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Unworthy!

Unworthy!

Unworthy!

The voice was like an echoing pulse, constant and life-confirming. By the time it finished, Tian Xiaolu and Qingye Ying's Spirits of Cultivation were thrumming with spiritual light. The outline of their Astral Cores revealed itself in their dantians, responding to the voice intensely.

Thunderstruck, the two women stared at their abdomens in abject shock. Their Alchemic Souls were riled into such a hyperactive state that their foundations were being shown to the world.

Qingye Ying's Astral Core was two centimeters, an above-average size for a Gravity Emission Phase cultivator. The average size for this stage of cultivation was half a centimeter, so her foundation was stable and strong.

Qingye Ying discovered that her cultivation state was being shown, so she subconsciously looked toward Tian Xiaolu, and her eyes widened to their limits. "Thi-thirty-three!" She breathily exclaimed.

Tian Xiaolu's eyes glinted fiercely. She looked at Qingye Ying and saw her Astral Core. They could both see the other's foundation! Her eyes sharpened considerably. Her foundation was one of her greatest secrets; she was at the Astral Core Realm's Realm World Phase, so her Astral Core was fixed, focused more on her Domain Seed's size and growth.

While it wasn't impossible to expand one's Astral Core post-Realm World Phase, it required hundreds of times more resources to achieve similar effects. It was effectively rendered a pointless endeavor, time-consuming and costly. As such, for Tian Xiaolu's Astral Core to be thirty-three centimeters, one can imagine the absolutely terrifying levels of her foundation.

Tian Xiaolu was told by her master to ensure that no one learned of her foundation, especially not the cultivators of the Grand Cyclic Stellar Region. It would ensure her life wasn't filled with deadly troubles. While slightly cryptic, she trusted these words due to how solemn she was that day. A flash of killing intent flickered through her eyes as she clenched her fist.

Qingye Ying felt a sliver of fear course through her spine. She gulped violently. How could she not know how absurd that size of Astral Core was? Even Wei Wuyin's one-centimeter-sized Astral Core at the Sky Ruler Phase wasn't as exaggerated as this!

Her survival instincts flared, "I'll swear an oath of secrecy!" She shouted hurriedly, cold sweat on her forehead.

"..." Tian Xiaolu remained eerily silent, causing Qingye Ying to panic slightly. Tian Xiaolu's cultivation base was higher, and they were both Alchemic Soul cultivators. Unfortunately, with just World Pressure, Tian Xiaolu could crush her easily.

Tian Xiaolu suppressed her riled emotions, reminding herself that Qingye Ying was still needed and that it would be too dangerous to kill her in this location. If she did, she'd likely have to face the revenge of those who worshipped or sought the favor of the Myriad Transformations Alchemic Saint. Bringing her head on a spike should yield some reward. This was why cultivators avoided targeting those with powerful alchemists behind them.

Then, as if remembering his existence, they both directed their gazes towards Wei Wuyin, who kept his eyes covered by his hand this entire time. But that didn't matter because Wei Wuyin had a spiritual sense and ears. It was easy to deduce the contents of their conversation.

"What?" Qingye Ying realized that Wei Wuyin's Astral Cores weren't reacting the same way as they were. His abdomen had no radiant glow. "Only Alchemic Cores?" She directed her attention to the Pure Excellence Cauldron floating in the corner of the room.

This verified that Wei Wuyin didn't have an Alchemic Soul! Qingye Ying had her doubts earlier, but this made her realize that those thoughts were nonsensical.

"Or it only affects females," Tian Xiaolu added grimly. Still, she intended to make Wei Wuyin swear an oath of secrecy as well. This was especially so since they both came from the Sealed Regions. If word got out…

Qingye Ying realized that was possible too. They didn't know if it only affected Alchemic Cores or just females. "What do we do?" After Tian Xiaolu's killing intent subsided, she couldn't help but ask. The Pure Excellence Cauldron was their only chance at obtaining whatever the Myriad Transformations Alchemic Saint left behind. If they can't even touch it, then what can they do?

Tian Xiaolu frowned deeply, "That voice. Did you hear it too?"

"I did," Qingye Ying nodded after calming down. The voice was feminine, soft, and dignified. She couldn't help but picture it belonging to a princess of a Mortal Kingdom. There was a haughtiness within that was innate and inseparable.

"Unworthy!" The Pure Excellence Cauldron's voice resounded once again. The two women started. They looked at each other, deeply shocked by this development, and turned to the cauldron.

Qingye Ying meekly asked, "Master?"

"Master? As if I would accept trash like you. Pathetic." The voice was extremely harsh. The expression of the golden-eyed elf contorted slightly. As if rubbing salt on the wound, "Inferior Bloodline. Abomination! Worthless."

"...!" Qingye Ying's eyes erupted in anger, her fist clenched tightly and her teeth gritted with the will to commit violence. She lunged at the Pure Excellence Cauldron, trying to snatch it and suppress it. While she was only an Alchemic Soul cultivator, she still had tremendous physical strength far beyond mortals. Unfortunately, the cauldron spatially shifted away, appearing at the furthest distance between Tian Xiaolu and Qingye Ying.

"How?" Tian Xiaolu couldn't help but shout in confusion. It was an extremely well-known fact that spatial arts and abilities were restricted in the World Between the Fold, a deliberate design against those who wished to swiftly destroy the nodes within. The only exception was spatial arts and formations executed with Void Energy, a rare form of power source that transcended time and space energies.

"Ignorant little girl. To think you thought I'd submit to you," the Pure Excellence Cauldron snorted disdainfully. Its attitude was extremely arrogant, giving no face to anyone. Shockingly though, it added: "Your Alchemic Core is extremely refined though; barely acceptable. Too bad it's sharing space by force with others."

