Phoenix’s Requiem - Chapter 319
Chapter 319: The Alternate Dimension
“What? You’ll skin me alive after your instructor’s rescued?” The youth seemed to have heard a marvellous joke. “Dream on, you groundhog! All of you will die once my brother strikes!”
“Is everyone from this alternate dimension such a braggart?” Yun Ruoyan laughed at the youth. “Who was the one who was beaten to a pulp today?”
The youth snorted. “I’m only thirteen, and I’m already a peak seventh-rank blademaster. I’m naturally no match for that black-robed male, but my brother’s already a second-rank sword saint! That black robe’s at most a first-rank sword saint, and he’s trash compared to my brother. Do you know how large the difference between ranks is as a sword saint? It’s the difference between heaven and earth! If he fights my brother, that black robe has no chance of living.”
The youth’s words were arrogant, but Yun Ruoyan didn’t think he was boasting this time. After all, they still knew far too little of this alternate dimension. Those who had made the trip there and survived the ordeal, including the first elder and Yun Lan, seemed to find it necessary to keep their experiences a secret, but Yun Ruoyan didn’t understand why.
However, it might be possible to learn more about the place from this youth, Pi Yang, who didn’t seem to harbor the same reservations. As such, Yun Ruoyan let the youth continue speaking, peppering him with questions as he did so. The youth was rather irked after his capture, and boasting about his experiences was making him feel much better.
Based on the youth’s description, Yun Ruoyan found out that this supposed alternate dimension was just an extradimensional space composed of many smaller realms, each one a continent. The Chenyuan continent was one such realm, one of the myriad minute, low-grade ones that existed in this space, and its inhabitants were supposedly base and inferior. The youth belonged to the Mingyuan continent, a mid-grade realm. Allegedly, there was also a high-grade realm, the Jiyuan continent.
The reason cultivators from low-grade realms were called groundhogs was firstly because they were largely inferior to cultivators from high- and even mid-grade realms, and secondly because, upon entering the Mingyuan continent, they would be given an identification token with the logo of a groundhog.
Every year, there would be large quantities of cultivators from low-grade realms swarming to the Mingyuan continent, where they would be responsible for the most menial of tasks. On the Mingyuan continent, most such low-grade cultivators lived no better lives than dogs.
“Many groundhogs perish on the Mingyuan continent. Some manage to survive and gain the opportunity to return to their realm, but that’s extremely uncommon.”
The youth’s words left Yun Ruoyan mired in deep thought. She had thought at length about what this alternate dimension, this extradimensional space, would be like, but she had never expected that it would be like this.
To think that the Chenyuan continent was nothing compared to the larger realms of this extradimensional space, and that they were no better than groundhogs! The world was far more vast and complicated than she could imagine.
“What’s wrong with you? Struck dumb by your insignificance?” Pi Yang jeered. “I’m warning you, you’d better behave like slaves tomorrow in front of my brother, and he might even let you live. He’s especially fond of hunting you groundhogs, so if you can survive the hunt, then you’ll be able to stay in our hunting grounds and continue living out your miserable existences.”
“You’re the miserable existence!” Yun Ruoyan thumped the youth’s head with her palm, then turned to leave.
Yun Ruoyan returned to Li Mo’s side and told him all that she had managed to weasel out of the youth, then handed him the square amulet that allegedly kept him safe from the strange gales that plagued this realm.
Just like Yun Ruoyan, Li Mo was deeply disturbed by the nature of this extradimensional space.
“Has the first elder never mentioned these things to you?”
“He did, but only a very small part of it,” Li Mo replied. “Never in such a detailed fashion.”
“In that case, what about your mother? Hasn’t she told you anything?” Yun Ruoyan knew that she had come from another continent, but not which one.
“Mother came from the Jiyuan continent that you mentioned. As the holy maiden of the silver dragon clan, her movements were severely restricted, and she isn’t familiar with the Mingyuan continent. The Jiyuan continent is a high-grade realm, and Mother told me that there were few cultivators there. It wasn’t as interesting as these lower realms, which was why she had snuck down to the Chenyuan continent as soon as she found an opportunity.”
Yun Ruoyan leaned her head against Li Mo’s shoulder and closed her eyes. Most of the students had already gone to rest, and there were only a rare few that remained by the firepit to talk. Just as Li Mo thought that Yun Ruoyan had fallen asleep, she murmured, “Li Mo, I’m worried about tomorrow. If that Pi Batian is truly as strong as Pi Yang described, a second-rank sword saint, we won’t be a match for him.”
Li Mo rubbed Yun Ruoyan’s back. “Immediately use the teleportation scroll if you feel like you’re in danger.”
