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429 The Closure of the Divine Gate

When he stepped out of the Draconic Penitentiary, Fang Ning spoke to Sir System, "You heard that? From now on, treat that green-skinned frog better. Don't hit it just without reason."

"Hm, I've noticed that it was weirdly close to you. Is it the second version of that d*mn book?" Sir System was not pleased. "They were all mine, but for some reason they had all went over to you. This is absurd!"

"Heh heh, that reason is simple - you are inhumane... " Fang Ning said smugly.

"D*mn it, I'm not even a human, how could I be humane?" said Sir System gloomily.

Only then did Fang Ning realize that he was much better than Sir System. Using the characters of the Three Kingdoms as a standard, Sir System only had an advantage over him in one of the four traits, namely Strength, Intelligence, Politics, and Charisma. He had annihilated the System in the other three traits.

After this realization, Fang Ning could finally relax. With that relaxation came the decrease in motivation.

System Notification: [Host's determination is decreasing, and has returned to its normal level.]

Fang Ning ignored that entirely, and had instead busied himself by asking, "What is the Divine Monument capable of? Show me its characteristics."

"What is there to see? It's the same as before… Oh? No, it has changed quite a bit. This probably happened after you climbed the Stairway to Heaven." The System was surprised.

"Quick, show me." Fang Ning knew that Sir System had forcefully System Binded the Divine Monument to it, and could detect the status of it no matter how far it was located. Thus, he was not surprised when the System could provide such information.

[Divine Monument, Heavenly Axiom Treasure. Effects are as follows:

1. Divine List.

2. Stairway to Heaven.

3. Divine Questioning. The person in possession of this Monument can propose one question to the Heavenly Axiom every day. All matters within the jurisdiction of the Heavenly Axioms, including all past incidents and all existing things, will have the answers. 

4. The follow-up function is updating…]

"This seems useless. Isn't it just a duplicate of the great green insect's superpower?" Sir System brushed it off.

"How is this useless? The great green insect's superpower requires Empyrean Pills. This, however, is a free benefit, which is great. However, that great green insect's superpower is better as we could ask about the unknown, while this could only answer about known matters." Fang Ning nodded.

"I don't understand, but whatever. Checking the time, this month-long event to climb the Stairway to Heaven is coming to an end. We should keep it soon, and you will then be able to ask it a question." Sir System explained.

"Mm, that's right. It's ending in approximately a week's time." Fang Ning nodded in agreement.

///

There was only one week left until the closure of the climb of the Stairways of Heaven. 

Outside the Divine Gate, those who were unruffled before seemed to finally be worried, and those who were already ruffled in the first place has already rushed in to pounce at the first step.

At the same time, Ren Ruofeng and the others were mobilizing the members for the last time. Before him, the representatives from China stood.

Counting the two places that were given to the Indians and Americans, and the Dragon God, a total of three human representatives have entered the Divine Gate, and have contributed to a progress of nine steps.

"All seven of you have gotten secret instructions and guidance from the Venerable Dragon God. Throughout this one month, numerous people have explored the road before us. Now, it is your time to start your journey. I do not have any extravagant expectations such as reaching the second step; only Pond-level powerhouses will be able to do so. We will not be sending any Pond-level powerhouses in an effort to train and develop all of you. Keep in mind that this is an extremely precious opportunity that your predecessors have laid down for you. You must at least go through the first step!"

Ren Ruofeng scanned the faces of the seven people before him - Qiao Zishan, Xu Rui, Hai Cheng, and a few unfamiliar faces.

It was obvious that Ren Ruofeng was tossing them the pressure. If they could not handle such insignificant stress, they would have no hopes to go far on the road of cultivation! In contrast to any other pursuits, the road of cultivation has a high requirement on one's mental resilience. Those who had weak mental will should step down as soon as possible, and allow others to utilize the precious cultivation resources!

Hence, this was also a way to test their mental resilience, and to use the Stairway to foster the true hope of the younger generation!

All seven representatives had determined faces, and no one showed signs of fear. Looking back at the steps they took that made them who they were today, none of them had a life as great as a cheating hacker's, but all of them had their own talents!

After the short mobilization, seven of them shared a look, and unanimously stepped into the Divine Gate without looking back.

Meanwhile, within the Divine Gate, hundreds of beings of different species were now on the first step, deep in an illusion…

///

Meanwhile, across the ocean at Zhi Nan's residence.

Zhi Nan no longer treated Maggie the Caucasian with courtesy after he affirmed that Tom was the traitor. After they returned, the owner of the mansion and Tom the cat, and the namesake President of the Power Balance Association, was detained in the dungeon by the Black Robe under Zhi Nan's orders.

