A full month soon passed and the public clamor and household talks caused by the announcement of Xue Yifei ’s engagement with the mysterious alchemist did not die down. In fact, it started to escalate as two divisions, against and for, were formed. Many were outraged by the Bloodforge King ’s reckless actions of forcefully sending off his most beautiful daughter as a concubine. While a few felt it was a good strategic move to attract a talented alchemist.
If this was a normal monarchy, one fashioned purely from strength, corpses, and blood, then this type of civil unrest wouldn ’t happen in the cultivation world. However, the Bloodforge King was an elected leader—elected by the people themselves. He was expected to act and uphold a certain degree of standard that conformed to the majority.
This was obviously a flaw within the Bloodforge King ’s executive power. While the few won ’t actively speak against him in fear of being silenced, when too many heads popped up in defiance, there was no way the king or his established government could handle them all. This gave them power. While it wasn ’t readily available, it was the power of unified influence. This was further bolstered by the rights granted to them by the Myriad Monarch Sect as native citizens of the continent.
Unfortunately, it was utterly impossible for the Bloodforge King to retract his proposal, even if he had regretted it. This was because the mysterious alchemist was THE Wei Wuyin. To him, doing so was the same as signing his own death warrant, and it was him who offered originally, so that made his situation even more awkward.
He thought that if those leading these vocal individuals knew who the alchemist might be that their actions would die down and influence others, but whenever he tried to quietly leak this information, it was scoffed off. This became even more certain as news from the Myriad Monarch Sect was released saying that Wei Wuyin had recently dual-concocted an eighth-grade product with the Grand Imperial Sage.
If he was in the Myriad Monarch Sect concocting products with the utmost authority, how could he be here? Xue Duan wanted to find someplace to cry but had no tears. Even when he found Qi Lang later to seek an explanation, he received the most obvious answer. It was simply a smoke-screen devised for the public so that Wei Wuyin wouldn ’t be bothered on his vacation after the recent commotion.
He could only drag his feet away in utter sadness, unable to deal with the civil unrest. His silence only bred further frustration and outrage, and the faction against this union became even more vocal, with even his own daughters and sons seeking answers from him. Dealing with this, he had nothing but a headache and helplessness.
At the far-edges of the Xue Country eastern borders, there was an abandoned mine that had long since been excavated until exhaustion. It was closed over a thousand years ago and hadn ’t been explored since.
Wei Wuyin arrived with Su Mei on foot. Su Mei took the lead, arriving at the abandoned mine ’s entrance. Wei Wuyin peered into it slightly, noting the desolate aura within and gaping darkness that tunneled for who knew how long.
”This mine was originally used for excavating and extracting spatial-type ores that forged Storage Rings and Void Gates. It was called the Crescent Void Mine, and it was owned by a force that vanished abruptly nearly twelve hundred years ago. After their departure, it was used for two hundred years until it became desolate and bare. It has some stability issues, and those that enter often experience illness, and thus no one has ventured into it since. ” Su Mei explained.
Wei Wuyin ’s silver eyes inspected it deeply, relying on his Celestial Eyes to see the unseen. While it was completely devoid of any signs of useful materials, it contained a unique desolate aura that permeated through every rock and speck of dirt. This aura was brought about by absence and deprivation.
’Intent? ’He felt a unique intent-like aura from it. It reminded him of Battle Intent. In the Scarlet Solaris Sect, the arena used by disciples for competitions was said to have been the place of an epic battle with an expert who birthed Battle Intent. It was this aura that invigorated the senses, heightened the focus, and instilled fierce will within the hearts of many. However, it was weak and sparse.
Here, the Desolate Intent was rather potent. In fact, it was purely formed from it. Entering here, one ’s spirit might be affected, causing the regression of one ’s innate energies. He walked forward and saw the dilapidated archway that marked the entrance. With the flat of his palm, he rubbed its wooden and ancient surface.
From his vision, traces of his physical energies were being influenced. These traces entered the wooden surface and vanished, enhancing the desolate aura further and further. It was as if it was transforming energy into its own. However, it wasn ’t strictly absorption or devouring.
”Peculiar. ” He commented only this one word. The entire mine was infested with this desolate aura.
Su Mei stepped forward and said, ”The illness was a direct result of severe deprivation of vital energies, such as yang and physical energies. ”
Only then did Wei Wuyin realize only his physical energies were being extracted and refined. As for his yang energies, they were far too condensed to be extracted. Nodding slightly, he removed his palm. ”Zuhei tracked her here. The Ancient Void Gate, did you investigate it? ”
Su Mei nodded, ”Yes. The Ancient Void Gate seemed to be nearly two thousand years old, and it seems to be completely functional yet strange. I ’ve brought over a specialized Architect and he inspected it. His opinion was that it couldn ’t be used. However, its unique design made it slightly different than normal Void Gates. ”
”How so? ”
”He said the Ancient Void Gate required an additional object besides a Void Disk to activate: a key. Something very specific. This made it useless and unable to be scrapped and reformed. ” Su Mei was quite interested, and she also came to the same conclusion. While it was seen as useless, it was likely only the case for conventional architects. This key might be able to allow it to start.
Wei Wuyin rubbed his chin slightly. He was just about to enter the mine when Ori started to shake intensely. ”Hm? What is it? ” He directed a mental message to it.
Ori, his Divine Elemental Astral Soul, was quite animated at the moment. It was trembling in excitement. ”That aura! Let me absorb it! ” It was asking for permission.
Wei Wuyin frowned lightly, turning to Su Mei. Usually, these Astral Souls of his would act on their desires without permission as long as it wasn ’t harmful to him or themselves. It seemed it had some reservations about externalizing with Su Mei there. However, Wei Wuyin trusted Su Mei entirely.
