While Lin Xianxei and Lin Ming went to search for answers, the recruitment had yet to end, only entering the true phase of its beginning.
Within the Third Sky Planet, a group of young elites were gathered together before a pale-skinned man with yellow irises and sanguine edges stood before them. He was the same expert that stood amongst the others from the Gold-tier forces. Within his pupils were two saber-shaped images that glinted with a sharp light. It made him seem like the living embodiment of a saber.
That gaze of his swept across the forms of those youths, sternly giving them each a feeling of oppression. They were those who selected the sect that he led, the Solitary Saber Sect! Amongst these youths was a black-haired, pure black-eyed young woman with an emotionlessly calm expression.
That young woman was Su Mei.
After the selection, they were all taken away by their respective leaders almost instantly. There were no further words, and San Luoyang seemed to be at peace with shuttling them off to others. To note, San Luoyang never offered anyone to join the Everlore Association. It was clear from certain mannerisms that he was acting out of obligation rather than willingness.
She quietly stood with the 24,227 other selectors of the Solitary Saber Sect on a gold and black platform. Considering the sect was one of the only forces that specialized in combat, and Saber and Swords were two of the most common weapons used by those inhabitants of the Everlore Starfield, it made perfect sense that nearly a quarter of the recruited participants would choose this.
Behind the pale-skinned man was a gorgeous silver arc with exquisite runic markings that gleamed with faint glows. The spatial fluctuations coming from it was subtle yet incredibly impressive. Anyone who had a high spatial resonance would notice the sheer quality of spatial energies emitted. It was outstanding.
Su Mei noted that the materials used to construct this Void Gate that spanned for nearly a hundred meters, fixed with two thick pillars at the ends, was beyond the astral-level. She had also never seen those pillars before. Typically, a Void Gate was a half-circle silver arc with various protrusions at the top, like machine-like gears, of gold and black.
Yet this Void Gate lacked those protrusions, but had pillars that reached three hundred meters in the sky with the thickness of an oak tree. There was a spiraling glowing trail from the bottom of the pillars to the top, and the trails seemed like flowing rivers with esoteric marks that Su Mei couldn ’t even begin to understand.
There was also a platform, rectangular and tall, that stretched for hundreds of meters and could fit tens of thousands at a time.
With this fresh design, she realized that the other Void Gates she was familiar with was outrageously outdated and underwhelming in comparison. Those gears were replaced by the platform, and the arc had been improved upon. This truly gave her the feeling that this was a new world, a better environment.
However, she couldn ’t help but wonder slightly as she looked upwards. The Solar Star seemed irregular, and she was well aware that Solar Stars exuded pure essence that was filtered by the various astronomical bodies ’ atmospheric layers and produced enriched environments. She expected this planet ’s environment to be higher in quality, yet she felt underwhelmed.
In fact, it could be considered severely lacking.
Just as she was pondering this, feeling like something was off, the pale-skinned man spoke out one word:
The youths were startled as they felt mental waves crashing into their minds, causing many to feel dizzy, some even felt as if they were losing their consciousness as they circulated their astral force to guard against this assault. Fortunately, not a single one lost consciousness.
Su Mei frowned slightly, but she was almost entirely unaffected by the crushing mental waves. They were a little too weak.
Seeing this, the pale-skinned man swept his gaze across them again and a flicker of strange light entered his gaze. ”I ’ll be blunt, ” he started, ”All of you are complete and utter trash. You might be considered somewhat talented in that desolate world you lived in, but here? None of you are. ”
There was some dissatisfaction amongst the youth present, but no one spoke out. Some out of fear, others out of respect, a few because they understood his words in their hearts, but most because they were curious of what he would say. Most of these youths weren ’t that special in Everlore Starfield. The vast majority of them were overlooked or belonged to low-tier forces, leaving their cultivation base much to be desired.
They were young, and some had even been rejected by one of the four hegemonic forces. They were merely selected due to their age and objective bodily talent in absorbing essence and energies. The criteria for the Everlore Starfield, also known to them as the Imperial Dawn Starfield, was less based on these factors and more on race, nepotism-based backing, or comprehensive skill.
To be exact, the Demonic Abyss Mountain, Sacred Light Palace, and Elemental Heaven Pavilion all favored race, with the last two highly dependent on bloodline lineage and backing of various clans. Those less talented, but born into good families of certain races had higher privilege. Even if they weren ’t a tenth of those present, they would still reach heights most of these youths could only dream about.
It was a result of resources made available, mostly alchemical, and how outrageously expensive or difficult they were to acquire. If it wasn ’t for that spoon in their mouths, how could they achieve their levels?
As for the Myriad Monarch Sect, it wasn ’t based on talent, but skill, adaptability, cunning, and tactics. It forged the best cultivators consistently throughout the starfield due to their dogma, and relied solely on oneself. Yet even if these youths with high bodily talent were considered, it was nothing before having high comprehension, being mentally attentive, and skillful in navigating situations and forces.
What was bodily talent?
The compatibility to absorb essence energies into one ’s body, the rate of that, the refinement speed, and the conversion quality into one ’s own power. Yet this only affected the initial speed of cultivation, the development of one ’s foundation based on resources, and it didn ’t determine how far one would reach. Without comprehensive talent and insight, one would forever be stuck at the Elemental Birth Phase.