Even if Maggie was baffled, she did not dare to resist. She was dragged to the mansion's dungeon at Black Robe's mercy.

She was a great summoner, a person that could summon a demon king.

Still, with just one order from Zhi Nan, she had no choice but to surrender to the capture. It was obvious how influential the Devil Lord was, and it also explained why Tom the Cat was the real master of the Power Balance Association instead of herself.

"Hmph, that two faced b*stard Tom, I should've known that it wasn't a cat with a firm will. Vigilante A probably managed to tempt it over with just peanuts." Zhi Nan's voice was cold. 

Its betrayal had caused the failure of one of his major schemes, and had cost him the plan of getting a solid foundation. This the second time he had experienced such a major defeat ever since he descended on Earth.

The first time, naturally, was when Vigilante A successfully ignited his Inner Demon.

Righteously, the Black Robe huffed, "This darned cat, you have trusted and placed great importance on it on multiple occasions, Owner, how dare it betray you? It really deserves to be killed. If I were to meet it in the future, I would definitely skin and string its tendons, so to express your anger, Master."

"Tom usually hid itself quite well. It will be difficult for you to meet it in the future. Frankly, Vigilante A was the root cause for both of my defeats. It seems that Earth is indeed his home ground." Zhi Nan spoke, his words void of emotion.

Black Robe bowed in response, "What a detestable man who dares to challenge and trouble you, Devil Lord. Let me, your subordinate, remove his irking existence."

"That's courageous of you," Zhi Nan said with pride, but soon shook his head, "But you're not his match. Even I cannot be within the coverage of the Heavenly Axiom in this Earth if I want to deal with him."

Black Robe spoke, "Your servant has something to report to you, Master."

"Speak."

"It's on the matters of the recently appearing Lunar Devils. Rumour has it that they have caused quite a commotion around the Divine Gate." Black Robe spoke carefully.

"I knew of this. They had just started to settle down and expand their residences, and develop their foundation on Mars," Zhi Nan smiled, "Unfortunately, they probably have no idea that as long as they have fallen to become devils, they must obey my orders, for I am the Devil Saint." 

"If that's the case, does it mean that you would obtain a great foundation without putting any effort, my Master? Your humble servant sends his congratulations." Immediately, Black Robe replied.

"Still, they do have quite a few mysterious points. It's almost sad that they have a fatal flaw." Zhi Nan sounded almost regretful.

"What fatal flaw do you mean?" Black Robe was curious.

Their roots remain on Earth," said Zhi Nan, his voice light, "And what's left of it has probably been dug out already."

"Should we help them, then?" asked Black Robe.

Zhi Nan shook his head. "No. Devils will never require assistance. Only those who manage to climb out of the abyss can become a true devil."

Then, he suddenly asked, "Also, what's the progress on America's Robocop?"

"They're improving it, aiming to let it have the edge of both human and technological machinery. The Stairway to Heaven is closing soon. We didn't make it in time, so we can only attempt to gain Heavenly Recognition the next time the Divine Gate opens." Claudia, who was standing at the side all this while, quickly replied with her head hung low.

"Tom has betrayed me, thus it will be more challenging to obtain answers from the Divine Monument. Now, we can only wait and see if these Americans have the capabilities required to solve this issue. If they manage to do so, I don't see any problems in providing them some assistance in their development, such as selecting some warriors and heroes of potential and impart them some top-grade Demonic Abilities. They can then be a great source for the Devil Clan in the future." Zhi Nan nodded.

Claudia's eyes shone with jealousy. Top-grade Demonic Abilities were so powerful that it was not accessible and easily learned by low-class devils like themselves. They would never obtain one if they did not have a God-given, rare opportunity. 

Additionally, top-grade Demonic Abilities would normally be imparted only to one or two individuals that had outstanding aptitude, and would never be spread without caution. This was not something to display that all their geese were swans; a move to keep what was deemed valuable to themselves. Instead, this was a measure to preserve the scarcely available cultivation resources. If there were too many people that learned the ability, no one would have enough resources to catapult them to achieve the peak of cultivation.

"These common folk would definitely shed tears of gratitude." Claudia quickly said.

"Hah, gratitude? Maybe they'll harbor indescribable hate against me in the future. But, who cares?" Zhi Nan said, seemingly without rhyme or reason. 三国志, Records of the Three Kingdoms, is an online RPG where each character has traits of Strength, Intelligence, Politics, and Charisma.
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