The crystal was fairly hot to the touch. The surface was dusky, but it could be rubbed away like the embers in a dying flame.
Qianye glanced at the surroundings and concluded that this crystal was something left behind from Sky Demon’s avatar. Ignoring everything else for the moment, the mere fact that it could survive the flaming torrent proved that it was extraordinary. He carefully wiped away the ashes and found that it was surprisingly soft. However, a light pinch proved that it was incomparably sharp and quickly cut through his skin.
Qianye’s body, at this stage, was nothing to scoff at. Cutting through his skin might not be easier than slicing a metal sheet, but this soft, scorching piece of crystal was able to accomplish this with relative ease. Immediately afterward, it transformed into a stream of flames which drilled right into the opening.
Qianye was shocked out of his wits. At the same time, an unprecedented pain rushed from his palm toward his heart, and the agony knocked him out on the spot.
Qianye woke up again from the pain after an unknown length of time. He couldn’t help but curl up into a ball, trembling uncontrollably. He forced his eyes open, but the world was a blur to him—it was as though a cloud of light and shadow were roaming about in his vision. Moreover, he had lost all sensation, so much so that he couldn’t figure out if he was lying on the ground or floating in the air.
Puzzled, Qianye tried his utmost to clear his vision, but the patches of light and dark broke up into numerous smaller ones with even greater color variations. The rapid transition sent him reeling. He closed his eyes to compose himself, and the scene around him gradually came into view when he opened them once again.
He was still in the same world, but the feeling it gave Qianye was drastically different—everything in his vision had turned rather illusory. It felt as though he could tear away their external appearance with a bit of effort and reveal their true nature. But no matter how hard he tried, that was as far as he could go. The next step was simply impossible.
Qianye suddenly realized what he was seeing. The scenery before him was similar to his True Sight, that was to say, a sight that could see the flow of origin power. It was just that, this time, the scene laid out before him wasn’t an ordinary world.
At the same time, an unfamiliar memory appeared in Qianye’s consciousness. The numerous flickering scenes appeared one after the other. Those were fragments of Sky Demon’s memories, the scenes from within the void.
In Sky Demon’s memories, the void was somewhat different from how the humans understood it. It wasn’t an expanse of nothingness, but a turbulent flow of void origin power instead. These currents were invisible to the naked eye, and only a small part of them would run into one another, colliding and exploding in the process. Most of them followed their own trajectories despite appearing rather chaotic at first glance. If one were to push through these paths, they would serve as a safe route for travel. Sky Demon’s ability to teleport tens of thousands of kilometers away was born of this principle.
After Qianye figured this out, he found that these scenes weren’t merely visual. There were actually some tactile sensations, which he was able to sense by virtue of his foundations in the Profound Combatant Formula. Although minuscule, it was like a key which threw open the doors to the void world.
All of Qianye’s senses slowly recovered. He grabbed ahold of East Peak’s hilt and stood up against the will of his exhausted, aching limbs.
It seemed that this odd, warm crystal was a relic left behind after the death of Sky Demon’s avatar. And because it was a part of Sky Demon itself, one could use it to peer into the secrets held by that powerful existence. This was an object similar to the ancient essence fragment.
Sky Demon was clearly inferior to the ancient void colossus, but to the experts limited to either daybreak or darkness since birth, its strength, memory, and comprehension of the world were all invaluable knowledge. It was no wonder that those marquis-level reinforcements had reached a tacit agreement to focus on the avatars as their primary targets. It turned out that fighting with these alien entities would yield great benefits.
In truth, both factions had restricted this secret within a certain scope because they were afraid that young experts with insufficient strength would seek the avatars and throw away their lives. Qianye’s case was a complete accident. If not for his Shot of Inception’s restraining effect on the Sky Demon avatar, there was really no telling whether or not he would’ve escaped alive.
After assimilating the crystal, Qianye recalled that his True Sight was fairly similar to Sky Demon’s vision. If he could raise it by a couple more levels, he might just be able to see or perhaps even comprehend the world in Sky Demon’s memories.
That being said, it would seem that both the Eye of Truth and Wings of Inception were powerful tools created to control the void world. Only then did Qianye realize the true value of Andruil’s inheritance—the Black-Winged Monarch’s treasure was originally prepared for an expert above the duke level.
Qianye checked the surroundings before leaving the area in due haste. The Shot of Inception and the avatar’s subsequent combustion were simply too conspicuous and had likely drawn a fair amount of attention. No one knew how these people would react. Qianye was worried that the aura of his Wings of Inception would be recognized by the dark races, especially the vampires. For now, it was still quite safe as long as he didn’t run into a count-level expert.
Close by, Bai Aotu only shot a single glance in the direction before rushing forward. There was a mass of black mist fleeing at full speed in front of her. The color of this avatar was much fainter than the one Qianye had encountered. Apparently, it had suffered grievous injuries.
Zhao Jundu was sitting atop a mountain-sized beast with Blue Firmament in his arms. A crystal the size of a human head was emitting a dense mist upon his palm. As it gradually decreased in size, Zhao Jundu’s aura slowly grew deeper and more mysterious.
