Grand Orient Sacred Mountain.
The main peak towered into the clouds, majestic and dignified. The disciples of the Grand-Orient Sect referred to it as "the sacred mountain" for short. It was the gathering place for the council of elders and the summit where the Grand-Orient Sacred Hall was built, dwarfing the other mountains.
Under the Grand-Orient Sacred Hall were the ten elder halls. Here, the elders unaffiliated with any immortal mountain maintained the order of the sacred mountain.
Only inner disciples and above could cultivate in the sacred mountain, evincive of its myriad advantages. To put it bluntly, the main peak was ground zero for cultivating beastmasters.
"There’s many important spots in Sacred Mountain, and the Imperial Ninefold Gates is one of them. This is where disciples break through to Unity and all of its levels. You’ll understand the specifics when you get there.”
The siblings stood on the Grandwhite Kunpeng, whizzing through the air. Left and right were lifebound beasts wandering all over Sacred Mountain, roaming the land, water, and air. The diversity of these rare beasts was stupefying to the eye.
Tianming's goal today was the Imperial Ninefold Gates. After all, it was personally recommended by Ye Shaoqing.
In the midst of their conversation, the siblings arrived at the sacred mountain, where Qingyu led Tianming to the Imperial Ninefold Gates. Nine gigantic, black stone gates stood abreast, front and back, forming a ninefold passage in a vast square, visible from a distance.
Having withstood the vicissitudes of time, these ancient gates were reminiscent of a bygone era, imposing and profound. Each of the stone gates were a hundred meters tall and over fifty meters wide.
Tianming had an inkling these stone gates were spirit ores with saintly heavenly patterns, like Li Shenxiao’s tomb. Sure enough, he soon came across saintly heavenly patterns stretching across the first stone gate. Due to the existence of the patterns, the stone gate resembled a towering mountain that tested each disciple with its sheer pressure.
On the second gate were two saintly heavenly patterns. By that analogy, the next gate would have a third saintly heavenly pattern. At the very end, the last Imperial Ninefold Gates would contain nine saintly heavenly patterns, making a total of forty-five patterns.
Despite paling in comparison to the eighty-one patterns on Li Shenxiao’s tomb, the value of the Imperial Ninefold Gates was evident.
Li Wudi had previously explained that white heavenly patterns were saintly heavenly patterns. And over the past few days, Tianming had inquired a fair bit about saintly heavenly patterns and acquired a basic understanding of them.
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, black, and white. Superior to the rest, the white heavenly patterns are the most profound and insightful, and are classified as saintly heavenly patterns. Any spirit herb, ore, or hazard containing a saintly heavenly pattern has the word ‘saintly’ prefixed to its name. For example, saintly spirit herb, saintly spirit hazard, and saintly spirit ore are three types of treasures distinguished by the number of saintly heavenly patterns, and not the color. In short, the more patterns, the more precious they are! Case in point, the Imperial Ninefold Gates has forty-five saintly heavenly patterns.
If the Imperial Ninefold Gates was the sect’s jewel in the crown, one could only imagine the immeasurable value of Li Shenxiao’s tomb. When Tianming had finally comprehended the concept of saintly heavenly patterns, he could only admit what a bargain it was to have entered the Li Mausoleum.
But at this moment, that was a distant concern. As an insignificant Spiritsource beastmaster, his goal was to employ the sect’s resources to break through to Unity. Beyond that, Tianming would have to explore Heavenly Will for a chance to learn the secrets of Saint stage.
However, those who reached the Saint stage were all elders over the age of forty, such as Ye Shaoqing and Yuwen Taiji, so Tianming was in no hurry.
"Big Brother, it's your first time visiting the Imperial Ninefold Gates. Come with me, I’ll walk you through it. In fact, I need to cultivate here as well. I’m just short of breaking through to fifth-level Unity."
With her age and current cultivation, Qingyu’s talent placed her on par with direct disciples of the sect, such as Li Xuanchen. This was of great importance to her.
"Which gate will you be using?" asked Tianming.
Among the ninefold gates, most disciples gathered in the first three. The farther behind, the fewer disciples. There was almost no one after the fifth gate.
"I usually cultivate at the fifth gate. After that, only disciples with lifebound beasts can bear the oppression of the gates. The farther you go, the better the effect. However, pushing yourself beyond your limits will cause your lifebound space to collapse. Once it collapses, your lifebound beast will die a miserable death. These are serious consequences."
"I understand," Tianming narrowed his eyes at the last gate. "What kind of lifebound beast would one require to enter the ninth gate? One at Unity?"
"Fourth-order Saint Beast. At present, none of the prime disciples have a fourth-order Saint Beast,” she softly replied.
