Paragon of Sin

Chapter 445: Boundless Essence Mist

The sky dimmed above True Desolate, seemingly alluding to the coming of night. Lanterns hung on the doors of various buildings lit with a golden flame, bringing forth a warm light. This light illuminated True Desolate, giving it a holy and majestic vibe. 

A faint radiance of white light emitted from the steps, lighting up all 158 steps that led to the grand temple at the peak of the mountain. The crowd started to gather, but stayed roughly 158 feet away from those stairs. They circulated the temple ’s mountain, becoming a sea of bobbing heads and moving bodies. There was no cultivator who flew, all standing within the crowd as if they were mortals.

There was faint chanting coming from certain areas, likely prayers from devout believers of deities within the continent. 

Wei Wuyin stood amongst the sea-like crowd, noticing this rapid change as the temple ’s mountain became the center of everyone ’s attention. The descent of darkness wasn ’t due to the solar star above dimming, but a formation that eclipsed the light, allowing night to fall. Since Wei Wuyin arrived here, there was no night.

The solar star above was in a perpetual state of unchanging, always in the same location, always emitting light at the same intensity. Seeing the awed expressions and vividly genuine exclamations of children experiencing night for the first time, Wei Wuyin couldn ’t help but warmly smile. The discovery of the mysterious unknown was always fascinating, even more so when it was observed on those innocent faces. 

The chanting became louder as the white radiance of the mountain increased. It was as if the light was blessing everyone, feeling warm and gentle caresses on the skin. There was a swaying of shoulders, of bodies, of heads, as the inhabitants of the city started to chant. The language they uttered wasn ’t something he was familiar with, not elven or common.

He learned the lyrics, following along to see if it ’ll produce any effect, yet nothing happened. After a while, he noticed the temple ’s mountain radiance settled. Dozens of silhouette-like figures garbed in hooded robes were standing at the top of the staircase, looking down at the sea of people. 

Wei Wuyin looked and noted that these people were all unfathomable, likely the so-called Grand Kings of the human race and Clan Masters of the Nine Great Elven Clans. They were invited to oversee the ceremony, but there were clearly more than nineteen. The rest must be priests or other individuals of high strength.

To think this city could act as a bridge between races. He didn ’t feel an ounce of hostility from anyone, not even towards the others. 

A figure amongst the hooded silhouettes stepped forward, reaching the edge of the stairs, easily attracting everyone ’s attention. There were some who prayed with some extra words, asking for more blessings. He could see many praying with their eyes closed, mouths silently moving, as if wishing for something. This was soon followed by everyone present.

The figure was revealed to be a woman. 

Woosh!

With a flick of her hands, she removed her hood and revealed a pair of eyes that seemed to glean no light, being immersed in everlasting darkness. She was blind, but beautiful. Her silvery white hair shone amongst the white radiance, giving her a holy appearance. With her long, braided ponytail-styled hair tied by a tiara of sorts, she gave off a feeling of importance.

”Children of True Desolate! Praise Desi, our Divine Lord! ” She shouted, reaching all the way to the edge of the city. 

”PRAISE DESI, OUR DIVINE LORD! ” Her words evoked an explosive response as the inhabitants spoke in practiced unison, as if overtaken by some strange power. 

”Today is the day of the Holy Ceremony, and our Divine Lord will seek out the Chosen One! ” She announced, eliciting a series of excited cries and pious chants. She calmed the crowd with a wave, silencing everyone. Her control of the crowd with her mere presence was exceptional.

”For those who think they are worthy, to those who seek the Blessing of our Divine Lord, Desi! Please, step forward and climb the Stairs of Ascension! Climb the 158 steps, reach here, and you ’ll gain the qualifications to become a Son or Daughter of our Divine Lord! ” Her words caused the crowd to simmer with palpable excitement, many whispers and discussions happening. Millions of people here were waiting for the candidates to show themselves.

”It ’s time, ” Wei Wuyin faintly smiled. He blurred, arriving at the no-entry zone of 158 feet from the temple. He walked in, low gasps of shock and interest resounding behind him. Wei Wuyin had no intention of keeping a low-profile, completely taking the first step.

When he stepped out, entering that zone, the others followed instantly, unwilling to be outdone. Their nervousness suppressed, they stepped into the zone as well. There were ten blurs!

With Wei Wuyin included, there were a total of eleven candidates! 

