The celestial emperors had naturally boasted absolute confidence in the five youths to personally name them the Five Youth Sovereigns of the world.
All of them were young, no one past fifty years old. In the world of immortals, cultivators and immortals alike enjoyed long lives, easily seeing several thousand years, or perhaps even dozens of millennia. One who’d yet to reach fifty truly deserved the appellation of ‘young’.
The sparring between cultivators grew more intense as time went on, turning the radius of fifteen hundred kilometers around Dusk City into their private battleground.
Some fought to the death, some just exchanged moves with each other, others observed the fighting, and some simply sat down and conversed at length, sharing their knowledge.
In any case, five figures still firmly monopolized all five corners of the sky. They’d already weathered five waves of challengers, but were still standing tall. Apart from Lu Yun’s victory over Dongfang Hao, the five chosen youths were undefeated thus far. They hadn’t had a moment’s respite to recover their stamina and energy and were only being sustained by their sheer willpower alone as they repelled the world’s greatest geniuses.
Lu Yun hadn’t returned to hell to recuperate, either. Just like the others, this was a tempering experience for him that deepened his understanding of the nascent spirit realm. This enlightenment didn’t come from the knowledge and experience of his envoys, but belonged to him alone.
“I truly underestimated him back then.” In a remote corner of Dusk Province, two vague shadows floated in the sky and calmly surveyed the situation around Dusk City.
“Are you not going?” softly asked a man, the vicissitudes of life etched on his face. “You’d be the world’s sixth youth sovereign if you did.”
The girl next to him gently shook her head, her voice firm. “I can’t expose myself yet. I have to keep growing. I have to become an immortal... a peerless immortal, a dao immortal! And when the time comes, I’ll become the young master’s ace, a trump card that no one knows of!”
Wayfarer smiled. “As you wish. In that case, let’s head to Nephrite Capital and meet that pair of eyes.”
“Alright.” Reluctant to leave, Wanfeng took one last look at the dashingly bold and vigorous figure in the air, then followed suit with her master and slowly faded away. “Sir, wait for me.”
Somewhere else in the sky, Lu Yun slapped his opponent down with a single palm strike and flashed a bright grin in that direction. “Aye, I’ll wait for you.”
The five youngsters still stood in the air one month later. They were gasping for breath and marked by many injuries, but their figures remained unbending.
By now, no one stepped forth to challenge them.
From the dragons of the four seas to the genius monster spirits of the ten lands, the youth sovereigns had defeated every last of them. Apart from some genuine demon or divine prodigies who dared not set foot in the nine majors, the youngsters had already thwarted all the rising stars of the nine majors, ten lands, and four immortal seas.
The defeated challengers might have suffered a momentary setback, but they’d nevertheless benefited in countless ways. Being able to fight to their heart’s content and fully measure themselves against equally formidable peers was a unique opportunity.
“Since we’ve run out of challengers, it’s time to determine who’s the strongest among the five of us!” Wu Tulong, Zi Chen, and Mo Qitian all looked at Lu Yun at the same time, their eyes burning with unprecedented fighting spirit.
“Just give up already. It’s still impossible for you to withstand his Vast Dragon Seaturner!” Dongfang Hao smiled. “My sword aura can restrain his, which is the only reason why I could fight him for three days straight. But the three of you would have to take his combat art head on. Let me remind you, it’s an attack that killed a peak august immortal.”
Wu Tulong blanched.
If the Vast Dragon Seaturner could slay an august immortal in a single strike, there was no need to postulate what would happen to them. Lu Yun had only used this move three times in the past month, instantly defeating his opponent each time. Now that he’d familiarized himself with the art, he’d become increasingly more proficient with it.
The other youth sovereigns all possessed their own fighting style, though, each with their own merits. Dongfang Hao’s mighty sword aura happened to counter the sword sea in Lu Yun’s, preventing the governor from invoking the Vast Dragon Seaturner. But the other three weren’t so lucky, and would be defeated in a single move.
“The Exalted Immortal Sect’s Great Peng Spirit would’ve restrained his art, but… hehehe, the goldspirit constitution fellow doesn’t even have the courage to face him.” Mo Qitian didn’t forget to mock the Exalted Immortal Sect while he was at it.