"There are different orders for Saint Beasts?"
Weren’t Saint Beasts nine-star lifebound beasts? Seven stars royal beast, eight stars imperial beast, and nine stars saint beast—at least that was how the Vermillion Bird categorized them.
"Of course. There’s nine orders for the Saint Beasts,” said Qingyu.
"Nine orders? So the strongest are the ninth-order Saint Beasts?"
"How strong would a ninth-order Saint Beast be? What are the cultivation limits of a beastmaster?”
"Forget about ninth-order Saint Beasts. There isn’t even a seventh-order Saint Beast in the entire Grand-Orient Realm. Big Brother, surpassing the eight-star lifebound beast is the Saint Beast, and a first- to third-order Saint Beast is the basic requirement for reaching the Earth Saint realm. You’d need a fourth- to sixth-order Saint Beast to reach the Sky Saint realm and seventh- to ninth-order Saint Beast to reach the Empyrean Saint realm,” explained Qingyu.
Having recently entered the greater world of cultivation, Tianming was in great need of expanding his humble outlook. "So that’s how it is! I was just wondering how certain beastmasters could reach Earth Saint or Sky Saint, while others managed to break through to Empyrean Saint."
In Li Tianming's eyes, a deep yearning blazed. What he wanted to know was, what exactly were the limits for Primordial Chaos Beasts?
"Qingyu, how do you distinguish what order a lifebound beast is?" he queried.
"By the stars in their eyes."
"First of all, a lifebound beast must have nine stars to be considered a Saint Beast. However, merely nine stars makes it a non-ordered Saint Beast. Although the beastmaster is expected to enter Saint realm, his growth will be limited."
"A nine-star lifebound beast is considered an ordinary, non-ordered Saint Beast?" And to think Tianming had once believed nine stars were the limit.
Despite having seen the infinite stars in Ying Huo and Meow Meow’s eyes, it seemed like an unbelievable dream, too far detached from reality.
"Yes, first-order Saint Beasts have ten to nineteen stars in their eyes, second-order Saint Beasts have twenty to twenty-nine stars, third-order Saint Beasts have thirty to thirty-nine, and so on."
"I see. So ordered Saint Beasts have double digit stars in their eyes. And ninth-order Saint Beasts have ninety to ninety-nine stars?" added Tianming.
"What about a hundred stars?" His lips curled in a curious grin.
"From what I’ve heard, the hundred-star Saint Beast is the foundation for transcending the Empyrean Saint realm. But that’s the stuff of legends."
Tianming now had a basic idea of the Saint Beast orders. Since a fourth-order Saint Beast was required to cultivate at the ninth gate, his lifebound beasts must have at least forty stars. Unfortunately, both Ying Huo and Meow Meow were merely seven-star lifebound beasts and would easily be crushed under the oppressive force of the gate.
Most of the disciples cultivating in the Imperial Ninefold Gates had first-order Saint Beasts. Second-order Saint Beasts were rare, and third-order ones were almost unheard of.
The Void Kunpeng was born a third-order Saint Beast with thirty stars. Relying on manna for further evolution, the number of stars in its eyes could be increased to forty, making it a fourth-order Saint Beast. Of course, having a fourth-order Saint Beast didn’t necessarily guarantee a breakthrough to Sky Saint; it was merely a prerequisite. Actual cultivation was dependent on a variety of factors.
Only those in Unity cultivated in the Imperial Ninefold Gates. Transcending that, one would cultivate elsewhere.
Although the prime disciples were a step away from surpassing Unity, they didn’t own fourth-order Saint Beasts.
"How long has it been since a disciple entered the ninth gate?" Tianming wondered aloud.
"Thousands of years ago,” said Qingyu. “They were all ancestors of the Li Saint Clan’s Apex Branch. They were born with Void Kunpengs that evolved into fourth-order Saint Beasts before the age of twenty. Those are the people who are now buried in the Li Mausoleum."
"And aside from the Li Saint Clan?"
"There are none. My father came close, but his lifebound beast was stuck at thirty-nine stars, only one short."
"I see,” nodded Tianming.
"Big brother, since your lifebound beasts have seven stars, you should cultivate at the first gate. As long as you don't cultivate at the gates, you won’t feel any oppression, but the reverse is also true. Come with me to the fifth gate, first. I’ll give you a demonstration before you attempt the first gate," suggested Qingyu.
Although the first gate was crowded, Tianming preferred to err on the side of caution at the thought of the other eight eggs in his lifebound space. What could crying and regret achieve if his eggs were pulverized into dust by the force of the gates!
Thus, the siblings walked side by side into the Imperial Ninefold Gates.Previous Chapter Next Chapter