Chapter 23: A New Realm
The Iron-Shelled Dragon roared loudly, as if its male appendage had been cut off. After a few moments of thrashing about without any effect, it finally calmed down.
Its vicious, bloodthirsty aura was also gradually repressed.
This was a result of Su Chen’s interference.
Ascending typically consumed a large amount of energy. The Iron-Shelled Dragon had expended all of its strength to accomplish this given that someone was holding its leg back at the same time.
But regardless, it had truly ascended to the level of a Sovereign.
In that moment, Su Chen realized what the answer was.
“Eureka!” Su Chen yelled with excitement, a sharp contrast from his usually calm, unflappable demeanor.
“What is it?” Iron Cliff didn’t understand.
“I’m not quite sure yet.” Su Chen unexpectedly shook his head. “I’ve just found a potential target, but can’t confirm my prediction just yet.”
“But you do have a guess, right?” Iron Cliff asked.
Su Chen chuckled. “You’re becoming more and more conniving, Iron Cliff. Can you guess what it is?”
Iron Cliff tilted his head for a moment, then replied, “A new realm?”
Su Chen nodded with satisfaction. “More precisely, some light on how to reach that new realm.”
What was above the Ultimate Emperor Realm?
Countless people dreamed of what lay beyond.
Everyone could agree that there was definitely a higher plane than the Ultimate Emperor Realm.
Many people had believed that Method Power was the way to reach that new cultivation realm.
However, Su Chen knew that this was not the case.
Method Power and cultivation realms were two entirely separate matters.
Method Power related to one’s control of the energy in the environment, while cultivation realms were related to increasing one’s own personal strength. The two were not comparable.
This was like the difference between an official and a scholar - officials wielded the law, while scholars attempted to broaden their base of knowledge in order to better themselves.
There was a cultivation base prerequisite in order to comprehend and control Method Power. After all, government officials did need to study to some degree. But not every official was a scholar by nature, and not every great scholar would become an official.
For this reason, there were people who had reached the Ultimate Emperor Realm but were unable to comprehend Method Power, and there were also people like Su Chen who had comprehended Method Power without reaching the Ultimate Emperor Realm.
As for what exactly lay beyond the Ultimate Emperor Realm, that was hard to say.
There was no end to the path of cultivation. Until someone reached that point, no one would be able to say for sure.
All that people knew was that, once the high-tier Beast bloodlines became available, the upper cultivation limit that humans could reach was raised from the Light Shaking Realm to the Ultimate Emperor Realm.
There weren’t any realms above Ultimate Emperor discovered yet because they were simply too few in number.
The lower layers served as foundations for the upper layers. Only with a big enough foundation would these upper layers of this pyramid be reachable, let alone creating an entirely new realm.
This powerful base was a prerequisite for breaking through, but each of the Intelligent Races only had a handful of Ultimate Emperor Realm cultivators each. This was why no breakthroughs had been made yet in this regard.
But Su Chen’s observations of this Iron-Shelled Dragon appeared to spark the beginning of change.
This change was very small.
If it weren’t for the fact that the Iron-Shelled Dragon was revolving its energy and Su Chen was utilizing his microscopic eyes, or the fact that Su Chen had been the one to personally accelerate its growth, it would have been difficult to spot in the first place.
And as soon as he had made this discovery, it faded just as quickly back into the bloodstream, giving Su Chen pause as he wondered whether he had simply misperceived its existence.
This was why he wasn’t quite sure yet.
“It seems like you’ll need some more research subject,” Iron Cliff laughed as he listened to Su Chen describe his discoveries.
Even though the secret of the Deep Sea Sorrow hadn’t been resolved yet, this new discovery was still enough to lift Su Chen’s spirits.
“That’s right. We’ll get them to bring back a few more Demonic Emperors next time,” Su Chen muttered as he gently stroked the Iron-Shelled Dragon, as if he were caressing a lover. His eyes were filled with passion.
These Demonic Emperors, who sat at the top of the food chain, were referred to by Su Chen as if they were minnows, as if capturing them was as simple as picking out tadpoles from a field.
Even so, the ten thousand Light Shaking Realm cultivators Su Chen had brought with him gave him some measure of confidence to say things like this.
“Master, we’ve arrived at Forever Clear Island. They’ve been waiting for you outside for a long time now.” As a loyal servant, Iron Cliff’s most important task was to remind Su Chen of how much time had gone by.
Su Chen was stunned. “Are we already at Forever Clear Island? Time really flew there.”
He cast a cleansing technique on himself to wipe away the filth that had accumulated on his body before walking out of the palace.
After taking a few steps, he thought of something and said, “I’ll leave the dragon to you. If you get bored, feel free to do some research on it.”
“Research what?” Iron Cliff was taken aback.
“Up to you. You can try and figure out a way to confer the Iron-Shelled Dragon’s strong defenses to Stoneskins, or you can try to find a way to break these Beasts out from the Deep Sea Sorrow’s control and even control them yourself…… It’s up to you,” Su Chen said with a smile.
There were countless possibilities when it came to performing research. Su Chen couldn’t possibly cover them all on his own, so he had already begun the process of training successors.
Iron Cliff was one of them.
Iron Cliff, who had been quite muddleheaded in the past, was now one of Su Chen’s most promising successors. If news were to spread of this, countless people would definitely be astonished.
Even so, this was reality.
Iron Cliff may have started off on the back foot, but that couldn’t stop Su Chen from training him into an outstanding researcher.
