The battle royale raged on in the battlefield. As time went by, fewer and fewer people remained standing, and the vast battlefield no longer seemed cramped anymore.
Ye Futian and the others stood quietly at a corner. With the Sacred Fire Sect defeated, nobody dared move against them. However, it was not just Ye Futian. Many top-class figures remained standing tall in their own corners, nobody daring to move against them unless they were looking for a fight, kicking others out of the game.
Eventually, the elder overseeing the battles at the sky stairwell announced, "Cease fighting." Many who were still engaged dispersed as soon as the announcement was heard. The Nine Word Ring at the nine major positions dimmed and the screen disappeared.
The violent battle royale ended right there and then. It was rather harrowing seeing those left standing on the battlefield for everyone there, as only 3,000 people were left out of all the mighty ones who participated in the first place.
The remaining 3,000 were, without doubt, some of the very best every corner of the Barren State had to offer.
Many moved from the Holy Zhi Palace, cleaning up the battlefield and clearing out the injured or the dead. There were mighty ones from the Sacred Fire Sect carrying the body of Du Ao away with cold expressions on their faces. Of all the ones from Sacred Fire Sect who fought, only Xie Ji alone was left in the battlefield. It was hoped that he could show his mettle in the next battle and avenge Du Ao's death.
The battlefield was quickly cleaned up and the remaining 3,000 stood in staggered positions on the field.
The elder on the sky stairwell looked at them and continued, "There will be holy tablets descending upon the next battlefield. Those who do not see themselves fit to continue, please leave the battlefield. Only 1,000 out of the 3,000 standing will remain. The 1,000 who remain will be the candidates to enter the Holy Zhi Palace. Many among these 1,000 will become disciples of the Holy Zhi Palace. As such, please do your best to withstand the pressure brought forth by the holy tablets."
All 3,000 who remained right now were figures with serious backings. For instance, great forces like the royal family, the Zhuge family, White Cloud City, and others. None of them came and fought alone. Even Ye Futian had his entourage with him. Many of those who did not have allies before the battle royale found theirs in the battlefield. As such, while the 3,000 who remained were no doubt excellent figures themselves. The selection process was not a complete one.
The pressure from the holy tablets coming up next would have selected 1,000 out of the 3,000, making them true candidates for entering the Holy Zhi Palace and becoming disciples.
It all began from the nine Holy Roads. Through multiple selection processes throughout the journey, the best of the best among the Barren State elite were to be presented before the Holy Zhi Palace.
"In the next stage, nobody will be allowed to rely on external instruments or implements of anything. Anyone who is found using such objects to resist the pressure from the holy tablets will be fouled immediately," the elder on the sky stairwell continued. Many mighty ones flashed about and came to the rear of the participants, unleashing formless pressures as if they were to isolate the battlefield.
"The holy tablets now, please," the elder on the sky stairwell announced. The vast field turned eerily silent, and the ones standing far away looked in the direction of the Holy Zhi Palace. Nine dazzling beams of light appeared and the winds howled in response. One holy tablet after another flew down from the sky stairwell and made their way down like ghosts.
The holy tablets were as per their namesake, huge stone tablets, and each and every one of them was infused with different kinds of powers. Many below began to feel themselves trembling as the tablets made their way down, feeling a formless pressure bearing on them. Said pressures were so powerful that images popped in some of their minds.
Boom, boom, boom… Nine tablets descended from the sky and landed before the Holy Zhi Palace. Huge stone tablets of three zhang-tall each appeared before the masses and positioned in an arc.
Bam, Bam! Rumbling noises were heard as soon as the holy tablets took their positions, and many were heard groaning. A considerable number of people were thrown off, and they kept going back.
For cultivators, the strength of one's spiritual will was the key to one's training. This will was a kind of talent on its own, and one that was very, very important. If the strength of one's spiritual will was weak, one could only go so far with their training. It was precisely this reason that the selection process with the holy tablets took place. Furthermore, participants only had their own prowess to rely on, and no one could help anyone.
If one failed to pass the trial, they were out of the game immediately.
At this very moment, Ye Futian took one step back to steady himself as well, his eyes staring right at the holy tablet before him. The tablet was a fiery red color. It felt as if a figure clad in terrifying flames walked out of the tablet as he fixed his eyes on it.
The figure was a great one, seeming like a god of fire itself. It took fearsome steps in his direction, putting more pressure on him with every step. He instinctively wanted to retreat, yet what happened right there alone was part of the test, and he knew that retreating was not an option.
Spiritual will attacks were some of the most mysterious powers there were. They did not look real, yet they felt every bit as real as tangible attacks. Ye Futian knew that the holy tablet stood where it was, yet what he saw at the moment was no longer a tablet, but a manifestation of flames taking steps in his directions, trying to burn him into cinders.
He felt his own will and body burning, and it was an excruciating experience. The figure seemed far, yet it seemed near at the same time. It took one step after another at him, yet the figure never seemed to reach him. Despite this, the pressure grew as every second passed, making things feel more and more unbearable.
Sun flare flashed and blossomed, and a sun was seen right behind Ye Futian. As the will of the flames were unleashed, he closed his eyes to bear the might of the violent burning intent, resisting the pain adamantly. He even began to comprehend the terrifyingly fiery powers within.
