Chapter 996: The Sole Regret in Breaking Through to Emperor Realm

Passing the sixth Veluriyam Obelisk had given young master Ji San another six months of time within the Pagoda. The same went for Jiang Chen, added to the two years he was originally eligible for. Time had suddenly become far more abundant. However, the other geniuses in Ji San’s percentile from the Ranking of Young Lords had run out of time. The ones that still remained in the Veluriyam Pagoda were either recipients of bonus time or originally eligible for a year or more. The top-ranked geniuses from the Ranking of Young Lords, to a one, had no intention of continuing to challenge the obelisks for the moment.

Li Jiancheng had retired into seclusion to cultivate further. The other three split themselves among the two other secret realms. Staying here had little benefit aside from pure cultivation. But they couldn’t just head straight for the seventh obelisk. All of them had enough basic self-awareness to know that doing so now would only end in tragedy. 

Instead, they sought inspiration in the other two secret realms. There had to be a reason for all three secret realms to be open this year. Perhaps there was some kind of discovery or rare opportunity to be found that would help them with the seventh obelisk. Or it might possibly help them with the eighth obelisk, a feat that even Emperor Peafowl hadn’t managed back in the day.

Though the youngsters all knew that Emperor Peafowl was Veluriyam Capital’s foremost expert for the past three to four thousand years, youth are always peerlessly confident in the face of overwhelming odds. They had the luxury of daydreaming: perhaps I’m actually a genius beyond compare? Maybe I can surpass Emperor Peafowl? I don’t think that’s altogether impossible, is it?

Jiang Chen did not leave the secret realm of heritage, instead returning to secluded cultivation. Before he’d challenged the sixth Veluriyam Obelisk, he had reaped great rewards from doing so for a few months. He decided to ride his current momentum and attempt to break through to ninth level sage realm. Because he’d comprehended the sixth obelisk, he was granted entrance to an area that had a higher concentration of spirit energy. 

Cultivating here a single day was as good as cultivating outside for twenty. Everything had slotted perfectly into place to allow him to reach the finish line. He was going to get to ninth level sage realm this time for sure. 

Ji San’s choice was similar to Jiang Chen’s. He became a lot more confident after comprehending the sixth Veluriyam Obelisk. The true dragon blood was forging both his body and mind for the better every day, constantly expanding the limits of his cultivation. A potent, turbulent power had welled up within his body without him even realizing it. It hungered, calling him to break through to emperor realm. 

He had stagnated for a long while at peak ninth level sage realm, also known as half step emperor realm, almost too long. But finding the opportunity to actually break through was tough, so his cultivation had slowed to a standstill for the last few years. 

Luckily, the true dragon blood’s immense potential smashed through his bottleneck like a giant hammer, giving his own potential wings. Now, the previously impenetrable emperor realm was urgently beckoning him over. Ji San needed to re-enter seclusion, and tightly grasp this chance. Once he took the jump, he would make that final step into emperor realm. 

His horizons would expand beyond his imagining. In this world, sage realm was only the beginning of proper martial dao. On the other hand, emperor realm signified a higher level, giving one the right to launch oneself to further heights. For the strongest experts, emperor realm was akin to a permit of entry. Someone who couldn’t achieve emperor realm couldn’t possibly call themselves an expert. 

Ji San had never lost hope to break through to emperor realm. But, his age when he did so would decide the scope of eventual accomplishments. It would dictate how deeply he would delve into the truths of martial dao. The true dragon blood had shattered all his plans and expectations, leading him into a brand-new world. It’d enriched his martial dao experience and raised his level by several degrees. 

What was previously a painful obstacle was no longer even a stumbling block. The awakening of his bloodline simplified the process even more than Ji San had thought. He’d originally envisioned his breakthrough taking four months, but in reality, it only took two. Moreover, he hadn’t spent the two months only on breaking through. He’d also consolidated and improved his own martial techniques as well.

“I can’t believe that I’ve broken through to emperor realm before the age of forty! Haha, the students of emperors aside, I must be the best from the great clans in three thousand years.” To say that Ji San wasn’t proud of the achievement would be a lie. His breakthrough to emperor realm would drastically improve the Coiling Dragon Clan’s status and outlook as well. The likelihood becoming the eighth emperor faction of Veluriyam Capital had taken a quantum leap upward.

