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Han De looked at the silent tribulation clouds. Technically, they were in space, there was no sound. The calm look of these clouds though, really gave a sense of stillness. If it wasn’t for the pressure of three different tribulations weighing down on his soul, or the fact that his body was falling apart, Han De would’ve enjoyed this sight very much.

‘What’s going on, why is it not starting? Am I supposed to do something here?’

The cultivation idiot went through two tribulations. He did not do anything special to call or start the tribulation. Everything went in their proper order without any mishaps. Both encounters were very by the book!

Silence continued. Han De looked at Yao Qing with suspicion. Just a moment ago she nearly refused to attack the netherworld demons.

‘She should know I am in no state to tank a frickin’ lightning, right? Forget triple tribulation, a regular lightning is enough to kill me 10 times over...’


[Direct Control]
[All lightning will bend to the Tyrant’s will.]


‘She’s been practicing with her bloodline all this time. She’ll do fine! There is nothing to worry...’

Under Han De suspicious eyes, Yao Qing waited. Finally, after a full minute, the first strike appeared! The spiritual boat violently shook and just for a moment everything went white. Han De didn’t need to shield his eyes from light, and saw the lightning coil around the spiritual boat before striking at the closest leviathan.

Heavenly Tribulation didn’t pause for Han De’s sigh of relief. Three seconds later, another one appeared. A second later another one. The intervals between the strikes nearly disappeared after the 6th and Han De lost count.

The spiritual boat was heavily, heavily reinforced with formations. Even though the lightning strikes weren’t even touching anything, just the radiating heavenly intent was enough to crush them. Primary shielding formation failed, and the inscriptions that defined it burned away. Secondary and tertiary formations started shaking, outer parts of the secondary started to crack.

Half a minute after the first strike, the tribulation paused. One look at the clouds told Han De that it wasn’t finished. This was only the first wave.

‘This is it.’

Han De tied the prayer beads into Ning Bi’s wrist and slipped all of his reserve storage rings into her pocket.

<Your family isn’t in any danger. They were being protected by the Han family ever since you’ve become my disciple. Never let go of those prayer beads.>

Han De didn’t see how Ning Bi’s eyes shook, he just patted her head. On the side, Yao Qing was panting heavily. In the end, she was only a Qi Condensation disciple right now. Being able to do this was already a miracle. As expected of an MC. Before Han De gave the order to Peng, he saw Jin Shu looking at him. He smiled and nodded at her.

<Peng. It is time. Go.>

Old Peng didn’t know what his young master was planning. From his perspective, there were many Transcendent masters remaining on the field, and reinforcements were on the way. He signaled the remaining Immortal Realm experts under Han De. Space rippled, and Han De was left alone on the deck.


[Current Distance: Unknown]

[Vigil Quest Failed]
[Time Remaining: 10.9]
[Disciple Ning Bi’s state is unknown]
[Notes: You have failed to keep your disciple Ning Bi within the designated distance of your main body. The seed of doubt within her heart will eventually become her inner demon. Disciple status of Ning Bi is suspended until the seed of doubt is completely removed. Ning Bi will irrevocably lose her disciple status if she fully forms an inner demon.]


Han De read the quest summary with reluctance and regret. This inner demon was probably a euphemism from the System. It was most likely the method that the so-called false ruler would take over Ning Bi’s body. 

‘If we remove Profound Points, Yao Qing would be a better teacher anyway. Along with Jin Shu, forming an inner demon should be quite hard for Ning Bi. Besides, she is just 13. She’ll be able to get over it. With the prayer beads as a cheat, she could increase her cultivation rapidly as well.’

Han De was surprised by how concerned he was with his disciples. While trying to figure out when he got so chummy with them, he gazed over the leviathans. All of their mouths were open towards the spiritual boat. Of course, Han De didn’t hear anything, but the leviathans were actually roaring.

‘Tentacle-chan, Long family, if you want to save the day, this is your last chance...’

These ancient netherworld demons were all on the verge of elevating their existence. If they could leap over their bottleneck, they could go through their tribulation and become a higher being. As pure-blooded netherworld demons, their cultivation was arduous, and their bottlenecks were tough to overcome. Therefore when they saw the strange tribulation clouds, none of them felt the need to distance themselves.

Mutated tribulation had elements of Dao, soul, and forbidden knowledge. Due to Han De’s strange state, that soul part wasn’t a Nascent Soul tribulation. The physical changes in Han De’s body was a precursor to elevating his existence before reaching the Immortal Realm. Due to using the prayer beads to cultivate, and using the Seven Luminaries Reminiscence pill before, Han De’s soul was able to keep up with his body as well. The leviathans didn’t know this.

