The Martial Path

edited June 2018 in Original Stories

Chapter 1: The Light of Dawn!

A seemingly endless dark plain filled with the miserable corpses of both, humans and fey alike.

The scene around Di Feng could exactly be described with those few words.

He, a fifteen year old boy, stood upright while holding with his right hand a black spear of about nine feet in lenght that currently pointed straight at the eyebrows of the shadowy figure of a tall man.

With an indifferent expression on his handsome face and with his body tattered and semi covered in blood, Di Feng's azure eyes looked coldly at the opponent in front of him, one that he was about to fight for what he thought would be the one hundred thousandth time.

This current scenario had already made him numb and he no longer felt scared, nor did he feel any fear, panic or anxiousness in the presence of such gore.

Even that long forgotten awe he had for the man in front was something of the past.

But even then, he kept on coming here because he needed to defeat this man, he needed to win! If he didn't win, he would remain a useless trash forever!

The figure of the man in front of him was obscured and because of that he seemed just like a shadow. Only two azure lights that glowed brightly on his head that seemed his eyes could be clearly seen. Those eyes watched him with a fixed stare that seemed to regard him as prey.

In his left hand, the man held a ten foot long crimson lance which currently pointed straight at the ground.

A desolate atmosphere filled the battlefield while Di Feng abruptly released a rolling killing intent as he stared at the man in front of him, ready to attack at any time.

Di Feng's eyes flashed and he moved, thrusting his spear forwards! He seemed to become one with the spear as his figure rushed at the man.

Dark energy shrouded the tip of the spear, rotating in a spiral. As it passed thorought the void, that dark energy appeared to consume all light.

The man clearly saw what Di Feng was doing but he clearly did not paid it much attention, his attitude calm and unhurried.

It was only when Di Feng got a bit closer that the man moved. He stepped forwards and moved his lance to meet Di Feng's. All the while, his azure eyes never looking away from Di Feng.

"Hmph!"

Di Feng coldly snorted. His spear strike suddenly accelerated. Flashing after images were left in its wake while space distorted in front!

This strike resembled the dive of a black dragon as a tyrannical aura was released from the dark spear.

Meanwhile, all time seemed to slow down around the duo while killing intent raged wantonly about!

Their clash gave the impresion that it could crack the earth and divide the skies!

Di Feng's heart started beating erraticaly at this point. He couldn't help it, victory was too important for him and he thought that he could finally have it today.

In Di Feng's eyes, the only thing that remained was that crimson lance, which didn't emit any kind of special aura, nor did it even seem to release energy.

Their clash was inminent!

But...

The man's azure eyes lit up and a pitch black glow seemed to flash from them.

"You, have not grasped yet the true meaning of darkness..."

A grim and almost mechanic voice resounded in Di Feng's ears, causing him to almost falter from surprise and his eyes to widen in disbelief at what happened next...

The man's crimson lance turned completely black and all light around it dissapeared. The crimson lance itself resembled a black hole as even sound was consumed in its wake. Even the shadows and spatial distortions produced by Di Feng's spear strike were devoured!

The difference was just too great... This was a much more advanced boundary of the power of darkness than Di Feng's.

The tremendous amounts of dark energy and strength accumulated on his spear strike were cleanly devoured in a split second before even colliding with the dark lance who continued on in its trajectory towards him.

As it got near, his right arm started to disintegrate till it completely dissapeared.

Di Feng's azure eyes were wide, complete disbelief showing on them as he experienced this. He could feel no pain, just absolute emptiness start to consume him, while his entire body started crumbling...

The man's voice seemed to come from the abyss of hell as it reached his ear. A cold and indifferent feeling was transmitted over. Amidst that coldness, a strange kind of appreciation could barely be felt.

"You passed, do not dissapoint me..."

And in the next instant, his sense of self completely dissapeared with his mind turning black.

.....

The full moon hung high in the sky while the stars shone brightly, bathing the world with their astral light.

Near an expansive forest filled with vegetation but almost no animal life, an ordinary wooden house was built. Currently, black mist was coming out of this wooden house, spreading towards the surroundings in a slow fashion.

An aura of gloom was carried out by the black mist wherever it went.

Going inside the house, one could see that it only had a living room, two dorms and only one bathroom. And inside the house, the black mist was even thicker while a faint aura of tyranny could be felt from it. If one looked at the dorm to the right, one would notice that the black mist was seeping out of it.

On that room, a young man lay on the bed, with his body drenched in sweat and his clothes stuck tightly onto his flesh. His brows furrowed and his mouth clenched. From time to time, he would tremble and his body would glow with a faint red before releasing some black mist.

Abruptly, the enchanting figure of a woman wearing white clothes stepped thorought the void and appeared in front of the young man.

Quietly, she stood there and stared with mixed emotions at the young man.

"It seems that you finally succeeded..."

She sighed quietly as memories flashed thorough her soul and made her feel melancholic as well as somewhat sad and lonely. But when she looked at the young man, a smile filled with gentleness washed away her complicated mood.

As time passed, the black mist only became thicker while the crimson glow being emitted by the young man became more frequent.

Minutes passed, hours went by and dawn finally arrived...

Now, all black mist had retreated back into the young man's body which was currently enveloped by a crimson cocoon. This crimson cocoon emitted an aura of vibrant vitality and gave others a feeling of strength and tyranny.

And at this moment, the cocoon cracked. Red light overflowed as the cocoon crumbled apart and revealed the figure of a naked young man. A loud thumping sound could be heard from within his body, resembling the beating of a heart.

Red light surrounded his body, condensing over and over till finally forming the phantom of a dragon. The dragon flew around his body for some time before it roared and merged with the young man's body.

Cracking sounds resounded as true qi condensed inside his body and opened his first three meridians...

At this moment, the door, that had been forcefully blocking him outside all this while, finally opened...

Faintly, the light of dawn shone from the window and crawled up from the ground all the way towards the sleeping young man, illuminating his body and giving him some degree of warmth....


-- Hello there, KuroXue here... I'm also posting this novel with many more chapters on webnovel.com, if you need proof on my identity then just ask. I want to publish on both websites mainly due to how different they are and also because i'm not attached to any of the two. 

Thanks for reading! --

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  • Chapter 2: Qi Condensation, The Nine Seals.

    According to legends, thousands of years ago, humanity had to reconstruct their path towards absolute power that is cultivation from scratch due to the changes in the heavenly dao rules, making is so that cultivation was no longer favored by it. From then on, cultivation became something that, instead of going along the heavenly dao, it violated its rules. That is to say that cultivators from before followed the path that the heavenly dao showed them.

    Many years after the change in heavenly dao rules, human cultivators managed to rise from the ashes and create their own path, the martial path, a path where one would take and gain power from the heavenly dao and rise against it, with the only goal being that of completely surpassing the heavenly dao, defying its will and becoming eternal!

    Sadly, only ten realms exists within the current martial path of humanity and even upon reaching the tenth realm, that fabled goal is unachievable. It is even said that this is because the martial path isn't complete, that it lacks something to be able of reaching that state of absolute power.

    As it is, the martial path consists of two main factors, that of energy which refers to true qi, and the dao, something that defines itself as one's own path in comprehending the laws of the universe and their powers, as well as of the heavenly dao itself, to make it ones own.

    Qi condensation is the start of said martial path. It is where a marrial artist first condenses their true qi from nothingness using the spiritual energy of heaven and earth before then striving to refine it even further and open the full one hundred and eight meridians that exist within the human body, reaching then a state of completion.

    This realm is also known as the preparation to open the dantian, the inner dimension inherent to the human body.

    ...

    Di Feng opened his eyes and withdrew the green jade slip that he was reading just moments ago into his spatial ring.

    "Qi condensation..." He muttered to himself.

    According to its description, Di Feng currently could be considered of being in the first layer of qi condensation. His true qi vessel was deep and seemed to form a small stream, as thin as a hand. It was located within his first opened meridian and moved along between all three of his opened meridians.

    Now, Di Feng has to keep nourishing the true qi vessel and open more meridians so that a circulatory path of energy can be established within his body.

    Normally, ordinary martial artists would open eight meridians per layer of qi condensation while geniuses would manage to open ten or even twelve each time. Even then, to fully open the one hundred and eight meridians was definitely difficult and probably only one in a hundred million geniuses would be able to achieve this, if statistics could even be made!

    Di Feng suddenly took out a white pill the size of his pinky and sat down cross legged on the bed. This pill was called the Channel Opening Pill and contained a very pure and abundant spiritual energy that one could refine easily and the use it to impact the meridians so as to open them. It was only effective for those below the third layer of qi condensation however.

    Di Feng directly ate it and started breathing in an specific manner following his own Tyrant Dragon Method. The pure influx of spiritual energy traveled over his three meridians, nourishing his true qi vessel before moving towards another closed meridian.

    As the stream of spiritual energy got closer, its high amounts of pure energy directly forced open the meridian before moving towards another.

    Time passed and like this, the spiritual energy from the pill was drained dry but only five meridians ended up opening. Strangely enough, over half of the spiritual energy of the pill was absorbed by his heart, blood as well as his muscles, flesh and skin as he circulated it while trying to open them.

    Di Feng exhaled a breath of foul air before opening his eyes. His brow furrowed in the next moment as he recalled his recent cultivation.

    "Those damned seals, they not only block off my fey bloodline and bodily attributes, but also even supress the part that I just unsealed! Like this, apart from being able of cultivating, my bloodline can't do much for me now... the only relief is that at least, my body got stronger and my affinity with the laws of darkness increased a bit..."

    Di Feng grumbled.

    He clearly remembered all the effort he had to put these last few years to not only pass the trials of the mysterious world within the first seal, but even more so to gain the approval of that shadow man so as to finally break said seal and gain the ability to cultivate. It was obvious that with that much effort, one would expect great rewards, but there weren't many at all...

    For Di Feng, who was half ancient fey and half human, his ancient fey bloodline and bodily attributes were supposed to be his greatest advantages but now they were not only supressed, but even his cultivation would be slowed down by them due to their huge need for nourishment and in return, he would not get much more than the strengthening of his body and the nourishment of his blood and vitality, things that of course were beneficial but still would come at a great cost. Di Feng would only feel that it was worth it if he could release some of the power of his bloodline, which he currently couldn't and probably for a great deal of time to come because of the seals.

    In turn, only by practicing the Tyrant Dragon Method, something that his father left behind, would he be able of making full use of his advantages and minimize his disadvantages.

    This method was one that was specifically made for him and one that perfectly let him practice human martial arts and one that would also nourish his ancient fey attributes, making them stronger over time.

    Di Feng sighed, feeling that his own martial path would be much more difficult than others. Well, it already was considering how he started later than anyone else...

    He proceeded to walk out of his room and what greeted him was the sight of his mother, Di Yue, meditating quietly in the living room.

    She was a tall woman, over half a head taller than even him who was over 1,7 meters in height. She wore a white robe that covered almost her entire body while her long and silky black hair cascaded down her shoulders.

    As she sat there with her eyes closed, a golden halo seemed to shine around her body, making her seem holy and untouchable.

    Di Feng silently walked over and sat in front of her. He always liked to sit beside her as she meditated. It strangely made him feel calmer.

    His thoughts then started to drift and he ended up thinking about his father...

    He knew almost nothing of him except his name, which was Long Chen. As for his feelings towards him, they also couldn't be termed to as 'love' or 'longing', they instad were complicated and not easily described.

    After all, how would you feel about a father who you never saw and who decided to seal off a road that could have been marvelous to walk in? If it was just that, maybe disappointment or resentment would be enough without knowing the specific circumstances, but in Di Feng's case, there were also events during his childhood where humilliation took place because of his inhability to cultivate and this in turn further complicated the matter.

    Humans were like this after all. When you are above all others, you would be envied and accepted everywhere while a small minority of people that are overly jealous would hate you, but if one is poor and lacks everything, either nobody would care about you or there would be people who would treat you as an ant who can be stepped on and no repercussions would follow...

    In the end, the main reason for his complicated emotions could be said to be because he didn't understand the reason behind his father's actions, even after carefully trying to think it over many times during the past years.

    Di Feng abruptly looked over to his mother, only to realize that she had already stopped meditating and was gently looking at him.

  • Chapter 3: Father, Long Chen

    "Were you thinking about your father?" Di Yue's gentle voice entered Di Feng's ears.

    He unconsciously looked away before responding while thinking; 'Was it that obvious?'

    "Yes..."

    At this, Di Yue sighed before asking with a more even tone.

    "Feng`er, do you resent your father?" Her expresion was earnest and she stared fixedly at Di Feng, with clear intentions of wanting an honest answer.

    Di Feng couldn't bring himself to say anything for a while, his words stuck on his throat.

    In the end, all he could say was; 'Why would I?'

    Once again, Di Yue sighed lightly. She then moved her gaze towards the window and stared at the scenary outside the house, staying silent for awhile.

    Di Feng felt quite stiffled in this silence but he then heard his mother speak, her gaze still fixated on the window but if he were to look closely he would notice that her eyes were getting somewhat misty.

    "Listen Feng`er, I will tell you a story... But before that, let me give you a bit of background information. The place where the Human Realm, the place where thousands of planets, filled with life and an environment similar to what we could see around us, float in a vast sea of space, lives in, is a much more broader and grander sea of space called the universe. But the Human realm isn't the only one of its kind, there are six others that are similar to it and each of them has a major race that stands above all others. Together, they form the seven universal realms and between them, a dimensional barrier exists that separates and limits all interaction with each other. Though, it would be bad if the relations between these major races were good, which in reality, they aren't."

    At this, she paused for a few seconds.

    Di Feng became absorbed in that so called background of the story, but he still was sure that it wasn't that simple and it was even possible that it was reality.

    As Di Yue was about to continue talking, her eyes seemed to become even more misty and distant...

    "In the Fey Realm, there exists a race called the Dragon Race, a very big race that posseses many variations in their bloodline which caused countless branches to extend out of it. Amongst them, the black dragon branch was a very powerful one since the black dragon itself is an existence comparable to a dark phoenix, signifying that their bloodline was as pure as any other true dragon. At a certain point in time, an unparalleled genius was born who was also part of the black dragon branch. He rose in strength very quickly and his character in turn gave him many friends and comrades. He was loved by his clan and very well known and reputable by the rest of the fey realm..."

    Di Feng's expression turned weird while hearing this.

    'That guy probably refers to father right?'

    Di Yue continued, not knowing what was he thinking, just being completely absorbed in her memories.

    "But, when he was at the peak of his life, an item that could have made him much more stronger was obtained by him but exactly due to this item, many people turned against him, even his friends and comrades! In just a few days, he became the public enemy of the entire fey realm and was forced to flee again and again, many times bordering on death..."

    Di Yue's expression contorted a bit at this, unknown emotions flashing thorough her eyes.

    "Fortunately, he managed to somehow cross the dimensional barrier towards our human realm in a bid to escape a deathly pursuit, saving himself for the time being. Obviously, he wasn't yet safe since he had arrived in the land of his race's most hated enemy with heavy injuries. He spent days supressing his injuries till he reached a planet where not too long after he collapsed, unconscious. Once again, the heavens seemed to have taken pity on him as a girl happened to encounter him. She was very shocked at the sight of the injured man but since she didn't have anything to do, she decided to save the man, who she thought didn't seem a bad person, taking him back towards her own clan and tending his injuries in her own room..."

    An almost unnoticeable smile appeared on Di Yue's face at this moment.

    Di Feng felt calmer the longer he listened, an unknown emotion was building up inside him as he saw the deep emotions reflejated on his mother's face.

    "The girl had to spend a lot of effort, which she never thought it was a waste, to awaken the man. During that time, she even had to hide the existence of the man from her clan, in fear that trouble came knocking on her door. Finally, a year later, the man awakened... but the first thing he said took the girl aback and made her feel like punching him! Hehe, he said; 'Is this, hell?' While looking weirdly at the girl with unfocused eyes..."

    Di Yue didn't notice, but a tear silently rolled down her left cheek as she giggled to herself.

    On the other end, Di Feng was stuck with an unexplainable sense of loss, not only due to his mother's deep emotions, but also due to his own. His own emotions towards his father that he found were somehow changing.

    'If what mother just now said is true, then I can guess some things to the reasons behind the seals on my body but, why would he leave? Did he not have any other option? Was he being pursued? If he really was then the enemies must have been really powerful and he was just trying to protect us, unless there were other reasons! In the end, I now realise that I never hated him, I just felt puzzled about how he could be loved by mother so much even after he left and blocked off my path of cultivation... Even then, the real reason behind my complicated emotions came about because of 'those people' and what they did, which I stupidly didn't even see coming...'

    Di Feng didn't notice that by now, Di Yue did not continue talking but had instead reverted back to how she was before the story, no traces of it left. Her gaze gentle as she stared at the thoughtful Di Feng.

    A while later, when he stopped pondering he finally saw his mother's fixed stare and got a little embarassed.

    "Feng`er, Nowadays, other races are treated like slaves and you understand what does that mean right? You have to keep your ancient fey bloodline as hidden as possible. Furthermore, a half ancient fey and half human had never appeared before and it is even possible for people to want to capture you so as to examine your body or directly refine you... And the final thing is that, I myself didn't want to tell you about all of this so that you could grow to accept things as they are and fight by yourself against the seals that limit you. After all, mother can't be by your side forever and you need to take care of yourself. As for that past humilliation, you have to ignore it for now, not let it affect you. You're a cultivator now after all, if you grow strong enough then no one would dare to humilliate you and for those that did, then you can directly kill them!"

    An almost unnoticeable glint flashed thorough her pitch black eyes. Di Feng noticed it, and it made him realize that he didn't fully know his mother's character against others that are not family or friends.

    As of now, Di Feng fully came to understand and put in order his emotions, an undescribable sense of calm and relaxation overcame him.

