The crystals Jiang Chen had collected from the underground greatly facilitated his cultivation. He’d reached peak second level empyrean and was one step away from breaking through.
“Just one more step… I can do it!”
He only had a month left, but he was as convinced as ever that he’d be able to overcome the challenge.
Cultivation was different for empyrean cultivators. Before that, cultivation was about tapping into the potential within oneself. After that, it was about combining one’s strength with the power of heaven and earth, incorporating the heavenly law.
Jiang Chen had a deep enough understanding of the heavenly law, and he had the necessary physical strength. What he needed and lacked the most now was time.
He was essentially trying to finish three years worth of food in three months. He was talented and adept enough to do it, but it wasn’t the natural course of cultivation.
One after another, crystals disappeared from Jiang Chen’s hands. Spirit energy spread throughout his meridians, his organs, and even his pores. He struck a perfect equilibrium with heaven and earth. Cultivation was the construction of a bridge between his body and the nature, enabling the exchange of energy.
“I’m getting close. Ever closer now...” He was ascending a tall mountain, trying to reach its peak. Third level empyrean was almost within his reach.
Suddenly, a ball of warmth burst within him, spreading to every part of his body. It felt as if all his pores had opened up as countless hot streams exploded within. Like a ray of light splitting through the darkness, a weight lifted from his chest.
Third level empyrean!
Jiang Chen couldn’t suppress his joy. He’d worked so hard for so long and paid a great price to reach his goal. It’d ended up taking it less time than he’d anticipated.
Despite his high spirits, he didn’t have time to waste on celebrating. He refocused his mind once more. He’d just broken through and needed to stabilize his cultivation base.
Nonetheless, he hadn’t reached his final goal yet. Next came the Crowning Empyrean Pill to push himself to the next level before the sword competition.
Since his ascension to empyrean realm, his edge in cultivating had become more and more apparent. He had more experience with the empyrean realm thanks to his past life, and thus he possessed more knowledge and insights about the realm.
He felt this realm was the true threshold of his journey. Before his ascension to empyrean, he’d been merely laying down the foundation.
He spent a few days stabilizing his base and then selected the finest Crowning Empyrean Pill without hesitation.
“There are many experts in the heavenly planes who used the Crowning Empyrean Pill to achieve an unconditional breakthrough. I have great shared fortune with the pill. It won’t disappoint me!”
The higher the cultivation, the rarer the pills for a free level and the lower the success rate. Pills for sage and emperor realm almost never failed to their users. The pills were also easier to refine and less likely to be a failure.
The Crowning Empyrean Pill could still help empyrean cultivators ascend a level, but the success rate wasn’t as high.
Of course, Jiang Chen didn’t think he’d made a mistake. He’d refined the pill himself. He knew the properties of the pill and how he should use it.
He placed the pill on his palm, his eyes filled with complex emotions.
He’d never expected to one day take the pill himself. In his past life, he’d refined countless pills of unparalleled quality, but never taken any of the cultivation ones himself. That was an enormous tragedy and humiliation to befall the top pill dao master.
“Father, you’re protecting me from the heavenly plane, aren’t you?” Without hesitation, he swallowed the pill.
A pill of empyrean rank was not to be underestimated. Powerful energy rushed through every part of his body at once. If he hadn’t been strong enough physically, his body would have collapsed under the impact.
In reality, his body was much stronger than other cultivators at his level, and his consciousness likewise. He therefore, was able to maintain control over himself in face of the pill’s impact.
The pill came into full effect.
He had about twenty days left. There wasn’t much time for him to push for the next level.
As the sword competition drew ever closer, the entire Eternal Divine Nation bubbled up with excitement. All factions above third tier were allocated a certain number of entry spots, which were determined by the faction’s status.
Factions like the Eternal Sacred Land was given ten spots, the most among the factions.
The other first tier factions varied. The powerful House Xiahou received given eight, while the weaker House Yan was given only three.
The second tier factions each had two spots, while the third tier factions each had one.
The number of spots was very limited, which meant that a great portion of the participants would be real geniuses.
All factions were now agonizing over who should represent them, especially the bigger factions. They had too many geniuses and thus many conflicting interests to consider when coming up with a list.
The sword competition was being hosted by the imperial family of Eternal Divine Nation. Members of the imperial family had all cultivated in the sacred land, but that didn’t mean the two parties completely got along.
The imperial family naturally wanted to gain full control over the nation, unchallenged by any. Although most of their elites had been cultivated by the sacred land, as the official ruler of the nation, they wanted more autonomy and less restrictions.
It made the imperial family’s job difficult as the sacred land all too often involved themselves in political affairs. Therefore, the two commonly held differences in opinion.
The two parties were mutually dependent, but there also existed conflicting interests to a certain degree. The conflict was mostly confined only because of the sacred land’s dominant power. The sword competition was the perfect opportunity for the imperial family to demonstrate their authority.
Even the sacred land had to comply with the rules of the competition and follow the imperial family’s instructions. In addition, the sacred land was restricted by the number of participants allowed.
They had great difficulty settling on ten people.
The Five Great Gentlemen were undoubtedly going to participate. Jiang Chen also needed a spot because of his feud with Xiahou Zong. Six spots were taken, leaving only four openings.
The fight for the remaining spots was intense. The sacred land was still more powerful than many other factions, even if they weren’t how they used to be. Their foundations made sure of it.
In Myriad Abyss, there was a clear line of division between the top geniuses and the rest - empyrean realm.
Only those who’d ascended to empyrean could be considered first tier geniuses. The others, including those at half-step empyrean, were considered second tier and below. They could attend the competition, but they would only serve as a backdrop while the others shone.
But for the Eternal Sacred Land, it could gather ten empyrean geniuses without too much difficulty.
These days, Yan Qingsang had been frantically looking for support to gain a spot in the competition. He couldn’t represent House Yan after his grandfather’s departure. If he wanted to attend the competition, he had to take one of the sacred land’s spots.
There were only four left. He wasn’t sure if he could stand out from the great number of geniuses.
Yan Qingsang wanted to talk to Jiang Chen about it, but his friend hadn’t ended closed door cultivation. He’d have to find another way. And so, he turned to Ziju Min for advice.
Ziju Min was surprised to see Yan Qingsang. “You’ve made impressive progress, Yan Qingsang. You’ve ascended to empyrean realm as well!”
“That’s what I’m here for, Elder Ziju. Is it really so difficult to become one of the participants for the sword competition?”
Ziju Min paused. “You want to attend?”
Yan Qingsang nodded earnestly. “I want to very much so. I’ve lost the opportunity to prove myself to House Yan. I’d like to prove myself to the sacred land. Please trust me, Elder Ziju, and help me with this...”