After the Holy Summit event concluded, at the cusp of the beginning that was the Season of Emptiness, a group of eight figures were trekking the Central Region ’s border on foot. At the lead was a hooded figure that had leaking auburn hair, a valiant figure with fine curves, and a sheathed sword at her waist. This valiantly heroic figure was Hong Chunhua, First Commander of the Ascendants. She lifted her head to see the cloudy and thundering skies.
”Commander, should we really not venture to the Zephyr Plains? This Holy Summit seems to be quite suspicious. ” A male demon with a sleek head without the slightest hair on his head asked, his tone filled with concern. The Holy Summit was an event that would gather the so-called Holy Children of this continent, and their leader was a member. Furthermore, there might be some underlying meanings behind this event.
Right now, the group hadn ’t heard any recent news surrounding the events on the continent, or the events of Wei Wuyin ’s dominating actions. They had been in a joint secluded cultivation session to heal and enhance their various powers. It had only been a few hours since they left.
”You ’re like a hawing donkey, always asking the same question. The answer hasn ’t changed: His Majesty would inform us if he needs us. We don ’t have to take initiative otherwise. ” Bei Yunhan explained, clearly exasperated by Zu Zun ’s continuous questions. Even if he loved this harping baldy, his concerns were just never-ending.
Another voice chimed in, belonging to Li Yungu: ”Our objectives are to gather as a unit, plunder resources of this World Realm, get stronger, and await orders. ”
”See! ” Bei Yunhan heavily sighed.
Zu Zun frowned, ”Commander? ” He was always the stubborn sort, and this Holy Summit felt strange to him. What if it was a ploy to fight against their Majesty? Should they not be nearby just in case of an emergency? Especially in this type of environment.
The Season of Emptiness was beginning, causing cultivators to experience an abrupt bout of weakness. Without ambient energies, mana, and various restrictions imposed on their cultivation bases, the playing field was quite leveled.
Of course, they had explosive advantages in this type of environment that supported a firm, sturdy, and wide cultivation foundation.
Hong Chunhua kept trekking, her eyes affixed to the looming clouds above with flickering lightning streaks. This area was originally the border of the Lei Clan ’s territory. It permeated with lightning energies and were usually aggressive, bolts of lightning and explosive sonic booms of thunder were constant. But now the lightning was self-contained and the thunder reduced to far off whimpers.
The world had undergone vast changes during the Season of Emptiness, affecting the various regions and their respective dangers. However, this seemed to be the prelude to something disastrous.
It was unfortunate that the eight Ascendants present were the only ones alive. The other four had experienced various mishaps or fought against cultivators beyond their means. Unable to escape, they lost their lives. During this nearly three years of continuous travel, they had avenged the fallen and gathered those that remained into a single unit of elites.
Their cultivation bases had all gone through extraordinary changes, reaching the Spatial Resonance Phase, with not a single one entering into that phase with less than nine-ripple Spatial Resonance. They were elites amongst the elites. If they returned to the starfield, they might be heralded as the top eight experts, excluding Long Chen and Wei Wuyin, of their generation.
Furthermore, they all had various specialties that allowed them to stand out from any crowd, picked from the best, and nurtured by high-level alchemical products and resources.
Hong Chunhua sighed in her heart, bringing out an emblem that signified her status as the First Commander of the Ascendants. ”Until we ’re given other orders, we act in accordance with our original directive. This is a trial given to us by his Majesty, our main objective is to hone our edge and survive, not meddle in his affairs without his orders. ”
She understood that Wei Wuyin could have contacted them at any point, and sought help if needed, but he hadn ’t. This meant they weren ’t required or their strength wasn ’t sufficient to handle his matters.
”… ” Zu Zun was silent. He understood what they were all saying, he did, but the Holy Summit just felt ominous. It was as if the world was against Wei Wuyin.
Fortunately for Zu Zun, he had a clear-headed leader. The world was indeed against Wei Wuyin, seeking to allow Lin Ming to become Blessed at all costs. Later, even a vast amount of karmic luck will be consumed to achieve such a goal, and with much success.
”Commander! ” A cultivator with two large folded-in wings at his back, a long-beak for a nose, and piercing eyes shouted. He pointed with his long finger that resembled a talon towards a direction far off in the horizon, but when the others turned to inspect it, they observed nothing.
”What do you see? ” Hong Chunhua was well aware of this beastman ’s unique bestial traits, his eyes could see further than most people ’s spiritual sense. His name was Arth, and he had the lineage of the Grey-Eyed Hawk.
”A caravan and several large-sized carriages! The insignia seems to originate from the Central Region ’s Lei Clan! However, it ’s been concealed by some spiritual substitution spell, but it can ’t escape my gaze. ” Arth spoke proudly. His grey-eyes glimmered with brilliant spiritual light. In terms of ocular abilities, he was matchless. In his opinion, anyway.
Hong Chunhua thought for a moment and nodded, ”We intercept, plunder any usable resources. Since the Lei Clan was overthrown by his Majesty, this will be getting rid of some small nuisances. ” When she said this, the group ’s eyes all lit with a blazing fire. Their belief and respect towards Wei Wuyin was nearly religious, so being able to help him out, no matter how small, placed a burning fire in their hearts.
