"What's underneath?" Junior Leopard asked curiously. From Green Spirit's words earlier, he could clearly sense the great change in the spirit's mood. It was the first time he had sensed such a drastic change after spending so much time with this old monster. Evidently, what laid underneath was definitely unusual. Anything that could provoke such a reaction in Green Spirit couldn't be an ordinary item.
"If I'm not mistaken, there's a Spirit Sea underneath!" Green Spirit cried loudly. Junior Leopard's heart jolted. What a scream! Even if he couldn't hear it, it felt like Green Spirit was yelling.
"There's a Spirit Sea underneath! Definitely! I didn't think a person powerful enough to create a Spirit Sea would exist!"
"What's that? A Spiritual Qi or something else?" Junior Leopard asked, puzzled.
"Spirit Sea is just an idea, a concept drawn up by those crazy necromancers. It didn't exist before I was trapped and I've never heard of anyone succeeding in creating it either." Green Spirit said, having gradually calmed down. He began to explain the story. "You people dubbed my era the Antiquity Times and yearn for those times as if you can pick up a Treasure of Heaven and Earth everywhere you go."
"And isn't that the truth?" Junior Leopard retorted.
"It's true only if you compare it with how things are now. We do find Treasures of Heaven and Earth everywhere back then but they were just ordinary objects to us. Even if you pick them up, they won't be of much use. It's just like the yew trees that grow wild in this world. There's no use for them now but who knows if thousands or millions of years later, they'll turn out to be as precious as the Heavenly Peach Wood? You must know, back then, the Heavenly Peach Wood can be found everywhere as well."
"That sounds too exaggerated!" Junior Leopard laughed. He had considered this possibility and also understood it was likely to happen. But a stone from the Antiquity Times was still just a stone no matter how much time had passed. It could turn into a fossil at most, but what was the value of that?
"Not at all!" Green Spirit's tone became solemn when he saw how Junior Leopard didn't seem to take his words seriously. "While you're yearning for our era, we also yearned for an even older era back then. It was recorded as the Primitive Times or the Primordial Origin. Have you heard of it? We knew that era the same way you knew ours, as a place full of Treasures of Heaven and Earth, celestial devices, and precious pneuma! The only difference was that we have a certain group of people who not only yearned for that era but also tried to restore it!"
"Restore that era?" Junior Leopard was taken aback, not understanding how it was possible. "How?"
"Exactly!" Green Spirit chuckled. "How would you feel if someone tells you they're going to restore the Antiquity Times? What would you think? Unbelievable, right? You may even think it's just a pipe dream and they're a bunch of lunatics!"
"That's for sure," Junior Leopard replied without having to think. "Of course it's a lunatic's idea. Even an Innate Deity couldn't achieve this."
"Correct! Even if the Innate Deity exists now, he wouldn't be able to do it. Besides, such deities were no more than legends in our times. But we had necromancers, those crazy necromancers!"
Each time Green Spirit mentioned the necromancers, his tone was always complex. There would be feelings of envy, resentment, helplessness, and also admiration. There were so many complex emotions that he seemed undecided what he truly felt about the necromancers.
"Though the ideas of these necromancers were ludicrous, they were methodical in their ways and proposed many possibilities. But there was too little chance for any of those possibilities to be realized and they were vetoed. That was until the craziest of all necromancers appeared —Great Necromancer Konghai!"
"Great Necromancer Konghai?" Junior Leopard felt a flicker of interest. "I remember it now. He's the one who invented the Golden Flame Mirror you mentioned!"
"That's him. Even among the necromancers, he was the best. Since it was impractical and impossible to restore the entire world to the Primordial Origin, he proposed that they restored only a certain area. That wasn't entirely impossible!"
"The micro world!" Junior Leopard instantly understood his meaning.
"Very smart. You're right. We have many micro worlds in our era and that's where we draw and deserve your admiration. Nearly every famous school had its own micro world, as did every famous martial arts master. Konghai's plan was to use all these micro worlds, drawing all the pneuma from them using inhibitions. When the density of the pneuma reached a certain degree, it would turn into a water known as Genuine Water. All the lakes, rivers, and seas were made of Genuine Water and we dubbed them as Spirit Seas. They were all different in nature but similar in the way they nurture everything. Legends had it that all living things emerged from Genuine Water, including even the Congenital God. Without enough time and Genuine Water, it was possible for Konghai to nurture the extinct Treasure of Heaven and Earth. He might even be able to restore a micro world into the times of the Primordial Origin!"
"That's just a theory." Junior Leopard was intrigued but knew it was no more than a theory. And theories were always different from reality. For example, just because he understood the Theory of Relativity, it didn't mean that he was capable of building a time machine. Even if he knew the theory of nuclear weapon, he couldn't produce atomic bombs either.
A theory was just that, while the reality was still the reality. They were two separate matters. If he couldn't differentiate them, it would spell trouble.
