In the human cultivation system, there was a critical threshold that needed to be reached at every step in order to properly ascend.
Qi Drawing cultivators opened their Dan Sea, Blood Boiling cultivators lit their heart lamps, Yang Opening cultivators casted their palaces, Light Shaking cultivators formed their Lotus Platforms, Spirit Burning cultivators built their Divine Palaces, and Thought Manifestation cultivators opened their Yin-Yangs. Ultimate Emperor Realm cultivators, then, would need to receive the Heavenly Temple in order to comprehend matters related to life and death and reach the pinnacle.
Of course, this was a highly simplified version of what was happening.
Put plainly, reaching the Ultimate Emperor Realm required a thoroughfare for the will of the Heavens. As such, there was the need to construct a “reception hall” of sorts within an individual’s body that would join their will to that of the Heavens.
Why was it necessary to reach this realm in order to comprehend Method Power? Because, at least for humans, it was only possible to receive the will of the Heavens at the Ultimate Emperor Realm.
As such, the Ultimate Emperor Realm was the base for controlling Method Power. Su Chen had only managed to bypass that limitation out of sheer luck.
And Receiving Heaven inherently contained a conversion of death to life. The process was incredibly dangerous, and even the slightest lapse in concentration would result in actual death.
Su Chen hadn’t been in the Thought Manifestation Realm for long, but because of his eyes, his cultivation rate was incredibly rapid, and his foundation very solid. His understanding of the path to the Ultimate Emperor Realm was far too basic, so he had no plans of attempting to break through anytime soon. According to his estimation, it would have taken him at least ten years to reach that point.
However, his estimation was obviously not what fate had planned for him. No one could have anticipated that he would be suddenly attacked by the consciousness conversion instrument.
The consciousness conversion instrument stripped a person’s soul from their physical body, causing it to die. That process, shockingly enough, just so happened to correspond with the first step of reaching the Ultimate Emperor Realm: Withered Body.
Reaching the Ultimate Emperor Realm elevated a human’s consciousness and physique at the same time, eventually merging the two with the will of the Heavens and producing an entity that was three-in-one.
As Su Chen was dying, he had suddenly realized that the consciousness extraction instrument’s conversion process appeared to check off quite a few of the boxes necessary for humans to break into the Ultimate Emperor Realm. As soon as that realization came to him, he decisively prepared to form his Heavenly Temple to receive the will of the Heavens and harmonize with it.
Death followed by resurrection!
That was his decision. In truth, it was a tremendous risk.
But Su Chen had no choice. If this opportunity passed him by, he was very unlikely to have the bravery to try it again anytime in the future.
As such, Su Chen gave up on trying to withstand the instrument’s operation and began to make his preparations for ascending to the Ultimate Emperor Realm.
He began to lay the foundation for the Heavenly Temple.
Receiving the will of the Heavens involved the second step in ascending to the Ultimate Emperor Realm: Illumination.
In the process of ascension, Illumination was simultaneously the most important and the least important step.
It was the least important because failing at this step would not affect the ascension process much. As such, it was quite secure.
On the other hand, it was the most important because this step was the only step where one could comprehend Method Power. How far a person could go after reaching the Ultimate Emperor Realm was very much tied to this step.
Su Chen didn’t know what others had experienced when receiving the will of the Heavens, but as soon as he finished constructing his Heavenly Temple and his body had withered, he suddenly became able to clearly perceive the countless profound mysteries that this world contained.
Never before had the world of Method Power been so clear in his eyes.
Most people’s vision was foggy and blurry during the process of Illumination, but Su Chen was able to see everything around him with unprecedented clarity.
This was because this profound and mystical entity, which was impossible to describe in words alone, was not foreign to Su Chen.
He had mastered a little Method Power a long time ago, and had even gained some comprehension of fire, lightning, and consciousness Method Power along the way.
His comprehension of Method Power was far beyond what was expected of him given his cultivation base, so this step, which was arduous for others, was actually the easiest for him.
When Su Chen realized this, he made no attempt to be reserved.
Under full Illumination, he began to perceive the truest, most fundamental principles of the natural world, filling in the areas in his knowledge that had been lacking before.
But Su Chen also had his own struggles.
The third step in ascending was Soul Joining.
A person’s body and soul would merge, then be joined to the Heavens.
Su Chen had managed to do the latter but not the former, because the consciousness extraction instrument had separated his consciousness body from his physical body, preventing them from coming together.
That was also the biggest difference between breaking into the Ultimate Emperor Realm and what the consciousness extraction instrument could do.
Breaking into the Ultimate Emperor Realm required a “fake” death of sorts, but the death brought about by the consciousness extraction instrument was very real.
His body would actually wither, with no chance for regeneration. Only his consciousness body would remain.
If his physical body was incapable of resurrecting, then all of this effort would turn out to be completely in vain. After all, humans did not see physical bodies as mere shells for their consciousnesses but as the very instrument of cultivation.
Thankfully, Su Chen had the Lifesource Candles still on him.
Lifesource Candles would increase an individual’s vitality temporarily.
This item, which was capable of giving people the ability to “jump realms”, was incredibly powerful. Actually, they were infused completely with vitality Method Power.
The Lifesource Candles could be lit with one’s soul, so Su Chen decided to burn one and place it in his Heavenly Temple.
This lick of fire became the final ray of hope that Su Chen could hold onto after death, and a tremendous boon to the process of reaching the Ultimate Emperor Realm.
The glow that Menelaus saw surrounding Su Chen’s body came from a Lifesource Candle.
It was leaping around in Su Chen’s body, and as it burned, Su Chen’s body began to come alive once again.
Only now had Menelaus finally realized what was happening.
