The boulder behind him crashed with an enormous cloud of dust, blocking up the Hundred Chi Gorge. Chen Mo stood in front of the “Calm Heart Stone” and turned around to look at the scene behind him.
Following the boulder’s fall, the dust settled. These boulders suddenly soared upwards then once again dangled from the cliffs on either side.
Yanran truly was completely unable to make sense of what Chen Mo was planning.
He used magic energy to avoid the river during the Thousand Chi Banner from before. In the Hundred Chi Gorge, in the face of the even more dangerously approaching boulders, he surprisingly relied on superb rhythm to keenly judge the falling rocks, passing by a hair’s breadth.
Yanran no longer asked anything. As expected, this brat had a similar air to “him,” mysterious and impenetrable. She had not called the boy “Your Highness” in vain. However, to be able to enter the final Vast Sky Plankway like this, Yanran did not have much confidence in him.
After the Calm Heart Stone was a mountain road with sheer cliffs and rock faces. There were no mountain faces in the surroundings, and below the edge was a bottomless abyss. If one lost their footing, they would fall in without any hope of recovery.
This was the last mountain path after the Hundred Chi Gorge. It was like a small gulley. In Mount Hua, it had a nickname, “Laozi’s Furrow.”
“Let’s go.” Chen Mo led the fascinated Milu by the hand from start to finish, walking forward.
“Chen Mo.” After a while, Milu suddenly called out.
Chen Mo turned his head back. He saw that Milu’s eyes were focused, looking at a lingzhi herb growing atop a cliff to the side. This lingzhi grew out of the cliff, appearing full of scales, emitting an enticing spiritual power. Even Milu could not help but be drawn to it.
From a glance, this was a top-notch spirit medicine.
Chen Mo shute his eyes, “Milu, follow me, Don’t disturb the grass here.”
Milu blinked, not understanding why Chen Mo would refuse. She saw that a lingzhi like this should be very helpful to Chen Mo’s cultivation.
They walked up the mountain path. Spirit grasses of all kinds could be seen on the cliffs on either side. There was even some “Cherished Spirit Droplets.” Chen Mo could easily obtain them in passing.
But Chen Mo completely ignored them, calmly moving forward.
There was a howl, and a three chi long ape clambered down the cliff. This ape was completely stone-grey in color, camouflaging with the cliff. It had four eyes, a mouth full of sharp teeth, and its Demon Qi was indomitable. This enormous ape was locked in mortal struggle with a grey python. The two Demon Beasts had Demon Qi Seven or Eight Turns and were both battered and bruised.
If he had bumped into such powerful Demon Beasts alone, Chen Mo could only retreat with no way to fight. Right now, the two Demon Beasts struggled fiercely. With his Star Energy, he could finish them off at any moment to be the fisherman that got both the snipe and the clam. But Chen Mo merely gave a glance, and without any interest, apathetically walked away.
Yanran watched Chen Mo use abilities at times, stroll about leisurely at others, and also spectate without lifting a finger. In her heart, she was beginning to understand a bit.
Mount Hua eastern peak, Chess Pavilion.
“Ancestor, this move is exquisite. Subordinate did not think of this.” The woman watched Xiyi set down a piece and was silent for a moment.
“Shanxue, it is not that you did not think of it. Rather, you were distracted by outside influences and thus ignored it.” The white-haired girl softly said.
Gao Shanxue paused, “Subordinate has not cultivated the Dao enough.”
Xiyi faintly smiled.
Gao Shanxue’s gaze glanced down the peak obscured by clouds. “He has passed the Thousand Chi Banners and the Hundred Chi Gorge now. His understanding of Daoism is apparently much deeper than we thought.”
“That you say this means you acknowledge him?” Xiyi set down another piece.
The woman calmly said: “So long as Ancestor acknowledges him, Subordinate has no objections. But his status…”
“Shanxue, do you have any misgivings.” Xiyi gently smiled.
“As far as Subordinate knows, he has been looked upon by Imperial Empress Of Bedfellows Fu Jian. He escaped when Wang Meng captured him, and she became a laughingstock. Now, the Country Destroyer Great General is searching everywhere for him right now. If he enters the Mount Hua Sect, I fear that bodes ill.” Her eyes were still as deep as the sea, a bit of grimness also appearing in her voice.