"Correct. It was just a theory and Great Necromancer Konghai only proposed a hypothesis. It would be easy to condense pneuma into Genuine Water if all you need is one or two drops. But you will need a large amount of pneuma to get enough Genuine Water. That amount, in addition to the time necessary to nurture living creatures, is far beyond the ability of an ordinary human. Thus Konghai used his great Divine Sense to prove his hypothesis. He spent 120 years condensing all the pneuma in his micro world but only ended up with one measly bowl of Genuine Water. He calculated that he would need to condense the pneuma of at least 120 micro worlds and spend tens of thousands of years to get enough Genuine Water to start nurturing living creatures. Even after that, more time would be needed. It wasn"t cost-effective no matter how one calculated it so he gave up in the end!"
"That's true. It's not a pity to give up on something so impractical!" said Junior Leopard.
"Who said it's impractical? Ordinary micro worlds may not be able to meet the requirement, but there are others that can!"
"You mean, the Thirty-three Heavens?"
"Yes. They're micro worlds separated during the Primordial Origin. It's true they're not as pure as they were in the beginning after so long but with certain efforts, one can clear the pneuma inside any of them into a Spirit Sea that was at least on par with the Primitive Times, if not on the Primordial Origin level. But unfortunately, they were under the control of powerful magnates like Emperor of the Azure Heaven or powerful, mysterious schools. No one would be able to force these forces and they naturally wouldn't be willing to risk draining the pneuma of their micro words just to test this crazy theory." Green Spirit sighed softly. "It's precisely because of this that I've never heard of anyone who would attempt this until I was trapped in the underground palace. I didn't think I'd meet it so soon after I'm outside."
"Since it's so difficult, how can you be so sure it's a Spirit Sea under the cave?"
"Pretty much," said Green Spirit. "Look around you. The space here has been inhibited by the Fire Land Prohibition. It's a large-scale inhibition of the Essence of the World, rather than of humans. In other words, it condenses the Earth Spiritual Qi in this place and constraints the pneuma. Though the inhibition is brilliant, the Earth Spiritual Qi is among the heaviest and thickest, resulting in a very limited use. There aren't many who would use it. After Konghai proposed his hypothesis, he used this inhibition to constrain the Essence of the World and preserve Genuine Water. Look, the inhibition here is too strong. If I'm not mistaken, this Fire Land Prohibition has covered the entire Azure Heaven to preserve Genuine Water or possibly the Spirit Sea that was formed. Thus, we can only feel the Earth Spiritual Qi in this Azure Heaven!"
Just then, the dune in front of Ji Yeyue and the two men had disappeared entirely. The mouth of a tunnel the size of a mine entrance emerged, covered by a layer of visibly thickening film made out of Earth Spiritual Qi.
The three of them exchanged glances.
"I'll enter first, Senior Brothers. You can join me after I make sure there's no danger."
"No way!" Yu Qingyong yelled. Having greatly embarrassed himself earlier, he was feeling a little regretful. He didn't expect himself to behave that way before the person he loved. He naturally wouldn't allow Ji Yeyue to go first and was eager to redeem his honor.
"Please don't argue with me, Senior Brothers. It's dangerous down there. My Gang Qi has reached the advanced level, so I'm capable of defending myself. Besides, I had been down there once so I'm more familiar with it than you two. I'll also know how to deal with the danger. Just wait here!" She jumped down without waiting for them to answer. Unable to stop her, Yu Qingyong and Wu Lingxiao could only watch her disappear.
"Is the Spirit Sea dangerous?" Junior Leopard asked curiously. Green Spirit's description made the place seem like heaven but the way Ji Yeyue and the two men reacted, it felt more like a lion's den to him.
"Of course! A Spirit Sea only has the most basic conditions of the Primitive Times. After all, it's different from our era and many things are different. Without outside intervention, a Spirit Sea needs a countless time to nurture living creatures. But since the eras are different, who knows if the creatures formed will truly be the same ones as those in the Primitive Times. Thus, the Seed of Life from the Primitive Times must be planted in the Spirit Sea. That way, even if the creatures created are a little different, they would basically be the same!" Green Spirit sounded a little wistful at this point. "But it's not easy to achieve this. Konghai and the other necromancers found out that living creatures are all interdependent, reinforcing and counteracting one another. Many Treasures of Heaven and Earth will only be formed in terrible environments and many are guarded by fierce and evil beasts. Thus, when you're planting the Seed of Life, you not only have to focus on the treasures, you also have to consider hostile environments and evil beasts. It wouldn't work otherwise. Do you really think there's so much good luck in this world? That you can easily recreate the Primitive Times environment and gain an advantage?"
