After he reached the Peak Immortal Step realm, Ye Qingyu felt that his momentum had flagged significantly. Most importantly, he had reached the end of the Immortal Step realm the moment he reached the Ninth Step Immortal Step realm. If he continued to progress forward, he would be charging toward the Saint realm.
The Saint realm and the Immortal Step realm were completely different.
His journey toward the Peak Immortal Step realm had gone so smoothly earlier because his foundation was strong enough after multiple fierce battles. Another reason was that he had already reached the First to the Fifth Steps of the Immortal Step realm, which meant that he was very familiar with the methodology and meaning behind the progress on each step of the Immortal Step realm. In other words, he made easy progress from experience.
However, he was completely unfamiliar with the Saint realm.
Thus, he would not be able to charge ahead without encountering any problems like he did before.
To countless martial arts experts, the Saint realm was like a deep chasm that impeded their progress on the martial way. Countless races and experts had found the chasm to be insurmountable. Even a heaven-defying talent like Great Dragon Turtle Demon, who enjoyed such a long lifespan, was unable to reach the Saint realm. Although the law of the land in the Heaven Wasteland Domain was also a factor, this was enough to show that there was a problem. All the heads of the various peaks in the Greater One Sect of the Clear River Domain held such lofty positions and countless techniques and treasures at their disposal. Nonetheless, none were able to attain the Saint realm.
Being a Saint meant that one would have to take an important step toward the purest primordial foundation and the state of freedom from worldliness.
A Saint was known as a Saint because of their otherworldliness.
Being in the primordial foundation also meant being free from the trappings of the world.
The ultimate state of otherworldliness was to free oneself from the bondage of the world.
Attaining the Saint realm was the first step to otherworldliness.
Ye Qingyu had made preparations for becoming a Saint and studied the secret manuals that Nan Tieyi from the Clear River Domain had sent over. The remnants of the ancient texts from the Formation Palace of Emperor Luosu also contained records on how to reach the Saint realm. He had also gathered information from various sources, so he was not completely unprepared.
Although Ye Qingyu also had an Immortal Step realm cultivation, the fact that he had killed Saints, defeated Great Saints, and experienced for himself the power of the Saints meant that he had a far better understanding of the power of the Saint realm as compared to an average Immortal Step realm martial artist.
Ye Qingyu had also formed his own understanding of how he would reach the Saint realm.
The first step of becoming a Saint was to knock on the Immortal Gate.
One could become a Saint only after the Gate opened.
The first condition before one could knock on the Immortal Gate was that it first had to appear.
One would have to form an Immortal Gate in one's dantian world.
"The Immortal Gate is merely a metaphor that refers to the forces preventing these martial artists from reaching the Saint realm. In simple terms, by knocking on the Immortal Gate, one will be breaking free from the shackles that hold one back on the martial way to enter a brand new realm. This draws similar parallels to how mortals would knock on the Immortal Gate to step from the mortal realm into the Immortal realm. The heroic ancestors of the Human Race who created this world and the martial way system used this beautiful metaphor to emphasize the importance of this step..."
Ye Qingyu searched his brain for all the descriptions of this process that he had gleaned from the jade slips of the various techniques and he soon had a rough plan of how to break through to the Saint realm.
Since this Immortal Gate signified the forces that blocked one's path to the Saint realm, then...
Ye Qingyu made up his mind.
He made up his mind and forcefully activated the nameless breathing technique to push his dantian world to its maximum strength and mentally became one with his [Yuan Qi True-Self Doppelganger]. He cast aside all distractions and immediately strode toward the Tenth Step Immortal Step realm.
There were only nine steps in the Immortal Step realm.
There was no tenth step.
The ninth step was already the pinnacle of the Immortal Step realm.
Therefore, the tenth step was where the impediment lay.
If he encountered an impediment, that meant that it was the Immortal Gate.
If he wanted the Immortal Gate to appear, he had to make the tenth step.
The moment he stepped out to take the tenth step, Ye Qingyu sensed that the barely detectable obstructive forces revealed themselves to suddenly explode like a raging sea serpent. The relaxed sensation he had when he stepped out four times previously immediately disappeared and he felt as though the entire world was standing against him. At this moment, his [Yuan Qi True-Self Doppelganger] slowly raised his foot to take the tenth step, but his actions had slowed down.
This was the impediment.
Pushing past this impediment was the equivalent of knocking on the Immortal Gate.
Ye Qingyu's task was to make the Immortal Gate appear.
As his [Yuan Qi True-Self Doppelganger] forcefully took the tenth step, it unleashed the power of a Peak Immortal Step realm martial artist. The moment its foot lifted, there was a loud booming noise as the surrounding Void shook violently. Visible wrinkles rippled across its surface and twinkled in front of the [Yuan Qi True-Self Doppelganger's] raised right foot. An invisible force was intensely attempting to suppress his [Yuan Qi True-Self Doppelganger].
Ye Qingyu's physical body and divine soul felt the same amount of obstructive force as his [Yuan Qi True-Self Doppelganger] was experiencing.
His doppelganger slowly raised its right foot.
The entire process was excruciatingly slow.
The rippling wrinkles continued to twinkle in front of his raised right foot. The mysterious force only grew more intense and it was as though someone had taken an invisible pen to draw all over the Void. Clear, visible lines appeared and disappeared across the Void. The entire scene was extremely mysterious.
