1 The seed of new hope

The face of Bao Zhi was contorted as he sat in his pavilion overlooking the vast greenery under it. He had a pale face, his body malnourished and sickly. His fingers clenched into a tight fist.

A soft sigh was heard as he stood up to face the outside scenery, putting his hands behind him, with a slight tremble in them.

"It has already come to this, I have exhausted all my methods and connections in trying to resolve this injury. All I can do is delay the inevitable."

"Husband, you have to preserve your strength! There is still hope. Why not ask Wen clan for help, they surely have some of their findings as well."

Said Wen Ming in a sobbing tone, a stream of tears flowing down her white skin.

"My beloved, you already know the situation. Our Bao clan and Wen clan have a close relationship. We suffered the same fate against Ming You. Now with a strict alliance agreement binding us together on top of it, if they had a way, I would already have used it by now."

"The methods of Ming You are truly profound, its weakness is unknown. Ordinary methods have no effect on his attacks. Truly a genius of this era." Continued Bao Zhi.

He had to admit, he was not the match for this junior who was the direct cause of their sudden downfall.

Just the mention of Ming You triggered intense emotions in Wen Ming's heart. The sorrow of losing her relatives, the helplessness, the bottled-up anger, she couldn't suppress them as she flared up:

"That demon Ming You!!! How can he be so unreasonable? We even tried to appease him... He wantonly attacks and plunders our righteous path. The other clans are useless! Covering in fear, publicly condemning him, while only giving excuses when we ask for assistance. Where is Heavenly Court at a time like this to uphold righteousness?"

Bao Zhi had a solemn expression as he replied.

"What's done is already in the past. We should be looking ahead and making our future plans. We need to make the most of the situation at hand and place our hopes on the future."

"I decided to leave behind this grotto heaven as the new foundation of the clan. Wen clan has a similar intention, we will cooperate to restore our glory."

At this moment Bao Zhi turned around facing his wife with a light smile.

"Go, gather the remaining immortals. I'm handing down my inheritance."

* * * * *

Ancestral Grotto.

Leaves danced in the gusts of wind, through branches and bushes. A leaf landed next to an inconspicuous clearing within a dense forest. This was a remote location inside the grotto heaven, situated far from resource points and out of travels way.

A formation was operating silently in the middle. Hidden from the outside, the formation space had a single tree inside.

The tree was not big, only taller than a small shack. The tree's bark had the color of white ash, the branches short and claw-like, they twisted in many directions. Oddly, the tree did not have a single leaf, be it winter or summer. Only one fruit was growing on it.

It was an unusual sight for a plant. If someone saw it, they might find a close resemblance to an ancient desolate plant, the Thousand Wish tree. This tree was not a desolate plant though, it was formed from the killer move Thousand Wish Perpetual Refinement.

Suddenly the fruit started falling, it landed on the ground with a soft thud, rolling a distance of two steps from the plant.

A will in the formation was paying close attention to the events, holding great anticipation.

"Soon the last step of refinement is completed. I need to be really mindful of any potential disturbances."

This was the will of Bao Zhi, he was controlling this formation, it was left behind by his main body many generations ago, before his inevitable death.

Looking at the fruit on the ground, it did not stay still for long under the effect of the formation, soon it started shining in golden-green lights, faintly at first. The aura surrounding it fluctuated between mortal and immortal.

Then the flesh of the fruit started rotting! The lights intensified in strength until only the single seed from the center was left in a halo of colors. The shining seed slowly sunk into the ground...


Bao Zhi was focusing on the formation now, suppressing this tremor to the minimum. Thanks to his efforts, outside the formation not even a leaf were shaken, completely silenced.

The final stage of this refinement commenced. The tree had shrunk in the meanwhile, it seemed as if time was reversed, the tree disappeared into the ground like it was never there, returning every bit of its essence to the ground.

"This will be the last cycle."

A new tree started growing from the seed in the ground, by the looks of it identical to the previous one. There was only a minuscule difference between the two, imperceptible to the naked eye or common methods. But with his great grandmaster wood path attainment, Bao Zhi could detect these fine details regarding wood path dao marks. He nodded in satisfaction observing the changes meticulously over and over.

The tree finished growing to its previous size, on one of its branches a new fruit was nurtured.

* * * * *

Ancestral Grotto, Great Root Manor

Great Root Manor was located at the center of Ancestral Grotto. There stood a huge azure crown oak tree. It reached above the clouds. From top to bottom, this tree filled the grotto heaven. It was so humongous, that one could not fit the whole tree in his vision. Only the available space could restrict this rare tree!

The azure crown oak tree's leaves were pale, seemingly translucent. But in reality, the tree tried to imitate the color of the sky. When one planted it in the five regions, it had black leaves at night and white leaves during the daytime. It originated from Azure Heaven. It truly was a treasure, an extinct species now, even if there was no practical use for it, it was part of the ecosystem in the grotto, sustaining uncountable lifeforms.

