”…! ” Instantly, shock and silence pervaded the world and its inhabitants. Those watching had gaped maws large enough to fit eggs, their eyes bulging out, and their hearts beating with disbelieving music. They didn ’t dare to accept what their eyes were witnessing as true.
It wasn ’t just the watchers from above, but those who were observing this from within the planet. These young talented geniuses with all sorts of hopeful aspirations, arrogant mentalities, and overconfident beliefs were frozen in this moment. One particular genius was floored by events, finding what he saw to be impossible.
”N-no way! Senior Sister Lin said…she said this desolate starfield lacks the means to give birth to… ” Lin Ming was clenching his hand around his spear, his aura turbulent due to his turbulent emotions.
Zuhei stood imposingly. Behind his back was a great silver wolf that seemed to have undergone deification, being bestowed a divine grace. If its domain was guessed upon, one would guess slaughter and blood. It was the truest form of an apex predator.
Its silver hair glistened as if starlight had drenched them in their purest of essence, its scarlet eyes contained the reflection of violence in its truest form, and it walked upon a sanguine river that seemed to act as a royal carpet beneath its feat. From this river were howls, snarls, growls, and roars of the canine species. It embodied the savagery of all canines.
But what exemplified its quality, what sent everyone into disbelief and a stupor of uncertainty, was nine circular rings that encircled its nine hundred meter tall impeccable body. This was the manifestation of Zuhei ’s bloodline and Astral Soul cultivation, the Silver Wolf! Fenrir!!
Wei Wuyin ’s eyes narrowed slightly. This was his first time witnessing Zuhei ’s Soul Idol since it manifested. The aura it emanated was unbelievable. The sheer imposing and divine momentum it seemed to exhibit was unmatched. Unlike normal humans, beastmen had their cultivation base within their beating hearts. With their hearts acting as a dantian, their Astral Souls oftentimes absorbed and reflected the source of their bloodline.
Clearly Zuhei had taken this to its maximum potential. He had the Sirius Soul of Bloodforce. Its characteristics were similar to his own, his Draconic Void Soul.
”Master, ” Zuhei called out. From behind him, sporting nine spiritual rings, his Soul Idol glared at Wei Wuyin with an innate majesty. An ethereal pressure radiated outwards that caused every beast, canine or otherwise, to cease all action. They went silent and watched the figure that walked upon a sanguine river with eyes filled with reverence.
”Careful, ” Zuhei exclaimed. The innate energies within his body erupted viciously. The resulting explosive force produced a crater beneath his feet. He floated a few inches from the ground, his robes fluttered violently from his surging power.
Wei Wuyin nodded. He hadn ’t stepped into the level of a Soul Idol Phase yet, but he understood that the manifestation of one ’s Soul Idol was the truest revealment of a cultivator ’s power. Zuhei was at his strongest state, his spiritual force and astral force reaching an extreme limit. This was more so for him than anyone else, a cultivator at the nine-rings.
Each ring signified a multiplicative enhancement of spiritual strength. The strength of the spirit was derived from mental, physical, and essence energies. Therefore, when the Soul Idol formed, these energies received an unbelievable increase.
Furthermore, Wei Wuyin hadn ’t neglected delivering top-tier products to refine these foundational energies within Zuhei ’s body. His starting foundation was already impeccable, so when he evoked his Soul Idol, how could it not be terrifying? But Wei Wuyin wasn ’t afraid.
He readied himself.
Lin Ming ’s heart couldn ’t help but wildly beat within his chest. He hadn ’t expected to see a nine-ringed Soul Idol. His senior sister had informed him with confidence that this starfield lacked the quintessential ability to produce such peerless experts. Even during the King of Everlore Era, this starfield ’s most glorious time, very few were capable of touching upon this sacred level.
According to his senior sister, this usually required the undivided and fullest investment of a Mortal Sovereign Alchemist. Moreover, the inherent talent and comprehension of the individual must not be lacking in the slightest. It was a sign of an extreme genius with a limitless future.
Of course, this feat could be achieved without the effort of an alchemist, but that required fortuitous encounters, a deep and unfathomable legacy, and talent that was almost heaven-supported.
While he remained in disbelief, Zuhei made his move.
His levitating form vanished instantly. A silver streak of lightning that was like an illusion flashed through the short distance that was between Wei Wuyin and himself.
