As of late, the Five Nether Ruins were growing more and more restless.
An increasing number of profound pract.i.tioners were starting to depart toward the Central Ruins Realm because it was open to all profound pract.i.tioners during the Central Ruins Battle. Some went there to watch the battle, and some went there to hunt for that elusive opportunity that only appears once every fifty years.
Thirteen days later.
East Ruins Realm, Eastern Frost Nation. Inside an independent s.p.a.ce, a darkness deeper than even the bottomless abyss was emanating from two people. When they opened their eyes and looked at each other at the same time, it was clear that the eyes of both of them were dyed black.
Even their auras were fundamentally different from before.
Qianye Ying’er raised her hand slowly. Her skin was jade white in color, but the energy floating above it was pitch black. Her golden hair and eyebrows had also become as dark as the night itself… Her pupils and her hair only regained their normal color after her arms were lowered.
Her perception of the world and the aura of darkness were changed forever.
Normally, it would be impossible for a mortal to absorb Jie Yuan’s origin blood into their body, but the absolute monster that was Yun Che and the perfect incubator, Qianye Ying’er, had completed the first step in just a month’s time.
Yun Che had a Creation G.o.d’s profound veins in the first place, so the success of the basic fusion didn’t affect him too much. But Qianye Ying’er was a mortal who had done the impossible and obtained the bloodline of a Devil Emperor. It was a very small trace of the devil emperor’s blood, but the way it warped her body and perception… was beyond description.
“So this… is the devil emperor’s blood,” Qianye Ying’er said. “I never felt like I was about to transcend heaven and earth even when I was at the peak of Divine Master Realm. No wonder you were able to attract a nine-stage heavenly tribulation back then!”
“It wasn’t the Heavenly Mystery Three Elders’ so-called ‘birth of the child of the heavens’ at all, quite the contrary… it was the heavenly law’s expression of fear toward you!”
“So what?” Yun Che replied in a chilly tone, “The best foundation in the world can’t change anything, not unless it is supported by great power and a heart of steel!”
There was a black flash when he pointed a finger at Qianye Ying’er’s forehead.
Qianye Ying’er frowned slightly and recited the words, “Illusory Devil Tome... of Eternal Night.”
“This is a darkness devil art created by the ancient Eternal Night Devil Clan,” Yun Che explained. “The Heaven Smiting Devil Emperor’s devil art is currently beyond your ability to cultivate immediately, but not this Illusory Devil Tome of Eternal Night. In your current state, you’ll definitely be able to learn it, and use it during the Central Ruins Battle.”
The Illusory Devil Tome of Eternal Night was engraved into the Eternal Night Devil Sword, and it was used by Fen Juechen and Xuanyuan Wentian. When the sword had fallen into his hands, he had barely glanced at the Illusory Devil Tome of Eternal Night due to his revulsion toward darkness profound energy and dark devil arts back then.
However, now, a pa.s.sing glance was all he needed to memorize the Illusory Devil Tome of Eternal Night perfectly. He couldn’t forget it even if he wanted to.
“Alright,” Qianye Ying’er replied. Now that she had completed the first step of absorbing the devil emperor’s blood, it should be child’s play to cultivate a darkness devil art that was slightly below the devil emperor’s level.
Yun Che stopped talking and closed his eyes. Bright blue light suddenly burst out of his body as the room’s temperature started dropping drastically.
The image of a giant Ice Phoenix appeared and let out a screech that sounded like a bell chime from the palace of heavens. Its divine power intimidated even Qianye Ying’er.
After completing the first step of absorbing the devil emperor’s blood, Yun Che finally began refining the last divine power the Ice Phoenix Spirit had given him.
When Mu Xuanyin was gifted the Ice Phoenix Spirit’s divine power ten millennia ago, she hadn’t been able to refine even half of it until she met Yun Che… but Yun Che was certain that he could refine it perfectly it just half a year’s time!
It was the best thing he had to drastically increase his strength in a short period of time!
“...” Qianye Ying’er watched quietly as Yun Che’s profound aura rose swiftly under the divine image of the Ice Phoenix. His progress was unnaturally quick, but there were no signs of instability at all.
There were too many nigh incomprehensible things that resided in Yun Che. He had never failed to stun her every time he showed them.
A short while later, she started cultivating the Illusory Devil Tome of Eternal Night.
If this was in the past, it would’ve taken her much more time to cultivate this ancient devil art. But after absorbing the devil emperor’s blood, both comprehension and control over the darkness laws of the Illusory Devil Tome of Eternal Night came to her as easily as turning over a palm. In less than a day, she had cultivated the first realm of the tome perfectly.
