The memorial went on for another three hours. Each member of the procession all laid down flowers and prayed for the victims to find peace in the afterlife, as they swore to seek vengeance for those who perished. As if feeling their grief, the heavens above turned grey in sorrow, and heavy teardrops coated the monuments with a gorgeous monsoon hue.
“Even the Immortals above are showing their sorrow.” Kanari smiled. Turning to the forlorn youth who was staring straight at the sky, Kanari grabbed hold of his hand and proceeded to comfort him. “We will win. We will make the Black Masks pay for everything that they have done, Shin!”
“Yeah…” There wasn’t any need for Kanari to convince him. Even if the Summit weren’t held, Shin would have continued to chase down the Black Masks for his own gain. Junius hasn’t paid for his crimes after all.
“Let’s move,” Gonggong ordered. At the moment, there were five Spirit Venerates present in the procession, but none of them dared to question Gonggong’s authority as the leader of the group. Even Spirit Saint Firebird kept a reasonable distance, blending into the surroundings as if he really was a beggar on the streets.
The sea of onlookers split into two, allowing the Himmel Empire’s group to march straight east and out of the Main Hub entirely. To prevent themselves from getting wet, Shin and his friends opened up their umbrellas. Fortunately, it wasn’t needed for long…
“Wow… That…” After walking for fifteen minutes, the procession sent by the Himmel Empire had finally reached its destination. The fortress where history would be made.
Thick heavy metal chains with each one of its links bearing the size of a small house, rose from the underground and latched on firmly onto the vast land mass that somehow managed to defy the laws of gravity. Almost as massive as the Main Hub itself, the levitating island had hundreds, if not thousands of gun ports where long metallic cannons pointed straight at the ground.
Of course, it wasn’t just that its underside was fortified. Engulfing the entire island, a concrete barricade armed to its teeth with cannons and sentry posts protected the outskirts of the fortress, while floating air mines defended its skies. From Shin’s position, he could only see the tall walls and the overwhelming number of mortars that the citadel possessed. While he couldn’t observe the interior of the fortress, he could see a towering needle-like structure reaching for the heavens above.
“It looks like a spinning top,” Elrin commented.
“You’re right. It does resemble a spinning top.” Emma giggled at how uncanny the resemblance was. “With that skyscraper in the centre and its wide base, it really does look like a toy that you would sell in your shops.”
“Hah! I wish I could buy the Deus Citadel!” Elrin’s mind started to race a million miles a second just to figure out if she could even hope of purchasing the famed Immortal-grade fortress. However, after a brief moment of consideration, the young girl shook her head in helplessness. “Even if the Blacksmith’s League was looking to sell, I doubt anyone has the financial capability to buy. I’ve heard that it requires over a hundred million gold ingots to operate Deus Citadel for one year! That’s why the Blacksmith’s League rarely takes it out to play.”
“O-One h-hundred million?” Ella stuttered when she heard that amount. Lady Seph had given them one gold ingot per month, which would have already placed them at the top one percent of every earner in the Capital. Yet, even if she had saved all of her earnings, it would take her over a hundred million months to operate Deus Citadel for just one year!
“Yeah… If the Blacksmith’s League truly wants to sell Deus Citadel, it would be upwards of a trillion gold ingots. Even if the Himmel Empire empty out their entire treasury, they wouldn’t be able to cough out that crazy amount.”
“A trillion gold ingots… Is there even enough gold in the world to create that amount?”
“God knows.” Elrin shrugged her shoulders. “However, since my Terlus Conglomerate has one or two billion gold ingots sitting in the bank, I guess there should be enough.”
“…” Once again, Shin and the twins were reminded that they were in the presence of the richest girl in the entire Empire. Often times, due to how informally Elrin would act around them, it became easy to forget.
“Just ignore her.” Kanari smiled bitterly as she looked at her fellow classmates. Even though she was the heir of the Highgarden Duchy, there was no way that she could hope to match the riches that Elrin had. In fact, she remembered the time where they both participated in a high-level auction, and Elrin claimed almost all of the items at a record price without batting an eye. “You shouldn’t look at money through her lens. It’ll just depress you.”
Ella and Emma nodded furiously.
As they reached the first metallic chain that anchored Deus Citadel and prevented it from floating to oblivion, a group of ambassadors from the Blacksmith’s League stood in wait. Leading them, a stunted middle-aged man with a rugged beard opened his arms in joy just as the Himmel Empire procession was about to reach his shores.
“Welcome, esteemed guests! Welcome to Deus Citadel!” The short man exclaimed. While his face seemed amiable, a faint ghastly pressure could be felt, especially among those who were below the Spirit King realm.
‘A Spirit Emperor!’ After facing countless of Spirit Emperors, Spirit Venerates and Tier 9 Spirit Beasts, Shin seemed to have garnered an acute sense for the cultivation levels of those far superior to him. Hence, even though he was meeting the man for the first time in his life, Shin could accurately deduce how powerful he was.
