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Along the way, none of the scholarly disciples spoke.

They carried along the corpses of demons of various ranks, and slowly moved forward, forming a long line.

This picture... seemed very familiar!

Just as the scholarly disciples carrying the corpses moved forward, Song Shuhang's consciousness—which was now sealed within that rune engraved on the body of a demon—also moved forward alongside them.

At last... those scholars carrying the corpses arrived at the edge of a huge pond of water.

They had yet to approach the pond of water that a foul odor blew in their faces first. This stench was tens of times worse than that of the 'stinking pill'.

The properties of the rune were simply too incredible. Not only could Song Shuhang 'see' the surrounding area and 'hear' sounds, but he could also 'smell' the scent of the things in the surroundings.

"Blech~" Song Shuhang felt like throwing up everything in his stomach. Unfortunately, he was currently in the form of 'consciousness', and there was nothing he could throw up.

The scholarly disciples held their breaths, and kept advancing forward even though they were currently deathly pale.

In the end, the huge pond finally appeared in Song Shuhang's line of sight.

It was a huge 'unholy pond' with evil and demonic energy hovering above its surface.


The disciples of the scholarly faction had formed ten lines, and were continuously throwing the corpses of the demons on their shoulders into the unholy pond.

Very soon, it was the turn of that scholarly disciple that was carrying the corpse of the demon with the rune engraved on it.

No! Don't throw me inside the pond! Song Shuhang screamed from the depths of his soul. Unfortunately, Song Shuhang didn't have the 'Soul King' innate skill, and the scholarly disciple was unable to hear this cry coming from the depths of his soul.

The scholarly disciple arrived at the edge of the unholy pond, and slightly raised his shoulder, throwing the corpse of the demon into the water of the pond.


Song Shuhang's consciousness was attached to the rune, and thus fell into the water of the pond along with the corpse of the demon.

The water of the pond was completely black; it was a thousand times dirtier than sewer water, and blacker than black ink.

And yet, Song Shuhang's complexion at this time was even blacker than the water of the pond.

After the corpse of the demon fell into the waters of the pond, the unholy water immediately corroded and melted it. Within just three or four seconds, the corpse of the demon had thoroughly melted, becoming part of the waters of the unholy pond.

However, that rune Song Shuhang was attached to wasn't corroded amidst the waters of the unholy pond.

It was very likely that the rune was something 'Senior White Two' had drawn personally, and its anticorrosive properties were top-notch.

F*ck... why is this rune so powerful and wasn't melted like the rest? Song Shuhang felt like crying at this time.

He felt as though he had been thrown into a mixture of swill and sewage; the taste was truly something, something that might directly put him to death.

The flavor was so strong that not even the powerful will of a cultivator was able to overcome it.

If Song Shuhang hadn't been in the form of consciousness, he would surely be throwing up like crazy.

If he could choose, Song Shuhang would rather die than suffer this torment!


The rune didn't melt. As such, Song Shuhang kept 'seeing' the things happening around him through it.

Earlier, his 'eyes' had been looking upward.

From his position, he could see a huge glistening tree through the demonic energy hovering above the surface of the pond.

No, that wasn't it... it wasn't a huge tree.

It was a colossal golden lotus!

So that was how it was...

From the very beginning, Song Shuhang had found this scene somewhat familiar... but after seeing this huge golden lotus, he was sure that this scene was the duplicate of the one he'd seen when he'd dreamed about Cave Lord Dragon's life!

The only difference was that the roles in these two scenes—which he had witnessed in the Netherworld Realm and below the ground of the scholarly faction, respectively—were reversed.

Below the ground of the scholarly faction was an 'unholy pond', while there was a 'holy pond' in the Netherworld Realm.

The unholy pond in the scholarly faction fed on the demons of the Netherworld Realm... while the holy pond in the Netherworld Realm fed on the cultivators of the scholarly faction, buddhist monks, and even what seemed to be angels from the West.

There was a golden lotus growing in the unholy pond in the scholarly faction, while there was a black lotus growing in the holy pond in the Netherworld Realm.

In addition, since the black lotus in the Netherworld Realm had the ability to produce lotus seeds that bestowed upon whomever ate them a 'demonic technique'... it was quite logical to assume that the golden lotus in the scholarly faction could produce those lotus seeds that prolonged the life of whomever ate them and bestowed upon them an extraordinary ability.

No wonder the scholarly faction was willing to trade the valuable seeds of the Virtuous Golden Lotus for the corpses of the demons of the Netherworld...

After all, the corpses of the demons of the Netherworld themselves were the main ingredient to produce the seeds of the Virtuous Golden Lotus! As long as they had the Virtuous Golden Lotus, they would have an infinite supply of lotus seeds.

The scholarly faction didn't suffer any loss by carrying out this exchange.

Anyhow, the scholarly faction used the corpses of the demons of the Netherworld to feed their Virtuous Golden Lotus, while the demons of the Netherworld used the corpses of scholarly disciples, buddhist monks, and angels from the West to feed their Sinful Black Lotus... such being the case, what kind of relationship was there between the two?

The scholarly faction and the demons of the Netherworld hated each other, and wished nothing more but to wipe out the other faction whenever they met. After the Sage lost the battle for the 'Will of the Heavens', the demons of the Netherworld almost wiped out the scholarly faction. As such, it was impossible that the two factions had collaborated to create these lotus flowers.

In that case... was the existence of these two lotus flowers nothing but a coincidence?

Was it possible that the scholarly faction just happened to have researched a way to cultivate their Virtuous Golden Lotus, while the demons of the Netherworld also happened to have researched a way to cultivate their Sinful Black Lotus?

