Chapter 8 – Adversary from the Past
**Originally translated by Incarneous, with edits
Yan Zhaoge seldom paid mind to the thoughts of others. Whether it was Ye Jing, Sikong Qing or anyone else, he simply did not care.
While the matter of the Sealing Dragon Abyss was rather pressing, their current route crossed through Eastern Tang Kingdom. If it was just some bystander, it would not matter, but the current ruler of the Eastern Tang Kingdom was someone Yan Zhaoge needed to pay his respects to in an official capacity.
That person was more than just the King of the Eastern Tang Kingdom, one of East Heaven Domain’s most powerful and influential figures. More importantly, he was also an old friend of Yan Zhaoge’s father from when he was young, having shown much care towards Yan Zhaoge in the past.
With abnormalities having surfaced in the Sealing Dragon Abyss, the strongest martial practitioners of the Eastern Tang Kingdom as well as the experts Broad Creed Mountain had dispatched would naturally have responded already due to their close proximity. As the first to arrive on the scene, they would have already investigated and tried to suppress the anomaly. Yan Zhaoge’s expedition to the danger zone, the Sealing Dragon Abyss, required that he acquire a thorough understanding of the area as well as information on the newest developments regarding it.
After visiting the King of the Eastern Tang Kingdom, Yan Zhaoge paid an official visit to the Principal Elder of the Eastern Tang Kingdom.
This visit would not be as easygoing or harmonious as the previous one, because this member of Broad Creed Mountain here in the Eastern Tang Kingdom happened to belong to Yan Zhaoge’s second apprentice-uncle’s faction.
The Eastern Tang's Principal elder appeared to be a serious old man on the outside. He peered at Yan Zhaoge before, without any unnecessary nonsense, summarising what was already known about the situation in a few simple sentences. Yan Zhaoge listened and pondered at the same time.
“The Sacred Sun Clan’s Chao Yuanlong has also appeared at the Dragon Sealing Abyss. Keep focused and be prepared,” the Principal Elder stated tranquilly after describing the abnormalities that had occurred within the Dragon Sealing Abyss.
Yan Zhaoge smiled and said, “Was it not because of him that the clan asked me to lead this expedition?”
In the present world, several Sacred Grounds stood shoulder-to-shoulder with one another. The Sacred Sun Clan was one of those few enormous forces which could compare to Broad Creed Mountain. In fact, its strength was even greater than Broad Creed Mountain, as it was also known by some as the number one Sacred Ground.
Chao Yuanlong was one of the Sacred Sun Clan’s greatest geniuses of the younger generation; he too was known as a Heaven's chosen son. It just happened that he was of a similar age to Yan Zhaoge and was at the same level of cultivation as him as well; they were both in the late inner-aura stage. In the Eight Extremities World, he was also a famous up-and-coming member of the young generation.
The original owner of Yan Zhaoge’s body had clashed with Chao Yuanlong thrice, and all three exchanges had ended up in a tie. The two were known to be longtime adversaries of the younger generation in the Eight Extremities World.
The Eastern Tang Principal Elder said, “That person is also a rare talent. To cultivate the Piercing Sun Needle Art of the Sacred Sun Clan to the eighth level, more than just an extremely high aptitude for it is necessary; immense perseverance is also needed. If he can break through to the next level...you should understand without this old man telling you, correct?”
The Piercing Sun Needle Art was an unpopular martial art of the Sacred Sun Clan. When cultivated to a high level, it could demonstrate extremely formidable prowess. Amongst martial practitioners of the same level, it was one of the techniques existing at the peak.
However, its might was rather limited in the early stages, at least before reaching the sixth stage. Only after reaching the seventh stage would it demonstrate its power.
And it just so happened that the technique was very difficult to cultivate. The process required the cultivator to endure the pain of a raging inferno scorching their body, as if their entire body was being stabbed by ten million steel needles. Cultivating this technique was just like abusing oneself.
Moreover, the Sacred Sun Clan naturally had stronger and more profound techniques for their disciples as their cultivation progressed. Therefore, very few clan members would choose to cultivate this technique.
Yan Zhaoge spoke nonchalantly, “At his age, to have cultivated the Piercing Sun Needle Art to the ninth stage is rare indeed. In the entire history of the Sacred Sun Clan, there are no more than five who have achieved this. To have become famous within his generation at the Sacred Sun Clan, there would naturally be some aspect in which he surpasses the norm.”
Yan Zhaoge laughed, “Thank you, Elder, for your reminder. I am well aware of the situation.”
The Eastern Tang's Principal Elder gave him a glance before calmly saying, “If that is the case, you may go. Should something happen at the Sealing Dragon Abyss, make a report immediately. Take care of the disciples on this expedition and do not allow any mishaps to occur.”
Yan Zhaoge got up and said, “Then, I will be taking my leave. Take care, Elder.”
