Chapter 779: The Hysterical Dance Of The Demons
Translator: Sparrow Translations Editor: Sparrow Translations
The Golden Cicada Master was still dressed like a young monk as he positioned himself in the middle of the void. However, the aura of Buddhist light emanating from his body was starting to recede.
In the void above his head, the shadow of a giant cicada shimmered into vision. The surface area of this giant cicada was slightly bigger than that of even the Fangzhang Celestial Mountain.
The giant form of an insect, while it was charged with the freedom of the Buddha, it was also extremely frightening and possessed an overwhelming and overbearing aura.
People like Liang Pan, Lin Feng and Zhu Hongwu were not too distressed by the aura. What triggered their strange reactions were that there seemed to be a dreadful and deathly aura surrounding the giant cicada. It gave off a dreary feeling that could envelope people, even Lin Feng and the others, in a haze of great terror that came from the deepest parts of their hearts.
Lin Feng was familiar with this concept of power. He had experienced the very same aura from the black chess piece of the Vipralopa Chess Game on top of Mount Yujing.
It was the energy of the Power-Destroying Catastrophe, of the Five Decays of Heaven and Man!
Even this demon could channel the power of the Power-Destroying Catastrophe.
Lin Feng watched the Golden Cicada Master in silence as he listened carefully to the chirping of the cicadas.
When this demon joined the Great Thunderclap Temple to practice Buddhist mantras, the Vairocana Sutra had already been lost. Even after the multiple efforts to consolidate and arrange the remnants of the Sutra, the outline of the Sutra – the Vairocana Zen Palm Fist Print – was still missing. This was the reason why his mastery of the Buddhist mantras remained at the peak of the third-level Golden Form and he was unwilling to take the next step.
If he took this step, he would have face the phenomenon that would seize even immortal soul stage cultivators in apprehension – the Five Decays Of Heaven and Man, the Power-Destroying Catastrophe!
All man would perish in the end, in one way or another, and their fates and destinies would return into the earth. Death was the great fear of man, but there was something even more frightening – the devastation of the world, and the end of all fates and destinies.
Over the journey of his cultivation, Lin Feng attained greater a understanding of the cycle of fates and destinies and corrected a few of his misunderstandings in the past and understood a lot more than he used to.
Even third-level immortal soul stage cultivators were helpless when faced with the Power-Destroying Catastrophe, the Five Decays of Heaven and Man. Once the Catastrophe hit them, they would be struck down on the spot.
The Greater World on the path of the Omega, the end of times, the arrival of the apocalypse – nobody could escape this fate.
The birth of destiny-level magic treasures was one of the solutions in the perennial struggle to find a way out. A great number of powerful cultivators also put in a lot of effort to increase their personal mastery in the hope of crossing the bitter ocean and reach the paradise on the other side.
As humans reached the third-level immortal soul stage, and as demon grand sages reached the third-level undying demonic soul stage, the path onward was the same. In order to raise their level of mastery, they had to put themselves through the Three Tribulations of Destiny.
The legendary tribulations of the Collapse of Destiny and the Apocalypse consisted of three parts. In the first stage, all beings that had life and spiritual energy and everything that was birthed by the destiny of the world had to accompany the entire world to go through the great tribulation of the Five Decays of Heaven and Man.
This stage was called the Alpha Destiny Tribulation, and was also known as the Power-Destroying Catastrophe, the Five Decays of Heaven and Man.
This phenomenon originated from the most mysterious sea of the Grand Celestial Seven Seas – the Death Sea.
The Death Sea was quite unlike its counterparts such as the Starry Sea, the Void Sea and the Ying Sea. The other seas had a fixed geographical location, but the Death Sea was nowhere to be found but seemed to be omnipresent at the same time.
Once powerful third-level immortal soul stage cultivators had reached a certain level of mastery and mustered enough courage, they could attempt to communicate with the Death Sea. Once communications were established, they would bring an instance of the Power-Destroying Catastrophe upon themselves.
The self-initiation of the Power-Destroying Catastrophe meant that there was no other way for the cultivator to defend himself. He could not use destiny-level magic treasures as well as the Power-Destroying Catastrophe was targeting him and him alone. There was no way he could use self-destructive methods to overcome it either.
The arrival of the Power-Destroying Catastrophe there meant that the cultivator could only rely on his own personal mastery to resist it. Failure simply meant he would pass into the void on the spot.
