After finishing the registration, the middle-aged man gave Li Qiye a wooden badge to hang by his waist and said: “Your Majesty, Great Desolate Mountain is at the very south of this mountain range. Just keep heading south and you’ll see it, the highest peak of that place. The prison will be on the opposite side.”
He added: “Please don’t lose the badge, your Majesty, it will let you go freely in this region.”
Strangely enough, this man didn’t bother confirming Li Qiye’s identity, only telling him to not lose the badge. This was indeed an interesting place.
Li Qiye smiled and said goodbye to the man before entering Nine-linked Mountains. He took one look at the plaque before leaving the entrance, amused.
There was a long way to go before reaching his destination so he took his time resting and enjoying the views.
These nine peaks here had wonderful and unique scenes. Each had a lake accompanying them - a perfect combination that accentuates the beauty of the mountains. The lakes also had varying colors - deep blue, light green, green jade…
All in all, there were sights to behold. One wouldn’t be able to forget these scenes, only perhaps their way home.
Among the valleys and hills were buildings and shrines situated all over the place - at the pinnacle, cliffs, or the waists of the mountains. The architecture here also helped make the place unique.
Plenty of these buildings were unoccupied because Nine-linked Mountains was indeed too large. It had more than one thousand buildings despite the limited number of disciples.
Some had people, not necessarily the disciples of Nine-linked Mountains. In fact, an accurate census hasn’t been done. Nevertheless, outsiders said that the number couldn’t exceed one thousand.
In Nine Secrets, having less than one thousand disciples almost disqualify a group from being called a sect. For example, War Saint or Godstep had several hundred thousand disciples scattered across the realm, perhaps even more.
Outside of its own disciples, there were invited guests as well - all from Nine Secrets System.
The majority came to Nine-linked Mountains with a similar goal - dao enlightenment!
Some were willing to stay up to several hundred years. Most wanted to learn the foundation of Nine Secrets - the nine words.
Everyone knew about the existence of the nine words, but no single sect ever had all of them. Even the five great powers and War Saint Dynasty only had pieces.
War Saint Dynasty and Calm Lotus Monastery had two words each. The former had Dou and Zhe while the latter had Jie and Lie. The rest only had one each.
In case of them deciding to hand over their secrets to each other, it still wouldn’t result in nine words.
The word, Qian, has been missing for a very long time now. If there was a place that could have all nine in this system, it would have to be Nine-linked Mountains. This sect itself never denied the rumors.
Whether true or not, dao searchers came to visit. A common belief stated that the nine words were hidden in the rhythm of Nine-linked Mountains. When one could figure this out, they would obtain the nine secrets.
For millions of years, people chose to believe this legend. Alas, they came and left empty-handed.
Just imagine, staying for several hundred years or even longer without a single gain? Anyone would feel disappointed and that they have wasted their time after failing.
As time passed, people became less interested in the nine secrets so the number of visitors subsided. Nevertheless, some still came each year for dao enlightenment, choosing to trust the legend.
The most famous among the dao searchers were Emperor Zhang and True Emperor Jiu Ning. Godstep True Emperor also came here once.
Why were the first two so heavily discussed on this matter? Because future generations believed that they have figured out the nine secrets - two cases of success after the progenitor of the system.
Not all believed in this particular legend. Some thought that Emperor Zhang didn’t cultivate all nine, but the actual number remained a mystery. However, a few ancestors stated that because he didn’t cultivate the complete version, he was able to jump out of it and eventually created the Lucidity Scripture.
This group of ancestors found more support later on. They believed that only True Emperor Jiu Ning successfully figured out all nine.
One thing was confirmed - she had access to four words - Dou, Zhe from War Saint Dynasty, and Jie, Lie from Calm Lotus. She paid her respect at this sect and was given permission to cultivate in these two words. The rest was most likely learned at Nine-linked Mountains.
As for Godstep True Emperor, he only figured out the word, Xing. The origin of his understanding was also highly debated. One speculation was that he found it in Nine-linked. The other was that he figured it out from the roots of the dao land itself.
These legends were deeply rooted in Nine-linked Mountains, thus, one could see cultivators from the sects in Nine Secrets System traveling in the region. They consisted of prodigies and ancestors; those who choose to stay for only a few days or several hundred years.
The guests actually outnumbered the disciples of Nine-linked. However, the sheer size of this mountain range made it hard to find people. A few thousand people were negligible.
Because of this, Li Qiye didn’t meet many on his southward journey. Even in the rare chance that he did, they were cultivating, meditating, or was just in a hurry. No one paid attention to an ordinary guy like him.
He finally made it to Great Desolate Mountain and climbed to the top. There were several palaces made out of rocks, unoccupied for a very long time now.
This was one of the nine highest peaks, reaching to the clouds and locating in the southern region.
Unfortunately, few disciples of Nine-linked and Guests wanted to stay here.
The temperature was wintry and accompanied by a powerful murderous energy, seemingly traveling from the primordial past to the present. Though billions of years have passed, this energy wouldn’t disperse. It would greatly interfere with regular cultivation, let alone a dao enlightenment session.
Standing at the top, one would find a lake right behind it and an abyss to the front. This abyss wasn’t especially large. Perhaps calling it a large pit was more suitable.
It looked like a jaw belonging to a devil that had just climbed out of hell. After awakening, it was time to devour everything on the surface.
The murderous energy originated from this pit and perhaps from the core of the ground, aiming straight for Great Desolate Mountain.
It was a blessing to have such a great mountain blocking this energy. Otherwise, it would infiltrate Nine-linked Mountains, robbing the land of its beauty and staining it with bloodthirst.
The name of this pit was very impressive - Great Desolate Heavenly Prison.
Why was it called a heavenly prison instead of earthly prison or underground dungeon? No one knew.
In everyone’s memories, this place has been around since the foundation of Nine Secrets with the name of heavenly prison. No one knew who gave it this name.
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