"Jieyu," Ye Futian shouted softly, out of concern for her. The advent of the holy tablets brought nothing but unbearable pain to everyone present. Any lapse in concentration could have brought the thorough collapse of one's will.
The test could have been conducted by mighty ones from the Holy Zhi Palace by having their imposingly powerful bodies unleash the amount of pressure required. However, as no one was entirely clear of selfish motives, absolute fairness could not have been guaranteed. The holy tablets, however, ensured the same amount of pressures was put on everyone. Anyone who failed to withstand such pressure would be eliminated.
Hua Jieyu was withstanding excruciating pain herself. She was sitting right beside Ye Futian, conjuring a formless spiritual power and encasing herself in it to resist the overwhelming pressure.
Boom! Someone was struck by lightning and thrown off immediately, landing hard on the ground and throwing up blood. Sages outside the battlefield came to their aid, swooping down from above and hauling the person outside. That person was apparently one who simply lacked the strength yet chose to hold out nonetheless, and their body finally gave under the immense pressure. Some of those who followed the geniuses were eliminated one by one as well.
There were also Starry School students by his side who gave under the pressure. Qin Yin's body shook lightly, and excruciating pain was easily seen from her face. She threw up blood all of a sudden as her body shuddered. She was thrown behind and was kicked out of the battlefield right there and then.
The pressure lifted off her immediately. Qin Yin turned to look in Ye Futian's direction. Xuanyuan Bashan, Xie Wuji and Zui Qianchou remained where they were, holding on, yet she, the daughter of the Sage of Mount Jiuxian, failed.
Her eyes looked dejected. Qn Yin knew it was probably due to her esteemed status on Mount Jiuxian and being a daughter doted on by her father. Her birth and status resulted in her lacking in experience with the world, and she had never withstood such pain in her life. All that resulted in her weak will in the face of intense pressure.
An esteemed family background did not guarantee excellent talents after all.
There were many who were born into high places, yet those who truly shone were those who were able to make out on their own.
"Seems like I'm less capable than even a bird." Qin Yin looked at the Black Wind Condor right behind Ye Futian. The demonic beast remained seated quietly, and she had not expected the bird to have such remarkable prowess.
More and more people got eliminated, and the field was quickly reduced from 3,000 participants to about 2,000. The rate of reduction slowed somewhat after that, yet there were still many who gave out and were eliminated.
On the battlefield, Huang Jiuge's body remained upright, and three beams of glittering royal aura were released. He looked impressively regal, and it seemed he was engaged in some battle of wills, bringing his might to bear on his opponent.
On the other side, Bai Ze's, from White Cloud City, clothes were billowing and he looked just as impressive. His eyes remained fixed on the holy tablet, and it seemed that he held out well against the pressure.
Xue Que of the Tingxue House was practically clad in intense murderous intent, flaring about and cutting up any stream of will that intruded.
The nine swords rang behind Yan Jiu and they danced around him. The sword wills were as sharp as ever.
All those top class geniuses had already comprehended the noble will and sported power spiritual will. It was due to this that they were able to withstand such tremendous pressure, with some even fighting the wills that were intruding their minds.
Ye Futian withstood the pressure hard, yet he did not use the power of the emperor's will. The pressure would have been nothing to him if he did so. As the process itself was a trial of sorts, he wanted to experience the strength of the pressure exuded by the holy tablets personally, as it would help a lot with his training. After all, in his fights in the days to come, there would definitely be those who would have simply bring the might of the noble will to bear on him through purely spiritual will attacks.
Ye Futian gradually grew accustomed to the pressure of the fiery will. While the pressure was intense, feeling like terrifying flames burning up his mind, Ye Futian grew capable of withstanding its onslaught. He threw his eyes open and went on to face the second holy tablet. It was a purple tablet, one that seemed to be clad in countless streaks of lightning.
The streaks of lightning fell onto him the moment Ye Futian laid eyes on that tablet. Terrifying will of lightning intruded his mind, making his body flinch. The streaks of lightning ran all over his body, with every streak feeling like he was being struck by lightning bolts. The air above him seemed to have manifested a formless lightning storm that was out to bomb everything below to dust. A figure clad in intense lightning seemed to be standing at the center of the space, casting down the power of lightning to attack him.
Starry will appeared in his mind, protecting his spiritual will from being harmed. The stars that were protecting his will, however, were continuously blown off under the assault of the lightning bolts. It seemed to be a message telling him that if he were to continue, his mind would be blown to smithereens and he would die right there and then.
The layer of protection by the stars collapsed again and again, yet sparks of lightning began to manifest within Ye Futian's mind. The growth of the sparks continued and the lightning born within him grew stronger and stronger.
A fearsome thunder dragon seemed to have emerged within his mind, unleashing terrifying lightning bolts itself to resist the intruding power of lightning. The power of lightning coursed through him and grew increasingly ferocious, turning into lightning storm out to crush everything himself.
"So this is the power of the will of lightning then." Ye Futian kept his eyes forward and a flash of lightning sparked within his eyes, holding out against the pressure of the holy tablet. Lightning-elemental noble will was born within him.
The holy tablets, when used to deepen one's comprehension, seem to be able to serve as tools for training!
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