Even if he was able to pass the test of the Power-Destroying Catastrophe, all was not yet fine and dandy. The Five Decays of Heaven and Man would hang around his neck like an albatross, and would cause him great agony. He would have to search for exotic items and other esoteric methods to beat this malady and recover.
If he was able to resist the first instance of the Power-Destroying Catastrophe, it could be said that he had reached the Cardinal Tribulations Beginning Stage.
The meaning of the Cardinal Tribulations Beginning Stage was that this cultivator was able to resist and survive his first instance of the Power-Destroying Catastrophe, or even several more. The process of repeated recovery and the survival after every instance of the Power-Destroying Catastrophe constituted the tough journey of personal development beyond the third-level immortal soul stage. However, he would not be able to go beyond this stage if he was unable to recover by himself and required external help. This cultivator would be able to repeatedly increase his level of mastery by continually plugging the gaps in his masteries and grinding his foundations till the point where he was beyond the Cardinal Tribulations Beginning Stage.
The Cardinal Tribulations Beginning Stage could be said to be a stage, but it was more like a journey or a process. This path could only be taken by those who had reached a certain level of the third-level immortal soul stage and mustered enough courage to do so. Once they had reached a point where they no longer needed external help to recover from the damage done from every instance of the Power-Destroying Catastrophe, they would have officially completed this stage and they would ascend into the Cardinal Tribulations Final Stage.
Even cultivators in the Cardinal Tribulations Final Stage would still suffer from the Power-Destroying Catastrophe and there was still a limit to the number of times they could attempt this tribulation. However, if they were not completely ravaged in the process, they could recover by themselves in a relatively shorter period of time.
At this point, these cultivators could channel the Power-Destroying Catastrophe themselves as an offensive move. However, they would have to go through the agony of the Power-Destroying Catastrophe themselves in the process of wielding it. This was the reason why the Cardinal Tribulations Final Stage was also known as the Vipralopa Stage.
There were two main criteria to determine whether one was in the Vipralopa Stage. Firstly, this individual would be able to recover by himself after each instance of the Power-Destroying Catastrophe. Secondly, this cultivator would be able to channel the Power-Destroying Catastrophe himself as an attacking move.
This was the reason why cultivators in the Vipralopa Stage could have greatly varying levels of mastery. There were different mantras and foundational standards in the first place, and the number of instances of Power-Destroying Catastrophes that they could take were different as well. Some people could only sustain a handful, but others could survive a lot more.
Between them, without using the Power-Destroying Catastrophe as an offensive move, there were differences in abhijnas and mana strength as well.
Destiny-level magic treasure had different limits for the number of Power-Destroying Catastrophes that they could take. With the help of their masters, they would be able to recover in a certain period of time after experiencing an instance of the Catastrophe. The only thing was that they would be unable to initiate the Catastrophe by themselves. Destiny-level magic items had their own variances in powers and abilities, and when faced with Vipralopa Stage cultivators, victory can only be determined by an actual battle.
It was hard to say whether Vipralopa Stage cultivators would be able to emerge victorious against destiny-level magic treasures using their own abhijnas and mantras and without channeling the Power-Destroying Catastrophe.
However, if the cultivator channeled the Power-Destroying Catastrophe, the victor would therefore be determined by which party was able to survive a greater number of instances.
During the battle of Xiling City, Lin Feng used the black chess piece of the Vipralopa Chess Game to damage the Saintly Celestial Sword and forced back Xin Longsheng.
Xin Longsheng was unsure as to whether Lin Feng was actually in the Vipralopa Stage, or he was just using some special method to channel the Power-Destroying Catastrophe. However, the Saintly Celestial Sword was far too important to Mount Shu, thus he was unwilling to gamble that the sword was able to take a greater a number of instances than Lin Feng could.
If that was not the case, if Xin Longsheng himself was in the Viralopa Stage, he would have fought Lin Feng to the very end to determine who could take more instances of the Power-Destroying Catastrophe.
The Golden Cicada Master was the Golden Cicada Grand Sage of old. Even though his mastery of the Five Tathagata Dharmas of the Compass was incomplete, which was also the reason why he was unwilling to risk experiencing the Alpha Destiny Tribulation with just his Buddhist abilities, his mastery of the Buddhist mantras brought his demonic abilities to another level. He had already ascended beyond the third-level undyimg demonic soul stage and completed the Alpha Destiny Tribulation with his demonic powers and was currently in the Vipralopa Stage.