Su Chen actually wanted to use this opportunity to break into the Ultimate Emperor Realm!
“Don’t even think about it!” Menelaus yelled.
He raised his tricolor gem staff high into the sky, and a bolt of deathly energy shot towards Su Chen.
This was the Withering Ray, but as in Menelaus’s hands it had become exceptionally terrifying. Even real Ultimate Emperor Realm cultivators would have a hard time withstanding it.
It surged straight for Su Chen’s soul, wanting to destroy it for good.
Obviously, Menelaus had dropped the idea of turning Su Chen into a consciousness entity.
“You’re too late,” Su Chen chuckled when he saw the ray of light shooting in his direction.
The consciousness Su Chen lifted his hand and pointed in front of him. A similar ray of light shot forth from his hand, colliding with it. Shockingly enough, Withering Ray was actually incapable of advancing even a single inch. A legendarily powerful Arcana Technique had been completely nullified.
Menelaus was stunned.
Not because Su Chen had easily nullified his attack, but because it was the consciousness Su Chen was the one who had sprang into action.
In other words, Su Chen did truly possess a consciousness body, and he had in fact become an Astral!
But his physical body was still there. What was that supposed to mean?
Menelaus began to grow slightly confused.
“Are you surprised?” Su Chen chuckled and asked as he stood high up.
Then, he continued, “I am neither an Astral nor a consciousness entity.”
As he spoke, his consciousness body suddenly dispersed into countless twinkling stars, charging towards his physical body.
Menelaus finally understood.
This was no consciousness entity.
This was Deification!
Su Chen’s consciousness was being deified.
The final step before breaking into the Ultimate Emperor Realm.
This final step would take place after Withered Body, Illumination, and Soul-Joining. It was a form of tempering that would drastically increase the strength of a person’s consciousness.
In other words, that was the first step to truly becoming a god.
This was why people referred to it as Deification.
But this was just a theory. No one had actually ever truly become a god, because perfect Deification required the ability to wander freely in one’s consciousness body apart from one’s physical body.
Today, however, Menelaus witnessed it for himself.
“Deification......” he muttered to himself.
He already understood that Su Chen’s success at this step was definitely linked crucially to the activation of the consciousness converter instrument.
For instance, the fact that the consciousness conversion instrument could condense a person’s consciousness was already quite useful.
However, the fact that Su Chen had managed to find the critical opportunity in such a short period of time was truly shocking.
Menelaus never would have expected that, instead of killing Su Chen, the consciousness conversion instrument would actually perfect Su Chen and help him ascend to the Ultimate Emperor Realm.
And to Su Chen, this was a matter worth celebrating.
Now that Su Chen’s consciousness had returned to his body, he opened his physical eyes and said with a slight smile, “Many thanks, Menelaus. It seems that the path to reaching the Ultimate Emperor Realm is actually quite simple. But since that’s the case, I cannot allow you to destroy that instrument any longer.”
A Lifesource Candle was still burning inside of his body. This was already the third candle that he had lit. The candlelight emanated from his body, casting a profound glow on his surroundings.
In that moment, Menelaus suddenly felt like his enemy was the incarnation of the Heavens themselves!
Su Chen raised his hand. “Time has cast you aside. You creatures, who attempted to escape from the judgement of life, will now return to your rightful places.”
As he spoke, a giant vortex suddenly appeared in the sky above Gloom City.
The vortex’s destructive capacity was simply staggering. Faint, indiscernible wails could almost be heard coming through the vortex, as if it was the entrance to a dungeon containing unimaginable horrors.
Then, Astral after Astral was forcibly sucked into the vortex. No matter how they struggled and thrashed, they were unable to resist the vortex’s pull on them.
“What kind of technique is this?” Li Chongshan, Gu Qingluo, and the others were awe-struck when they saw this.
They knew Su Chen quite well, but had never seen him use a skill like that before.
“It seems as if he has come up with a new skill yet again,” Zhu Xianyao said.
“This is no ordinary skill, though,” Chu Yingwan muttered.
“It’s almost as if he has opened a tunnel to a strange realm, but something feels off. It’s as if that strange realm doesn’t actually exist,” Shi Kaihuang said in wonder.
“It’s an illusion realm. That strange realm is constructed from an illusion, and doesn’t actually exist in the real world!” Li Chongshan said confidently.
Illusion realms were “fake” worlds created using illusion techniques, but everything in those worlds were incredibly real.
Illusion realms were supposedly only creatable by those who had comprehended illusion Method Power, and they were the apex of all illusion techniques. When living creatures were pulled into an illusion realm, everything in that illusion would become real, allowing the user to construct existences inside it that were powerful beyond imagination. As such, if any technique were to be considered invincible, these illusion realms would likely be at the top of the list.
Su Chen was not exactly the most talented illusion user, so how had he managed to construct something like an illusion realm? That was simply inconceivable.
Had he comprehended illusion Method Power?
Su Chen’s voice floated towards them. “I have not yet comprehended illusion Method Power. I merely Deified my Seven Bloodline Microcosm Aspect, allowing me to produce something akin to an illusion realm.”
Deified the Seven Bloodline Microcosm Aspect?
What did that even mean?
No one understood.
Up in the sky, the black clouds circling in the sky suddenly began to morph, assuming the shape of a giant dragon head.
The dragon opened its mouth wide, swallowing countless Astrals along with their forest of towers and even the consciousness extraction instrument all at once.
This time, all of them got a good look.
The dragon was still the Shining Dragon Aspect, and the world inside of its body was still the landscape of the Seven Bloodline Microcosm Aspect. Under Su Chen’s control, however, this landscape had become a world of its own, filled with environmental hazards and vicious creatures just waiting to tear those Astrals apart.