54 Subsequent Tribulations
It only took Jam a couple minutes to return from the center of the Celestial Lake to the boundary of the volcanic range.
The volcanic range was the most unstable special environment Jam had entered — surpassing even the thunder valley in terms danger. However, Jam — even when he was only at the Dao Infusion level — could survive inside the magma of even the hottest of these volcanoes.
Jam decided to stay a couple days in the volcanic range before continuing his journey to the center of the pocket dimension. After collecting a couple thousand pieces of natural treasures, Jam created another temporary home inside of the biggest volcano in the volcanic range. Danger Noodle wasn't as comfortable as Jam in the magma, so she ran off to some other place while Jam took a short break.
Jam was actually treating the magma of an active volcano as bath water, as he trained and relaxed to gain Fire Dao insights. Jam closed his eyes and relaxed for a while — fully nude since he didn't want to clean out any rust that might form in his uniform or armor, from coming into contact with the magma. Jam wasn't expecting anyone to stumble across him — he was after all technically underground, as magma isn't considered completely liquid.
However, a band of nomad Fire Dao cultivators wanted to meditate in this volcano; it made sense, given that the volcano Jam chose was at the heart of the entire range. None of these cultivators were a threat to Jam, as the highest cultivation base in their group was just a Saint Grandmaster.
Jam just ignored them and relaxed, but he had to stop as one of the Saint Masters — a female — attacked him of no reason. Jam easily deflected her attack and with and annoyed look, he said "What's your problem lady?"
This female Saint Master had a face of utter disgust, as she said "You fuckin… how dare you show your filthy body in my presence!" Another wave of fire shot from her hands and into her sword, attempting to cut Jam into a thousand pieces.
Jam was starting to get annoyed, so he escalated his aura and pressured the female fire cultivator with his Intent and Targeted Gravitation, before snapping the sword in her hand in half. His eyes glowed with killing intent, and his voice grew an octave lower as he said "Look. I was here first. Be a good little girl and fuck off, or might get handsy and make you."
The other fire cultivators that were with the girl hurriedly apologized and forcefully removed the female fire cultivator before running away as if their life depended on it. Unlike the flustered Saint Master that had attacked Jam, the rest of her companions were rational and decided that messing with Jam was not a good idea — they judged Jam's strength from how easy it was for him to break the Saint Masters sword with his bare hands.
After having to deal with that annoying Saint Master, Jam was no longer in the mood to continue relaxing in the magma. Instead we was ready to tackle the Rebirth Stage. He was already over prepared for the tribulations that would head his way, and his Dao cultivation was approaching the prerequisite needed to advance into Sainthood.
As the final Stage of the Spirit Realm, the Rebirth Stage was less of a stage in cultivation and more of a collection of trials and tribulations. To breakthrough to the Rebirth Stage, Jam would have to start collecting energy once again to expand his Dantian Space. This would cause the Heavenly Dao to react to Jam's actions.
The Heavenly Dao would interpret a cultivator trying to expand the size of their Dantian Space as a sign of defiance, causing a set of tribulations to spawn, targeting the cultivator in question. It would send three tribulation to the cultivator entering the Rebirth Stage: a Soul Synchronization Tribulation, a Dao Illusion Tribulation, and a 3-9 Thunder Tribulation.
Each of these tribulations would come down as a warning for the cultivator to stop in their attempts to cultivate. However, if a cultivator managed to survived pass the last 3-9 Thunder Tribulation, they would gain a body that the Heavenly Dao found suitable for cultivation, as it would have the soul, energy, and body fused.
After Jam passed the threshold of his Dantian Space for the first time, the Soul Synchronization Tribulation would descend from the Heavens. Passing this threshold would be painful for most people, as it consisted of forcefully expanding the Dantian Space. However, Jam was practically immune to physical pain. With his four Dao Domains, perfect Dao Palace, and Black Hole Core, passing the threshold was a not a challenge.
The moment Jam forcefully expanded his Dantian Space — by just a few inches — the world reacted. The Heavenly Dao sent a beam of light to trap Jam. In this beam of light, the Heavenly Dao would use an unknown form of pressure to force Jam's soul into his body. This would not be dangerous to Jam as he had already achieved a 100% synchronization rate with his body and soul. However, the same could not be said for most other cultivators.
Usually, cultivators would not be able to perfectly concentrate on their Soul Fusion phases and would not achieve perfect synchronization. However, as long as they did not become retarded in the process and achieve at least an 85% synchronization rate — the standard for late phase Soul Condensing — they would be able to persist through the Soul Synchronization Tribulation.
Jam felt nothing from the Soul Synchronization Tribulation of the Heavenly Dao, so after it ended, he moved on to the next tribulation; the Dao Illusion Tribulation. Jam once again surpassed the threshold of his Dantian Space's capacity, before the world reacted for a second time.
This time, after Jam was captured by the Heavenly Dao's beam, he immediately fell asleep — in the same way he did back in the Celestial Lake. However, he didn't enter a state of enlightenment, instead he was presented with true and false insights for all the primary Daos that he cultivated.
Jam didn't have to be worried about being attacked, as anything that came into contact with the Heavenly Dao's beam, would be forced to undergo the same tribulation as Jam. Except, the Heavenly Dao would take extreme offence to someone interrupting its process, and would make the intruder go through a tribulation countless time more difficult that the one form whom it was originally intended.
Jam was presented with a long list of insights that he had to immediately react to, choosing to either accept the insights that the tribulation presented him with as true, or denying them as false. The list of insights progressed from obviously true and false, to more complex. However, Jam managed to complete all the Yang, Fire, Thunder, and Stellar Dao insights correctly; they spot getting harder after reaching what a beginner Dao Domain cultivation could understand.