The crowd nearby went absolutely wild, while those afar were observing events via some formation screen, seeing the candidates arrive in their multiracial glory. After all, the stairs were only from one direction. There were projections to ensure no one missed a thing. 

The fervent exclamations of the spectators continued. 

Wei Wuyin glanced around, noting the various candidates, but not going into too much detail. Only Ai Juling and the mysterious outsider young woman were given any sort of importance in his mind. He did notice that each of them were young, their auras robust and stable, but their cultivation levels were not the same. There was even a candidate at the World Sea Phase, the First Stage of the Astral Core Realm. 

He wasn ’t that young, however.

The blind woman waved her hand, once more calming the crowd, and she swept her sightless eyes across the candidates. ”All candidates must climb the 158 steps of Demi-Mortal Ascension! Prove thy worth before the eyes of Desi, our Divine Lord! ” 

The candidates all stared at the 158 steps. They were large, like steps meant for giants. They led to the top of the mountain, reaching those unfathomable silhouettes. 

The young woman glanced at Wei Wuyin, then pouted her lips slightly. With a movement of her long legs, she arrived at the first stair step with grace. When she stepped onto it, the step glowed, revealing various runic markings and multicolored light. 

The multicolored light was like a torrent of raw power, containing all nine elemental forces. If one didn ’t have Elemental Origin Intent, they would be bashed by the raw, uncontrolled power, likely dying on the spot.

The young woman ’s fingertips glowed a faint white light that reflected images of various variations and permutations. The nine-colored flood of light was tamed with ease, and she leapt to the second step. Another flood of nine-colored light, stronger than the last, erupted. However, this time, there was Desolate Power within it.

The young woman remained absolutely calm, twirling her fingers like a puppeteer. Her movements were not overt, but contained an exquisite beauty to it that enthralled the mind, making one unable to look away. She wasn ’t a beauty by any means, being just slightly pretty, but now she had a distinctive beauty that was hard to resist.

Wei Wuyin observed her actions. He was quite intrigued, realizing her real appearance was hidden by a power that even his current level of Celestial Eyes couldn ’t see through. Likely, it exceeded the Mortal Limits. For an ordinary woman to have such a high cultivation, to have such a powerful background, it was highly unlikely her looks were that simple.

If there ’s one thing he learned from his lifetime, appearance was attributed greatly to wealth and strength. But natural looks amplified these benefits. He was the best example of that. Even before he entered the cultivation world, others often referred to him as an Immortal ’s Descendant, a compliment based on the mystifying and grand looks of fabled immortals. Now? The gazes he received from all genders and races told the truth.

After the young woman handled the desolate power and elemental flood with ease, she took a third step. Wei Wuyin no longer allowed his imagination to run, shooting onto the first step. The flood of elemental power was compressed into a crystal by him, kept in his palm, as he leapt to the next step.

He soon caught up to the young woman after reaching the 16th step. The surge of power was greater, and it seemed the staircase was inspecting his age via lifeforce, exerting a pressure as well. 

The young woman softly snorted, shooting off even faster. Wei Wuyin wryly smiled, following along with ease. It seems the old man was right, she was quite fierce. By the time they reached the 50th step, only a few minutes had passed.

But the other nine candidates were struggling, even Ai Juling was fighting fiercely on the 33rd step. The flood of raw elemental energies, the flow of desolate power, and the age-determining pressure was pushing them to their limits.

It seemed a person ’s age determined the amount of force they ’d feel with each step increasing it. Wei Wuyin wasn ’t even fifty yet, so with his strong body, this pressure was utterly insignificant. Even an ordinary World Sea Phase could handle it.

The various elemental energies and desolate power was even easier to handle. 

The disparity was becoming so large that the crowd was silent from shock, disbelief, and confusion. Two figures that had no reputation whatsoever were pushing their way through the staircase with utter ease while the renowned, expected contestants, even the dark horse that seemed to eclipse the others unexpectedly, fiercely struggled.

Furthermore, one was exceedingly handsome and the other was downright ordinary with a strange, beguiling charm.

The moment the two reached the 100th step, the others, especially the dark horse in the form of a handsome young man dressed in grey and white, were still struggling on the 50th step and below. Ai Juling ’s white eyes were overflowing with Elemental Origin Intent, just stepping onto the 41st step at this moment.

The crowd was shocked!

Wasn ’t this too great a difference?!

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