Among the Sixteen Star Marquis Yang Guang already treats Mount Hua unfavorably. If he and the Imperial Empress Of Bedfellows Fu Jian were to collaborate, then even “Western Moon” Mount Hua perhaps could not be defeated.
“Disaster and happiness are interdependent. The course of some things only becomes apparent in the future.” Ancestor Chen Tuan’s voice, light as the clouds, contained a bit of mystery.
Gao Shanxue had followed Ancestor Chen Tuan for a century, so she was able to catch on to her meaning.
Xiyi did not answer. She softly said: “Let us play chess. If here is a connection between his Dao and mine, Xiyi will not stop him. Daoism is nature, following the time of the Heavens, the nature of the Earth, and is the will of the people. Is this not the origin of Daoism.”
Gao Shanxue wanted to say something but hesitated. In truth, what Chen Mo did made her recall something else.
Back when the Purple Rose Star Emperor scaled Mount Hua and met Zhuangzi, the chain of cause and effect since then caused Daoism’s First Sage, Zhuangzi, to be deluded by him. Afterwards, Daoist Zhuangzi was indifferent, leaving behind a legend as she sat at Mount Hua, forgotten to the world.
Now, the matters transpiring were similar. A Star Warrior broke through Mount Hua’s Three Checkpoints to meet a person. This was exceptionally outside the imagination of Daoism’s origins.
Looking at Xiyi’s refined and calm indifference, Gao Shanxue did not say anything more. She focused on chess.
The moment the game began, there would always be a winner and a loser.
Chen Mo reached the end of the Hundred Chi Gorge’s path and was taken aback by the scenery in front of him.
The end of the Hundred Chi Gorge was a sheer cliff, and beneath his feet was a ten thousand zhang drop. THe surroundings were all clouds and mist. There was no other way to advance forwards. Not even a shadow of the last checkpoint, the Vast Sky Plankway, could be seen.
When the average cultivator walked to this point, they would choose to fly by riding sword. From their perspective, this Vast Sky Plankway was probably hidden in the mist.
Chen Mo quietly looked around. He then turned around and lifted Milu by the waist into a princess carry.
Milu gasped. She blinked, and her cheeks blushed slightly as she was confused by his intimate gesture.
Chen Mo took a deep breath. He faced the ten thousand zhang drop and took a step forward.
“Chen Mo, what are you doing.” Milu let out a soft gasp of surprise.
Chen Mo pretended to not hear her. He did not use and magic energy abilities as he walked off the cliff.
An unbelievable scene occurred. Chen Mo surprisingly did not fall down with this step into the air. There seemed to be invisible stairs in the air holding up his weight.
Chen Mo put his other leg forward, steadily standing on the air.
The clouds and mist blew past their ears, and the wind howled. Chen Mo was able to feel the bone-chilling cold of the extreme altitude. Without any magic energy to protect himself, he was like a tree leaf caught in the buffeting waves of an ocean.
Chen Mo carried Milu towards the deepest reaches of the clouds.
There seemed to be an invisible staircase in the sky allowing him to safely walk forward.
“Why are you also able to ascend the Vast Sky Plankway?” Yanran asked.
Indeed, the last checkpoint that Chen Mo was traversing at high altitude right now was the Vast Sky Plankway. This checkpoint was the simplest and the hardest. Warriors who trained at Mount Hua necessarily had to obtain the recognition of “Daoism’s” Dao, only then would they be able to see the “way” towards Mount Hua’s gate after passing the Hundred Chi Gorge.
Finally, taking the step forward was the most challenging. If a warrior had a bit of doubt or hesitance, then the “way” would vanish. Cultivators that walked into the sky would fall off the cliff, and their bodies would be pulverized.
The boundless sky, an invisible pathway.
This was the mystery of the Vast Sky Plankway.
To obtain the Dao of “Daoism,” one naturally needed to comprehend the meaning of Daoism’s “quiet and non-action.” But Chen Mo used magic energy during the first checkpoint and was already considered to have deviated from this “Dao.” According to logic, he should not be able to see it.
Chen Mo explained: “Quiet and non-action does not really mean to be feckless. In truth, this kind of Dao is wrong.”
“In ‘Laozi,’ the Dao in its regular course does nothing, so there is nothing it does not do. ‘Zhuangzi: Heaven and Earth’ also says: “Lord of the profound ancient does not act on the world and only embodies heavenly virtue. This means to take non-action and action as taking the Heavens, taking the Dao, and as the basis for all cultivation. To emphasize the non-action part, non-action is for the actor to be as quiet as if no one is present. This is non-action.”1
“The two are linked. ‘Quiet and non-action’ is to restrain external desires, to have a clear mind and calm heart, to follow nature, not to force control.”
