There were different paths to obtaining power. Whether to seek great power on the long-term or reap short-term benefits, that was always a difficult choice to make.
According to the mysterious entity from the Pond of Life, the horn of this giant rhinoceros was above East Peak in quality and that combining the two would be a waste. However, Qianye had gone through life and death with this blade and formed an emotional attachment to it. On the other hand, that mysterious entity seemed to favor spirit and vitality as attributes. So, it was quite understandable that he wasn’t impressed with an industrial-age product like East Peak.
Besides, Qianye had no other good weapons, and East Peak couldn’t quite withstand his power anymore. He might have to switch to a different weapon after breaking through to the divine champion realm. As Qianye saw it, the most important business at hand was to break through the last two ranks before the divine champion realm. After he truly became a divine champion, his vampire bloodline would become more powerful, and it wouldn’t be too difficult for him to obtain another horn like this.
Despite the pain, Qianye ultimately decided to go ahead with the merger.
The mysterious entity didn’t waste words. “If that’s what you want, then let’s begin. You don’t have enough materials, but I’ll provide what’s needed.”
Clouds of steam dragged East Peak and the rhinoceros horn into the small pond. Immediately afterward, a jade-like lotus head dissolved into a stream of liquid and duly covered the horn. The hard material actually started to soften and finally turned into a squirming gelatinous blob, which swam toward East Peak and attached itself.
This collagenous mass seeped in and out of the blade, almost as though there were pores in the material. The clear gelatinous material would go in and emerge with specks of impurities. The stained material would sink to the bottom of the pond and never move again.
This process lasted for an entire day and night.
Qianye waited patiently and decided to cultivate while doing so. By the time the collagenous material in the pond had been entirely exhausted, he had recovered to his peak status, and all of the origin vortices in his body were full to the brim. With nowhere else to go, the newly generated origin power would circle around the remaining three origin nodes. He would probably break through again after a couple more days of cultivation.
The small pond rippled as a giant lotus leaf emerged with East Peak and arrived in front of Qianye.
At this point, East Peak’s dark blade had become somewhat slender and its edges, elegant. The deep green patterns on its body were a natural transformation of the highest order, with no traces of human tools whatsoever.
If the East Peak from before was an angry strongman, the current blade was both wise and bold. However, Qianye didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry when he saw that the sword was nearly two meters long. It was really too long.
That mysterious entity seemed to know what Qianye was thinking. “According to my calculations, this length is the most suitable for creatures of your kind. It’ll improve your... efficiency in killing.”
The mysterious entity had to try rather hard to think of the word efficiency.
Qianye knew a long weapon like this was great for group fights, sweeping through droves of enemies in one swing. Even against experts, he could wield it like he would a spear and produce numerous variations mid-air. It was just that he would have to retrain many sword arts based off of East Peak.
Qianye reached out to grab the blade’s hilt and lifted it up. He had barely raised it for a bit before the blade sank down again.
Surprised, he applied more force in order to keep the sword in his hand. The newly refined sword had grown twice as heavy compared to before. A weapon of such weight was extremely powerful even when used as a blunt weapon without a sharp edge.
Qianye tried injecting origin power into East Peak and found that the process was exceptionally smooth. The patterns along the body lit up one after the other, emitting a green hazy light and surging clouds of steam in a ten meters radius. At the same time, Qianye felt refreshed and even his thoughts were somewhat faster than usual. His perception also became more detailed within this area, so much so that it could penetrate the ground.
“It actually contains its own domain?” Qianye was astonished.
The green light from East Peak was no different from a domain. After some testing, Qianye found two domain abilities—one was to calm his spirit, making him less vulnerable to instinctive urges and spiritual impact, and the other was to strengthen his perception. At least within the range of the green light, no one could ambush him. Although the range of this domain was just ten or so meters, any form of warning was better than nothing.
Qianye tried channeling his own domain on top and found the green light rippling under the power of his oceanic might. It flowed along with the pressure, and not only did it not disappear, but its radius even grew slightly bigger.
This green domain did not conflict with Qianye’s own. On the contrary, there was even a synergistic effect that would increase its value.
A domain-carrying sword was above grade-eight according to conventional classification. With the addition of this green domain, East Peak had become a peerless treasure. It was no longer important whether or not there were other abilities.
Qianye sent the blade humming with a twitch of his wrist. Then, after a few moves, he flicked the edge once again. He could tell that East Peak was much more complex now—its sharpness and durability were far above the previous version, even though the upgrade to sharpness wasn’t as noticeable compared to the latter. Even the dark golden blood energy couldn’t move it.
