On the broad back of the white crane, Wei Wuyin soared through the air. Golden Milk City had already become a small blip behind him. Having left, he headed east, not northwest.
He still had a sense of priority, so he would first make way for the Helios Witch ’s territory within the Mystic Elven Forest. For that, he would need to leave the Wu Country and travel further east, bypassing the Clear Sky Mountain Range to enter the forest itself.
It had nearly been two months since Mei Mei ’s disappearance. He had made significant progress in his cultivation during this period. The only path left to him was reaching the next phase of cultivation. Therefore, he had no need to delay any longer.
Whether he could find her was still an unlikely possibility. After all, even if he went to the Helios Witch, his only lead, it wasn ’t a definite possibility that she had something to do with it.
That was Wei Si ’s deduction based on his keen sense of smell. He didn ’t actually see her get taken. In fact, Mei Mei could ’ve been practically disintegrated like Gu Futu. If so, he could only find out why and if it had anything to do with her dealings with the Helios Witch.
This was why he didn ’t feel an immense amount of pressure in finding her or searching. His only clue was vague anyhow. Not everything would just lay below his feet, pointing towards what happened. He wasn ’t that naive.
If this turned out to be a deadend, it ’s likely the story of Mei Mei would end up unsolved, regardless of his emotions or desires.
The journey there was no longer filled with detours or lucky chances. His karmic luck value had remained the same, and he hadn ’t met anyone outside of the traveling cultivators. As they were on their way somewhere, there was no need to bother each other.
It was a boring cycle of fly for nearly ten to twelve hours, eat, rest and recover, and repeat.
Wei Wuyin had stopped a few times in towns and cities, but besides finding a brief and comfortable bed to rest on, he didn ’t interact with the locals or other travelers. While there were bandits who stayed in the shadows and attacked travelers and merchants, the white crane could rival First Stage of Qi Condensation experts, so there was barely any need for him to do a thing.
Any cultivator who could enter the Qi Condensation Realm would have their entire life changed in the Wu Country. Resorting to banditry to rob mortals for silver and gold was fruitless.
In that realm, mortal wealth was no longer an issue.
You had the opportunity to become a guard of a grand city like Ash Dragon City or Golden Milk City. A single day ’s pay could encapsulate the entire lifetime wealth of a mortal.
You could establish your own clan, have dozens of wives, and hundreds of children and make sure each was fed and taken care of.
Therefore, Wei Wuyin didn ’t need to bother with those trifling matters. And while there were cultivator bandits, they wouldn ’t target those with powerful mounts, but those too weak to afford to raise or train mounts.
Before long, three weeks zipped by.
Wei Wuyin, atop the white crane, could see a mountain range in the distance. It was a series of tall mountains that went up two kilometers high. It was like jagged teeth, rising and falling, with spaces in between. In certain angles, they seemed to be connected and alive, like the jaws of a shark.
Then, as one looked up in the sky above those ferocious mountains, they would see a clear sky. There were clouds in the nearby area, but above those mountains, there was an obvious lack of them. Even when the clouds floated towards it, it seemed they would never touch that distinct portion of clear sky; they never did.
Wei Wuyin felt enlivened at finally seeing this mountain range. Having traveled for so long, he knew his goal was on the other side. Luckily, the white crane could easily fly over that range.
If it was any other mount whose strength was below that of a Qi Condensation cultivator, the mysterious force surrounding the mountain would impede them all.
Wei Wuyin had read about this mysterious force, but most of the information was vague detailing of the mountain ’s characteristics. There were some who theorized that the mountain range was a piece of a jaw from a divine beast, others believed it was formed by an expert who could travel the stars.
There were other theories, but those two were the most grand. The rest were more mundane and didn ’t leave much to one ’s imagination. He knew that one of those mundane theories was likely the truth behind the mountain ’s mysterious force and horrific shape, but he had always enjoyed embellishments of a story.
Rubbing the white crane ’s feathers, he grinned and urged it to travel faster. Now that he was here, he wanted to see this mountain ’s force! A throb of excitement entered his heart at the unknown and new.
Just as he felt that throb, an explosive sound erupted nearby. Wei Wuyin frowned, the sound came off kind of muffled and indistinguishable, but he knew its location. He turned north and frowned.
Suddenly, the crane cried in a heartrending shriek. It flapped its wings fiercely and soared towards the direct south. Its speed had nearly doubled. Wei Wuyin was caught off guard, but with his cultivation, how could he be thrown off because of this?