    'The past is the past, and there's no way for someone to only have happy events during their whole life, there would always be some sad event that pops out, no matter how small it is...'

    He smiled.

    "I understand mother. Now I can see things more clearly but still, I wouldn't be me anymore if I don't try to become strong enough to clarify what happened on my own and when the time comes, I also want to visit the dragon clan..."

    Di Yue nodded at this, seemingly satisfied.

    "One last thing and you can go cultivate, your father left behind a certain item which requires you to be at the fifth layer of qi condensation to obtain so work hard!"

  • Chapter 4: Training, Application of Darkness

    A whole week went by and Di Feng managed to succesfully open ten more meridians after a great deal of effort on his part as well as thanks to a few pills, which due to his body and bloodline, he absorbed cleanly and without any side effects. He didn't break thorought in his cultivation base however, but he had still attained the peak of the first layer.

    As of now, his true qi vessel was the size of one arm while it was as thick as two palms, forming a mini stream that revolved around his opened meridians. His physical body was also nourished and right now, it too could be considered of being comparable in power to the first layer of qi condensation. On the other hand, even though his blood also strengthened, it didn't manifest into anything too practical.

    As of right now, Di Feng stood before a green forest filled with trees and vegetation, surrounded by a peaceful athmosphere, ready to enter and train himself. He planned on having his first experiences in combat against real life fey beasts since he only had his share of combat in what he called 'a virtual world' that was inside the first seal.

    Inside that virtual world, he only had a projection of his real self with most part being formed by his will power and soul force. This had to do with the rules governing that virtual world where he could have a much easier time doing things that in the real world he couldn't. For example, comprehending and using the power of the elemental laws. Thanks to this, his willpower and soul force are very strong, to the point where even he didn't really know how much and since he had no way of properly utilizing them, he could only discover one himself.

    In short, in the virtual world he gained things that now he needed to discover how to utilize them properly in the real world.

    Di Feng looked at the massive forest before him with anticipation and some excitement. Even with his usually calm and silent temperament, he couldn't help it. During these last few days he had been preparing, now it was time to have practical experience!

    The place where the wooden house was located was just a few kilometers outside the outer sector of the Evergreen forest, which was one of the biggest forests that passed thorought the whole Azure Star Continent, being the home to many powerful beasts of the fey race as well as other natural death zones. Even then, it is also a good place to temper ones self as one can't just become a powerful cultivator by just being in seclusion all day, one also needed to go thorough life and death battles to hone ones achievements in cultivation.

    After reviewing the information of the Evergreen forest, Di Feng stepped inside.

    ...

    A few hours later...

    Di Feng held his dark spear in a stance while facing a black bear double his size with a thick and powerful physique who was staring at him with a cold pair of golden eyes.

    This black bear had a power comparable to the second layer of qi condensation but his strong physique and powerful vitality would even let it fight a cultivator a at the third layer!

    Even though Di Feng felt somewhat nervous due to this being his first real battle he had gained some habits during his repeated attempts at breaking the first seal so he could retain a cool head and carefully analyze his opponent.

    The black bear roared all of a sudden as it choose to pounce at him!

    Di Feng gripped his spear thightly, a dark energy accumulating on its tip in the blink of an eye before he further powered it with his own true qi and thrusted!

    His heart beating somewhat rapidly, Di Feng had his azure eyes fixed on the black bear.

    The black bear swiped his right palm at the spear, choosing to meet it directly with its full physical strenght.

    In an instant, Di Feng felt his body tremble but his spear still managed to pierce thorought the palm of the bear ever so slightly. Its skin was very durable and much more powerful than Di Feng's, it was only due to the dark energy which had corrosive effects that his spear pierced thorough.

    The black bear seemed enraged as it roared and swiped his left claw at Di Feng's spear, wanting to break it. Di Feng reacted beforehand and quickly stepped back, removing his spear with his full strenght.

    Having missed, the black bear abruptly released a much more powerful roar as a gray energy containing an icy cold aura spread out from its left claw before it swiped it down at Di Feng!

    Di Feng suddenly felt a sensation of crisis envelop him. He then moved all his true qi and for the first time in a real battle, he controlled all of the power of darkness that he currently could, using it to release his most powerful strike to date!

    A dark spiral spinned on the tip of the spear, swallowing all light that came close to it like a black hole while a powerful presence of energy was released.

    And then, Di Feng spear moved to collide with that white energy!

    Weirdly, the collision didn't produce any shockwave. As Di Feng's spear strike hit the white energy, it was devoured! And his own move didn't stop there, Di Feng then released the accumulated potential of the dark spiral, sending a black beam of light shooting straight at the black bear!

    The black bear didn't have time to react before it was stuck in the chest, its body flying backwards for a few meters before stopping. But the dark energy, instead of dissipating, stuck itself onto its body, corroding its fur, skin and flesh!

    Di Feng was not perfectly fine either, his face was pale and sweat covered his body. He exhausted over eighty percent of his true qi in that attack, making him feel tired.

    But he could not take a break now, much less escape! He wanted to finish off the bear so he moved instantly, stepping on the ground like a ghost and almost instantaneously appearing in front of the stunned black bear, his spear pounding down at its heart!

    Almost all of his remaining true qi was used in this strike and the bear could not react in time. On top of this, the fur, skin and flesh on its chest had weakened considerably, giving Di Feng the opportunity to finish it off!

    Di Feng's spear encountered some resistance but it still managed to pierce thorough its chest and shatter its heart. With a sorrowful cry, the black bear struggled and it gathered all its strength in a last attack, moving its left claw towards Di Feng, who couldn't react in time due to his exhaustion!

    Viscousness flashed thorough his eyes as cracking sounds sounded thorough his body as he used all of his true qi left as well as his own physical body to forcefully resist that last ditch attack!

    "Fuck!" He shouted as the powerful attack sent him flying, his skin fissuring and some of his blood vessels rupturing. He flew for over fifteen meters before a giant tree stopped his body in its tracks.

    Fortunately, his body was strong and his vitality rich and thus he could survive the attack with only some small injuries and a single serious injury on his right shoulder, who was where he got hit and had dislocated. His greatest problem now was that only five percent of his full strength remained.

    Right now, he barely had any strength left while his entire body was filled with pain. He even almost lost consciousness. As for the bear, it collapsed onto the ground with another weak cry, the spear falling onto the ground after losing its support.

    Di Feng mustered strenght to weakly rise to his feet and slowly walk over to take the spear, extract the black bear's beast core, and escape from here to somewhere safe.

    Despite his injuries, he was exited over his victory but he forced his emotions down and carefully went thorought the battle process once again in his mind, analyzing his mistakes.

  • Chapter 5: Absorbing the Beast Core, The Power of Ice

    It was the middle of the night and the moon hung high on the sky, its light spilling down onto the entirety of the Evergreen forest outer sector, creating a peaceful and serene atmosphere, with no fey beasts or plants even making a sound.

    Sitting cross legged on the rocky ground of a man made cave that was very well hidden, Di Feng quietly meditated while a white and crystal clear but uneven bean sized ball was held on his right hand.

    A few days had passed since the fight and Di Feng finally recovered. Right now, he prepared to absorb the beast core of the black bear and break thorough to the second layer of qi condensation!

    Di Feng, aside from healing himself with some pills, herbs and by meditating, had carefully analyzed every detail of his fight with the black bear before coming to a conclusion.

    He, had completely failed at using his advantage in intelligence as well as even his own power well enough. Di Feng had noticed that the bear was very stupid and he himself followed in on it's footsteps, not thinking over his actions properly enough. It was a relief that he survived and the bear did not, but Di Feng still wanted to have this in mind the next time.

    Furthermore, he also realized how his use of darkness was still very unrefined, which was understandable with how low his cultivation base was as well as how his own understanding into it was not perfect.

    He clearly remembered the words of the shadowy man on the first seal's virtual world. He mentioned the true meaning of darkness and how he had not grasped it yet. This could not be rushed however so he now decided to break thorough and try again then, to ponder over these words.

    Having finished thinking it over, Di Feng took a deep breath and thightened his grip on the beast core. His azure eyes flashed as he remembered some information.

    According to the jade slips he had read, all members of the fey race be either beasts, plants, or other species amongst them, they all have one when they are born. The differences these have, had to do with their size, purity and special qualities, which is something like an unique affinity towards an element. In turn, these are what they strengthen to become more powerful and also their most valuable thing apart from their bodies themselves. In addition, the fey cores normally reside near the heart, the brain or their dantian, though, this has more to do with their respective innate qualities.

    Dragons for example had a very strong vitality and body which could even be further strengthened with the presence of an elemental attribute that normally is fire or wood, thus their beast core would normally be in their heart or dantians. The sirens who possesses weak bodies but strong souls and energy attributes on the other hand are the complete opposite of dragons in turn would have their fey core on their brain...

    After reviewing this information, Di Feng's was abruptly stuck with the thought of 'Why don't I have a fey core?' but he quickly laughed it off. He was part human as well after all.

    Once again focusing his mind, he spread his soul's perception over to the beast core to inspect it. Upon doing this, he realized that the black bear possesed some sort of pure lineage as its beast core contained rich demonic energy as well as the attribute of ice!

    "It seems that my decision in killing it was not completely wrong after all..." He muttered to himself.

    On top of that, thanks to his strong soul force, Di Feng felt a very well hidden ferociousness within the icy demonic energy.

    "That's probably the remnant soul of the black bear... But I'm confident of my own soul force and willpower to withstand it!" Di Feng determinedly moved the icy demonic energy within the beast core with his soul force towards his body thorough his right palm.

    As he did this, a viscious aura filled with killing intent rushed out along with the demonic energy, directly entering his body and shooting towards his brain! Di Feng was prepared however as his own soul force moved to intercept it like a wave.

    Shockingly, as his soul force moved towards the remnant soul of the bear, he could feel that as it saw his own soul force rush at it, it showed undescribable fear and tried to escape!

    Di Feng however didn't flinch as he caged the remnant soul with his soul force. Only now did he realize how strong his soul was. The remnant soul, seeing how it was trapped, ferociously keep on trying to break the cage but no matter what did it do, the cage didn't do more than tremble a bit.

    He was extremely at ease at manipulating his soul force. After proving a bit more how he could movilize it, he created a spear with his soul force and obliterated the remnant soul of the bear.

    Di Feng felt happy after realizing that his soul was probably his most powerful weapon but before delving deeper into this he proceeded to continue moving the icy demonic energy of the beast core into his body, refining half of it into true qi while the other half of it became nourishment for his blood and body. After all, he didn't have any method of moving his soul force to attack outside his body so improving his cultivation base remained his main priority.

    As Di Feng absorbed and refined the icy demonic energy, the few impurities that were within were forcefully cleansed using his true qi. The greatest danger of absorbing a beast or any kind of fey core was in the remnant soul after all, the impurities were secondary in comparision.

    But during this process, he realized that the ice attribute of the beast core somehow resonated with his bloodline in an unexplainable way before it strangely separated from the demonic energy and rushed straight towards the nine seals located around his dantian.

    While for other people the dantian could only be perceived and have no form, for Di Feng, his dantian possesed the shape of an illusory big black door that quietly floated inside his lower abdomen. Around the door, nine circles filled with runic complex patterns floated while forming a line, with one behind the other. Each of these seals were of a different color, with the first one which was on the lowest end of the line being black and then, in an ascending order they were; white, gray, crimson, golden, purple, silver, yellow and azure.

    He then noticed that the icy part of the demonic energy was in reality being absorbed by the gray, third seal before dissapearing without a trace.

    As he observated this process, he could feel something within the third seal, something that very weakly called out to him. Sadly, he could not enter the virtual world of the third seal without clearing that of the second.

    Suddenly however, the air around himself turned cold as the temperature decreased inmensely. A cold air then invaded his body before rushing towards the third seal. He then noticed it much more clearly this time, how there was something within that absorbed the cold energy!

    Di Feng even thought that the icy attribute of the demonic energy was a catalyst that awakened that thing, thus giving rise to thse circumstances.

    But, though it seemed to be completely devoured, somehow, faint traces of cold energy also started rushing at and being absorbed by his body and bloodline, causing Di Feng to feel cold all over.

    In this cold that was almost unbearable, Di Feng became aware of how his very soul appeared to become closer with the cold within and outside his body. He noticed that this feeling was very similar to how he felt towards darkness, its power and its laws whenever he used or meditated over them!

    Soon, an hour went by and the whole process finally showed signs of coming to an end.

    Over time, his body accustomed to the cold and he didn't feel pain anymore. On the contrary, he felt comfortable as the cold energy circulated within his body, giving nourishment to it.

    Di Feng also noticed that now, if he wished it, he could control to some extent the temperature around him and generate a kind of cold energy that could be used by him exactly like his already trademark dark energy, although weaker.

    With a thoughtful look on his face, Di Feng stood up.

    'It seems, that my situation is not as simple as I thought it to be... There's something more to the seals and another reason for them to have been made. As for how I just now came to comprehend a bit the power of ice and temperature, it also surely has to do with my bloodline, just like darkness!'

  • Chapter 6: A Month, Ji Qingyue Arrives

    *Boom!*

    A five feet long purple scaled snake was blown away, shattering a tree with three meters of circumference into pieces. That snake had red eyes that were filled with visciousness but it was currently heavily injured, with half of its body's scales blown away, revealing its fissured flesh that was covered in its own blood.

    That snake was comparable to a cultivator at the fifth layer of qi condensation, but its strong body could even let it fight head on with someone at the sixth layer.

    Abruptly, a spear light containing an icy dark energy shoot out from between the trees aiming at its head. The purple snake couldn't even react in time with its heavy injuries without even mentioning the speed of the spear light.

    *Puchi!*

    That spear light pierced right between its eyebrows but strangely, no blood came out as a layer of frost spread out from its injury before a dark glow then corroded and disintegrated it. The snake couldn't even utter a cry as the light on its red eyes dimmed down.

    *Swish!*

    A nimble and tall figure wearing tight black leather clothing rushed out from between the trees and stood in front of the purple snake.

    With a pondering look on his face, Di Feng analyzed the injuries of the purple snake.

    "Even after a full month, I still didn't manage to understand what the true meaning of darkness is, without even mentioning ice. I think that my cultivation is still what limits me aside from how I don't know about the proper way of going about with further improving their respective powers... I should have asked mother before! Oh well, I will do so when I go back."

    Aside from this, Di Feng also realized how big the differences were between battles and training in the real world from the virtual world during this past month, something that had been on his mind ever since before he even came to train at the Evergreen forest. For example, in the virtual world he could use much more freely the power of darkness due to its overabundance whilst in the real world, he had a harder time doing the same.

    Even then, with this being the real world and the fact that darkness was most abundant at night, he didn't realize that his current control over darkness and even ice was already abnormal for a normal human... Due to this unknown ease in elemental control for Di Feng, he had managed to even fuse the two elements which he found complemented each other into an attack.

    In short, even though he found it hard further improving the power of his control and of the elements he did control, it was mainly because of his lack of knowledge and of cultivation base while in reality, his ease at elemental control already exceeded the norm just that he did not know about it.

    As he muttered to himself, Di Feng extracted a crimson bean sized beast core from the purple snake. Lately, he had been hunting down fey beasts and plants so as to use their cores to cultivate but as this was just the outer sector of the Evergreen forest and his own cultivation base was lacking, he could only rarely find appropiate fey to hunt. There were many times where he had to run for his life when he suddenly encountered a fey much more powerful than himself.

    *Sigh* "My body is just too demanding, even after all this time, I'm only at the early fourth layer of qi condensation... Fortunately, I'm much more powerful than anyone else at my level thanks to the physical strenght it grants me as well."

    As of right now, his true qi vessel was as large as four arms while it had a width of three palms while his opened meridians even numbered at fifty five! This was absolutely no normal achievement as he had fifteen more opened meridians than a normal genius at his own stage. He had the ambition of opening all one hundred and eighty after all, so it could be said that the opening of meridians also had its own toll on his supposedly lagging behind cultivation base.

    It was just that Di Feng tended to ignore some details of the process as he aimed higher while his understanding of great or normal achievements bordered on the extremes only. This was just like how he thought that his progression in his elemental powers was also slow without even knowing the specifics or how it was for others.

    Di Feng was just about to turn around and leave but..

    "Brother Feng!!!!"

    A charming voice powered by true qi and filled with vigor resounded thorought the whole outer sector of the Evergreen forest.

    Di Feng was taken aback for a second before he sighed while rubbing his temples.

    "So she did come in the end... It seems that my training will have to stop here."

    Mixed emotions could be seen on his expression as he recalled some of his most precious of memories as well as some of those grim ones where he had to control his emotions so as to not let rage fill his head...

    "This is good moment to apologize. Ever since I understood a little the reasoning of my father as well as moved on from whatever humilliation I suffered in the past, I have been thinking about how idiotic I was acting when I said that to her four years ago... It was not completely her fault after all."

    Di Feng proceeded to rush straight towards the origin of the voice.

    As he got near, sounds of fighting entered his ears. There were enraged roars followed by booming sounds as well as charming laughter. It gave the impression that a huge commotion was occuring.

    He ended rushing all the way back towards the entrance of the outer sector and also from where he first entered.

    There, a beautiful girl with golden hair and crimson eyes flew on the air, approximately above fifty meters of the ground. She wore a black uniform with golden stripes and a badge with an also black background that had a golden star engraved on it. That seemed to be from a renowed academy as it was luxurious and even projected a spiritual aura. That uniform in turn completely enhanced the girl's perfect figure.

    Right now however, the girl was laughing brightly while holding a silver longsword on her right hand. Below her on the ground and inside the cover of the forest, a completely white tiger with green eyes sneakily moved around the trees.