Li Mo held onto Yun Ruoyan with one hand, then began to investigate the square amulet that Yun Ruoyan had retrieved from Pi Yang with the other.
Yun Ruoyan had heard from the first elder and Empress Xue Tong that amulets and arrays were classified as advanced studies, largely the domain of a sword saint. Because sword saints were so rare on the Chenyuan continent, these studies were all but forgotten on it.
Based on the yellow square in his hands, Li Mo could tell that the two arts were likely quite prevalent in the extradimensional space. Instead of Yun Ruoyan’s professed worry, he greatly anticipated the duel tomorrow.
It had been far too long since he had managed to face off against a strong foe. A few days before he married Yun Ruoyan, he once again went to the cave in the Minghuang Mountains, where he defeated the elder of the silver dragon clan trapped there without any difficulty at all.
At that point, Li Mo hadn’t even been a sword saint! Now that he was one, he urgently wanted a strong opponent to test his mettle against, to expend all his skills and energy in pursuit of greater growth.
The next day, as Li Mo, Qin Feng, Yun Ruoyan, and Zhuo Yifeng returned to the portal to the alternate dimension with Pi Yang in tow, they did not find Pi Batian waiting for them. Four cultivators walked out from the portal, Lie Yun in front, followed by three massive hulks, likely bodyguards of some sort. Given their aura, they were all peak ninth-rank blademasters.
Lie Yun claimed that Pi Batian had gone to attend a very important martial arts competition, and he would only return after three days. She had already sent her men to investigate the whereabouts of the female instructor who had been taken as a slave and was then sold off.
The two parties agreed to meet back by the portal in three days to exchange hostages. Within these three days, Li Mo had to guarantee the safety of Pi Yang, and Lie Yun would promise not to send anyone into the Beast Spirit Valley.
Yun Ruoyan was very pleased by this development: they would be able to communicate with the first elder again within two days. If they were lucky, they would even be able to finish constructing the teleportation array to send the sixteen students back before the exchange of hostages.
On the other hand, Pi Yang was distraught by the news. The sixteen remaining students of the beastmaster institute hated him so deeply that, if not for Yun Ruoyan’s presence, he would long have been beaten to within an inch of his life.
When the students saw that Yun Ruoyan was defending the youth, they described to her the atrocities that he had committed over the years, such as how he’d allowed his hound to run rampant and corral the wild beast hordes through the home that they’d built with painstaking effort.
He had shot quite a few students with a bow, then taunted and mocked them even as they fought for their lives during one of his brother’s games. Yet as the students described crime after crime, the youth only snickered, without any inkling of remorse.
To him, the students in front of him were nothing more than groundhogs, no better than the beasts that he reared at home. Given Yun Ruoyan’s stern warning, however, the youth didn’t dare speak his thoughts aloud in fear of retribution.
He was grateful for Yun Ruoyan’s protection, but he didn’t realize that she had approached him with a particular motive in mind. From interacting with him over these past two days, Yun Ruoyan had managed to extract a significant amount of information about the Mingyuan continent, to which they would travel no more than six months later.
The Mingyuan continent boasted no kingdoms, but rather a few larger families that controlled the majority of the land. There were seven of them in all, the Pi, Lie, Wu, Feng, Zheng, Hua, and Chen families.
The youth Pi Yang was the second young master of the Pi family, and his father, Pi Yan, was its head. The realm that they had entered was one of the hunting grounds of the Pi family, one designed specially for the scions of the noble family such as him.
According to him, if the cultivators from the Chenyuan continent had accidentally trespassed and found themselves trapped in the realm, then they should be treated as prey and hunted to the last.
Yun Ruoyan didn’t react as intensely as the students regarding this point. She listened placidly, no emotion showing on her face. What the youth was describing was what she had already known and personally experienced: a weakling would be bullied in a world where strength was the only deterrent.
In both her past life and her present, Yun Ruoyan was intimately familiar with this creed. She didn’t want to be weak, so she had to strive to grow.
“You’re not like these groundhogs,” the youth said once.
“How can you tell?”
“It’s just a feeling, but you and that black robe don’t seem like low-grade cultivators.”
Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo respectively possessed the demonic dragon and silver dragon bloodlines, so it wasn’t strictly incorrect to claim that they didn’t belong to Chenyuan continent.
Despite Pi Yang’s bossy and domineering nature, and despite the fact that his cultivation wasn’t particularly advanced, his eyes were surprisingly astute. However, Yun Ruoyan had no intention of revealing her true identity to him. Instead, she thumped the youth’s head heavily. “You’re overthinking it.”