648 Difficulty Beyond His Expectations
As Lin Huang sat in the crack of the bark, he was activating his Life Power to prevent the cold from entering his body. He was like a candle swaying in the wind, and he looked like he was going to be put out anytime. Without the Frost Flame Ape's protection, he was exposed to -200 degree Celsius conditions. The draining of his Life Power was much faster than before.
In such a horrible environment, Lin Huang activated the Army Attack Tactics' rotation. He did not want to stay there, but he wanted to see if he could accelerate the speed of his Army Attack Tactics' card accumulation under such circumstances. If this worked, he planned to train his Army Attack Tactics there whenever he had the time.
This only proved that Lin Huang's speculation was true. Under the quick draining of his Life Power, the Army Attack Tactics level-9 which required one second to complete a cycle was increased in less than five minutes to 0.5 seconds per cycle. Besides, it was not the end yet. He could feel that the speed was accelerating. Noticing that his last Life Wheel was depleting, he used a Life Power Refill Card immediately and climbed back to the Frost Flame Ape immediately.
As soon as he got back to the Frost Flame Ape, Lin Huang started the rotation of his Army Attack Tactics again to restore the Life Power that was depleted. Without the pressure, the rotation went back to one second per cycle. Time went by on the Stairway Tree. The gigantic Frost Flame Ape attached itself on the bark as it absorbed the black fog with its mouth wide open. Lin Huang had no idea what the fog was, but he could feel the deadly threat looming behind it. He could also feel the chill when he used the telekinetic thread to touch it. He figured he might become frozen if his body were to touch the fog.
Lin Huang and the Frost Flame Ape were stuck at the second checkpoint for more than three hours. The ape stopped absorbing the fog, and it seemed like it was now full with the fog in itself. Meanwhile, seven out of ten Life Wheels in Lin Huang's body were filled. It was past noon when he checked the time. He did not plan to stay any longer, so he instructed the ape to move on. In less than three minutes, they passed through the second checkpoint. Looking at the area that was covered in black fog beneath, Lin Huang knew that he would be back one day. However, he shook his head while forcing a smile when he recalled the chill in his bones.
"I guess many geniuses that are below immortal-level will be stuck in this checkpoint for a while…"
Just when they left the second checkpoint, the Frost Flame Ape spoke to him., I'm sorry, Master. Since I've absorbed a massive amount of black fog earlier, my bloodline thickness is going to level up soon. I might not serve you at the moment."
"Don't worry about it. Focus on breaking through." Lin Huang nodded and leaped to a crack in the bark. He summoned the golden-haired Mighty Ape again after recalling the Frost Flame Ape.
"Let's go up!" Lin Huang climbed on top of the Mighty Ape's shoulder and instructed.
The Mighty Ape was exuberant as it claimed. It was worried that Lin Huang might not summon it again since it had made mistakes earlier. Without the snow, the Mighty Ape's performance peaked as it was reaching more than 30,000 meters. Lin Huang looked up as he noticed that the reading on his Emperor's Heart Ring showed 30,000 meters. He could not wait to see what the third checkpoint was about. The clouds were gray this time, and it looked like it was going to rain.
"It was a snow storm on the second checkpoint. Could this be rain?" Lin Huang thought it would be lack of creativity if the third checkpoint were as he speculated.
Just when he was going to get the Mighty Ape to pass through the cloud, there were purple flashes of lightning on top of the clouds coming towards them. The Mighty Ape sensed danger by instinct and leaped aside, managing to dodge the attack.
However, that was just the beginning. Right after the Mighty Ape dodged it, the gray cloud was like an angry beast that was awoken as purple lightning bolts struck towards them. It felt like there was a giant purple squid on top of the sky that was attacking Lin Huang and the Mighty Ape with its lightning-like tentacles.
"It's useless to hide like this. Let's go through it." Noticing that the Mighty Ape was dodging the attacks clumsily, Lin Huang thought avoiding was a waste of time and strength as they could not move with the lightning bolts striking them.
The Mighty Ape noticed that it was impossible for it to dodge every single lightning bolts that were coming their way at such a high frequency. It made more sense to just go through it. After hearing Lin Huang's instruction, the Mighty Ape gave up on dodging and proceeded to climb up after covering its body with a layer of Life Power. Lin Huang, who was sitting on the ape's shoulder, activated his Dark Mirror as his defense.
Along the way, the purple lightning bolts hit the Mighty Ape's body, but it did almost nothing to it as it was an immortal-level. After confirming that the lightning was not a threat, the Mighty Ape climbed as fast as it could. Lin Huang was a smaller target. Although he was hit by lightning occasionally, the lightning would be reflected away by the Dark Mirror. This checkpoint was nothing difficult for him. However, the deeper the Mighty Ape got into the gray cloud, the purple lightning turned into blue, and it was more powerful now.
Every strike of blue lightning would drain tens of times more of the ape's Life Power than before. The bolts of lightning could occasionally break through the Mighty Ape's Life Power shield and cause it to be stiff. Lin Huang could feel that the Life Power of the Mighty Ape was tapering and its body was stiff. He did not expect that it was merely the third checkpoint that would be such trouble to an immortal-level Mighty Ape. He then urged the Mighty Ape to climb at its peak speed.
As the Mighty Ape climbed as fast it could, they finally passed through the gray cloud more than two minutes later. After passing through the third checkpoint, Lin Huang had a new understanding of the challenges of the Stairway Tree. It was a few times more difficult than he imagined. The third checkpoint could stop more than 90% of holy fire-level humans and even some less powerful immortal-levels. They might even be stuck at the second checkpoint.
"The third checkpoint is already so difficult, but some people managed to get to the 72nd checkpoint when they're only on immortal-level rank-9…" Lin Huang was impressed by those people who had managed to pass through 70 checkpoints in history. Although they depended on strategies on some of the levels, looking at how difficult they were, they're not easy to go through even provided with strategies.
Lin Huang had heard from Yao Lan that the 72nd checkpoint was the highest checkpoint anyone had ever gotten to in history. However, the highest checkpoint that the current genius organizations members managed to climb to was only the 63rd checkpoint. They could not pass through that despite being provided with strategies. After some realization, Lin Huang snapped out of his thoughts and looked up to the sky, knowing that the fourth checkpoint would be even more difficult than before!