Aside from the four great oceans that connected the world of immortals, there were nine majors, ten lands, four immortal seas, and a central world.
Everyone knew that much.
The last of these, however, had always been shrouded in mystery. The public knew of its existence, but not how to actually reach it. Eighty thousand years ago, the divines had ruled on high from within the central world. However, that facet was also their later source of misfortune.
In the present world, not even the nine celestial emperors knew where the central world was located.
“Youre telling me this is the central world” Lu Yun shivered with incredulous anticipation.
During the Dao Flowers bloom and repair of the cultivation path, Qing Hans will had enveloped the entire world as the flowers proxy. There was only a single place the flowers light had been unable to reach: the central world!
As such, she was especially sensitive to this place. The Dao Flower hadnt been incapable, but had been rejected by some force from the twenty-fourth facet.
“This is the central world It... looks like a graveyard!” Lu Yun mouthed each word slowly, body tightly tensed up. Now that he was closer, he could see what the island actually looked like.
Rather than an island, it seemed the tip of a continent. The layout upon it was an enormous graveyard.
Unlike a proper tomb or mausoleum, a graveyard had no structure to speak of. A mausoleum was a complete system in itself. There existed an interconnected relationship between all the tombs within that, together, formed a whole and comprehensive layout. However, no matter how many burial sites lay within a graveyard, it would remain a vast, deserted wasteland.
Qing Han abruptly turned toward Lu Yun, her expression aghast. The Wolfking, gorilla, and little nun were similarly taken aback.
“What central world What graveyard What in the world are you talking about” the little nun asked in a trembling voice.
“The Path of Ingress has taken us here, to the central world… but all I can see is a huge graveyard!” Lu Yun took a deep breath.
They were fully off the Path of Ingress now, padding over a greyish land that was devoid of color. Although they hadnt fully reached the region ahead just yet, they werent far off.
It appeared that fighting was forbidden here, as even the divines had settled down after arriving. Plenty of cultivators were already there. Some rested in cross-legged meditation, while others glanced around furtively.
“Were not allowed to attack each other here. Anyone who does so will be instantly eliminated,” a voice suddenly reminded the newcomers.
“Hmm” Lu Yun looked toward the source of the voice, as the speaker was someone he recognized: Mo Chenfeng of Lazuli Major, a kinsman of Mo Qitian. He nodded in gratitude to his old acquaintance.
Mo Qitian was nearby as well, at complete odds from his usual lively self. There was an aggressive dominance around him that gathered other Mo cultivators closer to him in nervous attention.
Mo Chenfeng was already considered one of the brightest in his clan. Lu Yuns sword ocean intent and Vast Dragon Seaturner had both used him as a source of inspiration. However, his personality seemed to be completely stifled before Mo Qitian. After his reminder to Lu Yun, Mo Chenfeng carefully sat down beside his kinsman without another word.
Lu Yuns lip curled slightly, but he didnt comment. There was definitely something off about Mo Qitian. This simply wasnt the same young man that Lu Yun had once known.
The young man tried opening his Spectral Eye, but the results were rather fruitless. Mo Qitian looked the same, and he was definitely still alive, but…
“Mo Qitian feels strange, somehow. Somethings wrong,” whispered Qing Han.
Before Lu Yun could respond, there was a bit of a commotion slightly further away.
“Hahaha… well, well, well. Isnt this the young Wolfking of the silver bloodline Youve been enslaved as a mount by humans, havent you What shameful behavior for royalty!” The remark came from a bald man with a pair of golden horns on his head; clearly, he was an ox monster of some sort. His humanoid form informed everyone else that his tribe hadnt joined Levitating Islands sacred land.
Internally, the monster spirits were now split in opinion. Some had joined Levitating Islands sacred land, while others remained loyal to the ten lands monster courts.
The main way they differentiated themselves was in the form they preferred. Sympathizers of the new faction reverted to their original forms, while ten-lands loyalists remained humanoid.
Due to Levitating Islands sacred land being very new, the two factions hadnt had a chance to enter into any material conflict as of yet. However, tensions had definitely built up over the past few months.
There would be war between them, sooner or later.
Fighting was forbidden here, but snide words could still be exchanged. The monsters on the opposite side began to loudly mock the Wolfking and gorilla. The formers face clouded over, but it ultimately didnt respond.
“Take human form, then stay close to me.” Qing Han reacted to the banter with considerably more annoyance.
The wolf complied; after a flash of silver light, a pale-haired girl of sixteen appeared at Qing Hans side. She cut a surprisingly lithe and beautiful figure.
“A female!” The silverback gorilla blurted out instinctively, voicing the stunned thoughts of the group aloud.
The silver-haired girl reddened slightly, and she cast the latest in a succession of vicious glares at the gorilla. The monsters on the other side were similarly at a loss for words.
Three days passed in no time at all.
The Sovereign Ranking rumbled once more. The cultivators still stuck on the path were transported back by the glow of their Life Glyphs. In the end, only five hundred thousand were successfully able to traverse the first round.
It was a sizable number, at first blush, but the second rounds participants had been selected from among thirty million competitors! Now, less than two percent remained—incredibly terrifying odds, upon further thought.
The second round of the Sovereign Ranking would last a month. Over the next thirty days, all five hundred thousand of the cultivators needed to survive in the dark land before them. Mutual elimination… was permitted!
Surviving was necessary to qualify for the third and final round.
In addition to these rules, the Sovereign Ranking pointed out the dual existences of great opportunity and terror in the land ahead. It wouldnt be easy to last four weeks in such a harsh, foreign environment.
“Great opportunity Great terror” Lu Yun sighed softly. “Ancient experts and heritages are buried in a graveyard. Of course theres a lot to find. The air of resentment is really intense here, though. Who knows what kind of monsters have been born in this place”-