But because Jam needed to have five Daos completed to progress in his cultivation, he chose the Space Dao as the last Dao he needed to be tested for — even though it wasn't at the level of the other Daos it was still much better than his Time Dao, after all the teleporting Jam did.
Jam managed to get through most of the insights for the Space Dao without making a mistake, but on the last few insights, Jam did make a couple mistakes. Every time Jam made a mistake, the Dao Illusion Tribulation would present Jam with a vision of what the world would look like if his wrong answer was correct.
Jam thought the Dao Illusion Tribulation would penalize him more severely for making mistakes. He felt it was being too generous by not punishing him at all. He was even more confused when the Dao Illusion Tribulation showed him the mistakes in his answers, as if to correct him. This cause Jam's Space Dao to improve significantly — soon he would be able to form his own Space Dao Domain.
Unfortunately, Jam's Dao Illusion Tribulation ended before he could complete his Space Dao Domain.
After exiting the Dao Illusion Tribulation beam, Jam didn't immediately start the 3-9 tribulation. Instead, he asked Tzatziki "Why did the Dao Illusion Tribulation help me by pointing out the mistakes in my insights?"
"Kid, for this test you weren't being tested on the baseline of Dao Domain levels of Dao cultivation. Just having Dao Infusion in all of your primary Daos was more than enough to pass the test without getting a backlash. You have FOUR Dao Domains, and that last Dao of Space you were tested on, is approaching that level as well. If you were actually punished after all that, then I would have died when I had my tribulation and didn't even have three Daos at the Dao Infusion level!" Jam could tell that Tzatziki was a bit flustered and annoyed right now. Was he jealous?
Jam proceeded to surpass the threshold of his Dantian Space own more time. This time, the world reacted in a much more exaggerated manner. The Heavenly Dao didn't just quietly send down another beam. Instead the sky changed into tumultuous black clouds for several hundred kilometers, and ear piercingly loud cracks of thunder could be heard in the distance.
Jam prepared himself for the Heavenly Dao's Thunder Tribulation, but it was all mental preparations. He knew that none of his transformations would help him in this tribulation, so he chose to put away his Peak Armor and gauntlets. Jam also took off all his clothes, donning only the most basic covers of thunder energy to not be completely naked while challenging the tribulation.
The Heavenly Dao was preparing three special bolts of thunder to strike Jam down. These bolts of thunder would not cause physical damage to Jam. Rather, they would bypass all of Jam's defenses and strike his Dantian Space directly. This would cause the boundaries of Jam's Dantian Space to either fuse with the rest of his body, or cause his Dantain to implode.
This 3-9 Thunder Tribulation was special, as the Heavenly Dao would naturally scale the strength of the thunderbolts, according to the achievements of the person undergoing the tribulation. Jam was abnormally talented to say the least, so his Thunder Tribulation would be quite the spectacle.
The key to surviving this tribulation lay in Jam's ability to persist through the pain, and guide the energy of the thunder through his Dantian and body — forming a sort of cycle of energy.
The Heavenly Dao had finished preparing its first bolt of thunder and shot it towards Jam. Jam took the first bolt of thunder, and a frown appeared on his face; it had been a while since he felt the effects of pain.
Jam might be immune to physical pain, but the bolts of thunder that the Heavenly Dao would shoot at him, would cause soul piercing pain. Pain to the soul was infinitely worse than physical pain, and Jam had a long road ahead of him if he wished to transcend that kind of pain, in the same way he had for physical pain.
The Heavenly Dao didn't give Jam a chance to rest, and sent another bolt down. This time, Jam grew worried as the energy was very hard for him to properly guide, while dealing with the pain. However, after a couple seconds, Jam managed to gain more control over the energy cycling between his Dantian and the rest of his body.
The final bolt of thunder that the Heavenly Dao would throw at Jam was different from the first two. This thunderbolt had a bit of purple in its predominantly red color scheme. The Heavenly Dao also seemed to pity Jam, as it gave him a couple seconds before wrecking his Dantian Space with this final thunderbolt.
The pain caused by the last thunderbolt brought Jam back to that hallucination of complete pain. However, Jam knew that being distracted would cause his death, and instinctively activated his eyes' Demon Form. Entering Demon Form would not only make Jam hundreds of times more powerful than he was in his regular state, it would also allow Jam to gain even better control of his body.
Now that Demon Form had resurfaced, Jam gained the strength and self control to forcefully guide the energy of the last thunder bolt through his body and Dantain. Jam managed to finish absorbing the energy of the last thunderbolt before collapsing from the sky. Jam didn't black out like the first time he used Demon Form, but all the strength in his body was gone, and his Dantian Space was in utter chaos.
As Jam was falling down toward the volcano, the Saint Master from before that Jam had told to fuck off appeared once again. The Saint Master as well as the rest of her group made their way back to Jam's volcano after noticing the disturbances caused by Jam's tribulations. The Saint Master looked at Jam with an evil smile plastered on her face, and said "Who was it that told me to fuck off?" then she launched a fire sword slash at Jam.
Jam was currently in a near-death state. If this sword slash hit him, he would be done for. However, like the Saint Master's group, Danger Noodle had returned to Jam's side after noticing the disturbances caused by Jam's tribulations.
The strongest person in the female Saint Master's group was only at the Saint Grandmaster level, so Danger Noodle had no problems wiping the group off from existence with a swipe of her thunder imbued serpentine body.
After dealing with the group of Saints, Danger Noodle caught Jam on her back and flew outside of the volcanic range.