Ori left his body, causing Su Mei to start with wide eyes. Ori ’s body, or what was visually seen, was a spherical world with an external white layer, and contained within this white layer were vibrant and active elements that interacted, fused, clashed, and grew within. It was as if you were staring at a nascent world still in development.
Su Mei, while shocked, didn ’t ask or question. She simply watched as the three-millimeter white sphere entered the mine. It was exuding phenomenally scintillating white light that caused her eyes to somewhat hurt. The aura that was infected throughout the mine was decreasing by the second.
’That ’s an Astral Core? It ’s so big! ’ As a well-read cultivator, she recognized an Astral Core and the unique signature it possessed almost instantly. Furthermore, she didn ’t expect it to be three millimeters. She knew the average-sized Astral Core of a newly ascended cultivator was ten-thousandth of a meter. However, Wei Wuyin ’s Astral Core was nearly three thousand times that size.
How much astral force did it contain?!
If the world knew that he had just broken through into the Astral Core Realm and had an Astral Core of that size, they would be thrown into an absolute riot.
After waiting for two minutes, the light within the tunnel faded alongside all traces of its desolate aura as Ori returned, it quaked slightly as if belching then returned to Wei Wuyin ’s dantian. Su Mei watched all this and thought: ’Is this the benefits of having two Astral Souls? ’
The ability to allow your Natal Soul or Astral Soul to leave your body was unthinkable to those with one. The soul acted as the brain center for energy flow and without it: BOOM! All the energies contained within the body would become wild and free, bloating the cultivator and then trying to escape!
While Wei Wuyin trusted her, his secret of Kratos and Eden was still his most kept one. It seemed unnecessary to share everything for the sake of it. He wouldn ’t hide, and if she asked, he would tell, but he wouldn ’t reveal everything simply because.
He closed his eyes slowly as he observed the changes within Ori.
”What?! ” His heart trembled slightly as he inspected each individual element within Ori ’s World Sea. They were brimming with all sorts of elemental power, but he found out that his Earth Element, one of the base elements, had changed slightly. It was grey and seemed to contain barely any vitality, if any at all.
’Is this Desolate Earth Energy? Did it absorb the Intent and infused it into the Earth Element? ’This was incredibly shocking. The fundamental basis of his earth energies had changed. His five advanced elements all had unique qualities, and his Heart of Elements Intent was unable to form due to lacking Intents for earth, fire, water, and wind.
He had tried to figure out a way to change this, but it seemed nearly impossible after a bit of experimentation. His elemental energies and their particular essence qualities seemed permanently birthed and solidified. However, this had changed his view on it. Could absorbing pure Intent aura be sufficient to refine his pre-existing elemental energies?
This thought fueled his desire to find the other three Intents capable of doing so. ’Since only earth was changed, then it must be the Intent has to be compatible with the element. ’After concluding this, he set up a goal to find auras rich in Intent aura and ventured into the mine.
Su Mei followed. She inspected the tunnel and realized the desolate aura that caused illness and an uncomfortable atmosphere had all vanished.
They soon arrived in a very dark, far and deep tunnel that was sealed off and hidden from common view. If Zuhei hadn ’t tracked her scent here, he might ’ve missed it. Especially since the desolate aura made spreading one ’s spiritual sense very uncomfortable. After all, spiritual energies that fueled it was a byproduct of physical, mental, essence, and soul. If one component was affected, the others would soon destabilize due to imbalance.
It wasn ’t long before they made their way through and found an opening. A dilapidated Void Gate in the shape of a hexagonal arc, not the normal bent arc common within the starfield. There wasn ’t a hint of dust on it, clearly having been activated recently.
Wei Wuyin arrived and inspected the dim runes and markings on the surface of the Ancient Void Gate. Then, his eyes were drawn to the very top of the Void Gate. A crescent-shaped notch was located there.
He subconsciously touched his neck, which hung the ever-present crescent moon necklace he obtained from the three-layered ring. It was an exact match!
Su Mei said, ”the crescent notch is the keyhole according to the Architect. ” However, she looked towards Wei Wuyin. It seemed she realized that what he wore on his neck constantly and this notch was a perfect match. However, she didn ’t know where it came from or why Wei Wuyin kept it wrapped around his neck. It was this reason that she insisted he come down here personally.
”… ” Rubbing his necklace, he pondered briefly. While others might feel the need to place the key into the notch to see a response, he didn ’t. Instead, he said to himself: ”There has to be another one of these on the Myriad Yore Continent. ”
After that, he turned to Su Mei and said, ”Find out if the force that originally owned this mine had connections with the Myriad Yore Continent and other continents throughout the starfield. Also, find out everything you can about it. Everything. ”
Su Mei was taken aback for a moment before she nodded.
Wei Wuyin turned to the Ancient Void Gate, his eyes brimming with curiosity. Could the woman that he tried to recruit be a Blessed? Just like the Commander on the Myriad Yore Continent? She was adept in Spatial Arts, which was why he sought her out. Her unique set of skills was valued very highly by him, especially because she could use Spatial Arts prior to assailing the Fourth Stage of the Astral Core Realm, Spatial Resonance Phase.
After a moment of thought, he decided not to find out what was on the other side yet. This wasn ’t originally his lucky chance, so he didn ’t dare take this risk. If the other side could verify that he had stolen the necklace from its rightful owner, then who knew what they ’d do? Furthermore, Void Gates sent you to who knows where and were not bridges. What if he couldn ’t return?
Therefore, he ’ll have to handle his matters in this starfield first before considering other avenues of exploration.
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