The instant that Ji Ning stepped through the towering gates and into the endless dark of the Castrum Divinitus, space began to twist around him. A moment later, the world brightened up as he found himself within a hallway.
This hallway had rather uneven walls that had torches stuck into them. The torches were blazing merrily, filling the hallway with their light.
“Eh?” Ning stood there in the hallway and scanned the area. No one else was in sight.
“What’s going on? Why have I been separated from Youji and the others?” Ning mused to himself.
Suddenly, a faint wave of energy rippled out from up ahead. Ning hurriedly turned to look, only to see strands of fire fly out from the two torches and coalesce in the air, transforming into the form of a barefoot, gauze-clad maiden. The maiden had long, beautiful green hair. Although her body was covered by a layer of thin gauze, she was essentially nude for all intents and purposes.
“I am the formation-spirit of the Castrum Divinitus. This is one of my incarnations,” the maiden said.
Ning was puzzled. “Why have I been separated from the others?”
“Everyone who took part in the Samsara Grinders and survived shall be blessed with good fortune. However, since you each walk different paths you shall each be given unique bits of karmic fortune. Thus, every single person has been teleported to a different part of the Castrum Divinitus,” the maiden said. “Come with me.”
Ning followed behind her obediently.
Indeed, every single person had been teleported to a different region.
The blood-robed youth, Arroyo, had also appeared in an empty hallway. He scanned the hallway with his bloodsea eyes, a hint of impatience visible within them. Suddenly, a barefoot, gauze-covered maiden suddenly appeared before his very eyes as well.
“I am the formation-spirit of the Castrum Divinitus. This is one of my incarnations. Follow me,” the maiden said.
“Where is the divine blood of the Eternal?” Arroyo asked.
“The divine blood of the Eternal?” The maiden looked at him, a strange smile playing on her beautiful face.
“Yes, the Eternal blood. My performance atop the Samsara Grinders should’ve been the best of the five. The Goldeye Golem himself said that our group’s performance was good enough to warrant the Eternal blood being awarded, but that I would have to enter the Castrum Divinitus to acquire it.” Arroyo gazed at the maiden, a look of urgency in his eyes. “I don’t give a damn about any other ‘blessings’. I just want the Eternal blood right away.”
The maiden looked at him, then slowly shook her head. “There is none.”
“None?” Arroyo was stunned.
“None for you, that is.” The maiden looked at him calmly.
“What are you saying?” Arroyo began to grow upset.
“It is simple. The divine blood of the Eternal shall be given to a different cultivator, not you.” The maiden smiled. “But of course, you’ll still be blessed with some good karmic fortune.”
“Impossible!” Arroyo’s eyes instantly turned red with fury. He howled angrily, “I was the most powerful one! Which of the four surviving World-level cultivators can possibly compare to me? That new Chaos Immortal, Su Youji? World God Dragonbinder of the Badlands Court? My servant? Fukai? None of them are qualified! Daolord Allgod was an ancient power and an incredibly proud man. There’s no way he would be so unfair!”
“All of the trials which Master set down were quite fair,” the maiden said. “And the results of the trial were… that you did not qualify to acquire the Eternal blood.”
“SHIT!!!” Arroyo was both enraged and panicked.
How could he not be enraged? How could he not panic? His very life was riding on him gaining the Eternal blood! Both he and Fukai had paid enormous prices just to make it from the Fog Sea to the gates of the Castrum Divinitus. Both had experienced countless dangers, but they had been willing to risk their lives multiple times because they needed the Eternal blood.
If they acquired the Eternal blood, their status would instantly skyrocket!
If they did not… they would die!
No one would be able to save him. Not even his father would be able to save him.
But it made no sense. After he made his breakthrough atop the Samsara Grinders, he was definitely the most powerful of the five surviving World Gods. He had felt certain that the Eternal blood would fall into his hands… and yet, reality had proven otherwise. How could he not be angry? How could he not panic?
“How could this have happened? Who was it? World God Dragonbinder? No way, he was only able to win because of his Dao-seal. Fukai? He won in a pathetic fashion, and he is much weaker than me. My own servant? His performance was completely unremarkable.”
Arroyo continued to ponder the matter. “Perhaps the Flamefairy, Su Youji? Mm… possible. She is a brand new Chaos Immortal, but she was able to kill Darkfall! It could be said she punched well above her weight…”
“Was it Su Youji?” Arroyo looked at the maiden before him.
“That’s a secret,” the maiden said. “No need for you to ask.”
