| Chapter 545: Five breaths taken, five lives gone!
Translator: Sparrow Translations Editor: Sparrow Translations
The crowd was both in awe and in shock after witnessing the young man's unusual yet frightening spell.
There were five other cultivators who similarly summoned their spells to attack him but were just a step behind the first Beginner Nascent Soul cultivator. After witnessing the downfall of their quicker counterpart, they hastily retreated in trepidation but were unfortunately a moment too late.
"Samsara." The young man pointed his finger at them. The eight natural phenomena - the sky, earth, water, fire, wind, thunder, mountain, and lake - appeared before him and arranged themselves according to their respective positions in the Eight Trigrams, creating a halo.
The halo spun at an incredible speed and expanded continuously, seemingly forming a miniature world which engulfed the combined attacks of a whooping five Nascent Soul cultivators. The miniature world was deep and eerie like the River Styx of the Netherworld from the Samsara of Life and Death, devouring the opponents' spells without a single sound.
The young man did not halt his attack and instead continued pointing lightly with his finger. After five consecutive times, the space occupied by each of the five attacking cultivators transformed into a pitch-black world of destruction. The appearance of these black spaces came without warning and instantly blurred the boundaries of space, turning a normal patch of space into a death zone, annihilating the victims trapped inside to oblivion without any time for them to react, not leaving a single lingering trace of their existence.
After effortlessly eradicating the first cultivator, the man now claimed the lives of five other Beginner Nascent Soul cultivators. Their deaths came so easily and so suddenly, which greatly diminished the gravity of these losses. Five points of his finger and five Nascent Soul Grandmasters perished, taking no longer than the time needed to take five breaths of air.
One breath, one point of his finger, and one Beginner Nascent Soul cultivator was killed! And the culprit was merely a cultivator in the Advanced Aurous Core stage!
Everyone present had goosebumps from watching this horrifying scene unfold. That man's spell was so formidable yet so bizarre that it struck fear into everyone's hearts. Furthermore, his overwhelming murderous intent and cruel spells made everyone cast sidelong glances at him in absolute terror. Anyone with the gall to launch an assault on him would be a dead man.
They could sense an aura of destruction emanating from him, and could ascertain for sure that he had already been enlightened on the various mysteries of space despite his Advanced Aurous Core mastery, which astounded and intimidated them even more. After all, all the victims he claimed were powerhouses in the Nascent Soul stage, all of whom have already undergone the Thunderstorm Tribulation, formed their Nascent Souls and began comprehending the profound secrets of space. Yet, not a single one of them could escape after falling into the void of destruction, and all were obliterated instantly without even a bone left of them.
One of the Advanced Nascent Soul Grandmasters remained silent as the top of his head flickered with a flashing green light. He leapt out with his Cosmic Form and charged straight for the young man. Even though his opponent's tactics were peculiar and highly unpredictable, he nonetheless swore to avenge the fallen comrades from his sect.
The young man raised his head and saw the Cosmic Form towering at over thirty meters, nodding as he felt the incredible power it exuded. With a light clap of his hands, a long murky path of black and yellow appeared amidst the space, and the end of the road lay a vast, raging river.
The water was turbulent and relentless, surging with monstrous vigour yet not producing a single sound. Instead, there was ghastly silence, which aroused the curiosity and amazement of many. The flowing water was filled with the power to cleanse and eradicate all beings.
The opponent's immense Cosmic Form was caught in the tumbling waves, upheaved and tossed about in the tempestuous current. The Cosmic Form's mana was violently worn down under the incessant pounding of the river, crumbling like a pile of sand.
The river was like the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead. Stepping into this river meant certain death.
Upon witnessing this incredible sight, a massive uproar rippled through the crowd. Even the remaining Grandmasters in the Advanced Nascent Soul stage turned pale from shock. No one had expected that an Advanced Aurous Core cultivator could hold his own against an Advanced Nascent Soul cultivator who exceeded his mastery level by an entire stage, and even gain the upper hand in such a face-off. Furthermore, the Cosmic Form already proved to be the strongest weapon in the Advanced Nascent Soul cultivator's arsenal. For anyone of a lower mastery level, death would be the sole outcome if they dared set foot in the river. Even powerhouses in the Advanced Nascent Soul stage would face certain doom if they failed to activate their Cosmic Form to defend themselves.