“We only need Brother Jiang’s Pinecrane Pill now. If the clan lord lives for another thousand years, then surely he can break through from emperor realm to great emperor. I’ll be able to use that time to rise up, and no one will be able to stop the clan’s ascension to becoming the faction of the eighth emperor.” Ji San’s entire mindset opened up. Suddenly, he found the fact that he’d fought over the paltry position of clan heir childish and amusing. With his current state of mind, the inheritance of a clan could no longer disturb his heart. He had loftier goals now, establishing the faction of an eighth emperor. No one else in Coiling Dragon Clan’s younger generation could help the clan accomplish this noble task.

Completing the sixth Veluriyam Obelisk had given Ji San a boost of six months. After spending two odd months on his breakthrough, he still had more than enough time. Therefore, Ji San resolved to continue polishing his current level of cultivation. He wanted to stabilize his new realm a bit more. The true dragon bloodline that he had received naturally gifted him with a stronger domain than most emperor realm cultivators. Though he was still first level emperor realm, his bloodline domain rivaled that of a third level cultivator’s. It excited and motivated him even more. He almost wanted to challenge the seventh obelisk right away.

“Let’s take things slowly. Compared to my brother Jiang Chen, I still have many things to improve when it comes to my composure. In that regard, I am still many leagues below him.” Sometimes Ji San was really, really impressed with Jiang Chen. His genius and poise were both outstanding. Each move he made had a reason behind it.

“There are many things I can yet learn from my sworn brother.” He sighed, and went back to cultivating.

…...

In another corner of the Pagoda, Jiang Chen was fully invested in breaking through to ninth level sage realm. Because he wasn’t in a particular hurry, his movements were unhurried and smooth. His actions were deliberate as the unraveling of a cocoon, unhurried as the simmering of a broth.  Jiang Chen knew well that his body had been severely disadvantaged from the start. Though he’d undergone several reforgings of the flesh since his transmigration, there were still flaws that had persisted from his childhood. That much was undeniable. His cultivation journey, to any eye, had been very mind numbingly fast. In his pursuit for speed, he had foregone polishing some of the minor details of his foundations. But presently, he had ample time to solidify and reinforce the basics… to a degree. Doing that was the key to breaking through to ninth level sage realm. After all, the step after that was straight to emperor realm.

The threshold between ninth level sage realm and emperor realm was quite tall. However, not everyone had to experience the state of being stuck at half step emperor realm. Ultimately, ‘half step emperor realm’ only meant ‘peak of ninth level sage realm’. The reason why Jiang Chen was being so careful was because he wanted to strengthen his fundamentals to prepare for his eventual breakthrough to emperor realm proper. 

The defects of his ten-year cultivation history were obvious to him. He had bridged the gap from true qi realm to close-to-ninth-level sage realm in an incredibly short span of time. Therefore, Jiang Chen was more than happy to hunker down and grind things out for a while. It was time to make up for some of the fundamentals he had been ignoring.

“Although my breakthroughs have been very fast, my fundamentals aren’t actually that horrible. When I broke through to spirit realm, I used the Five Dragons Opening Heavens Pill to stabilize the process, which gave me a big advantage over many of my peers. Alas, I haven’t yet found an earth attribute treasure to make up my elemental deficiency. For metal, I have the magnetic golden mountain; for wood, the wood spirit spring and the Taiyi Jade Vine; for water and fire, the Bewitching Lotus. Earth is the only one that I’m missing something. If I can plug that gap, then I will have all five elements ready. It’ll be a big help for when I break through into emperor realm.” 

He understood perfectly that a battle between emperor realm cultivators was a clash between their domains. And the strength of an emperor domain depended on how polished one’s fundamentals and intrinsics were. Many cultivators used pills and alternative methods to break through to emperor realm, so they couldn’t at all compete against others who broke through via hard cultivation.

“Completing the five elements and refining all five elemental meridians will allow me to form a perfect cycle. It’s rare to be able to imbue a domain with that kind of powerful quality.” Jiang Chen was absolutely confident. Even the seven titled emperors of Veluriyam Capital couldn’t train in all five elements. Most martial dao geniuses didn’t have the predisposition or necessary qualities for such an enormous undertaking. This was especially true for those with strong innate constitutions. 

Geniuses with an innate constitution of every attribute were an exception, not the rule, but they were essentially impossible to find on normal planes. Rarer than once every ten thousand years, certainly. Natural born constitutions of one or two attributes led to a bias that worked in favor of the same. The biggest advantage of Jiang Chen’s cultivation thus far was his refining of all five elements. It wasn’t something obviously manifest before emperor realm. However, it would slowly show itself once he did break through. Jiang Chen’s only regret was that he did not have a treasure for the earth attribute yet.

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