My character appeared on the Wind Cloud Platform and the Golden Gnoll Demon form started to fade as I returned to my Skeleton form. I sucked in a deep breath. I had fought for two consecutive hours, so I was more or less a little tired. The surrounding mist consolidated to form Master Ding Heng's image. He gazed at me withmerciful eyes and smiled. "Little fellow, you have successfully completed the Wind Cloud Platform's trial and returned in glory. Now, you are strong enough and need to break past the Energy Condensing Realm. Master here will open a place with strong spiritual energy for you. Work hard!"
"Oh? Thank you, master!"
I nodded my head and felt delighted. This was when I noticed that the achievement system was glowing. I took a look and saw that I had successfully killed one thousand players. Right when I clicked ‘confirm’ and redeemed the reward, a loud bell rang in my ears—
[System notification: Congratulations for completing the first achievement in the Achievement System <Killing Intent>!Obtained reward: Permission to cultivate in the Fountain of the Earth for 120 minutes!]
Fountain of the Earth?
I was stunned and confirmed it. In the next moment, a gentle white light wrapped around my body and teleported me away from the Wind Cloud Platform. When I next opened my eyes, I saw that I was soaking in a bright fountain.
It was really dark here. I raised my head and many streaks of gray light descended from above. Above the stream, a fog billowed. Thick spiritual energy turned into a five-colored rainbow. Following my first inhalation, I felt totally different as if that breath had circulated throughout my entire body.
I sat cross-legged and breathed time after time. Sixty seconds later, a bell rang in my ears—
[System notification: Energy condensed.Congratulations for comprehending! You have obtained 8000 experience!]
This amount of experience was amazing!
I was stunned and knew that these 120 minutes were definitely godsent. I sat straight up, and each time I breathed in, my body would slowly relax. I would then sense the energy flowing inside me. This was a magical experience and was different from normal breathing. At that moment, I could sense each breath I took ingameflowing through my veins. This energy current was not real, but I could still clearly sense it. It cycled in my body before finally resting in my stomach.
This is... Dantian?
When I thought about that, I could not help but smile.
For Illusionary Moon's development, I only participated in the technical code writing. As for planning, I did not join in. However, now it seemed to me that the game was done really well. The feeling of cultivation in the game made one feel like it was real. It was as if the extremely mysterious cultivation was turning into an actual thing. Players also actually existed in such a background and were able to sense thisimmense aura.
Just like that, I continued obtaining experience, and an hour later, I advanced to level 20!
Apart from leveling up, a golden-colored progress bar in my personal interface had increased from 25% all the way up to 75%. If things went as expected, I just needed to cultivate for another hour and I would be able to break through.
The residents of Black Castle all followed a set of laws when they cultivated. Those who cultivated death laws would first condense energy before refining their bodies. It seemed like... I had also taken this path. It was a little weird, but I was still wholly immersed in it.
In the blink of an eye, an hour was about to pass. My cultivation journey in the Fountain of the Earth coming to an end. Right at that moment, my stomach felt like it was swelling, as if it were full of energy. With a crack, my stomach started to feel warm—
[System notification: Congratulations!You've broken past the Energy Condensing Realm and officially entered the Body Refining Realm!]
I broke through!
Although my personal stats did not increase by much, I felt that I had become much stronger. I waved my arms and noticed that my power had indeed increased!
Another bell rang in my ears and my body was teleported away. As I stood under the sky with a huge whirlpool circlingoverhead, an ancient voice reverberated in my ears—
[System notification: First stage of Achievement System over; second stage, Transcend, officially begins: Reach top level in the server!]
Shortly after, I was teleported out of the Achievement System space and back to the Wind Cloud Platform. I was stunned. Did it want me to top the server? That was quite a tall task...
Above the platform, the fog gathered and turned into Ding Heng. He stared at me and said, "Did you trigger something? Why... You actually broke through from the Energy Condensing Realm in such a short time? You even opened an energy ocean; that power will make you invincible among your peers."
I was stunned. "I'm... I'm not sure..."
He touched his moustache and said, "It's okay.If you don't wanna say,this master of yours won't force you. Prepare yourself; I'll bring you to a great place, which will let you begin the Body Refining Realm cultivation. Once fully refined, you'll obtain a flawless body that's unlike your current state..."
He looked at my shaky ribs and hip bones, his eyes filled with pity.
I smiled awkwardly. "Okay, master; I will listen to you."