    The white tiger had blood on most of its fur but it was not seriously injured, at most they were superficial wounds. Around the two girl and tiger fighting, craters and shattered trees lay on the ground. No other fey could be seen as they had probably run far away by now.

    The girl's eyes abruptly lit up as from the corner of her eyes she catched sight of a tall youth. Her smile widened a bit unconsciously while a cunning light flickered within them.

    "Hehe, you're in no way a tiger, you have to be a scaredy cat for you to be running around like that!"

    The girl laughed arrogantly as she adopted the pose of a master swordwoman in absolute control of the situation. Her back straight, her expression dignified and her left hand behind her back. It was perfect and filled with an aesthetic beauty!

    Di Feng's eyes lit up at the sight of this but he then moved his sight towards the white tiger and then his face fell and his lips twitched ever so slightly.

    In the next moment, the sun itself seemed to direct its light at the girl while her silver longsword even had flames that appeared sentinent coiling around it. A powerful forcefield created from a very concentrated true qi coming from the girl's dantian then expanded towards her surroundings.

    She then said with an arrogant tone.

    "If you surrender now, I may spare your life and let you be my cute little pet!"

    At this atonishing show of force, the white tiger seemed to become very fearful as it started shaking all over before nodding frantically, as if its life depended on it.

    The girl, showing that her words had their desired effect, strangely dissapeared from her previous spot with a flash of golden light being left behind on her original spot and in just a blink of an eye she appeared attop the white tiger's back, who remained quiet and tried hard not to shake.

    And just at this moment, the girl seemed to very casually look at her surroundings and 'coincidentally' see Di Feng, whose forehead currently showed quite a few black lines. His expression was that of someone trying very hard not to shout or say anything while remaining deadpan...

    "Oh! There you are, Brother Feng! I came looking for you all the way here and even fought a hard battle with a ferocious fey beast before finally subduing it! very heroic right? Aren't you moved? Do you not feel the urge to shout 'Big Sister Qingyue is awesome!' in excitement? Aih, Are you too shocked to even speak?..."

    "Ji. Qing. Yue!" Di Feng gritted his teeth as he spoke, hoping that she would just stop speaking.

    "Yeah! That's me, the most amazing genius girl!" A cheeky grin covered her face. An almost unnoticeable glint of happines flashed thorough her crimson eyes as she looked at Di Feng however.

    Seeing Ji Qingyue like this, Di Feng abruptly felt like not apologizing at all...

  • Chapter 7: Ji Qingyue, Bloodline of the Golden Lotus

    *Sigh* "Do you think I'm stupid enough to not see that you have already tamed this white tiger beforehand, even years ago?"

    Di Feng sighed as if releasing all the tension accumulated inside him before nonchalantly speaking.

    These words of his however... stuck right at the heart of the matter!

    "Gah!" Ji Qingyue jumped up in exaggerated atonishment before her expression suddenly changed.

    She stepped down from the back of the white tiger, who was apparently sweating bullets after hearing these words of Di Feng.

    "See! I knew that you didn't have enough wounds! You really aren't like a ferocious tiger at all!" Ji Qingyue, faking anger, pointed at the white tiger's forehead and loudly berated it.

    The white tiger felt aggrieved but it knew that it's master was now in a weird mood due to the azure eyed guy so it could only silently bear it.

    At this, Di Feng once again rubbed his temples but a gentle smile lit up on his face as he stared at that beautiful figure.

    "That's enough Qingyue, that tiger is very strong and has great potential from what I can see so treat it well."

    His words once again made Ji Qingyue's attitude to change as she turned around, a smile of satisfaction and pride on her face as she patted the head of the white tiger.

    "I know, right? I found Little White in the inner sector of the Snow Plains three years ago, it was just a cub back then and I..."

    Her words were cut short as Di Feng smiled and appeared like a ghost some centimeters from herself and before she could react, he huged her strongly!

    "I missed you, I'm also very sorry from those words I stupidly said four years ago, I was ignorant back then so please forgive me." He very gently said as he smelled the pleasant fragance of her silky hair.

    "Y-you..." J Qingyue's cheeks blushed and she stuttered, trying to say something but words would not come out. Her crimson eyes even showed some panic.

    After what happened four years ago, she did as Di Feng requested of her and did not come to see him, she waited for him to come search for her instead. Because of this, she spent all her time training so as to not think about this matter and suppress her emotions. Like this, her cultivation soared and she quickly became someone adored by countless people and a genius known by almost the entire continent!

    When her mother told her about how Di Feng could now cultivate however, she wanted to immediately rush over since she knew this would be a special occasion and Di Feng could not blame her for this, but some things just had to keep her inside the academy, blocking her way. Finally, she managed to make a breakthrough and convince her master, who gave her permission to leave the academy and look for Di Feng. Her mother also went with her and now she was currently with Di Yue.

    She then came here but during the way she kept on thinking about 'What should I say when I see him?', 'Will he be angry if he sees me?', 'Should I do something cool and show him how awesome I am now?', 'Will he be impressed by Little White?' And so...

    She came up with a little scheme to try and trick Di Feng so as to surprise him but in the end it failed...

    As Di Feng maintained the hug, he felt incredibly peaceful and his mind and soul felt refreshed after finally saying something that should have been said long ago.

    He happily asked at her incoherent words.

    "Me what?"

    Di Feng sensed her body suddenly relaxing before she returned the hug as strongly as him. Her voice, that gave a fragile feeling, resounded in his left ear.

    "You're an idiot, you know? I will not forgive you this easily..."

    Di Feng's heart soured. But them he heard a cute giggle containing mischievous intentions.

    "If you want to apologize, then you have to say; 'Please forgive mee~ Big sis Qingyue!~' Only then may I reluctantly accept it."

    Black lines once again showed on his forehead.

    "Oh, really?"

    She didn't seem to notice the somber tone that was used.

    "Of course! I, this amazing genius girl, uh no, big sister! will not go back on her own words!"

    "Then forget about it." Di Feng smiled. Bad intentions clear on his expression.

    A premonition roused within Ji Qingyue, but it was too late...

    "Wai! What!? No, no no no! Stop it! Hahahahaha! Stop, tickling! Haha, Hahaha!"

    In a matter of seconds, the two were rolling over the ground, happily laughing and tickling each other...

    Loud laughter, curses and apologies resounded. As for the white tiger, all it could do was stare with perplexity at the two child-like youths on the ground...

    ....

    "How is your time training and studying in the Divine Stars Academy?"

    Half an hour has passed and they finally got tired of playing like children. The two were now resting on the verdant ground while looking at the blue skies, chatting. The white tiger named Little White had also shrunk itself and was now resting in between them with its eyes closed.

    As they talked about interesting but casual things, Di Feng abruptly asked.

    "It's great, there are many people who treat me nicely but it's just tiring. I, as a renowed genius, have to stay inside the academy most of the time and participate on various tournaments to win face for the academy. In turn, the people there are either arrogant pricks or boot licking dogs, there are few people that are worth befriending or have the power and are not idiots. Though, thats mostly from those of the younger generation. The seniors are much more laid back and serious about matters."

    Ji Qingyue spoke with a relatively even tone but Di Feng could clearly notice, as he knew her since they were just childs, that a definitive longing over having freedom hid behind her nonchalant attitude.

    She was always like this and he knew that she only entered the Divine Stars Academy to use it as a stepping stone to become more powerful. At the start, her goals were that of protecting him and being able of living freely without worries but thorought time, she came to know about other things, like the history and background of her father, Ji Xuan...

    In truth, her mother's surname was also Di, just like Di Feng and Di Yue, but her mother, Di Yin, decided to let her use her father's surname; Ji!

    According to what Ji Qingyue told him regarding this years ago, her father was ambushed in one of his trips with Di Yin, who at that time was already pregnant. The enemies during that ambush were many and all of them were very strong. Fearing that something could happen to the baby and Di Yin, Ji Xuan brabely held everyone back by himself while he forced Di Yin to flee by herself. In the end, his outcome was unknown but Ji Qingyue, as well as her mother, believed that sadly, he had died!

    And since Ji Qingyue inherited the special bloodline of her father, Di Yin decided to let her use his Ji surname. As for that bloodline, Di Feng heard her say that its origin was that of the Golden Lotus!

    More than this, Di Feng did not know but he found it weird how two absolute genius women from the Di family married and had kids with two outsiders who were unbelievably powerful but had unknown outcomes.

    These occurrences sure made one want to sigh at the coincidences of life...

    Seeing how Di Feng had a pondering look on his face, Ji Qingyue kept silent. With the two of them like this, only the wind that moved the clouds could be heard.

    Some time later, Ji Qingyue suddenly asked, rousing Di Feng from his thoughts.

    "Why did you never told me that those bastards of Li Tianyun and Arthur Austrich were bullying you?"

    Upon hearing this, Di Feng shuddered before an abnormally bright, red glint flickered in his eyes. It was only after a full minute that he managed to take a deep breath to calm himself.

    "As I thought, you did not completely got over those times, or rather it is better to say that you can't because you absolutely refuse to!" While saying this, Ji Qingyue rose to sit herself and looked seriously at Di Feng.

    "Why, are you bringing this matter up?" A shadow seemed to cover his face, his tone somber.

    "Why wouldn't I, I'm the one who caused those two idiots to bother you in the first place and I should be the one to kill them!"

    A faint but unbelievably cold glint flickered in her crimson eyes.

  • Chapter 8: Going back, The Di Family

    Di Feng rose from the ground and sat himself but his head kept looking at the ground for a few more seconds before he turned to look at Ji Qingyue.

    "Qingyue, the one at fault for that matter is me and my weakness, you have nothing to do with this. They were right at saying that I'm not good enough for you and even if you don't care, I do. Even though I apologized to you, I'm not going back on my words. I will definitely become stronger to have the right of staying at your side and pay back the humilliation I sufered to those two and their lackeys a hundredfold!

    A viscious, almost frenetic even, red light flickered in Di Feng's eyes as he stated this.

    Ji Qingyue could not say anything to this since she perfectly knew that this was Di Feng's pride, his pride as a man and as a martial artist! He had to bear it silently before because he had no power and he himself would not lower his pride to ask her, a woman who was much more than a friend to him, to protect him.

    But now that he adquired the opportunity to gain the power necessary to regain his honor and clear his heart of the heart demons these two had left him with, of course he would do it himself without having to rely on anyone, not even her.

    Ji Qingyue sighed but did not try to argue any further.

    "Alright. They are all yours. Let's go back now, we have kept Aunty Yue and mother waiting long enough."

    Before she could rise up however, two warm hands grabbed her own. She looked on in surprise, only to see Di Feng's serious face right in front of hers. This caused her to almost jump in surprise.

    "I'm sorry for just now but this is my problem. It doesn't matter that you were the reason for it to start. I'm the one who couldn't do anything about them, not you. I hid it exactly because I knew that if you protected me then, you would end up protecting me all my life without giving me the necessary push to ever break the first seal..."

    At this, she smiled, more in satisfaction than anything. She didn't completely let it go just then but since she knew that it was pointless arguing, she let it go, but now, she truly was convinced. She didn't need to intervene and she also had this confidence that came from long, long ago that Di Feng could handle it himself without any problems.

    Furthermore, she also wanted Di Feng to become stronger since he too had a father that had disappeared...

    "Alright, I now understand that this is something necessary for you. In fact, they are in reality just your stepping stones for you to cleanse your heart and become more powerful! Hey, by the way, how strong are you now? Although those two bastards are total idiots, they are geniuses still and have their own strength and status to back their previous actions against you. Let me tell you that those two are already at the Profound Sea Realm and at a boundary I don't know about. They are even over ten years older than you! Heavens! Do you even have any chance in overcoming them? What am I going to do if you die? I'm going to be single all my life you know?..."

    Although he knew she was saying this with good intentions and that it all even contained some certain points of importance, Di Feng, for probably the third time of the day, felt incensed at her nonsensical talk aimed at bothering him. She was obviously doing it on purpose to cheer him on but it was the manner in which she did it that was... well...

    *Sigh*

    Di Feng then turned around and started walking towards home.

    Ji Qingyue noticed this instantly and felt ignored.

    "Hey! Were you even listening? Ah! Why do you start running?"

    Then, two youths started running after each other at abnormal speeds with a white tiger exasperatedly trying to follow behind them....

    ...

    An hour later, they had arrived back at the wooden house. In truth, most of the time had been spent with them playing like children but this didn't bother them at all and in fact, served as a way to wash away all of the bad feelings that surged over the years because of that single disagreement between them, bringing them even more close to each other.

    When the two saw the wooden house, they sprinted forwards so as to finally be back.

    But, when they entered, the sight of two beautiful women in long white robes sitting next to each other as they drank tea and chatted with an ordinary looking old man that sat in front of them invaded their sight.

    The two of them stood on the entry to the living room shoulder to shoulder. Meanwhile, Little White stood on Ji Qingyue's left shoulder, looking curiously all around. As a fey beast with powerful strength and an unknown but rich and unique bloodline, having the ability to change its body's shape was nothing.

    "Mom, Aunty Yue, we're back! Who's this old man?"

    As direct as Ji Qingyue was, these words could cause anyone to frown but the old man was the opposite, he smiled in interest and looked with praise in his eyes at her.

    The old man wore a black robe while he had a bald head with a white and long beard. His eyes, however, were as bright as the moon and black as the night.

    Before he could respond, the cold voice of the woman seated at the left of Di Yue resounded and stopped him on his tracks.

    "Qingyue, did you forget what the words 'be polite towards guests' mean? Do I have to explain them to you again? Apologize and come here to sit, we were just discussing something."

    She was Di Yin, a woman as beautiful as a fairy but as cold and distant as the silvery moon. She had a pair of icy blue eyes and an indifferent expression on her face that further accentuated this description.

    The sight of her sitting beside Di Yue, who in contrast had a gentle air and gave a more approachable impression, could be said to be quite interesting to look at. On one hand you have this cold and distant woman and on the other someone who was the complete opposite while even then, they shared similarities in looks and also in their elegant poise and mannerism... It was interesting indeed!

    Di Feng clearly noticed this but remained deadpan. Inwardly, he suddenly thought as to how coincidental their experiences with love where, which gave a him a similar feeling.

    As Di Yin finished berating Ji Qingyue, who already had her eyes looking at the floor while fidgeting cutely, she then turned to look at Di Feng.

    An earnest expression taking over her previous indifference, Di Yin spoke, her words were at first casual before then taking over a tone that could chop wood and sever iron!

    "Sister Yue told me about your success, congratulations! But you can't feel complacent yet, you have a long and arduous road to walk. This road may either be filled with all sorts of wonderful events or sad ones, but you can't neither feel satisfied nor give up because of that, the martial path humanity forged is not to be traveled without a goal, without ones own dao! It is a road that a martial artist takes to transcend the heavenly dao, to defy the heavens! And that does not leave any room for those with a weak will!"

    Di Feng listened on attentively and noted all of that down inside his mind, never to forget it. He knew that she not only was saying this to enlighten him a bit, but also to widen his horizons and give a new perspective towards how he should view the exitence of the nine seals in his body.

    He nodded solemnly after Di Yin finished and proceeded to walk over and sit down at his mother's side, who quietly watched from the side.

    Even Ji Qingyue turned serious as she listened. She then also sat down at her mother's side.

    "Very proper and enlightening words Madam Yin, I'm impressed and honored to be able of hearing them. Now that Feng`er is here however, let me say a few things to him." The unknown old man offered a polite praise to the nonchalant Di Yin before turning and smiling kindly at Di Feng.

    For some reason, that smile gave Di Feng the creeps while the way the old man adressed him further accentuated it.

    However, before the old man could continue, Di Yue speaked first.

    "Feng`er, this is the family head of the Di Family, Di Zhen. You already know that in the past, I was from a big clan and that was the Di Clan, but unfortunately, due to various reasons it declined till its current state and changed to be the Di Family. I have called for Mister Zhen today so as to let him give you an offer as well as to tell you some things. I already told you that I can't be at your side forever and I intend for you to go train further at the Di Family and grow stronger from there. That is not to say that I can't accompany you, it's just that now that you have obtained the ability to cultivate, I intend to go do something that I wanted to do a long time ago..."

    Whilst saying this, Di Yue's expression was gentle but her pitch black eyes hid a deep reluctance and sadness along with an even stronger determination...

  • Chapter 9: The Iron Blood Country and Evergreen City

    "It's okay mother, I understand."

    Although Di Feng smilingly nodded in understanding, his heart ached and he found it hard to remain tranquil. He had been with his mother all his life after all! Even if he was not with her, he knew she was watching him from afar, always taking care of him.

    Those things he had to go thorough and bear with silently did not have anything to do with his mother because he knew that even though it was saddening, she really couldn't take care of him all his life if he did want to be a powerful cultivator and be able of living freely without any worries, it was reality!

    Before, he was ignorant and didn't understand this, without even mentioning the reasoning behind his father's actions, but now it was different and he saw everything clearly. Unfortunately, the time has already come where he had to put to practice his hard earned willpower and continue cultivating and strive to walk his own martial path towards its limit, alone.

    Di Yue sighed but did not continue talking about this, she let Di Zhen talk instead.

    "Mister Zhen, please tell Di Feng about the specifics."

    The old man nodded. His tone changing to a more serious one.

    "Di Feng, near this house, about ten kilometers south, there is a city. That's Evergreen City and where my Di Family lives. In turn, Evergreen City is located within the borders of the Iron Blood Country and is just a second tier city that only has this status due to the materials and resources that it obtains from the Evergreen forest. If one takes the entirety of the country into account, Evergreen city is nothing, one could even said that it is a backwater city with almost no martial strength. And if one adds the entire Azure Star Continent then even the entire Iron Blood country is just a middle tier country!"

    He stopped here for a few seconds before continuing. His tone becoming a bit more casual.