In this world, all things would naturally balance each other out, and the Virtuous Golden Lotus and the Sinful Black Lotus seemed to be the two sides of the same coin.

In that case, perhaps their existence was really just a coincidental matter?

However, Song Shuhang was still unable to calm himself down. What if... the existence of the 'Sinful Black Lotus' in the Netherworld Realm and the 'Virtuous Golden Lotus' in this place wasn't just a coincidence and there was someone secretly pulling the strings from behind the scenes?

From what he could understand, the scholarly faction and the demons of the Netherworld weren't cultivating the Virtuous Golden Lotus and the Sinful Black Lotus just for the sake of the seeds. If it was just for the lotus seeds, the two factions wouldn't need to push things to this extent.

The lotus seeds produced through the 'Virtuous Golden Lotus' and the 'Sinful Black Lotus' were very likely treasures they harvested while nurturing the two flowers, and weren't the end goal of the two factions.

Just what were the scholarly faction and the demons of the Netherworld planning to do once they were done cultivating the 'Virtuous Golden Lotus' and the 'Sinful Black Lotus'?

Just as Song Shuhang was deep in thought, the huge golden lotus suddenly moved.

However, the scene was different from the one he'd witnessed while dreaming of Cave Lord Dragon's life. The movements of the golden lotus were relatively gentle, and there were no earthquakes.

Afterward, the calyx of the golden lotus slightly shook, and countless particles of golden light shot out from the lotus flower.

All the surrounding scholarly disciples stretched out their hands to catch the seeds of the golden lotus. However, they didn't eat the lotus seeds, but stored them inside their cosmos bags.

As expected, those were the lotus seeds of the Virtuous Golden Lotus.

After storing the lotus seeds away, that group of scholarly disciples left the place.

Soon after, another group of scholarly disciples came out of that tunnel in the rear. They performed the same actions as the disciples from before and threw the corpses of the demons of the Netherworld inside the unholy pond, which then mixed with the water of the pond.

After the golden lotus had managed to get enough nutrients, it would produce another batch of lotus seeds.

The process was repeated for another two times.

At this time, the golden lotus had ejected lotus seeds for the three times already.

Song Shuhang was starting to get somewhat tired. However, the rune to which his consciousness was attached didn't seem to have any intention to melt. For how long would he have to stay in this state?

He had stayed in this unholy pond for quite some time already. If he was delayed any further, Sixteen and Yu Jiaojiao would start to get worried!

But right at this time, the procession of the scholarly disciples finally came to an end. From the looks of it, they had finished throwing into the pond all the corpses they had collected during this battle between the White Cloud Academy and the demons of the Netherworld.

After a short amount of time, an old scholar with a white beard and white hair slowly arrived in front of the unholy pond in which the Virtuous Golden Lotus was growing.

The old scholar gently opened his mouth, and said, "At last, the golden lotus is about to mature..."

Song Shuhang recognized the voice of the old scholar when the latter spoke.

When those demonic hives of the Eighth Stage invaded the academy, the voice of an old man was transmitted from the depths of the White Cloud Academy, saying 'Prepare the sacrificial altar and the writings of the Sage. Start the formation!'... This old scholar was precisely the person that activated the 'filtering nets' back then.

The strength of this old man was possibly even higher than that of True Monarch Eternal Fire.

Was he a Venerable, or someone even stronger?

The white-haired old man arrived at the edge of the unholy pond, and sat down. The demonic energy floating above the surface of the unholy pond curled up and attacked him, trying to gobble him up and contaminate his body.

However, the righteous energy covering the body of the old scholar shone, and the demonic energy quickly retreated as though it had encountered something very scary.

Song Shuhang saw that the old man bowed to the 'Virtuous Golden Lotus' from afar, and said, "Fellow Daoist Golden Lotus, you went through a lot of trouble during the past thousands of years."

Song Shuhang was surprised. This golden lotus was actually a sentient creature?

At this time, the golden lotus in the unholy pond slightly shook and gently bowed, just like a gentleman returning the courtesy.

"Fellow Daoist Golden Lotus, how many demons do you still need to fully mature? Do you have any idea?" the old scholar asked.

The golden lotus slightly shook, and seemingly used a nonverbal method to communicate with the old scholar.

After a short time, the old scholar gently nodded, and said, "What a coincidence. Just now, there happen to be a few demons of the Eighth Stage rank outside my White Cloud Academy. I'll try to find a way to capture them and feed them to Fellow Daoist Golden Lotus."

The golden lotus slightly shook one more time.

"It doesn't matter. No matter the price we will have to pay, it will be completely worth it. After Fellow Daoist Golden Lotus fully matures and turns into an autonomous world, our scholarly faction will be able to prosper again, and everything we scholars had to sacrifice during the past years wouldn't have been in vain." The old scholar deeply sighed. "This time, we must succeed at all costs. Our scholarly faction can no longer withstand all this fighting. The Netherworld Realm is simply too vast, and our scholarly faction alone has no hope of beating it. Therefore, we must get our own autonomous 'world'. Only then we will be able to attack and retreat as we wish, and stop being at the receiving end in this battle against the Netherworld Realm."

The golden lotus fiercely shook a few times, and then quieted down.

"Leave everything to me. This time, we will succeed for sure." The old scholar stood up and floated away, quietly leaving the place.

After the old man left, the rune which Song Shuhang's consciousness was attached to also melted.

At this time, Song Shuhang's face was full of tears.

He had finally managed to get away from the torture of the 'unholy pond'!

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