“Wait, wait… something’s off. Daolord Allgod was an incredibly proud figure, while Su Youji is extremely weak. The only reason she even survived was because of that freakishly strong Elder God! How could Daolord Allgod possibly have been willing to give her the Eternal blood? Hell, he’d probably give it to that freak of an Elder God before he’d give it to her.”
Suddenly, Arroyo’s face turned white.
“That freak of an Elder God.”
Arroyo suddenly remembered the words that the three-eyed man had said just before the trial of the Samsara Grinders.
“As for the surviving cultivators, they will each blessed with a small bit of fortune. The cultivator whose performance was the best will have a chance of acquiring the divine blood of the Eternal.”
“The cultivator whose performance was the best… right. The word was ‘cultivator’. World Gods and Chaos Immortals are cultivators, but so too are Elder Gods.” When Arroyo carefully thought back to what had been said and what had happened, he realized that it all fit perfectly. It was entirely possible that the freakishly strong Elder God had been the one to win the Eternal blood.
In terms of ‘best performance’? For an Elder God to end up killing a master-class World God, albeit through the usage of a small trick, was an utterly inconceivable feat. Arroyo himself had merely slain a supreme World God while originally being a supreme World God himself.
“Right. If we factor in that Elder God…”
“That freak of an Elder God does indeed stand a better chance to earn the Eternal blood than me.” Arroyo turned to stare at the maiden before him, then growled, “It was that freak of an Elder God, right?”
“I told you, it is a secret.” The maiden remained as calm as ever. “Enough. Stop wasting time. Since you survived, you’ll be blessed with good fortune. Follow me.”
“No need. I don’t want it.” A cold light was flickering in Arroyo’s eyes.
“You don’t want it?” The maiden frowned.
“Right. I want to leave the Castrum Divinitus immediately,” Arroyo said.
“I hope you don’t regret it,” the maiden said. “Others would beg for the chance to be blessed with such good fortune. I recommend that you at least take a look at it. You can always leave after doing so.”
“I don’t need it,” Arroyo said calmly. If every single survivor was going to be blessed with a bit of karmic luck, how good could it possibly be? In addition, as far as he was concerned, no blessing mattered at all if he didn’t find the Eternal blood. He would still end up dying!
“If that’s the case, I’ll let you leave.” The maiden nodded.
The gold-robed Fukai stared at the maiden before him, an ugly look on his face. “I knew it. The Eternal blood was awarded to someone else! It must’ve fallen into Arroyo’s hands. No… I still have a chance! If I can kill Arroyo, I can seize the Eternal blood!”
“So what if he’s more powerful than me now that he’s made a breakthrough? I was completely unable to use most of my treasures during the trial of the Samsara Grinders. If I use all of them, I can dominate anyone below the Samsara Daolord level.” A berserk look was in the gold-robed youth’s eyes. “Once I kill Arroyo, the Eternal blood will be mine.”
“Follow me,” the maiden instructed.
“I don’t need any ‘blessings’. I want to leave the Castrum Divinitus immediately,” the gold-robed Fukai said.
“You want to leave immediately?” The maiden was surprised.
“Right.” The gold-robed youth nodded.
“No regrets?” The maiden asked.
“No regrets.” Madness could be seen flickering in Fukai’s eyes. He had been pushed to a precipice! He felt certain that the Eternal blood was now in Arroyo’s hands. If he wasn’t able to seize it, he would definitely die. His only chance of staying alive was to kill Arroyo before the man was able to leave this chaosworld!
If he wasn’t able to do so and if Arroyo was able to escape this chaosworld, there would be no chance to stop him whatsoever.
“How odd. One person after another has refused the blessing of good fortune, instead choosing to leave the Castrum Divinitus right away,” the maiden mused to herself.
“One person after another?” Fukai was stunned upon hearing this. “Who left? Was it Arroyo?”
The maiden glanced at him. “This is a secret.”
“It has to be Arroyo. I want to leave right away! Immediately! As fast as possible!” Fukai was panicking.
“As you wish.” The maiden nodded.
Ning was calmly but curiously following behind the maiden leading the way before him. Her bare feet gently glided over the floor as she advanced, soon leading him to an enormous stone archway.
“Go in.” The maiden went past the stone arch.
Ning followed inside. Upon doing so, light flashed in front of him. This was an enormous hall that was filled with many statues. There had to be thousands of these enormous stone statues here! Ning swept the hall with his gaze. It had to be at least ten kilometers high and a hundred kilometers in diameter.
“What’s that?” Ning saw that a long narrow table was located in a corner of the massive hall. Atop this table was a crystalline globe that glowed with white light.