C2 – Mountain & Sea Space
Hence, Wang Ze was in for a tragedy.
Instead of confronting the punch directly, Chen Shaofeng skillfully dodged it. Using his full force, he swiftly counterattacked, aiming a punch at Wang Ze.
His blow connected with Wang Ze, making him wince in pain.
Before Wang Ze could even react, Chen Shaofeng had already retracted his fist and moved to a safer distance.
Anger! Incomparable rage!
Wang Ze was taken aback; he hadn’t expected to be assaulted by someone from the peak of the Qi Refining stage when he himself was an early-stage Nascent Soul martial artist. Though the hit wasn’t severely damaging, it was certainly more than he’d anticipated.
Immediately, a fierce energy emanated from Wang Ze. The power of his early Nascent Soul stage pressed heavily onto Chen Shaofeng, making him stagger and slowing his actions.
In his rage, Wang Ze unleashed his full might. He rapidly closed the distance between them and landed a powerful punch on Chen Shaofeng’s midsection. Boom!
Chen Shaofeng was thrust backward with force, crashing directly into the nearby stalls.
The sudden impact startled the stall owner, prompting him to swiftly move aside.
Yet, Wang Ze’s rage remained unsated. He approached Chen Shaofeng once more, seizing him and landing another punch, propelling him again into a different spot.
In a short span, Chen Shaofeng was bruised and battered, with blood constantly oozing from his mouth.
His saliva mingled with the pouring blood, presenting a pitiful sight.
“You fiend! Worm! How dare you strike me? Try that again if you dare.”
Wang Ze’s fury was palpable.
But once his temper subsided, he refrained from further assault. Observing the battered Chen Shaofeng, he felt a deep sense of satisfaction.
He realized that Chen Shaofeng, in his present state, was beneath his notice.
Any further attack would merely demean himself.
Besides, Chen Shaofeng was the Young Marquis of the Chi Yunhou’s mansion. Overstepping might draw unwanted ire from the Chi Yunhou, a situation even the Wang Family would prefer to avoid.
Thus, Wang Ze only cautioned Chen Shaofeng: “This was just a warning. Harass my sister again, and the consequences will be dire.”
The sheer audacity of Wang Ze’s remark incensed Chen Shaofeng immensely.
“Wang Ze! Regardless of being Wang Yan’s younger sibling, I won’t spare you. Someday, you’ll realize that I stand on a pedestal you’ll never reach.”
Wang Ze retorted with a smirk, “We shall see, though I doubt you’ll get the opportunity.”
With that, Wang Ze left.
Guided by the onlookers, Chen Shaofeng made his exit.
Instead of heading straight to the Marquis’s Mansion, he decided against it, considering his current state might evoke ridicule. He instead proceeded to his usual training spot behind the mountains and started his cultivation.
Wang Ze’s derision and attack intensified Chen Shaofeng’s cultivation drive, regardless of its significance.
To his surprise, this session felt unique. It seemed the cultivated Zhen Qi lingered a bit, even if just a trace, which uplifted his spirits.
In the days leading up to the engagement, Chen Shaofeng dedicated his nights to cultivating in this secluded mountain, steering clear of the Marquis’s Mansion.
After such relentless efforts, he felt invigorated with pure energy, having ascended to the Xiantian realm.
“At last, I’ve stepped into the initial phase of the True Initiation realm!” exclaimed Chen Shaofeng.
But as his exhilaration peaked, a languid voice echoed in his mind, “Why the fuss? Is reaching the ninth level of Body Refinement Cultivation such a big deal? Clearly, you’re a novice to the vast world.”
“Who? Who’s here?”
Chen Shaofeng was shocked, he looked around, but no matter how hard he tried to find the source of the sound, he couldn’t find it.
“There’s no need to look for it! I’m with you.” The lazy voice continued.
“On him?” Chen Shaofeng was immediately puzzled.
“Idiot! I am the picture you are carrying.” The voice said angrily.
It was only at this moment that Chen Shaofeng recalled having a painting with him, a gift from his mother during his childhood.
The artwork portrayed a scenic view titled the “Mountain and Sea Map,” showcasing nature’s vast mountains and rivers. However, it seemed like a rather common piece of art.
As the painting crossed his mind, he remembered its depiction. Concurrently, he observed that his current surroundings were altering, appearing unlike the mountain behind the Marquis’s Mansion.
The transformation occurred so swiftly that he barely had time to process it.
“Where am I?” Chen Shaofeng inquired, looking around with uncertainty.
“You are inside the Mountain and Sea Map, or what can be termed as the Mountain and Sea Space.”
It was then that he heard the voice again, and upon looking closely, noticed a diminutive figure glowing with a white radiance before him. The figure was approximately the height of a pre-teen.
“What exactly is the Mountain and Sea Space? And who are you? Why have I been brought here?” Chen Shaofeng fired off multiple questions at once.
“The Mountain and Sea Map you possess is far from a mere painting. It’s a Spatial Weapon, designed to aid warriors during their training.”
After a brief pause, the figure replied, “I am the Artifact Spirit of the Mountain and Sea Map. You may address me as Brother Hai.”
The Mountain and Sea Map’s spirit, now with a hint of weariness in its tone, continued, “Truly, you’ve been rather disappointing. I took nearly eight years to awaken, and during that time, your progress was minimal given the duration. What’s so remarkable about you, I wonder?”
Upon hearing this, Chen Shaofeng immediately exclaimed, “What did you just say? Are you implying that you’ve absorbed all the energy I’ve cultivated over the last eight years? Was it you who rendered me powerless all these years?”
His rage was palpable. Chen Shaofeng, unable to contain his anger, grabbed the luminous white entity, demanding, “Give me back my strength! Return what’s rightfully mine, you fiend!”
“Why such fury? Even if you’ve felt weak for eight years, it wasn’t without its gains. At the very least, your resilience has improved. That’s crucial for strength.”
“Furthermore, I took your strength for your benefit. Without my intervention, could you have accessed this Mountain and Sea Space? You’ve yet to realize the advantages of this space, which could help you evolve into a genuine master,” retorted the small white figure.
“Evolve into a master swiftly? How so?”
Though this Artifact Spirit had drained the essence of his cultivation from the past seven-plus years, he hadn’t yet breached the realm of truth.
Yet, if this meant he could swiftly rise to formidable power, enduring the mockery and disdain of the past years would have been worthwhile.
“The intensity of the spiritual essence within the Mountain and Sea Space is akin to a sanctified haven. A day of cultivation here equates to the progress of dozens, even hundreds of days outside. But, the truly unique attribute of this space is the time dilation,” elucidated the Artifact Spirit.
“Time dilation?” Chen Shaofeng queried with skepticism.
“The flow of time in the Mountain and Sea Space differs from the external world. A single day outside corresponds to a hundred days here.”
The Artifact Spirit relayed this as if discussing a mundane topic, her demeanor the epitome of tranquility.