Sunset turned into twilight, and the evening mist gradually thickened.
Chen Mo recovered consciousness from his meditation. The last ray of sunset was currently receding. He did not know for how many hours he had meditated.
The time to the final juncture of this Divine Warrior’s court examination was imminent. Chen Mo noticed that he was unable to obtain the “tridacna” and “pearl” of the Buddhism Seven Treasures, each of which were worth one point. Although he had obtained five of the treasures and was still able to enter the Seven Treasures Pagoda, he was still short 7 points at only 21 total.
To pass the final seventh floor, he needed 90 points, which meant that he could not show the slightest error already in the Seven Treasures Pagoda’s trial.
Chen Mo urged on the Cool Breeze Bright Moon Escape, pondering and searching along the way to see if perhaps he could find pearls. Very quickly, the forest opened up, and a gorgeous pagoda appeared in front of him.
“Lotus Sutra, The Appearance Of A Treasure Pagoda,” said that “at that time there appeared before the Buddha a seven treasure pagoda, five hundred yojana in height and two hundred and fifty yojana in both length and width, which emerged from the ground and soared into the air. It was adorned with every kind of treasure, had five thousand railings, and thousands of chambers. It was decorated with countless flags, banners and hanging jeweled necklaces, and myriads of koṭi of jeweled bells hung from the top.”1
This Seven Treasure Pagoda before his eyes was vast, its windows shuttered. It had vermilion pillars and white walls, jade bells and colored glass sarira.
The treasure ksetra were full of robust spiritual power. Its aura shone gloriously, making people solemn.
Chen Mo sensed the Bodhi Treasure Karma quiver a few times, resonating with the treasure pagoda.
“Your Highness, you finally arrived.”
A worried voice interrupted Chen Mo’s thoughts.
There were four people waiting outside the Seven Treasures Pagoda. At this time, the sun was setting behind the western mountains. Warriors that were able to enter the building were all going in, none of them willing to delay. For vanity’s sake, faster entry into the treasure pagoda signified a warrior’s power was relatively stronger.
When he saw the people waiting for him, Chen Mo was a bit surprised.
They were the Xi Siblings, Zongzheng Ying, and Qing Wan.
“What were you doing waiting for me?” Chen Mo asked oddly, casting a glance at Qing Wan as well. For her to be able to reach the Seven Treasures Pagoda with only Qi Flower Stage, she did not disappoint him.
“Your Highness, surely you were unable to assemble all of Buddhism’s Seven Treasures?” Xi Wen giggled.
Upon entering the court examination, he had encountered the obstruction of warriors as well as the extreme battle against Tang Yunshen. How could Chen Mo have had enough time to collect the seven treasures. The Xi Siblings already anticipated something like this would occur. Xi Wen rummaged around and produced a few things. “Your Highness, please take whatever you need. Your accomplishments cannot be sabotaged because of the mistakes of those nasty people.”
Chen Mo smiled, not putting on airs. He walked over and picked up the tridacnae and pearl, “What about yourselves.”
“Be at ease, Your Highness, we all have everything.”
“Let’s hurry and go.”
After Chen Mo’s group entered the Seven Treasures Pagoda, a moment later, the last rays of sunlight vanished. The curtain of night was like a sheet, covering Great Chong Island.
Starlight twinkled, and a long, drawn out evening bell echoed through long through the starry sky.
Court examination, first round “candidacy qualification” concluded.
The interior of the Seven Treasures Pagoda was not large at all. It was a narrow space, and several hundred warriors were already congregated within. In the end, of the three thousand six hundred jinshi, less than three hundred qualified.
All of the warriors were currently in spirited discussion. On one hand, they were exchanging insights, and on the other, they were also narrating their experiences during the trial. They talked over each other, a very raucous environment like a market square.
After a flash of light at the main entrance, Chen Mo’s group entered.
The warriors who entered at the last second naturally drew everyone’s attention.
The clamoring atmosphere promptly fell absolutely silent. All of the warriors’ expressions first showed amazement and skepticism, which afterwards turned into jeers all around.
“I never expected Qi Flower warriors were surprisingly able to pass.”
“They really are lucky, to have made it at the last second.”
“Maybe they helped each other the whole way. How very exhausting, it’s truly moving.”
“Eh, isn’t that Chang’an Mansion’s Fourth Highness?”
“How can that be, Chang’an Mansion’s Fourth Highness dared to challenge Princess Yanyu’s character. How can he have entered the test center with an escort of Qi Flower Warriors. You must be blind.”
“Right, this is practically disgracing Chang’an Mansion.”
