Chapter 231 - Ancient Cloud Realm
“So that’s why...” Ye Wei nodded after a brief moment of thinking, ‘Everyone apart from the initiates I’ve met here are all returned prime Warriors.”
“Out of all the secret realms the Helian has control over, there is a special one called Ancient Cloud, it’s is guarded by golden runic puppets, which are less powerful than returned prime level. It is relatively safe comparing to other realms.”
“It’s not a dangerous realm and you can’t find anything too valuable there. However, it is one of the only known locations where you can find Return Prime Stone.” Xue Er looked at Ye Wei and spoke quietly as if she was telling someone a secret. “The stones are actually pretty common and invaluable so to speak.”
“Return Prime Stones are natural storages of compact energy, any ten-star condensed prime Warrior who isn’t completely stupid usually get inspired and figure out what they have to do to breakthrough when they lays hands on these stones.”
“Everyone who lives here have clearance to train in the Ancient Cloud realm, that’s why I said it’s not difficult.”
“A stone that can help condensed prime Warriors reaching returned prime stage? Common?” Ye Wei’s mouth was open, clearly shocked to hear the information.
“There is only one returned prime Warrior in the outskirt region where I came from! If artefact like that is common than what do you consider rare?”
“There is a total of twelve secret realms in the Zhou dynasty, the stones are not the most powerful material within these realms.” Qing Yao found Ye Wei’s surprise expression cute, answering with a smile.
‘What other realms?!!’ Ye Wei thought to himself.
“Wei, don't listen to Qing Yao. She is from a big family and didn’t go through the struggle like us! There is a phenomenon, visitors of the realm are able to acquire only one stone and the stones only releasing their energy when held by their finders. Of course she is not going find it valuable when it can’t be turned into a business.” Xue Er giggled and imitated Qing Yao’s graceful postures. “By the way, a lot of this year’s initiates have already went and got their stones actually.”
“What!? Why haven’t I been told about it?” Ye Wei exclaimed.
“You have beaten quite a few returned prime Warriors if you don’t remember.” Xue Er shook her head and rolled her eyes.
“These stones are only valuable to cultivators with a certain level of talent at a specific point of their lives. I still think Pale Moon Essence is more valuable.” Qing Yao said calmly. “You should go get yours, you still have time to breakthrough before the ranking tournaments.”
‘I am sure all the struggling cultivators who died as ten-star condensed prime Warrior would agree with you too…’ Ye Wei sighed and thought to himself.
“Qing Yao, if you don't mind, I would like to focus on breaking through instead of refining the stance for now.” He spoke with honesty, “I will be in a better place to work on refining the stance once I’ve gotten a better ranking. I promise I will come back to refinement as soon as I can.”
Feeling the responsibilities he signed himself up for, Ye Wei felt obligated to refine the Light Slash Finger stance, therefore wanted to be transparent to Qing Yao.
“Yea, I understand!” Qing Yao nodded, aware that refining an earth stance requires time, a clear mind and complete focus.
“I will be on my way!” After bidding farewell, Ye Wei directly went back to the guard post closest to his own villa, and requested access to the Ancient Cloud Realm.
A few moments later, a black runicle arrived in front of Ye Wei’s villa. A middle-aged Helian agent stepped out and spoke with great authority. “Am I speaking to rank nine hundred and thirty-five, Ye Wei?”
The young initiate nodded.
“Are you packed and ready? We will be heading to the Ancient Cloud Realm right away.”
Ye Wei nodded again.
“Get in the runicle.” The agent ordered after checking Ye Wei’s name tag.
With lightning speed, the runicle rushed towards the transportation arrays at the northern edge of the palace.
“He is heading to a secret realm?”
“Looks like it, I think I heard the guard saying Ancient Cloud realm, but why does this kid need to go there?”
“We don’t need to know why, we just need to report to the Spiritualist as ordered.”
“Yea, that’s right.”
Soon after the runicle’s departure, the cultivators that had been hiding nearby all came out from the shadows at once, flew towards Qing Mu’s villa as if their lives were depending on it.