"!!!" Tian Xiaolu's eyes widened as her heart began to beat wildly. Her aura began to surge, and it seemed that she might make a move should the cauldron continue speaking.

But the cauldron paid her little display of preemptive tantrum no mind, "The Alchemic Dao facilitates, but-"

Woosh!

Tian Xiaolu attacked with a rushing wave of ambient mana, exerting her World Pressure!

Boom!

The wave smashed against the wall, but the cauldron was unharmed and unmoved. "-you should be wary of eventual rejection. While most Daos come from the same source, the Alchemic Dao can be considered a Dao outside Heaven's Will. Tread the paths of many with caution." To others, these words might not bear much meaning, but Tian Xiaolu's entire aura ceased its rage and settled into a serenity.

She bowed slightly, cusping her hand, and said sincerely: "Thank you, Senior."

"Hmph! Don't think I said this to help you; the struggles you'll face will be hellish. Moreover, if you don't find someone to fight against the heavens with you, you'll later experience a horrific soul-death." The cauldron didn't conceal its contempt, but it then added: "Well, you should be able to solve these issues if you bring your Alchemic Dao to the appropriate level. If you really want a warning, hear this: Don't ascend without the Mark of the Mystic Dao."

"As for you," the cauldron spun slightly and 'looked' at Qingye Ying, "your bloodline makes you unsuitable for obtaining this legacy despite bearing the mark. It's nearly impossible for you to ascend without major alterations made by the Alchemic Dao. Yet only those who've grasped the Mystic Dao to the pinnacle of the initial stage, those referred to as Heavenly Saint Alchemists, will be able to rectify your innate issues bestowed by the heavens."

"..." Qingye Ying's heart quivered violently. She had learned that the elven race was considered one of the four 'inferior' races in the World Beyond the Fold, treated as slaves and lesser existences due to their inability to ascend to the Mystic Ascendant Realm. But to solve this issue, a Heavenly Saint Alchemist was needed?!

Tian Xiaolu lifted herself from her bow, giving Qingye Ying a look. The cauldron seems to know a lot about the world. What was it? Could it be a strand of the Myriad Transformations Alchemic Saint's will?

"Is there no other way?" Qingye Ying struggled to ask through clenched teeth.

"There certainly are, and there are always exceptions, but I'm unaware of them." The cauldron openly admitted without the slightest embarrassment.

Qingye Ying's eyes brightened, "In my homeland, there was a cultivator named the Sacred Elven Queen that ascended successfully, and there was only a single Mortal Sovereign Alchemist born throughout that era."

"Oh?" The cauldron's interest was piqued. "Where is she now?" As if finding an interesting subject to study, the cauldron asked.

"...I-I don't know." Qingye Ying said hesitatingly. She didn't know about the history of the Sealed Regions due to arriving here directly from the Everlore Starfield, so her knowledge was missing portions of the King of Everlore's arrival in the Grand Cyclic Stellar Region and his subsequent departure.

"Oh. How long ago was this?"

"...seven thousand years or so ago…" Qingye Ying knew what the cauldron was getting at. What proof did she have if she never met the Sacred Elven Queen? The records during that period weren't very reliable.

"Ah." The cauldron's interest went flat. The Elven Race has existed within the World Beyond the Fold for a long, long time, and yet not a single ascended elf was born. This was a fundamental issue that wasn't easily solved. Some Heavenly Saint Alchemists throughout the generations had tried and failed to solve these issues, but they were the only ones with the qualifications to even tackle the problem.

"You bear her mark, so you can obtain the legacy, but your soul and bloodline will interfere; she never intended for an elf to obtain it. You will experience a collapse from the transmission and die—horrifically at that." The cauldron finally explained why it refused to give the legacy! If Wei Wuyin heard this, he would realize that the Heavenly Daos intended to force unity between the two women! They would rely on each other to advance in the Alchemic Dao, benefiting them both.

"What?!" Qingye Ying was thoroughly shaken. She had the mark but couldn't receive the legacy safely? With urgency, she asked: "What can I do then?"

"Hm?" The cauldron 'spun' towards Tian Xiaolu a little. "She's excellent for a Yin-Pairing Bond; both of you are virgins and mortals. But there's also another way."

"There is?" While the cauldron belonged to Tian Xiaolu for now, this didn't mean she had to share it. Why share if there was another option where she could monopolize the legacy in the future? She would only give it to Wei Wuyin through word-of-mouth exchanges.

"Yin-Pairing Bond?" As for Tian Xiaolu, she took notice of this more than anything else.. She had never heard of this type of oath before, but she knew that it wasn't anything ordinary.

"Right, little elf, as long as you reach the Soul of Mysticism Phase, that'll allow you to receive the legacy." The cauldron said with a hint of mockery, causing Qingye Ying to grow crestfallen. "Yin-Pairing Bond is simple: you'll interconnect your Primal Yins and be able to share the legacy. But if you do so, you'll also have to find the same male partner in the future. If you don't, you'll die soon after. That or just remain unmated your entire lives. Moreover, should one of you die, the Primal Yin of the other will collapse, leading to all sorts of issues."

"..." The two girls exchanged gazes. Were these their only options?

Suddenly, the cauldron spun to 'look' at Wei Wuyin. The two women also followed along subconsciously. Wei Wuyin was oddly silent, and they couldn't help but wonder what the cauldron was thinking. What will it tell Wei Wuyin?

WOOSH!

Without warning, the cauldron vanished. It arrived before Wei Wuyin, directly at his eye level and only a meter away. It spun and released a faint thrumming sound.

"Young hero, do you wish to be my Master?" The cauldron's voice resounded seriously; its voice was submissive and soft. There was none of that haughtiness to be found!

"WHAT?!"