He placed his hand softly on its back and a trace of qi attached him to the crane. Then, when he was fastened, he sent it a spiritual communication.
When he received a reply, that was all he felt. He couldn ’t actually talk to the crane, but he knew its feelings and emotions. The emotions it projected was fear and abject horror, a strong sense of instinctual danger on the horizon.
”Horizon? ” Wei Wuyin frowned, looking north with his eyes. There was nothing there. Why was the…
”Wait…what ’s that? ” Wei Wuyin ’s eyes narrowed to near slits. At the horizon to the north, a small distortion was coming into creation. It was slight, not even something noteworthy, but then it started to expand.
”A heatwave? ” The distorted sight looked like the simmering of heat, like the birth of a mirage in a desert, or the fumes of hot gas in the air. It was that shimmering of one ’s vision that would make one question if what they saw was actually real.
The crane ’s speed abruptly increased. It had directly entered its fastest state, fully intent on running away. A deep, absolutely horrified feeling emerged in its heart. Wei Wuyin could tell the stress of this flight was even causing some of its feathers to dislodge and its muscles to tear apart.
”What are you doing?! ” Seeing its self-destructive state, Wei Wuyin screamed. He took his eyes off the north and used his elemental qi to enter the white crane ’s body. A dense vitality and lifeforce entered its body as he executed the Earthly Wood Heal Qi Art.
With elemental qi and a high-level wood essence, the effectiveness was dozens of times greater than described. In a split second, the crane ’s body was healed and filled with powerful strength.
However, instead of stopping, the crane started to overdrive its entirety. Its lifeforce started to burn as it traveled faster and faster.
It was actually burning its lifeforce!!
Wei Wuyin was driven speechless from shock. He considered knocking the crane unconscious. Subconsciously, he turned his head back to the north and when he did, his pupils shrunk!
That invisible distortion had become a rolling cloud of dust, rocks, winds, and trees. It was coming at him like a gigantic, godly hand was pushing the earth and sky towards him. It was several miles high and he could even see wildlife being flung upwards.
”How?! ” He had taken his eyes off it for a few seconds, how did that even happen?! What the fuck is happening?!
He didn ’t have time to think. The crane ’s actions were right, but fruitless. It wasn ’t fast enough. The wall was traveling at least a tenth of a mile a second. This went far beyond the crane ’s speed.
”Stop! I ’ll protect you! ” He shouted, not giving the crane enough time to react as his qi entered its body and rendered its body immobile. He jumped and grasped the air.
A hand of elemental qi formed, large enough to encapsulate the crane entirely. It clenched itself softly around the crane ’s body, and Wei Wuyin grabbed it and dove directly towards the ground.
His movement speed was far faster than the crane. He carried the crane, using his elemental qi, he executed the Thunder Step Qi Art the moment his foot touched the ground, exploding forth with thunderous momentum.
The earth was destroyed where he stepped, a huge crater formed in the earth that went as deep as five meters. He traveled a hundred meters in a blink. He continuously executed the art, pushing it to its limits.
”What?! That ’s all?! ” Wei Wuyin was deeply shocked. He had only traveled about a hundred meters each time, but the wall moved about one hundred and sixth meters a second at least. Even though his speed was far surpassing his current cultivation base, he still didn ’t travel far or fast enough.
When he turned back to take a look, his vision became filled with the scenery of a magnificent wall. He couldn ’t see its end. This wall was made of dust, of earth, of rivers, of animals, of trees, of clouds, and even people.
He could see a middle-aged woman ’s body being pushed along in the middle of this wall, but no lifeforce emitted from her body. She was dead.
His heart pounded with intense fear.
”Was this the first calamity?! ” The thought surged a deep unwillingness in his heart. He had just become a Mortal God, had just reached a level of a true genius, and was still young!!
There were things he hadn ’t accomplished yet. He wanted a proper harem, to have ten women at once! He wanted children who he could be proud of! He wanted a city like Golden Milk City, rich and filled with creativity! He wanted his own sect, one that could rule an entire world! He wanted more! He needed more!
”Aaarghhhh! ” He violently roared, his eyes fierce and ruthless. With that roar, his two Hearts of Qi sent their strongest sources of qi for his usage, even drawing upon their quintessential energy to the maximum disregarding the cost.
”Element! ” He called forth his saber soul, forming its body with the purest elemental and saber energies. Grasping it, he didn ’t turn back and fight, but continued running.
