Translated by Jouissance of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Chu WuQing gently brushed his fingers against his storage bag, and a grade two spiritual beast darted out. “Don’t touch anything here.”
The herbs that grew here before them were beyond tempting. Any cultivator would go mad just to get their hands on anything here, even just a little bit, for it would mean that they would never have to worry about cultivating ever again. If they could refine these herbs into elixirs, they could reach heights of power they could barely dream of.
However, because of Chu WuQing’s words, no one moved at all.
They listened unconditionally. Even if power and status beyond imagination was laid out before them, they wouldn’t be tempted. This had already become instinct.
The large, tiger like spiritual beast quickly darted up to a ten-thousand-year plant. Chu WuQing gently plucked a leaf from the plant and fed it to the spiritual beast. The spiritual beast munched in satisfaction, a white halo of light surfacing across its body. Its cultivation shot up to grade three and continued to grow.
Everyone watched on in envy. Such precious herbs… given to a low-grade spiritual beast…
Yet, barely ten seconds later, the spiritual beast, cultivation still growing, suddenly went rigid. It couldn’t close its mouth, muscles spasming uncontrollably.
Then, it fell to the ground in immense pain, writhing and rolling around as its body slowly melted into bloody water. This liquid eerily gathered itself into a small stream, dribbling towards the stem of the spiritual herb.
After a couple of moments, the tiger-like spiritual beast disappeared along with the bloody water. There were no marks left on the grass, and the ten-thousand-year herb’s snowy white flowers swayed in the wind as if what they had just seen was nothing but a mirage.
It went silent.
After a long pause, someone finally spoke up, voice trembling. “Eldest Shixiong… Is this really a divine immortal’s abode, and not the abode of some demonic cultivator?”
“Of course, it’s a divine immortal’s abode. The divine are all cultivators who have ascended, and they’re no better than the cultivators of the cultivation realm. The resources here are intended for their disciple. They wouldn’t so easily give it away to others. If anyone took anything and used it for themselves, they would die. However, they wouldn’t tell you that, instead using this to push you to kill and intensify the competition, like raising Gu 1 . The surviving Gu will become their disciple.” Chu WuQing picked a thousand-year spiritual herb, smiling. “These are fine to take, though.”
But even the Gu king didn’t manage to predict Lin Yi’s unexpected existence. “Do not give in to greed.”
Just as Chu WuQing plucked the spiritual herb, countless tokens shot out from the palace in the sky, landing with shocking precision in the hands of all present.
“My divine abode has six levels in total. The inheritance is on the sixth level. The first level will test your cultivation spellmanship. If you manage to obtain over a hundred tokens from others, you may enter the second level through the main hall of the Heavenly Palace.”
Wrought with the experience of the ages, the voice of the master of the divine abode was heard.
At the same time, the main hall far off in the clouds glowed with iridescent light, but it was behind all the other halls.
The intent of the master of the divine abode was as Chu WuQing had said. They wanted those who obtained a hundred tokens to have the time and chance to be killed off.
If, even then, they could pass the test of the first level, it meant they were truly outstanding.
They could take away what was in the rest of the immortal’s abode as awards for their success.
This time there were three-hundred and sixty-eight people who entered the immortal’s abode. Once they heard those words everyone took out their tokens. “Eldest Shixiong, go ahead, hurry.” After this, they thought in disappointment, they would no longer be able to help their Eldest Shixiong.
Of the cultivators that entered the immortal’s abode, there may still be Runesmasters that could figure out their schemes.
However, people like that would never announce it, keeping it hidden and secret, telling only their trusted friends and allies. That way, they could reduce the competition.
Chu WuQing took a hundred tokens and said, “The second trial is bound to be exceedingly difficult. We aren’t in any rush. You will all be of great use, staying here.”
Upon hearing these words, their eyes all lit up.
“Those prodigies will all be competing against one another. Their pride and confidence mean they won’t ever ally with one another. You can start and auction, and auction off a hundred tokens to the highest bidder. If anyone is unwilling to play nice and wants to take it by force, give them a taste of our battle array.”
After three years of intense training, the XianLing Sect cultivators were able to cooperate seamlessly with the battleship. The three hundred of them could slay ten Golden Core stage cultivators simultaneously!