    "As for the top factions of the entire Azure Star Continent, they are; The Divine Stars Academy, the Li Clan, the Austrich Family, the Wang Clan, the Five Major Countries, the Three Major Sects of Ice, Fire and Metal who each had a special cultivation method regarding these elements and finally, the Professional Guild."

    By this point, Di Feng fully concentated on listening, he buried the matter of his separating from his mother deep down in his heart.

    "Going back to the Iron Blood Country, it is ruled by the Neville Family while its other top factions are the Fang Clan, the Astor Family, the two national academies and the branch of the Professional Guild. On the other hand, in Evergreen City, the top factions are our Di Family, the Zhu Family and the Chen Family."

    The old man emphasized the word 'our' causing Di Feng's eyebrow to twitch.

    "As of now, a grand event is coming to Evergreen City with the reason being Princess Sophie, who lately has been going from city to city hosting tournaments between the factions in power in each one while adding on commoners. Her personal rrasons for doing this is unknown but it is rumored that she is taking on subordinates from those she fancied and then getting them to join the Iron Blood Academy. This was then connected with how she suddenly wants to fight for the throne, being years behind her brothers who started amassing forces long ago and caused quite the controversy. For you Di Feng, this could be a good opportunity to rapidly rise in position by showing your talent but it depends on you. She will be coming to the city two months from now so you stil have time to think it over as well as to prepare."

    He then stopped, letting his words sink in and for Di Feng to ponder.

    "A princess huh..." Ji Qingyue, who had been silent all this time, suddenly exclaimed.

    She was ignored however as Di Feng, with a frown on his face, asked.

    "She can't be just wanting geniuses to form a force from scratch right? That would be too inefficient since they had to grow first and her brothers may not let them."

    Even though he was ignorant of most matters concerning the continent, Di Feng still understood the power struggles that happen inside families, clans, sects, alliances or imperial families. How, for the sake of becoming the one with the absolute say in everything, be either the family head, patriarch, supreme elder, king or emperor, there can be people who would adopt any measures and literally do anything to achieve it.

    The Neville imperial family was surely no exeption and there was nothing the Emperor could do to stop this unless he was immortal and did not want to pass down his seat.

    "Hehe, what, could it be that you're saying that she may be looking for a husband?" The old man weirdly smiled as he said, a sly glint flickered in his eyes.

    "What!? Could it really be so? T-then... You want to marry the princess!?"

    Ji Qingyue abruptly stood up and looked with atonishment and a very well hidden panic in her eyes at Di Feng.

    "How come you suddenly thought of that!? Do you not see the old man having that weird smile!" Di Feng felt a headache coming his way and an urge to punch the old man in the face surged within him.

    "Oh my, Feng`er sure has grown!" Di Yue smilingly chimed in.

    "So it was true!" Ji Qingyue, who seemed to realize that she had reacted too quickly and was about to back down, abruptly had her eyes lit and a crystal clear but exaggerated anger shone in those crimson pupils.

    "You too mother!? Hey, Qingyue! Why the heck did you throw a fireball at me!? You seriously overreacted, it is not true!" Di Feng first looked with atonishment at his mother before suddenly having his right palm shine with an icy dark glow to extinguish the fireball that came his way.

    "Pfft." Unnoticed by all, Di Yin was covering her mouth with her right hand, hiding away her smile and laughter. Di Feng noticed her at this time however.

    "You too Aunty Yin!?"

    At this time, the athmosphere turned lively and the faint heavy feelings that Di Yue's initial words bought were completely swept away.

    "If you fight back then it is true, you want to marry the princess!" Ji Qingyue came up with an absurd reason before she pounced at Di Feng! Meanwhile, Little White nimbly jumped out of her shoulder, not wanting to be swept up in this mess.

    "What kind of logic is that!? Hey! Wait, you're going to destroy the entire building!"

    And then, the scene of one boy and one girl, one chasing and the other running away, was calmly observed by two mothers and a mischievous old man from the side...

    .....

    Fifteen minutes later....

    An old man looked with a hidden smile at the two youths before him, their two mothers having left to who knows where.

    While Di Feng, who had his clothes burnt here and there with smoke coming from the burnt marks, Ji Qingyue looked happy and filled with satisfaction. She was stronger after all and he could not do anything to her. In the end, he also realized that aside from her first reaction, the rest were just she playing along... Or at least for the most part...

    "Then, where were we? Oh, I remember now. Answering your question from before. There are some rumors in reality that said that the princess wants to nurtue geniuses that could potentially win some honor and backing for her during the grand tea party five years from now!"

    At the mention of this, Ji Qingyue's eyes lit up and she interrumpted. Her mannerism changed as she adopted the air of an expert.

    "I heard about that thing! I'm also supposed to go and it is a tea party held by the Li Clan where every top faction's geniuses on the continent would attend, it is even rumored that those from other continents would also come! As for the reason, my master told me that it is because someone from the Li Clan that became a core disciple inside the Heavenly Paragon Alliance managed to obtain the recognition of a powerful elder and became his personal disciple. The key factor however is that, that master of his would be present too which is also an opportunity for the geniuses from these factions that will attend to show their talent and hope to also be recognized. Even then, there would be no lack of opportunistic people who would want to show friendship to the Li Clan...

    As she spoke though, she became more earnest and when she reached this point her words stopped and she turned to look at Di Feng with a complicated expression on her face before adding.

    "Li Tianyun would be present there too..."

  • Chapter 10: The Great War of Time Immemorial

    Di Feng's eyes lit up and a cold glow flickered within. But he didn't say anything about this, instead asking with real curiosity.

    "What's the Heavenly Paragon Alliance?"

    Ji Qingyue rolled her eyes exaggeratedly.

    "How come you don't know? You seriously holed up training these last few years. Aih okay, I shall reluctantly tell you." Ji Qingyue then straightened her back and took the airs of a teacher, earnestly saying.

    "To understand it you first have to know how our Human Realm is composed. The human realm could be basically described as a big sea of space where ten of thousands of habitable planets are divided into solar systems, which are then further divided into star sectors. These star sectors are then once again divided based on their personal martial strength. In total, there are twelve star sectors, nine of which came to be known as the Martial Star Sector because they are all very close to each other and have a powerful faction backing each of them, while the remaining three are known as the Three Desolates Star Sector, who is the complete opposite. It is relatively far away from these and lacks in experts."

    Ji Qingyue cleared her throat upon reaching this point, but before she could continue, the old man, Di Zhen, continued from where she left.

    The old man had a glint in his eyes as he spoke, he didn't notice the grumbling Ji Qingyue at the side however.

    "The Three Desolates Star Sector is also where our planet is located, if we take a very broad and general point of view. As Ji Qingyue said, star sectors are differentiated by their strength and ours was known as the most weak one. This could be so for many reasons but the most significant ones were in reality the lack of resources and a faction to lead and unify the star sector as a whole. Then, about six years ago, the Heavenly Paragon Alliance was created and somehow resolved the latter problem while the former is more difficult and would require much more effort to make up for. In turn, the alliance, as its name implies, is a faction formed from the conjunct effort of five clans and families that have a powerful martial force and a big influence across the entirety of the Three Desolates Star Sector."

    As Di Zhen stopped, Ji Qingyue, as if trying to get back at how he interrupted her, started speaking.

    "The Heavenly Paragon Alliance, although young, came to be very unified thanks to an unknown person who became its leader, but that's all you can know about it for now as even I don't know anymore."

    Saying this, she went silent and looked at the pondering Di Feng.

    "So, the grand tea party not only is a gathering of the strong and those renowned Geniuses but also the bridge that will connect the Heavenly Paragon Alliance with our planet right? The Li clan just got the honor of being the host thanks to them having a person inside. By the way, how did that person join the alliance?"

    Di Zhen's eyes lit up. "That person is named Li Xiesu. He managed to do so because of the existence of ancient teleportation formations from time immemorial. It is even said that these formations were constructed back during the golden era of mankind, during a period long forgotten that goes back all the way before that fabled great war that divided the universe happened! Due to this, there are many that do not function anymore but there is one in our planet that even now, it still can be used. Rumors say that it was constructed by a supreme powerhouse of ancient times..." Di Zhen stopped here as he saw the lights flickering on Di Feng's eyes.

    Di Feng felt his heart stir at the mention of this so called 'great war'. He never heard about this but he did remember that time her mother told him about a story, where she did mention that the relations between the different major races were hostile. Even though he could have guessed that a war happened, he could never have thought that a war could divide a massive entity like an universe, apart! Even if he did not completely understand how massive the universe was, it wasn't something that Di Feng could not imagine.

    He put aside the matter of Li Xiesu and he instead asked something that interested him more.

    "So our universe was divided because of a war?"

    Even Ji Qingyue at the side had an interested expression, she also didn't know about this.

    The old man smiled, an expression of 'I knew you would ask this' on his old face.

    "There are many legends regarding as to what happened, even then, most of them all connect the facts to a great war. Nothing is proven however, they are mere legends after all. Maybe only the top factions of our Human Realm would know what happened in detail. Going back to that Li Xiesu, his clan used an exorbitant amount of spirit stones to sent him towards the planet that it led to, that coincidentally, is the current headquarters of the Heavenly Paragon Alliance. There, he used his own methods to join them and become a core disciple. As for how their hierarchy works, I don't know."

    Silence then engulfed the place, lasting for a few moments before Di Feng then asked.

    "Then, about this Princess Sophie, do you know more about her? I mean, she seems to have suddenly decided to compete for the throne and since I may or not end up in her camp as it would be really convenient if I could directly enter the Iron Blood Academy and use its resources to train further without wasting too much time..."

    Di Feng abruptly stopped here as he felt very clearly how Ji Qingyue stared at him from the side, her gaze fixed and doubtful. He decided to ignore her, looking at old Zhen.

    The old man stroked his beard with a teasing smile but he quickly cleared his throat upon seeing the deadpan expression that even contained slight killing intent from Di Feng.

    "It is common knowledge that princess Sophie is only eighteen this year and yes, she only made her intentions know a year ago, so it is very sudden and anyone can tell how seemingly unprepared or weak her forces currently are. Aside from this, there isn't much knowledge about her as nobody seems to be able of obtaining information about her past. The only ones who may know are her brothers but they too did never say anything."

    Di Feng frowned but couldn't do anything about it, he would need to delve further by himself if he wanted more information, something that he did not have the time to do right now.

    Seeing Di Feng like this, Di Zhen chuckled strangely before saying.

    "Well then, Di Feng, about the matter of you coming to Evergreen City, just take your time, you have two months before the princess comes so there's no hurry. If you do not have any more questions, then I will leave now as I see that there are matters that you need to settle."

    The old man stood up as he talked and either involuntarily or not he glanced at Ji Qingyue from the corners of his eyes.

    Before Di Feng could say anything however, he disappeared. Only now did he remember that the seemingly ordinary old man was in reality a wolf in sheep's clothing.

    Suddenly stuck with curiosity, Di Feng turned to look at Ji Qingyue, who was unnaturally quiet.

    "Hey Qingyue, what realm are you at right now?"

    Ji Qingyue's eyes lit up before a mischievous glint flickered within them.

    "Not telling!" She crossed her arms and turned her head away arrogantly.

    Di Feng's mouth twitched. But then, his eyes flashed with a brilliant light.

    "Then maybe you're not that strong after all! Come come, let's spar a bit shall we? We both will only use fourth stage Qi condensation cultivation and the victor... Will ride on the shoulders of the other! Since you can fly, then you will not have any problems with carrying me right?" A cunning smile appeared on his face as he saw the fire lit up within Ji Qingyue's eyes.

    "Hehe, that's too little of a reward! Let's add that whoever loses will have to cook for the winner!"

    Ji Qingyue stood up with a laugh before strolling out.

    "Hey! Don't you think that's unfair? I don't want to taste your bad cooking anyway!"

    Di Feng chased after her.

    "What!? Oh right, you haven't tasted my food for years already so you don't know how I improved lots after going to survive alone in the wild for a few times already!"

    "I don't believe you a single bit. At most you know how to roast meat."

    "...."

    Like this, two youths talked and laughed as they walked. A Little white tiger following behind them with a wry look on its face...

  • Chapter 11: Sparring

    Some minutes later, on a relatively even and wide plain ground about one hundred meters away from the wooden house, two youths stood in sharp opposition against each other.

    The girl held a silver long sword in her hand while the boy held a black spear.

    A little white tiger stood in between them moving its head back and forth between the two as if confirming if they were ready.

    A bit farther away, two women with extraordinary looks and bearing watched intently.

    Upon seeing the two ready to fight, Di Yue spoke, her eyes filled with praise directed at Ji Qingyue.

    "After this short period of time that I didn't see her, Qingyue is already at the peak of the foundation establishment realm, that's an incredible accomplishment as even without her bloodline having a second awakening, she still managed to accomplish it."

    Only someone like Di Yue would be able to say that a few years were a'short period of time'...

    Unexpectedly, Di Yin sighed, self blame and sadness hidden in her eyes.

    "Having her bloodline awaken is just too difficult and costly. The bloodline of the Golden Lotus is amazing, as it can awaken nine times in total with each bringing more benefits to the cultivator. But even an unparalleled genius from the Divine Golden Lotus Empire would have it almost impossible to fully awaken it nine times, so for Qingʼer to try it would require great providence shining down on her... I'm just too weak right now, I can only hide her bloodline away and live in seclusion for fear of they discovering me..."

    Di Yue sighed inwardly and kept quiet.

    As the two continued talking, the little white tiger suddenly waved its paws in the air, an icy light flickering in them which caused snow to shoot out into the air. After doing this, the white tiger smoothly ran away from the battlefield. Just a second after it ran, a fireball shoot past the place it had just been in!

    That fireball contained the pure power of fire without any hint of true Qi in it. This was a great show of elemental comprehension and control.

    Di Feng didn't care at all about the schorching heat and rushed straight at the fireball. As he was about to collide with it, his left palm moved to incercept it. Icy dark light containing the power of ice and darkness as well as his own physical strength imbued into it shoot out and easily obliterated the fireball.

    Ji Qingyue didn't stay quiet either and immediately after sending the fireball, she also rushed to clash with him, her whole being appeared to be shinning in a faint golden light while her silver long sword had flames coiling around it.

    Seeing Ji Qingyue coming at him, Di Feng speed up. His speartip was shrouded in a revolving dark shadow while his entire being emmited a solid but icy aura.

    The two complete opposite kinds of power meet each other as the spear and longsword clashed, but no loud song was heard however. The two attacks actually cancelled each other out, with only a small shockwave spread out due to vibration, traveling towards their bodies and the ground.

    To Di Feng, this was nothing but due to a difference in weapon type and physical strength, Ji Qingyue had to take a few steps backwards.

    She smiled at this. Excitement and happiness clear on her expression. She took a few more steps backwards before speaking.

    "Haha, you really have become strong now! But this is nothing if you want to kill those two bastards, they are almost two entire realms above you after all! We're also just getting started here, take my sword!"

    Ji Qingyue slashed out and a fire serpent rushed at Di Feng, who easily sent if flying back. She then rushed straight at him with her whole body shining in a golden hue along with the fire serpent following from behind her.

    Di Feng, who easily ignored her comments, welcomed her with a thrust of his spear, which was directly blocked by her sword. Her fire serpent then flew straight at his neck but was once again sent flying by the abrupt palm strike that he directed at it.

    Very gracefully, Ji Qingyue then started dancing around at exactly the distance that Di Feng's spear reached with its movements, while the fire serpent stuck sneakily each time from an unexpected angle.

    An intense close combat battle then erupted between the two as they kept on exchangin move after move.

    Gradually, the heat emitted by Ji Qingyue's fire serpent increased, while her speed became faster and her movements nimbler and fiercer as the golden sheen on his body strengthened, a strong holy aura emanated from it.

    Di Feng, on the other hand, was surrounded by an icy blue glow while his spear glowed with blackness as he kept on defending himself and only occasionally countered, with most of his strikes aiming at the fire serpent, who repeatedly dodged or regenerated its injuries by the absorption of the fire and light elemental energy from the environment.

    Like this, a few minutes passed and their clashes only grew fiercer and stronger.

    Suddenly, Ji Qingyue laughed charmingly and stepped backwards to make some distance between them.

    "This is really exiting, but it is time to end this! Be careful as I can't control this move with my current true qi well enough, so be sure to shout pleads of mercy when you notice that you can't withstand it! Ahaha, I really want to taste your cooking and see how it compares to mine after these last years~."

    Whilst saying this, Ji Qingyue's expression changed from mischievous to solemn as her body acquired an even stronger golden and holy sheen while her crimson pupils seemed to turn into true fire balls. Even though she suppressed her cultivation base, her insight into her elements, her control over them and her techniques all remained the same. It limited her, obviously, since she couldn't move too much elemental energy without true qi, but the techniques she released still remained above what even a sixth stage or even someone at the seventh stage of Qi condensation could accomplish with their full power.

    Di Feng also smiled but once again, he ignored her words. He enjoyed listening to her nonsense but he didn't have to always try to answer something to get back at her, right?

    As of now, he had entered a focused state and tried to gather as much dark energy and ice energy to release his most powerful move! He knew ver clearly that he was inferior to Ji Qingyue, even if she did suppress her cultivation base, so he regarded her every move seriously and since she said she wanted to end this now, then this was also probably one of her finishing moves.

    In just a few moments, abundant space distorting Radiant Fire gathered on the silver long sword while a light consuming and sound devouring icy darkness revolved around the speartip. With a smile directed to each other, the two stuck out!

    Ji Qingyue had thrusted her sword, with the tip pointing directly at Di Feng's spear tip while he exploded out with his full physical strike to meet her attack with his own head on!

    A radiant ragging fire covered the left side while an icy darkness shrouded the other, only the silhouettes of Ji Qingyue and Di Feng could be seen.

