Hi there folks, heres a new chapter of Ascending The Heavens.
For those that read my other story, Dragon's Soul. I might have a new chapter for you guys tonight but no promises because today my grandma passed to in her honor I'm cooking dinner and offerings and what not. So busy busy T_T.
A day after Zhang had arrived at the Crimson Sky Sect the rules for the first stage of the tournament was disclosed. The rules turned out to be the exact same rules that Ning Hao had said during the strategy meeting and due to this a few more people decided to join his group for the tournament. With a total of seventy people in his group, with Zhang and Cai Cao included, Ning Hao seemed very confident on entering into the second stage of the tournament.
After the rules were disclosed, Zhang and Cai Cao had spent most of their days either in their room or attending meetings with Ning Hao’s group. Unlike the other chosen of the Misty Mountain Sect who were enjoying their stay in the Crimson Sky Sect by making friends with people from the other sects or attending various gatherings and demonstrations that were being held, Zhang and Cai Cao preferred to spend the majority of their time furthering their cultivation or playing with their two fuzz ball friends and only attending the group meetings when they have to.
Over the course of two weeks after their arrival and through the refinement of many essential supplement pills, Zhang’s cultivation had reached the mid stage of the fragment realm. Regularly this would be viewed as a miracle but if one considered the fact that every chosen were given a hundred essence supplement pills and ten midgrade demon cores even getting to the elementary realm was possible. With due time of course because refining midgrade demonic cores and a hundred or so essence pills would take quite some time.
Even though Zhang stepped into the mid stages of the fragment realm he still had to work hard to catch up to the other chosen who were all at the later stages of the fragment realm or the early stages of the elementary realm. In Cai Cao’s case, he was in the mid stages of the elementary realm and was nearing a breakthrough.
After cultivating for nearly two weeks straight, today all of the chosen of the Misty Mountain Sect were gathered in their courtyard. Each chosen had a sack filled with their belongings slung over their backs and their swords dangling from their waists.
Today, unlike any other day was the day everyone was to report to the Crimson Sky Sect’s central colosseum, today would be the day when the Crimson Sky Tournament began.
“Everyone please follow me; I’ll be taking you all to the central colosseum.” The same young man that had guided the group when they landed said.
Soon after the young man spoke, the one thousand chosen of the Misty Mountain Sect filed out from their courtyard. Every main walkway or street within the Crimson Sky Sect’s grounds were now filled with people who were heading to the colosseum, some were participants while others were simply here to watch.
Of the people who were simply here to watch, the people of the nine great influences stood out the most. Hundreds of disciples from each of the great influences whose cultivations ranged from the elementary realm to the core realm showed off the power that each of the great influences possessed.
Each disciple from any one of the great influences could be said to be dragons among men, trained from young ages and given the best that there was, there was no way disciples from sects like Zhang’s could compare to them. They did not even bother to enter the tournament but rather came just to watch.
Besides the great influences, there were also a large number of sectless masters who often attend to join in on the fun.
As Zhang and the others were lead through the Crimson Sky Sect, he could not help but look in awe at the splendor that was around him. Such splendor reminded him of his home before the flames of war burned it to ash.
While being reminded of his old home as he admired the splendor and lavish buildings of the Crimson Sky Sect, a thought suddenly ran through Zhang’s mind. He suddenly remembered about the letter that was left on the drawer by his bed and the black ring that he wore around his finger.
The phrase written on the letter had slipped Zhang’s mind after he had reached the fragment realm due to so many events happening one after the other.
But from out of the blue, a certain phrase reappeared in his mind. “Treasure this ring for it holds what you have lost. Upon reaching the fragmented realm all shall be clear.”
Tracing his finger around the black ring Zhang could not tell if it was any different from any other ring, but as far as the little knowledge he had about magical items went, if you inject a tiny bit of essence into them they should activate.
With that thought in mind, a bit of Zhang’s essence flowed into the ring and a faint glow began to emit from it. Dozens of tiny runes began to light up and Zhang’s consciousness seemed as if it was taken somewhere else, somewhere familiar.
It was not until Zhang’s consciousness saw a familiar stone statue that he realized this place was his family’s tomb. Looking around, the bodies of many generations of the Zhou clan could be seen.
Soon the memories flooded into Zhang’s mind as he recalled all of the times he had been in this tomb to pay respects to his ancestors. However, there was something different about the tomb, the atmosphere inside had completely changed.
Although Zhang was not able to describe it something in his mind was telling him that there was something out of the ordinary. While he couldn’t put his finger on what was wrong, Zhang spotted the vast amount of gold that was left in the clan’s tomb from the corner of his eye.
However, it was only Zhang’s consciousness that was within the tomb and not his actual body so he thought he could not move anything.
“If only I could take some of these. It sucks not having a dime to my name…” Zhang thought as he imagined himself reaching out and picking up a gold coin.
“Brother Zhang! Brother Zhang!” Cai Cao’s voice rang out in his mind.
With a jolt of Zhang’s body, his eyes were soon gazing at the vast halls of the Crimson Sky Sect once more and runes on his ring went dim. Unknown to Zhang within his ring the stone spirit tablet that the statue of the Zhou Clan’s ancestor was hold began to glow. Dozens of runes began to appear within the center section of the spirit tablet. Before long a jade medallion could be seen embedded into the stone tablet.
“Hurry up or else we’re going to fall behind the rest of the group.” Cai Cao said as he pulled Zhang’s arm.
“O-okay.” Zhang said as he and Cai Cao began trying to catch up the others, while a shiny gold coin could be seen from the cracks of Zhang’s hand as he moved forward.