She opened her eyes and stared at Yun Che. The young man hadn’t moved an inch since his cultivation began, but his profound realm had risen to the second level of the Divine King Realm.
On the third day, when she finished cultivating the second level of the tome, Yun Che was at the third level of the Divine King Realm.
On the seventh day, when she finished cultivating the third realm, Yun Che was at fourth level of the Divine King Realm.
And on the fifteenth day, when she finished cultivating the fifth realm, Yun Che had just finished his breakthrough to the fifth level of the Divine King Realm.
Four Divine King levels in half a month’s time! This wasn’t shocking, this was downright impossible in the current era!
“It’s time,” Qianye Ying’er said. Now she knew why he was so set on his plan to plunder the world… this trump card was the source of his confidence!
The only thing that remained unclear was how far this trump card could take him.
The ice phoenix’s divine image disappeared, and the room grew dimmer. But instead of opening his eyes, Yun Che said, “There’s no hurry. I need some time to stabilize and adapt to my power.”
“I guess you’re not heading to the East Ruins Sect then?” Qianye Ying’er asked thoughtfully.
“Hmph, why should we obey the likes of an East Ruins Sect?” Yun Che said. “We will head to the Central Ruins Realm directly!”
The Central Ruins Realm was at the center of the five Nether Ruins.
The Central Ruins Realm was normally controlled by the four realm king sects. Each realm king sect controlled a certain amount of zones, and the distribution of the zones was determined by the Central Ruins Battle once every fifty years. One of the benefits the other sects of the Five Nether Ruins could obtain from their realm king sects was the right to explore the Central Ruins Realm.
During the Central Ruins Battle, the Central Ruins Realm was opened to all profound pract.i.tioners. During this time, the Central Ruins Realm would become the most popular place in the entire Five Nether Ruins. A small number of profound pract.i.tioners who were confident in their own strength would delve deep into the Central Ruins Realm by themselves in search for opportunities. The rest would head to the Central Ruins Northern Area, the north side of the Central Ruins Realm.
It was where the Central Ruins Battle took place.
Time pa.s.sed quickly as profound pract.i.tioners traveled swiftly to the Central Ruins Northern Area one after another. Soon, there were only forty hours left before the start of the Central Ruins Battle.
The Central Ruins Realm was constantly embroiled in apocalyptic storms, so the border of the realm was the safest place one could be. Even then, the sand was never still in that region.
Right now, two people were walking side by side in a huge sandstorm. Countless profound pract.i.tioners were pouring into the Central Ruins Northern Area at every moment, but the two figures who were half-shrouded by the sandstorm constantly drew curious glances from time to time.
“Partic.i.p.ants over three thousand years old are not allowed to partic.i.p.ate in the Central Ruins Battle. Age restrictions are perfectly normal, but why is there a cultivation level restriction?” He spoke in a low tone, but the sandstorm failed to m.u.f.fle his voice in the slightest.
“Divine Sovereigns are the peak in middle star realms,” Qianye Ying’er said slowly. “As for Divine Kings, they are few in number, but not so few that they’re considered rare. Do you know how many Divine Kings are stuck at the last level, unable to progress despite spending hundreds of years, thousands of years, or even their whole lives cultivating?”
Yun Che rarely interacted with other star realms, but he was aware of the power structure in Snow Song Realm. Below Mu Xuanyin were Mu Bingyun and Mu Huanzhi, and they were the only two Divine Sovereigns in Snow Song Realm. Everyone else below Mu Bingyun and Mu Huanzhi such as the Divine Hall Elders and the Ice Phoenix Palace Masters were peak Divine Kings.
Yun Che’s profound veins were special, and he had almost never felt a cultivation bottleneck in his life. However, even he knew that the gap that separated two great realms was as big as heaven and earth to other profound pract.i.tioners.
“The Central Ruins Battle has historically been the battle between peak Divine Kings. The goal is to let these young, highly talented Divine Kings fight each other and find a hint to becoming Divine Sovereign through battle… the winners get to show off their power, and the losers are indirectly pushed down the totem pole.”
Everyone partic.i.p.ating in the Central Ruins Battle was a peak Divine King, so the winners had a higher possibility of becoming Divine Sovereigns in the future, and the losers might never be able to improve due to the shadow of defeat.
And let’s not forget that this battle would decide the distribution of resources for the next fifty years to come!
The Central Ruins Battle was tied to everyone’s prestige and future income. Naturally, everyone was highly invested in it.
“Peak Divine Kings? Heh…” Yun Che curled his lips slightly and let out a most disdainful snort.
