He stood on the small mountain as the sea and the island shook. His white clothes fluttered as he gazed at the boundless thunderclouds. His expression turned stern, his gaze emotionless.
Xiao Chen looked like the final warrior of a desolate city facing a massive army of men and horses instead of thunderclouds.
Far in the distance, in the vast horizon, a bolt of lightning lanced through the air, heading for Xiao Chen without any warning. It crossed a few thousand kilometers in an instant.
Xiao Chen drew his Lunar Shadow Saber. He moved even faster than the lightning. His cold, sharp saber silently hacked the lightning in two.
“Come,” he whispered as he looked at the horizon. He could feel the Heavenly Dao’s existence in the thunderclouds.
The moment Xiao Chen spoke, ten thousand bolts of lightning flew over like arrows from the distance. The resonant thunder made the sea surge.
“Bang!” The island broke free of its connection to the bottom of the sea and drifted along on the water, bobbing up and down with the huge waves.
Ten thousand arrows fired together. However, these arrows were not arrows. Instead, they were all lightning that could easily pierce through the sky. The sheer number of lightning bolts overwhelmed the thunderclouds, looking like a dense clump of electric light.
Xiao Chen’s face sank. His flicked his wrist, and the Heavenly Sage Laws in his body moved. A hundred lightning flood dragons instantly took form and swam around him, forming a protective sphere.
“Ka ca! Ka ca!”
Intense clashes and explosions resounded one after another. The ten thousand bolts of lightning struck, and the lightning flood dragons did their best to combat them.
Occasionally, a bolt of lightning penetrated the lightning flood dragons’ encirclement. Xiao Chen swung his saber and hacked it to pieces.
The one hundred lightning flood dragons did not last long in the end. The arrow-like lightning inflicted grievous damage, a very sorry sight to behold. The lightning flood dragons vanished one by one.
Fortunately, not many of the ten thousand bolts remained. Xiao Chen did his best to repulse them.
Every time he swung his saber, some electricity lingered in his body. When it accumulated to a certain level, the final bolt of lightning that he hacked to pieces served as a primer to trigger the electricity in his body, causing it to erupt.
“Bang!” The blast knocked Xiao Chen flying. He vomited a mouthful of blood, and his grip on the Lunar Shadow Saber loosened.
The wave had just finished when another wave began. Suddenly, a bolt of golden Divine Lightning descended from overhead. Everywhere it passed, space crumbled, vanishing to nothing; not even fragments of space remained.
This was the famous destructive Divine Lightning. When Xiao Chen saw this scene, he could not help but curse in his heart. The Lightning Tribulation of his Cultivation Technique actually called out the Divine Lightning of a Greater Heavenly Martial Emperor’s tribulation.
The destructive Divine Lightning before him might not be of the same level that Martial Emperors had to face, but it was a bona fide destructive Divine Lightning. It could destroy space and swallow up all things.
Xiao Chen held both his hands up to the sky. Strands of purple Heavenly Sage Laws poured out of his palms. The thumb-width-thick purple lights intertwined with each other to form a circular protective net flickering with dense electric light as it soared up.
“Ka ca!” The destructive Divine Lightning pushed against the barrier for three seconds before breaking it easily and continuing to descend.
Xiao Chen pushed off against the ground and burned all his Vital Qi. One thousand five hundred tons of force surged out like a river, blasting that bolt of Divine Lightning.
A loud explosion resounded, and Xiao Chen got ruthlessly smashed downwards. His skin charred, and injuries covered his body, looking very miserable.
Fortunately, the horrifyingly destructive Divine Lightning shattered into countless sparks with his powerful burst of strength; he managed to clear this wave.
The charred skin slowly started to split apart, revealing smooth new skin, displaying the recovery abilities of a Rank 3 Sage Body right here.
However, Xiao Chen smiled bitterly. This newly grown skin was definitely very weak. The injuries that he would suffer from the next bolt of lightning would be even more painful.
He trembled at the thought of having to withstand a protracted cycle of getting burned and recovering. This would be a very horrifying pain to endure.
Unfortunately, his guess was extremely accurate. Following this were all sorts of named Divine Lightning: golden light Divine Lightning, void Divine Lightning, immortal Divine Lightning, blood demon Divine Lightning, apocalypse Divine Lightning….
A total of eighty-one bolts of Divine Lightning fell one after another. After Xiao Chen used his full power to block each time, he would get blasted until his flesh tore apart.
Then, his Rank 3 Sage Body would recover before suffering another blast. He did not even have the chance to scream in pain; his mind nearly shattered.
The island was long gone, blown to bits. Xiao Chen floated on the seawater, and the Sea Monarch Headscarf sent out a cool and refreshing sensation. He carefully opened his eyes and saw the clear blue sky with no clouds for thousands of kilometers.
The sunlight was very glaring. He asked doubtfully, “Is the Lightning Tribulation over?”
Xiao Chen got up and sat down on the surface of the sea. He stretched his arm out, and his severely mangled skin started healing slowly.
With the strong recovery ability of his physical body, his body automatically healed itself from the inside out. Soon, he was sound once more.
The sunlight from the sky was somewhat dazzling. The seawater was calm. Xiao Chen took a look and muttered, “The Lightning Tribulation is over. Next is the Heart Tribulation.”
