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All was magical inside the Painting of the Nine Immortals.

Ling Xian was utterly oblivious to the kerfuffle he had generated outside of the Painting as rumors regarding the Divine Book of Genesis spread like wildfire across Yunzhou. Many establishments within the Province had already sent out assassins to find and murder Ling Xian.

At this moment, his sole focus was on a page of the book. He closed his eyes and covered the sacred page in his energy, hoping to extract enlightenment from it.

According to legend, the book details 3,000 paths of cultivation. If one reached the end of any one path, that individual would be in control of one unconquerable power and reach the Lin Dian Peak.

There were thousands of paths waiting to be explored. However, to reach the end required much more than what an average cultivator had to offer. All conditions of nature, time, and place have to merge seamlessly before enlightenment could occur.

But the golden pages had no such limitation. The paths recorded here were complete paths that require only the ability to enlighten before one conquered it. These pages were therefore highly sought after by every cultivator ever lived.

It was not difficult to imagine what an opportunity this was for Ling Xian.

Ling Xian would become nearly invincible the moment he achieves enlightenment from the teachings on this page.

At this moment, he was completely focused on understanding the content of the page.

Golden rays began to flare out of the page of the Divine Book of Genesis and circulate around Ling Xian’s meditating body. He appeared untouchable.

After half an hour, Ling Xian’s upper eyelids twitched. He felt an unstoppable force expand off the page and penetrate his pores. Suddenly, he found himself surrounded by a bizarre sensation. Before long, he felt his head clear, his heart settle, and his mind bursting with knowledge.

Territory of the Path of Enlightenment!

A path was a showcase of the splendor of body and mind. It was a concept no one could explain.

Time was a type of path.

Universe was also a type of path.

Life was definitely a type of path.

Out of the 3,000 paths that existed, reaching the end of one was a mere dream for the majority.

Such was the case of Yue Lian Han, a gifted cultivator of the tenth level. From her first attempt when she borrowed the powers of the wicked level to temporarily break through to the foundational level, the rest of the path took her three days to understand. Only then, was she able to light up the page using her powers and knowledge.

The same process took Ling Xian half an hour. The difference between cultivators was evident.

One could attribute this achievement to the might of the Majestic Blood and the individuals whose veins it flowed through.

The golden page glowed with rage as unfamiliar symbols rushed through Ling Xian’s mind. Every symbol had its own magical glow, lighting up his senses one by one.

"DONG!"

Noises of thunder tore through the Painting of the Nine Immortals, as if to declare the coming of the supreme ruler. Earth and sky opened simultaneous as golden rays shot out of the crevasses.

Visions of miracles!

Thunderous waves of colorful clouds and golden lotuses flared up all around the universe.

Ling Xian sat still, unmoved by the splendor of his surroundings. The ancient symbols were beginning to make sense, as did the messages they formed.

The path of strength!

This was the secret message spelled out by the ancient symbols. The path detailed in the page was the path of strength or the path of the flesh.

This was one of the notoriously demanding paths commonly reserved for the mightiest of cultivators. In ancient times, seven out of ten cultivators would dedicate themselves to studying this path. The rest would use it as a means to strengthen their muscles.

Only the strongest had been known to reach the end. Roughly 200,000 years ago, the spiritual Dans that helped boost the physical readiness of a challenger became extinct. Since then, this path had become nearly impossible to conquer.

Today, only a very select few choose to practice the complementary skill of maneuvering both the Qi and the soul together. In this case, the Qi remained the dominant force.

"It’s the path of strength…"

Ling Xian let out a bitter laughter. He opened his eyes, and the golden flares vanished around him.

Sensing the bitterness in his smile, the Untainted carelessly speculated, "The path of strength? The notoriously demanding path, one of the most difficult out of all 3,000 paths, aren’t you glad?"

Ling Xian remembered that the Keeper of Land and Sea lived over 200,000 years ago at the height of the path’s existence. He sighed and explained, "Perhaps your Highness isn’t aware, roughly 200,000 years ago, under suspicious and unknown circumstances, herbal species that boosted the mortal strength began to go extinct. The spiritual Dans made from these species vanished soon after. The path of strength began its decline. Today, very few cultivators focus on the aspect of the flesh.

"I see."

The Untainted appeared unfazed by this explanation, but her eyes betrayed a hint of astonishment. This had indeed come as a shock to the savior of humanity.

Species that boosted the mortal strength gradually became extinct?

Wait!

Approximately 200,000 years ago?

The Untainted frowned, suddenly remembering what she’d done. She asked hastily, "You said, 200,000 years ago?"

"Yes, according to the records." Ling Xian frowned in return, perplexed.

"Well…"

The Untainted froze. Moments later, her cheeks began to blush in embarrassment.

"Your Highness…"

Ling Xian couldn’t remove his gaze from her. At this moment, nothing was more mesmerizing than the gorgeous face of the Untainted.

Nothing in the literature of the universe could honorably describe the beauty that was her face.

Such beauty only existed in dreams and myths.

"Ehem, ehem…"

Sensing that she had unintentionally revealed too much, the Untainted coughed and continued as if nothing had happened. "Nothing."

"How can it be nothing? Your Highness, had you done something?" Ling Xian couldn’t be sure, but he could guess just as much. Something must have surfaced in her memory. The Keeper was notoriously unreadable. This was one moment where she let go of herself.

Ohhhh…

200,000 year ago, species gradually became extinct.

The Keeper of Land and Sea lived 200,000 years ago… could it be…

A bold speculation suddenly emerged in his mind.

...

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