Every voice was as incessantly noisy as a tide. Some recognized Chen Mo’s status and thus taunted and mocked him.
As one whose fame spread all throughout Chang’an before, as a celebrity who was able to match Princess Yanyu measure for measure, Chen Mo barely passed at the very last moment along with a few Qi Flower warriors. This honestly was poles apart from his prior conduct and deeds.
Jiang Yanyu sat alone at a high place. She was the first to enter the Seven Treasures Pagoda, at the forefront of the hall. Nobody dared to get within a few meters of her. She glanced at Chen Mo, seemingly smiling.
“These ignorant fools.” Xi Wen grunted.
“Little Sister, do not mind them.”
“The court examination has always been like this. We came late, so naturally they will feel superior.” Chen Mo smiled.
Everyone was waiting for the court examination’s second round “high achievers” to begin. There was still plenty of time before that. Chen Mo found a place to quietly meditate and refine qi, using the Bodhi Soul Technique to cultivate the Black Turtle Seven Changes.
The Bodhi Soul Technique was able to thoroughly understand the theory and principle of all martial arts and powers in the world after combining it into his mind. For instance, take a hand technique. One would become a great master after sufficient repetition and experience. This kind of experience assimilated into the body after diligent efforts year-round, thus allowing a hand-to-hand user to reach a degree that would shock the average person.
Martial arts were the same. The accumulated experience of diligent cultivation could allow a martial art to become even stronger, for cultivation to reach higher levels. The Bodhi Soul Technique dispensed with this accumulation, directly transmitting the theory of a martial art into his true mind. His body naturally would have the experience that someone else would take decades of practice to make perfect. The Black Turtle Seven Changes was the imperial family’s country-protecting treasure. The comprehension of each change needed several years’ time. Tang Yunshen was abnormally talented and began cultivating this super first-rate martial art since he was three years old. After fifteen years, he merely reached Black Turtle Five Changes.
But in Chen Mo’s initial response, after a few short hours, he had already comprehended to Black Turtle Three Changes.
Chen Mo was astonished to find that at the same time he cultivated the Black Turtle Seven Changes, it was also able to stimulate a warrior’s potential and could accelerate the cultivation progress for those below Thunder Tribulation. This simply was a treasure for creating a genius. No wonder it became the country-protecting treasure.
A genius like Tang Yunshen, who trained the Black Turtle Seven Changes since he was little, reaching only Second Layer Thunder Tribulation at age eighteen honestly was already very slow. If it was not for Tang Yunshen’s proud and arrogant determination to break through Saint Of War and comprehend martial intent at Three Flowers Gathered Overhead, which squandered several years, it was extremely likely he could have cultivated to Fifth or Sixth Layer Thunder Tribulation instead.
When he recalled this Tang Yunshen, Chen Mo looked around and was unable to find any sign of this guy.
The Black Turtle Seven Changes would have aftereffects, but with his strength, passing the first phase should have been no problem. Don’t tell me he ran away? Chen Mo wrinkled his brow.
“Your Highness, there is something we forgot to tell you.” Xi Wen sat beside Chen Mo, speaking softly, her warm scent wafting. The girl’s lips moved close to his ear: “Tang Yunshen was killed by us!”
“You guys were able to kill him?” Chen Mo expressed his skepticism.
“Your Highness, you would not blame us for acting without permission, right.” Xi Wen said.
The court examination was life and death. As if Chen Mo would care about this. Besides, he also had the intention to kill him.
“Do not speak about this in public.”
“We know. Tang Yunshen vanishing without a trace is always better than death.” Xi Wen smiled.
“In reality, I find that you are the actual genius, Your Highness.” Xi Wen remembered the first time they met during the assessment in the underground palace. Chen Mo back then was only Qi Flower. In a few short months, he was able to comprehend Three Flowers and developed a Saint Of War’s martial intent. This was very abnormal.
Chen Mo smiled.
The two of them chatted some more. Qing Wan looked on expressionlessly at Chen Mo and Xi Wen’s close relationship, increasingly unable to see through him.
“Little Sister, don’t disturb His Highness’ cultivation. You had better quickly prepare for the upcoming assessment.” Xi Wu chided her.
Xi Wen pursed her lips, grumbling: “Big Brother, you yourself know that it’s basically impossible for Qi Flowers like us to make any achievements in the Seven Treasures Pagoda. To ascend the first floor is already very good. I’d better chat with His Highness because when I see His Highness in the future, I fear I would not dare even look at His Highness.” The implication was that by the next time they met, Chen Mo would perhaps already be Greater Thunder Tribulation God Transformation or Nothingness Return. She would not even dare face him directly.