“You’ll definitely stand out if you partic.i.p.ate in the Central Ruins Battle as a level five Divine King,” Qianye Ying’er said. Her eyes grew unfocused for an instant when she recalled the day Yun Che had partic.i.p.ated in the Conferred G.o.d Battle as a Divine Tribulation Realm profound pract.i.tioner.
At the time, Yun Che had looked as bright as dazzling as a sun basked flame… it was to the point where even she, the Brahma Monarch G.o.ddess was astounded by his light.
But now, he was wrapped in such infinite darkness that the mere sight of him sent chills up one’s spine.
He was still Yun Che… but in just the span of a few years, he...
There was no better example of the unpredictability of fate than him.
“Stand out? When have I not stood out?”
Yun Che’s reply was completely indifferent, but there was a cruelty hidden in those words that most people in the world wouldn’t understand.
Qianye Ying’er: “...”
Suddenly, Yun Che paused his footsteps and looked up, his eyes growing focused.
“What’s wrong?” Qianye Ying’er asked.
“The wind here is… a bit strange,” Yun Che commented.
“Strange?” Qianye Ying’er released her spiritual perception for an instant before withdrawing it immediately. “I suppose it’s a little strange that the wind element of a land in the Northern Divine Region is so much stronger than its darkness aura.”
“That’s not what I mean.” The look in Yun Che’s eyes had changed before anyone realized it. He looked toward the distance and said slowly, “If you ignore the darkness aura of this place, you’d notice that the storm here… is far too pure.”
“Pure?” Qianye frowned thoughtfully when she saw Yun Che’s changed expression. However, she quickly looked up and stared at the figures appearing in front of them, saying, “Peak Divine Kings. Their life force and profound aura are very similar to the girl who visited us before. They’re probably partic.i.p.ants from the East Ruins Realm... the realm king sect’s profound pract.i.tioners no less.”
The strangers’ voices reached them at the same time Qianye Ying’er noticed them.
“There’s no need to be so furious over an outsider, young master.”
“Hmph! Royal father left me behind and ordered me to take care of this outsider personally! Can you imagine how big the honor is? But he didn’t show up! He cheated me, and he has disparaged the entire East Ruins Realm!”
“I heard that Elder Jiukui is the one who recommended Yun Che. That’s why the sect master attached so much importance to this man. Still, it’s rare to find someone so ignorant these days. The sect master will be furious when he learns about this. He’ll definitely put him on trial when the Central Ruins Battle is over.”
“Young master…” Qianye Ying’er whispered, “This person is probably the eldest son of the East Ruins Realm Great Realm King, young master of the East Ruins Sect, Dong Xueci. He’s also known as the East Ruins Crown Prince. It looks like your decision not to go to the East Ruins Sect has offended him.”
“What does it matter to me?” Yun Che replied coldly.
A gust of wind blew by, carrying some sand upward before dropping it lightly on the ground. By then, they had gotten close to the trio in front of them.
The person at the foremost of the group was a tall youngster. His gaze were adorned with natural arrogance and gloominess, and the aura flowing throughout his body was that of a peak Divine King. He was none other than the East Ruins Crown Prince, Dong Xueci.
Two middle-aged men were accompanying him on his trip. They were also Divine Kings.
The Central Ruins Battle didn’t restrict its partic.i.p.ants from getting outside help. In fact, it was considered a kind of skill. Every time the Central Ruins Battle happened, the East Ruins Sect would seek out peak Divine Kings from within or without the star realm to bolster his forces. This year was no exception.
Yun Che was one of the people he had sought out.
Dong Jiukui had accompanied Dong Xueyan when she sought out Yun Che. The old man had seen great things in Yun Che, and he was important and powerful enough in the sect to have his opinion held in high regard by the East Ruins Realm King.
However, the start of the Central Ruins Battle was approaching, and Yun Che was nowhere to be seen. Meanwhile, every other reinforcement the East Ruins Sect had sought out had appeared as early as they could.
Who in East Ruins Realm would dare to lie or defy the East Ruins Sect!? The East Ruins Realm King was of course infuriated by Yun Che’s absence, but he still listened to Dong Jiukui and ordered Dong Xueci to wait for Yun Che one day longer before departing to the Central Ruins Realm.
Naturally, Dong Xueci was incredibly dissatisfied with the fact that he, the East Ruins Crown Prince was made to wait for a mere outsider. When Yun Che still failed to show up after a day had pa.s.sed, he was of course even more furious.
Right now, his anger was displayed clearly on his face.
When the two groups got close to each other, Dong Xueci swept a careless glance at Yun Che and Qianye Ying’er… and froze on the spot.
It wasn’t because he recognized the culprit who was the source of his anger. After all, he had never met Yun Che in his life. No, his gaze was completely fixed on Qianye Ying’er.