Dealing with, or even thinking about void beings was a taboo, even for the leviathans. None of them dared to take a wrong step, most of them were still thinking about engaging in a battle royale just in case this was some sort of a test.

The heavenly tribulation changing its course and hitting them shocked all leviathans to their core. They were even more baffled when the one that was hit groaned with pain. Soon though, they all got hit by multiple lightning strikes and understood the reason.

The unique mix of elements within the tribulation, coupled with how the tribulation inexplicably kept changing targets, forcibly stirred their bottleneck. With 99 of them being in close proximity and all of them already being a target of the ongoing tribulation, removal of their bottleneck was the last thing they would've wanted.

Han De was confused about why the leviathans kept their mouths open. He was creeped out after a while and looked at the tribulation clouds instead.

‘If I leave now, the tribulation will just follow me. If the clouds are forcibly dispersed, these demons will return to their berserk state. Even If I can run away, my body is continuing to deteriorate. Even if Long family saves the day in the nick of time, what are the chances of them carrying a legendary heaven-defying pill...’

‘Well, I guess the one silver lining is, I can’t actually feel any pain right now. That is actually quite useful in my situ-...’

‘...’

‘Why are these clouds getting thicker?’

Elevating one’s existence wasn’t an everyday event. At the level of these netherworld demons, tribulation from such an ordeal could easily destroy a small world. 99 of them ‘summoning’ their tribulation at the same time was even worse. Han De’s world being the center of a frontier, couldn’t handle this level of power. Naturally, the heavenly tribulation would react to that by ejecting everyone involved to the closest suitable location.

The gears in Han De’s mind started turning, but he couldn’t come up with a reasonable explanation from his perspective. He didn’t know the leviathans were forcibly getting dragged into their own tribulations. Judging from the strange state of the leviathans and the tribulation clouds though, making a run for it didn’t seem such a bad idea.

Han De jumped on the speed-focused Nascent Soul sword. Sustaining a flight with it was impossible, but he thought a sudden burst of speed was his best starting option. He infused half of his spiritual energy with the sword and operated his Heaven Defying Tyrannical Scripture. Without ever looking back, he changed into his speed-focused Core Formation sword after a few seconds.

‘You know, running away from the tribulation and not playing by its rules should also count as defying the heavens…’

Han De was trying to cheer himself up while adamantly not looking back. His only valid direction was to the south, so he kept looking south. 10 seconds later, he felt two delicate arms hugging him from behind. Han De reflexively tried to gasp, but they were still in space, there was no air around. His whole body went stiff when he saw a few strands of floating white hair.

The cronenberg chef tightened her hug and put her chin on Han De’s left shoulder. She didn’t say anything. She wasn’t trembling either.

They flew silently for nearly half a minute. Han De couldn’t move a muscle the entire time, but he was able to sense some erratic spiritual energy in front of them. 10 very uncomfortable seconds later, he spotted the remains of a battlefield. The chef tightened her hug once again.

<Little De! You are safe!>

Shouting voice transmission startled Han De. Even with his elf eyes, he could only see dots due to the distance, but that voice definitely belonged to his mother. The dot started to get bigger and bigger. The tattered clothes, the pale face, and the red-ish brown stains all over her caused Han De to frown in confusion.

‘Is she… missing an arm?’

Han De felt something in him became restless. There was a sense of wrongness coming from somewhere. He reflexively looked at his chest and used his spiritual sense to check the cause. The cause, was the illusory Dao Seed. At least, that was what Han De was guessing from Yao Qing’s comments.

If he could, Han De would’ve dispersed this Dao Seed without a second thought. He didn’t even know if that was possible, the cultivation idiot certainly never heard something like that. Han De might be the only person to ever consider it. 

Even the essence of the seed was enough to give him headaches. A Dao Seed with Heaven Defying Tyrannical qualities was one of the worst things he could condense. If he could choose, he definitely would choose herbalism as his Dao Seed. Herbalism was nice, it was so peaceful and happy!

Han De surroundings started to radiate heavenly intent. It was only then he realized he was about to be transported to somewhere else. Someone else couldn't shield him or disperse the clouds. He looked at his mother, she had also realized what was going on.

Darkness enveloped Han De’s vision.

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A note from LivingSpoon

I’ve been getting messages about the daily releases. Some say that it is better to keep doing the weekly releases. Not sure what the consensus is on that, so here’s a poll! (The result may or may not change my mind, just beware!)

 

I’ve been experimenting with chapter sizes too. Before I would cannibalize chapters to keep the things around 2500+ word count. In the last two chapters, I tried to keep things more cohesive and self-contained. Although the word count is smaller per chapter, weekly word count is still around 15k range (which is higher than the previous 10k range, but this just due to me being able to allocate more time to writing).

 

Any thoughts?


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