With Su Chen’s training, Iron Cliff’s knowledge had long surpassed that which most others possessed.
Of course, Su Chen wasn’t only fostering Iron Cliff alone. During these past five years, Su Chen had also selected a few disciples to personally oversee in this regard, and some of them were performing quite well.
After a moment’s thought, Su Chen said, “Let Little Sweet and the others participate as well. They can be your assistants.”
Little Sweet was the stubborn little girl that the Boundless Sect had picked up on their way to the Ten Thousand Swords Mountain. She was one of the first disciples of the Boundless Sect, and she had even been appointed one of the chief flame stokers in the Divine Medicine Peak, making her second only to the Hall Master themselves.
Little Sweet had picked up on Su Chen’s Pill Inscriptions quite well, and it was clear that she had intentions of walking this path all the way to the end.
Even though this was quite different from Su Chen’s anatomical studies, he still encouraged her. He was never particularly biased, not to mention that he was the inventor of these Pill Inscriptions in the first place. He didn’t have the energy to focus much on this area, so it was a good thing that there were disciples willing to take on this responsibility.
Because they shared a similar starting point, Little Sweet’s mastery of Pill Inscriptions wasn’t actually far behind Su Chen’s. Little Sweet’s assistance would give her more experience, as well as complement some of Iron Cliff’s lack.
It was as if Su Chen had returned to his former lifestyle, as he began a research and fight campaign against the Beasts.
Even though the Sovereigns in the Abyss were very powerful, they didn’t have any intelligence.
The Deep Sea Sorrow had permanently confined them here, and while it kept them safe from the attacks of the other Intelligent Races, that also allowed them to attack from the outskirts of the region. They could get close to the Abyss without worrying much about being attacked by these Sea Beasts.
This was a classic example of “you win some, you lose some.”
Under these circumstances, the fleet began to carry out their research plan.
Every so often, the fleet would head for the Abyss to capture many different Beasts ranging from the Demonic Lord to the Demonic Emperor level. They didn’t let a single one of these Beasts get away. After capturing the Beasts, they would hand them over to Su Chen for dissection and observation, allowing him to extract their bloodlines and harvest them for resources.
The Boundless Sect already had quite a bit of experience with this. There were people designated to handle the processing of the Beast, including converting it to food or harvesting them for a variety of rare resources. Their movements were incredibly skilled and familiar, and it was clear that they had been doing this for a while.
Forever Clear Island was the perfect processing plant. Every day, large numbers of Sea Beasts would be sent to this location, then distributed after being stripped of their valuable components.
The Gu Clan in Long Sang Country was making a killing with their Flight Network. They were responsible for both sending living necessities to the island and shipping these valuable resources back to the mainland.
Trade was still the most lucrative business, especially of resources that could only be found in the sea. Since both parties desperately needed resources from the other, resources from the sea would often sell for sky-high prices on the mainland.
The Gu Clan was profiting quite handsomely, while the fleet was raking in even more money.
Even though the Deep-Sea Sorrow was consuming the latent potential of the Sea Beasts, making it impossible to harvest any meaningfully-sized Origin Crystals, there were many more resources to be harvested. Their flesh, bones, and even hides were all treasures.
A Demonic Emperor’s hide could be used to construct rare armors. The shell of an Iron-Shelled Dragon went for quite a high price.
Apart from the Sea Beasts themselves, there were also many resources that could be harvested in the area around the Abyss.
The ocean floor was littered with treasure. The Rainbow Shells from the Devilish Quadrant were worthless in comparison to the treasures that could be looted from this area.
Because the fleet was capable of resisting the pressure from the other Sea Beasts, they were also able to harvest any of the resources in the region.
The fleet was in high spirits because of how abundant in number the treasures were here. This treasure store had not been plundered in many years, so it was possible to strike it rich just by casually scraping the seafloor.
And the Boundless Sect had a majority stake on these spoils. This was in no small part due to Zhong Zhenjun’s insistence on discussing how to divide the spoils earlier.
Even though the Boundless Sect didn’t have any Ultimate Emperor Realm cultivators, these twelve thousand Light Shaking Realm cultivators were strong enough to suppress any discontent, and they were without question the strongest group of soldiers present. Even though Su Chen had refused to let the Boundless Sect stake a 90% claim, they were still taking roughly 75% of the spoils.
And this was even including the concessions that Su Chen had made, such as not factoring himself into the calculation.
Su Chen had said that the fruits of his research would be distributed based on the circumstances.
The treasures the fleet was hauling in more than covered the expenses for this expedition. In fact, they were profiting quite handsomely, allowing them to be quite self-sustaining.
This meant that they would be able to sustain this kind of a setup for quite some time.
Without the ability to be self-sustaining and constantly requiring an external supply of resources would never be a sustainable business venture.
Both the Oceanids and Su Chen had made plans to settle in for a long fight. Even Zhong Zhenjun, who was reaping the benefits of the fleet’s profits, was willing to stay here for some time.
However, the situation was not nearly that simple.
On the third month that the fleet had arrived at the Forever Clear Island.
The wind and sea were both calm. No large waves could be seen on the surface of the ocean.
Su Chen was not actually mired in his research; instead, he was walking with Gu Qingluo along the island.
Just as they were chatting, both of them suddenly stopped in their tracks and glanced off in the distance.
Then, they turned to look at each other.
Gu Qingluo gently bit her lip. “It’s coming.”
Su Chen said, “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”