Paragon of Sin

Chapter 176: Preparing Against The Shadows

”Huuu…haaaa… ” Wei Wuyin took a deep breath and exhaled all of his turbid thoughts, immediately regaining his calm. While killing for wealth was something he could do, have done, and will continue to do, he still had to clearly take into consideration other variables and concerns lest he seeked personal disaster beyond redemption. For example, that ring…

If greed led to haste, then haste inevitably led to death.

This mantra and consistent remainder had saved his life many times on his road of cultivation.

Rumble! Rumble!

His heart felt like it had become a ravenous dragon roaring with impatience! He felt the constant deep beating throbs that shook his vision and other organs. ”Enough! ” He suddenly shouted as he quickly realized the Draconic Natal Soul was trying to communicate with him.

He hastily made a connection with it, trying to feel its intent while transmitting his own, but he only felt endless desire. This desire was entirely directed towards the jade crystal.

”…You want to consume it? ” Wei Wuyin was momentarily shocked when he felt the fierce and adamant intent originating from his Draconic Natal Soul. ”Do you even know what… ” As he was about to seriously question the Draconic Natal Soul, his pupils shrunk.

A wisp of a sound entered his mind. As this sound emerged, it continued to endlessly expand within his mind until it was all-encompassing!

It was the Alchemic Natal Soul! No, to be exact, it was words!

”Absorb! Change bloodline! ” – Alchemic Eden Natal Soul.

These words were like an infant speaking its first words, but he could still understand it. This was the first time he felt it actually speak to him, and not just released muddled intent through his sea of consciousness. The Alchemic Eden Natal Soul was sending him clear, verbal messages! It sounded androgynous and infantile, yet quite defined and intelligent.

”Okay! ” Wei Wuyin didn ’t hesitate for a second longer. In fact, he realized the Zenith Mortal State had deeply changed them all on a fundamental level, and the more he felt them evolve, the more connected he was to them. While he couldn ’t say for sure about the Alchemic Eden Natal Soul, the other three Natal Souls were like innocent children and had incredibly honest feelings towards him. They acted purely in his best interest.

If this jade crystal could benefit the Draconic Natal Soul, he would never hesitate to allow it to do so—fortuitous encounter be damned! He was just about to swallow the Jade Crystal when his heart thumped and it nearly caused his vision to darken.

”Stop it! ” Wei Wuyin immediately regained himself and scoldingly exclaimed with a hint of annoyance. That feeling was incredibly unpleasant, and he hated how he felt. While he knew this was simply the Draconic Natal Soul ’s way of communicating, it was bringing him to a state of near-unconsciousness every time.

”Refine first. ” – Alchemic Eden Natal Soul.

”Refine? ” He had learned about what it meant ’to refine ’ and the most general definition was to use vigorous energies to enhance the compositional structure of an object or thing. This was done through alchemical energy and/or lifeforce. It was this very method of refinement that allowed him to turn a few drops of blood essence belonging to a far-off descendant of a True Dragon into a legitimate blood essence of a True Dragon.

Of course, that required tens of thousands of years of lifeforce to achieve, and even then, it was barely enough for the second level of the Mark of Myth. If a normal cultivator wished to achieve the same, even the entire lifespan of a peak Astral Core Realm cultivator would be insufficient!

There were two types of refinement that he knew of: that which binds its existence to your life aura and that which was enhanced by external energies. The first was the method of the Heavenly Daos and the second was the method of the Dao of Alchemy. The first used lifeforce, the second used alchemical energies.

Unfortunately, his cultivation base was sorely lacking to achieve the same effect with alchemical energies that he could accomplish with a single strand of lifeforce.

He nodded in understanding. Gripping the crystal, he started to interface with the Mark of Eden, which contained an unfathomably vast amount of pure lifeforce. He drew out strand after strand of lifeforce and sent it into the Jade Crystal. Due to his aura being connected with the Tree of Eden, all objects refined by these strands of lifeforce were bonded to him completely. If Evil Cultivators tried to refine using others ’ lifeforce, the refined object would have no fate with them.

Each strand of lifeforce represented a single year of lifeforce, and he continued to ceaselessly integrate it within the crystal. It started to thrum and drone with a low-frequency sound. The jade crystal absorbed his lifeforce like it was the most delicious, refreshing water brought to a parched man, drinking every last bit without a hint of rejection.

