The [Gate of Storm] opened after Shangguan Wu displayed a token.
A file of several hundred men walked in.
Ye Qingyu's eyes brightened.
Behind the gate was indeed a world of its own a lot bigger than it seemed from outside. It was a storm plaza covering dozens of kilometers and big enough to accommodate ten thousand people.
Numerous spinning hurricanes surrounded the plaza, while the wind pillars continually morphed into different shapes, sometimes into giant spirits and other times into divine statues. The place was indeed strange and mysterious to the limits.
A giant green wall of a hundred meters in height and width stood in the dead center of the plaza.
Ye Qingyu could not shift his eyes away as soon as he saw it.
It was definitely the legendary Wall of Storm.
A rich and refreshing green radiance flickered on the wall. From a distance, it appeared to be a wandering green cloud whose surface was a dense layer of lambent light that gave rise to a Dao essence and transformed the mountains, rivers, and stars. By looking at it, one would acquire a sense of the tininess of one's own body, as if one was but a speck in a vast ocean.
Ye Qingyu astonishedly discovered that the color and aura of the green wall was exactly the same as those of the hair-like green breeze in his sea of consciousness.
"This... could it be?"
A beam of light flashed in his heart as he vaguely became aware of something.
But he still did not quite dare to believe.
A middle-aged man dressed in a pale yellow and black robe stood below the green wall with his hands behind his back.
He had a burly figure but a thin and extremely white face. Three long black locks of beard hung below his chin, while slightly-squinted slender eyes were lodged above his nose. One could tell at first glance that he was a shrewd, scheming, and terrifying character. The qi activity all over his body was as deep as an abyss and as immovable as a mountain, making it obvious that his yuan qi cultivation was also absolutely powerful.
This should probably be the second examiner.
He was joined by fifty Violet Gold divine guards who lined up on both sides of the green wall, apparently to maintain order in the test site.
Soon enough, the Heaven Wasteland contingent arrived below the green wall in a tidy fashion.
Shangguan Wu walked up to converse with the black-bearded examiner.
A few guards then came over and told the envoys to stand in a designated area.
Ye Qingyu's pupils abruptly contracted as he casually glanced across.
This was because he spotted the young cavalry leader among the fifty order-maintaining guards.
The latter, too, spotted Ye Qingyu at the same time. He appeared extremely shocked and rather animated as he walked over with a somber face and glared at the former, berating, "How dare you come? You fugitive and bastardly thief..."
"Hold it," Yu Xiaoxing shouted as she scowled at the young leader. "Please watch your words. You're slandering the War God of my domain."
The empress had rarely displayed such cold-blooded toughness.
This time, however, the matter concerned Ye Qingyu and thus offended her greatly. Even though the antagonist might be a person from the Violet Gold divine residence, she would neither concede nor compromise an inch.
The young cavalry leader was a little frightened by Yu Xiaoxing's fierce gaze. After all, as the empress of a domain, she had naturally acquired an imperial qi. The pressure she could exert in a rage was no less than that of a top-level martial expert.
But he quickly regained his senses and developed a fit of anger from the shame of nearly being scared off by a lower domain woman. Just as he was about to speak up…
"What's goin' on?" a low voice sounded.
The middle-aged examiner had covertly walked over, and began to glance at the crowd with a stern face.
"Uncle, I..." A hint of happiness flashed across the young leader's eyes as he pointed at Ye Qingyu and wanted to say something.
However, a fierce glint flashed across the examiner's eyes as he rebuked, "Keep your mouth shut. There shall be nothing personal in front of the Wall of Storm. Divine Guard Huang Lin, stand down."
Huang Lin was momentarily stunned and immediately became aware of something. He hurriedly lowered his head and explained, "But, Supervisor Huang, this person's an escapee from the [Lightless Dungeon]. Yesterday..."
"Enough, stand down." Supervisor Huang's face grew ever sterner while his eyes became knife-like.
It was only at this point when Huang Lin truly realized something was amiss. He dared not say anything further and hastily stood down.
Ye Qingyu was deep in thought as he saw this.
Just then, Shangguan Wu walked over and smilingly introduced, "This is one of the four supervisors of the Violet Gold divine residence front court, Supervisor Huang Tayun. He'll be managing this test with me."
The contingent promptly greeted Supervisor Huang.
A pale-faced Huang Tayun nodded in acknowledgment. His attitude was not nearly as warm as Shangguan Wu's.
To one side, the Violet Gold divine guards were busy making the final preparations for the Wall of Storm test.
At this time, a young man among the contingent asked out of a fit of curiosity, "Will the Lord of Sunrise City be present for today's test? He should be a top-level expert within the Chaotic Ruins Domain, right?"
Ye Qingyu laughed without saying anything.
The line of successive Lords of Sunreise City was rumored to consist exclusively of the descendants of the Storm Martial Emperor's disciples, and a huge network had already developed by this time. The City Lord was definitely considered an important person within the Chaotic Ruins Domain, and even the top-level forces from mature and large domains would not dare to neglect the imperial throne of this city. Moreover, new domain monarchs like Yu Xiaoxing would appear utterly inadequate in front of the Lord of Sunrise City.