    With the elemental energies now powered by true qi, their collision would surely produce a loud boom and a shockwave that cracked the earth!

    Even before the two truly collided, the energies of their attacks had already started fiercely clashing, without even mentioning the remnant energies that fissured the earth!

    But just as their clash was about to truly a happen... the wild radiant fire and the icy darkness were abruptly suppressed by some kind of force before completely dissipating!

    Between the two atonished youths, Di Yue appeared there like a demon fairy, her cherry lips formed a slight smile as she held onto both weapons with the tips of her fingers.

    A gentle force that was almost unnoticeable revolved around her entire body in an orderly manner, calming the violent forces caused by the two attacks, draining their power before dissipating...

    The two looked on in atonishment as Di Yue recalled her arms and looked at them separately.

    "You two did well. That last move was going overboard however so I stopped you from getting to exited and injuring yourselves. But Feng`er has lost so he will need to cook for Qingyue still! Well then, you two may go. Us two have things to talk about so see you later!"

    As she said this, her figure vanished just before and then, she and Di Yin where nowehere to be seen.

    After a few seconds of silence...

    "Wahahaha! I win so you now have to honor your promise! But, hmm... I have to think carefully about what to eat..."

    Ji Qingyue then adopted a pondering look with her right hand stroking her chin.

    But...

    "Wah! What are you doing!?"

    Di Feng completely ignored her as he carried her on his shoulders and ran away towards the near forest.

    Meanwhile, a lost little white tiger tried to follow from behind...

  • Chapter 12: Five Years to Take Your Hand in Marriage

    Di Feng carried Ji Qingyue all the way to a small lake that was very well hidden inside the verdant forest. The lake was around fifty meters in circumference with a depth of only fifteen meters. Around the lake, few trees took root. A variety of beautiful and unique flowers grew instead, they filled most of the green ground and further added in to the scenery.

    A paradisiacal athmosphere covered the place, making one feel very calm and peaceful.

    During the way here, Ji Qingyue's complaints had long stopped. She had a serene look on her face while her lips formed a slight smile. Di Feng took his time to enjoy this peaceful feeling, even slowing down his footsteps along the way till he started just walking. Neither of the two spoke, they just remained in silence, appreciating the moment.

    As they entered this paradise-like place, Ji Qingyue let out some 'oohs' and 'aahs' in surprise and delight upon seeing how marvelous everything looked.

    "What? Don't tell me you never saw something this beautiful there in the academy or even when you go out to train?" Di Feng asked with derision evident in his voice.

    Ji Qingyue rolled her eyes at his teasing.

    "What do you even take the academy as? Is not like an immortal sect or anything like that. At most, it contains some greenery as well as small forests but there's nothing nowhere near as beautiful as this place! And when I went out to train, I was either accompanied by some old senior or with other students and we never came across something like this either... There were only three times when I could go out alone during the last four years and only a single time did I encounter a place that could be compared with this one, and during that time was also when I found Little White."

    Di Feng's eyes lit up in surprise. "Wow, you seriously didn't lie at how boring and restrictive your life as a student there could be. Hey, tell me the details of how you found Little White, I'm interested in those so-called Snow Plains."

    Ji Qingyue smile widened a bit unconsciously but she then threw a weird look at Di Feng, as they weren't moving at all right now...

    "I can do that but how about you let me down first? I can walk by myself and we already reached this place anyway."

    Di Feng abruptly realized that but contrary to expectation...

    "Wah! What are you doing!?" Ji Qingyue was sent flying into the air...

    At this, he rolled his eyes exasperatedly at her.

    "What are you shouting for? Can't you fly? What could have happened to you?"

    Ji Qingyue gracefully landed after doing a backflip.

    "Hmph, it seems that someone is jealous. Well, it doesn't matter, I'm a very generous and forgiving person after all so I can let this one pass."

    She portrayed a calm and benevolent look as she said this.

    "You? Forgiving and generous? Okay, it doesn't matter, just tell me about the history of you and Little White while I make some food."

    During the begginings of his speech, Ji Qingyue's eyes flickered with mischief but before she could think any further, she heard his next words and instantly, her crimson eyes flashed with a brilliant light!

    "What are you gonna cook?" Expectation evident in her voice

    He however, turned around to walk to a spot without too many flowers and took out some firewood before arranging it together.

    "Not telling!"

    "Aah! You're just being mean now, trying to get back at me because I didn't tell you the level of my cultivation base! Ugh, okay okay, this miss is a forgiving person so you can rejoice..."

    Di Feng paid her constant grumbling no attention as he started roasting some wild animals and fish he had previoulsy hunted down during his month training in the Evergreen forest. His spatial ring, although it could not held living things, it could temporarily store food or dead things.

    Some minutes later, the smell of burnt meat and spices could be sensed in the air.

    Currently, Di Feng sat at the side of the burning fire while Ji Qingyue sat opposite him, her eyes fixed on the various animals and fish being roasted at the same time.

    "Are you done yet? Will you tell me?" He asked at the almost salivating girl. Di Feng knew how much she loved food so he had a teasing expression on his face.

    "You should rejoice that this miss is a generous and forgiving person..." Her words were cut off as Di Feng threw a roasted fish at her, who in pure reflex caught it with shining eyes. Her actions resembled that of a cat for a second...

    "Delicious! Oh, well then. Let me tell you about how I meet Little White then." Her expression filled with satisfaction before her eyes roamed towards the cute figure playing some meters away from them. It seemed to feel her gaze as it turned around to sprint towards her before jumping and landing on her left shoulder.

    Ji Qingyue smiled, with gentleness showing on her expression. "The Snow Plains is a place whose environment could be categorized as one completely opposite to that of the Evergreen forest. It has around less than half of the size of the Evergreen forest, which extends thorough the entire continent in comparison, while only ice and snow with very few dead trees and vegetation can be seen once inside. At its core, the temperatures can even directly froze a Golden Core expert to death! That is, if they are not prepared. There are many legends regarding that place, with the most well-known one describing the place as the grave of a supreme expert!"

    She abruptly stopped as another roasted fish was sent flying her way. After eating, her face showed plain happiness as she wiped her cherry lips with a handkerchief bought out of nowhere.

    Di Feng found this very amusing but remained quiet in fear of disturbing the mood of this 'generous and forgiving person'.

    "Putting the legends aside, that place is divided into sections based on temperature and the living beings found inside. In total there are three; the core, inner and outer rings. I found Little White in the inner ring after an arduous journey where I stumbled upon an almost impossible to find place by pure chance. Little White lay there sleeping and could be considered to have been born not too long ago, a few weeks at most. Since I didn't see any sings of her parents, I took her away. That place was very beautiful, much more so than even this one! There were ice crystals, abnormally lushy trees, fluffy snow, snow lotuses growing along with other herbs I didn't recognize and even lakes that hadn't been completely cast in ice. But I couldn't appreciate it much more as I sensed something locking down on me which caused me, due to my nervousness at the time, to rapidly escape! I felt very scared as a sensation of deathly crisis and an ice cold aura almost overwhelmed me..."

    Ji Qingyue, as she recalled these experiences, took Little White in her arms and caressed her fur. A pondering expression on her face.

    Di Feng, who was quietly listing, upon seeing that she finished, asked.

    "That place surely seems mysterious... What did you exactly feel that you said that someone locked you down?"

    "I can't realy explain it... I suddenly felt cold all over while something seemed to swept past me, like the divine sense of someone. Could it be a ghost or something? It didn't pursue me either so I couldn't really tell its intentions. After getting out of there I directly returned to the academy and took care of Little White. You were previously wrong in saying that I tamed her, she just follows me by her own will and ai never mistreated her."

    Surprise appeared on his face at the mention of these last few sentences and he looked at the purring Little White. He had previously tought she had tamed it by seeing the non existent visciousness and savagery wild fey beasts have but it seems that he was wrong.

    "You are really lucky you know... Make sure to treat her well I have the feeling that her origins aren't normal at all. And thinking back towards that mysterious place, it can't be its home either, since you said that there were spiritual herbs then I guess it was most likely attracted to them due to its huge need of nutrients... As for that thing you sensed... It really may be a ghost or an ethereal being or maybe even the divine sense of an unknown existence hidden within!"

    As he reached this point, Di Feng's pondering look was swept away, only to be replaced by a teasing smile as he said while looking at the pleased Ji Qingyue.

    "Or... You were too paranoid and it was just a special life form living there that tried to scare you away!"

    Standing up like a cat whose tail was stepped on, the solemn and pondering look that Ji Qingyue had was swept away as she glared angrily at Di Feng.

    "That's impossible! Who do you think you're talking to? This miss here has a will as firm as iron so could I be so easily scared!?" Pouting, she walked away with Little White in her arms.

    Di Feng laughed before extinguishing the fire and chasing after her, he wasn't that hungry anyway.

    "Don't take it to heart, Iron Miss. How about you tell me more about what did you do these last few years, I want to hear how you rose to prominence in the Divine Stars Academy!" He wasn't trying to flatter her, he was really curious as he knew that even before they had that little conflict, she had already caught the attention of top figures in the academy.

    Ji Qingyue had joined the academy when she was just nine years old and at that time she was already at the sixth stage of Qi condensation! For someone with almost no resources available, this was an atonishing result and because the top figures of the academy knew this, they directly made her join the inner circle! Due to this, the times they could be together became fewer and fewer over time, till finally, she reached the foundation establishment stage at a mere ten years old and became the rising star of the academy...

    It was also during those times that the opportunistic bastards of Arthur Austrich and Li Tianyun tried to rope Ji Qingyue in. Due to this, they took his existence as a bother and tried to make him willingly leave her... In the end, their efforts did work as the same day she reached the foundation establishment realm was the day he 'forced' her to stay away from himself....

    Even after he apologized, Di Feng couldn't help but feel embarassed and ashamed of himself at the thought of that event.

    Noticing how he went abnormally silent after asking, Ji Qingyue also thought of that time and of her subsequent actions...

    Stopping, she turned around and looked deeply at Di Feng with a gentle gaze. "I don't blame you for what you said and you have already apologized so there's no need to kept thinking about it. Furthermore, I know that you didn't mean any of those stupid things you said, they were instead there to make me feel angry at you and to hide away your true reason right?" Saying this, she sat on the ground cross legged and silently looked at the already obscuring sky.

    Di Feng remained silent, it was obvious that after she calmed down and analyzed that event dozens of times over, she could notice the abnormalities and connect them together. And indeed, she was right.

    "You don't have to tell me now, I want to first talk about my own thoughts and experiences after that event..." She beckoned for him to sit at her side before using his shoulder as a pillow. With a content expression, she started speaking.

    Her voice calm and soothing, it refreshed his very soul and made him immerse into her experiences.

    She started her story from right after the two separated...

    She told him about her own feelings and thoughts at the time; her anger, sadness, stubbornness and reluctance...

    She talked about how much effort did she put into her subsequent cultivation to not think about it, her ignorance about all outside matters and social relationships, how she closed her heart to everyone else till she meet her master, who doted on her dearly and guided her along during all this time in the academy...

    How she matured and thought more open mindedly about that matter and her changes in temperament, how she shone brightly and attracted countless people who wanted to win her favor, people who took her as an eyesore and an enemy, and those few people that she could consider friends....

    Gradually, the previous heavy feelings inside his heart were swept away as he immersed himself in the story of Ji Qingyue. She didn't held back anything, everything was poured out.

    During the story, Di Feng realized one thing. That was the fact that she had always believed that he would triumph over the first seal and become stronger, never once did she doubt this and because of that she wanted to become stronger to not fall behind and even hoped to protect him... This belief was even further strengthened as she grew and as she adquired different views and thoughts about that matter and noticed what the two bastards had been doing to him...

    The sky was already dark and stars could be spotted when she finally finished. With the moon high up in the sky and starlight shining down on them, the pair kept silent. Di Feng however, found it hard to calm down, all his pent up emotions seemed to burst out as he started speaking, his gaze fixated on the beautiful and currently fragile Ji Qingyue and he hugged her...

    "Thank you. Thank you for believing in me during these last few years. Thank you for always cheering me on whenever I felt despair and agony due to the first seal. Thank you for everything, really... You know, my strongest motivation, aside from mother, was the promise I made to you in my heart after that event. I had said all of those horrible things to you to hide away the promise I made to myself... I promised that I will search for you when I obtain the strength and qualifications to do so and will make those who humilliated me in the past pay with their blood, while showing openly at everyone that I am worthy of you! And I still stand by that, tomorrow you will have to go back towards the academy and I will embark into my own journey...

    Di Feng took a deep breath before saying, or rather, declaring...

    "But in five years time, during the grand tea party, I will take your hand in marriage!"

    His azure eyes shone brightly as he stared at the dumfounded Ji Qingyue and under her atonished gaze, he kissed her!

    Under the moonlight, beside a beautiful lake that reflected the starlight, two figures could be seen hugging each other...

  • I will stop here for now xd.
  • Chapter 13: To Seek the Dao...

    The next day.

    Di Feng was currently accompanying his mother and drinking tea on the living room, recalling the events of last night and early this morning.

    After kissing Ji Qingyue, she somehow managed to escape his embrace and run away with a red face, Little White, who was thrown away from her embrace, had to pursue her with all its might in its little form.

    He didn't directly pursue her, letting her have time alone instead. About fifteen minutes later, he then went back to the wooden house and found that Ji Qingyue and Di Yin had already left which left him at a loss for some time. But early this morning, Di Yue gave a note to him with the words 'I will wait for you' on it that completely put him at ease.

    Even though he was sad as he was probably not going to see Ji Qingyue for the next few years, he felt satisfied at being able of finally putting to rest that matter. His mind was at peace and by drinking tea with his mother, even his soul appeared to be cleansed.

    "Feng`er, from today on till the day the martial competition arrives, you will be training with me. Your knowledge of the martial path is too shallow as is your usage of your power, so first, we will be rectifying some things."

    Di Feng woke up from his thoughts as he heard his mother's gentle voice. He was surprised at this but felt more happy than anything, after all, he still had the heavy feelings caused by the fact that his mother was going to leave soon buried deep within himself. So the opportunity of spending more time with her till she left was somewhat soothing.

    Seeing she had the full attention of Di Feng, Di Yue started lecturing.

    "As you may know, the current martial path of us humans is something that was born after we could rise from the ashes that were left behind by the great war that happened long ago. Cultivators from before would follow the path pointed down by the heavenly dao, while the martial artists that were born after said times, all had to search for their own path amidst the road that is energy cultivation."

    Di Yue waved her right hand, causing specks of golden light to materialize and form two characters in the air; 'Dao' and 'Energy'.

    "To seek the dao thorough energy cultivation and law comprehension is the motto of humanity's martial path. The first four realms of Qi Condensation, Foundation Establishment, Profound Sea and Golden Core, starting from condensing the true qi vessel to opening the dantian, returning to the origin and forming the golden core, they all focus on spiritual energy refinement and the transformation of ones own true qi. This, is 'Energy'!"

    She waved her hand once again and the Energy character shone brightly with a strong presence of true Qi.

    "The 'Dao' in turn is more complex, as one not only needs to gain insight into the univesal laws which manifest themselves in everything around us, but one also needs to understand ones own path amidst all of this, something that would determine the way one comprehends and uses these laws, all for the sake of condensing those insights together and break thorought into the Nether Transformation Realm!"

    "This stage and the ones that follow it however, are something that you should understand further on your own so I will not be talking about them."

    Waving her hand again, the Dao character acquired a complex aura filled with elemental energy runic patterns and something more that Di Feng couldn't clearly tell. It was an aura very much like that of Di Yue herself but filled with a holy and fiery presence.

    While pointing at the Dao character, Di Yue further added.

    "By law comprehension, we martial artists refer to connecting with the environment and feel those things that are most noticeable before understanding how to make use of them. If we just use them as they are, that would just be categorized as elemental control, which is what you have been doing with darkness and ice. If you were to take it a step further and create a concept, which would refer to making darkness for example, aquire an specific rule towards its manifestation and usage from which an specific power in line with its attributes can be born, then that would be categorized as a first level concept. This would also be considered to be your own dao of darkness. These two things are then the ones who makes the Dao in the martial path."

    "In short, only by applying what one finds in nature in one's own unique way can one be considered to have taken the first step towards cultivating one's own Dao, and for that, refining energy to become stronger and see everything with a broader point of view is essential. Furthermore, the two terms of 'Energy' and 'Dao' will only become more closer the more strong one becomes..."

    Then, with another wave of her hand the two characters crumbled apart but instead of dissipating, they converged together and formed the words 'Heavenly Dao'.

    "Fengʼer, what do you think the Heavenly Dao is?"

    With a serious expression, he pondered for a while before saying.

    "It should be the ultimate rule or rules of the universe right?"

    Di Yue smiled with some satisfaction evident in her expression.

    "You're half right. The Heavenly Dao is something that represents the ultimate, while not being concrete, but still having the strongest influence over everything being born after itself. We martial artist are the ones who define that ultimate in our own path forwards and that would also be considered our Dao, aside from Energy and Dao this could be taken as the true base of the martial path. Also, previously when I said that the Heavenly Dao pointed down the path for ancient cultivators, I referred to how there was an ultimate defined before which now has disappeared and that point in time was also when the previous cultivation system perished."

    Another wave of the hand followed and the Heavenly Dao character crumbled apart. Di Yue then stood up.

    "Now, let us go outside, I have something planned for you."

    Di Feng nodded and the two went outside the house before walking towards the same place where Di Feng and Ji Qingyue sparred yesterday.

    .....

    "Your first lesson would be to solidify your foundation. You already have comprehensions into what could be your first level concept of darkness. As for ice, it seems that it lacks a bit of polishing. Based on what we talked before, I want you to meditate and think about it."

    Upon saying this, she sat down cross-legged and Di Feng did the same.

