When Menelaus saw that only a thousand of the Boundless Sect’s disciples were attacking, he felt incredibly disappointed.
But once he saw Su Chen personally arrive on the scene, a trace of hope emerged in Menelaus’s heart.
If he killed Su Chen, that would be far more meaningful than killing even ten thousand Boundless Sect disciples.
“Change targets to Su Chen!” Menelaus immediately commanded.
The consciousness extraction instrument was quickly adjusted to face towards Su Chen.
Normally, its area of effect was a circle of light about a foot in diameter. With the sacrifice of countless Astrals, however, that light circle began to widen considerably.
And following Menelaus’s command, the concealed light circle was shifted onto Su Chen’s position.
Su Chen suddenly felt an incredible sense of imminent danger wash over him, as if he were being gazed at by some terrifyingly powerful creature. Goosebumps ran down his arms as all his hairs stood on end.
Su Chen, however, did not retreat. Instead, he unhesitatingly pulled out an item and tossed it into the air.
This item was a stone tablet, and the same one that Su Chen had taken from the Damaged Canyon. It was imbued with incredibly powerful spatial energy.
This item had allowed Su Chen to survive the scarily strong deluge of Heaven’s Blood. After all, it was an incredibly powerful defensive item that could erect spatial barriers.
Afterwards, Su Chen had instructed his subordinates to refine it into a personal protective item that would deal with any hidden killing techniques his enemies threw at him.
This was also the reason why he had been willing to personally descend even though he knew just how risky this was. If he personally showed up, then the Astrals would undoubtedly focus on killing him instead of the other Boundless Sect disciples, whom he viewed as dearly as his own children. If it were possible, then he would not let even a single one of them die.
Su Chen thought that their final sacrificial killing technique was going to be Heaven’s Blood. But this was a mistake as he lacked a deep understanding of the technique.
Even though Heaven’s Blood was incredibly powerful, it had a glaring limitation: it could only be activated in an isolated void. This was why the Astrals had been able to activate it at the Damaged Canyon with relatively few sacrifices.
Even though the Wanlai Caves were underground and surrounded by Origin-Energy isolating earth, they were not cut off from the outside world, and still belonged to the Primordial Continent. Activating Heaven’s Blood in this large of a realm would be impossible even if all of the Astrals sacrificed themselves.
As such, in some sense, Heaven’s Blood was also a failed product that would never see the light of day.
As soon as Su Chen pulled out the stone tablet, he felt a frighteningly powerful force envelop him, locking him in place, and preventing him from moving a single muscle.
But unlike the absolute, destructive, overbearing power of Heaven’s Blood, this force felt more like it was being directly exerted on his body.
An ineffable sensation began to permeate through his body. He felt as if something was tearing at him and contorting his body beyond its limits.
Even more shockingly, he was incapable of withstanding it in the slightest.
This...... What was happening?
Su Chen felt as if he was about to break apart into a million pieces, but his body was still completely unscathed.
This torment appeared to be coming from his consciousness?
He suddenly realized what had happened.
The consciousness extraction instrument!
The Astrals had actually used the consciousness extraction instrument on him.
Apart from the Dark Astrals, no living creature had ever managed to persist after their physical body was converted into a consciousness one. This instrument had solely been used to create Astrals, but now, the Astrals were turning around and using it on him.
More importantly, the stone tablet’s spatial defenses were completely useless in this instance.
Su Chen cursed bitterly in his heart.
He knew that he needed to act quickly. Otherwise, once the consciousness extraction instrument completely converted his physical body into a consciousness one, he would truly die.
Su Chen roared violently.
On the surface, his Adam’s apple merely bobbed up a centimeter as a pitiful amount of noise gurgled out from his throat. In the consciousness realm, however, a viciously powerful consciousness attack surged forwards.
Su Chen was beginning to lose control of his physical body, but the strength of his consciousness was rising exponentially as it began to crystallize.
“Trying to turn me into a consciousness body?” Su Chen grit his teeth.
He turned to stare at the Astrals below him.
He could see them disappearing one by one as they faded into ashes, chanting as they did so.
Beside those Astrals was a mysterious giant instrument, glowing faintly with white light.
That was probably the consciousness extraction instrument.
The consciousness extraction instrument was incredibly powerful, to the point where Su Chen wasn’t able to withstand its influence at all. However, it also had its own weakness, which was that the conversion process took time.
This gave Su Chen a sliver of an opportunity to survive.
He knew that he didn’t have much time left. His consciousness body was already beginning to form as his consciousness was slowly dragged out of his body.
And Su Chen’s vitality was beginning to drain away at the same time.
First, it left his feet, then his calves, and then his thighs as it continued to spread up towards his head.
If it reached his head, then all of his vitality would have been completely drained away, and Su Chen’s body would actually have died, only leaving behind an Astral body.
This consciousness body would not exist for very long, and would likely disappear as soon as the consciousness extraction instrument was shut down.
This was because most creatures, aside from the Dark Astrals, didn’t have enough consciousness power and were unable to endure the harsh environment around them without the protection of a physical body.
Su Chen, however, was different. His consciousness power had reached levels previously thought unattainable by any human, so there was a possibility that his consciousness body could persist.
Even so, Su Chen had no desire to become an Astral body.
“I...... am...... human!” Su Chen arduously spat out as he glared at the ground with an unshakeable will.
He refused to become a strange creature that walked the line between life and death, and he refused to give up on his human body.
But no matter how hard Su Chen struggled, his consciousness continued to peel away from his physical body, which was slowly but surely dying.