The fact that the Violet Gold divine residence had assigned a deputy commander and a front court supervisor for today's domain test was already showing a lot of respect for the Heaven Wasteland Domain. But of course, the City Lord, who was a being near the very top of the Vast Thousand Worlds, could not be present for today's test.
"Hoho, innocent, ignorant, and foolish. How absurd would it be for the City Lord to be present for your tiny little domain test." The front court supervisor, Huang Tayun, sneered with utter contempt.
Everyone could feel at this time that, in contrast to Shangguan Wu, Huang Tayun possessed an extreme disdain and hatred toward the Heaven Wasteland Domain.
In front of the Wall of Storm.
Shangguan Wu, who was responsible for managing this test, was by convention introducing the test rules in detail to the envoy mission.
"The test of the Wall of Storm is very simple. It's divided into two segments, namely defense and offense. For defense, the objective is to remain standing steadily within the red line when the storm breaks out. For offense, the objective is to leave a vivid mark on the Wall of Storm." With a dignified expression, Shangguan Wu carried a golden-patterned purple brocade jade bamboo slip in his hands as a faint-purple light curtain gradually undulated behind him.
Conversely, Huang Tayun stood to one side with a gloomy expression.
He stepped forward after Shangguan Wu was done introducing the rules. Peering with subtle contempt at the diplomatic corps which was standing within the test plaza, he pointed at the red line in the middle of the plaza and said, "I shall add something more, so prick up your ears and listen up. The specific criteria for passing this test are, during defense, for at least ten people to stand steadily within the red line, while during offense, for there to be at least ten clearly distinguishable marks to be left on the wall. The test will be deem failed if there's even one less!"
In the middle of the plaza.
The contingent looked in the direction which Huang Tayun pointed at.
On the ground approximately thirty meters in front of the 1one-hundred-meter-wide Wall of Storm was a perfectly straight red line. It seemed to have been injected into the ground by a powerful force, yet seemed to have been carved by a natural underground force at the same time. It indistinctly emitted a scarlet halo.
"Alright, now that the rules have been explained, are there any questions?" Shangguan Wu looked at Ye Qingyu and the others with a stern face.
"Your Honor, we understand the rules clearly. May the two examiners please give us some time to discuss." At the front of the pack, Ye Qingyu nodded his head and cupped his hands in respect.
Huang Tayun's complexion darkened. Just as he was going to say something, Shangguan Wu smiled and nodded, "Okay, you have the time it takes to drink a cup of tea to prepare your strategy."
Huang Tayun seemed to have some scruples with Shangguan Wu and thus remained silent.
In the subsequent "tea-drinking" time.
Ye Qingyu and Empress Yu Xiaoxing, as well as the First Princess and the rest, moved to one side of the test plaza to discuss their approach.
Subsequently, these heavyweights of the envoy mission returned to the middle of the plaza.
After estimating the position and distance in front of the Wall of Storm, theydecided, for safety reasons, to utilize a human wave strategy this time. As the strongest among the contingent, Ye Qingyu and the First Princess would stand closest to the wall so as to bear the brunt.
Those who would stand at the back were also experts of the Heaven Ascension stage and above, considered to be outstanding among the mission.
At the periphery of the test plaza.
Fifty Violet Gold divine guards, who were responsible for maintaining order, stood attentively with dispassionate expressions and dignified manners.
They surrounded the entire test plaza, forming a heavily-armored human wall which glimmered in purple and gold and separated the hundreds of mission members not participating in this test into two sides.
"Hmmm, a human wave strategy? What's the use of more people..." Huang Lin laughed grimly when he saw this.
He swept a glance at the envoys who were emerging from the contingent outside the plaza one after another. Unable to conceal his disdain, he remarked to a colleague beside him, "These bastards are indeed pathetically dumb. Do they really think using more people will help them pass the test? Hahahaha... this is extremely stupid... these lower domain aborigines are truly pitiful."
Several of his squad members behind him also began to sneer, as if they were simply waiting to see the embarrassing and miserable sight of the contingent's failure.
Conversely, the non-participating mission members, led by Qu Hanshan and Luo Yi, were unusually quiet.
Every one of them had put on a solemn expression as if they were confronted by a formidable enemy. They looked on fixedly at the hundreds of men in the middle of the plaza, oblivious to the scoffing noises and the disdainful eyes.
This was because they knew deep down that sentiments and words would not determine anything at this moment.
The test of the Wall of Storm was the Heaven Wasteland Domain's first step toward passing the domain rating, and the stakes were thus extremely high.
Within the past year, they had acquired an increasingly clear concept of domain rating. The deeper they delved, the greater the importance they attached to it, and thereby the more they understood the difficulty and significance of the various checkpoints set up along the road of nineteen cities of chaos.
If they could successfully pass this first test, it would be a good start to the difficult and hazardous path of rating, and would certainly encourage them and boost their morale.
Dozens of breaths later…
In front of the Wall of Storm.
The hundreds of men, whose strengths had reached the Heaven Ascension stage and above, stood shoulder to shoulder within the red line, ready for the challenge.
Every one of these Heaven Wasteland experts carried a powerful and serious expression, their eyes burning with a scorching hot battle will and flares of yuan qi rising into the skies from their bodies. Together they formed a human wall whose vigor and yuan qi power were as strong as the mountains.
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