Within the pavilion, the subsiding of wind and chimes made the silence pronounced.
Li Luo looked straight at Mentor Chi Chan. Her composure seemed to slip a little, and she sealed off all sound by manipulating the worldly natural energy around them.
Evidently, the Noble's War was an important term even for a Duke expert like her.
Xin Fu and Bai Mengmeng were looking at him sideways as well. This guy's question seemed to have managed to unsettle even their mentor.
They had vaguely heard of the Noble's War before, but they were equally clueless about it. After all, it was so far removed from their lives.
The silence continued for a while.
"Because of your parents?" Mentor Chi Chan broke the silence herself.
Li Luo nodded solemnly.
"Your question," she said slowly, "actually touches on the heart of what I was about to tell you next.
"About the truth of this world."
The three of them were puzzled. "The truth of this world?"
"First, I need to explain this world... You all know of the Xia Kingdom. You also know that there are other kingdoms besides Xia. But what about beyond that?" she asked.
The three struggled to process this. To them, the Xia Kingdom was huge enough, vast beyond any hopes of conquering. It was hard to even think of life outside of Xia when it concerned them so little.
"The Xia Kingdom is located in the East Divine Continent, where there are factions as plentiful as the stars. The Xia Kingdom is counted among one of the strongest powers here, but we are not without our enemies. There are three others here just as strong as the Xia Kingdom. They are the Golden Lion Court, the Iron Sand Empire, and the Holy Sun Dynasty.
“Outside of the East Divine Continent, there are nine other divine continents. The ten divine continents make up the foundation of all humankind.”
This information was mind-bending. The sheer scale of the world was something that was hard to process immediately.
The Xia Kingdom that had always been their world... how small it actually was.
"In these three nations, there are also sage colleges that are comparable in strength to the Astral Sage College."
She looked at her three students. "Do you know why these schools exist? Why they were built?" The three shook their heads dumbly.
"Because of the Academic Federation." There was a mark of respect in her eyes when she spoke these words.
She nodded. "The Academic Federation is one of the most powerful entities in this world. All the elite schools across all 10 divine continents are its members. The Astral Sage College is one of them."
They inhaled sharply. Such an incredibly powerful body. They shuddered at the thought. The Astral Sage College was already an unfathomable power to them. But now Mentor Chi Chan was telling them that similar powers were dispersed all over, and the Astral Sage College was but a member of this greater Academic Federation?
How freaking powerful could the federation be?
It was truly hard to comprehend.
Li Luo was thinking about something else: what was the reason for something of such power to exist? To rule the 10 divine continents?
"You might be thinking why such an entity like the Academic Federation exists," she continued, as if reading their minds. "The Academic Federation exists because Others exist."
She emphasized the word, speaking it with uncharacteristic hatred.
The three felt a chill. For some reason, their instincts were telling them to be very afraid.
"What is that?" Li Luo finally pressed.
"It's said that countless years ago, human civilization reached a golden era. In those days, countless technologies were born. The strength of humankind was incredible. We prospered, and as a result, we violated nature itself. A devastating change happened. A reflection of our world appeared.
"That reflected world is known as the shadow world."
Li Luo hung on to her every word, as incredible as it sounded.
How strong was it? How strong was humankind back then? Was the average person a Duke or something?
"The reflected world was not too great a problem when it first appeared. But we did not know that it could gather the evil thoughts of the entire human race. At some point, from evil intention, the Others were born. They inherited human powers and grew strong very quickly.
"Others are unknowable, untouchable. They are extremely dangerous and hard to destroy. Moreover, they can eat away at our minds with their corrupting influence. These Others are like a plague, a virus. When they appeared in this world, they caused untold damage, killing and creating chaos.
"Others were born of humankind's evil, and they toppled us from our glory.
"After innumerable years of war and purging, we humans finally managed to gather the tremendous energy needed to sever the two worlds, stopping the corruption of the reflected world. But not completely. The Nobles' Battlefields are the places where our world joins the shadow realm.
"The killing has never stopped since.
"The Academic Federation's existence is to eradicate and repel the Others. It exists for the Others. You could even say that it safeguards the survival of all humankind."
Li Luo's mouth was a little dry. "So the Kings and Dukes enter the Nobles' Battlefield to fight the Others and stop them from invading our world?"
Chi Chan was silent for a while. "Yes," she finally said. "The Nobles' Battlefield is brutal, far more than you can ever imagine. This is also why only Kings and Dukes can enter. Only they stand a chance of surviving.
"When Dukes go to the Noble's War, not even one in ten make it out alive."
Li Luo felt cold then, a cold despair that chilled every last inch of his body. His parents had gone to great danger.
"Why must they go?" Li Luo asked, trembling.
"Because if the Kings and Dukes do not go, then the Others will enter our world. The devastation and killing they would bring is unimaginable."
"Why my parents?" Li Luo pleaded.
If the Nobles' Battlefield was such a dreadful place, one where even Duke experts could not protect themselves, why had Li Taixuan and Tan Tailan cast him and Jiang Qing'e behind and gone ahead? Other Duke experts treated it as warily as a hungry tiger. But they had gone ahead?
"I understand your thinking. Not every Duke expert has the courage to enter the Nobles' Battlefield, because the death rate is too high.
"Humans once tried not entering the Nobles' Battlefield. But in the end, it resulted in outbreaks of Others. They rampaged across the divine continents, wreaking havoc beyond imagination.
"Through long years of experimentation, we found that once the number of Kings and Dukes falls below a certain level, an outbreak of Others is triggered. We would have no choice but to send in reinforcements. Of course, most of them will be Dukes..." she said softly.
The three were rigid with fear now. These Others seemed to be forcing humans to sacrifice a never-ending stream of Kings and Dukes as cannon fodder.
"The Nobles' Battlefield is too dangerous, and so eventually we all resorted to a lottery to choose the next candidates.
"It is known as the death lottery, divided into white and black slips. White means life, black means death. Those who draw black are sent to the Nobles' Battlefield."
Chi Chan looked at Li Luo. "Both your parents drew black slips. They went to the Nobles' Battlefield.
"They did not want to leave you, but they had to. No one can defy the death lottery. Those who do..." Her face grew very serious.
"...have no place to be throughout the 10 divine continents."Previous Chapter Next Chapter