Chapter 200 - Founding Ancestor Li Shenxiao

"I wonder if Ling'er can come inside with me using Spiritual Attachment...."

The Bloodbane Formation was more terrifying the deeper they went. However, there wouldn't be a point in bringing her in if it was just a mere grave. But given that it was defended by a formation of such caliber, there was no way it was normal.

It was a fact that many of the Li Saint Clan's sect masters and junior sect masters had entered the mausoleum since the days of the founding ancestor, and it was plain to see that they didn't get much from it. Some even monitored those who entered, only to see them leave after a short time. As such, no faction was too interested in what was beyond the formation even after the Li Saint Clan fell. Not to mention, even if they had the Kunpeng Sacred Seal, they wouldn't be able to enter. The seal was only one of the two prerequisites for entry, while the other was being a descendant of the Li Saint Clan—and usually those with at least two bane-rings.

Historically, there had been no instance of those with no bane-rings succeeding at assimilating the seal. Just like that, the mysterious mausoleum that many yearned to enter soon faded from the collective consciousness. Only those of the Li Saint Clan still wanted to go in and see what was in it for themselves.

Tianming advanced through the bloody mist for thirty breaths. The deeper he went, the thicker the color of blood in the air grew. Finally, he arrived. All of a sudden, he saw a wide expanse in the sky when the mist fully dissipated.

He scanned the mausoleum and saw the space within the formation. At the very edges of it were countless mountains whose peaks shot high, like titans holding up a sky dotted with blood-colored clouds. The Bloodbane Formation sealed a spherical space within, including even the ground, so digging under the formation wouldn't work. The tallest mountain within pierced the clouds and directly contacted the underside of the formation dome. Behind this mountain were many more, but the number was hard to count thanks to the bloody mist.

"The first mountain is called Shenxiao Mountain, named after our founding ancestor, Li Shenxiao. It’s his tombstone. He was the first to be afflicted with Lifesbane. Back then, there was no way to cure it. However, his terrifying willpower allowed him to cultivate with his Lifesbane-ridden body and last fifty years without dying! In the end, he finally found the technique to cure it. His body returned to how it was when he was fifteen, and from then on, he soared through the ranks and defeated countless champions. After that, he founded the Grand-Orient Sect in the chaotic Grand-Orient Realm and dominated the realm, ushering in an era of stability. Not only was he the strongest man in the whole realm back then, but to this very day, he hasn't been surpassed by any others in the sect—it was even rumored that he broke through the Empyrean Saint Realm!"

The founding ancestor was also Tianming's ancestor. It seemed that this amazing forebear was the figure the whole clan aspired to become. His legends were still sung throughout the whole of the Grand-Orient Realm. Lifesbane started with him, and was also broken by him.

"Come, I'll take you to this old crook's tombstone to drink. He really is a huge drinker. He drank up most of my stock!" he hatefully spat, talking about the founding ancestor really casually before Tianming, as if he were really his son.

They walked across the desolate land to Shenxiao Mountain. At the foot of the mountain, Tianming saw a giant, seated beast that exuded the same kind of black aura as Li Wudi. It was a black kunpeng at its last breath, looking incredibly thin and old. When Li Wudi came, it struggled to open its eyes to look, then closed them and breathed out some black miasma. It was clear that this was the lifebound beast that had its heart pierced with a Venomdrake Spike like Li Wudi.

"Tianming, my son, behold. This is the legendary lifebound beast of our bloodline: the Voinded Kunpeng," Li Wudi joked.

"Isn't it the Void Kunpeng?"

"Well, more or less. Not only is it void, it’s also wounded." He couldn't help himself and chuckled.

Tianming gave the Void Kunpeng another look. It was said that these were natural-born saint beasts—lifebound beasts with eight or nine stars. However, this Void Kunpeng didn't look the least bit saintly. It paled in comparison to Li Jingyu's Rage-Sea Kunpeng, having to constantly endure the torture and struggling to even live, just like Li Wudi.

Since coming to the sect, Tianming had heard too many descriptors with the word 'saint' in them. There was the Void Kunpeng, a saint beast, the Venomdrake Spike, a saint beastial weapon, as well as the Empyrean Saint Realm.

"Senior Li, isn't the saint realm just another realm? Or are there distinct levels?" Tianming asked.

Jingyu had said he could simply address Li Wudi with his full name, but that didn't feel too polite.

"Of course there are levels. In the mortal realm, there are four levels of cultivation, namely, Beast Vein, Spiritsource, Unity, and Heavenly Will. Beyond the mortal realm is the saint realm, where one strives for eternal youth! Those who reach that realm fight to extend their lifespans and make themselves immortal. It’s a path of chasing after the will of the heavens, and even ascending into godhood! The saint realm is the first step one takes to leave the mortal realm behind for the path of gods. There are three main stages in the saint realm. The first is the Earth Saint stage; those at that level are called earth saints. The second stage is when one rises into the skies once they transcend the earth: the Sky Saint Realm. Those at that level are called sky saints. Most people believe the Sky Saint stage is the limit of cultivation, but they don't know there's a third stage beyond even that—the Empyrean Saint Realm! Those who attain it are called empyrean saints and they stand at the very apex of all!"