Then with Gu Yu’s arrays to aid them, Chu WuQing had faith that there wouldn’t be any problems with going up against under a hundred of the strongest cultivators here.
These prodigious cultivators would, at most, form temporary alliances between good friends. They would never all band together, so long as the XianLing Sect wasn’t trying to eradicate them.
“If there’s still any problems, you can…” Chu WuQing’s gaze darkened, “Song Qing, you can refine these ten-thousand-year herbs into pills. If anyone wants to cause trouble, or if the bidder isn’t willing to give up their money, force them to ingest the pills.”
Once Chu WuQing was done making arrangements, he planned to leave. Even the son of a Middle Realm clan head like him had access to so many resources, it was no question as to how wealthy the inheriting disciples of the Higher Realms were.
If he remembered correctly, someone would even bring a divine artifact this time.
But divine artifacts couldn’t be mastered so easily by mere Foundation Establishment cultivators. They wouldn’t use it unless they absolutely had to.
The Chu Clan had a Lower Realm to nurture peak grade spirit stones, however, the Higher Realms had plenty of such places. There wouldn’t be a single one of these disciples who didn’t have a peak grade spirit stone on them, something that the entire Chu Clan competed yearly for just a single one of.
He could already imagine how he could scam these suckers. Chu WuQing smiled and added, “Charge an entry fee of one peak grade spirit stone for each person who wants to attend the auction.”
Chu WuQing turned to leave after that. He had already faced the trial he was about to face in his past life once, so he didn’t need any help.
“Master, please let me accompany you,” Gu Yu suddenly spoke up.
Gu Yu’s gaze was full of admiration and conflict as he looked at Chu WuQing. He knew he shouldn’t question Chu WuQing’s orders, especially not in public. He also knew that Chu WuQing wanted him to stay and use his arrays to provide the XianLing Sect members with support.
This was the value of his existence, and the only way he could remain by his master’s side, as a useful and obedient servant and make sure he couldn’t be replaced.
…But he wanted more.
Gu Yu hung his head and stepped forwards and out of the crowd, kneeling on one knee. His long lashes hid the deep, abyssal darkness in his eyes, but when he raised his head, nothing but a desperate and humble plea could be seen within his gaze. “Master, the owner of this divine abode is cruel and cunning. There are sure to be a multitude of traps, like the spiritual herbs of the first level, lying in wait to try and claim lives.
“As for the arrays for the first level, this subordinate has been making preparations since a year ago and has etched them into array disks for each of the team leaders. They can form different kinds of killing arrays upon activation. There is no need for worry.” Gu Yu kowtowed. “Please let me accompany you, master. If anything happens, Gu Yu is willing to die for you!”
Chu WuQing paused, reminded of how Chu YunShu’s strength was different from that of what he remembered from his past life. If there were really any unexpected changes, it would be too late.
In the following trials, there was one that was a test of arraymanship. Though this trial tested one’s ability to master and understand new concepts, each person’s attainment towards Runemanship was different, and so they would be given different tests. With Gu Yu, the difficulty would rise to an extreme.
However, Chu WuQing believed that Gu Yu would be able to get through anything.
Conversely, if he didn’t have Gu Yu with him, and something unexpected happened, he would be in danger.
“Very well.” Chu WuQing waved his hand, taking another hundred tokens and took off with Gu Yu towards the highest hall.
When the two of them simultaneously placed the hundred tokens in the transportation array, the master of the abode’s voice was heard once more. This time, that cold and distant voice held a tint of surprise. “It has barely been ten seconds and you already have all hundred tokens. You two are truly talented. Even when it was I, I took over two hours on my apprenticeship trials. The youth these days are truly a force to be reckoned with.”
As the voice spoke, Chu WuQing felt a pair of eyes on them from afar, fear rising suddenly in his heart.
It was as if they were in front of a god or demon that had created this very universe, and everything was pried out into the light, exposed under this gaze.
This scrutiny only lasted for a moment, but it felt like a century to Chu WuQing. It was like he had just surfaced from drowning, drenched in cold sweat.