    Without further ado, he closed his eyes and started meditating. His thoughts revolved around his time during the first seal, how he learned to use darkness, the powers he managed to establish thorough its use and his subsequent improvements... Gradually, he seemed to enter an ethereal state where only darkness existed.

    He didn't notice that the surroundings of his body became completely dark. This was exactly the doing of Di Yue, who used her unique true Qi to create an enchantment and forcefully isolate light from the spot Di Feng currently sat at. Di Yue was adept at the Dao of light and fire so doing this was easy for her at her current level.

    Time passed and Di Feng had already spent a whole week meditating.

    Suddenly, he opened his eyes. His azure eyes turned pitch black and the surrounding darkness all seemed drawn towards it, about to be consumed!

    But before this could happen, the enchantment that Di Yue had set to isolate light was broken by her. She had a satisfied expression as she looked at the current Di Feng.

    He hadn't fully awakened yet, this was his subconscious action out of sudden enlightenment.

    It was only half an hour later that he truly awakened. His pitch black eyes returned to normal while a slight smile adorned his face.

    'Darkness, can shallow all. Be it sound, light or even energy and life. All can be devoured with no trace remaining! The only thing that matters is how strong that devouring force is which depends on the martial artist himself. Devour, that's the base for my Dao of Darkness! Furthermore, shallowing and corrosion are also two other aspects I have touched upon but not truly delved deep into, especially shallowing. But for now this is the most I can do as aside from my cultivation not being enough, I need much more time to fully comprehend them.'

    Brilliant light shone on his eyes as he thought this.

    "You succeeded, and perfectly at that! The base you just established not only is powerful and has unlimited potential, but it also can fuse well with other aspects as you grow. It is perfect!" Di Yue was very generous with her praises but she was also speaking honestly as it was the truth. Not every martial artist would be able of forming a first level concept that would be able of accommodating their further advances.

    Di Feng felt even more delighted after hearing her. Making ones parents proud was the wish of every child after all and he was not exception.

    "Now, I want you to try solidifying your comprehensions on your application of ice as it has more imperfections before we will move on to practical practice." A strict look could be seen on Di Yue's face.

    With a nod and an eager heart, Di Feng once again entered meditation...

  • Chapter 14: Black Dragon Soars Thorough The Icy Heavens!

    Before Di Feng could enter deep meditation however, Di Yue abruptly stopped him.

    "Hold on for a second Feng`er. The second seal on your dantian... It, is white right?"

    Hesitation was clear on her face as she said this.

    Puzzledly, Di Feng checked and nodded in affirmation.

    Sighing, she said. "Then enter the virtual world of the second seal and see what it has in line for you first. I think it would benefit your comprehension of Ice, just like how the first virtual world was related to darkness..." She then stopped herself, her eyes flickering as she turned around, showing her back at Di Feng. Because of this, he didn't manage to see how complex her expression was...

    'She's hiding something from me... I already guessed that the seals weren't just there to seal away my ancient fey bloodline and bodily attributes and now, it seems that it's even more complex of a matter...' While thinking this, Di Feng sent his soul perception over to his the door phantom that was his dantian and into the white second seal.

    Till now, he had never bothered to check as he thought that he was still too weak to hope to break it but since Di Yue urged him like that, it seems that it's very different from the first seal...

    During the first virtual world, he had gone through countless battles and amidst that slaughter, his will was tempered. Aside from that, there were times after every battle, no matter if he won or lost, where he would be transported into a dark space where no light could be seen. In that pitch black space, he only during the later stages managed to comprehend the use of darkness as it was too torturing of a place to be sent to!

    As he remembered this, he couldn't help but chuckle bitterly. His father was no soft person it seems... But the idea of trying to enter again in that dark space so as to have an easier time in understanding darkness also flashed through his mind.

    While thinking all of this, Di Feng had already spotted to where he had to imbue his soul force and 'activate the virtual world'.

    Moments later, he felt dizzy and sensed that something swept past him and over his very spirit before a portion of his blood essence, soul force and even his true qi, something that wasn't required before, was sucked out of him. After a few seconds he sensed his surroundings turning blurry and he went unconscious.

    .....

    A world of ice and snow. No trees, no plants and no life. Just plain white.

    The skies were also white. That white seemed to come from clouds and no sunlight seemed to shine down onto the ground. Visibility wasn't affected however.

    Di Feng appeared in exactly this kind of environment. The good thing was that although it was as cold as fu*k, the ice element could clearly be felt as it was incredibly abundant.

    His body looked as clear and real as his true self but if one were to check with divine sense, then one would notice how soul force revolved in his head, blood essence flowed thorough his entire outer body and true qi flowed thorough specific parts of his inner body. This was a replica formed in a very mysterious way that were even a part of the spirit is bought inside, causing everything that happened here to be transmitted over when he left. An almost invisible force would protect these from not being lost however, even if he 'died' inside. Thorough his spirit he could also summon things from his spatial ring but they were limited to weapons in a strange manner that he thought it had to do with that same invisible force.

    Di Feng proceeded to walk but as time passed and nothing happened, inwardly, he started to feel felt puzzled as aside from snow and ice, nothing else existed here. What would he need to do to break the seal?

    As he looked around and walked, his perception spread around himself. He carefully sensed everything and checked for clues.

    However, inst the ad of finding anything, as he contined to walk and walk, he gradually entered a strange state of mind where only ice and snow existed...

    Time passed and he lost his sense of self, his thoughts slowed and he seemed to become a part of the world around him, a part of ice...

    One day, five days, a week...

    Two weeks went by this time before Di Feng awakened, with his true body.

    Suddenly, the temperatue started dropping till it reached a degree below zero, causing ice crystals to form on the ground.

    As Di Feng opened his eyes, a cold light flickered within them while his whole body shone in a pale light with a faint cold smoke forming around himself.

    He smiled. He had succeeded!

    'To use Ice is to control temperature and the best base for it should be Freezing, but I can take it a step further still and use, Deprieving! To use Ice, to use coldness and deprieve not only heat, but also vitality! Haha, that's it! It's a pity though, I didn't manage to break through the ice world but I did manage to find the way to break it, and that should be done by increasing the power of my Dao of Ice..."

    He wasn't absolutely sure, it was just an idea he had to test. This however, only served to increase his doubts towards the seals... Di Feng wanted to later try entering again into the virtual world of the first seal as he had some kind of premonition.

    Even then, this is already an atonishing result as he wasn't even in the late stages of Qi condensation but he had already established two concepts that became bases for two different Daos he could further strengthen in the future.

    Di Yue noticed that he had awakened and turned around. Nothing regarding to those complicated emotions or hesitation seen before were shown on her face.

    "Nicely done Feng`er, but now let's move on to a more practical training. Before that however, let me say slmething that I guess you already know but I will say it regardless."

    She smiled pleasantly from the side but she then adopted a more serious tone. This bought Di Feng back from his own thoughts.

    "The Daos of Ice and Darkness are good and you did manage to establish them for yourself but when you further advance, you have to ask yourself this question; 'Is this my path?' You can walk down further in the Daos of Ice and Darkness that nature presents to you by further creating concepts and apply them your own way, but, are they 'your' Dao?"

    Di Feng nodded heavily as he had also thought of that.

    "Well then, let's start with the next stage now. All you have to do is use all your strenght to fight me so as to consolidate your usage of power and find the way of applying what you just learned."

    Her words were said lightly but her smile appeared to turn slightly sadistic...

    "Uhh..." Di Feng felt cold sweat streaming down his back all of a sudden.

    .....

    A week later, on the same place.

    The ground was filled with either ice crystals, craters or flames.

    Currently, Di Feng stood in front of Di Yue, who was smiling slightly. Her hands had a ball of fire each. It was pure fire, no true qi was added. A golden barrier could faintly be seen around Di Yue, covering a ten meter wide circumference in her surroundings.

    Di Feng's objective was to break thorough the barrier and resist those two balls of fire before reaching Di Yue's side.

    It semed simple but just the strength required to breakthrough the golden barrier was something only an eight stage Qi condensation martial artist would be able of doing, and that's if he or she used all of their power without reservations! This is only with regards to pure true qi.

    As for Di Feng, he had to rely on his peak fourth stage Qi condensation cultivation base as well as the slight suppression his two Daos of ice and darkness had over light and fire. Even that would require for his application and usage to become stronger still.

    But he did manage to make progress during this lat week. He managed to create two moves that made him release much more power but were also very consuming of his true qi and physical body. Based on this, he could also adjust slightly those moves and make them weaker but less consuming and use them for a wide variety of situations.

    "Are you gonna stand there all day? Come on!"

    That seemingly gentle voice woke Di Feng from his thoughts. His face twitched at this. He did not only have to deal with the counterattacks of Di Yue but also with her constant taunts...

    That slight smile on her face had already made him realize that his mother is not a simple as she seems... Or as gentle as she seems...

    He then took a deep breath and rushed straight at the barrier with spear in hand.

    All of his true qi wildly revolved thorought his fifty eight meridians, while his azure eyes took on a darker shade. Very swiftly, he reached a spot right in front of the golden barrier and under the watchful eyes of Di Yue, he stuck out!

    His black spear seemed to transform in the point of origin for a black hole as all surrounding light and even sound was sucked in and forming a stronger and larger shadow around the spear that coiled all the way till the tip, revolving continuously.

    'Black Dragon Devouring the Heavens!' He shouted inwardly.

    But it wasn't over yet! With his eyes abruptly flickering with a brilliant light, he moved his true qi in a different pattern.

    Around the coiling dark shadow, a white smoke appeared and as the spear advanced through the air, faint distortions appeared in space as the surrounding heat and the vitality from the grass on the ground wast sucked out! Even some energy from the golden barrier was deprieved!

    'Heat Deprieving, Life Reaping Ice Smoke!'

    That white smoke represented the condensed power of ice to a certain limit while further adding to it the rules of Di Feng's first level concept of ice!

    These two strikes, at this point in time, seemed to merge together and form an even stronger striking and devouring force!

    'Black Dragon Soars Throughout The Icy Heavens!'

    Black and white merged together and the resulting force, amidst the surprised gaze of Di Yue, seemed to create a void in space that even though it lasted for just an instant, it completely obliterated the golden barrier as all of its power was sucked out!

    Di Feng had almost exhausted all his true qi however and wouldn't be able of dodging or resisting the fireballs so he just stood still, a delighted expression on his face.

    Di Yue noticed this but...

    A flash of red light traveled through space in the blink of an eye and arrived in front of Di Feng and sent him flying backwards...

    "Even if you're surprised at a breakthrough you can't remain still in the middle of a battlefield, do you want to die?"Di Yue gently laughed.

  • Chapter 15: Tai Chi, Yin and Yang

    Di Feng was sent flying for over ten meters and had his clothes burnt all over. He didn't care at all however as that move of just now completely surpassed his expectations. The best thing was that it wasn't even fully developed yet!

    He then moved up to sit cross legged and meditate to recover. His training wasn't over yet after all!

    .....

    Three weeks later.

    Di Feng brandished his spear and stuck out directly at the golden barrier.

    'Black Dragon Devouring The Heavens!'

    The phantom of a black dragon now seemed to come alive from the dark shadows that coiled around the spear and a much stronger devouring force could be felt. This was not only the effect of his increased control but also due to his own improvement in his cultivation base as he was now at the fifth stage of Qi condensation!

    Now, just this move alone could break the golden barrier by devouring all its energy.

    With a bang! the golden barrier shattered due to lack of energy to support it.

    As he broke past it, his nerves were taunt as he advanced and locked his soul perception onto the fireballs!

    And next, the two went in different directions and shoot out at him with amazing speed!

    Di Feng moved his spear with the fastest speed possible and stuck out. His spear seemed to divide in two as white smoke coiled around the shaft towards the tip, deprieving heat and vitality off of the surroundings and adding it onto its power!

    The two fireballs shone resplendently before the one at the right exploded while the one at the left shrunk and avoided the strike!

    Amidst the explosion, the fireball on the left moved straight towards his heart. Di Feng's eyes lit up and with a thought, his spear retracted and the shaft rapidly met with that fireball. A condensed darkness shrouded his body while an icy light added itself onto the spear shaft, sucking some of the fireball's energy.

    Another explosion happened and Di Feng was sent flying backwards but he was still okay!

    After exerting force to control his body, he kicked the ground and shoot himself straight at Di Yue, who had a slight smile on her face. A brilliant light shone on her eyes as she moved her right hand forwards in a slow but relaxed manner while her left arm's elbow flexed as her whole left arm moved backwards and then downwards in a diagonal angle in coordination with her left foot as her right knee seemed to incline forwards a bit.

    This stance of hers that appeared in an extremely smooth manner startled Di Feng but he still moved forwards with determination. His spear stuck out and his true qi overflowed from his body with intensity.

    A dark shadow that took the form of a black dragon coiled around the spear while an icy light shone on what it would be its pupils. White smoke then appeared around the black dragon before black and white merged together as space distorted due to the inmense devouring and deprieving force fusing together! The black dragon then... Shoot out of Di Feng's spear!

    'Black Dragon Soars Through The Icy Heavens!' He shouted inwardly. This move of his had already consolidated and become even stronger while the drain it had on his true qi was minimized.

    In its wake, white smoke that appeared to be forming clouds on the air, along with a straight dark shadow that was emitted from the black dragon's body were left behind. The clouds and shadow existed in armony while the two exerted a devouring and deprieving force respectively.

    It was aesthetically beautiful but also deadly!

    The black dragon with icy pupils rushed at Di Yue, who extended her right hand that appeared as if it would disintegrate if it were to meet the black dragon head on, to welcome the dragon.

    An invisible force field seemed to be emitted by her stance, filled with beauty and a gentle but solid aura.

    When the black dragon phantom was about to collide with her right palm, Di Yue moved. She gently moved her right palm downwards and backwards in a diagonal angle towards her left palm.

    Her right palm appeared to emit an attractive force and the black dragon was then somehow 'controlled' by that palm, being forced to follow its movements!

    The right hand moved, followed by the black dragon as Di Yue's whole body beautifully followed. First was her right foot, followed by her left foot and finally her right hand met with her left hand. The two then came forwards together with the black dragon at just a few inches before the,, like a spear, and made the black dragon shoot back at Di Feng!

    Its devouring and deprieving forces seemed to be worth nothing in front of the attractive force emitted by Di Yue's palms and her smooth movements.

    Di Feng was beyond shocked as he saw this, but he was forced to awaken as the black dragon was just about to reach him!

    He abruptly realized how weak his control becomes when the black dragon increases its distance, this was something that only a stronger true qi and soul force could fix.

    But he didn't immediately notice that this supposed weakness was all because of the difference between him and Di Yue aside from her strange technique. In front of peers, this kind of thing should be almost impossible!

    Di Feng swiftly kicked the ground, leaving a crater as he distanced himself from the trajectory of the black dragon, who ten swept past and flew for another hundreds of meters before dissipating as no more true qi was sent its way to maintain it.

    Di Yue then resumed a casual posture before beckoning to the still stunned Di Feng.

    "This technique of mine, is known as Tai Chi! It uses the principles of Yin and Yang, the two ultimate sides that exist in all things, be it humans, energy or even the entire universe. It is something that your father found in an ancient ruin during his stay in our human realm. It is said that this technique comes from the ancient era before the great war! He was the one who taught it to me and now, it is my turn to taught it to you!"

    Di Yue's expression then became a but weird, complex emotions flashing through her eyes for a split second before dissapearing without a trace.

    Di Feng noticed however but he couldn't say anything regardless as he didn't know what she just thought about.

    "Your body, Di Feng, is very unique. You're not fully aware yet of how unique it is. It could be said that you are the most suitable person to practice Tai Chi and there's even the possibility of you managing to use it as a base to create something else! But for now let's forget about that and watch me closely, I will demonstrate the movements and you will try to copy them till you remember them. Every day from now on, at dawn, repeat these movements. It can help you relax your mind and nourish your soul while it also is a way to refine your true Qi."

    Di Feng nodded but inwardly, he decided to remember these words as there seemed to be information that she was trying to make him be aware off and have in mind during his future cultivation...

    Di Yue then started demonstrating the movements one by one and Di Feng also copied them. From warm ups to the moves and secondary techniques. He would have to repeat all of them at least ten times before he could remember it clearly.

    In the end, after a full half a day, Di Yue and Di Feng both were synchronized in their movements as they practiced together. He seemed to enter a relaxed state of mind where he could sense a warm and cold energy inside his body. True qi belonged to that warm category while something else inside some parts of his body seemed to belong to that cold category. He couldn't clearly tell yet but with repeated practice Di Feng anticipated that he would be able to do so.

    For the next week and a half, Di Feng immersed himself into the workings and wonders of Tai Chi as well as the principles of Yin and Yang.

    Through those principles, his martial techniques and even his Daos of Ice and Darkness seemed to have something added to them and he found it much more easy to fuse these two Daos that were both Yin attributed. He also managed to open ten more meridians, making for a total of sixty eight while his own cultivation steadily entered the middle stages of the fifth layer of Qi condensation.

    He even found the source of that 'cold energy'. It seemed to come from the third seal while all other seals also emitted a similar aura, though it was much weaker. Knowing this, Di Feng realized that surely, it came from is black dragon's bloodline but he couldn't access to it if he didn't at least break the third seal, which seemed to emit the strongest amounts of that cold energy.

    Today however, his training had to end as in just half a week, princess Sophie would arrive at Evergreen City and he had to depart so as to participate in the subsequent martial competition...

    This was also the day were Di Yue had to depart...

  • Chapter 16: Departure, Mysterious Black Crystal

    Currently, Di Feng stood with his mother side by side right outside their house. Thanks to the fact that the position of their house was at a somewhat higher altitude than the surrounding forests and plains, both of them were looking at the far off horizon that extended through the vast expanse of the Evergreen forest, and some mountains...

