Chapter 80:

The Road of Cultivation

Mad God

The first to step on the bridge quickly found themselves mesmerized, in the most literal sense possible. From the outside, it seemed as if they turned half-transparent as they mechanically started to walk forward on the bridge. As soon as someone who had the qualification to step onto it, he or she found him or herself in a completely different world. They couldn't tell the difference between the illusionary life they were immersed in by Aerthus's powers and the reality they came from.

The same happened with Lulu. She was the first to arrive at one of the bridgeheads on the Kingdom of Qun's side. She did not hesitate before stepping onto it; as soon as both of her feet landed on it, she was in a different world.

She was back in the city of Elzur once again, living in her villa, enjoying the setting sun from her balcony, sipping on the finest wine the world can offer, and wearing a loose, silk, sleeveless dress. Beside her kneeled Yanda, wearing almost nothing, just short underwear, while he fed her with grapes.

"Now this is what I call living to the fullest… Why would you want otherwise?" Lulu giggled, looking at Yanda, stroking his head. "Stay beside me, and you can have everything! You just need to sacrifice some small things in exchange!"

No answer came from him, he just put another grape into her mouth, and as she chewed on it, she continued.

"Why are you so quiet? Are you still embarrassed? You shouldn't be; I have power now; you can flaunt that sexy scaly body of yours~" She giggled, stretching out her hand, caressing the vivid, blue scales on his chest. "You are so pretty~."

It was that moment when Yanda slapped her hand away, stood back up with a cold expression, and threw the grapes to the ground.

"Don't touch me." He scowled.

"What did you say?" She furrowed her eyebrows, sitting up. "You dare to say that again, hm?"

"You are a selfish bitch."

"It seems you need to learn your lesson once again?" She stood up as the air around her was billowing, and her skin started to glow in a white, blinding light, but Yanda just looked on with a calm and cold face.

Her tiny fist was glowing as she sent it towards Yanda's chest, yet the young man erected a water shield, quickly blocking it. The shockwave from the strike destroyed everything around them, crumbling the balcony into small pieces; the stone railing cracked and was blown away like paper. They stood in the air as the tiles below them disintegrated, turning to dust.

"Hmf, don't think you can block me!" Lulu snorted, releasing a flurry of attacks, all shining in a bright, blinding light, one quicker than the other, yet Yanda easily blocked every strike of hers.

"You are weak. You can't keep me." He answered, forming a whip out of the water, striking at her, and hitting Lulu square in the chest. The attack sent her flying backward, crashing into the villa through its walls. All the intact windows blasted outwards from the force of her landing, shaking the ground itself.

"You!" Lulu screamed, flying back up through the rubble, holding her two hands out as light gathered between her fingers, condensing into a ball before shooting out a pure light beam, one that shone in colorful lights as it passed through the air.

"Not enough," Yanda answered, forming a whirlpool before him that looked like an endless blue abyss leading to the deepest part of the ocean. It easily swallowed up the beam before slowly dissipating. "Now it's my turn." He lifted his left hand, holding a slave collar. "You have two options, put it on yourself, or I'll put it on you."

"Try it!" Lulu chuckled, pointing her finger and shooting another beam, vaporizing the collar in his hand.

"I hoped you would say that." a smile appeared on his face for the first time as endless water flooded the sky from under his feet as if the end times had come. A moment later, sharks formed from it, flying at Lulu with their jaws wide open.

"Do not underestimate me!" escaped a scream from Lulu's throat, forming a light bubble around her, defending against the waves of water while trying to shoot down the incoming sharks, yet every time one was destroyed, another formed, turning it into a stalemate.

As their fight was ongoing, high in the sky, two pairs of eyes were watching on, like two omnipotent beings observing the world.

"So the girl has a light affinity! Interesting, is this her full potential?" rang out Ren's voice.

"No, this is just a small fragment of it." Aerthus answered, "But she can reach it and even higher. This is just her subconscious manifesting it. She is a promising seedling. Only her personality is problematic."