“Hm? Pushing past the limits of the heavens to establish foundations, sword intent of slaughter, no wonder…
“So young, and yet already so talented at arrays and runes. It’s unfortunate that I am a sword cultivator and am thus unable to pass down much to you. It will only waste your talent. A reward is needed, I shall send you both directly to the fourth level where an Opportunity awaits.”
The fourth level was the trial of arrays!
In his past life, Chu WuQing only managed to gather a hundred tokens after a full day of battling and slaughter. He had never been given such benefits. In the original, no one had ever drawn the attention of the divine’s consciousness. Everything was changing, heading towards the unknown.
The fourth level? An Opportunity? Something that could be considered an Opportunity by that one wasn’t something that merely improved one’s potential.
Others might not know, thinking that the master of the immortal’s abode was merely a true immortal.
But Chu WuQing knew that the fallen master of this abode was a real Xianzun 2 . There were twelve levels of true immortality, and it was exceedingly difficult to progress from one level to the next. However, whenever one did succeed, their strength would rise to new heights and their lifespans would double.
After twelve levels, one could become a Daluo Jinxian, sharing their lifespan with the very heavens and earth.
Above the Jinxian was the Xianzun, one who ruled over the rest of the immortals. Even in the realm of immortals, there were only eight.
As for why this Xianzun fell, he didn’t see it in what he had read.
As he contemplated this, the transportation array had lit up and in a few moments they arrived amidst mountains and gullies.
A waterfall cascaded down from the skies, each drop of water glittering with starlight, as if this wasn’t a waterfall but the milky way pouring down from the heavens.
Chu WuQing took a deep breath, feeling the dense spiritual energy sink into his body, comparable to the effects of a high grade spirit gathering array.
Divine mist swirled about them.
Anyone who first entered the fourth level would mistake this place for a divine paradise. What did all of this have to do with arrays? However, if they moved even a single step the array restrictions would activate and bind them. One could only advance by dismantling them.
There were many who were unprepared for this and thus perished here.
Participants would be randomly teleported into the fourth level as well. The entrance to the next level was in that waterfall. The waterfall seemed equally as far away for everyone, and the way to get there was to achieve enlightenment in runemanship first.
When enlightenment was reached, a clear breeze would rise from beneath the feet, and send one towards the waterfall over the heads of all their competitors. That was the only method.
In his last life, it was in the fourth level that Chu WuQing first managed to grasp the edges of his Path. He had gained a murky understanding of his true Path, but then Lin Yi cut off both his arms in the fifth level.
His Path hadn’t even had a chance to truly form, he had barely stepped onto the road to immortality before everything had been destroyed and he had become naught but a joke.
He had survived for three hundred years in rage and loathing all the way until he was tortured to death, cut up bit by bit.
Gu Yu didn’t take a single step forward. “Master, stay still for the moment.”
Even though he understood just how talented Gu Yu was, Chu WuQing was still rather surprised by this development. After all, in his past life, no one realised anything was wrong before taking a step forward.
Gu Yu actually managed to identify the trap the immortal had set?
What terrifying talent!
Gu Yu’s right hand swept out and a high-grade talisman appeared. He pointed ahead. “Go.”
The talisman assumed a human form, exuding the aura of a peak Foundation Establishment stage cultivator, and immediately flew in the direct Gu Yu had ordered. However, it had barely flown a step away when flames suddenly sprung up from the ground, burning it all.
It didn’t even leave a trace of ash behind.
A terrifying chill surfaced in his heart, but deep, almost obsessive amusement appeared in Gu Yu’s eyes. He smiled shyly. “Master, this fourth trial is quite interesting. As expected, an array trial from an immortal is intricate beyond belief. Please, allow me to try.”
As he spoke, Gu Yu half knelt, light flashing at his fingertips as spell after spellflowed down from his hands.
After around three quarters of an hour, Gu Yu had managed to clear out a half a foot wide and ten-foot-long path. The moment he stood, the environment around them suddenly changed!
The mountains and gullies that surrounded them split like a canvas torn by a massive, invisible hand, revealing the towers and pavilions behind, as well as the sea of flowers. It had suddenly become the garden of an immensely rich mortal.
Gu Yu returned to Chu WuQing’s side, satisfied and thinking he could receive a praising glance, but suddenly realised that Chu WuQing was stunned, staring off at something else.