However, bodily talent had another unseen factor.
”You all were born in a world without that, ” the pale-skinned man pointed at the sky where the yellowed Solar Star with a reddish tint surrounded by a large, radiant white ring. ”In terms of talent, we had to severely lower our standards. If we hadn ’t, not even a hundredth of you would ’ve qualified. ”
While he hadn ’t explained in-depth, Su Mei understood. Being born under a lucky star wasn ’t just an expression people used, but a truth. The endless rays of essence from birth to present would create a change. This was prevalent when comparing those of the Myriad Monarch Sect and Myriad Yore Continent. No, it was better to say between those born on planets and those born on flat continental earths.
The constant passive absorption of high-quality essence would surely elevate one ’s bodily talent naturally. It was like being in a world of higher gravity, it was expected for one to be stronger physically. There are, however, exceptions. Such as the Four Extreme Continent or Bloodforge Continent. These were locations designed and carefully crafted by those who exceeded Mortal Limits. There was Astral Essence in those areas.
That being said, Su Mei hadn ’t felt any environmental difference. Was the Third Sky Planet they were on strange?
”When you arrive in my Solitary Saber Sect, know that your starting point is horrendously low. You ’ll be forced to struggle for every scrap of resource you can. You ’ll have no protection from internal struggles. You could even be killed, for the slightest carelessness. My Solitary Saber Sect is not a playground. If you don ’t want to bet your life for a greater future, then you can still be sent off to the planet specifically constructed for you. ” The pale-skinned man said, harshly reminding them of their situation.
But one could hear the faint compassion in the man ’s voice, alongside pity and condescension.
Su Mei knew that different sects had different conducts. She never expected it to be like Myriad Monarch Sect, focused on skill and leadership. This was likely a sect where one was, as its name suggests, solitary.
However, no one left because of the man ’s warning.
But this didn ’t elicit any form of respect in the pale-skinned man ’s eyes. Instead, he felt more pity.
”My true name is Dao Yuwen. My known title is Exalted Blitzsaber, but from now on, you ’ll know me as your Sect Master, and refer to me as such. ” As he said this, he waved his hand and a faint black pearl left his palm and sunk into the black and gold platform. In a sudden burst of multicolored light, the arc brightened and the vision of everyone was overwhelmed.
Su Mei had never felt like this before, but she was familiar with the multicolored phenomenon. When basked by this light, she felt a strange force envelop her for a brief moment. It lasted very briefly, and when it ended, she was accompanied by a different scenery!
The first thing she was met with was a flood of pure astral essence that exceeded even the eighth-level of the Myriad Monarch Sect ’s Extreme Mountain. Unfathomably pure, incredibly potent, and her eyes were opened wide as she felt it sweep her body, stimulating her pores, and stirring her cultivation base.
A fresh, almost like the first bite of mint, feeling overwhelmed her.
”Welcome to my sect, your new world, your new home! ”
Su Mei ’s eyes glistened as her pupils reflected the entirety of her new world. The sky above had changed, with the yellow Solar Star with reddish tint and a titanic ring of white radiance having vanished! She saw an impossibly enormous saber with a curved edge bearing its point downwards instead!
It replaced the Solar Star!
But beyond the clouds, beyond the layers of atmosphere, that saber hung while emitting a unique radiance. For some reason, she sensed the shadow of the Solar Star that existed in the Aeternal Sky Starfield. When she narrowed her eyes, the faint, low opacity image of that Solar Star existed directly behind the saber, seemingly far away.
Was this a World Realm?!
Her heart started to race as every breath contained copious amounts of astral essence. This astral essence caused her Sea of Consciousness to tremble as she sensed the thick saber energy coursing through it! Her Saber Intent howled within her mind, and the intermixing of astral essence and saber energies produced a gentle saber power that flowed around her.
If she was present in the Four Extreme Continent, she would discover that this type of environment was extremely similar to the four lands, such as the ambient desolate power within the air!
While she marveled at this miraculous world, there were others with vastly different reactions.
”Nooo! It hurts! AHHH! ”
”WHAT IS THIS?! STOP IT!! HELP!!! ”
The sound of flesh being sliced, rent, torn and blood splashing resounded throughout the group of youths!
Su Mei felt a sudden spurt of warm liquid on her face. When she turned around, she noticed a male figure drenched in blood with their body suffering numerous lacerations. The person wanted to screech out their pain yet there was a cut slicing deeply into their throat, severing their vocal chords. It came off as a hoarse gasp for air.
He struggled, facing her with eyes pleading for help. Yet a flash of light caused him to vanish before her very eyes. Like a comet, the man was encapsulated by an orb of light and sent off to some location behind her.
Dao Yuwen looked at the many youths experiencing the saber power enveloping the surroundings impassively. There was an indifferent light in his yellow eyes. He slowly said, ”You won ’t die. This is your second test. Those who make it to the sect in three days will be considered Outer Disciples. Those who don ’t, you will become External Disciples. ”
After saying this, Dao Yuwen observed the youths and saw Su Mei. There was a flash of interested surprise on his face, but he didn ’t stay a moment longer. With a shimmer, he vanished before their very eyes.
Su Mei looked towards Dao Yuwen ’s previous location and noticed a giant mountain in the far off distance ahead, yet the screams around her never ceased.
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