fight for the throne, it would mean an endless abyss if the fight was lost. Barring death, nine generations of a family would face the humiliation of the defeat.

Whoever was to be the emperor had nothing to do with Zen, but, he was worried for Aura. Considering her identity, Aura wouldn't be able to avoid being involved in any disturbance.

As of that moment, Zen was unable to defeat either the eunuchs of the Burning Sky Palace or the masters of the Illuminating Soul Realm from the top seven noble clans, but, if anyone harmed Aura, Zen would defend her, without hesitation.

In the past, the only one person Zen wanted to protect was Yan. Rescuing Yan from Hell Mountain was Zen's greatest desire. However, now, he had two people he would protect, Yan and Aura.

Warriors attached great significance to always improving strength. Without it, everything was out of reach, like a fantasy. Until at last, they turned to bones and dust, becoming stepping stones for other masters, with no day of their own.

Thinking about that, Zen practiced more strenuously over the next months.

During those two months, every secret cultivating spot at the Cloud Sect was full of disciples. Mostly, it was the disciples who were chosen to participate in the All Peaks Competition that remained cloistered in the secret cultivating spots, training nearly all day, every day.

Even the disciples not selected to take part in the All Peaks Competition were feeling the excitement, and wanted to improve aside the inner disciples chosen. If they could break through their cultivation before the finalized list of competitors was announced, there was a slim chance to be selected.

Since only one person was permitted to enter a secret cultivating spot like the Lake of Magical Fish at a time, it was always a race to get there first.

Fortunately, Zen's endurance was greater than that of an ordinary warrior.

Generally, when someone entered the Lake of Magical Fish, that disciple would be finished after about two hours, Zen, however, would remain for six to eight hours at a time.

So whenever Zen finished training at the Lake of Magical Fish, he would see a long line outside as he left. Steward Cao would be scowling and then look over at Zen with a bitter smile on his face.

When Zen practiced with his sword intent at the Seven Star Sword Light Platform, he would challenge himself, working until he couldn't train more. With his efforts he could resist more and more Magnetic Auroras.

At the difficulty level of nine, there was a dream-like color across the surface of the Magnetic Aurora, and, depending on the sword intent, it became more difficult to cut through it.

When Zen challenged level nine for the first time, he managed to resist fifty-two waves of Magnetic Auroras. He wasn't satisfied with this result, even though Steward Song peeping at him seemed shocked.

Only the masters of the Illuminating Soul Realm could cultivate in the difficulty level of nine, and the weaker ones could only resist forty to fifty waves of Magnetic Aurora, but, Zen resisted over fifty on his first attempt. He'd only been at grade two in the nature level. If he advanced and entered the Illuminating Soul Realm one day, would he be able to easily resist a hundred?

However, Steward Song underestimated Zen's horrible perception.

The sword intent was more outstanding after he'd practiced with it many times, and the sword radiance became saturated with energy and sharper.

The second time Zen entered the level nine difficulty, he resisted sixty-nine waves of Magnetic Aurora.

On his third session, Zen managed to resist seventy-seven waves of Magnetic Aurora.

Steward Song became used to Zen's progress, still, he was puzzled by something. A few days ago, he reported to the leader how Zen was progressing with his training. He thought such a rare talent like Zen shouldn't go unnoticed at the Cloud Sect.

Steward Song believed that after he reported his findings, he would be given some reward, but, he hadn't expected for the leader's response to be one of denials.

Even though it was a mere two words of 'no approval', it gave him a lot of information. While the talented outer disciples were reserved for becoming inner disciples, the inner disciples could be promoted to personal disciples of some masters, and all disciples at the Cloud Sect were considered in selections by the lofty Cloud Hall.

The Cloud Hall wouldn't miss seeing a brilliant talent like Zen, neither should the Cloud Sect, so, he'd reported what he learned to the leader, to no avail. The reaction he received suggested there was something amiss with Zen, like he'd offended someone in a high position, or maybe he was wrapped up in something sensitive.

Compared to Steward Cao, who reported information repeatedly and ended up in trouble, Steward Song was much wiser. Aside from practicing at hidden cultivating spots daily, Zen had no free time. He spent his nights studying the Heavenly Ogre Fist.

As a fifth tier refinement method, Heavenly Ogre Fist didn't only offer Zen demonic life vitality. The first move he learned in the Heavenly Ogre Fist, Ogres Shaking the World, could only be used by consuming a large amount of Zen's life vitality and it could only attack one person at a time..

In the beginning, Zen thought the second move, Swarm of Ogres Surging, was a move to use conjointly, but as he meditated deeply, he found it wasn't that simple.

Swarm of Ogres Surging could turn life vitality into dark demonic phantoms. As Zen sat in a secret cultivating room, he entwined his fingers into each other, and twisted himself into a complex posture. "Swarm of Ogres Surging, now!"

came the monotonous sound as dark purple life vitality unfurled around Zen.



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