Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
At any rate, Lu Ye could rely on Amber as the link that bonded both him and Ju Jia together.
But how did Amber manage to win over Ju Jia, that appeared to be an enigma that Lu Ye could still not wrap his head around. They barely knew each other but they looked inseparable.
“What’s your Contribution Point tally at the moment,” Lu Ye asked, something occurring to him suddenly.
At the Ninth-Order, Ju Jia must have unlocked all prerequisite one hundred and eighty Spiritual Points needed for him to begin training in a Heaven-grade cultivation discipline.
Heaven-grade cultivation disciplines, more often than not, were in painstakingly scarce supply. But the easiest method possible of obtaining one was from the Vault of Providence. But the use of any cultivation discipline from the Vault of Providence would be limited to the individual who purchased it from the Vault, making it impossible for it to be transferred into the ownership of others.
But Heaven-grade cultivation disciplines are the key to reaching the Cloud River Realm. A Cultivator without Heaven-grade cultivation discipline would have no way of unlocking subsequent Spiritual Points, making the Cloud River Realm unlikely.
Therefore, for any Cultivator ready to ascend into the Cloud River Realm, there was no avoiding procuring a Heaven-grade cultivation discipline. These things have never been cheap, hence the need for Cultivators to begin saving up on Contribution Points as early as possible. Owing to the real possibility of not having enough Points by the time one reached the Ninth-Order, many Cultivators, especially independents, were forced to wallow in the dreaded state of quiescence until they had gathered enough Points.
Which clearly was the case for Ju Jia. With zero kills since the day he struck up his enduring partnership with Sima Yang, he barely had any chance to score any Contribution Points.
“Thirty-five,” Ju Jia muttered quietly.
Lu Ye knew the amount would be low but hearing it to be this low was clearly a shocking revelation.
A Ninth-Order Cultivator with only just thirty-five Contribution Points to proverbially rub together? For all Lu Ye knew, the thirty-five Points came from the House of Wintry Blossoms enemies he had killed earlier.
That would only mean that the late Sima Yang had been hoarding all the kills, leaving none for Ju Jia.
Lu Ye did not have to guess how long Ju Jia had been stuck in the Ninth-Order. Needless to say, it must have been a long, long time and that would mean that he needed a Heaven-grade cultivation discipline—fast. He would never be able to make it just by killing enemies. There were other ways, but they needed to get out of the Lost City first.
They pressed forward and reached the heart of the Lost City.
Most of the Cultivators—both the Grand Sky Coalition ones and the Thousand Demon Ridge ones alike—had intentionally given this area a wide berth when they were exploring as this place was the closest to the Governor’s courthouse.
If the woman in the red dress was terrible enough, who could tell if the Lord Governor of the city wouldn’t be worse?
So many times the Lost City of Xianyuan had appeared to the realms of Man, yet no one living had ever claimed to have seen the Lord Governor of the city before. It was said that those who had seen him never lived to tell the tale.
But Lu Ye did not come all the way here for an audience with the ghostly leader of this city.
He only came here to see if there was any benefit that he could turn to his advantage.
The thought of coming here had not crossed his mind until he realized that the authority pass the woman in the red dress bestowed on him might be more useful than just saving Gu Canyang and the other Grand Sky Coalition Cultivators.
But what other benefits could there be? What was the Lost City famous for?
The legendary Pond of Divine Purification! Anyone who had learned enough of the Lost City would know about it!
Would the authority pass enable Lu Ye entry into the Pond? If it did, then this could make this trip so much more worthwhile.
The benefits of the Pond of Divine Purification centered on one’s soul—one’s aspect that could not be seen nor felt. Cultivators of the Spirit Creek Realm still lacked the means to train and hone their souls, but that did not mean that souls did not exist.
Everyone had a soul.
And if Lu Ye could use the Pond to enrich his soul as he had with his physical body at the Dragon Spring, it would be extremely helpful in the long haul.
But the Pond sat right inside the Lost City’s Lord Governor’s court. With the benefits of the Pond in mind, Lu Ye had decided that he would have to risk meeting the mysterious and enigmatic Lord Governor of the city himself for one chance at the Pond.
