Chapter 3: Gathering
The appearance of a Thought Manifestation Realm cultivator within the Boundless Sect was a big deal. Not long afterwards, another piece of good news began to circulate: Shi Kaihuang had reached the Spirit Burning Realm.
Shi Kaihuang had been stuck at the Light Shaking Realm for a few decades now. Given his mixed bloodline, his cultivation’s maximum potential should have been the Light Shaking Realm. But after Su Chen completed the fifth level of his Soaring Immortal Cultivation Techniques, Shi Kaihuang had also become able to ascend. However, the wounds he had sustained during his campaign in Ravager territory made it temporarily impossible for him to do so.
Once Su Chen discovered Pill Inscriptions, however, he was able to use that in conjunction with the Origin Bone Scepter to devise a solution for Shi Kaihuang’s ascension.
Thus, while Shi Kaihuang was the last of the Heavenly Might Battalion’s original seven heroes to reach the Spirit Burning Realm, his breakthrough also attracted the most attention.
The day that he ascended, Su Chen organized a large celebratory banquet. All of the sect’s disciples came to celebrate and have a merry time, and even Shi Kaihuang himself drank to the point of weeping, clutching Su Chen’s hand as he blubbered incessantly. He had completely lost the prestige and composure that a master should have had, but that also indicated just how much this meant to him.
Chu Yingwan was ultimately the person who had to drag him away.
“The old man was really excited tonight,” Gu Qingluo said to Su Chen after everyone had left, packed full of wine and cheer.
Su Chen walked slowly through the flower garden, the scattered moonlight elegantly framing his face and back.
“I can understand why. For most of his life, he probably thought that reaching the Blood Boiling Realm without a bloodline was the highest peak. But at this point, we’ve gone several levels above that, so I’m not surprised that he seemed so out of sorts tonight.”
“Then what about you? Have you never felt excited about your own accomplishments before?”
It wasn’t true that Su Chen wasn’t excited about his accomplishments, but Su Chen knew what kind of a foundation he was standing on. In addition to his incessant efforts, he also had the aid of his microscopic eye, the consciousness crystal, and the Origin Bone Scepter.
The best artisan needs the best tools. These tools had played a major role in Su Chen’s ability to reap benefit after benefit in his research.
And the microscopic eye was the beginning, the source of all of these tools that he possessed now.
It was possible to argue that Su Chen had managed to obtain the consciousness crystal and the Origin Bone Scepter through his own efforts, but the microscopic eye was another matter entirely.
Su Chen would never forget that snowy avenue or that old beggar. Even now, he had no idea who that old beggar truly was. For this reason, the old beggar had, in his mind, become an existence that perpetually stood at the top of a mountain.
An insurmountable, unimaginably large mountain.
Before Su Chen grasped where the peak of that mountain reached, he could only maintain his reverent attitude.
Under these circumstances, any achievements that Su Chen made appeared common by comparison.
Of course, Su Chen didn’t want to say that aloud, so all he said in the end was, “A human’s life is long. There are too many things worth my time to research. Even right now, there are countless people above us, not to mention in the future. The Beast Sovereigns, Astral leaders, and Lord of the Dreamrealm are all such examples. With so many great existences before us, we must be sure to take one step at a time towards them...... The road before the Boundless Sect is still very long!”
Su Chen had done quite a good job with his act. Even Gu Qingluo was amazed by Su Chen’s eloquence.
But a moment later, Su Chen changed the topic of conversation. “Unfortunately, I wanted to continue my research a bit longer, but time won’t wait for me.”
“It’s time already?” Gu Qingluo understood what he was referring to.
Su Chen nodded. “I received word from Eternal Night yesterday. He’s already...... made all his preparations.”
Gu Qingluo’s eyes dimmed momentarily.
After a moment, however, she smiled. “Fine. There are always responsibilities that you must attend to. Well, I should go along with my husband to see just what those Oceanids and Astrals are up to. Will they be able to escape from your clutches?”