Ye Qingyu watched as the barely visible lines moved mysteriously through the Void and he immediately understood that the normal state of this universal resistance was invisible and colorless, but if he tried to forcefully break past it, it would gradually reveal itself.
If he exerted enough force, the universal resistance would gradually start to emerge under the laws of the universe.
This was the process for the emergence of an Immortal Gate.
It seemed complicated, but it was really just a normal expression of the universal laws.
Time ticked by—second by second, minute by minute.
His [Yuan Qi True-Self Doppelganger's] right foot remained raised. This tenth step was extremely difficult and Ye Qingyu felt as though the entire universe's gravity was concentrated on his body. It was arduously difficult even for his doppelganger's foot to rise a single millimeter.
Nonetheless, Ye Qingyu's eyes grew brighter.
The clear wrinkles in front of his [Yuan Qi True-Self Doppelganger] became more defined and hundreds of lines had already emerged. Not only that, these lines had started to stabilize to form the shape of a towering gigantic gate. But it was not complete yet.
"The Immortal Gate is about to appear."
Ye Qingyu exerted his yuan qi with all his might and unleashed all his power to activate the meaning of his [Yuan Qi True-Self Doppelganger]. Instantly, his strength soared and increased by many times.
“Boom! Boom! Boom!”
In his dantian world, the Void shook more violently.
"Ah ah ah..." Ye Qingyu bellowed and gave it everything he had. He finally managed to take the tenth step as his [Yuan Qi True-Self Doppelganger] stepped out into the Void and left the ninth Immortal step to stand steadily in the sky, at least ten thousand meters above his yuan qi ocean.
At this moment, a formless and transparent light-ray light shot in all directions and swept across his entire dantian world.
A strange thing happened.
A clear and gigantic ancient gate formed in the Void. It looked like a magical vision but it seemed very real as it appeared in front of the [Yuan Qi True-Self Doppelganger]. It was ten thousand meters tall and looked very simple and plain as if it was formed by ripples of clear water. It had two panels and each panel was perfectly symmetrical. It looked real and unreal at the same time and seemed as though it had existed there since ancient times. It was part of the universe, blocked gods and demons, and kept all living organisms at bay.
The Immortal Gate!
The Immortal Gate finally appeared.
Ye Qingyu was elated.
He took another step forward.
His will and divine consciousness merged with his [Yuan Qi True-Self Doppelganger] and he stood in front of his gigantic Immortal Gate and raised his head to look up at it. A feeling that this was completely insurmountable consumed him.
"Phew, the appearance of this Immortal Gate is the sign of the half-step to the Saint realm. This means that I have now reached the half-step Saint realm… Next, I'll need to push past this Immortal Gate to enter the Saint realm. From then on, I will have shed myself of worldliness and I will be considered an expert throughout the Vast Thousand Domains."
Ye Qingyu became a little excited.
He continued to prep himself and exerted the strength in his body. His mind, spirit, and soul came together as one as he stood in front of the Immortal Gate. After he spent fifteen minutes in front of the gate, he felt that he was at his peak condition and reached out to place his hands on both panels of the Immortal Gate.
He drew on the [Seventh Limit] of the [Limitless Divine Way] to unleash his inner yuan and the terrifying power of a half-step Saint onto the Immortal Gate.
If he managed to open the Immortal Gate, he would be a Saint.
The opportunity to shed himself of worldliness lay just ahead of him.
Ye Qingyu was full of confidence.
It did not budge at all.
Not a single ripple flashed across both panels of the Immortal Gate, let alone did the gate open. Ye Qingyu had unleashed his most powerful strength but it had entered the sea like a clay ox with no hope of returning, instantly disappearing without a trace.
"How… how could this be?"
He was extremely shocked.
Ye Qingyu would not have been too surprised if he was not able to push open the Immortal Gate. After all, the Immortal Gate was famously hard to open. If it could be opened so easily, then any ordinary person could be a Saint. However, the power he had unleashed earlier would be enough to instantly kill a half-step Saint or seriously injure a Saint if his cultivation was not solid enough. He was surprised that the power he had displayed was not enough to crack open the Immortal Gate at all. In fact, the gate had not even budged...
This was unbelievable.
Ye Qingyu was slightly dejected.
He paused for a moment and pressed both of his hands against the panels and unleashed his most powerful strength as he tried to push the gate open once more.
The result was exactly the same as his first attempt.
The Immortal Gate did not budge.
Ye Qingyu realized that things were getting problematic.
Could this be the so-called bottleneck?
Ye Qingyu spent the next few moments attempting all sorts of methods. He made hundreds of attempts, and during one attempt, he had even activated an inconceivable eight limits on the [Limitless Divine Way], but to no avail. The Immortal Gate did not budge.
He used a tremendous amount of force, enough to kill Saints, but this force still disappeared without a trace. The Immortal Gate did not budge an inch, and there was no feedback force.
"No, this shouldn't be the case..."
He sensed that the problem likely lay in his methodology. The real mystery behind opening the Immortal Gate was probably not to open it by force. Otherwise, the strength he had displayed earlier was already comparable to a Saint, so theoretically, the gate should have opened. How else did those Saints successfully open the gate if they were not as strong as him?
If he should not be forcing it open, then how should he open it?
Ye Qingyu sank deep into thought.
He had not expected to run into his biggest bottleneck at this stage.
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