'...damn, it's heavy.'
Blake had his brows furrowed. He felt sweat pouring down on his face as he endured immense pressure.
He and his girlfriends are currently testing out the new training grounds that Ashton just opened up. He called it the Stairway to Heaven.
The training area was located in a pocket dimension where there was nothing but a seemingly vast land and an endless-looking flight of stairs that reaches the sky. Actually, the stairs pierced the sky of this realm. It could make anyone wonder what's the scenery just beyond the clouds.
Unfortunately, though, they still have a long way to go before they could even come close to seeing what's beyond the clouds. The pressure they felt just by standing at the first few steps was already enough to stop them dead in their tracks.
Mary was on the 3rd step, Alice was on the 5th and Blake was on the 9th.
He's doing much better than them since his physique was more used to endure this kind of trauma. Still, going from the 9th step to the 10th feels like surmounting the heavens itself.
The pressure was too damn heavy, and it wasn't just any kind of pressure either. It was something that could ignore all kinds of built-up defenses they have. The pressure presses down to their soul, making it more difficult to endure.
Blake has never this kind of pressure before. It feels horrible but also encouraging ironically.
He initially thought that he'd do much better than this, but he was quickly humbled. What's crazier is that the one who introduced them to this training ground — Ashton himself, couldn't go with them since, according to him, this was specialized for Ascendants only.
That's kind of absurd, now that Blake thought about it.
It's safe to assume that it was Ashton who made this thing, because if not him, then who right? But why would he make something that he couldn't use?
He understands that Ashton probably made it with the three of them in mind, but still...it doesn't make sense why he must limit it to Ascendants only. Shouldn't he know some finer details about this thing which will enable him to use it? Why wasn't he doing that?
That being said, Blake couldn't really tell what Ashton could and could not do. If he's not using this, then that's his decision.
Blake took a deep breath and attempted to move up another step.
The steps of the stairway were large. Each one was big enough to have at least 50 people at the same time. There was plenty of room for Blake to do something else, he could even lie down here if he wants.
He was on the edge of the 9th step, and in front of him was the 10th step. It looks so simple and so easy to cross but in reality, it's not.
Even approaching this place already took a lot out of him. Not to mention, the instant shift in pressure that was palpable when his foot touched the 10th step.
It feels like his foot turned into a patty the moment it landed, causing him to retrieve it in shock. Just from this, it was sufficiently clear that he was not ready for the 10th step, not anytime soon anyway.
That sucked a bit, but not enough for him to throw a fit. If he's not ready for it yet, then he's not ready. Plain and simple. There was no need to force it, he was just gonna hurt himself if he did.
'Stuck with the 9th step it is...' he mused to himself.
And against all expectations, Blake took a couple of steps back, feeling the gentle retreat of some pressure on him before proceeding to lie down flat on the ground.
Yes, he lay down on the ground. Spreading his arms and legs wide like a starfish.
This was a stupid idea, mainly because doing it this way would make the pressure feel even heavier than it actually was. However, it's precise because of that, that Blake did this.
'Damn, this is harsh.' He groaned inwardly, 'It feels like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.'
It felt quite literally like that for him, but this was what he wants. The pressure was spread evenly at every inch of his being. He found it difficult to even breathe but he's hanging in there.
As he lay down there, he moved Aether Energy around his body. Its circulation was obviously affected by the pressure it was also allowing him to more easily penetrate his body.
This in turn nourishes his physique even more effectively compared to his usual cultivation. Obviously, this translates into a faster cultivation speed.
Aether was abundant in this place anyway. Its purity was top notch too. This was intentional since this was meant to be a place for training Ascendants in the first place.
Blake released his senses to check on his girlfriends. He then saw Mary sitting down on the 4th Step just now and Alice training with a wooden sword on the 6th step.
Shortly after, Mary began looking up the flight of stairs, looking forlorn and stuff. Her eyes gleamed with a peculiar brilliance as if she could see something that they can't.
She was mumbling something that Blake couldn't decipher. To others, this sight would appear weird but for Blake, it was strangely adorable. Well, she is his girlfriend so sue him.
Anyway, this was a sign that Mary was doing her kind of training while enduring the pressure from the flight of stairs. It doesn't have to make sense for him or Alice, after all, everyone interprets cultivation differently.
Blake retrieved his senses and went back to focusing on himself. They were no need for him to worry about the girls since they were safe here. If anything happens, Ashton told them that there are some emergency protocols set up within this place to respond accordingly to that.
If someone couldn't endure the pressure anymore and has no further energy to retreat, they will instantly be teleported to the base of the stairs where there's no pressure at all.
Down there, there were Medical Bots stationed, ready to provide help to those who would need it. So all in all, it was completely safe here.
Blake continued circulating his energies while watching the clouds.
He wondered just how this place came to be. How in the world did Ashton create something like this?
This was a pocket dimension, yes. It wasn't anything new to him since he knows that Ashton could easily mold space like it was play-dough.
But considering the size of this place...that ability becomes a little questionable if he were to be completely honest.
This was a complete mimicry of an entire world. He could see a sun on the horizon and a few stars as well. All elements that were required to make up a habitable world were also present here too.
Not to mention, this crazy flight of stairs that goes beyond the skies itself.
It truly made him wonder how in the world Ashton was able to create something like this. And why did he say that he can't train with them since he's not an Ascendant when he obviously was powerful enough to create all of this?
Really, it's confusing. To be honest, Blake didn't want to think too much about it since Ashton obviously has his secrets and he was entitled to those.
But he can't help it. He has too much time to marinate in his thoughts. And believe him, if he could he would distract himself by doing something else. But what he's doing now was the most optimal form of training for him so he truly couldn't help it.
'I'm being too nosy, am I?' He chuckled to himself.
There really wasn't much to say about that. He is indeed being a little too nosy.
He wasn't like this before. Perhaps he became like this because he's feeling a little too comfortable about the situation.
'Oh well, this is what happens when I have nothing better to do.' He thought to himself.
'Oh yeah! Didn't he say that there was another one of this kind of training grounds?'
'What was it again?' Blake tried to recall for a bit before remembering it.
'Ah! He calls it the Lake of Blood.'
The three of them had yet to experience that place. Ashton made them experience this place first since according to him, the Lake of Blood needed some time to charge, whatever that means.
Frankly, the name of that place sounded a little too sinister. The images that pop up into his mind for his expectations of the place were also a little too concerning.
Why in the world would Ashton name and create something sinister-sounding like that? Hell, the world might never know.
But if there's something well-known for everyone who knows Ashton. It'd be the fact that his ideas might be weird but in the end, it was for the sake of the greater good.
Besides, who knows? Maybe his expectations would end up drastically different from reality.
Unfortunately, his senses tell him that he might end up not liking that place a lot.
'Oh well, I guess I'll find out tomorrow.'
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