Xi Wu was helpless.
“It’s fine, I’m very fond of chatting.” Chen Mo said.
“Brother Ying, did you help His Highness take note of the high achievers who are powerful enemies for His Highness, other than that Jiang Yanyu.” Xi Wen hollered.
Zongzheng Ying’s gaze was like a hawk’s, keeping alert about everyone. At the same time, he was probing the power of the successful warriors.
Given that Chen Mo was able to defeat someone of Tang Yunshen’s strength, there should be no other opponents aside from Jiang Yanyu, but Zongzheng Ying actually saw just one person worthy of fear.
“There is one!”
“What, there’s actually someone?” Xi Wen actually did not mean to say that.
“Even stronger than Tang Yunshen?” Chen Mo smiled and asked.
“Your Servant fears that he is not the least bit inferior.” Zongzheng YIng pointed to the front.
There was an open space at the front of his hall. There were only two people there, and they appeared very cheerless compared to this bustle. One of these people wore fluttering clothes, and her hair poured down like a waterfall, very dignified. She naturally was Jiang Yanyu.
The other sat close by. He was a very handsome young man dressed in Zen clothes. He radiated Buddhist light, and a heavenly dragon was faintly visible.
His sitting posture was very unusual, cross-legged with the soles of his feet pointed upwards. His hands were held in a Zen hand seal, positioned in front of his dantian. He sat with his back straight, his shoulders wide. His neck was angled like a hook, his chin pressed against his throat, his eyes were half-open, staring straight ahead. This seven-point sitting posture was known as the Approaching Sun Position. It contained the seven essential points for the body while meditating. Adopting this style could preserve a person’s Five Qi.
This seven point posture had another name, Solemn Lion Sitting Posture, because it was like a lion proudly trying to sit up to look about its surroundings.
This was a reserved cultivation technique of the Zen school that did not lose any of its imposing nature. Even if the average person sat like this, they would not be able to practice it. In the Zen school, some of the expert monks even were unable to do it. They could only use the lotus position.
To be capable of the Solemn Lion Posture, this person was not simple. No wonder people did not dare approach.
The man and woman sat at the front, just like a golden couple, the envy of countless people.
Chen Mo noticed that young man in the Approaching Sun Sitting Position was somewhat familiar.
“Fang Xi?” Chen Mo remembered. That time when he went to the Wanshou Temple, he bumped into a young man dressed in Zen clothes who seemed to be undergoing Thunder Tribulation tempering. Elder Sister even inquired about his name, which seemed to be Fang Xi.
Zongzheng Ying and the others were startled.
“So it turned out he is Fang Xi.”
“His reputation is well-deserved.”
It seemed he had a very big reputation.
“What’s his background?” CHen Mo asked.
The Great Chong Dynasty had “Three Dukes and Nine Marquis.” Fang Xi’s father was none other than the duke of Shou Province,2 “One Year Duke” Fang Kurong.3 This person was extremely devoted to Buddhism. His entire mansion was full of offering incense. It was said that when his son, Fang Xi, was born, Fang Xi received the “Buddha’s” touch to open his mind. When he turned one year old, he entered the Wanshou Temple and followed one of the Four Great Zen masters, “Zen Master Knowing Autumn,” in learning Zen Buddhism.
Afterwards, Fang Xi’s name was not known to the general public.
However, after the Divine Warrior Examination began, Fang Xi began to show the first signs of outstanding talent. He was able to deter several warriors with just the force of his palm, and he obtained jieyuan. No one knew his strength, but when he was young, the senior monk aura his body exuded made the people who saw him feel solemn.
“He has minor achievements with the Wanshou Temple’s most famous abilities, ‘Fruitless Wanshou,’4 ‘Dead Tree Zen,’5 ‘Great Mercy Hand,’6 and ‘Vajra Protection.’7 He cannot be underestimated.” Zongzheng Ying tightly creased his brow.
Chen Mo reckoned that Fang Xi was at least Third Layer Thunder Tribulation strength. As expected, he was several degrees stronger than Tang Yunshen. Chen Mo wondered if he was able to learn three of these abilities. That Fruitless Wanshou sounded somewhat interesting, but he knew that the Fruitless Wanshou was the proprietary Soul Technique of the Wanshou Temple. Chen Mo was without a choice.
After a moment, several bells tolled in the Seven Treasures Pagoda.
A figure appeared at the front.
All of the warriors stopped their discussions, and their gazes turned serious.
The curtain was raised on the second round of the Seven Treasures Pagoda’s high achievers.