Looking at Yan Zhaoge’s departing back, the old man’s placid eyes slowly closed, “Fickle and frivolous brat; he can speak the words, but he lacks understanding.”
The Sealing Dragon Abyss was an enormous rift within the ground that stretched horizontally across the land. Both sides were surrounded by mountains and it was so deep that its depth could not be seen. Black mist covered it all year round.
The black mist was a harmful substance. The deeper one went into the Abyss, the thicker the mist became. Even strong martial practitioners did not dare to venture inside unless necessary. There were also many strange demonic beasts born within these mists that were unusually aggressive.
Venturing deep in the Sealing Dragon Abyss where the black mist covered everything also caused bizarre spatial disorders, which made it difficult to determine one’s actual location. It was also extremely difficult for those outside to rescue those lost within.
Nevertheless, there were often martial practitioners who entered the place to seek treasure because the Sealing Dragon Abyss produced many special treasures that were one-of-a-kind, or at least rare.
Of course, many of those who entered were never seen again alive.
Therefore one had to carefully consider the risks, entering the Sealing Dragon Abyss which was a place famous for its peril.
Yan Zhaoge and his expedition left the Eastern Tang capital and traveled all the way to the outskirts of this danger zone.
“Do you all know the history of the Sealing Dragon Abyss?” Standing on the mountain ridge right beside the steep drop, Yan Zhaoge asked.
“The Eight Extremities World is divided into eight vast Domains: Heaven, Earth, Wind, Thunder, Water, Fire, Mountain, and River."
“One of these, the Earth Domain, has become a wasteland after many years of transformation. It is the world’s greatest danger zone. Because of that, we now call that place ‘Hell’."
“And many giant cracks in Hell extend to the surrounding Domains. This Dragon Sealing Abyss happens to be one of the largest of these cracks. And a large part of this Abyss happens to pass through our Broad Creed Mountain’s Heaven Domain.”
Yan Zhaoge said, “Abnormalities in the Dragon Sealing Abyss without any clear cause; we will need to remain prudent.”
All the Broad Creed Mountain disciples nodded to signal their understanding.
Under Yan Zhaoge’s lead, everyone slowly walked down into the rift.
Even though this was a dangerous place, people had already built paths at its outskirts.
Lanterns illuminated the path at fixed intervals. Thin streams of green smoke steadily rose and partitioned off the black mist from a small area allowing people to advance forward.
This was Broad Creed Mountain and the Eastern Tang Kingdom’s work. When the elites of both forces had reacted and come forth to suppress the anomaly, they had created this pathway. Afterwards, they had guarded the Abyss after contacting Broad Creed Mountain as they waited for people to come and investigate the abnormalities.
Had the anomaly not been promptly suppressed, the black mist might have surged out of the rift.
Yan Zhaoge’s group visited those local forces responsible for guarding this place, then started to advance deeper into the Sealing Dragon Abyss.
Yan Zhaoge walked at the very front. Part of his attention was on his surroundings as he pondered within his mind, “As expected, this mist is indeed formed of chaotic streams of baleful qi. Even though it can be used to create something that benefits the Internal Crystal Furnace, the substance itself is harmful in many ways, while not possessing a single benefit.
“No wait… perhaps it isn’t without a single merit?
“There is a large difference between the strength increments to be gained breaking through from the mid to late inner aura stage and from the late inner aura stage to the early outer aura stage. The latter produces a much larger increment in strength. While it can’t be said to be 'the difference between heaven and earth', it is at least still like shedding one’s mortal body and being reborn again.”
Yan Zhaoge thought to himself: "When the aura is externalised, the body’s defenses become extremely strong. If an inner aura Martial Scholar attacks an outer aura Martial Scholar with all his might, assuming that the outer aura Martial Scholar does not defend his weak points, there might still be a chance of success. Otherwise, he would just be wasting his strength."
"On the other hand, an outer aura Martial Scholar can release aura-qi outside of his body, in doing so demonstrating amazing attack power. Breaking through an inner aura Martial Scholar’s aura-qi defense layer would therefore be quite easy.”
"While externalising the aura requires only a single step, that step is a wide gulf that is difficult to cross; breaking through is not easy. The main difficulty is the large amount of time that is required to meticulously refine one’s aura-qi and temper one’s body."
Walking through the Sealing Dragon Abyss surrounded by unknown dangers, Yan Zhaoge unexpectedly smiled.
"However, if one uses the Vortex Reversal Technique of the Heaven-Thwarting Mantra with some modifications, he should be able to conduct these chaotic streams of baleful qi into his own body. With this technique, trash can be changed into treasure; a great whetstone can be obtained for polishing one’s aura-qi. This is perfect for helping me break through the hurdle of solidifying my aura outside of my body, allowing me to step from the first to the second major stage of the Martial Scholar realm.”
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