What if he succeeded?
At the entrance of the Lord Governor’s court, two squads of the city’s City Watch stood guard. But they were not the garden variety City Watch guardsmen roaming around the city; both the squads were elite cadres of the City Watch more potent in combat than their ordinary counterparts. The glow they emanated was enough to impress Lu Ye that they wielded powers no weaker than the captain Lu Ye had the chance to brush shoulders with at the headquarters.
Lu Ye marched up to the entrance of the Lord Governor’s court with Ju Jia in tow. The moment they noticed him, the sentinels trained their watchful stares at him and Lu Ye almost crumbled with the substantial weight that fell on his shoulders at the same moment the stares did.
One of the guardsmen barked menacingly, “THIS IS A RESTRICTED AREA! KEEP AWAY!”
Lu Ye took the authority pass from Amber and held it aloft, saying, “I’m here on orders of Her Ladyship!”
He could only hope that the authority that the woman in the red dress conferred to him might gain him entry.
But none of the City Watchmen bulged. One of them growled, “Leave or endure the consequences of trespassing!”
It was obvious enough for Lu Ye. The only reason he was not yet being attacked was the authority pass he was holding.
But Lu Ye was not happy to give up just yet. He pressed just one step further, much to the intense displeasure of the two squads of City Watchmen, whose hands shot for the swords hanging from their belts. Tension lingered in the open area outside the entrance, hanging between Lu Ye and the City Watchmen like a pendulum. The sentries snarled in unison, “STAY BACK!”
Ju Jia clenched his fists, his aura rising and his skin aflush with a heaty-red swelter as if he was spoiling for a fight. Lu Ye seized him and pulled him away. Together, they scarpered off.
They were barely two blocks away before Lu Ye finally stopped. Beyond any doubt, their attempt at the Pond of Divine Purification had failed.
The situation was telling enough. The authority pass that the woman in the red dress had given him wasn’t enough for Lu Ye to enter the Lord Governor’s court. That meant that he would have no way of reaching the Pond of Divine Purification.
It was a shame, but understandable.
If the biggest prize of the Lost City of Xianyuan was so easily accessible, then it would not have been the biggest prize after all. It would have been as cheap as the dirt that collected at the bottom of everyone’s souls.
With a beckon at Ju Jia, they strode away. Lu Ye contacted Ji Yan.
Any hope about wanting to reach the Pond was as good as dashed in its entirety. But with most of the Thousand Demon Ridge elements purged and not much good left in the city to be gleaned, there was nothing else to do but wait.
Ji Yan’s reply came soon enough, pointing him in the direction of the abandoned mansion they found.
The journey took four hours before Lu Ye arrived at the designated spot. Ji Yan was there, waiting for him.
The latter greeted him warmly. There was no mention of what Lu Ye was doing.
The spacious residence must have once been used by a wealthy and large family. They went inside and after a flurry of corridors and avenues, they finally reached a separate little cottage within the estate grounds. Extremely grateful for Lu Ye’s help, the Hidden Light Sanctuary people made sure that Lu Ye was well-fed by sending over good food every day.
There was no telling when their time in the Lost City would expire. It had only been seven to eight days since it appeared. It could be weeks or even months before everyone could get out.
But there was no need to hurry. The nice atmosphere filled with rich ambient Spiritual Power was a boon for training and meditation, which he gladly delved into with so much free time.
Besides his usual training, Lu Ye spent time reading the tomes and manuscripts Lady Yun had lent him to study Glyphs. Even though the construction of Glyphs would take a slight toll on his Spiritual Power reserves and somewhat impede his progress with meditation.
The materials he now read were all about defeating magical wards. She had specifically gathered a collection of that topic when he mentioned to her that he wished to learn how to defeat magical wards. To do that, he needed to first study how defensive wards worked and that had everything to do with Glyphs.
The peace and silence of the environment of the cottage helped to keep him concentrated.