    Di Yue turned to look deeply at Di Feng and with a solemn tone, she spoke.

    "Fengʼer, you have to be careful, very careful. Try your best to hide away your ancient Fey bloodline as there are many that would be able of noticing that you're not fully human if you don't and your fate then would most likely be grim. Even if there are others that use the bloodline of fey to strengthen their own and even obtain their abilities, the aura they release would be very different from yours as even then, they would still be humans. Also, keep an eye out to anyone strange that you may encounter and targets you, after all, many of the enemies of your father are still alive. The Sacred Blood Sect is one of them. They are a massive sect and a top faction of the entire human realm that takes any kinds of methods to improve the human bloodline and have many weird and strange techniques. There are also many others who do not belong to an specific influence..."

    She stopped as a sigh escaped her lips.

    "Even I don't fully know how many there were and wherever they are searching for us, who they are supposed to have no information off. The ones most likely to be doing so are exactly the ones I mentioned before, those from the Sacred Blood Sect. As for your father, I also don't truly know if he's dead or alive but I do know where he was heading during his escape... That's where I will go to." Determination could be seen on her face along with an almost unnoticeable longing...

    Di Feng couldn't speak a word. His heart felt stifled and his emotions were in chaos. All he could do was nod repeatedly... He couldn't help but feel that this was a trip his mother will take may put her life at tremendous risk but he did not have the ability to help her nor did he have the authority to stop her!

    "The universe is vast and there are all sorts of wonders within along with a history that waits to be uncovered from the depths of the river of time... This vast universe is the one you should be looking forwards to and hoping to fully explore! You also have to make sure to become strong enough to protect Qingyue, who also has her own difficulties you should help her with if you can. As for Sister Yin, you should also help her if you can..."

    Abruptly, she waved her right hand and a gray crystal box that emanated a cold aura appeared on her palm. This gray box served as a container and no aura or energy fluctuations from the thing inside would be released outside while almost no one would be able of breaking through with heir divine sense inside.

    "Remember when I told you that your father had encountered an item which made him the public enemy of the Fey Realm? This is it. I don't know what it exactly is and your father also didn't tell but I don't think he knew either. He was sure that this was something extraordinary that could even help him breakthrough! He didn't manage to use it in the end however... As for those that pursued him, it seemed to have been because of the situation that all pointed towards this being an amazing thing and as more people knew, the matter ended up being massive and in sitting the greed of many others. He ended leaving this behind for you in the end and now, this is yours. Make sure to use it well and kept it as hidden as possible."

    Upon saying this, the gray box flew into the hands of the silent Di Feng. Di Yue then waved her hand again and this time a spatial ring came out.

    "Here are other things your father left behind. There are all sorts of pills, jade slips, protective charms and weapons inside... I hope they are of use to you."

    She then turned around and amidst the contorted expression of Di Feng, she started flying away with an obscured face. Her voice seemed to come from up close and from far away at the same time as it was transmitted right at his soul.

    "It is time I go now. You should see what you can do with the thing inside the box and then go to Evergreen city. Your journey shall start there and you may face all challenges that came your way on your own. Goodbye Fengʼer, live well..."

    With fists clenched tightly and eyes bloodshot, Di Feng shouted those words that came right out from his heart at the top of his lungs! All of his suppressed feelings came bursting out!

    The air trembled as his voice was transmitted over to many kilometers around himself!

    "Mother! I will absolutely become the strongest! I will absolutely protect Qingyue and Aunty Yin! I will absolutely get revenge on those that hunted down father! And I will absolutely find you and him! So please... don't die..."

    During the end of his speech, his voice was hoarse and his head was bend down. His fingers dug deep into his hand causing blood to flow out.

    Faintly, one could see a shadow tremble over in the horizon as it seemed to turn back for a split second, before it continued moving further and further away....

    ...

    It took Di Feng a full fifteen minutes to calm himself. When he did, he went back inside the house and sat down on the living room with the gray box placed in front of him.

    His palms were still bloodied from the previous event, even his eyes still contained traces of redness but he forced himself to accept that his mother has now left him and that her future was unknown. But if he could manage to get stronger quickly, if he could gain the power to chase after her even without knowing where she was, then everything would be different! No matter how dangerous the trip was, he absolutely refused to believe that his mother would die that easily, so he still had time!

    While thinking of this, he proceeded to open the gray box.

    "You are the cause of my father's dire straits back then, let's see what you really are!"

    Slowly, Di Feng opened the gray box. Dark fog came out from the insides and blocked his sight for a while before it dissipated and revealed what the thing inside was.

    "A black crystal?" Di Feng's eyes lit up and he extended his hand to grab the crystal. He could not tell what this was or what it could do but he did sense the ancient and dark aura it contained.

    As he focused on inspecting it, without even grabbing it yet, a strange feeling of looking at a boundless but dark and chaotic sea of space overcame him. On a more closer look, the black crystal appeared to contain something, and that something was what have him that feeling!

    Filled with doubts, Di Feng proceeded to grab it. But...

    Suddenly, the black crystal seemed to come alive as a dark glow flashed with unusual brightness, uncharacteristic of darkness itself. The black crystal then started floating on the air before shooting straight at the bloodied palm of Di Feng!

    Atonishment covered his face but he found to his disbelief that he could not move an inch! A presence filled with an ancient and boundless aura locked him in place.

    The black crystal collided with his palm and started sucking out his dry blood. When it was done, it shook for a split second before it then shoot directly at his dantian! Di Feng could not move at all during this short lapse of time. What the black crystal did gave him the feeling as if it felt something from 'tasting' his blood.

    At the moment it collided with his abdomen, it strangely disappeared. Then, everything went black for Di Feng as he fainted.

    A whole day passed before he awakened.

    His mind felt foggy and his body weak. He slowly recalled what happened and proceeded to scan his body with his soul perception.

    When he did, he found that his blood had decreased inmensely. He had lost over fifty percent of his blood and even some of his blood essence had strangely disappeared!

    He did not find any traces of the black crystal however. This made him feel upset as he did not know what it did do or why would it need his blood. He knew, or rather, had a hitch, that it was still inside his body however. He didn't know where as he could not sense it.

    After a few moments pondering over the issue, Di Feng sent his perception over to his dantian. There, he noticed how an additional black light shone on the third, gray seal!

    'So there it is... It seems that this third seal of mine contains quite a few secrets...'

    He rubbed his forehead as a headache attacked him. His skin was abnormally pale, as if he hadn't seen the sun for years.

    "I should get going now so that I arrive early for the martial competition and also to seek Di Zhen and ask for news and be prepared..."

    Thinking out loud, he stood up and walked outside. With each step forwards his mind recalled a memory and each step forwards also further increased his resolution and determination to seek the peak of cultivation and martial arts! Only then would he fear no one and not be forced to act passively.

  • Chapter 17: Evergreen City

    Evergreen City was located approximately fifty kilometers from the outer sector of the Evergreen Forest. It occupied a full one thousand five hundred kilometers in circumference while ten meter high and five meter wide stone city walls surrounded it in its entirety. Four entrances, consisting of an arc that went five meters high connecting two ends of the city wall, with guards stationed all around in a more lively fashion than the rest of the wall protection in general.

    Today, a pale youth with azure eyes and a black hood over his head that also covered his tall body arrived at the west city entrance.

    There was people coming and going inside and outside the city while at the side of this lively ordeal was a line of people coming for the first time to register, paying the entrance fee and then enter.

    *Sigh* 'It seems that I will have to wait for a bit.' Di Feng thought dejectedly.

    Along the way, he had been rushing, cultivating, practicing Tai Chi, and inspecting the things that his mother left behind. During his cultivation, he also entered the second seal's virtual world so as to test his conjecture and he found that he would need to be at the seventh stage of Qi condensation to fully break through while his Depriving ice concept would need to be more consolidated. This was just a matter of time however so he wasn't to worried. Even then, he still was expectant of what the third seal would present him with.

    As for entering the first virtual world again, he also tried and he found that he himself seemed to be lacking something as whenever that sense swept past him it would take what normally is needed, but then remain for a bit as if searching for something else and as it can't find it, it would just dissapear. This puzzled him, but there was nothing he could do for now.

    His Tai Chi also steadily improved but he needed to practice even more to implement it into his techniques and spear moves. Still, his control over his body and power improved vastly compared to before and the principles of Yin and Yang seemed to open a brand new world for him which he had to further explore!

    Then, with regards to the things inside the spatial ring, there were about one hundred pills; seventy percent of which refilled true qi, blood, soul force, ten percent of ones that were very precious and served to be used so as to succesfully breakthrough or to further strengthen ones self, and twenty percent of unique and special ones that could recuperate lost vitality, heal specific wounds, and all sorts of antidotes.

    Pills were graded from tier-1 to tier-9, each being suitable to different realms of cultivation. Currently, Di Feng's pills consisted majorly of pseudo tier-1 with only a few tier-1 pills, two tier-2 pills and only one tier-3 pill but even then this was a massive amount of wealth!

    Of course that during the way, Di Feng directly ate a few blood recovery pills which accelerated and even ever so slightly strengthened, his recovery of all that blood that the mysterious black crystal stealed from him.

    As for the lost blood essence, that's more difficult and even with all the precious pills that he had, only one could recover his lost blood essence but he was unwilling to use it as he estimatd that only five percent of his blood essence was lost and it wouldn't impact him too much for now. Aside from recovering his blood, he also ate a tier-1 pill to directly breakthrough to the sixth stage of Qi condensation as his foundation was solid enough. During this process, five more meridians were opened and he now had a total of seventy-three opened meridians.

    As for his body, it was also comparable to the sixth stage of Qi condensation and thanks to it, with just it and his true qi he could defeat anyone at the seventh stage of Qi condensation and battle those at the eight stage. Killing would be more problematic though.

    On the other hand, with regards to the protective charms, there were five and each was more powerful than the last. He didn't exactly know how but he presumed that he wouldn't need to be worried even if he encountered a Nether Transformation mmartial artist. But, he would try his best to not have to rely on them still.

    And lastly, the weapons. Weapons were also divided into 9 tiers and Di Feng's black spear could be considered as a tier-1 spear. The weapons on the ring were mostly tier-1 one use items, numbering on the twenties, that could be used during battle to surprise enemies or resist surprise attacks.

    The hood he was wearing for example, was also amongst them and was categorized as a spirit clothing. This hood's function was to conceal ones look and with its tier-2 grade, no one under the Profound Sea realm would be able of seeing through it. Even experts at that realm would have a few difficulties most likely.

    Suddenly, a commotion awakened Di Feng from his thoughts as a luxurious and rectangular carriage flew on the skies while being pulled by two beautiful red birds of about ten meters in height each.

    'Those birds are at the great circle of Qi condensation!' Di Feng's eyes shone brightly as he stared deeply at the flying carriage who had already dissapeared into the city skies.

    People near him who also took part in the line to enter the city started talking amongst them in hight spritis upon seeing the carriage.

    "That's the carriage of Princess Sophie!"

    "Wow! Those fey beast are Fire Birds! It is said that these have a bit of the bloodline of a real phoenix!"

    "Even then, Princess Sophie is much more humble compared to any other noble. I have seen other nobles that were accompanied by music and dozens of people along with even more luxurious carriages..."

    "She's unique after all, it is rumored that she has always been like this, preferring quietness and being alone."

    "Enough of that, Princess Sophie had already held martial competitions in the entirety of the Iron Blood Country and it is said that no one, no matter how talented they were, was selected by her in the end. Even those famous noble sons that participated were completely rejected!"

    "If its like that then what's her motive for doing all this? It seems to me that her purpose is not as simple as it appears to be."

    "It's not like it has anything to do with you so why bother? I heard that some of those noble sons that were rejected by her would also arrive here to convince her to accept them, be either as a partner or as a bodyguard or confidant... This is her last stop so it is reasonable for them to want to try again."

    "A good show would surely happen then!"

    ....

    Di Feng carefully pondered over what he just heard, his brows furrowed.

    'Old Zhen either seems to have believed too much in the rumors or things changed during this last month and a half... She even arrived half a month early... Do I have to reconsider? Trying and seeing what happens would not do me any bad however, right? At most, I will attract the anger of a few short-sighted idiots or enter into the schemes of someone... Fuck, this just became complicated all of a sudden.'

    As he immersed himself in his thoughts, the line of people advanced and fifteen minutes later, it was finally his turn.

    Two guards in ordinary silver armor greeted him. One of them was middle aged while the other seemed to be in his twenties. The two's faces changed slightly as they noticed that none of the two could read Di Feng's cultivation and further adding on his hood that concealed his looks, they didn't know how to react for a second.

    In the end, the middle aged man was the one to talk first. A glint shining on his eyes.

    "Dictate your name, occupation, age, purpose for coming to the city and then pay the ten copper required to enter."

    Di Feng noticed the glint on the man's eyes but decided to ignore it. Upon hearing the money needed however, his face twitched as he only had five gold coins of mortal currency. Wouldn't he attract unnecessary attention by handing one directly as if it was nothing?

    With a sigh, Di Feng waved his hand and a golden coin appeared on his hand.

    "My name is Feng, I don't have any occupation and I have come for the martial competition."

    The middle aged man quickly noted that down but his eyes kept on moving towards the golden coin. As for the young man, he gulped but remained quiet.

    "Done, you may enter." The man's eyes were currently shining brightly.

    With a shake of his head, Di Feng tossed the coin and quickly walked away, he didn't care about money, much less mortal money.

    He already knew where the Di Family was located so he chose to directly walk towards it.

  • Chapter 18: The Di Residence, Bastard Son?

    Evergreen City, just like many other cities that were influenced by the organization and division of the imperial capital, is divided into the inner and outer sectors but not in a solid way. It was more of a custom. Anyone could enter the so called inner sector but most commores would refrain from doing so as they would only bring disdain and even trouble upon themselves.

    Di Feng couldn't be bothered by this and after thirty minutes of walking he arrived at what would be the division between both sectors. At first sight, there were no differences between the two but as he walked deeper into the inner sector, the road and houses grew more luxurious and less people could be seen walking on the streets.

    The Di Residence was located on the east side of the inner sector and occupied a whopping eight kilometers of territory. This marked a big difference as every other house Di Feng saw did not surpass three kilometers of territory.

    The Di Residence had more greenery and free space than buildings. In fact, it only had three buildings. One in the center and two at its sides. The central building occupied two whole kilometers and was a big mansion that looked like a small palace.

    The building at its right was over one hundred meters away and was in fact built like a pagoda, having the base floor with five hundred meters of width and five levels in total where each one that followed after the base level was one hundred meters shorter in width.

    The third building was at the left from the central mansion. It had the shape of a temple and was just over one hundred meters in diameter.

    Dirt and stone roads connected the three buildings and coupled with the vast amounts of vegetation it gave a very peaceful athmosphere.

    Around the entirety of the Di Residence, a three meter rock wall was built and it had two entrances, one from the east and the the from the west.

    Di Feng took in his surroundings and was inwardly amazed at the lavishness. As he got near he could spot two guards on either side of the entrance and other family members further inside that were either meditating, training or sparring.

    A few minutes later he had already arrived at the entrance. The two guards then stepped forwards to block his way forwards. These two wore just black leather clothing but this seemingly normal clothing was in fact a pseudo tier-1 spirit artifact.

    The two were just young men at about twenty five years old. One had a cold expression while the other a warm one. An interesting sight to behold.

    The approachable looking guard spoke first. His words polite and his tone even.

    "Hello, good sir. May I know what are you doing here? This is the Di Recidence and only honored guests or family members can enter."

    Di Feng remained silent for a period of time. With the hood obscuring his face, the two guards couldn't see his expression so they were somewhat apprehensive in this silence.

    With a calm tone, Di Feng spoke. He was unsure as to what their reaction would be however...

    "Go tell your family head, Old Zhen, that Di Feng came to see him."

    The two guards froze for a few seconds before doubtful expressions appeared on their faces. They didn't pay any heed to his surname however, as there were many people that could have the same one in this world.

    The warm faced guard then answered, his tone still polite even though his heart was filled with doubts and apprehension.

    "Exuse me, good sir, but our Di Family doesn't have a family head. The highest authority is the Grand Elder and his name is Xuan. Good sir has probably come to the wrong place then."

    Di Feng's eyes widened in surprise but then, he catched sight of a group of youths coming out of the residence.

    They were talking and laughing happily but it was noticeable that everyone else was following the youth in the center. He wore white silk robes and had long black hair. A sword was strapped to his waist and coupled with his handsome looks and tall figure, he looked quite impressive.

    The two guards noticed the group and went forwards to bow in greeting. Nobody from the group spared them a glance however. But as Di Feng was quite conspicuous with his black hood, the group stopped in place and glanced either with curiosity or with confusion at him.

    The youth in the center then looked at the guards before asking.

    "You two, what's the problem with that man?"

    The warm faced guard was the one to anwser.

    "Young master, this good sir came here in hopes of meeting with someone named Zhen."

    The youth's brow furrowed. He recalled that name... He turned to look at Di Feng and gave him a deep glance.

    "Who are you?"

    Indifferently, he said; "I'm Di Feng. Do you know who Di Zhen is?"

    The youth's brow furrowed even deeper.

    But then, some amongst the group started speaking to each other.

    "Di Feng? He's surnamed Di! But who's that Di Zhen?"

    "I don't know anyone by those two names amongst the family, maybe he came to the wrong place."

    "Or maybe he's the bastard son of someone we don't know."

    Di Feng's eyes turned chilly when he heard that. With a murderous tone, he glanced at the group and spoke.

    "What did you say?"

    The one he was staring at was a bulky fellow with short hair. The fellow was startled at the abrupt change in the man in front of him but he refused to show weakness as he crossed both arms on his chest.