He knew that the wall pushed forth an absolutely destructive amount of force within, uplifting the very earth and rivers of the world, and a mysterious energy was carried with it. This energy was destructive and fierce, but not to the flesh or its state. The middle-aged woman wasn ’t the only corpse he saw. There were others, and each one had dead eyes and exuded no lifeforce, but their bodies were completely intact and undamaged.
This force uplifted the world and destroyed all life!
How could he fight something he didn ’t understand?!
Instead, he summoned Element and sliced ferociously in front of him. A slicing wave of qi cut through the air, removing air resistance for a brief moment. Then, he drew upon his strongest energy and all his elemental energy.
He didn ’t rely on elemental qi to execute Thunder Step, but he used another movement art. One he had just invented, because he needed to!
Elemental Saber Life Securing Art!
This was the name of the art he had just made up. Making up this name was like marking the world, saying: ”I will survive! ”
He drew upon his entirety, both of his Hearts of Qi, and most of their energy. He grabbed the white crane, hugging it tightly. No longer would he use his body to move forward, but let the elements do it.
”Ahhhhh!!! ” He shouted with his life on the line, slicing Element out once more! He turned into a comet of elemental saber qi and fired off. In a blink, his speed and form reached a miraculous state. He was no longer moving with mass or a body, but with the elements, with the world, with the saber.
The wall was just a mile away from him. Just his actions alone wasted so much time that the wall was already so near.
Now, in the world, there was one wall and one comet of white light. One chasing and one running away.
As he ran, his body underwent numerous changes due to the stress, his meridians and flesh were meshed together with his elemental and saber qi. It was monstrously painful and yet, he did not let up for a single moment.
This continued for forty-nine seconds. From the moment he activated his art, Wei Wuyin had already ran for a full forty-nine seconds!
Then, it dissipated abruptly. The wall collapsed, leaving just a strip of clean land, and a pile up of corpses, rocks, and trees.
”Argh! ” Wei Wuyin exited the art immediately after it stopped. He tumbled, his head, arms, legs, flailing wildly as he was rolled forward like a dead body. The impacts towards the ground barely hindered his momentum, and only when he smashed into a mountain, digging in nearly three hundred meters deep, did he stop.
Luckily, his body had been tempered by elemental energy, so he barely survived. Unfortunately, his bones were broken, his muscles and skin ripped, even several of his teeth had fallen out.
As for his hair and clothes, he didn ’t have any.
In the depths of the mountain, he crawled out. It took him an hour before he escaped, landing heavily on the ground with a thud. When he did, he heard a cry of a bird nearby.
The bird flew beside him and used its beak to softly peck at his naked, hairless body, as if trying to verify its guess.
”I-it ’s me… ” Wei Wuyin said in an exhausted and pained voice. The white crane ’s momentum had been halted with his remaining energy. While he had a faint chance at surviving the momentum, the crane did not.
He realized only after the fact how stupid he was. The last bit of energy would have ensured his survival without the risky tumble, but he used it on the crane instead, and nearly lost his life in the resulting crash.
”Haha, ” he had tried everything to survive, even drawing upon the quintessence energy of his Hearts of Qi, causing them to nearly destabilize, but in his last action, he saved the crane instead of himself.
It was truly laughable.
”Argh! ” A burning sensation stung his skin. He weakly lifted his head and looked at his right arm. He saw blood-colored lights erupt from his skin.
In a portion of the tattoos that were originally empty, a series of new tattoos formed. He couldn ’t actually read it, but he knew what it meant:
Rite of a Sinner.
First Calamity: Awakened.
”… ” Wei Wuyin groaned in agony and pain. What the fuck was this?
This…this wasn ’t the first calamity?!?!
In the scriptures, it had described that those who hold the Bloodline of Sin must pass a trial against heaven. It wasn ’t a normal heavenly tribulation, but one filled with the intent to kill you and anything around you.
After successfully obtaining the rights, only then can one undergo the Eighteen Calamities of Hell.
He didn ’t expect it to be so out of nowhere.
Wei Wuyin laid flat on his back, his eyes blurry as he stared up at the sky. A wave of exhaustion flowed through his body as he felt like sleeping.
Before then, he used his all to raise his left hand, stuck only his middle-finger to the air and yelled weakly, ”Fuck you heaven, fuck you hell, fuck you first sinner! Fuck you all! ”
Before he could curse more, his hand fell nearly lifelessly as his eyes closed.
The white crane grew terrified. Hastily arriving next to her master as she tried to wake him up, even faint traces of tears formed in her eyes. This master gave his life to save her! She was filled with sadness.
Wei Wuyin twitched abruptly, scaring the crane, and then started to snore.
”… ” The crane.
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