So, the four stages of cultivation I know are only within the mortal realm. The saint realm is beyond mortals' reach and has three stages, earth, sky, and empyrean!

In other words, the founding ancestor was indeed rather terrifying to be able to reach the Empyrean Saint Realm. He must've been the most illustrious figure in the past millennia of the Grand-Orient Realm, and was quite possibly the one and only person to reach that stage.

"The cultivation at the saint realm is much more complicated than you can imagine. You should just focus on reaching Unity and comprehending the Heavenly Will for now. The Heavenly Will stage is the foundation of the saint realm, as well as the key to reaching it," Li Wudi rambled on.

Tianming made sure to commit those words to memory. He was only at the eighth stage of Spiritsource for now, so there was still quite a way before he would touch the legendary saint realm. But he did know that one prerequisite to reach it was having a saint beast. As for the saint beastial weapon, Venomdrake Spike, it was probably made of the best materials one could get hold of.

It didn't take long before they had ascended to the midpoint of the mountain.

"People often say that the Li Saint Clan was cursed by the gods, but I don't think that's the case. Son, look here." Li Wudi was truly quite shameless. Even though Tianming had made it a point to call him senior, the drunk man had been calling him son the whole time. Tianming looked at where he was pointing, but could only see mountains stretching up into the cloudy sky. Each of them looked like a blood-covered titan, and the remains of each ancestor rested at their peaks.

"At the peak of that mountain is the tomb of our second ancestor, Li Xinghe. He was the son of Li Shenxiao, a tetrabane. However, his bane-rings were blood-colored bane-rings, which gave him the ability Bloodmorph. Li Xinghe had always been a difficult son, and had fought with the founding ancestor before. The details aren’t very well known, but he repented in the end and changed. According to the annals of the clan, Li Xinghe had killed 13,900 people. He was a cruel man," Li Wudi said with a sigh. Tianming looked at the burning peak of that mountain and felt pride. It was as if he felt the destiny of his bloodline! As Li Wudi introduced ancestors one after another, Tianming felt more and more proud to be a member of the clan. They were far too glorious, being a line of countless precedent-setting experts.

"Blood-colored bane-rings?" Tianming's own ten bane-rings were black, as normal ones were. He didn't know that blood-colored bane-rings existed.

"Look at this mountain. This is the tomb of the third ancestor, Li Shendao, another tetrabane! His bane-rings were black, but not located on his arm. Rather, they were located on his abdomen, over his dantian. This gave him frightening cultivating talent. Rumor has it that he was even more powerful than Li Xinghe, and just a step shy of achieving the Empyrean Saint stage.

"This one is where our fourth ancestor, Li Shenfeng, rests. He's the younger brother of Li Shendao and was famed for his lifebound beast, the Skyvoid Kunpeng. In the early days of the Grand-Orient Realm, godly treasures were produced in the realm, drawing many foreign invaders to it. It was Li Shendao and Li Shenfeng that killed all of them! Li Shenfeng had green bane-rings and had incredible speed, as swift as wind!

"This is the fifth ancestor, Li Daoyun....

"This is the sixth ancestor, Li Xingchen...."

Li Wudi introduced each and every ancestor in detail. Since he didn't seem to be getting tired of it, Tianming patiently listened. It was plain to see that the ancestors made Li Wudi proud; Tianming himself felt proud because of them as well. Ever since he’d gotten Lifesbane and assimilated the seal, he could feel the passion and resonance in his own blood. Within him flowed the same blood that had flowed in the veins of these great ancestors! The essence of Li Shenxiao, Li Xinghe, Li Shendao, Li Shenfeng, and the other ancestors flowed within him. Despite being separated by the sands of time, they were one! How could anyone not be proud of having such incredible forebears? This was pride of his lineage—each and every drop of his blood boiled with glory! Without noticing, he was so touched he teared up. Who wouldn't after witnessing their once-glorious clan falling to this point?

Now, they had a pathetic sect master and a junior sect master that hadn't even secured his position. Not only that, but the Apex Branch's lineage was severed!

"It's all a matter of the past, so there’s no need to feel torn over it. Things come and go, rise and fall. Such is life. I introduced them to you not because I wanted you to feel bad about them, but because each one of them left behind a fortune that normal people can't find. And now, I'm going to hand their fortunes to you," Li Wudi said, then smirked.

"Fortunes?" Tianming froze. How could there be anything from the ancestors left after tens of thousands of years?

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BOTA Fireteam's Thoughts

We at 200, bois(and girls).