Chapter 58:

Immortal Wonders

Mad God


It was early morning when they met again, now a few kilometers away from the city. Aerthus just made a hand gesture, and the ring on his finger, with a quick flash, produced a slender, ship-like vehicle. It was big, shaped like it but without any sails, and it was made of a strange material, not wood, not metal, yet resembling both simultaneously.

"Oh? Is it made from wood and CC mixture?" Ren walked up to it, touching the side of the ship.

"Yes. The base is made from simple wood, but its pieces, before assembly, were soaked and bathed in a mixture of a special coat containing concentrated CC. After that, it was handed over to formation masters, who laid down the main patterns and a master control."

Explained as they boarded while he went to the helm where an ordinary-looking steering wheel awaited him; the only difference was it was embedded with a complex-looking, lightly glowing diagram as he put his hands on it.

Soon the whole ship trembled before; without a sound, it rose to the air, quickly ascending high to the sky as they flew off, surprising everybody onboard.

"Oh!" Ren looked around with sparkling eyes as she knew the design. It was an idea of her disciple who always thought carrying others who can't fly was a nuisance and, since long ago, set out to devise a flying vehicle that any cultivator could use. Yet, it was never ready, thanks to her perfectionist attitude. "Nice, so the formations are imbued with wind affinity? Or is it gravity related?" Ren examined it curiously.

"Both." Aerthus nodded, with growing happiness clearly visible on his face. "The latter is responsible for reducing the ship's weight, requiring less energy to maintain it on the course, while the former helps with speed and maneuverability. This basic and standard vehicle costs around 8 and 9 million CC. Depending on when or where you buy it."

His words almost made Ren choke as a cultivator could live happily for decades back in her time for that amount. When she was a God, she no longer needed to be concerned with money. Still, before that, it was always a struggle to have enough CC to cultivate, and the price Aerthus brought up invoked some bad memories she immediately suppressed.

"There are types that are built for war. They could go up to the hundreds of millions. Anyway, that is not important for us. For now, this will be a great means of travel as it is faster to fly a group of people with it than going one by one, especially those of you who are yet advanced and can't fly." He smiled, looking at Leinor and the others, still only at the peak of the body refinement realm.

"What about the ring?" Isha asked suddenly, still eyeing his finger.

"It is a storage ring, the same thing, only it is more expensive to make as the formation etched onto it can only be made by demigods. It manipulates space itself and has an independent storage space inside it."

"We could easily carry rations for the army if we had something like this." Xendar thought loudly immediately.

"Yes, but don't keep it there for long. Time is still flowing inside; they can rot just as much as out here. Anyway, this is a medium-sized ring; it has around 50,000 cubic meters of storage space. Its cost of buying is around 200 million or more CC. Honestly, there is no market for it, as it is a highly sought-after item. It's rare because only Demigods can craft it. So usually, a ring is only made by trading with them or if they gift you one."

"Oh? Who gifted yours?" Dermitos asked with interest, but Aerthus just smiled.

"Nobody. I killed someone for it." Aerthus grinned. "It's my battle trophy."

"Ahahaha!" Ren laughed. "I like you!" flashed a thumbs up at him, making the others just look at each other as even Carthus was reserved as it was his… forefather. When speaking to him, there was… etiquette to be upheld. Yet Ren was just as unbridled as ever.

"At my level, a fight to the death is a serious event. If I do it, I need a good reason. Well… he had a ring that I never could get my hands on… so yeah." Aerthus grinned proudly.

"What else is in there?" Leinor asked, also just as curious as his wife.

"You will see~ Who knows, maybe if one of you becomes my apprentice, I could gift you some things-"

"The ring." Ren cut in, "I want that. Give me that, and I'll call you daddy too." She pointed at his finger, making him almost bite his tongue while Xendar rushed up, pressing his hand on Ren's head, making her bow as the ship itself felt like it went over a big bump in the air. Even Aerthus lost control for a second there.

"I'm terribly sorry; I spoiled her." Xendar bowed.

"Um… We are sorry." Anya came up too, bowing towards Aerthus while Isha was laughing so hard she was gasping for air.

"Stop it…" Boursat whispered, coming up to her, trying to hold her mouth, but Isha whined like a kettle.

"You are a greedy little girl, are you not?" Aerthus grumbled.

"So?" Ren looked up with her eyes as Xendar held her head down.

"The ring is out of the question. If you beat me in the future, I'll give it to you. But I can give you this now." He flashed his hand, and a small pouch appeared, throwing it to Ren. "It has the same principle, but this is an inferior product with 10 cubic meters of storage space. Top-level harmony experts can make this if they have the correct diagram. Still, it is not something every cultivator can afford but is usually used by sects and their core disciples."

"I want two!" Ren answered with a happy expression immediately, placing it on her belt.