Su Chen straightforwardly replied, “Whether they can escape from my clutches, I don’t know. But there’s no way that they’ll be able to escape from yours......”
As he spoke, he pulled Gu Qingluo into his embrace.
The room was filled yet again with air of springtime.
At the same time, a command was officially issued from the Boundless Sect to all of the outside disciples, ordering them all to immediately return home.
River Gazing City, within Refined Jade Palace.
Xiao Changqing sat high in a seat of honor. Beside him sat Lord He, who excitedly praised, “I have never seen anything like Prince Xiao’s divine sword technique before. It’s thanks to your actions that those Bear’s Ear Mountain Bandits were wiped out.”
Xiao Changqing calmly replied, “Lord He, you’re being far too polite. I just did what I could with my limited power.”
The bandits occupying Bear’s Ear Mountain had established themselves quite solidly. They were incredibly slippery, which made it hard for the authorities to deal with them. Xiao Changqing had tailed them for nearly thirty days before finally locating their headquarters, which allowed him to capture them all. He had actually been quite seriously wounded during this battle as well.
However, this was all quite worth it. From this day onwards, the title of “captain of the guard” at Refined Jade Palace would belong to him.
As expected, Lord He said, “Prince is exceptionally talented for your age. I have full faith that I can place my safety in your hands. From this day onwards, you will be the captain of the guard.”
“Yes, yes, I agree. Prince Xiao is really best suited for this position,” the various members of the palace said as they also offered their support.
At that moment, a rainbow suddenly appeared in the sky, hanging over the gathering. The sight of it was quite beautiful.
Just as everyone was wondering where the rainbow had come from, Xiao Changqing stood up, his expression strange. “So it’s finally happened?”
Xiao Changqing stood and bowed to Lord He. “My sincerest apologies, Lord He. It appears that my sect is summoning me. Unfortunately, I will not be able to fill this post at the moment.”
“Your sect is summoning you?” Everyone present was stunned.
Lord He wanted to say something, but Xiao Changqing’s figure had already disappeared. As for the thirty or so days that he had spent earning this title of “captain of the guards,” he treated them like worthless refuse.
Within Divine Flame Valley.
A large group of people were crowded together, as if they were waiting for something. Occasionally, the sounds of discussion could be heard coming from the group.
At the center of the valley was a sea of lava that roiled and bubbled endlessly.
Within the sea of magma, one could see four small, peculiar flowers growing. Each one of them had a purple fruit growing from the end, swaying tantalizingly at any beholder. Below the fruit were a few lava lizards swimming around in the pool of lava, staring intently at the fruit.
A strange fragrance began to permeate the valley, causing all those watching to grow agitated.
“The Red Magma Fruit is about to ripen. Everybody, make your preparations.”
“No one try and take it from me. That Red Magma Fruit is mine!”
“Forget about it. Cold Light Sword Ye Fenghan, Flying Crane Chang He, Moondeath Scythe Bai Wuxin, Red Powder Skull, and the Xiangjiang Swordsmen are all here. Do you really think that you and I can even participate?”
“Who’s to say we can’t? We might be able to grasp an opportunity while they’re fighting amongst themselves.”
“Do they look like they’re going to fight amongst themselves?”
Everyone suddenly fell silent.
Seven or eight young people were standing on the closest rock. At the very front was Ye Fenghan.
The new Frost Aspect that he had just acquired imbued every attack of his with the power of frost. Unfortunately, his opponents had no idea that this power was due to the Aspect, so they had come up with an alternate name for him: Cold Light Sword. How crass.
Unfortunately, while there were many things he could decide, his nickname was not one of them.
As he rested his hand on the hilt of his sword, Ye Fenghan said, “It seems that no more comrades are going to show up today. Let’s go with the old rules.”
“Fine,” said one of the brawny men standing next to Chang He. “As soon as the Red Magma Fruit ripens, Chang He will be responsible for harvesting it, Yunniang for keeping the lava lizards at bay, and we for fighting off the rest. We will naturally split the contribution points. Any objections?”