He had never seen such an expression on the other’s face before. Gu Yu’s heart sank. He followed Chu WuQing’s gaze and saw to his shock that there was a man lying in the flowerbed ahead.
The man’s presence didn’t come from an illusion array. How was this possible? Someone had gotten inside the immortal’s abode before them?
But even so, Master was always so calm and composed, even during a crisis. Yet now, he wore his shock so blatantly on his face.
He was nothing more than some too-lucky soul who had run the slim fortune of ending up here. What right did he have to make Master make such an expression?
Jealousy rose in Gu Yu’s heart. He maintained a façade of calm, raising his head and smiling. “Master, Gu Yu will go and deal with this intruder.”
“Don’t!” Chu WuQing finally snapped back into reality, carefully watching the unconscious young man ahead of him. He didn’t notice Gu Yu’s darkening gaze.
Chu WuQing didn’t know why Chu YunShu would appear here either. However, considering Chu YunShu’s shocking strength, he wasn’t all that surprised.
Plus, Chu YunShu was like Lin Yi, someone who was born with great fortune. Completely different from a trivial villain like him. It wasn’t impossible that the other might’ve coincidentally found his way here and avoided the traps Chu WuQing had set.
What had Chu WuQing truly surprised, was that the person there had a head of white hair.
Thoughts surfaced in his mind, but only going over there would tell him what was really going on.
Chu WuQing stepped forwards, but this single step had countless icicles shooting towards him from the direction of the sleeping Chu YunShu.
In an instant, even the surrounding air was frozen, but the roses under the young man remained unscathed, highlighting the other’s beauty.
Yet, completely opposite to the beautiful image this scene painted, was the killing intent and danger aimed at the intruders. Heavenly songs rang out from all directions. Even though Chu WuQing was prepared for this, protecting himself with artifacts, his internal spiritual energy still wavered, almost destabilising his sea of consciousness. But it was something else that had his expression changing once more.
Seeing his master so shaken, Gu Yu’s jealousy swelled, almost discarding his usual composure and calm entirely. He wanted nothing more than to kill the one who had taken away Chu WuQing’s attention.
Chu WuQing finally confirmed who it was ahead of them.
“That’s… Chu YunZhi!”
But why was Chu YunZhi here?
According to the original character design, Chu YunShu’s second identity, Chu YunZhi was a very honest, pure and oblivious person. He rarely appeared, which was why no one knew about his dissociative identity.
Chu YunShu was a demonic cultivator, and his control over the Greater Path of Sound was enough to allow him to beat Golden Core cultivators to the ground with ease. However, when Chu YunZhi, who had full enlightenment, appeared, he was truly a terrifying force to be reckoned with.
Only those whose hearts were truly empty of all conflict, truly pure, could fully understand the Greater Path of Sound.
However, according to the original design, Chu YunShu’s second personality would only take over when he broke down emotionally and spiritually.
Due to cultivating the Greater Path of Sound, Chu YunZhi’s heart was pure to a fault. His black hair would turn snow white and his irises would become silver.
And the main character, Lin Yi, was able to become Chu YunShu’s friend due to an accident, causing Chu YunShu’s second personality to appear suddenly and almost sending him into Qi Deviation.
The main character stood guard beside the other and thus a friendship was born. The second personality was truly so naïve and gullible.
But this plot event happened after Lin Yi and Chu YunShu became Golden Core cultivators, while Chu YunShu was being hunted by the Chu Clan Patriarch and other ancient powerhouse cultivators.
Even then, it was the author forcing it as a plot device. Chu YunShu’s willpower was no joke. Unless it was the author forcing it as a plot device, how could he possibly break down to the point where he lost control of his own body?
And what was there in the divine abode to sway Chu YunShu’s will and consciousness to the point of breaking down and letting his second personality take over?
Just as Chu WuQing was contemplating this, Gu Yu suddenly spoke up, “Master, he’s about to wake up. Please allow me to deal with him, and eradicate master’s troubles.”
Chu WuQing raised an eyebrow and as expected, saw Chu YunZhi’s fingers twitch. Surrounded by flowers, the young man’s eyelashes trembled, and his tightly closed eyes started to open.