“So there’s a Sovereign that is living in the void and is blocking the exit?” Diomedes asked back on the island.
“That’s probably why Qingluo and the others still haven’t been able to save me yet,” Su Chen muttered to himself.
The humans living on the Primordial Continent didn’t have zero exposure to the void. After all, the void had been a subject of research in the past. Even though each attempt to explore it had required powerful people to expend a vast amount of resources, it wasn’t impossible.
Su Chen had been a bit concerned that there was no sign that the Boundless Sect had tried to rescue him.
He refused to believe that the Boundless Sect and Gu Qingluo would give up on him, but the fact that so much time had passed without any commotion gave Su Chen some unrest.
Until now, when he saw the Sovereign at the exit, he finally felt a bit of peace.
With this Sovereign present, it was impossible for the Boundless Sect to do anything - any messages or physical support they tried to send through that exit would be stopped by that Sovereign.
As such, his first feeling was surprisingly one of relief and gladness.
The second was, how the hell was he going to deal with this creature?
“How strange. Possessing an innate affinity for void power isn’t enough to survive in the spatial realm. It also requires lots of experience living in the void, since that is the foundation for comprehending Method Power. Most of the Sovereigns affected by the Deep Sea Sorrow should have no intelligence. How could there be one that’s used to living in the void?” Diomedes couldn’t understand.
After all, the Void Seahorse was also a void creature, but it couldn’t survive out in the void on its own.
“The Abyss also has some visitors who come from outside. This Sea Beast is probably one of the more mature ones that received a summons from the Deep Sea Sorrow to enter the Abyss.”
“Now everything is starting to make sense. It seems that your luck is really quite piss-poor,” Diomedes chuckled.
With a Sovereign guarding the way, it would be quite difficult for Su Chen if he wanted to return.
Even though he had the Titan-Class puppets with him, they couldn’t withstand the destructive force of the void either. If they were brought out into the void, they would immediately disintegrate into ashes. And because of how complex these puppets were - one could argue that they were the ultimate artificial creation - Su Chen had no way of imbuing them with spatial Method Power even if he wanted to.
The Catastrophe Bugs had all died off a long time ago.
As such, only Su Chen himself was capable of dealing with the Sovereign.
Even though Su Chen now possessed two spatial Divine Tools, the Lightless Blade’s Dimensional Slash was useless against other void creatures. After all, spatial Method Power was spatial Method Power no matter how you looked at it. Naturally, the Single-Realm Boots were also useless.
Su Chen’s Spirit Burning Realm cultivation base was truly insufficient to deal with a Sovereign.
But if he didn’t pass this test, he wouldn’t be able to return.
Su Chen fell into a long period of thought.
After some time, Su Chen said, “It seems that...... I have no choice.”
“Oh? What did you think of?” Diomedes asked with great interest. He wanted to know how Su Chen was planning on getting around the interference of a Sovereign.
“Ascend to the Thought Manifestation Realm,” Su Chen replied.
Ascend to Thought Manifestation?
Diomedes was stunned.
He hadn’t expected Su Chen to give that kind of an answer.
But upon further reflection, he realized that it actually made quite a bit of sense.
If he were to truly reach the Thought Manifestation Realm, he would only be a single realm below the strength of a Sovereign. However, he was also a Tenth Ring Arcana Master. The two combined would give him a much better shot at dealing with a Sovereign.
“But without bloodline power, how will you reach the Thought Manifestation Realm? Your bloodline-less cultivation technique for reaching the Thought Manifestation Realm isn’t complete yet?”
“I don’t need that.” Su Chen shook his head. “I just need you.”
“Me?” Diomedes was stunned.
Su Chen said, “Yes, you! I haven’t had much time to think about the Flying Immortal Cultivation Techniques recently. However, I have been studying the Origin Substances produced by the Deep Sea Sorrow lately. With it, I should still be able to reach the Thought Manifestation Realm.”
If normal Sea Beasts could ascend because of those Origin Substances, why couldn’t Su Chen use them for himself?
However, there were definitely some side effects to using the accelerating Origin Substance, including a general decrease in intelligence, a shorter lifespan, consumption of latent potential, etc. Su Chen had been researching how to avoid these side effects in the first place, which was why he had never used it to increase his own strength.
And it was true that he had made some breakthroughs after so many years of research.
“I can use the water from the spring to refine a pill that will help me open my Yin and Yang and bring me to the Thought Manifestation Realm,” Su Chen continued.
“But what you want are the bloodline-less cultivation techniques. If you use this medicine to replace a bloodline, doesn’t that violate the principles you have always abided by?”
Throughout this period of time, Diomedes had gotten to know quite a bit about Su Chen, including his experiences and dreams. He was incredibly impressed that Su Chen had managed to push the human race to the point where they could all cultivate to the Spirit Burning Realm.
And now, Su Chen was planning on relying on medicine to ascend. This surprised Diomedes quite a bit.
Su Chen, however, was not put off by this. “My goal is to escape from the restrictions of a bloodline so that every human can grow solely by virtue of their own effort. If I am able to achieve this by relying on my own strength, that would be for the best, but relying on some outward aids is not unacceptable. As long as these outward aids aren’t only inheritable from a clan, that is fine by me.”