    "I said that maybe you are the bastard son of someone in the family we don't know about. Don't tell me it is true? Then..."

    His words were cut off as a breath stifling bloodlust came crashing down on him and everyone else around him.

    Like a ghost, the hoodied Di Feng seemed to turn into a shadow who instantly appeared in front of that fellow. He didn't even release his true qi and he only used his physical strenght, but even then, his fleshly body was comparable to the sixth stage of qi condensation, and not someone ordinary at that level too.

    A punch that caused crisp booming noises to fill the air then came crashing down onto the chest of that fellow. The guy could only barely cover his body with his fifth stage true qi before it hit him.

    *Crack! Boom!*

    His body was sent directly onto the ground while his bones cracked as some ruptured while his skin and flesh fissured and blood flowed out. His body then completely cracked the ground and lifted a cloud of smoke. It was fortunate that he instantly went unconscious.

    Di Feng held back at the last second as he realized that just now, his anger made him go out of control somehow. This wasn't because of his inhability to control himself, it was something else he couldn't tell...

    While he started thinking as to what it could be, the surrounding crowd was shocked silly!

    Especially that young master. His eyes were wide and he noticed that his hands were shaking a bit. He had also thought of the same possibility that the bulky fellow voiced but refrained himself from asking and planned to subtly ask about his relationship with Di Zhen as he knew who he was!

    Suppressing his emotions and reverting back to his original self, the young master politely asked. He was at the sixth stage of qi condensation but even then, he couldn't just punch someone a stage lower than himself without any true qi and leave them half dead!

    "Mister Feng, I know who Di Zhen is. My name is Di Chen and my father is also the Grand Elder, Di Xuan. May I know your purpose of seeking Senior Zhen?"

    Di Feng then stopped pondering about the matter and looked at Di Chen.

    "Just tell him that Di Feng is here."

    Di Chen nodded. He waved his hand and a sound transmitting talisman appeared. He sent some of his true qi inside in a special manner and then crushed it. The actions and mannerism of Di Feng made him somewhat apprehensive so he did not want to delay this matter any further. There was also no point in arguing about his injured 'friend' as he was in the wrong to being with.

  • Chapter 19: A Walk, An Encounter

    A few minutes later, two old men arrived at the scene. One had short white hair, a tall and straight figure and wore white robes while the other had a bald head, a pair of deep black eyes along with a long white beard and a somewhat shorter stature in comparision.

    Di Feng's eyes lit up at the sight of the men as the bald one was Di Zhen! He reckoned that the other was the Grand Elder, Di Xuan.

    On the other hand, Di Chen looked relieved as he saw them. He wouldn't have to face this fiend in human form anymore!

    As for the rest of the people, the two guards couldn't care less and the other youths had already left with the half dead fellow who provoked Di Feng in tow.

    "Di Feng! You finally came. I was worried for a second that you wouldn't come."

    Di Zhen eyes shined brightly as he spoke. He glanced at Di Xuan and Di Chen from the corner of his eyes.

    "Senior Zhen." Di Feng bowed lightly in greeting.

    "So it was because of this fellow that you did not allow any of our family juniors to participate in the martial competition?" At Di Zhen's side, Di Xuan sent a scrutinizing glare at Di Feng.

    He took it indifferently as he knew that, for the old man to become the grand elder, his cultivation could only be at the golden core realm and there was nothing he could do to him. The old man did not release any kind of pressure but his eyes were like lighting and they themselves were suppresive enough.

    "What? Do not tell me that you think there's a junior amongst the family that can beat him? If that's the case then by bother participating? Come Di Feng, let's talk inside in your temporary residence. Now that I think about it, I should have left behind a token so that you could enter unhindered..." The old man turned around and his few last words were spoken in a whisper.

    Di Feng heard him however, he rolled his eyes and followed.

    Di Xuan felt ignored but there was nothing he could do. He did not follow, looking at Di Chen instead.

    "Chen'er, what you told me about that guy leaving Di Hou half dead with just a punch and without using any true qi at all is true?" A solemn expression was on his face. He involuntarily threw a side glance at the crater left on the ground where dried blood remained.

    Di Chen, after seeing how Di Zhen, the strange old man who even his father had to be polite with, behave so closely with Di Feng, was left in a shocked silence. He didn't know what to say for a moment. It was only after his father snorted coldly that he awakened. The sound rumbling like thunder in his ears.

    "Yes father, it's true. I reckon that he has a body transformation technique as that sort of strength exceeded even mine..." He lowered his head, somewhat ashamed.

    "A body transformation technique... Let's see how he does at the martial competition then." A glint foashed through the old man's eyes.

    .....

    Di Zhen led Di Feng all the way towards the mansion, inside and then after walking through a few corridors and going up a few floors, they arrived at a room that was quite isolated from the rest.

    The mansion not only contained accomodations for over five hundred family members but also for servants as well as training grounds and sparring grounds. It was all divided orderly with the three floors of the mansion. And the residences of each member was also different based on their own status amongst the family. Currently, Di Feng's residence was amongst the core members zone and was quite luxurious.

    As he entered with Old Zhen in tow, he noticed the grand living room and the other rooms where each had costly furniture and all sorts of decorations.

    "I supposed you wouldn't need servants so you can feel at ease about people bothering you or your privacy."

    Di Feng smiled and took off his hood, revealing his pale face.

    This surprised Di Zhen. "What happened to you? Why are you so pale?" Seriousness could be seen on his face.

    "Its nothing, something happened and I lost a bit of blood essence along with some blood I'm still recovering. Tell me what news are there about the martial competition and how will it be held." Di Feng's heart warmed a little at the concern show by the old man. As he spoke, he walked down towards a nearby table and chair before sitting down and beckoning to the old man.

    Old Zhen sighed upon seeing how unconcerned he was about losing blood essence.

    "You have to be careful Di Feng, there are many more things in this world that can cause your death if you're not careful... Well, I don't want to lecture you about that as you already had to know this since your mother could not possibly want you to die."

    The old man shook his head helplessly.

    "As for news... You could say that lately, many things have surprised me. Not only with regards to Princess Sophie but also about the reaction of many others...."

    He then started speaking about all rumors and facts regarding the last month and a half. It was already deep in the afternoon when he finished and departed.

    Di Feng was left alone, pondering. After hearing what Old Zhen had to say, he became even more sure about how this Princess Sophie was not as simple as many think she is, without mentioning her true status amongst her family.

    But, for now, he won't bother with this as his strength was more important to him. There was still two weeks left till the martial competition and he wanted to train.

    .....

    Ten days later.

    As the day of the martial competition neared, many people came to Evergreen city from other cities, even nobles and solitary but powerful martial artist came.

    But Di Feng did not know this as he was immersed in his own world.

    He had been practicing his Tai Chi every morning and contemplating about the principles of Yin and Yang, along with his own Daos of Ice and Darkness and how he could fuse the two together.

    He did not even touch the nine seals during this period of time as he wanted to fully focus on Tai Chi and solidifying his cultivation base.

    Today however, he planned to go out and walk to relax.

    Di Feng, amidst the curious glances from the crowd of Di Family members, left the Di Residence and went directly to the streets.

    He toured the entire city, be it the inner or outer sectors, or the most crowded or desolate sites.

    By doing this, he managed to release plenty of his accumulated tension and even felt refreshed.

    Now, he was walking through a public market. Stalls of all sorts were olaced left and right but he wasn't interested in buying anything and just wanted to observe from the side the bustling activities and liveliness of the people.

    A small smile formed on his face as he remembered his days with Ji Qingyue going to these sorts of places to play around. Gradually, his thoughts became more immersed in these memories and with that state of mind, he walked like a ghost amongst the people, without anyone noticing him.

    From Ji Qingyue to his mother, to Aunty Yin, to his difficulties with the first seal, to his struggles against Li Tianyun and Arthur Austrich... All of these memories flashed through his mind and caused his emotions to fluctuate as a result.

    Di Feng sighed and forcefully broke out of this state of mind. He couldn't let his emotions take control of him. Much less emotions caused by the past.

    Every martial artist of today struggled against the heavens and walked down a path that was faught with danger and solitude. Either one lived and succeeded or died and failed!

    This was the absolute truth of the martial path and no one could escape it!

    Di Feng knew that some events of his past could influence him and his emotions which would affect his thought process at certain occasions but he knew that these would at some time be solved. In comparision, his happy memories were different. They were there and would not affect him most of the time, but if he encountered difficulties and didn't have a strong willpower, he would kept on thinking back to those times and gradually lose all will he had to continue walking down his martial path!

    Even then, Di Feng was not afraid as he didn't want to keep himself from remembering, without mentioning that he also was confident in his own willpower!

    Abruptly, Di Feng felt that he collided with something as a soft lovely cry entered his ears.

    Shocked, he realized that he just pushed down a hooded girl. She was about half a head shorter than him and what seemed to be a half eaten baked bread was in her fair and slender right hand.

    Upon a closer look, he noticed that he could not see through the obscurity of the hood! This took him aback but he didn't prove any further.

    He extended his right hand to help the girl up. "Sorry about that miss, I was just..."

    His words were cut off as a soft voice that gave others a fragile and quiet impression talked over him.

    "Immersed in your memories and thinking about them?" The girl took his right hand and used it as a support to lift herself up. Di Feng noticed that her body seemed weightless and it gave him the illusion as if with just a pinch she would break!

    "Yeah... Well, I will be going first if there's nothing else." He felt his heart palpitate and his soul stir for a second when he heard her words. This made him realize that this girl was absolutely not simple so he decided to go his own way.

    Seeing the girl nod slightly, he walked away, appearing casual.

    He didn't notice that two purple lights shone in the obscurity of the hood when he turned around.

    'A strange but fierce and dark aura surrounds him... When I tried to prove further just now it gave me such a shock that left me paralyzed...'

    The girl then bought the baked bread to her mouth and ate as she turned around to walk away.

    No one amongst the commoners and even some of the martial artists there noticed her....

  • Chapter 20: Dragon Dueling Coliseum

    Four days later.

    The city was bustling with people. Be either commoners or nobles or individual martial artists, all were moving lively. This was all due to the martial competition about to begin.

    The martial competition would be held at the Dragon Dueling Coliseum.

    The Dragon Dueling Coliseum is a place specifically created for tournaments and all sorts of battles to take place in. It was a special place that was admitted everywhere where martial artists lived and this one was just a branch from the main headquarters at the imperial capital. It is located at the very border between the inner and outer sectors and admitted all sorts of people.

    The place was shaped just like a colosseum, with approximately two square kilometers in circumference while holding three different levels of spectator stands, each being a bit smaller the higher they were. It was circular in shape with a pure white design and since it didn't have a roof, some honoured people were permitted to pass through flying and descend on a special platform on the third level.

    Currently, the roads beside it were packed with people but on there was also a clear zone to let carriages move about, opened by powerful martial artists that were hired by the Dragon Dueling Coliseum itself who kept the people at way from causing a ruckus.

    As the people on the road talked and discussed about the ongoing event, a carriage passed through, instantly attracting some attention.

    It was quite nice looking and was pulled by two beautiful white horses.

    "That's the Di Family's insignia!"

    "They arrived quite early..."

    "Well, the Zhu and Chen families arrived even earlier on and are already inside. In fact, there are already many people inside right now and the last to show up would probably be the group of Princess Sophie."

    As the people wildly discussed, the carriage passed unhindered and quickly it reached the grand and wide entrance, where six martial artists at the great circle of qi condensation managed the registration and entrance fee to enter and either be an espectator or a participant.

    All of them were young men in their twenties wearing red robes with a badge that held the design of a roaring white dragon.

    Their eyes lit up at the sight of the people descending from the carriage.

    First was a handsome youth wearing white robes, then an old man with an imposing presence wearing black robes, followed by a hooded old man and a hooded youth.

    They were Di Chen, the Grand Elder, Old Zhen and Di Feng respectively.

    Not many knew of the existence of a senior like Old Zhen living in the Di Residence and since he didn't want to make public his appearance he hid it and now just acted as Di Feng's protector. His gray hood was even better at concealing abilities than Di Feng's, it seemed that he was already accustomed to it.

    This could also serve as a deterrent for those with bad intentions or those that are offended during the martial competition.

    As for Di Feng, it was without saying that he wanted to hide as deep as possible so as to also avoid these problems. He had been thinking carefully about his decision for the past four days and decided to go on with it. He had quite the curiousity for this mysterious Princess Sophie and wanted to see how everything during the martial competition played out.

    He also couldn't suppress his battle intent and wanted to see who amongst the competitors could give him a good fight.

    The group of four distinct people walked amidst the curious glances from the crowd of people on the road and the entrance.

    A guard came forwards to welcome them.

    "Esteemed sirs, may I know..."

    His words were cut off by the grand elder, who spoke indifferently.

    "Three spectators and one participant."

    With that, he signaled at Di Feng with his thumb.

    The guard wasn't angry at all and nodded. He noted that down and asked Di Feng about his name before giving them four tickets, three red and one white. These tickets were more of a custom procedure however since with their status in the city they didn't even have to pay.

    The guard then looked at Di Feng, curiosity clear on his face.

    "The competition will start in half an hour, follow me to the warrior's waiting room."

    As for the other three, they would be guided by another guard to the third level of the Dragon Dueling Coliseum.

    .....

    Di Feng followed the guard for a few minutes, going through various corridors before arriving at a wide door.

    Upon opening, youths ranging from fifteen to eighteen years of age siting or standing with eyes closed entered his sight. There were about three hundred in total!

    This place was about four hundred meters with nothing else but a few seats.

    As the door opened, it attracted the attention of the majority. Either with curious or disregarding eyes, they looked at the hooded Di Feng, who gave them a mysterious vibe.

    They then noticed that he was bought here respectfully by the head guard. This made quite a few feel jealous as only those from the three major families in the city or those renowned geniuses could enjoy this kind of treatment.

    Di Feng ignored all comments whispered between those people and chose an isolated spot to sit down cross legged to meditate.

    The door was then once again closed...

    .....

    Twenty minutes later, on the espectator stands.

    A luxurious flying carriage descended onto the platform on the third level specifically built to welcome honored guests.

    The entire coliseum was already fully packed with one hundred thousand people. A division of commoners on the first level, nobles on the second and honored guests on the third was created.

    Amidst the curious and fervent gazes from the crowds of people, the fairy like figure of a girl along with a black clothed old man came down from the carriage.

    The girl wore a black veil over her face along with a black silk dress that contrasted exisitely with her pale white skin and her long, silky black hair carefully combed to flow down her shoulders.

    Even though it was a pity that her face was hidden, the figure that could be discerned was beyond perfect in the eyes of the people.

    Further adding the fragile and quiet aura she emanated, it made others want to protect her.

    The old man gentlemanly escorted the girl towards one of the most luxurious of seats amidst the respectful welcoming of a middle aged man with a reserved attitude.

    Loud discussions filled the spectator stands.

    "That's Princess Sophie!"

    "What grace! What beauty!"

    "That middle aged man should be Fu Dong, the Director in charge of the Dragon Dueling Coliseum!"

    ....

    A few steps lower from the princess, the three Di Family members sat quietly. Di Chen was the only one amongst the three to stare with bright eyes at the princess. Di Xuan did not spare her a glance and sat with his eyes closed.

    Even if they were royalty, old experts like himself did not need to be formal or polite with juniors.

    Di Zhen casually glanced at her from the corner of her eyes and noticed something that made his brows furrow slightly. Upon checking again, glaring straight at a specific spot beside the princess and making sure that he was right, he involuntarily chuckled. His gaze however, couldn't be seen at all thanks to his hood.

    At the side of the Di Family members, the Chen and Zhu family members were also there,the latter group consisted of a middle aged woman with enchanting looks along with a middle aged man while the former had an old man and a middle aged man.

    The old man from the Chen family looked directly at the meditating Di Xuan, a glint flickering within his eyes as he noticed Di Chen and the hooded Di Zhen.

    "Hey, Old Xuan, what happened? Are you not confident in your family juniors, fearing that they would lose too badly and would lose face for you that you did not let them participate?"

    At this, Di Xuan finally opened his eyes and glanced indifferently at the old man. Di Chen was also incensed at his words.

    "Are you that bored, Chen Wang? My decisions has nothing to do with the likes of you."

    Then, he closed his eyes again.

    A sly glint flashed through Chen Wang's eyes as he threw a side glance at the hooded Di Zhen, who remained indifferent to this.

    ....

    Mere minutes after Princess Sophie arrived, another three, even more grand and luxurious flying carriages came as well.

    Three handsome young men carrying with them a noble bearing and a sharp aura accompanied by their respective servants and escorts, were the ones who arrived. Simultaneously.

    Another wave of exclamations were heard.

    "Those three... Who are they?"

    "I recognize the blue clothed one! He's Fang Mu, a young genius from the Fang Family of the imperial capital!"

    "There's also Markus Bonan from the Bonan family!"

    "That last black clothed one is unknown however..."

    ....

    Those three exchanged glances with each other and then, they walked together towards seats close to those of princess Sophie. The black clothed young man was in the lead, clearly, some degree of authority was held by him and the other two had some degree of respect for him as well.

    The blue clothed Markus Bonan was followed by a gray clothed old man while the red robed Fang Mu was followed by an old woman wearing black.

    The unknown black clothed young man was followed by a middle aged man however and that man had an imposing and powerful presence. Clearly, he was a powerful expert.

    Princess Sophie didn't move at all or glance at them. Only the old man beside her bowed lightly at the black clothed young man.

    None of the three took this as abnormal still. They very casually occupied the few clear spots beside hers and started chatting.

    Like this, the last fifteen minutes went by and the previously mentioned Fu Ding, who had welcomed the princess, was the one who appeared atop the wide platform at the center of the coliseum.

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