"That's right!" Ancient Sage Yan Qing nodded in response. "When Kong shi first noticed the Kunxu Domain, it was nothing more than an ordinary passageway between the Master Teacher Continent and the Azure. The heavy energy that lingered in it wasn't too great then, but he swiftly realized that while humans would quickly lose their lives upon absorbing it, there was a chance that Otherworldly Demons could survive the assimilation of the energy and become tremendously stronger as a result of that. That was also how Vicious came about!

"In order to prevent mankind from being destroyed, Ancient Sage Zi Yuan willingly gave up his life to become the crux of the Floating Coffin Heaven Mending Formation that we have now!"

Nodding in realization, Zhang Xuan recalled another thing that he had noticed in the Kunxu Domain and asked, "What about the Greensprout Wheat and the superior constitution of the ordinary populace?"

Knowing what Zhang Xuan was asking, Ancient Sage Yan Qing replied, "After years of research, Kong shi found that the main reason why there was a chance for some Otherworldly Demons to survive the assimilation of the heavy energy was due to their superior innate constitution. This realization highlighted the importance of enhancing the average constitution of humans, but Kong shi knew very well that the enhancement of an entire race's constitution was bound to be a long battle. It's impossible to make significant advancement within a short period of time.

"One of the key factors that Kong shi identified that would effectively enhance the constitution of an entire race was their diet. As such, he entrusted Ancient Sage Zi Chi and his descendants with the responsibility of developing a crop that could achieve this effect. After many years of trial and error, they eventually successfully nurtured the Greensprout Wheat. This crop has the effect of continuously cleansing and enhancing one's constitution, and after tens of thousands of years of nourishment, there was indeed significant growth in the constitution of the Hundred Schools of Philosophers. Unfortunately, we are still a long way off from matching the constitution of the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe, and we are still unable to directly absorb the heavy energy!"

Zhang Xuan nodded in enlightenment. The doubts that he had harbored previously had all been cleared up.

It was no wonder the Hundred Schools of Philosophers had suddenly disappeared from the Master Teacher Continent. It turned out that they had devoted themselves to protecting the seal in the Kunxu Domain so as to prevent the mercury-like energy from leaking out.

At the same time, they viewed it as their mission to nurture stronger humans. Once those in the Kunxu Domain were able to adapt to the mercury-like energy, their strength would grow by leaps and bounds.

Their means might have been different from the Master Teacher Continent, but their ultimate goal was the same—the development of mankind!


Ancient Sage Yan Qing continued on. "The Kunxu Domain is a small world, and the resources that it contains are severely limited. Furthermore, with the strengthening of the average constitution of the general populace, the spiritual energy that we require is growing significantly too. As such, we have no choice but to limit the qualifications to cultivate to just a selected few. This is also why we have so many tests and trials in place. We can only afford to invest our resources in talents who have the potential to reach the top!"

While Ancient Sage Yan Qing mentioned that the Kunxu Domain was a small world, that was only in relative comparison with the Master Teacher Continent. Its scale comfortably exceeded that of any of the major empires on the Master Teacher Continent.

However, in order to nurture the Greensprout Wheat properly, the Kunxu Domain had to seal off its connection to the Master Teacher Continent. Thus, it carried the risk of its spiritual energy drying up should there be too many cultivators.

In a sense, the Kunxu Domain was similar to a greenhouse. No matter how huge the greenhouse was, it could not reach the same level of self-sufficiency as the external world to provide nourishment for any number of plants.

In Zhang Xuan's previous world, a scientist had once set up a massive greenhouse and placed countless plants, animals, and insects within it as an experiment. However, within less than a year, the entire habitat had completely collapsed.

Such was the case for Kunxu Domain. Unlike the Master Teacher Continent, it did not have the ability to fully regulate itself, and the nourishment required to bestow even ordinary humans with the strength of the Zongshi realm put a huge burden on it. So, it was inevitable that they had to limit the number of cultivators.

Otherwise, it was likely that the Kunxu Domain would first collapse before its people could adapt to the mercury-like spiritual energy from the Azure.

"I believe that you might have noticed it already, but this problem isn't just limited to the Kunxu Domain. The Master Teacher Continent is still safe for the time being, but it'll face the same threat in the future. As the number of cultivators increases, there'll eventually come a day when the spiritual energy dries up," Ancient Sage Yan Qing remarked.

Zhang Xuan nodded in response.

No matter how big or enriching an environment or habitat was, it would have a breaking point where everything started to unravel.