Ao Jiao, who was in the Immortal Spirit Ring, laughed happily. She flew out and stood on the surface of the sea. As she looked at Xiao Chen, she said, “Congratulations, congratulations. You endured eighty-one bolts of Divine Lightning.”
As an Item Spirit, Ao Jiao feared such lightning the most. She would not come out unless the Lightning Tribulation was over.
Xiao Chen relaxed and smiled. “Ao Jiao, I’m not dead!”
“You already cleared eighty-one bolts of Lightning Tribulation. You will definitely clear the Heart Tribulation as well. You will not die and will be fine forever.” Ao Jiao revealed a rare warm smile, encouraging Xiao Chen.
Xiao Chen said gently, “I’ll not die. I still have not fulfilled the promise I made to you. How could I die before that? Sooner or later, I will make a trip to the Eternal Heavenly Sword School.”
The expression in his eyes turned even more determined. No matter how hard the Heart Tribulation was, he, Xiao Chen, would surely clear it.
He had shouldered too many—way too many—burdens. The grace that the Thunder Emperor showed him, the eradicated Dragon’s Gate, or even the Dao in his own heart, they were all far from settled.
Back then, the Azure Emperor had wandered everywhere unrivaled, accomplishing all sorts of glory. Xiao Chen had to walk his own path, freeing himself from the legend of the Azure Emperor.
He was not the Azure Emperor or the Thunder Emperor. He was Xiao Chen. He had his own pride.
A Heart Tribulation was the attack of a heart demon. If one’s mental state was not perfect, one would never be able to come out of the illusion created by the heart demon, dying within it.
Xiao Chen scooped up a handful of seawater and washed his face. He thought to himself, A heart demon is best at attacking when a cultivator is off-guard, catching them when their will is at its weakest. From now on, I have to do my best to deal with it. I cannot be careless.
He sat on the surface of the sea and calmly waited for the heart demon to attack.
The sea and sky are vast. Birds and fishes move about freely. As long as I can clear this stage, the great Dao after this will become clear. The seventh layer of the Purple Thunder Divine Incantation will bring a great change as I tear apart the veil of mystery.
Come! Xiao Chen revealed a determined expression. Let me see where the openings in my heart are.
I really don’t believe that a heart demon can cause me to wander for eternity, unable to come out.
Xiao Chen focused completely amid the calm winds and quiet waves, not daring to relax at all.
For a while, his surroundings appeared incomparably silent. He could not help but feel suspicious. Could the so-called Heart Tribulation be just a rumor?
Were the records of the Purple Thunder Divine Incantation wrong? Otherwise, why has the Heart Tribulation not arrived yet?
Suddenly, Xiao Chen’s expression changed. When he had opened his eyes, the thunderclouds in the sky had already vanished, and the Lightning Tribulation was over.
Here was the problem: when had he closed his eyes? He did his best to recall but realized that he could not remember when he had done so.
Xiao Chen thought about it, and his mind filled with boundless lightning. Bolt after bolt of legendary Divine Lightning descended, mangling his flesh and revealing his bones.
Yet, due to his strong physical body, he recovered rapidly, restarting this inhumane torture once more.
With that painful torture cycling over and over again, how did I faint?
Under that situation, fainting was an extravagant hope. Unless I died, that pain would not let me remain unconscious.
Have I really cleared all eighty-one Divine Lightnings?
Xiao Chen’s complexion paled as he suddenly got up. He broke out in a cold sweat. His body had suffered endless torture. No matter how strong his will was, he would not be able to hold on. What would happen when his will weakened?
Needless to say, the answer was naturally that the heart demon would attack him.
What about the previous Ao Jiao? No doubt that was the heart demon’s handiwork.
“Good! Good! Good! I, Xiao Chen, always considered myself a smart person with a strong will surpassing that of others. I believed my mental state perfect. To think that I nearly killed myself!”
A self-mocking expression appeared on Xiao Chen’s face as he smiled bitterly. He had been foolishly waiting for his Heart Tribulation to happen, not realizing that he was already deluded.
As Xiao Chen thought this, the sky and sea before him blurred slightly. He said calmly, “Ao Jiao, come out for a while?”
Ao Jiao, who was within the Immortal Spirit Ring, flew out, her tiny face filled with confusion. She even asked begrudgingly, “Why are you not focused on waiting for your Heart Tribulation and even called me out?”
Xiao Chen stretched his arm out and waved. The Lunar Shadow Saber appeared in his palm. As he looked at this familiar girl, he did not say anything.
A saber light flashed, and Ao Jiao’s head separated from her body. He attacked decisively, not showing any mercy.
Suddenly, the scene before him changed. His consciousness slowly blurred.
The rumbling thunder resounded without end. The boundless seawater rose in large waves. Rain fell endlessly. The thunderclouds overhead roiled. Lightning tore through the dark sky. This was a scene of Armageddon.
Xiao Chen lay on the seawater, moving together with the waves. The skin on his body was no longer intact. His body was horribly mangled. His eyes squinted in intense pain, causing his body to twitch continuously.
The lightning descended too rapidly for the recovery ability of his Rank 3 Sage Body to keep up. The wounds around his eyes came in contact with the salty seawater, preventing him from opening his eyes.
Any tiny movement caused Xiao Chen heart-wrenching pain.
He had a bad feeling in his heart. He endured the agony and forced himself to open his eyes and look up.