“During the first checkpoint, I used magic energy, but I did not change the flow of the water. The river was natural and the Dao is natural, so I followed nature.”
“During the second checkpoint, the Hundred Chi Gorge’s falling boulder trap, if I used magic energy to defend, I would destroy the trick of the falling stones. That is the natural fear in the heart, so I can’t use magic energy. I must make myself maintain a collected and clear mind. This is the clear mind and calm heart.”
“So the reason why you did not go pick those spirit medicines or Demon Beasts was to restrain external desire?” Yanran was starting to understand.
In the end, Daoism’s Dao was the oneness of Heaven and man, to maintain conformity with nature. After entering the Thousand Chi Banners, Chen Mo placed his mentality into a position like he was viewing water, to be the same as the miracle of natural law, as if he was one with it.
In the final Vast Sky Plankway, Chen Mo had faith in his own “Dao,” automatically manifesting a “pathway” to the summit of Mount Hua in thin air.
Yanran sighed in frustration.
This brat seemed to have an even more profound understanding of Daoism than he did back then.
No wonder at that time, although he was unimpeded the entire way after entering Mount Hua, he had felt his actions were not perfect enough. It seemed he was also aware of this point. However, thinking carefully, Yanran could not help but smile. When he came to Mount Hua back then, even though he had the qualifications to face a True Phoenix Ninth Stage Heavenly Star martial general, he treated the dangers of Mount Hua like nothing in his eyes. He naturally did not need to worry about the so-called Dao.
Perhaps it was precisely because he was too powerful that the Dao had become somewhat flawed instead.
No wonder he discussed the Dao with Zhuangzi Zhuang Die for seven days and seven nights back then.
Chen Mo walked on air, each step firm as stone, his Daoist mind steady to the extreme. After passing through the thick white mist, the boundless white fog slowly receded to reveal a small crevice. A vast and beautiful peak then came into view.
Compared to the Four Peaks of Mount Hua, this one was even more gorgeous.
Red-crowned cranes flew in flocks, and the sea of trees was endless.
Amidst the sea of trees, a magnificent palace floated above the main summit. There were jade towers and jasper pavilions, the levels of which were multitude. Multi-colored lights like rainbow bridges joined the four peaks.
The palace’s waterfalls splashed, gurgling with springwater. The red-crowned cranes flew, and tigers stalked about.
Wonderful as paradise.
“So beautiful.” Milu was stunned.
Chen Mo suddenly felt that his body was as light as a swallow. An invisible force controlled his body to walk his “Dao.” Chen Mo did not resist it, following this mysterious force down.
Chen Mo reached the bottom of Mount Hua’s main gate, and he lifted his head to gaze at a thousand step stairway that led to the gate of colored glass. Two gigantic jade beasts were in front of the gate, and the sign above the gate was inscribed with two powerful and bold characters.
Heavenly Law Palace.
This was where the Mount Hua Sect was.
“Oh, wow, you actually crossed the Vast Sky Plankway.” An astonished voice exclaimed from a corner.
A beautiful and delicate figure stepped out.
It was none other than Yingmeng.
“How did you get here?” Chen Mo asked.
“You normal people naturally have to undergo the trials to enter Mount Hua. This Lady does not need to.” Yingmeng loftily said: “I can come and go as I please through Mount Hua’s territory.”
“I have to thank you for before.” Chen Mo expressed his gratitude.
“To be frank, This Lady actually did not think you would be able to pass the trial of Mount Hua’s Three Checkpoints. This is simply the same as the Purple Rose Star Emperor from back then.” Yingmeng pursed her lips.
“However, although you passed Mount Hua’s Three Checkpoints, don’t be happy too early. These Three Checkpoints only test your ‘Dao’ mind. At most, it is only a superficial trial. To truly become a disciple of the Mount Hua Sect, there are still other troubles.”
“Also, don’t blame This Lady for not warning you, the status of being a disciple of Western Moon Mount Hua is honestly nothing special.” Yingmeng twitched her mouth, hinting her disdain for Mount Hua.
If this truly was the case, Chen Mo felt even more strongly that he do his utmost to help her however he could.
- I tried. ↩