When the Captain suddenly accelerated dramatically, Qing Qiu’s expression flickered with defiance. The red glow surrounding her grew stronger, spreading out in all directions until it became like a sea of blood. With that sea of blood bolstering her, she also started moving much more quickly, passing the 6,600-meter point. However, she was still a good distance from the Captain, and obviously wouldn’t be able to catch up easily.
As her eyes shone crimson, she suddenly felt an astonishing aura approaching from behind her. Turning to look over her shoulder, her eyes suddenly stung as though she were looking directly into the sun.
It was none other than Xu Qing. The golden crow was completely manifest behind him, its full 300-meter size on full display. Not only did it radiate a majestic might, but also, it shone with dazzling light. Its nineteen, multicolored tails created a sea of flames that swept out in all directions around the pillar. Within the fire was Xu Qing, moving rapidly. With one movement, he reached the 6,300-meter point.
As for the resentful souls that formed in his sea of consciousness, he was completely ignoring them. Then he extended his right hand, and two umbrellas appeared overhead. One was pitch black and dripped with dark flames. It made him seem mysterious and enigmatic, and it also posed an obstacle to the rancorous will, which became dramatically weakened when trying to pass it. The other umbrella was like a glittering treasure with a seven-colored glow, surrounded by a sound like chanting wind. As it purified Xu Qing, whatever rancorous will tried to enter him simply crumbled. His third heavenly palace was also active, and every vibration sent out destructive power to the rancorous souls.
With all of those blessings, Xu Qing’s aura was so strong it shook the dome of heaven, and caused wild winds to sweep about. Then he took another step, taking him to 6,600 meters, exactly as high as Qing Qiu. However, he wasn’t anywhere close to being done. His glittering eyes didn’t pause for a moment to shift to Qing Qiu, but instead were fixed on the Captain.
They were bros, and also fellow daoists. Beyond that, they were the rare type of companions who were able to keep pace with each other on their path of cultivation. It actually didn’t matter who was first and who wasn’t. What was important was that both of them had their own goals, and were working hard to reach them. Both of them were following their own path and their own dreams. They could progress together, and they could even make sacrifices for the sake of their friendship. But one thing they couldn’t do was take it easy on each other.
If they were going to compete, they wouldn’t hold anything back! That was the way Xu Qing thought of it. And that was how the Captain thought of it too.
Xu Qing was moving again. The golden crow let loose a piercing cry, then merged into Xu Qing, becoming like a yellow robe around him, and bringing out the full potential of his fleshly body power.
It seemed to fill him with boundless energy, causing his energy and blood to surge. It wasn’t something that caused his body to bulk up, yet anyone that could lay eyes on him would be able to sense something like an entire burning heaven and earth within him.
With that terrifying fleshly body power, Xu Qing took a third step.
When his foot landed, the Supreme Beginning Netherflight Pillar vibrated. Then he moved again, surpassing Qing Qiu and appearing at the 6,900 meter spot. He appeared... right next to the Captain.
The Captain looked at Xu Qing with glittering eyes. However, his forehead was dotted with sweat; clearly, his astonishing burst of speed hadn’t been easy. There was no way he would admit that, though. Instead, he laughed heartily.
“Nice job, little Junior Brother! Sadly for you, I’m just warming up!” With that, the Captain moved forward to the 6,990 mark, surpassing Xu Qing.
Xu Qing also leaped forward, passing the Captain to reach 7,110 meters. Though he wasn’t sweating, he was panting a bit. Raising his eyebrows, he quietly said, “So am I, Eldest Brother.”
Suddenly, a howl from behind reached their ears, and they saw a bright red glow that surpassed 300 meters. Qing Qiu’s unique laughter echoed out from within that red glow, along with a very dangerous aura.
“Heh heh... you two are very amusing.”
Suddenly, she accelerated dramatically, heading right toward Xu Qing and the Captain. Xu Qing didn’t bother looking back. He just continued. The Captain did the same. All three moved with shocking speed up the pillar.
7,200 meters. 7,500 meters. 7,800 meters!
At that point, the limitations of Qing Qiu’s cultivation base became evident. She had reached the end of her explosive advance, and began to slow down. However, Xu Qing and the Captain were still moving at top speed.
Both passed 7,800 meters. As they sped up, each would occasionally glance at the other. One was gasping for breath, the other was covered with sweat.
All the while, they were exchanging words.
“You’re not going to last, little Junior Brother. And what’s with all the huffing and puffing? It’s so loud I bet the people down on the ground can hear you. Ai, it’s just like I told you before. You’re too young. Not physically capable of this kind of thing.”
“Eldest Brother, you’re leaving a river of sweat behind you on the Supreme Beginning Netherflight Pillar. Why don’t you stop and rest for a bit? I’m worried you’ll get dehydrated.”