Instead of challenging Lu Yun again, the goldspirit cultivator had gone on a rampage below. He’d made great progress by deploying the Great Peng Spirit, sometimes winning and sometimes losing against other supreme geniuses.
“Even Zhao Tiefeng’s Great Peng Spirit turned out to be useless, so how would he dare challenge Lu Yun again?” Dongfang Hao shook his head.
“Fine, then wait for me to find a way to break your Vast Dragon Seaturner first. I’ll challenge you after that.” Wu Tulong retracted his spear, intending to leave. He, too, had benefited immensely from facing countless talented youths for an entire month.
“Wait a moment.” Lu Yun stopped the group from dispersing. “I would like to invite everyone present to open the ancient lord’s Sword Pagoda together and unearth his legacy,”
“What?” His voice had been loud enough to resound for fifteen hundred kilometers, interrupting many cultivators in the midst of dueling. They all looked at him, flabbergasted.
No one could prevail over the youth sovereigns; this title of theirs had long been acknowledged. And among them, Wu Tulong and the three others considered themselves inferior to Lu Yun. For all intents and purposes, it made the governor the highest ranking youth sovereign.
In truth, the legacy was already his for the taking, yet he’d suddenly extended an invitation for everyone to activate the legacy together.
The invitation didn’t generate all that much goodwill as many were reminded of Zhao Tiefeng’s previous words. Was Nephrite Major truly incapable of accessing the legacy by themselves?
“Hahahaha. You lot still harbor suspicions even at a time like this? What a bunch of fools,” Crown Prince Zhao Changkong barked with laughter. “If Nephrite Major truly wished to, we could mobilize a million heavenly soldiers. Why would we resort to such despicable means and expose ourselves to public condemnation?”
This month had greatly broadened his vision. It hadn’t done much for his cultivation, but his state of mind had reached a new level of enlightenment—that of an immeasurable realm infinitely close to ‘emperor’.
“Indeed.” Lu Yun nodded. “We would’ve already taken the legacy if we wanted to. No one even knows for sure if there’s any danger involved. Plus, only a predestined seeker can obtain a legacy of this magnitude. Take Violetgrave, for instance: it originated from an ancient tomb in Thundergale Major, but ended up in my hands after a few rounds of various owners. Incidentally, I just so happen to be able to bring out its full might.”
Thundergale’s immortals had their reservations, but they couldn’t object. After all, they, too, coveted the legacy.
“To study the ancients is to learn of their rise and fall. Securing their legacy, discarding the dross, studying the essence of their teachings, and corroborating the past with the present would be a wondrous occurrence for the entire immortal world,” Lu Yun continued, “In three days’ time, I will use the governor’s seal to excavate the legacy from the ground. By then, all of you can try acquiring it by any means at your disposal.”
Even the nine celestial emperors were stupefied. They’d initially thought Lu Yun would avail himself of the legacy first, then only share part of it afterward. However, the governor meant for everyone to try their luck together!
Boundless goodwill flowed from every direction, almost drowning Lu Yun. In his dantian, the palm-sized sprout of the Sal Tree of Life and Death explosively grew, reaching one foot tall and radiating an exuberant green halo that brimmed with lush vitality. His cultivation instantly reached the peak of the nascent spirit realm.
This time around, he didn’t make use of the formidable energy for an immediate breakthrough. Instead, he redirected all of it to further refine his nascent spirit. He wasn’t without his shortcomings, namely that his nascent spirit was still too weak.
Once Wu Tulong and the others found a way to break his sword art and Violetgrave’s sword aura, they could use the formidable power of their own nascent spirits to overpower him. Now was the time for him to strengthen his own spirit with the energy provided by the sal tree’s growth.
Lu Yun’s figure turned into an afterimage and vanished from the crowd’s line of sight, reappearing in front of Qing Han in the next moment. Under his friend’s stupefied gaze, he hauled Qing Han onto his shoulder and disappeared from view.
“Is he really not aware that Little Yu is a girl?” Chen Xiao stared blankly at the now vacant spot.
“I think it’s all an act so he can take advantage of my little sister!”
“Tch. Little Yu herself is willing, so what’s the problem?”
Qing Buyi’s eyes belched fire. “We’re talking about my blood sister here!”
“Chen Xiao, Qing Buyi, you two come with me.” Zhao Changkong suddenly appeared in front of them.