”We ’ll be executing the Phoenix Restraint Maneuver. Any questions?! ” Hong Chunhua asked loudly, seeming already determining their approach. The others didn ’t say a single word, but responded with their various executions of arts and spells. With a faint nod, Hong Chunhua started to move.
The Season of Emptiness had just hit, and they understood their advantages. Even if they faced Realmlords, they felt confident in obtaining victory with no sacrifice.
An hour later, Zu Zun slammed his double-sided hammer onto the skull of a once mighty Realmlord. Like a watermelon, his head exploded, gushing out wads of brain matter, bone fragments, and intracranial fluids.
”Not so powerful, huh? ” Zu Zun wore a smug smile as he wiped off the bits that landed on his armor.
Three others were executing a few other experts after seizing them, cleanly ending their lives in a single swift motion. Hong Chunhua was inspecting the caravan and their carriages alongside Li Yungu who was revealing a light of abundant greed.
”They have so much wealth! It rivals several top-level forces in our starfield, maybe even close to our own. This World Realm is extremely rich! ” Li Yungu was barely holding back her saliva as she took inventory of their stock, finding rare resources and various materials that their own starfield lacked. The vast majority of this wealth difference was in alchemical products, with seventh-grade and eighth-grade products being abundant within. With a suspicious laugh, she went away to her own heaven as she counted.
Fortunately, if there was one person Hong Chunhua trusted the most within the Ascendants, it was Li Yungu…despite her strange behavior sometimes.
”Commander! We found some captives here! And I think you ’ll want to look at this! ” Bei Yunhan ’s voice sounded out from another carriage. Hong Chunhua left Li Yungu to her activities and checked out the situation.
”What is it? ” She asked, entering the carriage to find a large square cage that held hundreds of captives in segregated sections. It seemed like there were numerous square cells within a square cage. It was an intricate design considering it was all transparent, yet there were at least three levels to this cage.
Bei Yunhan was with Arth, and they were beside a specific cage with strange looks on their faces. Hong Chunhua walked over, inspecting the cage when her heart was dealt a heavy surprise.
”Is this…? ” She was confused. She turned to Bei Yunhan and Arth who also had strange, shocked expressions. ”How? There ’s no way she would be sent here, right? ” They saw the half-naked and raggedy form of Qingye Ying, the Princess of Everlore!
But they hadn ’t noticed her based on her appearance, as she wore a veil almost always, but because of her cultivation and aura. She had an Alchemic Astral Soul, and while most of this World Realm ’s Alchemic Proxies had false Alchemic Astral Souls artificially made from a strange method, Qingye Ying ’s was the genuine article.
They were all there during the All-Alchemic Clash, an era-defining moment, so her aura was as familiar to them as their own mother ’s.
When Qingye Ying lifted her sunken eyes and her eyelashes fluttered with weakness, observing these new arrivals, she was startled to see Arth. This World Realm lacked beastmen, so this person can only be from her starfield! A strange hope emerged in her heart.
Was she saved?!
Tears started to form at the sides of her eyes. After nearly two years of being forced as a Alchemic Proxy, forced to concoct products and have her alchemical energies extracted, it was torture of the highest degree. Was this how alchemists who have no ability to fight back are forced to exist as?
Slaves? Tools? The means for the powerful to become more powerful?!
But the next words out of Bei Yunhan ’s mouth severed that hope and sent her into despair, ”Should we kill her? ”
”… ” Hong Chunhua didn ’t answer. She stared at Qingye Ying for a long moment.
Arth, however, flipped out with excitement: ”Of course! She ’s the only competitor with his Majesty, and she has a genuine Alchemic Astral Soul. In the long run, she ’ll become the next King of Everlore, who knows what she will do then. So ridding him of this uncertainty will be good, no? ”
Qingye Ying might be a member of the Alchemist Association, but there were no real restrictions to her potential or future. She could nurture a threat to their rule in the future. After all, the starfield was theirs and only she had the ability to change that.
Qingye Ying shrunk back in her cage. While being a proxy was hell, she didn ’t wish to die. As long as breath remained in her lungs, as an alchemist, she would always find a way through every problem she faced. This was a mantra of alchemists, and it rang true.
When the King of Everlore needed to resurrect the body of a failed Mystic Ascendant, he did. When he wanted to find a way to bypass the Realm World Astral Tribulation, he did. When he wanted to surpass the Mortal Star Formation Tribulation, turning Alchemic Natal Soul into Alchemic Astral Soul, he did!
There was nothing they couldn ’t solve, but that required two things: time and life.
”Set her free. Free the rest too, ” Hong Chunhua ordered, giving Qingye Ying one last look before leaving. After reaching the entrance of the carriage, she stopped: ”If you want to follow us, you can. We ’ll ensure you return to the Alchemist Association safely as long as we ’re alive. But remember this, this is only because of his Majesty. ”
She stepped off, thinking about Wei Wuyin as she did.
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