At his moment a single immortal arrived at Great Root Manor.

"Reporting to Grotto Lord, the preparations are complete. The elders have taken their positions, the defense formation is ready for activation."

Said Bao Xu Lian as he cupped his fists with a bow.

"Good, good. Stay in the formation, father will take care of the tribulation."

Came the reply from Bao Lang Chao, the current supreme elder of Bao clan.

"But I-"

Seemingly sensing his thoughts, Bao Lang Chao interrupted:

"Calm your heart, son! I know you are eager to contribute to the clan, but everything has its time and place. You are only at rank six, your strength is insufficient in the face of heaven and earth's might. You would perish without an intact corpse!"

"Yes, father- I meant- This unfilial son thanks Grotto Lord!"

"Good. Go now. You already contributed enough."

Bao Xu Lian cupped his fists in respect before leaving.

"Sigh... The might of heaven and earth."

Bao Lang Chao carefully hid it, but he was deeply troubled. It was a myriad tribulation he had to face!!! Just what was a myriad tribulation? Earthly calamity, heavenly tribulation, grand tribulation... myriad tribulation!

Even rank eight immortals were fearful of myriad tribulations. Like a silent guillotine, hanging above their heads, striking down every hundred years taking the lives of many strong experts in the long history of gu cultivation.

Luckily this was not a tribulation targeting Bao Lang Chao's immortal aperture, or his death would be certain, without a doubt. A rank seven couldn't hold a candle to such powers. He had the support of the clan, but more importantly, the formation they relied on time and time again to pass the calamities and tribulations: rank eight Flying Leaf Coiling Vine Formation.

* * * * *

"Let's begin."

Under the manipulation of Bao Zhi, the final fruit floated in the air. Slowly bobbing up and down with a steady rhythm. The halo around the fruit intensified to the highest degree so far, this was the unquestionable aura of an Immortal Gu.

Bao Zhi's will entered the Gu at this moment. Taking control of the gu worm he started activating it.

Immortal Gu - Verdant Heart Seed!

The fruit flesh around the seed disappeared into the Immortal Gu inside, like a ravenous beast devouring its prey after starvation.

Small tendrils started growing out from the center of the gu worm. Thicker and thicker, they continued to grow. Then the myriad tendrils started fusing with the neighboring ones, the overall shape resembling a small fetus.

A throbbing sound!

The heart started to beat rapidly. The human body was taking shape over time.

Outside the refinement formation, an intense battle was ongoing. The contesting forces were the immortals defending their homeland, against the merciless onslaught of the myriad tribulation.

"The timing is impeccable. With the ongoing tribulation, my revival will go unnoticed. This is the perfect storm for me. Good descendants, go and face this last tribulation for grandpa Zhi."

Tribulation clouds started gathering above. Heaven and earth were enraged. Revival went against the path of humans decreed by Fate. It could not be tolerated!

The dark tribulation clouds whirled and rumbled, expanding over a hundred li in width.


"What is happening?"

"The tribulation was already showing signs of ending! Why?"

"How could this be? There is a second phase to this tribulation?"

The immortals in the formation were gritting their teeth, desperation was written on their faces.

The newly formed tribulation clouds started merging into the myriad tribulation, their might continued to increase to new levels under the eyes of everyone.

"We need to act now, the formation is reaching its limits!"

Bellowed Bao Lang Chao as he instilled even more of his immortal essence into the formation, sweat dripping from his body from the intense pressure.

A sea of green emerged as flying leaves assaulted the still transforming tribulations. Every second could be the difference between life and death at this moment.

Roots emerged from the ground, firmly stabbing into the clouds. The wave of flying leaves could split seas and level mountains, yet in the face of the tribulation, it was torn apart, already dissipating. The roots were similarly not faring better, pieces of wood were raining upon the ground as the might of heaven and earth rampaged.

"Hold on! We need to persevere!"

One of the immortals shouted trying to boost their morale. Puking a mouthful of blood as he endured the intense backlash, nearly fainting.

There was no forewarning.

It was a flash, yet it was not bright. It was thunder, yet it was not loud. A black lightning bolt has formed from the combined strength. It was thick like a carriage, wildly blitzing downwards.

"The tribulation is stronger than what I anticipated. I hope you won't let my grotto be ruined by it. Oh no! The tribulations are merging, the main body did not predict this! I need to-"

Contrary to the expectations, the black lightning bolt was not headed towards the core of the grotto heaven. No, it was targeting the refinement formation at this moment.

The massive bolt of lightning struck down, time seemingly slowed, the surrounding noises coming to a deathly silence.


An earthshaking shock-wave spread through the area.

When the dust and flying debris settled, an illusory hole could be seen where the small formation previously stood.

The wall of the grotto heaven was punctured.

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