One should usually stay on the 81st checkpoint for full 24 hours, but Lin Huang was kicked out of the trial space 44 seconds earlier before the trial ended officially.
He speculated that it was most probably related to that bug monster that had crawled out of the hive in the end.
Lin Huang realized he was on the top of the Stairway Tree when he was kicked out of the trial space. Although he was on the top of the tree, it was as large as a massive plaza to him.
He scanned through the plaza and soon saw a golden chest in the middle of the plaza not far away, so he walked toward it. He did not open it immediately when he arrived before the chest. Instead, he only observed it.
The chest did not look huge. It was just a similar size to a shoe box. It was completely golden with special sigils carved on it.
Lin Huang took a picture with his Emperor's Heart Ring to take a record of the sigils. He then reached his hand to the chest.
Full of curiosity, he opened the chest.
There was no special effect such as a golden glow throughout the process of opening the chest. There was no strange background music either. It was just like an ordinary box that was not locked, whereby he opened it like a piece of cake.
There was no treasure that he was expecting to find in the chest. There was only a golden card that looked like a greeting card lying at the bottom of the chest quietly. There was nothing else apart from that.
Lin Huang raised his brow when he saw the card. He stretched his arm out to grab the card at the bottom. He took the effort to see if there was anything covered under the card. However, he found out that he was overthinking it.
Full of doubts, Lin Huang unfolded the card in his hand.
There was only a single sentence written in black on it.
"Lin Huang, congratulations for passing the Club's trial. Would you like to be a part of the Club?"
Lin Huang was stunned to see his real name written on the card instead of Lin Xie. Clearly, his fake identity was not a secret to the Stairway Tree system.
Lin Huang put aside the matter about his identity being exposed and asked, "What's the Club?"
The sentence on the card disappeared the second he asked that. Another sentence was appearing.
"The Club is a special, secret organization founded to explore the unknown and go for the extreme. There are two conditions for picking Club members. Firstly, the member has to be human. Secondly, the member has to be a ridiculous genius."
"So, was it you guys who set the checkpoints on the Stairway Tree? And one would only be eligible to join the Club after passing all checkpoints?" Lin Huang could not help but enquire further.
The words on the card changed again.
"So, how many members are there at the moment?" Lin Huang was curious. After all, he had gone through the difficulties on the Stairway Tree and was the only one in the gravel world that he was currently in who had broken through all the checkpoints throughout the hundreds of years.
"Not many. We only have 359 members at the moment."
"Only over 300 members in the entire great world?!" Lin Huang did not expect the number to be so low. Although he knew very well how hard it was to break through the Stairway Tree checkpoints, one must know that the great world connected to up to ten thousands of complete mini worlds. As for gravel worlds, there were millions or even tens of millions of them.
"No, it's in the entire universe."
The answer on the card shocked Lin Huang.
He had no idea how large was the universe exactly. He only knew that the great world was a part of the universe. "Are there only over 300 members in the entire universe?!"
Lin Huang only snapped back to his senses a long time later. He asked immediately, "So what are the benefits of joining this Club?"
"1. You can trade with other members and exchange resources.
"2. You can participate in the gatherings, exchanging things you've learned from cultivation.
"3. You can get the members to help you whenever you encounter some troubles."
Lin Huang jolted when he heard the third benefit and asked immediately, "What's the highest combat strength a member has in the Club?"
"If I agree to join, what's my standard of ability in the Club?" Lin Huang proceeded to ask in a testing manner. He was playing with his words, asking about his ability instead of his combat strength.
"The weakest. Nobody is below you."
Lin Huang was shocked for a moment. "What do I need to do if I join it?"
"You don't need to do anything. All members are definitely free to do anything they want. You never have to log into the Club even if you join it. However, your name will be erased if you don't log in for a hundred years."
"What if I don't join it? What will happen to me?" Lin Huang asked again.
"Your memory about the Club will be erased."
"Are there no consequences?"
"Alright, I get it now." Lin Huang nodded and finally made up his mind after thinking to himself for a while. "I agree to join!"
A sentence that was written in black appeared on the card again.
"Lin Huang, congratulations for being an official Club member!" There was a 'x' inscribed at the right corner.
At that very moment, the greeting card he was holding in his hand turned into a golden glow just like stardust. It disappeared after penetrating his palm.
Just when he wanted to look into his body to see what had happened, a special message was imprinted in his head automatically. He understood all sorts of information about the Club now.
As he was digesting the information in his head, an announcement came into his ears before he was done reading. "Congratulations to the Deputy Chief of the Heaven Alliance, Lin Xie, for breaking through the 81st checkpoint on the Stairway Tree! He has broken the Stairway Tree's record and become the first person who has broken through all the checkpoints!"
The announcement was blasted on all the checkpoints on the Stairway Tree at the same time. All the online Genius Union members heard it loud and clear.
As the announcement came, three notifications popped onto everyone's Emperor's Heart Ring once after another.
Lin Huang's feat of breaking through the entire Stairway Tree struck discussions among many Genius Union members.
Every checkpoint on the Stairway Tree became crowded as almost everyone was talking about Lin Xie's achievement.
"Holy moly! He broke through the entire Stairway Tree!"
"Before today, I've always naively thought that nobody in this world would break through the entire Stairway Tree. Never have I thought I'd get a tight slap in the face so hard that you can hear the slapping sound…"
"I thought I was dreaming just now. I was just wondering why would I dream about Lin Xie considering that I'm a man. It turns out that I'm not dreaming!"
"I think I saw someone opening a bet this morning that the odds are 1:10,000 on Lin Xie breaking through the entire Stairway Tree. I'm wondering if the maker is still alive."
"Hey, commenter above, I'm the maker, and I'm still breathing. Indeed, I opened a 1:10,000 wager, but fortunately, nobody bet on that. Otherwise, I might have to pawn myself to pay the debts."
"Eh, are you sure you want to pawn yourself? You're not some hot chick with big boobs. Look at my disgusted face ﾍ(;´Д｀ﾍ)"