Wei Wuyin ’s pupils shrunk abruptly. ’Fast! ’Zuhei ’s speed was incredible, but Wei Wuyin ’s reaction was not slow. Even if he relied solely on his physical senses, he could clearly see the daunting and savage form of Zuhei that rushed through the void.
Not retreating, Wei Wuyin stood his ground and lowered his posture. He remained calm and clenched his fist. A glow of white surged within his fist. It seemed to contain the heaviness of earth, density of metal, and explosiveness of fire. It was merely a fist but it contained a concentration of extreme elemental force.
”Ha! ” Wei Wuyin exclaimed softly as he thrusted his fist forward with exquisite form. The white glow flashed and the world became a white sheet for a split second.
Zuhei arrived at this moment, but his eyes flashed with shock. He felt a force so heavy, so dense, so explosive that he was locked down and forced to face it. But he didn ’t want to do anything else, so he welcomed this power, this challenge. His hand became a claw as he swiped towards Wei Wuyin ’s incoming fist. From behind him, his Soul Idol swiped as well.
For a moment, it seemed the claw of his Soul Idol and himself had merged into one despite the vast size difference.
Claw met fist.
Fist met claw.
The world watched.
The world cried.
Their impact immediately induced world-rending changes. The wolves howled and whimpered as a gust of explosive and savage power swept past them. In an instant, in a distance that was several miles away, it rained dogs and dogs.
Su Mei ’s eyes shrunk as she unsheathed her saber. Holding it in front of her, she met the explosive surging force with the edge of her saber, slicing it apart and remaining largely unaffected. The same couldn ’t be said for others.
”Ahhhh! ” Those who were watching closely with curiosity was the first met with the immediate calamity. Fortunately, as this was an unintended consequence of a battle, the Grand Spirit Trial ’s protective formations erupted in full force and encircled those participants caught unaware in a protective shell. Despite that, the shell only protected them.
In moments, numerous of these elite geniuses were sent hundreds of miles uncontrollably away.
Lin Ming ’s generated a ward of astral force, easily protecting him from the resulting force of their clash. A flicker of surprise in his expression. He frowned as he measured the force within and felt that it wasn ’t too intimidating. His concerned heart slowly settled as he inspected the two.
Back at the epicenter of the explosion, Wei Wuyin and Zuhei were unmoving. Zuhei ’s claw had met Wei Wuyin ’s fist and the ground beneath their feet was obliterated. A huge chasm had been formed.
Their eyes, silver and scarlet, met for a moment before they simultaneously retreated backwards for several miles. Wei Wuyin stayed levitating via the world ’s mana, his eyes flashing as his clenched fist remained clenched.
Zuhei ’s claw was seemingly unfazed, but there was a faint trembling there. If one paid exceptional attention to the sounds emitting from his hand, they would hear sounds of bones moving oddly. ’His fist broke all the bones in my hand. How monstrous is this?! ’His thoughts swirled as he looked at his hand that was currently repairing itself.
The clash just now was incredibly intense. While it seemed to have been simple, it was anything but. Their forces and physical strength was compared. In terms of forces, he lost. His Bloodforce lasted for a microsecond before it shattered. Then, Wei Wuyin retrieved his elemental force and fought with his physical body.
Despite being a beastman who ’s cultivation was derived essentially from his heart, the quintessential representation of his physical energies, he had lost.
In Intent, he lost.
In astral force, he lost.
In physical strength, he lost.
While it seemed to have been a single clash, it was in fact two.
”Master, ” Zuhei ’s eyes regained a calm. His battle intent had stabilized and it grew sharper, not weakening but distilling into a pure competitive force. The moment he felt the bones in his hands shatter into tiny bits, he felt even more desirous of improving himself.
Wei Wuyin finally unclenched his fist. A terrible series of cracks resounded from his joints and bones. These cracks started from his hand but continued into his arm, shoulder, and even his chest had to expand as if to relieve pressure.
This sight caused Su Mei and Zuhei to still.
Wei Wuyin wryly smiled. ”I can ’t believe I lost, ” his words were said with a hint of discontent. His bones from his hands to his arm and even a portion of his ribs had shattered from the force of Zuhei ’s claw. In fact, the claw had eviscerated many of his muscles and ligaments in his right arm. He hadn ’t expected Zuhei ’s physical body to be so domineering.