“None at all!” Everyone else agreed.
The members of the Boundless Sect typically each did their own thing, but if they ever congregated, they would always work together.
Su Chen highly valued teamwork. Any ambition that caused internal strife or stealing from the group would be heavily punished. As such, the members of the Boundless Sect all worked exceptionally well with each other because of this unified front.
Even though there were hundreds of people gathered here, the seven or eight Boundless Sect disciples were more than capable of snatching the fruits from everyone else present.
These fruits were treasures each worth a hundred contribution points.
Even so, it was at that moment that the sky suddenly transformed.
Everyone turned to gaze at the sky. The boundless cascade of light was indeed quite dazzling.
Chang He said, “The sect summon. What should we do? The Red Magma Fruits will ripen in half an hour.”
The lady nicknamed Red Powder Skull, or Yunniang, said, “If the summons have been given, then the situation must be quite big. Forget the Red Magma Fruits.”
“Let’s go!” Ye Fenghan didn’t waste any time either, immediately taking action and flying off into the distance.
The others followed closely behind, completely giving up on the Red Magma Fruits and leaving behind the myriad groups of people who had merely come to try their luck. They stared at each other, unable to comprehend what had just taken place.
Of course, while some didn’t bother hiding their existence, others kept a low profile.
Lockheart City, near Pass Below Village.
Wang Xinchao slammed a large hammer repeatedly onto a chunk of red-hot iron in front of him. The chunk of iron slowly began to take shape.
While any onlooker would think that Wang Xinchao was smithing, he knew that he was actually cultivating his hammer skills.
Wang Xinchao had come up with the name himself, as this was not a hammer technique that was distributed by the Boundless Sect. Rather, he had invented it himself.
The Boundless Sect’s Sect Master, Su Chen, wrote and distributed a book describing the principles of human cultivation. After Wang Xinchao read it, an almost fantastical thought had popped into his mind.
Since he like smithing so much, then would it be possible for him to create a technique that embodied the art of smithing which would then belong solely to himself?
The Boundless Sect’s master had no problems with this kind of fantastical thought, but he did have a problem with people who were all talk and no action.
This was why Wang Xinchao had sprung into action as soon as he came up with the idea.
He had lived in Pass Below Village for nearly three years now. In these three years, his mastery of the hammer had become much more solid, and he was becoming more and more familiar with the use of the Demon-Imprisonment Hammer.
Wang Xinchao could sense that a breakthrough wasn’t far off.
Today, Wang Xinchao was smithing a chunk of iron as always when a bright fiery flash suddenly filled the forge, as if it a lantern were glowing at Wang Xinchao’s heart.
In that moment, his perception rushed towards his heart. Wang Xinchao suddenly realized that many of the problems which had plagued him for a long time were suddenly being solved. Not only that, but the joints in his body were also beginning to crack and creak.
This was the result of true comprehension. Wang Xinchao’s physical body was embracing these changes as best as it could.
He had succeeded!
After three years of hard work, the butterfly had finally burst from its cocoon.
Wang Xinchao was extremely delighted.
Even so, it was at that moment that he noticed the sect summons.
“Sect summons? Is something big finally about to happen?” Wang Xinchao muttered to himself.
He lowered his head to glance at the stove in front of him. It appeared that there was still some inspiration left to be gleaned here, but he had no idea how long that would take.
But if he stopped here, it was impossible to estimate how much time it would take for him to reach this state of comprehension again.
“The matters of the sect are most important!” Wang Xinchao muttered to himself.
He stepped out of the forge without looking back even once, eventually disappearing without a trace.
On this day, people all over the Seven Countries disappeared like smoke, regardless of whether they were famous or not.
The human kingdoms, which had been stirred significantly by the Boundless Sect’s disciples, gradually became peaceful once again.
The experts that had seemingly appeared out of nowhere would be gone for a very long time......