Ever since Qing Yao showed interest in Ye Wei, Qing Mu the Spiritualist had ordered some of his followers to watch the initiate’s movements. After learning that Ye Wei was frequently visiting Qing Yao, the Spiritualist’s envy and frustration grew, he required his surveillance team to report everything they saw and heard.
“Spiritualist, Ye Wei is heading the the Ancient Cloud Realm!” the first of Qing Mu’s followers to arrive kneeled down as soon as he entered his leader’s living room, reporting respectfully.
“Pfft, that means he’s still a condensed prime Warrior. He must not be a good one either, who needs to use a stone to breakthrough these days!” Qing Mu adjusted his jade hairpin and chuckled disdainfully, trying to cover his fear of the initiate catching up with him. ‘I never thought it’s possible but he could defeat returned prime Warriors while still being at condensed prime level…’
“We cannot let him.” Said Qing Mu with an evil grin on his face. His cold glance fell onto his followers. “Shi Kun, Qian Dao, Zhou Huan, you three are going on a mission. Go to the Ancient Cloud Realm, stop that kid from getting his hands on a stone.”
“Don’t worry about it Spiritualist, he will not get hold of one under our watch!” Shi Kun stepped forward and declared.
“Get a move on!” Qing Mu waved and sent them away.
‘Ye Wei beat Jin Kui but his victory was marginal, I don't think this damn newbie will be able to handle three returned prime Warrior at once…’ The Spiritualist thought to himself as he watched his followers flew away, tried to relax and trust his men.
Within a minute after the brief meeting, a runicle came and picked up the trio from Qing Mu’s doorsteps.
“He’s already gone in.” The trio arrived on a flat peak sat on the edge of the palace, all they could see was a runic array and nine tall crystal pillars. With no sign of Ye Wei on the flat mountaintop, they flew through the glinting monuments towards the array’s center.
“Are you guys ready?” Shi Kun asked the other two and rushed towards the warp gate as soon as his colleagues nodded.
“What are you three doing here? You are already three-star returned prime Warriors.” One of the array operators knitted his brows, asking with confusion.
“Just do your job, you are here to assist us with the teleportation array, not to ask useless questions. You should keep your nose out of Qing Mu the spiritualist’s business.” Shi Kun grunted and said with great pride.
“Qing Mu the spiritualist?” The official’s face changed, nodded to the trio and activated the teleportation array.
Since the low clearance operators were aware of Qing Mu’s influence in the palace and in the Helian family, they knew better than to cross the talented youngster. Not quite sure what they just witnessed, they frowned, looked at each other then started chatting once the trio left.
“They have no reason to go to the Ancient Cloud Realm, something's not right.”
“That’s what I thought as well, let’s report it to the elders just in case.”
The gate guards quickly wrote a small note and sent it to the Helian elders with a teleportation rune sequence.
Ye Wei could not see or hear anything, since the moment he entered the teleportation array he could not feel his own weight and simultaneously became disorientated.
However, having used a similar teleportation array once before, he was aware that the strange, pulsing sensation he felt came from the friction between him and the dimensional barriers which separated a physical realms from one another.
He could not quite quantify the amount of time he spent travelling uncomfortably through the warp, he was relieved when he felt a drop of warm sun on his skin. When Ye Wei could see again, he found himself on a desert island.
‘I am in the middle on the ocean?’ A sobering salty smell and the sound of waves breaking awakened Ye Wei’s senses.
With every wave of sea breeze slapping his face, Ye Wei regained a bit of consciousness. He gazed to all direction and the only thing he could on the edge of the horizon was water and clouds.
The clouds were suspending just meters off the ground and sea level, making it hard for Ye Wei to visually navigate the area.
“I guess I should go there…” After a few minutes of looking around, Ye Wei spotted a palace floating on top the sea behind the cloud.
The structure was glittering like gold and transparent like jade. Ye Wei could not figure out what material it was made of, but he could vaguely feel a vortex of energy from the direction of the palace.
Outside the entrance stood hundreds of large golden golems, they were surrounding the tightly shut gate. Ye Wei tried to reach into the palace with his will-force but the energy he sent was quickly rejected by the runic shield around the structure.