“What the…” He thought when he finally noticed the gold coin in his hand.
“Hey brother Cai, is there some kind of magical treasure that can house things?” Zhang asked while running alongside Cai Cao, trying to make sense of how the gold coin appeared in his hand.
“There are interspatial rings, but they are usually very expensive and rare because only people at the Enlightened realm or higher can make them. I don’t have one but I heard interspatial rings that are made by an Enlightened realm cultivator’s can hold up to about two cubic meters of space. The higher the cultivation the person who forged the ring the more space it will have. Unless you're lucky and find an ancient interspatial ring, those things have infinite space inside of them.” Cai Cao said to Zhang.
“Infinite space…” Zhang thought.
“Alright everyone please make your way into the colosseum floor.” The group’s guide said, breaking Zhang’s thought train.
“Let’s go.” Cai Cao said as he stuck really close to Zhang, as if he was hiding from someone and was using Zhang as cover.
“Welcome honored guests and participants!” A voice rang out throughout the entire colosseum. At the far end of the colosseum, opposite of the entrance that Zhang entered from, up in a balcony was an elderly looking man dressed in a crimson colored cloak could be seen.
“In a few moments the first leg of the tournament will begin, and to prevent any unnecessary casualties or mishaps when the participants face off against the beasts of the forest, we have prepared a jade slip for each of you. If you find yourself in danger within the forest, simply break the jade slip and you'll be teleported to safety. Of course it would also mean that you will be taken out of the tournament.” The elderly man said in a loud and dignified manner as he waved his hand and made thousands of rays of light fly through the sky.
“Pssst, brother Cai who's that.” Zhang whispered as one of the many rays of light appeared in front of him and presented a floating jade slip.
“That man is none other than the master of the Crimson Sky Sect, Hong Chi. Now pay attention, we should be moving to the forest of beasts soon.” Cai Cao whispered as he grabbed the jade slip in front of himself.
“I would like to remind you all that once the tournament begins and your all in the Forest of Beasts, there will be no one to supervise you and no one to watch out for you so be vigilant.” Hong Chi said reminding everyone that whatever happens in the Forest of Beasts will not be seen by the outside world.
“Now the tournament begins! Grab onto your friends now or you’ll get lost from each other.” Hong Chi laughed as thousands of glowing runes began to appear underneath the feet of the contestants.
Seeing the runes and hearing Hong Chi’s words, many of the tournament’s contestants grabbed hold of their friends and teammates.
“Damn... Why did it have to be teleportation magic…” Cai Cao cursed as Zhang grabbed his hand while a ray of blinding light filled the colosseum. Once blinding light faded away, all of the participants were no longer in the colosseum.
“Everyone, I have a banquet prepared for all of you, please follow as your guides will lead the way.” Chi Hong said to the people who were present but no in the tournament.
As Zhang opened his eyes and looked around, he found himself surrounded by trees and nature. As far as the eye could see there were no signs of civilization, nor people. Of all the things Zhang did not see, Cai Cao was included, which was strange because Zhang had grabbed his hand before they were teleported away. While Zhang was lost in thought, the bush in front of him began to move back and forth.
“Who's there? Come out!” He said as he placed his hand on the hilt of his sword. However, before Zhang withdrew his sword from its scabbard, a furry beast emerged from behind the bush.
“Little Blue!” Zhang said happily as the furry wolf pup charged at him and jumped into his arms.
“That reminds me.” Zhang thought as he placed Little Blue onto the ground and let Little Red from the sack that he was being carried in.
“Little Blue where’d your master go?” Zhang asked.
However Little Blue simply barked once and rubbed itself against Zhang’s leg.
“I guess we’ll run into him eventually. I should go find shelter for us in the meantime.” Zhang said as he and his two fur balls headed off into the forest.
“You two bark if you sense anyone or anything coming near us.” Zhang said as he looked down towards the pups.
With two barks, Little Red and Little Blue assumed the roles as the look outs while the group was moving through the woods.
While Zhang was seeking shelter, the other participants focused their efforts elsewhere. The moment they arrived in the Forest of Beasts, they all began scouring the area of demonic beasts.
There were even a few people who were already engaging demonic beasts in battle. Then there were a few people who were unlucky and killed by demonic beasts because they either overestimated their own abilities or underestimated the abilities of the demonic beasts.
Although everyone was given a jade slip which would teleport them out of the forest if it was broken, when considering how strong a demonic beast is compared to someone at the same level of cultivation, the chance of successfully being able to pull out a jade slip and break it in mid combat against one was slim to none.
So for the most part, Zhang’s approach toward this part of the tournament could be said to be the safest. Instead of looking for trouble he would find a position and fortify it, then only when he was certain he could over power his prey would he act.
However, this also meant that there was a chance that he wouldn’t be able to hunt enough demonic beasts to make it to the second stage of the tournament, but in the end one’s priority should be one’s life instead of the tournament.
As Zhang and the pups walked through the forest they stumbled upon a tightly woven clump of trees and when they managed to crawl through the interlocked branches and vines, they found a small open space. With countless vines and branches to provide them cover, Zhang decided to set up camp here.
After finding an ideal spot to stay, Zhang quickly began to dig a fire pit and gathering leaves and stuff to further conceal his location. Unlike the other participants who solely lived their lives cultivating and had little to no knowledge in regards to living in the wild, Zhang had obtained the perfect set of skills to survive in the wild thanks to the training he had received before.
So if one viewed demonic beasts are mere animals then out of the group of people in the forest Zhang was the best equipped person to make it to the next stage of the tournament.