"You!" Aerthus facepalmed but just laughed, produced another, and threw it to her. "Something else? Speak now or never!"

"Nyahahahaha! Nope~ This is good! Thanks, Master!" She winked at him, making everyone shake their head while Ren skipped to Leinor, tying the other onto his belt. "There you go, now we have a matching pair~" Ren grabbed the surprised Leinor's arm, giggling like a kid, making Aerthus sigh with a smile.

"What?" Zern's voice came as he was stared at by Isha.

"I want one too…."

"Ugh… Well… so… um…” He gulped, but soon Isha just laughed out how easy it was to tease him.

"Relax, I'm just teasing you!" She patted his shoulders. "We just need to beat them down and steal theirs."

"That's even worse!" He moaned, looking at her pleadingly.

"Hey, what if you two share one and pass one for me?" Reignar joined, "I also need one, especially for Orsi's stuff."

She was an orphan from the streets! "What stuff? It's all for your stuff! Roofies, sex toys, whips, cuffs, and whatnot, huh?" Isha retorted.

"Wha-? No! Really! Come on… What are you taking me for? Really?" He grumbled like a child with crossed arms.

"A pervert?" came the answer in the union from Ren, Leinor, Isha, and Zern.

"Ugh…" Reignar just faltered and soon lowered his head with a defeated expression.

"What's up with you, Poli?" Ren asked with a raised eyebrow as her disciple was spacing out at the ship's side.

"Huh? Um… yes? Sorry, I wasn't paying attention." He turned back as he watched the clouds pass by with a blank expression.

"Damn… you are this lovesick?" Isha sighed while Ren walked up, tiptoeing as she tried to pat his shoulder.

"Sorry, but relax; you will see her soon!" Ren whispered.

"Ah? Eh? What? No, I mean it's not like that…." Poli stuttered while his face turned completely red as the others slowly started to comfort him while teasing him a little.

"Ahaha! I see the first generation of my Sect will be an interesting bunch~" Aerthus laughed, looking at the youngsters who were clearly relaxed and not really bothered by the prospects of their lives changing drastically right before their eyes.

….
…..

The usual travel that took a few days now only took them a few hours. Soon they descended from above the clouds onto Teardrop Island. The approaching, flying boat drew a lot of attention from both sides as it was something never before seen. Hence, both kingdoms' militaries immediately started to gather and ready their warships in case of an attack.

The boat easily crushed the trees as they landed while the island was covered in thick vegetation. When everyone got off the ship, looking around, they didn't feel anything different or strange; it was nothing special in their eyes and senses, just an ordinary island in the middle of the river.

"Now, are you ready to see what formations can do?" Aerthus grinned while the others gathered around him.

After a few glances, he cleared a spot from the trees and summoned a metal plate with a diameter of 3 meters. It was covered with a dizzying amount of runes, abstract, interconnecting symbols, and writings in a language none of them could understand.

"This is even more advanced than what I knew about… my dear student… you surpassed me already!" Ren chuckled inside, excited at the prospect of witnessing what Ophila came up with.

"This is a formation diagram from the highest level. It was designed by Levictus and Lady Ophila. This is why I said my son will take over the Formation Department; he is ultimately a gifted individual in this field."

"Sect Head," Dermitos asked, already used to calling his forefather that way. "Who is Lady Ophila?"

"She is the leader of one of the strongest sects there. The Sect itself is called Lotus Mandala Sect. She is an Immortal."

It was the first they had heard about it, and even the name made them gulp as Ren blinked her eyes quickly, almost laughing out of happiness. This meant all his disciples made a breakthrough from the Demigod realm and went on their own road, cultivating something that was not a "God."

"What is an… Immortal?" Carthus asked, getting back the fire inside his heart he had long forgotten about. The idea of advancing once again came to him suddenly. He was stuck at the first level of Harmony Realm for centuries, and even his son surpassed him.

"It is a realm above Demigods. I don't know much about it, but they are what I would call a true immortals. We may live long, but sooner or later, we will die. A Demigod's body could live forever, but if his body is destroyed, the soul also disperses and goes into reincarnation. An Immortal… can live even after his or her body is destroyed. Their souls are eternal and can exist without a corporeal form, forever."

"How many of them are there?"

"Only three are known, the leaders of the strongest sects. They were my mentors, thanks to Levictus. It is a realm that they created, and they say that their teacher was the Mad God who opened the sky and made it possible for them to carve out a new path. I was not as talented to be taught by them, but my son is, so as a reward, they gave me tips and instructions over the years, which greatly helped me advance to the third realm."

They were stunned by the revelations that their forefather was not deemed talented enough to be trained by them, Carthus wanted to say something, but just a sigh came out, shaking his head.

