Su Zimo was still attempting to break through his third spirit meridian. On the square, the competition for the Elixir Ranking came right on the heels of the competition for the Talisman Ranking.
This time, Ethereal Peak did not send any disciples but Su Xiaoning of Azure Frost Sect was taking part.
Initially, Su Xiaoning’s elixir refinement skills were not enough for her to leave a name on the Elixir Ranking.
However, ever since she obtained that mysterious Elixir Furnace, Su Xiaoning would become extremely focused with every elixir refinement and could reach her peak condition.
During the sect competition this time, Su Xiaoning managed to refine a perfect-grade elixir once again and clinched the first spot on the Elixir Ranking in a shocking fashion!
With the end of the competition for the Elixir Ranking, it meant that three ranking lists were done.
Thirty cultivators who were qualified to enter the ancient battlefield were already chosen.
Naturally, the most watched event of the sect competition was still the Spirit Ranking contest.
The competition for the Spirit Ranking was not the most common one-on-one format. Instead, it would be held in a completely foreign environment where birds and beasts tread and dangers lurked. In that massive battle royale, ten champions would be decided.
The location for the Spirit Ranking competition was extremely particular as well. It was held within a Dharmic weapon possessed by the emperor, the Five Elements Umbrella where a world of its own was formed within – it could accommodate hundreds of thousands of living beings and was extremely obscure.
The Five Elements Umbrella was divided into five major regions of metal, wood, water, fire and earth.
There were Grade 4 killing formations separating the different regions and they could not be crossed.
Out of balance, each sect could only send five cultivators at most to participate in the Spirit Ranking competition.
The participating cultivators would be dragged into the Five Elements Umbrellas and fight in their respective regions until two people remained.
After the battle royale of the five regions ended, the remaining two people of each region would get to leave their names on the jade pillar of the Spirit Ranking.
Since the purpose was to enter the ancient battlefield, the ten remaining cultivators on the Spirit Ranking would not continue to fight one another and there was no distinction between the rankings.
Of course, each cultivator would receive a talisman before entering the Five Elements Umbrella.
If they crush the talisman, they would be teleported out of the Five Elements Umbrella instantly but that would also mean they are disqualified from competing for the Spirit Ranking.
This time, there were no six meridian Foundation Establishment Cultivators in the sect competition.
Each of the five major sects had a five meridian Foundation Establishment Cultivators, the other sects had two in total and there was an itinerant cultivator as well – there were a total of eight five meridian Foundation Establishment Cultivators!
The emperor would definitely spread the eight five meridian Foundation Establishment Cultivators to different regions.
As for the allocation of three and four meridian Foundation Establishment Cultivators, it would be more casual relatively.
What was worth mentioning was that even five meridian Foundation Establishment Cultivators may not survive till the end given the complex nature of the Five Elements Umbrella.
There were no lack of four meridian Foundation Establishment Cultivators who managed to leave their names on the Spirit Ranking for each sect competition!
“All the cultivators taking part in the Spirit Ranking competition, step forward!”
With a command from the emperor, cultivators stepped out from the crowd one after another into the sunken area.
At a glance, there were around five thousand of them.
These five thousand cultivators were the elites of their respective sects but only ten of them would be selected in the end!
Jun Hao of Azure Frost Sect, He Jiang of True Fire Sect, Si Yutang and Shen Mengqi of Iridescent Clouds Palace, Shi Jian of Southern Mountains Sect and Ji Chengtian and little fatty of Ethereal Peak were naturally among them.
The emperor waved his sleeves and a bright light flew towards the five thousand cultivators in the square. Raining on them, it turned into jade talismans.
The word ‘life’ was etched on the jade talismans.
The meaning was obvious – cultivators would be able to leave the Five Elements Umbrella alive as long as they were to crush the jade talismans!
The emperor nodded and Perfected Lord Ming Ze understood before shouting, “The reason why all of you are placed in a battle royale within the Five Elements Umbrella during the Spirit Ranking segment for each sect competition is so that you can have a taste of what the ancient battlefield is like beforehand.”
“I’m not going to talk about the rules but I have some points to remind everyone about.”
“First, don’t attempt to cross the regions. There are Grade 4 killing formations separating the different regions; even Golden Cores who enter them are bound to die.”
“Second, the Five Elements Umbrella is extremely dangerous. Apart from your competitors, there are many birds and beasts. While those are ordinary spirit demons, some of them have survived for tens of thousands of years and their strength is at the peak of the Foundation Establishment realm! The only reason why they aren’t able to form a core is due to the repression from Your Majesty’s Dharmic powers.”
When they heard that, many cultivators’ hearts skipped a beat.
At the peak of Foundation Establishment, spirit demons had the ability to kill them.
Perfected Lord Ming Ze continued, “Although you are all in possession of the jade talisman, there have been incidents in previous sect competitions where cultivators were attacked and killed before they could crush their jade talismans.”
At that point, Perfected Lord Ming Ze paused for a brief moment. “Those who wish to withdraw now, there is still time. Once you enter the Five Elements Umbrella…”
Even though Perfected Lord Ming Ze did not continue, his meaning was clear.
Right then, a cold voice rang from outside the cloud.
“How can my Blood Crow Palace miss out on the Spirit Ranking competition!”
On the square, the crowd dispersed, forming a passageway.
Two cultivators walked over one after another. The person in the lead wore pitch-black long robes and his black hair was scattered casually; sharp as an eagle, his eyes shone with a crimson red.
Blood Crow Palace!
Those words seemed to have a hint of blood to it as the expressions of many Golden Cores present changed; a tinge of fear flashed across their eyes.
The emperor’s face was impassive as he sent his spirit consciousness to scan the person before him. However, it was reflected by a similar energy.
Nascent Soul realm!
The emperor frowned slightly and checked with his spirit consciousness – that person should undoubtedly be a Nascent Soul.
However, for some reason, he felt that something was amiss, as though there was something strange about that person.
Turning his head, the emperor looked towards Perfected Lord Ming Ze.
Perfected Lord Ming Ze shook his head as well.
Suddenly, a soft voice sounded in the emperor’s mind. “That’s a fiend demon! His true form is a crow on Black Crow Mountain!”
Gu Xi, the chief steward of Sky Treasure Auction House, had sent a voice transmission to the emperor using her spirit consciousness!
That was a technique that only Nascent Souls could use and only those involved in the voice transmission could hear it.
At the mention of ‘fiend demon’, the emperor’s eyes were filled with killing intent.
Demons that did not have sentience were called wild beasts.
Demons who had gained sentience and knew how to cultivate with strength equivalent to Qi Refinement Warriors were called spirit beasts.
If they had strength equivalent to Foundation Establishment Cultivators and Golden Cores, they were called spirit demons.
If they had strength greater than Golden Cores, at the Nascent Soul or even Void Reversion realm, they were called fiend demons!
Once a demon forms a demonic core, they could alter their bone structures and take on human form.
However, even if Golden Cores were to take on human form, they could not conceal the demonic qi from their bodies and any cultivator would be able to recognize them.
It was only when a demon cultivated Yin Spirit – similar to a cultivator’s Nascent Soul – that they could mobilize their spirit consciousness and wield Dharmic powers to conceal their demonic qi!
Such demons would be able to take on human form and live among humans and even cultivators without being revealed at all.
Unless one had unique Dharmic weapons or secret skills, cultivators of the same level would not be able to detect them at all!
Cultivators referred to such demons as fiend demons.