Paragon of Sin

Chapter 401: A Fool In A Well

”Myriad Dao Palace… ” Wei Wuyin felt a surge of curiosity and uncertainty within his heart as he stared at the distant palace. Just as he remembered, the palace gave off an ancient aura and was dilapidated, yet was grandly built and majestic as if it existed for a great ruler. 

”What are these palaces? ” Wei Wuyin knew that this palace and the two he had discovered were not the same. When he first entered the Myriad War Dao Palace, he had received one of his first Karmic Luck Value deductions, and it was the smallest one. He recalled the distinct feeling that he should offer assistance to a young boy that seemed to be on the run, chased by criminals for reasons unknown.

He had used his acute senses and higher cultivation base to discreetly follow the young man and found a spatial gateway in the form of an old doorway. The boy, however, was nowhere to be found. He interacted with it and was brought away to a location incredibly similar to his current situation. There was barely any difference.

He had piggybacked on that young man ’s karmic fortune and obtained two key fortunes himself—Saber Intent and Nascent Saber Soul, aka Element. When he recalled that incident, he remembered that the young man was actually someone he hadn ’t expected.

It was Lin Ming.

He started to slowly ruminate and pondered over the experience. When he first entered the Myriad Dao War Palace, he learned of the existence beyond the ninety-nine steps known as ’the Forge ’. When he learned his Saber Intent, awarded the Nascent Saber Soul, the autonomous lifeform that seemed like a ghost had declared his talent and his lack of further tempering needs. 

He was unable to venture back into the gateway again. He later traveled with Su Mei, roughly eleven years later, and discovered another gateway that was more well-known. But when he tried to enter, he was rejected and Su Mei freely entered. She had obtained her Darklight Cultivation Method within.

There were a few other events that happened during that time, such as finding Anu, but that was unrelated to the Palace ’s existence. Shockingly, when Su Mei had ventured within and saw a similar scene, met a similar lifeform, the name had changed to the Myriad Creation Dao Palace. It seemed that, if the name wasn ’t arbitrarily changed per person, these two were different palaces.

It was likely the pagoda in Golden Milk City was destroyed, leaving only his entrance as a gateway. An old version and a newer version, with the new version restricting those who ’ve previously entered the older version? He couldn ’t help but become a little lost in his thoughts.

”What ’s this Selected Candidate? What Trial of Chosen? ” He muttered as he recalled the voice he had heard before being sent here. This entire situation seemed suspect. Who built the Myriad Dao Palaces? For what purpose? And what was this unique realm ’s purpose? A trial? To select a ’Chosen ’? Or was each individual that entered the trial a ’Chosen ’? 

Scratching his head, he decided to ask the autonomous lifeform some questions. Deciding thus, he started to walk towards the ancient palace and saw the familiar ninety-nine steps that lead to its ancient doors. He wasn ’t sure if the door led to the so-called Forge.

As he stepped near, he was once again accompanied by the familiar blurring of his vision, causing him to evoke his Celestial Eyes, capable of perceiving far more than before. He saw faint rays of grey light exit from the slight openings of the ancient doors and start to take shape beside him. From the twisting and moulding of these rays of light, an old man formed.

He was short, bald, had an aged appearance with a bright smile that seemed to welcome all things in the world. But unlike before, this old man was grey-colored, not blue. It floated off the ground with ease, seemingly lacking any form of mass. 

Wei Wuyin frowned slightly. His Celestial Eyes could see through many things, but that depended on his own cultivation base and relative strength. This old man, to his gaze, was composed of mana. This mana was extremely dense, visible, and refined in a way he ’d never thought possible. 

It even had a mental energy signature, indicating it was alive with sentient thought. Furthermore, this mental energy signature was fluctuating indicating a form of free-flowing thoughts usually seen in creatures who were observing and conceiving new opinions on others. It was an expression of creativity and independent thought.

When the old man saw him, it kept smiling like before, speaking: ”Chosen Candidate, welcome. This is the Myriad Element Dao Palace, if you wish to validate your status as a Chosen Candidate, you must select your Core Element Dao. ” The old man spoke, bringing Wei Wuyin nostalgia.

When he first arrived at the steps of the Myriad War Dao Palace, he was asked to select his Dao to ascend the steps. He hadn ’t understood what ’Dao ’ meant, and the old man explained them.

The three Daos were Weapon, Material, and Mind. The Weapon Dao encompasses all forms of war; The Material Dao encompasses all things born from Celestial Bodies; the Mind Dao encompasses all things of enlightenment. At the time, he realized that this was too narrow, and thus the Material Dao and Ethereal Dao were far broader, more accurate.

The Material Dao, from his understanding, was everything born naturally within the world, given material substance. The Ethereal Dao, from his understanding, was everything conceived by lifeform ’s creativity or intent. It encompassed emotions, weapons of war, and desire. 