"What do you mean by easily? From what you've said, it's not easy to create a Spirit Sea!" Junior Leopard retorted. He instantly understood Green Spirit's words. This was an issue of balancing the ecosystem. In the prairies, one couldn't kill all the wolves just for the sake of rearing sheep or the sheep will eat all the grass and grow unsustainably. In the end, there wouldn't be any grass left and the sheep would all starve to death. This was a simple logic in Junior Leopard's previous life but he couldn't help arguing just for the sake of it when he heard Green Spirit's tone.
"Compared to the harvest that the successful creation of a Spirit Sea would bring, the process and time spent counted for nothing at all!" Green Spirit said seriously. "Boy, you need to understand that all living creatures in the world live in balance. Strictly speaking, you can't reap without sowing."
"It's not perhaps. That's the truth. To gain something, you have to pay the price. Perhaps you wouldn't notice the consequences while you're in the thick of things and only realize it after time passes. Of course, you can only understand this rationale after accumulating experience over time. It's no surprise that a spring chicken like you wouldn't get it!"
Junior Leopard curled his lip and didn't argue again. He raised his head and shifted his attention to the three disciples from Jade Pool. Ji Yeyue had disappeared for about an hour, while Yu Qingyong and Wu Lingxiao were still standing at the entrance and staring downward anxiously.
"Hey, Ji Yeyue has been down for so long. Do you think she's in trouble?"
"She's fine. Nothing has happened to her, at least for now. Otherwise, her body would already be sent up. She's just an ordinary person and her spirit isn't pure though she has a Level Seven cultivation. If she dies, her corpse Qi will pollute the Spirit Sea. You need to understand that the idea of restoring the Primordial Origin is human-made no matter how great it is. There are bound to be flaws even if it succeeds. Therefore there'll definitely be inhibitions set in place to prevent external contamination," Green Spirit replied indifferently.
"Why do you make it sound so depressing?" Junior Leopard's mood soured hearing the words 'corpse' and 'death' from Green Spirit. There was such a contradiction between these concepts and Ji Yeyue's beautiful looks.
"Boy, why do you care about her so much? Don't tell me you're being bewitched after hearing her say some good things about you. Don't forget that this is the territory of Jade Pool and this is their Azure Secret Area. You're the one who broke into this place without permission and you're an enemy to them!"
Junior Leopard's face flushed and he said nothing. After a while, Ji Yeyue finally came out of the cave.
The two brothers rushed to surround her with concern and ask, "Junior Sister, what's going on underneath?"
"It's fine. There are only several common reptiles down there and I've settled them!" Ji Yeyue said, panting. Her words sounded relaxed but her breathing was rather quick.
"No way. She's a Level Seven expert. Why is she panting like that after such a short time?"
"Boy, get ready. We'll go down in an hour."
"Why an hour later?"
"By then, these people will either be dead or have left or so badly injured that they can't pose any threat to you!" said Green Spirit casually.
Junior Leopard didn't reply, only silently activating his Poison Cold Shield. A layer of cyan light enveloped his body, followed by a layer of golden light. The Nine Fire Dragons appeared indistinctly in the golden light, three of them hovering around his head while two appeared under his feet. Another four surrounded his body and clung to his visualized Gang Qi.
He didn't completely believe Green Spirit but he noticed there was a huge pressure coming from the entrance seconds after the three of them jumped down. The pressure was so strong that it rolled in like a mighty river, fully covering all the area within 10 miles.
"What a strong pressure!" Junior Leopard's expression darkened after experiencing the strong pressure. The pressure was capable of even penetrating the barrier of Fire Land Prohibition blocking the cave entrance. The Earth Spiritual Qi was the thickest and heaviest pneuma in the world. Besides, it was also being inhibited by the Fire Land Prohibition. Even with his current strength, Junior Leopard wasn't sure that his Qi power could break it.
Similarly, this pressure finally triggered the Fire Land Prohibition. The Earth Spiritual Qi in the area surged and overwhelmed this pressure.
"What on earth is underneath?" Junior Leopard asked in bewilderment.
"I have no idea!" Green Spirit answered directly. "Only the heaven knows. Who knows what the lunatic who created this Spirit Sea put inside! There were countless evil beasts as well as great Divine Sense in the Primitive Times. You need to be more careful!"
"Screw being careful!" Junior Leopard retorted. "If Ji Yeyue and the other two dare to go, why wouldn't I? This Azure Secret Area is used to cultivate excellent disciples, not kill them!"
"That's precisely why you need to be more careful. There could be a guard beast of Jade Pool down there. The three disciples will be fine but the beast might just swallow an outsider like you whole!"
"If that's true, Ji Yeyue won't be so tired just now!" Junior Leopard squinted and stared at the entrance coldly. He looked at the gradually denser Earth Spiritual Qi and said, "The timid are starved to death when the tummies of the shameless are bursting. I don't believe that it's really a lion's den. It's been almost an hour now. I'll check it out myself!" He leaped up and threw himself down the entrance as large as the mouth of a well. He deployed his Carefree Skill and sent one of his thoughts down.