While he didn ’t know what this crystal was, he trusted the instincts of his Natal Souls. Their actions thus far have mostly been for his protection or benefit. If he didn ’t allow some trust, he might as well destroy them now.

After about thirty thousand or so years was absorbed, the Jade Crystal had spontaneously changed shape, from tetragonal into a hexagonal pyramid! At that point, it no longer absorbed any more lifeforce! It no longer gave off internal ripples, and the insides were still like a windless sea, but the edges of its points made one dizzy upon looking at it. It seemed the refinement process had evoked an unfathomable transformation to its fundamental nature.

When Wei Wuyin inspected the Mark of Eden ’s reserves of lifeforce, he felt astonished that it seemed the thirty thousand years of lifeforce was like a drop of water in the bucket. While he knew it seemed to continuously and silently absorb energy from the world to produce more lifeforce, he didn ’t know the rate of its conversion, but if thirty thousand years was but a drop of water, then was the Mark of Eden containing a pond, lake, or ocean?

ROAR!

Before he could think further on this, his Draconic Blood Natal Soul roared in excitement, causing the entire room to tremble as if subjected to an earthquake. A potent bloodline power emanated from his heart as it latched onto the jade crystal. In a single blink of an eye, the crystal was sucked into his chest and left a large bloody hole!

Spurt!

Wei Wuyin directly spat out a wad of blood, his eyes flashing with disbelief and uncertainty. With a thought, elemental wood qi surged within his body, coursing through his chest to seal and repair the hole punctured through. This little bit of pain didn ’t cause his expression to change nor his focus to waver as he funneled his senses towards his beating heart.

His heart which had scales and flesh on its surface, and each beat was like a roar from a dragon of ancient myth, had become oddly silent. In fact, it was no longer beating. His blood wasn ’t being handled by its power, as his qi started to take control and navigate his functions.

He realized this intricately controlled qi was under the explicit control of his Alchemic Natal Soul, acting as a secondary heart to ensure his body received sufficient oxygen to function. While he was somewhat amazed, he still remained fully focused on his heart.

He realized the changes were minute, with strands of invisible ripples that caused his blood to surge to circulate through his entire body, especially his bones, blood vessels, and spinal cord. They seemed to be most affected by this power.

’The Draconic Natal Soul is absorbing the crystal ’s unique power? I wonder what changes that will bring about. ’After watching over his heart for twelve full hours, he realized the changes taking place were unfathomably slow. Furthermore, his Draconic Natal Soul seemed to have sealed itself off during this transformation.

’Now that I think about it, each of my Natal Souls have defining characteristics except for my Draconic Natal Soul. While it is unique in and of itself, it doesn ’t have a particular attribute. ’His Divine Elemental Natal Soul and Divine Saber Natal Soul had exceptional spiritual strength, energies, sense, and quality due to their ’Divine ’ transformation. Even Wei Wuyin wasn ’t entirely sure of the massive benefits a ’Divine ’ Natal Soul will or could provide.

All he knew was that his spiritual abilities were massively amplified, and this better his control over Saber and Elemental Qi. Furthermore, their personal attribute was defined by Elemental and Saber, yet the Draconic Natal Soul could be said to lack a personal attribute.

Did this Jade Crystal act as a catalyst to give it a personal attribute, and if so, how far will it go? A wisp of excitement entered and soon fully impregnated his eyes! It seemed as if it was going to give birth to lofty aspirations.

”Lord Wei, ” a soft, yet stable voice called from outside his room. It was Su Mei.

Opening his eyes, he swiftly used his elemental wood and water qi to wash the blood and any bitter smell away before allowing Su Mei in.

Su Mei walked in, her aura was stable and seemed to contain an innate sharpness. She was garbed in black robes, her attire form-fitting and attractively valiant, and a dark-colored scabbard was at her hip. Even from within, her saber glistened an aura of a piercing sharpness that could hurt the eyes.

Wei Wuyin ’s eyes widened slightly as he regarded her aura. What…the…

”You birthed Saber Intent? ” He immediately asked, shocked by Su Mei ’s advancement in cultivation. While he knew she was more talented than him in terms of cultivation, he was shocked to discover her recent achievement.