The mist formed into Ding Heng's true body, and he casually walked forward while I followed him.
The two of us passed the valley. Ahead of us now were structures built against the mountain. Fog wrapped around those buildings and death energy covered the area, which added a sinister feel to it.
"That's Black Castle?" I was shocked.
Ding Heng stood with his arms behind his back then looked at me and smiled. "Why?"
I frowned. "Master, I'm just an undead with a low cultivation; based on the rules, I don't have the rights to enter."
"Right."He smiled. "Only undead above the Body Refining Realm peak can enter Black Castle... but you are an exception. I have requested from the City Lord and you have the rights to cultivate in the Blood Pond."
Ding Heng smiled. "Be it the Wind Cloud Platform, Land of Reincarnation, Precious Treasure Pavilion, Heaven and Earth Pavilion, or Ancient Battlefield, these five outer locationsexist to protect Black Castle from the outside. As for the Blood Pond, it's one of the functions within.It forms the three divisions along with the left and right camps, and those three are Black Castle's core power."
I nodded my head and only roughly knew what was going on.
Ding Heng smiled. "Once you grow some more and get stronger, you will naturally understand all these. Today, you do indeed lack the rights to enter the Blood Pond, but you stood out in the Wind Cloud Platform and performed well, so the City Head and Lord Yunyue gave you the chance to cultivate there once. Grab this chance."
Although I did not understand, I still nodded my head.
I followed a path and headed closer and closer to Black Castle. In front of me, the dark castle walls connected and divided the inner and outer Black Castle. In front of the huge gate, a red banner could be seen, which made my eyes open wide.
Ding Heng saw it and smiled. "This is the World Ender Formation protecting the mountains. Don't charge here, or else you'll be turned into shreds instantly."
I could not help but choke.
"I am Ding Heng; I am bringing my disciple to the Blood Pond.Please open a corner of the World Ender." He walked forward and spoke solemnly.
Instantly, a small portion of the World Ender dissipated and a small door appeared. When we walked in, I saw an old man descending from above. He held a bright stone and smiled. "It is rare for Elder Ding to head here from the outer mountain. What a rare guest. Who is the disciple that you are actually paying so much attention to?"
His gaze fell on my body and I instantly felt that I was being scoured. It was really uncomfortable.
Ding Heng smiled. "Elder Luo, don't joke with me. I'm only bringing my disciple to the Blood Pond, and when I return, I will have to trouble you again."
"That's fine as it's my job, but if you're heading to Blood Pond, you must speak less. The master of the Blood Pond failed to refine an artifact and is furious, so don't offend him. As Deacon Elders, we can't offend that old ancestor..."
Ding Heng smiled. "Thank you for your reminder! Go in, little fellow!"
He waved his sleeves and an irresistible power enveloped my body and pushed me forward. In the blink of an eye, I was a few miles in. Ahead of me was a blood-red mist which was connected to the sky.
Blood Pond, I was here!
Ding Heng walked at the front and said, "Blood Pond, the place that nourishes the essence of Black Castle. Be it death law cultivators or others, they can get their required powers here. You've just stepped into the Body Refining Realm, so you can obtain the large amounts of energy you need to reshape your body. Let's go; I will bring you over."
The two of us followed the stone steps and walked forward.
On the sides were boiling blood-colored pools. The spiritual energy was so thick. All the pools were separate and were not positioned orderly. Some were filled with death energy, some with flame, and some chaotic energy. Above the Blood Pool, there were currents filled with killing intent.
Just at that moment, a being landed from above. It was a beauty dressed in a red, long skirt. Her eyes were like water and her lips were like flames. Her body made one's mouth dry with just one look. Moreover, she was a little familiar. She landed between Ding Heng and me and sniffed at me. "This little thing again? Why... That annoying aura disappeared right away..."
Ding Heng was shocked and smiled. "Wind Cloud Platform Ding Heng greets Lady Yun Yue!"
"Scoff. Old Ding!"She crossed her arms and smiled proudly. "Why did you bring this Skeleton here?"
"This is my disciple, July Wildfire, and he is here to cultivate."
"He is Wind Cloud Platform's pride?"
Yun Yue turned to lookat me, her eyes filled with confusion as she smiled patronizingly. "I can't tell~"
I grinned and wanted to retort, but I did not know how to. I remembered seeing her when I had just arrived at Black Castle. I could sense that she was not someone whom I could offend. A woman who dared to call my master Old Ding, such a being... Her position was probably far above my master's.
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