Although it lasted only two days. A mob of Grand Sky Coalition Cultivators led by Gu Canyang and Ji Yan came to the cottage looking for him. They were all Cultivators Lu Ye had rescued from the Xianyuan City Watch dungeons.
They were here to personally express their gratitude.
Explorers of the Lost City were known to have been arrested by the spectral sentinels of the city, but few, if any, ever survived the dungeons. Therefore, the Cultivators were aware that they would have been doomed if Lu Ye had not come to save them all. Only those who had been down there knew the horrors of the place; how, just by staying there, Death could come as quickly as a wind’s breath in the night.
So. here they were, to see and talk to Lu Ye themselves.
Everyone had a nice, short moment to talk, save for Gu Canyang and Ji Yan who waited for everyone to leave so that they could have Lu Ye for themselves.
The former had a proposal. On behalf of the Hidden Light Sanctuary, he had come to propose an alliance, which Lu Ye was more than eager to say yes to. After all, that had been one of his objectives of coming to the inner-ring areas of the Battlefield.
Using their credentials as legates of their respective orders, the two made their pact. Technically, such a pact would be limited to the confines of the Spirit Creek Battlefield. But it was enough.
Next, Gu Canyang extended Lu Ye an invitation to visit the Hidden Light Sanctuary. Lu Ye agreed to that as well.
The conversation wandered back to the dungeons, which sent chill down Gu Canyang’s spine. Anyone who stepped into the dungeons would feel the will to live slowly being eroded, he claimed. Death would swoop down on whoever stayed inside, constantly drawing away all life from anyone locked in there until the person was nothing more than a dried and shriveled husk. That was why Gu Canyang looked like a gangly root when he was retrieved from his cell as if he had been down there for years without food and sustenance.
He was not hurt, yet his vitality escaped him with the swiftness of air exiting a punctured balloon. The badly depleted Gu Canyang would clearly be needing some time before he could regain full health.
Listening to his account explained the strange, foul sensation he felt when he was inside the dungeons.
Lu Ye wasn’t long enough inside the dungeons to feel the same toll as Gu Canyang had endured.
That too explained why only a few survived such a trip into the Xianyuan City Watch dungeons. Death would begin constricting its fingers around any living person who stepped inside. Stay too long and anyone would die.
Maybe only someone with great physical strength and vigor could survive—people of robust health like Ju Jia. He might be able to stay long enough inside the dungeons until the disappearance of the Lost City and yet still survive.
The men spent a bit more time on small talk before Gu Canyang finally took his leave.
Lu Ye saw him out of the enclosure and, as he was heading back to his cottage, something caught his sight.
There was Ju Jia, sitting on the ground, meditating.
If Lu Ye were to sense more closely, he could feel the ambient Spiritual Qi swirling towards the Body-tempering Cultivator and into the pores all over him.
That was sign enough that Ju Jia must possess great talent, or else, this phenomenon would not have occurred.
As a native born and bred in the Spirit Creek Battlefield, Ju Jia and his talents were discovered by Sima Yang who led him into the world of Cultivators. The Third-Order Spell Cultivator had, back then, begun showing Ju Jia the ropes only for him to catch up and grow faster instead.
No Cultivator without exceptional gifts in the arcane crafts and combat could accomplish such a feat.
Ju Jia opened his eyes all of a sudden. He must have felt someone watching. He saw Lu Ye staring at him and he stared back, incredulously.
“Ju Jia, you already have a hundred and eighty Spiritual Points unlocked. Why are you training when you do not yet have a Heaven-grade cultivation discipline to work with?”
With all one hundred and eighty Spiritual Points unlocked, there was no need for Ju Jia to meditate. Without a Heaven-grade cultivation discipline, he would not be able to unlock more Spiritual Points and his reserves of Spiritual Power would not grow further. Meditating would only have the effect of keeping his reserves full and nothing more.
Nevertheless, Ju Jia had been diligently devoting time to meditation. He would spend time eating, resting, and having fun with Amber. The rest of his time he would use it to meditate.
Seeing this only made Lu Ye want to get him a Heaven-grade cultivation discipline as soon as possible.