"Yeah, I can see that. Still, it can be fixed with time so she can be more accepting and break down her ego a little."

"No, I did not mean that."

"Hm? Then…?" Ren asked, a bit surprised.

"Where are we?" Her Master asked with playfulness in his voice.

"In her own hallucination."

"Yes, in a world projected by her mind. This is her world. Whatever happens here is her mind's doing." Aerthus chuckled as, down before them, Lulu got whipped again, tearing up her clothing.

She had already received a dozen strikes, and her skin was swollen in many places. Still, she fought ferocity yet could not overcome Yanda, who easily beat her down, again and again, inching forward, slave collar in hand.

"Wait… is she a masochist?" Ren gawked.

"Something like that. More like… remember what happened with them? You told me how Yanda acted, and you liked the kid's reaction. Well, I think it left a great impression on her too."

As they spoke, Yanda could finally bind her with his whip, holding Lulu in the air as her weapon slowly snaked around her tightly, reaching everywhere.

"So what… you won… and? I can become stronger…." Lulu groaned, breathing heavily with a flushed face.

"I can, too," Yanda answered, putting the collar on her, and leaning close. "Now YOU are mine!"

His voice sent a shiver down Lulu's spine, gulping loudly, yet her eyes were excited beyond belief.

"Damn…" Aerthus and Ren said at the same time, "You were right, Master… She has a problem."

"Yeah! We need to straighten her out, and not just a little bit! Anyway, she has potential. Going by this fight, she will have a clear path to follow, and her body will remember the feeling."

"You sure that's a good idea?" Ren chuckled.

"Not THAT feeling." He sighed. "What do you say? Are you up for the task of guiding her?"

"Mmm…. yeah, why not! But only if I can guide Yanda too. His hybrid being is something I have a great interest in. Speaking of him, let's see how he is doing right now!"

When the surroundings changed, they looked down on the Shert River as Yanda was standing on the water, looking at a group of mermaids wielding tridents. It was clearly a standoff between him and the group of demons.

"You WILL honor my mother's memory and ask for forgiveness at her grave!" Yanda's agitated voice came.

"Your mother whored herself out to a human. You should have been killed alongside her long ago!" Their answer rang out firmly, and soon a brawl ensued as Yanda wielded the river's water as a weapon, fighting off eight mermaids simultaneously, forming water clones of himself.

"Do mermaids really have this kind of fishlike lower half?" Ren asked, looking down at the fight.

"Yes. His mind won't lie, don't you recognize it? That must be his mother's appearance. All of his enemies' lower halves are the same. Only the top is replaced by different human figures."

"Wait… you are right. Those he fights against are the bandits we encountered when we traveled the kingdom… huh."

"His gift of manipulating water is strong." Aerthus commented, "His natural proficiency with it is at the Harmony level! The strength behind it is still low in the real world, but that is because his body cannot keep up. So his training should focus on raising his body to the same level his mind operates at."

"Leave it to me. I have ideas on how to do it." Ren agreed with him.

"About ideas, do you have any concerning the demons' path of cultivation?" Aerthus asked.

"Yes, I worked with Shaman and Emi on that in the previous months. They have it easy." She sighed with admiration. "They do not need to cultivate in a way like we do! Their body absorbs energy if they meditate, absorb it from enemies they defeat and… well, eat. Or from eating others' cores. Their cultivation is based on their cores completely. When a small demon forms his or her own, it can take a human form. When this core fills fully, tribulation comes for them. It destroys their cores, and if they can't reform it, bigger, stronger, increasing its potential, they are done for. Emi had already had two tribulations! Shaman had four in his life."

"Then there must be a difference between their cores. That girl is strong, stronger than Edu."

"I guess so too… I don't know yet. I can't cut them up and see what their cores are like!" Ren joked, "But if we get demons as disciples, we can guide them, teach them spells, and with their core, they can manipulate energy freely. I honestly… envy how effortlessly they can learn spells."

