Lu Yun himself had only understood the emperor’s intentions after inventing the Vast Dragon Seaturner. Rather than a test, this was a chance for growth—for him as well as the rest.
The ancient lord’s heritage was a crucially important thing; rumor had it that the lord had surpassed the dao immortal realm, reaching a cultivation level that his peers could only imagine.
As such, the heritage would be immensely beneficial even to someone like the celestial emperor. However, he’d bided his time instead of taking it for his own. He waited for the situation to ripen and an opportunity to arise.
To that end, His Majesty had successfully forbidden everyone else from taking the heritage. It wasn’t until the current Lu Yun’s appearance that this competition between half the world’s best geniuses could be hosted.
Lu Yun had already gained a great deal from his personal involvement. Being inspired by Mo Chenfeng’s sword technique had led him to create the Vast Dragon Seaturner technique, surpassing the Nineteen Cerulean Sword Dragons.
If not for Zhao Tiefeng’s interruption, the other cultivators and immortals would’ve learned much from the occasion as well. They were all witness to that fact.
The reason the ancient world was far stronger than the present—and its artifacts uniformly more potent—was because of a rich history, as well as a whole, unified world. Post-great war, the world had been shattered into the nine majors, ten lands, four immortal seas, and a mysterious ‘central heart’. Together, they were called the twenty-four facets.
Each facet housed countless factions of every size, each with its own carefully guarded secrets. None of them had ever thought to associate with one another in mutual growth.
Perhaps the present world was improving, too, but it would take a hundred—no, a thousand—times as long to return to its former cornucopia-like state. Furthermore, a unified, mended world was largely out of the question.
In light of these things, the Nephrite emperor had thought up this plan: if the world’s cultivators experienced the free exchange of ideas with one another, they’d inevitably be shaped by it when they became the leading immortals of their respective factions. Conferences like these would eventually become commonplace.
In ten thousand years, the world might very well take a great leap forward. Some might even break through dao immortality to reach the realm that all emperors dreamed of.
“Hahahaha—” Zhao Tiefeng burst into a bout of laughter. “You say Nephrite Major doesn’t want the ancient lord’s heritage? Who knows whether that’s because of the dangers surrounding it and Dusk Province’s restriction? You summoned everyone here today to clear a path for you, no doubt!
“The only reason we’re here today is because you can’t make it on your own, can you? Are you going to invite us ‘heroes’ to seek the heritage together after this too?” He glared intimidatingly at Lu Yun. His real level of strength was a mighty peerless immortal, equal in stature to Beigong Yu. He put as much psychological pressure as he could into his fixated gaze.
The four other youths remained in their corners, awaiting Lu Yun’s reply.
“There are always short-sighted, ignorant people in the world.” The young man who was the center of attention sighed, sweeping his crystal-clear eyes all around him. “Given what Elder Zhao Tiefeng of the Exalted Immortal Sect has said, I see no reason to pretend otherwise. He’s absolutely right. After all of this is over, I invite all of you to explore the ancient lord’s heritage together!”
Before anyone else could speak, Lu Yun waved a hand. A seal of faint gold flew out from him and the Coretrial Arena, floating in midair a slight distance away.
“This is the seal of Dusk Province, capable of drawing upon the province’s energies of heaven and earth. It’s the key to the ancient lord’s Sword Tower, and an utmost treasure itself! Whoever feels qualified to take this seal, come!” He slowly rose above the Coretrial Arena’s boundary barrier.
The weather underwent an abrupt change. Trails of black energy wreathed Lu Yun’s body in the form of dark thunderbolts, slowly concentrating into a higher form of strength… Mystic force!
A rush of potent energy rose from his dantian to his brow, opening a mystical space within the latter: a purple manor!
In the next moment, his origin core broke into a six-colored disk glimmering with color. It followed the path of his energy into the new purple manor, then came to a spinning rest there.
A nascent spirit! Due to practicing the Method of Life and Death, his nascent spirit was modeled upon the six paths of reincarnation.
According to legend, the six minor paths were the ultimate treasure of hell and reincarnated all mortal life, while the major paths corresponded to every existence in general—immortals, demons, and buddhas alike.
Lu Yun’s nascent spirit was currently only a crude facsimile. He needed to perfect it through further cultivation advances, and needed far more progress if he wanted to become the true king of hell.
Behind the Gates of the Abyss, black lightning crackled and danced. The two Infernum inside, Zhao Dianliang and the rimesnake king, tightly clutched each other in abject fear. A closer glance revealed a faint, luminous layer of black armor upon both man and snake, though it hadn’t actually taken form yet.
Lu Yun’s four envoys uniformly flashed with black light. They shared a smile as all of their cultivations were restored to august immortality.
“Method of Life or Death… Thunder Palmstrike! Smite evildoers with concentrated heavenly wrath!” Lu Yun’s heart trembled. His palm strike wouldn’t be just a thunder-attribute combat art. It gathered real power from heaven and earth to form a thunderclap of pure yang!
“This—this is pretty much every zombie and evil spirit’s natural enemy! If I see any undead in ancient tombs from now on, I won’t have much to be afraid of. As long as it’s not too much stronger than me, eh?” This really was very exciting for the young governor.
“He… he broke through?!” The Dusk governor’s public breakthrough from origin core to nascent spirit astounded the assembled cultivators. Lu Yun had only been at the peak of the origin core realm when he entered the Coretrial Arena. His transformation upon leaving it was unexpected, to say the least. The difference between the core and spirit realms was like night and day.
“Congratulations, senior brother Lu. Now that you’re in the spirit realm, you are every bit our equal on the journey to immortality.” Zi Chen cracked a smile. As one of the foremost cultivators in the world of immortals, he absolutely had the right to say something like that.
Lu Yun returned the smile as well as a cupped fist salute.
“What I said a second ago hasn’t changed. If you think you’re qualified, come forward!” His sonorous voice persisted in resounding echoes for a long while.
“Can an immortal take the seal?” someone asked immediately.
“Yes!” a voice of authority suddenly answered from the sky.
Another turquoise arena descended from the heavens, landing near the Coretrial Arena. The cultivators surrounding it were forced back.
“If an immortal wishes to take the provincial seal, he must first be tried upon the Spiritrial Arena.” The Nephrite celestial emperor’s words were cool and serene.
“Anyone who triumphs against the five youth sovereigns is fit to take the seal. The ancient lord’s heritage will be theirs alone,” another celestial emperor chimed in.
The Lifetrial Arena that Mo Qitian had mentioned earlier joined its two brethren. The three arenas formed a triangular arrangement, lighting up in a triad of pillars.