Shi Tianyi's interest was greatly piqued. He opened his pair of Polycoria eyes which danced and rotated like the sun and moon, focusing them on the young man.
"Hm?" The young man turned around abruptly and stared Shi Tianyi in the eyes with a cold, merciless gaze, completely unfazed by the intimidating quality of his Polycoria.
The glow of Shi Tianyi's pupils grew brighter and brighter. His Polycoria boasted frightening capabilities. Putting its myriad of uses aside, just his gaze alone could deal ravaging suppressive effects on an opponent's soul. Anyone who catches his gaze directly would have their souls destabilized or worse, damaged. Among those who had battled him before, only the Marquis of Jinghuan could stare him down directly. Besides the Marquis, even respected cultivators in the Advanced Nascent Soul stage would avoid his line of vision, never once daring to meet his gaze.
And yet, there was this white-haired young man standing before him, completely unaffected by his Polycoria despite his mere Advanced Aurous Core mastery. Besides his formidable mana and Abhijina, the strength and tenacity of this man's soul also exceeded that of ordinary people. He looked Shi Tianyi fixedly straight in the eyes, completely ignoring the Advanced Nascent Soul Grandmaster trapped in the river. As the dirty yellow waters retreated, the opponent hurriedly retracted his Cosmic Form in horror.
"You there with Polycoria, are you Shi Tianyi?" The young man stared at Shi Tianyi with his dull, ice-cold eyes.
Shi Tianyi replied calmly, "Indeed I am. You ..."
Without even allowing Shi Tianyi to complete his sentence, the young man abruptly lifted his finger and pointed at him. The section of space which Shi Tianyi occupied was promptly engulfed by a wave of destruction, fading to darkness as the boundaries in space became clouded and indistinct. Everything cloaked in darkness was instantly obliterated.
"Although it looked as if it appeared instantly, some attempts are noticeably quicker than others." Shi Tianyi's pair of dual pupils glowed and glimmered. Under his gaze, even the emergence of the dark destructive powers seemed to have slowed.
With a sweeping scan, Shi Tianyi located the gap where his opponent's mana was corroding and distorting space, and he managed to escape the portion of space he originally occupied with a single step out.
The crowd was astonished. This was the young man's first blunder since he emerged.
Shi Tianyi dodged the attack, glared at the man and muttered, "So it is you, the third disciple of the Leader of the Celestial Sect of Wonders, Wang Lin!"
The young man seemed completely indifferent towards his first unsuccessful kill, and simply maintained his cold fixated gaze on Shi Tianyi. He was indeed the person that previously entered the Void Battleground - Wang Lin!
Among the spectating cultivators, some were thoroughly baffled while others initially appeared astonished before subsequently dawning upon what exactly occurred. Those confounded by the developments had all spent an extended period of time within the Void Battleground, unable to receive any information from the outside world and were hence completely unaware of the achievements of Wang Lin and the Celestial Sect of Wonders. On the other hand, those who were initially astounded but eventually reconciled themselves to the possibility and legitimacy of the situation were people who either entered the Void Battleground more recently or had already gotten wind of the news. This group of cultivators were greatly impressed. No wonder, they thought, no wonder this man was as powerful as he was.
This man was also another Immediate Disciple of the Leader of the Celestial Sect of Wonders. That was why he possessed such tremendous strength and was capable of slaying Nascent Soul cultivators with such ease as if he were slaughtering livestock despite only being in the Aurous Core stage.
The Celestial Sect of Wonders was truly a force to be reckoned with, with all of its leader's Immediate Disciples being harbingers of disaster and turmoil. First there was Xiao Yan who vanquished the Yu Family, then there was Zhu Yi who butchered several Advanced Nascent Soul cultivators of the Great Zhou Empire, not to mention Shi Tianhao's agreement to face off against Shi Tianyi. And now, Wang Lin emerged out of nowhere bearing even stronger bloodlust and hostility than his peers, killing off Beginner Nascent Soul cultivators with the sheer ease of eating and drinking. He even fended off the Cosmic Form of an Advanced Nascent Soul powerhouse without much effort.
Those previously oblivious to what happened in the outside world quickly asked around to be updated on the news. After hearing about the feats that Lin Feng and his disciples accomplished, their first reaction was to question the sheer plausibility of such ground-breaking news. But after witnessing what Wang Lin just did, even the most doubtful cynics could not say a word.
"The Celestial Sect of Wonders and its Leader, just what sort of monstrosities are they ..." The crowd lamented to themselves and felt even more perplexed as they gaped at Wang Lin. Yet at the same time, the onlookers finally understood why the merciless Wang Lin who killed indiscriminately would intentionally spare the cultivator in the Advanced Nascent Soul stage.
It was not because he lacked the confidence to kill, neither was it that he had a sudden change of heart. He did so solely because there was someone else he yearned to eradicate a lot more!
That person applied ruthless, underhand means on his Little Junior Shi Tianhao when the latter was still in his swaddling clothes, and was the main culprit who caused Shi Tianhao so much pain and agony - the Man with Polycoria, Shi Tianyi.
Wang Lin was cold and taciturn, but a steady flame blazed in his heart. This flame was neither intense nor warm, but it boasted a quality of tenacity and grit that far exceeded that of many others.
"Since you sabotaged my Little Junior's Tao Foundation, I will destroy your Nascent Soul." Wang Lin glared at Shi Tianyi with stone-cold eyes and said nothing more as black clouds began swirling around him. His entire persona became hauntingly sombre and grim which made those around him feel incomparably suffocated and despondent, as if the Lord of the Netherworld had descended upon the mortal world to turn it into a bleak hell of destruction.
A black and yellow path opened. lt was long, dismal and seemingly endless - the uphill Road to River Styx. Embarking on this path brings one to the River Styx Samsara and subsequently to the Netherworld Hell.
Shi Tianyi gazed at Wang Lin and tilted his head slightly to one side. "Xiao Yan was like this too. Do all of you just love interfering with others' affairs?"
As he said this, he stepped on the space and stomped down in succession. His body shuttled back and forth through space, unleashing his Vanishing Heaven-Ascending Spell to the greatest possible extent. But Wang Lin's Road to River Styx was even more terrifying than his Finger of Destruction. Once the black and yellow path opened, it was as if the actual River Styx from the Netherworld forged with the Void Battleground.
Shi Tianyi displayed the Great Void Sect's Heaven-Ascending Spell in its fullest glory, but it dealt no impact whatsoever. A few steps later, his foot actually landed on the Road to River Styx. His soul was instantly swarmed and gnawed at by the boundless power of the Samsara. Tens of thousands of skeletal claws emerged from the road surface, attempting to drag him underneath. Countless images representing the broken fragments of his Samsara memory flashed before Shi Tianyi's eyes.
"Exploration of the Great Void Thinking." Shi Tianyi then let out a booming bellow as his soul trembled. A formless wave of energy abruptly stiffened his soul, shielding it from the effects of the power of the Samsara.
In the human cultivation world of the Divine Lands, mantras that specialize in harnessing the soul and forgo the manipulation of spiritual energy are especially rare. The soul cultivators hailing from the Royal House of the Northern Tribes are particularly renowned in this aspect, but the Great Void Sect also boasts the "Exploration of the Great Void Thinking" which is in no way inferior to the Northern Tribes' mantras.
Shi Tianyi was born with Polycoria and a comparatively weaker physical body which had to be strengthened using the Acalanatha Tathagata Mantra. However, his strongest suit was always his soul, so how could he not enhance it even further to bolster its strength to newer heights?
Having stabilized his soul to prevent further damage from the Road to River Styx, his pair of dual-pupil eyes glowed with a resplendent brilliance. Wherever his vision landed, the skeletal claws in his line of sight instantly shattered into dust, sweeping away all the Samsara memory fragments as well.
"The past is all but an illusion. Only the present holds the truth."