“Die!” Menelaus raised his tricolor gem staff into the air, pouring all of his energy into the consciousness extraction instrument to hasten its activation. He could sense that his fellow Astrals’ lives were being snuffed out one by one, but only by destroying this fearsome opponent could the other Astrals even have a chance of survival.
Die and become one of us!
Countless Astrals simultaneously cried out vengefully at this moment.
They could sense Su Chen’s powerful consciousness, and they seemed to realize that it was possible that he could successfully convert and become an Astral body. However, they did not seem disheartened in the slightest; instead, their excitement surged as they willed the consciousness extraction instrument to work even more quickly.
Su Chen’s consciousness body was still rising into the air, and the decay had already reached his chest.
From the outside, it didn’t seem like anything was happening to Su Chen. The Boundless Sect’s disciples only thought that he had stopped to take a look at something.
Su Chen’s consciousness roared and thrashed in refusal, but all he could do was create wave after wave in the consciousness plane, which were all stopped by the Astrals’ combined consciousnesses. And only the Astrals could sense his struggles; no one else had any clue as to what was happening.
Perhaps this would bring any other creature great sorrow, but it was a matter of great joy to the Astrals.
The countless Astrals all cried out fervidly. In that moment, their cold, detached personality had given way to raw, unadulterated emotion.
“Die! Convert! Become one of us Astrals!” Menelaus roared with irrepressible excitement.
The decay eventually reached his neck.
Su Chen’s face slowly stiffened.
He was like a statue, standing motionlessly in the air.
The decay continued to rise.
It consumed his mouth, his nose, his eyes, and then, in the final moments, his scalp.
Su Chen’s consciousness had been completely stripped from his body!!!
“Conversion complete!” Menelaus howled with ecstatic joy as the consciousness extraction instrument began to wind down after completing its job.
As the white light dissipated, it became evident that thousands of Astrals had sacrificed themself in the process, all of it in the name of successfully converting Su Chen to an Astral body.
Even so, this price was completely worth it to get rid of Su Chen.
Su Chen’s consciousness body was also floating in the sky now.
However, it was invisible.
The humans and Ravagers could not see him, but to the Astrals, he was as bright as a burning sun in the dark night.
Menelaus was not surprised that Su Chen’s consciousness body was persisting even after the consciousness conversion instrument shut down.
Consciousness power was key to the conversion process. The Astrals had mastered this a long time ago, but they had struggled to raise the consciousness power of the other races to the appropriate level. And because they were isolated from the other races, the Astrals were neither willing nor capable of breeding subjects for consciousness conversion.
However, they had managed to successfully convert a select few individuals from other races, resulting in a few special Astrals that could be deployed on the battlefield.
Those strange Astrals had made their appearances along with all of the other failed products earlier, but unfortunately, these complex creatures had been drowned out in a sea of violent energy summoned by tens of thousands of cultivators.
Menelaus, however, believed that Su Chen’s consciousness body would be different.
“You are going to become my most prized possession, the new Immortal’s Soul!” Menelaus declared excitedly.
Su Chen’s death would definitely throw his enemies into turmoil. The threat to the Astrals had been dealt with!
This new consciousness body would take time to fully stabilize, so Menelaus ignored it for the moment. Instead, he turned to the battlefield. “Cease your struggling, foolish mortals! Your leader is dead! Your fate has been sealed!”
Menelaus’s voice spread in all directions throughout the battlefield. All of the humans and Ravagers who heard it were immediately taken aback.
Their leader was dead?
Then what about the Su Chen standing in the sky? Wasn’t he still floating up there?
How was he dead?
Were the Astrals insane?
The attacks only paused for a brief moment before immediately resuming.
It was obvious that they had all treated Menelaus’s words as a lie.
“Well, it’s no matter either way,” Menelaus muttered to himself.
Since they refused to believe him, he was more than willing to give them a taste of real despair.
He lifted the tricolor gem staff in his hands and aimed it at the physical Su Chen in the sky.
The physical body was already dead, but even without its vitality, it surprisingly remained suspended in the sky.
This made Menelaus slightly suspicious.
However, all Menelaus thought was that this was something that Su Chen had prepared, or the effect of some treasure that he carried on him and thought nothing of it.
But when the tricolored gem staff activated, yet Su Chen’s body didn’t begin to burn, he began to realize that something was off.
Menelaus was obviously taken aback. He raised his tricolor gem staff and pointed it at Su Chen’s body for a second time. “Burn!”
This time, there was finally a reaction.
At the center of Su Chen’s corpse, a solid red light began to flicker like a lick of flame.
Menelaus let out a sigh of relief.
He didn’t like surprises, especially not at such critical junctures.
But even though the small flame flickered and burned, it did not expand to consume the corpse nearly as quickly as Menelaus expected. Instead, it spread relatively slowly and gradually.
Even more shockingly, as this lick of flame continued to spread, that corpse suddenly seemed to regain its vitality.
At the same time, Su Chen, who should have been stripped from his physical body, slowly opened his eyes. “So this is what death tastes like? The line between life and death contains many profound secrets. It is both terrifying and dangerous. I thank you, Menelaus, for giving me an even more powerful consciousness and helping me along my path to becoming an emperor.”
As Su Chen spoke, the flame in the center of his physical body burst forth as it flew into the heavens.
A strange cloud suddenly formed in the “sky,” resonating with the physical body below.
“Receiving Heaven?” Menelaus cried out in shock. “Ultimate Emperor Realm!?”