Edward’s face was ashen as he ran through the seemingly endless cavern passages, killing every living being in his wake—even experts of the Evernight faction were not an exception.
Xu Lang slowly appeared in the shadows of a certain tunnel. An expression of pain and hesitation appeared on his face as he looked toward the dark depths. The waves of beckoning therein proved that the ancient essence fragment was close by, an irresistible allure to all experts who had come into this strange world.
But the experts of both factions were all closing in on the central region, and a great battle over the essence was inevitable. Xu Lang was very clear that his strength was only middling amidst the crowd of marquis-level experts, and that his chances of victory were fairly slim.
Moreover, there were reasons why he had entered Giant’s Repose with the first batch. Xu Lang had already touched the edges of the empire’s upper echelons. Although it was merely the outer rim, he had indeed reached higher class. During this short period, he had seen a completely different nature of power, wealth, and status. It could be said that his life had entered a completely different phase the moment he stepped into that circle.
All of it would be gone if he were to die here.
Xu Lang was finally hesitant after facing all of these thoughts. Would it be worth betting a wonderful life and future for a measly chance at victory? After repeated deliberations, he decided to remain in the shadows.
There was still a chance even without making an appearance. He might be able to take advantage of the wounded experts after they win the ancient essence.
There was no lack of people with the same thought in both factions. Only a small number walked unhesitantly into the depths of the cavern.
As he walked on and on, Qianye suddenly raised his head in alarm and gazed into the distance. He could sense an extremely powerful fluctuation through the solid wall actually resonating with a certain part of his body. Then, a wave of intense grief washed over him.
These emotions of sorrow—brought about by the dissipation of an ancient object—invoked a mysterious fluctuation in him which, once again, resonated with three more locations.
These emotions didn’t belong to Qianye but were instead shreds of remnant will left behind by Sky Demon’s avatar. Apparently, Sky Demon avatars had also been killed in those locations. At this moment, Qianye mysteriously became aware that five out of seven avatars had dispersed.
Qianye appeared thoughtful—if the avatars all left behind remnant wills and they were all assimilated, wouldn’t it mean that using the powers one had comprehended from the avatar would alert all the others?
But this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Those who could kill an avatar, regardless of the methods used, were true geniuses of each faction. Even if they did not boast unparalleled talents, they certainly possessed unmatched luck.
Such a person would surely seek the highest levels of power, a path much longer than the one today. Their true battles lay in the future, so they likely wouldn’t fight to the death unless it was necessary. Judging from the relative positions Qianye had just sensed, it was clear that everyone had the same thought.
Qianye pondered as he walked on and, in the absence of any abnormal sensations, happened to step into a giant natural cave. The world in front of him went alight as a radiance as bright as the sun descended from above—the shining light made it difficult to even open one’s eyes.
Startled, Qianye squinted his eyes and looked up. Had it not been for the absence of any dangerous sensations, he would’ve been inclined to back out immediately.
There, at the center of the cave ceiling, was an irregularly shaped piece of crystal. That was precisely the source of that warm, sunshine-like brilliance. Qianye found his thoughts speeding up as the light showered onto him and the strands of void origin power flowed into his body. It was inexplicably comfortable.
“The ancient essence!” Qianye hadn’t expected himself to suddenly run into an ancient essence fragment. There was no reaction at all in the surroundings. It was as though his arrival had activated it.
Qianye leapt up to grab at the ancient essence.
His vigilance, at this moment, had been cranked up to the extreme. In truth, this jump was only a test. Having absorbed the embers of Sky Demon’s avatar, Qianye knew that such essences weren’t easy to collect.
The energy contained within them was tremendous, to say the least, and accompanied by a strong impact from the will of its main body. Those with insufficient strength would not only fail to obtain the essence but also suffer a backlash. Even for those who were powerful enough, a rash assimilation would result in a brief period of complete defenselessness, and that couldn’t be more dangerous in this underground world where enemies might be lurking in every corner.
A “click” resounded in Qianye’s ears before he had even grasped the energy movements of this ancient essence fragment. At the same time, he felt the origin power around him turn chaotic, the telltale sign of a sneak attack. Shaken, Qianye immediately circulated his origin power and halted his ascending momentum, freezing himself midair.
A sanguineous origin bullet brushed past Qianye’s forehead and blasted into the ceiling near the ancient essence fragment. The glow of the resultant explosion caused even the sun-like radiance to flicker slightly, a clear proof of its power.
Qianye turned about mid-air and landed firmly toward the visitor.
An old vampire was standing nearby. He wore a treacherous countenance, a meticulously groomed beard, and the purple datura flower on his collar flickered under the light of the ancient essence fragment. Both his hands on the pistol were shrouded in lingering blood energy, and judging from the density, he was likely a count.
The Monroe count spoke first, “Go, imperial boy. You’re still young and there are many opportunities for you in the future, this ancient essence fragment isn’t for you.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter