San Yongli held two inactive fragments in her hand. She cut a stunning figure in her white and red robes, her equally as pristinely white, long hair fluttered in the air, her gait as even and steady as the earth itself, and her looks worthy of admiration.
Despite her earth-seizing temperament and heaven-toppling appearance, the name San Yongli had very little hype surrounding it. She was largely known as the adopted daughter of the Tri-Vision Alchemic Saint, but as the news cycle was continuously dominated by Wei Wuyin and his antics, she was barely mentioned outside of very niche, specific topics.
The dissipating pillar of radiance shone down upon her visage, naturally attracting the focus of those observing the area. She was alone. Tambu Ma's eyes observed this young woman and the thought that she was extraordinary couldn't help but swell within his mind, cascading against his bias and ingrained beliefs of puny, mortal humans. As his thoughts contested her image with a potential fight, from the core of his soul, he felt as if he would end up on the losing end-he sensed danger. Normally, this wouldn't happen, but as his Heart of Cultivation was currently in a precarious state of being in shambles, his originally firm will and self-confidence were no longer as sturdy and resilient in the face of enemies.
Despite his feelings, Tambu Ma walked forward and met San Yongli. The female mortal of the San Clan had to look up to find the eyes of this eighteen-foot-tall titan. She looked undaunted by his imposing form or roiling aura.
"Give me the fragment and we'll merge it," Tambu Ma calmly said. San Yongli frowned slightly, but if it wasn't for Wen Mingna's earlier words, she would've refused without any hesitation. She calmly replied by encapsulating the fragment with her astral force, sending it forward.
Tambu Ma subconsciously reached out. But as his eyes observed the force enveloping the fragment, his eyes widened. It was the color of rich amber, resembling light honey freshly extracted, but there was a quality within that felt fiery, tyrannical, imperialistic, forceful, destructive, sage-like, serene, fluid, pervasive, and heavenly. The various opposing sensations caused his Spiritual Sense to experience a twist.
Tambu Ma felt a sudden prick in his glabella. He violently grimaced in pain. Instinctively, he circulated his innate mental energies, alleviating the feeling originating from his Sea of Consciousness almost immediately. But within the depths of his heart was a type of looming fear that was impossible to remove. When he looked at San Yongli again, for the first time in his life against a mortal human, he felt small.
San Yongli retrieved her astral force before Tambu Ma could comment. Interrupting him with a cool, indifferent voice: "I hope you'll share the benefits before thinking of crowning anyone. Our alchemists will be in the forest region to the north waiting." With that, she turned on her heel without incongruity in her movements, in perfect harmony with the world's ambient mana.
Tambu Ma felt that her body had become one with the world's mana, forming a unique resonance. This caused him to be baffled. He softly muttered in shock, "True World Resonance Body?!" Who was this woman? What connections does this woman have with that figure?! Before he could delve into that, a voice called out to him from behind.
"Hurry and merge the fragments," Da Shan said while actively cultivating. Normally, Tambu Ma would scoff at the order from a mortal, let alone a demonic spawn, but he oddly simply assented, walking back to Da Shan as he gave San Yongli one last look. The curiosity in his eyes was burning through his gaze, but he didn't follow through with his desire to ask.
He took the void crystals that contained the images of the Alchemists and gave them a curious glance. This crystal had frightened him earlier despite not openly showcasing his feelings. To think that these alchemists had been shrunk into crystals. Were they like pseudo-Internal Worlds? He couldn't help but grow curious.
He took Da Shan's instructions on how to release them and flew away. Seeing how no one was going with him, as he looked back toward the pillar, his Heart of Cultivation which was on the verge of crumbling all but collapsed at that moment. They didn't even treat him, an Earthly Saint, as a threat as they freely allowed him to create the Evercrown. How ridiculous and humiliating was this?
With a gloomy light in his eyes, he found the alchemists that belonged to San Yongli's group, easily identifying them based on their attire that heavily resembled each other and sported the same insignia of the Hepta-Dawn Alchemic Corps. When he released his Alchemists, Tian Xiaolu and Qingye Ying both left with slightly baffled expressions.
The non-Ascendant alchemists had expressions that were outrageously taken aback. There were a few that had yearning in their eyes, so dense that it could instill great discomfort in the soul.
"Why did you take us out of there?!" One of them ruthlessly questioned with a grievance. The spatial dimension within the crystal was extremely peaceful, to the point where their thoughts were abnormally clear, with no clutter or distractions, and they could focus on cultivation with an indescribable efficiency.
Tambu Ma frowned.
"Did we already obtain the other fragments?" Tian Xiaolu was also looking a little forlorn for losing such an environment. There was a natural harmony of mortal and mystic within that space, allowing her to contemplate various topics with a clarity that exceeded the greatest cultivation zones.
Tambu Ma brought out the three fragments. "Merge these three as a group," after giving these instructions, he moved to the side, sat down, and acted as their dharma protector as any shockwaves or disturbances would be handled by him. While the mortals cultivated, he had been relegated to a defender for the alchemists. He didn't have any gripe with this role, however.
The two groups of alchemists soon saw each other and realized. They didn't hesitate despite their yearning or anger. After all, the fragments contained a blessed opportunity that one could only wish for. 𝒇𝓻𝙚𝙚𝙬𝙚𝒃𝙣𝒐𝓿𝙚𝓵.𝒄𝒐𝒎
Tian Xiaolu and Qingye Ying had started. Unbeknownst to these alchemists and even Tambu Ma, a little girl was now in their midst. She was ethereal. None of them seemed to notice her as if she was the darkness inside their skulls. Bei Yinyin seriously contributed her alchemical power as if instructed prior, not wanting to fail. Beneath her feet was a dark shadow that exuded a world-shading force, blocking all forms of sense from honing onto her petite ethereal figure.
The rest of the alchemists didn't delay either, pouring copious amounts of Alchemical Force as they gathered their comprehension of the Seven Aspects of the Alchemic Dao and worked in tandem, correcting the inherent flaws of the others and supplementing their strengths. The process for the final merging of the Evercrown was underway!
San Yongli stood off in the distance, observing the geysering pillar with a calm expression. Inwardly, however, she was ever-contemplative as she recalled Tambu Ma's reaction to her. While she had obtained Yi Yun's True World, Martial Way Method, she wasn't very clear on its origins, and the soul within her jade refused to speak about it.
The only speck of info she obtained was that the soul reminded her to not try to exceed the limitations of her existence once again. This was a flat warning yet it told her quite a bit. Whoever this method belonged to that was Yi Yun's greatest defining fortune described in the Book of Heaven's Path was likely to touch upon the levels of the Ascended Sovereigns or very close.
Wen Mingna walked up to her side, "Are you prepared?"
San Yongli's gaze remained on the pillar, but she nodded firmly. She had prepared since day one of the Chosen King Competition. Just like Tian Yinwu, she never intended to become the Chosen King; the title itself held very little importance to her, especially as she was fully aware of the mountains of burdens that came with it.
They both had avenues of information that allowed them to switch their priorities. Moreover, they both had yet to step upon the final phase of the Mortal Realms, waiting for a great, heaven-defying opportunity.
Wen Mingna smiled. Subtly, her Fate Soul vibrated softly. As it did, her eyes saw streams of faint golden gossamer-like material slowly entering San Yongli's glabella. These things were as invisible to most as karmic ties, karmic fortune, and karmic sin. It was as if she was stealing karmic ties and thereby its linked fortune with every breath.
BOOSH!!!A heaven-shaking eruption of alchemical radiance exploded from the forest region, blasting directly into the sky. The sound attracted all eyes as they saw a seven-colored, gorgeously majestic aurora borealis in the sky. The sight shook hearts and inspired dreams.
At the center of an island within a gargantuan lake region, two men stood shoulder to shoulder.
Yao Huoyi and Shui Fengbao!
"Brother Yao, I'll try not to hold you back." The Child of Fire firmly stated.
"You won't," The Archer replied.
Three women of outstanding beauty and a small dragon stood on the peak of a sky-piercing mountain. They could see the seven-colored aurora borealis in its entirety, observing all its enchanting beauty and allure that could tug the heart and tempt the soul.
Wu Baozhai!Na Xinyi!Xue Yifei! And Ernu!
"Don't get careless," Wu Baozhai strongly reminded.
Xue Yifei replied with a smile that was not a smile.
"I won't," Na Xinyi said.
A figure obscured by light hovered slightly above the ground of a barren region.
The Light of the Ascendant Emperor waited.
Da Shan rose from her seated position as she brought out her bronze warhammer, allowing it to fissure the ground from its weight. If this was a tiny-sized planet, it would have been on the verge of total collapse.
"Are you sure you want to do this?" Da Shan asked.
Lin Ziyan was beside her, fearless despite the warhammer's weighty display. "If I'm going to support someone in this, I need someone who might have a chance against Sister Xinyi. So yes-and I'll do my best."
Da Shan gave the blue-eyed brunette another look. "At least you dare to fight for opportunities."
To her right, Bo Kay was also there, simply holding a grim frown. "We need to watch out for Commander Hong..." Bo Kay warned, already deciding to throw his lot with his fellow demonkind. While he wasn't preferential, he had a friendly relationship with Da Shan long before he knew Wei Wuyin. In fact, it was Bo Kay who told Wei Wuyin of the courageous and battle-addicted young demon causing trouble in the Extreme Demon Mountains, inspiring him to take a look.
He was responsible for their union! At least, in his mind.
"I got it," Da Shan's eyes returned to stare at the gorgeous array of lights in the sky. It was utterly breathtaking, yet the air felt increasingly difficult to breathe as an invisible pressure mounted.
In a grassland region.
"Together for now?" Bei Weiwei offered.
"For now," Hong Chunhua agreed.
Commanders, Prime Ascendants, and the Valkyrie of the Ascendants were all watching the sky as a singular unit, as if they were of one mind and one heart, waiting for its astonishing brilliance to fade...
[Author's Note: HYPE! And this ain't all! >=D]
Erdiul's Note: Su Mei about to clear all of them.