The sword wasn ’t born from the world, but born from the intent of lifeforms to kill, to defend, to grow stronger. The will to battle or slaughter wasn ’t formed naturally, but by an innate intent for conflict and struggle, either due to one ’s pleasure or innate desire for strength. 

The Mind Dao wasn ’t just regarding enlightenment, but the concept of sentient thought and consciousness, memories, and beliefs. It was far too broad of a subject to delve in effectively. He still didn ’t understand the principles of the Eden Dao, merely that it has the ability to interact with mental energies and sources, such as the Sea of Consciousness and Mind ’s Eye.

He experienced a momentary shock. ”Could the Myriad War Dao Palace had been demolished and replaced because it was obsolete? ” As this thought entered his mind, he felt there was a high likelihood of this being the truth, and it was later replaced by the Myriad Creation Dao Palace.

Wei Wuyin looked at the old man, who seemed to merely be patiently waiting for his selection. Smiling, he asked: ”Are you going to pretend to be an autonomous lifeform or reveal yourself as a living creature with independent thought? ” 

When he said this, the old man seemed entirely unaffected. Unfortunately for him, Wei Wuyin could ’see ’ the mental fluctuations reveal similarities to ’shock ’. 

Wei Wuyin continued, ”What is this place? What ’s the connection between the Myriad War Dao Palace and Myriad Creation Dao Palace? ” When these questions was asked, the old man continued to remain unaffected, but its blaring mental energy surges betrayed its current thoughts.

”Do you remember me or are you and the others independent? ” He kept rapidfire shooting off questions, using his Celestial Eyes to glean into its emotional state. Just as he was about to ask further questions, he felt his body tremble.

An eruption of spatial forces occurred nearby, causing him to turn his head behind him to the pillar. When he inspected it with his normal eyes, he saw nothing, but when he focused his Celestial Eyes to its maximum, he saw a male figure shrouded in mist arrive at the pillar. Similarly, they were blinded for a while.

’Lin Ming? ’ He instantly recognized this figure ’s form, realizing it was Lin Ming, the Blessed that had fought Zuhei until they were both grievously injured. The old man ’s mental energy fluctuations started to wildly flare up, causing Wei Wuyin to return to see it.

The old man kept his normal smile, but Wei Wuyin felt extreme shock from it. ”I ’m not the only Candidate? ” Wei Wuyin asked, but when he did, something unexpected happened!

The perpetually congenial smile on the old man ’s face was wiped clean, revealing widened eyes and a wide-open mouth. Its expression was absolutely vivid. 

”Can you see the other Candidate? ” It asked, breaking away from its familiar monotone voice to reveal emotion and a free-flowing cadence. 

Wei Wuyin nodded. ”Not only can I see, but I also know who he is. Lin Ming, member of the Elemental Heaven Pavilion, and Successor of Divine King Han Xei ’s legacy. ” His words were deliberate, especially the last portion as he focused his silver gaze onto the old man ’s reactions.

And as he expected, the old man was startled into horror. ”Wait! You ’re not his Successor as well? You should have a token of Elementus, one of nine. Do you not? ” It asked, seemingly uncertain about the circumstances.

Lin Ming soon started moving, arriving at the steps of the palace, only a few feet away from him, but entirely unaware of Wei Wuyin. Furthermore, he observed rays of light surge out from the palace doors once more and arrived to greet Lin Ming. It formed the silhouette of an old man too.

Wei Wuyin could only glimpse into it as if he was looking at frosted glass even with his Celestial Eyes.

Realizing this, Wei Wuyin answered: ”I ’ve cultivated the Divine Element Form Method, but I do not have a token of Elementus nor have I received any legacy of the Divine King Han Xei outside of what was publicly available to most in my starfield. ” 

The Divine Element Form Method was the Qi Cultivation Method the Divine King Han Xei had left behind to the world after reportedly being unable to find a successor who could cultivate five high-level Advanced Elemental Essences and merge them into Elemental Origin Energy. 

He had accomplished this, but that was purely based on his own efforts and will, without an ounce of support from Divine King Han Xei.

But from the reaction of this old man, his initial assumption might be true: The Divine King Han Xei was linked to this realm. But from the mention of these Tokens of Elementus, it reminded him of the Knights of Elementus that Wu Yu mentioned as subordinates of the Divine King.

”… ” The old man went silent. Its greyed eyes seemed to grow dazed as Lin Ming proceeded to choose a Core Element Dao and walked up the stairs, likely facing whatever trial to validate his qualifications as a Selected Candidate. 

Then, the old man asked a question with extreme solemnity. ”If you don ’t have a Token of Elementus, how did you cultivate Elemental Origin Intent? ” This question was spoken with a tone several notches lower than before, causing a sense of oppression to rise in the air.

Wei Wuyin, however, was entirely unbothered by such elementary interrogation tactics. ”I cultivated it myself, ” his answer was direct and simple.


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