The winding stone dragon like mountain path stood alone in this misty land. Thick fog swirled around it, impossible to see through, making everything appear strange and mysterious.
At this current time, a lone figure was slowly climbing the long mountain path.
This figure naturally belonged to Zhou Yuan.
His face was currently deathly pale, nearly devoid of blood. The Genesis Qi around him had become extremely feeble, because the originally four thousand brightly shining Genesis Qi stars in his Qi Dwelling was now reduced to the final three hundred...
All his years of hard work to cultivate his Genesis Qi had now strangely disappeared.
If one was unable to differentiate between reality and illusion at this moment, such a situation would be extremely terrifying.
Anyone else with a less steady heart and mind would have collapsed long ago, unable to advance.
However, Zhou Yuan did not stop. He tightly gritted his teeth, his unwavering gaze fixed to the front. He had already come so far, wouldn’t he have suffered for nothing if he were to shrink back now?
“Will three hundred Genesis Qi stars last me till the end?”
Zhou Yuan’s lips were tightly pursed. No matter what, something should change when the last bit of Genesis Qi was gone.
With such thoughts in mind, Zhou Yuan stepped forward once more.
Step after step passed by under his feet.
Star after star in his Qi Dwelling began to disappear in quick succession...
Half an incense stick of time later, the final three hundred stars were nearly all gone.
Zhou Yuan’s foot paused on a stone step, his expression fluctuating indeterminately. The very last star in his Qi Dwelling had begun to slowly dim at this moment, before completely fading away.
All of his Genesis Qi was gone at this very moment.
In this moment, an endless feeling of powerlessness surged in his body, powerlessness that Zhou Yuan had not felt for a very long time...
Back when he had been incapable of opening his eighth meridian channels, this had been the same feeling that filled his body.
Power he had worked hard for many years to obtain had faded into oblivion at this very moment.
Zhou Yuan closed his eyes, and took in a deep breath, before opening them as he turned around to gaze at the long path behind him. He was silent for a moment, as a certain notion flowed through him.
If he were to return along the path, all his Genesis Qi would return to him.
However, it would also mean that he would fail the mountain trial.
He should continue forward...
Zhou Yuan lifted his head to look at the path, still unable to find any traces of where it ended. He no longer had any Genesis Qi, which also caused the power in his physical body to begin weakening.
If he continued, he would undoubtedly have to bear an increasingly growing burden. Would his Genesis Qi eventually return? It was a question he was incapable of answering.
So what choice would he make?
Zhou Yuan stood there in silence for a long time, as the hesitation in his eyes slowly faded away.
“Does it matter whether this is real or fake? I had not given up even when I was unable to open my eighth meridian channels. Even if I do lose my Genesis Qi, I can always cultivate it back!”
“At the very least, I still possess the ability to cultivate.”
“Didn’t I manage to wait for the light even when I was so lost back then? What is all this in comparison?”
A resolute look emerged in Zhou Yuan’s eyes. Next, he lifted his now heavy foot once again without the slightest shred of hesitation, and firmly placed it on the next step.
Even without Genesis Qi, there was no way he would give up!
What was needed on the road of cultivation was the courage to boldly press forward. If one was constantly afraid of even the slightest of things, it would be a tall order to succeed on this path.
One’s heart needed to be firm and unwavering, before one could achieve success.
Zhou Yuan’s figure slowly began to climb the mountain path. Although every step was difficult and heavy, each one grew increasingly clear, no longer containing any of the hesitation or fear from before.
In their place, was an unshakable determination.
His foot was raised time and time again, even though each movement felt as heavy as a mountain.
While Zhou Yuan struggled step by step, he did not see the dazzling rays of light that suddenly shot out from the ancient stone path behind him.
Step after step began to fade away, transforming into strands of light that rose into the sky.
Golden light danced in the air behind him, before dashing towards the slowly climbing figure, and pouring into his body.
Zhou Yuan’s body jolted violently.
He finally sensed something and jerked his head around, and saw the golden light dancing in the air like birds darting through the woods as it rushed into his body.
The Genesis Qi stars that had originally disappeared from his Qi Dwelling began to appear one after another, emitting a radiant glow.
Vigorous Genesis Qi filled his body once more.
The feeling of power had finally returned!
Zhou Yuan’s face glowed brightly, a relieved smile appearing as if a heavy burden had been lifted from his shoulders. He had finally understood. The mountain trial had been testing his heart.
An ordinary person would have definitely felt panic and fear upon losing all their head earned Genesis Qi, something that even Zhou Yuan was no exception to.
However, what would one do in such a situation?
Would one give up on advancing, and become cautious and conservative, or would one continue pressing forward with courage?
Genesis Qi was not the most important factor to become truly powerful, but a persevering and unwavering heart. Because when one possessed the latter, the former would naturally always come back.
Though the loss of his Genesis Qi had been brief, it was a form of training that had been deeply etched into his heart.
Zhou Yuan closed his eyes as the long stone path behind him slowly disappeared. Golden light gracefully danced in the air as it streamed into his body, only gradually coming to a stop after some time.
When all of the golden light had entered his body, Zhou Yuan turned his senses inwards for a moment, as his eyes abruptly opened, revealing pleasant surprise.
At this very moment, the number of dazzling Genesis Qi stars in his Qi Dwelling had soared to five thousand!
In addition, every star shined brightly and stably, no sign that they had been hastily formed.
His Genesis Qi cultivation had grown a thousand stars in such a short period!
This was basically equivalent to months of training for Zhou Yuan!
It was evidently a reward for passing the test.
The smile that hung from the corners of Zhou Yuan’s mouth widened substantially. The suffering and fear he had experienced earlier had not been in vain.
The mist around him began to ripple as the robotic voice that belonged to old Xuan echoed once again.
“First of the three trials, pass.”
When this voice sounded, Zhou Yuan saw the long stone path below his feet start to fade away as the world around him gradually changed.
He did not panic as he stood there, waiting for the change to complete.
Zhou Yuan raised his head, and observed the warping world around him. So this was only the first trial. It was definitely extremely strange and dangerous, and it was no surprise that so many chief disciples had failed.
However, if the first trial was already so difficult, what should he do about the next two?
While in this focused and alert state, the shifting scenery around him finally stopped moving.
Yet another immense change had occurred to the world around him.