"Do not envy them. If what you say is right, when a demon reaches his or her core final form and can't grow anymore, they have an even bigger obstacle. They have a harder time stepping into the Demigod realm than us!"

"You mean the Demigod realm has something to do with cores?"

"Yes. At my level, we change our bodies to the body of a Demigod. It means we form a core, merging our energy points into one being in our body. You will have an easier time doing this as you discovered them in the Body Refinement realm and trained them early! You don't even know how big a boon this is for future cultivators. It also requires the mind and soul to control it, which is the hard part. It can't be learned! Whether it comes naturally for you or it just won't. Then you are stuck." He sighed softly

"I see…" Ren murmured, as this was the same method in her previous life. Forming a core was the whole reason for cultivation from the start. Back then, energy was sparse and rare; only the most gifted individuals with unique bodies could do it. A Demigod back then was possibly weaker than Aerthus now because of their low quality of cores and lack of energy.

"After becoming a Demigod, there is the old way." Aerthus continued, "Filling your core with energy, but it is almost an endless road, my mentors always told me, it is an impossible task to fill it up and form it into a Godcore! Becoming a God…" he whispered, "What a God core is? I don't really know."

"Yes… I bet…" Ren chuckled, remembering some ancient memories of hers. "If it could be done by everyone, we would have at least a dozen or more Gods roaming around us."

"Maybe. That's why my Mentors walk a different path."

"Becoming an Immortal?" She asked with excitement.

"Yes. They break down their cores in the Demigod realm."

"Breaking it… down…” Ren mumbled, thinking about it before her eyes suddenly lit up like a lighthouse. "Of course! It transforms you by gradually breaking it down and fusing it with your whole being!"

"You…" Aerthus blinked his eyes surprisingly. "You are something else, alright… Yes, they do that. It is a hard and dangerous endeavor! You are essentially breaking down your own being. You will kill yourself if you make a mistake and damage it beyond what you can endure. But breaking one part off and fusing it into your body is a qualitative change. I can't speak more of it as I have not yet experienced it and did not see Demigods fight each other, except for some friendly spars. But the end result is you have no core left in you, as it is destroyed, fused into your own being, making you… Immortal. Even if your body gets destroyed, your soul has the same properties. You can transfer it to another, make a new body from scratch, reform the old, or just live on being a soul! You can't be destroyed. I know this is a kind of an exaggeration, but from my point of view, the Immortal Realm is a perfect name for it."

"Hahaha! Marvelous!" Ren laughed, filled with excitement. "I am sure to reach that Immortal level in this life! Being a God is old-fashioned anyway!"

"Ahaha, it's good to see you so pumped up! Who knows, maybe you will overtake me? I am looking forward to it."

"Nyahaha~ Sure! But… Why did you say demons have a harder time rising to the Demigod level?"

"Because if their core is the same as ours when formed, it is still fairly empty. Taking control of it should be easier. Now theirs…"

"Are full. I see! Taking full control over it is exponentially harder."

"Yes. Emi's Queen suffers from those alignments, sealing herself away to protect others." Aerthus sighed with a sad voice.

As they were discussing, down below them, Yanda had already defeated all of the mermaids of his vision, bringing them to his mother's grave, making them bow to it constantly, begging for forgiveness. His form slowly dissipated as he stepped down from the bridge onto Teardrop Island, being the first to reach it. His eyes were filled with tears, looking back towards where he came from before bowing towards it, then towards the Sect's building, filled with emotions ready to burst out.

"Now I really wonder what road one will take, who inherited from both races…." Ren giggled, watching Yanda from up above.

"Mmm. Me too. Speaking of demons, let's take a look at Emi."

"She took the test too?"

"Yeah, she asked me yesterday if she could do so, and I agreed. I am also curious about what she experiences in her subconscious."

"Fufufu, me too~" She grinned as the scene before them changed again.