How could he not reveal a wry smile?
From the corner of his lips, a trace of grey blood leaked.
”Lord Wei! ” Su Mei ’s heart thumped. She was swift as she arrived before Wei Wuyin in a panic. She had never seen Wei Wuyin injured before, not once. Even during their time in the Scarlet Solaris Sect, he stood invincible and unmatched. The image had formed a layer of invincibility within her mind, so seeing him bleed was disconcerting.
Wei Wuyin waved her to a halt as he wiped the blood clean. His injuries had immediately healed by his wood elemental force, the grey blood wasn ’t caused by damage. When he explained this to her, her heart was relieved. His bloodline source had been damaged and exhausted after traversing the void and this injury relapsed. The grey blood was actually a trace of contaminated blood that was expelled after he was injured and healed just now.
Zuhei arrived. When he did, he was met by Su Mei ’s calm and intimidating glare. But she didn ’t act out nor did he exhibit any response to it.
Wei Wuyin felt comforted at her attitude. He looked at Zuhei who was seemingly confused and in shock. Wei Wuyin explained, ”It ’s due to a pre-existing condition. It ’s not your fault. ”
Zuhei thought for a moment, then he nodded. He couldn ’t help but ask, ”How did you lose, Master? ”
Wei Wuyin sighed. ”Your astral force isn ’t my match, but your physical body is several times stronger than mine. When I retrieved my astral force and met you in a direct clash, the right side of my body was nearly crushed by your power. In the end, you dealt more damage to me. ” Honestly answering, he stretched a little.
In terms of Astral Force quality or quantity, Zuhei was far from his match. But if they compared the strength of their physical bodies, he lost out by quite a bit. This likely had to do with his physique and bloodline being low-grade. Considering Zuhei had a Soul Idol that amplified his physical energies even further, how could he match this?
He could only sigh, so that ’s what he did.
Zuhei finally understood. A hint of a gleeful smile surfaced on his face for a moment before Su Mei turned her impassive gaze towards him, and it was wiped off the face of this existence in a hurry. Strictly speaking, Zuhei ’s score was 1-2, but the end result had proven his abilities.
”Considering you ’re my fangs and claws, if you didn ’t have a stronger physical body, that would be somewhat disappointing. ” Wei Wuyin jokingly said, but this joke had warmed Zuhei ’s heart and renewed his sense of purpose. He felt that his future path was set. He wanted to refine his physical body to the extreme and maintain his racial advantage as a beastman to the maximum. In a situation where astral force might be invalidated or unreliable, he would be able to be Wei Wuyin ’s physical flesh and weapon.
If Wei Wuyin understood his thoughts, he would agree with him in this manner. He had similar thoughts to focus on refining and tempering Zuhei ’s body and bloodline qualities. If he could obtain an invincible physical strength, then feats that astral force was weak in would be his time to shine. That being said, he can ’t neglect his other energies. Those energies formed the foundation of his cultivation base.
”Three moves, yes? ” Wei Wuyin eyed Zuhei.
With a nod, Zuhei accepted that three moves had been met. He was content. While they hadn ’t unleashed their killing moves and attacks, the fact is that their foundations had been tested. Considering Wei Wuyin and his own background wasn ’t much different, it was unlikely that the arts and spells they cultivated were very different in terms of quality. Since their foundations would determine the resulting power of these arts and spells, he knew that his current self wasn ’t Wei Wuyin ’s match.
Su Mei saw the relief and excitement and felt somewhat irritated. She said in a careless voice, ”Lord Wei ’s core strength is in his saber. ”
Like a splash of cold water on the face, Zuhei finally realized a truth: Wei Wuyin ’s true foundation hadn ’t revealed itself.
Wei Wuyin laughed with a lighthearted air. Why did she have to rain on his excitement? But he knew the truth, and that was his true strength truly laid in his saber. Unfortunately, Zuhei would likely never meet such power on the battlefield. He only used his saber against his enemies. If unsheathed, he must kill.
This was the way of the Saber that his brother had taught him, that he respected to the utmost.
A voice suddenly resounded, ”A nine-ringed Soul Idol? Quite impressive. ”
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