The Golden Cicada Master watched the Fangzhang Celestial Mountain and said nothing more as the chirping of the cicadas in the void chained together with such seamless harmony that it felt as if this was the only sound left in the world – it was just the endless and eternal ear-splitting symphony of cicada chirps.
Liang Pan and Zhu Hongwu glanced at each other. “Hongwu, you might have to push forward the original plan.”
Zhu Hongwu answered, “Yes, your majesty.”
Liang Pan shook his head lightly and said, “If my original body was here, I might have been able to challenge the Golden Cicada Master with the Fangzhang Celestial Mountain by channeling the power of the Ying Sea.”
The Fangzhang Celestial Mountain was still connected to the Ying Sea via the golden chains of runes and glyphs. Faced with the incessant chirping of the cicadas, the chains were starting to decay and rust but Liang Pan was holding on through his communication with the Ying Sea.
The endless rays of dull golden light receded a little and transformed into a sphere of light. Between the illusory transformations of space-time, its surface area began to minimize as its power started to concentrate onto a single point. It felt as if the entire power of the Ying Sea was collapsed into the center of the light circle.
The power of a Destiny World was unleashed. The light circle resembled an independent world, and even though it was not as profound as a Destiny-level magic item, its strength was greatly increased as it battled against the demonic powers of the Golden Cicada Master.
“Even though the Fangzhang Celestial Mountain, along with the power of the Ying Sea, cannot be considered a destiny-level magic item, it’s still more powerful than a third-level immortal soul stage cultivator. If you don’t channel the Power-Destroying Catastrophe, you may not be able to break the Celestial Mountain.”
Liang Pan smiled faintly and said, “I wonder how many times can you survive the Power-Destroying Catastrophe?”
There was one more thing that had yet to be spoken, but everybody understood what his words meant. If the Golden Cicada Master used the Power-Destroying Catastrophe as an offensive move, and even if he was victorious, the Fangzhang Celestial Mountain would be completely ruined by the continuous struggle against repeated instances of the Power-Destroying Catastrophe.
Besides the fact that the destruction of this mountain was a regrettable act in itself, this Celestial Mountain was intricately connected with the life of the Ying Sea. In the end, the Golden Cicada Master ran the risk of provoking the entire Ying Sea. If the Ying Sea condensed the entirety of its power to resist him, the Golden Cicada Master would be stuck between a rock and a hard place even if he was in the Vipralopa Stage.
This consequence had been exemplified by the powerful cultivators that ventured into the Ying Sea all those years ago.
The Golden Cicada Master still wore that glittery smile on his face as his voice rang out from between the chirps of the cicadas. “Master Liang, you are a true tactician and you can be considered one of the giants of the era. The Great Zhou Empire has finally flourished and has firmly planted its feet into the history books.”
“However, you are too ambitious and too hasty as well. If your original body and the Imperial Palace were here, then you probably would have an eighty-percent chance of pocketing the Penglai Celestial Mountain. Even though you’ve lost the Yingzhou Celestial Mountain, you’ll return with something – you would have brought the Great Zhou Empire to another level ever since the War of Buddha Annihilation.”
“It’s a pity that the Great Zhou Empire wants to swallow all three Celestial Mountains. You’re just building castles in the sky.”
The Golden Cicada Master chuckled and said, “Lei Yuan, do you want the Penglai Celestial Mountain that’s still undiscovered, or the Fangzhang Celestial Mountain that’s right before you?”
A giant gash appeared in the sky as a giant Golden Roc burst into sight. It had wings to huge that it could eclipse the world as golden light sparkled in its cold demonic eyes. This Golden Roc had a dense and formidable aura, and it was the Golden Roc Grand Sage that had assimilated the Hades’ Dark Mantra all those years ago inside the Cloud Forest World.
Lin Feng, Liang Pan and Zhu Hongwu’s eyes turned solemn and serious as they witnessed the grand arrival of the Golden Roc Grand Sage.
Purple energy surged about the golden feathers on his wings, and the rippling of his demonic powers was far greater and terrifying than their last encounter in the Cloud Forest World.
There was another beast by his side. It had a pair of wings on its back and a porcupine-like hide but had the physical appearance of a cross between a tiger and a cow. The evil aura that it emanated made his identity obvious – it was the Qiong Qi Grand Sage.
A formation map glimmered above his head with an intense radiance that seemed to pierce through the heavens as the starlight of the Nine Luminaries sparkled and flickered.