Back when Su Chen was trying to break into the Light Shaking Realm, he had borrowed an Origin Formation created by Shi Kaihuang to breach that massive bottleneck. Even now, breaking into the Light Shaking Realm still required an Origin Formation; that counted as external aid.
Actually, Su Chen didn’t mind getting help from outward items as long as they weren’t bloodlines or impossible to duplicate.
Deep Sea Sorrow was a tree. As long as Su Chen planted it, the Spring of Immortality would flow unceasingly. This would allow him to constantly produce the necessary pills for breaking into the Thought Manifestation Realm, and made much more sense than the current system of transmission by birth.
And even if this wasn’t enough, Su Chen could continue to develop new ways of breaking into the Thought Manifestation Realm afterwards to make up for that lack.
But if he wanted to create that pill, he would need to make quite a few modifications and improvements. This would require Diomedes’s help.
When Diomedes realized this, there was nothing he could do but agree.
In the next few days, Su Chen and Diomedes began to research new ways of concocting these pills.
Diomedes had never seen Su Chen’s pill-making methods before, and could only cluck his tongue in amazement as Su Chen explained his thought process to him.
With Diomedes’s help, Su Chen was able to better control the Spring of Immortality and refine the necessary pills.
While the Spring of Immortality was crucial to refining these new pills, Su Chen found that his real shortage was in other materials.
Even though Su Chen had brought quite a few raw ingredients with him, he didn’t have an unlimited storage capacity, and there were even some that he just flat-out hadn’t brought.
As such, he would have to make substitutions with the ingredients that he had brought, and he had a limited quantity of them. Every time he used some, his stockpile would decrease, and if he was unable to refine the medicine before he used up all of his ingredients, it was over.
Su Chen was incredibly careful with his research as a result, saving ingredients wherever possible so that he wouldn’t accidentally use up all of one ingredient in the event that he would need it in the future.
He continued to refine his medicines slowly but surely.
Within his small hut, Su Chen carefully controlled the fire in his palm, constantly mixing and stirring the medicinal mixture within the cauldron. His microscopic eye was activated to its greatest extent so that he could clearly observe what was taking place inside the mixture. Suddenly, a puff of hazy green smoke burst forth from the cauldron as it began to bubble.
Su Chen knew that he had failed yet again.
Once the hazy smoke dissipated, all that remained in the cauldron were some black medicinal dregs.
Su Chen carefully inspected these dregs and gave them a sniff before writing down, “Golden Cups and Dragon Oak Roots are weaker when mixed than expected and are incapable of keeping the mixture together. The medicinal power is draining too rapidly. Also...... I only have three Dragon Oak Roots remaining.”
After writing down this last sentence, Su Chen sighed.
“Another failure?” Diomedes’s specter asked.
“Yes. I just can’t seem to get the mixture stable enough. If the mixture isn’t stable, the medicinal powers will clash,” Su Chen replied.
Diomedes leaned over to get a closer look and said, “The ingredients still aren’t right.”
“I’ve tried all the ingredients already.”
“Then we’ll need to think of a different way of combining them.”
“The problem is that I’ve tried all of the ingredients we have,” Su Chen shook his head despondently.
It wasn’t that he wasn’t trying hard enough - his cleverness just wasn’t enough to compensate for the shortage of materials.
“Don’t give up.” Surprisingly, Diomedes was the one who was comforting him now.
Su Chen smiled bitterly. “I want to not give up, but I’ve hit a dead end. Without ingredients, I won’t be able to refine a pill; without a pill, I can’t ascend; if I can’t ascend, I can’t defeat the Sovereign; if I can’t defeat the Sovereign, I won’t be able to return; if I can’t return, I won’t have enough ingredients...... What a vicious cycle.”
“Well, you say that, but that might not necessarily be true. There is still one other way that you can get your hands on some ingredients, but you’ll have to get lucky,” Diomedes said.
Su Chen was momentarily taken aback. “You can’t mean...... opening a tunnel between two realms?”
“That’s exactly what I mean.”
If they were able to find a useful realm, they might be able to resolve this issue of a shortage of ingredients.
Upon realizing this, Su Chen knew what he needed to do.
“It seems that, yet again, this is our only hope.”
In the days that followed, Su Chen began to drift through the void.
He would wander around, searching for Void Starmetal and opening tunnels every so often.
Because he had found the exit, gathering Void Starmetal was no longer going to be an issue. Every day, he would just go to the exit and steal some of the Sovereign statues nearby - at this point, he had enough Void Starmetal to sell wholesale.
The giant whale Sovereign continued to guard the exit closely, unwilling to leave. Every time Su Chen got close, it would attack him.
Unfortunately for it, Su Chen was able to use Light Shaking Phantom. He might not be able to defeat the Sovereign, but he sure as hell could run away.
As such, the two of them fell into a sort of routine. Su Chen would come to harvest the statues, and after he had harvested a few statues, the whale would rush over. Su Chen would then escape, opening a few tunnels behind him in the process. This way, even if he did accidentally let in some powerful, dangerous creature, the Sovereign would have to handle it. The best case scenario was that both of them would be seriously wounded.
This day was no exception.
Su Chen arrived at the exit yet again. He had only taken one statue when the giant whale began to swim in his direction.
Su Chen activated his boots, opening a tunnel and then preparing to leave.
At that moment, however, he suddenly froze in place.
Because this time, he could see a vibrant, multicolored world on the other side of the tunnel.
A living realm!