Su Mei ’s eyes brightened momentarily, a tinge of happiness within as she nodded. ”It came about in a cultivation session earlier today. ”

Wei Wuyin stared at her for a quite a while. The more he understood the greater path of cultivation, especially in the Tri-Vision Starfield, the more he understood the scarcity of things in this world. The most scarce were those who birthed Ethereal Intent and high-level Alchemists.

While the starfield didn ’t put much importance to Ethereal Intent, because while it can improve cultivation prowess, so could armaments, established arrays, or spiritual formations. Given the right circumstances, a cultivator could kill an elite expert two phases above. It all depended on various factors.

”Good. ” Wei Wuyin softly remarked as he was relaxed in his heart. His intention was to develop his faction, Ascendants, as one that held quality over quantity, and Su Mei was a crucial piece to his structural hierarchy. As long as she could hold her own against monsters like Zuhei, she would be able to maintain a semblance of authority.

Su Mei held back her smile, maintaining a flat expression as she said, ”Lord Wei, I ’ve fully investigated the events of the Nascent Dust Examination. ”

”Oh? ” Wei Wuyin ’s eyes glowed slightly. He had given her an objective in hiring others to get a full report on what happened to the ascenders that were from the Myriad Yore Continent. He was quite curious about one person in particular: Mei Mei.

She had also been a part of the Nascent Dust Examination, but he didn ’t interfere in her choices or influence her status. This wasn ’t due to his unwillingness, but because of the Dao Companion Oath. Furthermore, he felt a feeling that he needed to stay away from her otherwise it could adversely affect him.

This wasn ’t an intuition from his Bloodline of Sin, but a direct feeling transmitted by the Heavenly Daos. While he was uncertain of the specifics, he made a few assumptions. He presumed that perhaps due to their Heavenly Oath, his interactions that could be misconstrued as establishing a relationship could lower his Karmic Luck Value.

After all, him knowingly interfering would be directly against the Heavenly Daos Will. This was a little frustrating, but this was probably for the best.

Su Mei explained, ”Mei Mei inevitably did not take the examination. Instead, she left, traveled around for a short period before she was picked up by one of the recruitment campaigns. It belonged to a sect from the Jinai Continent called the Rainbow Crane Sect. She was inducted after an examination and was brought away to the Jinai Continent. ”

Wei Wuyin frowned slightly. He knew that lesser sects or clans recruit from the Myriad Monarch Planet. Those from this planet or any of the three planets had a better environment, so their talents and cultivators were oftentimes exemplary. Unfortunately, those elite talents would choose to join the Myriad Monarch Sect.

In fact, most of these external sects were managed by factions led by Sky Nobles or Heavenly Kings.

”I ’ve investigated the Jinai Continent and Rainbow Crane Sect, they only accept female cultivators and are within the Myriad Monarch Astral Territory. It isn ’t too far, and their reputation is rather good in how they treat their disciples. It belongs to an Imperial Sage of the Extreme Origin Mountain named Bing Chunli. ” Su Mei thoroughly explained the rest of the facts.

Bing Chunli was an Imperial Sage that has been in power for over a hundred years and had control over several continents. She was renowned for her Ice & Frost Arts. It was said that one of the continents she controlled was a winter wonderland, and her and her clan had set it as their base of operations.

Her strength and reputation was considered rather good. After learning this, he felt some relief. While it was unlikely that him and Mei Mei would ever become more than what they currently were, he still owed her too much.

Others might not know…

But he did.

”There ’s also a report about Long Chen, ” Su Mei flatly stated as if she was in a contest to win ’most apathetic ’.

Wei Wuyin didn ’t care too much for Long Chen ’s matters, but his innate curiosity was explosive when it regarded that ring he kept on his finger. He felt it was the core reason for his success. It ’s funny how everyone in his sect and even the country had assumed his success was brought about by a mystical treasure of some sort when Long Chen was likely truly relying on some treasure or spirit yet was never thrown any suspicion.

He felt this was definitely the work of the Heavenly Daos concealing the truth from others. This was most definitely the case when everyone kept talking about his endless potential and boundless talent. It was as if they were certain that was the case.

In the end, he replied: ”Let ’s hear it. ”

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