“Hoho.” Flora giggled. “I see that you like this handsome little brother very much Big Sis Eska, I’ll let you have him, then.”
Eska didn’t bother to respond to Flora, instead, she too left her Incarnation Jade. She was truly the most beautiful woman Ryu had ever seen. In the beginning, Ryu had believed that the four Zu Ancestors were about equal in terms of looks, but it seemed he had sold Eska short. Considering her throne was facing away from him, it was no wonder he had blindly made such an assumption.
Even as an ethereal spirit, she carried a refined air that was impossible to match. Though it was easy for Ryu to imagine Flora as a heartless, vindictive woman despite her innocent and adorable appearance, no matter how hard he tried to put his guard up against Eska, he found himself unwilling to taint her pure image.
Still, Ryu was Ryu. Even though he was just like any other man who could enjoy looking at an absolute beauty, he also had too much control over himself to slip into a daze. As such, aside from a brief glint in his cold, silver eyes, he had no other reaction.
“How cold.” Flora pouted. “Is Big Sis Eska not good enough for you?”
“That’s enough, Flora.” Eska said softly.
Surprisingly, the talkative Flora immediately silenced herself. It became clear to Ryu that maybe these four Ancestors weren’t as equal as they appeared.
Eska’s eyes glistened as she slowly descended the steps. Her gait seemed to stretch time to infinity… At that moment, Ryu felt that he had only been able to shrug off her presence so easily because of how far away from him she had been initially.
When experts die, usually, that would be it. They would enter the cycle of reincarnation, and hope that their accumulated karma provides them with good opportunities in their next life. However, those who have entered the Soul Birth realm and given the souls form have another path they can take. These individuals, with the help of Incarnation Jades, are able to continue to exist in this Plane and extend their lives near indefinitely. If proper circumstances are met, it’s even possible for these individuals to revive.
That said, Incarnation Jades aren’t something you can simply pick up off the streets. Each piece is a valuable Origin Grade mineral worth an astronomical sum. Yet, there were four of them here!
What Ryu knew was that it was impossible for these four Ancestors to be at the mere Soul Birth Realm. His most favorable estimation was that they were all in the Soul Ascension Realm! But… Something was telling him that this Eska, walking toward him slowly now, had long since entered Soul Quintessence. Simply put, even after so many epochs had passed since her death, she wouldn’t even have to lift a single finger to kill him where he stood.
“Believe it or not…” Eska continued in her soft tone. “… This Legacy wasn’t created to seek out inheritors or heirs to our teachings. You’ve seen the Incarnation Jades here, and I’m sure you understand what that means as a fellow scholar. Our goal has always been to revive the four of us. As such, whether or not you are a Zu is irrelevant. In fact, having Mental Realm talent is immaterial, though useful.
“The only reason the possibility of you learning our techniques and benefitting from our Zu Palace is on the table is to repay your help.
“In truth, the descendants of our Zu Clan should have collected the necessary spiritual ingredients by now and stored them in our predetermined locations. However, with any plan that takes place over trillions of years, it’s impossible to account for every wrinkle, which is likely why our Zu Palace was found by you instead of one our own.”
If Eska knew that the protection of her Clan’s hopes was being left in the hands of such pitiful Mortal Plane Kingdoms, just how would she react?
“What is your ultimate goal?” Ryu asked.
Eska stared at Ryu deeply for a moment. “I founded the Zu Clan after the Human Race’s war with the Ancient Beasts. With the establishment of our Holy Land, we officially ended the Ancient Beast Era and ushered in the Sky God Era.
“However, the Cycle of Fate is unstoppable. Humans were never meant to usurp the Ancient Beasts. Ancient Beasts themselves were the darlings of the Heavens. Their talents were unmatched, their constitutions were perfect… They were the overlords of all of existence.
“Humans were a wrinkle that even the Heavens couldn’t calculate. Where we were lacking, we used our intelligence to make up for it. When the wall we faced was too high, we would find another path. When our goals seemed impossible, we would rely on hope.
“These were matters that neither the Ancient Beasts nor the Heavens could comprehend. However, you must understand that the Ancient Beasts are fundamental to all of existence. Even if it takes several more Eras, they will reappear once more.”
Ryu didn’t buy this story even one bit. If Eska believed in humans so much, why did she have to revive? Shouldn’t her belief in humanity have led her to a different conclusion? Plus, even if he chose to believe that this was Eska’s purpose, could he really say the same for the other three? Still, Ryu had no power in this situation… He could only accept her words at face value.
Eska watched Ryu silently, trying to gain a read on his thoughts. In the end, she chose to continue.
“What I will be teaching you is my Magnus Opus. Had I chosen to enter the cycle of reincarnation, the Heavens would have recognized me as the Immortal Sakura Sky God!”
These words were thunder ringing in Ryu’s ears. Eska was a Sky God! Due to the fact she never entered the cycle of reincarnation, her Second Awakening Legacy was never passed on!
Ryu knew exactly what an Immortal Sakura was. All this time, he had been speaking to these four Ancestors in the ancient tongue of the Sky Gods. If translated to modern tongues, Immortal Sakura directly translates to Immortal Cherry Blossom. It was an ancient tree that went extinct long before Ryu was born.
“My [Immortal Sakura] is a Mental Realm technique. Unlike Body and Qi Realm Techniques, its grade doesn’t restrict what cultivation levels can use it. Instead, the levels of mastery within the technique itself are restricted by cultivation realm. Meaning, it can be used at all cultivation levels.
“I have never passed down my [Immortal Sakura], so it has no formal grade of its own. But, what I can tell you is that it is an ultimate defensive technique, second to none! At its highest realm, even the wind itself cannot touch you without first asking!”