"Don't be disheartened. Our slice of the world was poisoned by the belief in the Gods, and we have fallen behind. I had a reason to tell you to slowly push it back and let the religion fade out but not interfere with force. But this is not yet something you need to be privy to. When you reach the same level as me, I'll tell you more; until then, it is an unnecessary distraction. For now, all of you need to focus on reaching the next level!"

"What kind of disciples do they accept?" Ren asked curiously.

"Only those who are talented in a special field. They have few direct disciples; my son is one of them, almost at the same level as me. Only every one of their disciples is focused on a special field, excelling in one skill above all others. If you want to know, their sects itself has more disciples in various strengths than you can imagine! But the weakest ones that can be counted as true members of the Sect, the inner disciples, are all minimum first-level harmony realm experts, reaching it at the 8th level. The core disciples are all at the first level of harmony and reached it strictly at the ninth body refinement realm. Anyone under that can never be promoted to Core Disciple. To be an elder, you not just need to be at the third level of harmony; you also need to possess enough achievements to distinguish yourself from others and have done enough things for the Sect to be recognized for it! You have to be awarded an elder position. You must be in the Demigod realm to have a say in the Sect's future and be a core or even grand elder. My Sect is based on their structure. One day we will be the same. Just you wait~" Aerthus grinned with ambition.

"And what are we going to call ourselves?" came the question from Leinor.

"Immortal Wonders Sect. Because you will see such wonders here nowhere found in this part of the world~ Also, it is a catchy name that can grab the imagination of cultivators and make them join." He laughed while some of his descendants were twitching their mouths because of the naming, but Ren just pointed a thumbs up toward him.

"Nice going, Master! So… what about the first wonder?" Ren grinned.

"Ahaha, here. Watch this!" He laughed, placed down the big plate, and dropped blood on it. The metal plate immediately lit up like a multicolored gate. "Get back a little!" Aerthus said as all of them rushed backward while a cold, mechanical voice suddenly echoed out.

"Connection Established. Receiving spatial coordinates for transfer. Calculating. Coordinates fixed. Beginning transfer."

When the strange voice died down, rumbling could be heard from every direction; the slowly approaching warships from both sides immediately dropped their anchors to halt their advances on the river as everyone watched on with befuddled looks. A giant, 9-story high, pagoda-like structure materialized from nowhere in the middle of the island. It was deep red with jade-green tiles on the roof sections and golden dragon paintings going around it, getting shinier and shinier as the levels of it went higher and higher.

The whole transfer happened below a minute, yet long after the giant structure was standing before them, they still stood there, mouth agape, watching it like kids seeing fireworks for the first time.

"They made teleporting work… this is incredible, I knew it was possible, but the energies for it were never there before the Tear…." Ren murmured as she was also amazed.

"What do you mean?" Leinor asked with a surprised voice.

"Ah… in theory, this would be hard, and I can't imagine the work they put into it!" She scratched her throat, looking at him smilingly.

"It took 600 years for them to complete the theories, develop experiments, and work out the quirks and mistakes. They finished it only 10 or so years ago. My son came in late as Lady Ophila had been working on it for over 1000 years but with an on-off attitude. Levictus is… a bit… well… a strange kid. He was immediately drawn in by the prospect and spent his years only working on this." Aerthus scratched his head with a smile. "I have no idea how this works. Anyway, this is the Cultivation Block. The nine levels have different rooms, all made from special materials and etched with formations that help concentrate the natural energies to help cultivation. On the top, the last three levels are only for Harmony Experts. Weaker people would explode from the influx of energy. This will be the most visited place in our Sect as those who earned enough reward points can come in, choose a level and room, then cultivate with more efficiency than anywhere else!"

"So this is only the first building?" Boursat came to himself just now.

"Yeah." Aerthus nodded as he flashed his ring again, and dozens more plates materialized. "Setting up a sect is not easy. Lucky me, I have a good son~" He laughed proudly, and soon, more buildings appeared from nowhere. It didn't take an hour or so that the previously uninhabited island was dotted with different, majestic buildings, scaring the on-looking 'mortals.'


….
…..

"The last one has gone too." Levictus stood on a balcony of a 30-story high pagoda's top level, watching the last building flashing with different lights before disappearing. "The experiment was a great success. None of the designed buildings was destroyed in the transfer."

"Of course!" came the reply as Ophila approached him. "Who do you think made the transfer discs? Sadly they are one-time items."

"It's not that big of a problem. I am already working on a stable transfer method that can be used multiple times before it deteriorates. It will be able to transfer only human-sized objects in return."

"That's good." she nodded approvingly. "I'm going to continue working out the method behind transferring living beings. It's still far from safe."

"I heard." Levictus shook his head. "Last weekend, guts were raining in the disciples' adobe. Some are still struggling with bad dreams."

"Tsk, what? It was just some cow intestines, nothing major. They have no problem fighting outside the Sect, but some raining blood, and they come crying? Nonsense." Ophila snorted.