In a way, humans absorbing the spiritual energy from the environment was like fleas leaping on a cow. Even a thousand fleas might not mean much to the cow, but what if there were millions or even billions of them?

No matter how strong the cow was, it would eventually collapse under the burden and die!

In the face of this practical problem, the Hundred Schools of Philosophers had no choice but to limit the distribution of cultivation resources, granting only the most talented individuals the privilege to cultivate.

Perhaps, the Master Teacher Continent might find itself forced to make the same decision as well in the distant future.

"Since we're on the topic… is that why the Master Teacher Continent lost its ability to support the birth of newer Ancient Sages?" Zhang Xuan asked.

Be it the Master Teacher Continent or the Kunxu Domain, not a single Ancient Sage had been born from ten thousand years back to before the recent emergence of the Temple of Confucius. Could this possibly be the reason?

"Well, overpopulation does play a part in that, but it isn't the primary reason," Ancient Sage Yan Qing replied. "As you might know, the Aeon of Ancient Sage is the necessary catalyst for any cultivator to achieve a breakthrough to Ancient Sage. However, the Aeon of Ancient Sage is not something that naturally appears in the Master Teacher Continent nor the Kunxu Domain, or to be more exact, this entire world doesn't have the ability to create the Aeon of Ancient Sage… It is an energy that is unique to the Azure!

"The sealing of the heavy energy meant that the Aeon of Ancient Sage is unable to flow down to our world anymore. As such, with the birth of more and more Ancient Sages, it eventually came to a point where it dried out completely."

"You mean to say that the heavy spiritual energy contains the Aeon of Ancient Sage?" Zhang Xuan asked with raised eyebrows.

He had absorbed a sliver of it back when he was at the mountain range, but as soon as it entered his body, its weight had nearly crushed all of his meridians. This had forced him to seal all of his acupoints.

Yet, there was actually Aeon of Ancient Sage in it?

Perplexed, Zhang Xuan quietly absorbed a small bit of it.

The mercury-like energy felt as heavy as ever, but upon closer inspection, he did sense a hint of Aeon of Ancient Sage in it.

It was just a small amount, but as one absorbed more and more of it, it was only a matter of time before one overcame the Great Sage bottleneck and rose to become one of the top experts of the Master Teacher Continent!

But that was assuming one was able to assimilate this domineering energy.

Given how even he himself was unable to absorb it, he was not too hopeful for the other cultivators.

"There was no other choice. If we didn't seal the energy from the Azure, the Otherworldly Demons would only have grown stronger and stronger, eventually leading to the eradication of mankind. It was a decision our predecessors made after careful deliberation. It hasn't led to a good outcome, but it's the lesser of two evils," Ancient Sage Yan Qing explained bitterly.

Zhang Xuan also fell into deep contemplation.

There was no denying that the presence of more Ancient Sages was good news for mankind, but as long as they did not deal with the mercury-like energy, the greatest beneficiary would ultimately still be the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe. As long as the mercury-like energy existed on the Master Teacher Continent, it was only a matter of time before the scales were tipped in the favor of the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe.

Not to mention, there were deities from the Azure who could descend through the dimension barrier. The threat that they posed could not be underestimated either.

"Is it true that the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe are the descendants of the Gods, just like the legends depict them to be?" Zhang Xuan asked out of curiosity.

Was it really just a problem in the compatibility of their constitution that meant they were unable to absorb the mercury-like energy whereas the Otherworldly Demons were able to?

"I don't really know the exact answer, but there are written quotes from Kong shi that suggest that the Otherworldly Demonic Tribe are the descendants of an exiled God Tribe. He said that it's due to the scarce spiritual energy on the Master Teacher Continent that resulted in their severe weakening, and as long as they are supplied with pure spiritual energy, they will swiftly return to their former glory."

Speaking up to this point, Ancient Sage Yan Qing suddenly turned to the two caged youths and sighed deeply. "These two over there are perfect examples. They were ordinary Otherworldly Demons when they were first captured, but under the nourishment of the heavy spiritual energy from the Azure, they grew so much stronger within less than ten years. On top of that, their appearances have also become no different from those of ordinary humans."

Even the most talented human would have to cultivate for hundreds of years before reaching Sempiternal realm consummation. However, those Otherworldly Demons were actually able to reach such a height within a shorter period of time just by absorbing and assimilating the heavy spiritual energy.

It sure was frustrating!

"But if deities are able to pass through the dimension barrier to descend upon our world, we should also be able to ascend to the Azure through the same way, right?" Zhang Xuan asked as his heart leaped in agitation.

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