Even as they bantered, they secretly accelerated, each of them trying to shake the other. Both were climbing higher and higher, trying to take the first place spot.
All Qing Qiu could do was look at them and grind her teeth. “How come I always have to run into those two damned idiots?”
Even worse, she could hear their banter, and it made it impossible for her to keep her cool. It was worse given the terrifying attacks by the rancorous will. It was much harder than before to drive out or possibly destroy the rancorous souls in her sea of consciousness. She had no concentration left to think about talking, yet Xu Qing and the Captain had the energy to exchange sarcastic comments. noVe-lb-1n
“Those two have serious mental problems!” she growled.
Meanwhile, the evil ghost scythe was sending her thoughts via divine will. “Go for it! Go for broke! Let’s end things with them in mutual destruction!”
Meanwhile, Xu Qing and the Captain passed 8,100 meters and reached 8,400 meters. From that height, everything below looked like tiny miniatures. The people in the crowd were too small to see clearly. In fact, all of Netherflight City could be obscured with a single hand.
Surrounding them were swirling mists and strong winds. That said, they were still very far away from the top of the pillar. The attacks of rancorous will were incredibly strong. And they didn’t limit themselves to the sea of consciousness, but rather, the entire body.
Every square inch of their flesh and blood was filled with rancorous will. Xu Qing, even with his third heavenly palace helping to fight back, was finding it difficult to get rid of the rancorous will. Even his life lamps were unstable. It wasn’t that they weren’t strong enough, but rather, the fact that his cultivation base was limited. It was the same with Golden Crow Assimilates Myriad Spirits, which seemed very weary.
After all, this height surpassed all of the various records that the Swordsage Court kept during their recruitment events. From ancient times until modern, though there had been people who climbed this high, their cultivation bases were much higher, meaning that they didn’t qualify to be recruits.
Xu Qing and the Captain weren’t bantering as much as before. But they were still bantering.
“You’re not going to last, little Ah Qing!” the Captain said, sweat dripping down him. Even he was starting to pant for breath. However, he was 15 meters higher than Xu Qing.
“I still have poisons I can use, Captain,” Xu Qing said. He pushed off with both legs, flying past the Captain and grabbing onto the edge of one of the totems. Pulling himself up, he went farther than the 15 meters separating him and the Captain.
The mention of poison caused the Captain’s expression to flicker. Then he saw Xu Qing surpass him, and his eyes flickered with a crazy light. “I have trump cards left too!”
Suddenly, he leaned over and bit into one of the magical symbols. A crunching sound rang out. Though he didn’t manage to actually take a bite out of the symbol, he did leave some teeth marks in it. What was more, close examination would reveal that there was a lot more rancorous will in that particular symbol. Unexpectedly, the Captain hadn’t been taking a bite, but rather, vomiting up rancorous will! All of the rancorous energy that had built up in him had been sent into that magical symbol.
Looking suddenly much more relaxed, he accelerated with shocking speed, directly passing 8,400 meters to reach 8,700. And then he continued to 9,000 meters.
Xu Qing’s eyes narrowed. As for Qing Qiu, she couldn’t have been more shocked. At the same time, her evil ghost scythe exclaimed, “That’s Mad Dog for you!”
When Xu Qing saw the Captain reach 9,000 meters, his eyes also glittered with a crazy look. Suddenly, his poison core in his third heavenly palace erupted with boundless poison, spreading out to cover him. None of it seeped out into the open; every bit entered his flesh and blood. His taboo poison core could poison all living things. And rancorous energy counted as a living thing!
It was something Xu Qing had learned firsthand when dealing with that giant monk’s head from the ghost ward back in Forbidden by the Phoenix. 
As the poison spread through him, whatever rancorous will was left behind in his flesh, blood, and sea of consciousness... all let loose howls of grief as it was eradicated.
The Captain used vomiting. Xu Qing used extermination. They were different approaches with equally satisfactory outcomes.
Xu Qing accelerated, quickly reaching 8,700 meters. And then, just as the Captain reached 9,000 meters, Xu Qing caught up!
At that location, there was a special totem design. It was a humanoid shape covering its face as it sat atop a moon. The moment the two of them reached that spot, the totem flickered, sending out two ripples of rancorous will that pulsed with godliness. Those ripples went right toward Xu Qing and the Captain, and then pierced into them.
A tremor passed through Xu Qing. The same thing happened to the Captain.
They stopped in place there at 9,000 meters as a figure appeared in each of their seas of consciousness.
High above in the Swordsage Court, the elders’ eyes glittered brightly.
“Finally... some candidates reached 9,000 meters!”
“Based on our analysis, the magical symbol there... depictes one of the handful of surviving moons of the group of thirty-seven that once existed in the Revered Ancient mainland.”
1. Xu Qing dealt with the monk’s head in ????