"They did not dare to come and complain." He shook his head again, maintaining a calm expression, as it was rare to even make him flinch. "I'm more interested in where the rest of the cow landed."

"Me too. But I couldn't find it. Maybe it was transferred underground. Who knows." She shrugged her shoulders. "Anyway, congrats on your father's success. Who knows, maybe, later on, we can recruit some promising children from your homeland. If there is at least one of you there every 500 years, it was already a worthwhile investment.."


….
…..

It was already night when they were converging in the main hall of the Sect. It was its own walled-off area, placed on an elevated base that could be seen everywhere who stood on the island. The gate had golden writing above it, displaying the Sect's name, Immortal Wonders, with Aerthus' handwriting.

Inside were trees, fake mountains, and artificial ponds, already having koi fishes inside of them, while multiple pavilions stood around. If someone watched from the sky, they formed a unique formation. One pavilion was for the storage of resources, while another was the Library, still pretty empty, but soon it would be filled with the future techniques of the Sect and different manuals.

There was also the headquarters of the different departments, still only empty shells but ready to be slowly filled up with the necessary equipment. In the middle was the main palace, where every member of the Sect could gather if something important came up, and this was the place where if the future Council held a meeting, they would do so.

"Now I'm officially announcing the opening of the Immortal Wonders Sect!" Aerthus raised his wine glass Aerthus happily while the others returned the gesture with theirs. "It surprised me that we still did not receive any attacks, ahaha. They don't know what to do with buildings appearing from nowhere."

"I think tomorrow there will be some harmony experts arriving, though." Xendar chuckled.

"Yeah. I agree." Aerthus nodded. "This will be a perfect time to test out the Disciplinary Department." He looked at Carthus. "I thought about everyone's attitude and finding your best places in the Sect. Carthus, you are bound by rules and tradition deep inside. This can be good and bad at the same time. I want you to lead the future Disciplinary Department. We are still drafting the sect rules, but in the future, I want you to ensure it is held up."

Carthus was taken aback for a moment before closing his eyes and then nodding.

"Yes, Sect Head."

"You are still bearing the shadow of your father. This will be your opportunity to break out of it and show you are not like him, and you won't become a tyrant."

"I thank you for the chance to do so." He cupped his hand, bowing.

"Also, Boursat."

"Yes, Sect Head?"

"You will be the department's Vice Leader. Your connection to your brother and Carthus makes you the perfect balance for him."

"I understand, Sect Head." He bowed to him without question.

"Mmm. Tomorrow you will entertain our guests; as there are still no disciples to help you, the youngsters will accompany you." He smiled at Ren and the others, "Xendar."

"Yes, Sect Head?"

"You will be the Artifact Department's leader."

"M-me?" He pointed at himself, surprised.

"Yes. I studied your earlier invention with that jade coin; it is a rudimentary artifact. You have potential; I'll help you as much as possible, even though I'm not proficient. You will need to come up with many things by yourself."

"I… I understand Sect Head!" He cupped his hand while Anya just smiled beside him with a happy expression.

"Dermitos. You are going to be the head of the Alchemy Department. Our bloodline is perfect for it; I am also well-versed in pill forging, I'll teach you, and you will take it over later."

"Yes, Sect Head." He cupped his hands, clearly excited to learn something new.

"The rest who reached Harmony Realm are considered Elders; you can later decide which department you wish to be part of as Core Elders or stay just as Elders and work with the disciples when we announce their acceptance.

"Even me?" Poli blinked.

"You are at the Harmony Realm, no?" Aerthus asked back.

"Yes… ah… ahahaha!" Poli laughed, looking at Isha and the others, but soon he shrank back his neck because of the pressure he received from their gazes. "Ugh… I'll think about it…." He murmured while the others just chuckled at the small, playful scene.

"The rest of you are Core Disciples; you can choose your masters. We can start focusing on cultivation when I finish filling up the Library and the Resource pagoda. Also, there is the last post." He looked at Ren.

"Yes?" Ren blinked her eyes with an expecting smile on her face.

"Ahaha~ As my disciple, you are appointed as Head Disciple and on the same level as a Core Elder. But don't be so sure about your position. Every Grand Elder can have their own Head Disciple. Also, one Master can have multiple disciples. This group of people will be chosen as the next Sect Head when I decide to step down in the future! If later on comes someone who outshines you, he or she will inherit my Head Disciple position!"

"Ahahaha, of course! Don't worry, Master ~" She grinned with a playful laugh.

"Good! Now let's drink, and we can design the sect uniform when everything is settled."

"Uniform?" a few of them asked at the same time.

"Of course! We need coherent clothing, so when we travel around the continent, everyone can recognize us~" Aerthus laughed in a great mood as this was what he was planning since he toured the other side of the desert and saw how exciting life can really be.