In past battles, Qianye didn’t dare shroud the sword in sanguine flames for very long. The blaze born of the dark golden blood energy was extremely tyrannical, and its erosion was near unstoppable.
Perhaps due to the incorporation of the jade Marine Lotus head, there was a jade-colored sheen isolating the sword from the flames.
In terms of durability, East Peak had reached the “indestructible” state by Imperial standards. Naturally, the name of the rank was highly exaggerated because the sword would still become deformed if thrown into the ten-thousand-ton machine press back at the Zhao clan.
Delighted with the new East Peak, Qianye named the new domain Clearsky Waters, and expressed his gratitude to the mysterious consciousness.
The entity said, “No need to thank me. I had to use some extra materials to forge this thing, so we’re even now. If there’s no particular business in the future, the Pond of Life will not welcome you again.”
Qianye hadn’t imagined that the mysterious entity’s attitude would change so quickly. However, he did catch a different meaning in its words. “This particular business you speak off is...”
“For instance, letting that little fellow live in the Pond of Life.”
“Impossible! She’s not aquatic.” Qianye refused decisively.
“Becoming aquatic is a walk in the park. As long as you’re willing, I can grant you the power to walk on land and in water. Even void traversal is not an issue, provided you can put in the time.”
Qianye was greatly surprised. Void traversal wasn’t a small power; it was Zhang Boqian’s defining ability. The man could move freely within the void even before his advancement to the heavenly monarch realm, allowing him to infiltrate the Twilight Continent. Without this power, even the most powerful experts would find themselves weakened in the void.
This meant that even the three top figures from the Sacred Mountain wouldn’t be able to catch Zhang Boqian in the void. He could fight or flee at will, affording him a near-invincible position in battle.
The entity in the Pond of Life actually said obtaining void traversal would only be a bit of trouble. How powerful was this existence?
However, the danger behind such temptations was akin to the open jaws of a void colossus. Qianye hadn’t the slightest idea about this mysterious existence’s background, so how could he hand over his own body for modification? What would he do after someone else had grasped his fate?
The mysterious entity didn’t force the issue after Qianye’s second refusal. A cloud of vapor wrapped around the duo, sending them to a point hundreds of kilometers away.
Qianye was no longer in the mood for exploration, so he checked the direction and ran toward the Imperial fortress. He wanted to know the fate of his friends.
There were a fair number of wandering natives along the way but no six-armed giants to obstruct his path. He either ran, sneaked past, or failing that, killed the enemies in his path. Finally, he reached the location of the Imperial fortress after several days.
What stood before him, though, was not a fortress but a patch of ruins.
Shocked, Qianye confirmed the location again and again, making sure that it was the place marked on the map.
He looked up at the sky and found a lingering radiance over the distant horizon. That was the spatial tunnel leading to the Empire. Having been reinforced by Imperial experts in every generation, this passage was near-eternal.
However, every passage would damage the structure of this passage. That was why the right to take this passage was highly limited. After all, those above the divine champion realm shouldered great responsibilities, and the heavenly monarchs had to oversee the fight against Evernight. None of them were free to stabilize this tunnel at a moment’s notice.
The dark races had a greater number of experts and, naturally, had their own spatial tunnel. They had no interest in taking the Empire’s tunnel because there would be a powerful force guarding the other side of the tunnel. Exiting one-by-one was no different from courting death.
Chances of the dark races destroying the fortress were small, but who else could’ve done it?
Qianye woke up Zhuji and told her to wait there. He himself retracted his aura and sneaked toward the fortress. There was a good reason for him to go there.
The fortifications had been destroyed entirely. The top two floors of the main building had disappeared, and the walls had been toppled over. There were weapons stuck to many different places in the compound—most of them were crude, heavy arms used by the natives. These cleavers and axes were embedded deep into the stone, and this spoke volumes of the strength behind them.
After going around the fortress, Qianye confirmed that the carnage here was done by the natives. Judging from the traces left behind, the numbers were way beyond expectations, numbering in the thousands at the very least.
There was a charred pile of corpses in a space behind the fortress. The remains of the dead had been tossed together and torched. Judging from the physical features, they were likely all natives.
Seeing that there was no danger around the exterior of the fortress, Qianye entered the main building. The hall was still structurally sound, but the wall ornaments and furniture were in utter disarray. Only the long table at the far end looked relatively intact. On the table, in an easily-visible spot, was a letter...Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Legion ED: Moxie