Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
After passing the second round of exams and being commended for having an iron will by Lu Chongyang, Zhou Bai became the center of admiration and attention of many applicants.
As he walked to the examination site for the third round with Jing Xiu's support, he shouted to Christina in his mind the entire way, "Hey, you stupid cat! Did you know something at the beginning of the test?"
"I'm just a little kitty," Christina said. "What would I know about Tao practice?"
"Then what were you laughing about?" Zhou Bai asked. "And besides, didn't you say this place felt very familiar?"
"It does feel familiar," Christina mumbled. "I feel like I've lived here before… Turn left up ahead… That should be a cafeteria… I remember the food there being pretty good…"
After turning, they stopped and stared at a dumpster before them. Christina said awkwardly, "That's strange… Did I remember wrong?"
Zhou Bai's lips twitched. This isn't the first time this stupid cat has been wacky. I'll take everything she says with a grain of salt.
"Brother Zhou, are you looking for something?" Jing Xiu asked him.
"No, no, no," he responded. "Let's go quickly so we're not late."
The site of the third round of exams was in a large indoor classroom, where 1,200 seats were neatly arranged.
In front of the seats, five proctors levitated in the air with their legs crossed. One of them was Lu Chongyang.
An elder in the center of them stroked his beard, smiling, and began speaking to the 1,200 applicants. "Everyone, I'm very happy to see you here. I'm the vice-principal of Donghua Tao Academy, Zhao Shouyi. I'm also one of the five judges for this third round of exams."
Zhao Shouyi looked kindly at all 1,200 applicants. In his eyes, these people were the future of humankind, the central force in a few decades.
With a wave of his hand, a scroll painting slowly unrolled in midair.
The moment they saw the contents of the scroll, all 1,200 applicants went into a daze—they felt as if they saw something on the scroll, but also as if they didn't.
A mysterious, indescribable feeling burst in their hearts, making their hair stand on end, as they felt countless ideas spewing out of them.
At the same time, Zhao Shouyi said in a clear voice, "During the last test, everyone reviewed the three main codes of Tao practice. The first one is that you must not face the Heavenly Tao directly. Does everyone know why?"
A bald young man began to speak. "The Heavenly Tao became distorted and Spark became polluted 120 years ago."
"The Heavenly Tao that used to be difficult to summarize and describe with words began releasing vast amounts of information, which could be read and understood directly.
"This made the Heavenly Tao less difficult to grasp. It became endless, concrete knowledge that could be described word by word.
"But among this knowledge were vast amounts of distorted, evil, and fallen knowledge. Just the act of reading it would cause an ordinary person to go insane.
"Even for practitioners, there was great risk in reading it directly. That's why the big sects united and created Tao academies. They censored all the information spurting out of the Heavenly Tao and compiled it into text that normal people can understand and read safely.
"Then independent Taoist Qingjing brought up the three main codes of Tao practice. The first one is that you must not face the Heavenly Tao directly."
Hearing the bald man speak, Zhou Bai was deep in thought.
Zhao Shouyi nodded at the front and said, "You put it well. Because of the risk involved in directly facing the Heavenly Tao, different sects created different methods for preserving and reading the information inside. My Heaven Usurpation Map records the readings of the distorted Heavenly Tao by our predecessors."
At this, Zhao Shouyi smiled and said, "But this is still too dangerous for you, so I won't let you see the contents directly. What you'll see is the hard-to-grasp, hard-to-describe, hard-to-understand, and mysterious condition of the original Heavenly Tao."
Zhou Bai looked at the Heaven Usurpation Map and felt like he comprehended something when an indescribable flash crossed his mind. The only word he had for the moment was mysterious.
Zhao Shouyi pointed at the Heaven Usurpation Map and said, "This third round will test your ability to comprehend Tao. That's why you'll now each find a seat and sit down, look at this Heaven Usurpation Map, and write down what you see. The five of us will personally judge and grade them."
As he spoke, a big screen lit up behind him with the names of the applicants and their related information.
"Apart from this grade, your performance from the previous two rounds will also be graded, including your Primordial Spirit Value, running distance, speed, and change in speed. They'll all be converted into points according to certain rules.
"The sum of these three rounds will be your final grade. The 600 students with the highest grades will pass the entrance exam and become our Donghua Tao Academy's new entering class.
"Well then... Let's begin."
The applicants each took their seats. Jing Xiu looked relaxed as she glanced over at Zhou Bai and said, "Brother Zhou, don't worry. With your grade from the previous two rounds, even if you do poorly in this round, you'll definitely get accepted anyway."
Zhou Bai looked at the Heaven Usurpation Map in the air with worry. Then he turned around and saw that the applicants around him were either writing with flying strokes or deep in thought. He was the only one who appeared to be constipated.
Christina laughed and said, "They all obtained their Primordial Spirit Values from studying hard and breathing Spark. In the process of practice, even if they haven't Taoified, they naturally have their own understandings of the Heavenly Tao."
"This Heaven Usurpation Map contains everything in the universe that they can understand, more or less of it anyway. Everyone will see different information, by perhaps a breathing method, perhaps a way to strengthen their bodies, maybe martial arts techniques, perhaps the reason of purity and turbidity or the separation of yin and yang…"
"But you got your primordial spirit power purely from points… What the hell can you understand? Maybe 36 ways to lie on the couch? Hahahahaha…"
Hearing Christina mock him, Zhou Bai furrowed his brows. "Shut up, you're interrupting my comprehension of Tao."
"Comprehension of Tao?" Christina roared with laughter. "What the hell are you comprehending? Do you want me to help you out? I am comprehending something when I look at this Heaven Usurpation Map. If you beg me, I'll tell you."
"Beg you?" Zhou Bai's eyes lit up suddenly. "Watch… Let me show you what the great Tao is."
Zhou Bai thought through the risks. "My grades from the previous two rounds were so high anyway, so even if I write randomly, I still won't have such bad luck as to be one of the 600 applicants eliminated from the 1,200 in this round."
"And besides, they said it's possible to comprehend anything, which means that no matter what I write, there will probably be a base grade."
At this thought, Zhou Bai made a decision and put his pen to paper.
Christina watched him write with a smile, but in a moment she was shocked.
Zhou Bai said proudly, "No one in human society can escape the Law of Renege. This is an ultimate law that covers everything in the history of human development. This law expounds the entirety of humanity. How is it? Can I get first place?"
Christina said furiously, "First place my a**! What the hell are you writing?! Change it now! This is so embarrassing!"
"Tch," Zhou Bai shook his head. "Stupid cat. Then I'll write something else."
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