‘Not just that… Those behind him are Spirit Emperors as well!’ Shin nearly gasped out loud. Since when were Spirit Emperors at such a high supply? The Frie Clan only had three Spirit Emperors in their midst, and they were able to dominate over their region! ‘Only in this international Summit would so many Spirit Emperors act as doormen…’
“My name is Gabul, and I will be your guide for the day.” Gabul gave a respectful bow. While he may be a Spirit Emperor, the procession that was sent by the Himmel Empire contained a mixture of potent Spirit Venerates as well as a transcendental Spirit Saint. Not to mention, they probably had a vast number of Spirit Emperors as well.
“Thank you, Gabul.” The leader of the procession, Prince Koshaku gave his gratitude.
“No, it’s my honour to serve you, your highness.” The middle-aged man got up and pointed to the silver disk that was right behind him. “As much as I would love to chat, I’m sure that you are tired. Let us enter the Citadel first. Everyone, get onto this platform in batches and hold on tight. We will be lifting you into the Citadel.”
“That entire silver platform is a lift?” Shin muttered out in wonder. That unsuspecting metallic circle that was nearly as thin as a paper sheet had the capability of hosting dozens of people up into the Citadel?
“Only the Blacksmith’s League could possibly think of such a contraption.” Lady Seph, who had seemingly appeared out of nowhere, answered Shin’s question.
“Yip yip!” Bingbing jumped into Shin’s embrace and buried herself deep into his dark blue robes, ignoring the boy’s complete surprise. After being separated from Shin for such a long time, Bingbing needed to refuel her Shin reserves.
“Master?! Where did you go?” When they first came into the Land of Dreams, Lady Seph left the group without any prior warning, prompting Shin and the rest to worry about her safety.
“Sorry, I had to settle some things with the Healer’s Association…” Lady Seph sighed as she recalled her earlier interactions with her former comrades. “Althea has brought some meddlesome creatures, and they’re already waiting up in the Citadel. Honestly, why did she have to bring them all?”
‘Them all?’ Shin wondered who his master could be talking about. Lady Seph wasn’t one to become stressed over meeting some old friends, yet she was feeling reluctant to even step foot onto the Citadel because of those mysterious people.
“Whatever, it’s just for one or two weeks. Remember our plan Shin! Keep a low profile and befriend those from the Lantis Republic. Although I can’t be there to protect you all the time due to my commitments, Bingbing will stay by your side.”
Lady Seph gave the snowy white gerbil her favourite assignment. To sleep and eat in Shin’s embrace, while keeping an eye out for any potential threats.
“Also, I’ve got some good news for you. It looks like the Lantis Republic had sent Longyu Tian to act as their Spirit Saint protector.”
“What?!” Everyone in the group, including the ordinarily nonchalant Shizen cried out with stunned expressions.
“That’s right. They actually sent the Saint of Time to protect them.” Lady Seph smiled in delight. “While her presence is a nightmare for the other organisations, it’s a great opportunity for you. No matter how many friends you make in the Lantis Republic, it still can’t beat having the support from a Spirit Saint, not to mention the one that everyone fears the most.”
“Shin, Longyu Tian bears the Sovereign Koi, the same Spirit as you. Also, I have heard rumours that she personally knew Longyu Yuan, the progenitor of the Awter Clan. If you get to opportunity to meet her, your chances of gaining access to the Celestial River will increase exponentially!” Lady Seph was as excited as a child entering a carnival ride for the first time in her life. Only Shin and she knew about the Mark of the Celestial Dragon. If Shin truly managed to gain an opportunity to baptise his Sovereign Koi, the sky was the limit to how much Shin could grow.
Who knows? Maybe Shin could even trigger a Spirit Evolution and transform his Spirit into the legendary Golden Sovereign Koi that Longyu Tian possessed?
“Next batch, please get on!” While Shin and Lady Seph were busy fantasising on the possible prospects of his Spirit, it was finally their turn to get on the silver elevator.
Huddling together, Shin’s group was joined by the Young Drake Duke and his fellow cronies. Kanari turned her head in defiance while the young men and women that followed Eikyo snarled at Shin. All while their leader put forth a disgustingly fake smile.
‘Thankfully, he still hasn’t approached me…’ Shin breathed a sigh of relief at the lack of action from the Young Drake Duke. He wasn’t particularly adept with social interactions in High Society, and he didn’t know of the best way to turn the blonde man down without completely souring their relationship. Luckily for Shin, Eikyo didn’t seem to be particularly interested in poaching yet another talent from Kanari’s grasp.
Mmmonn Mmmonn Mmmonn
An energy barrier surrounded the silver lift, enclosing those within as if they were a hamster in a ball. Almost instantaneously, the elevator mystically boosted itself from the floor and flew straight towards the floating island.
“Wow…” For the thousandth time today, Shin gaped in wonder. As the silver platform climbed over the soaring barricades, the Himmel Empire members could finally witness the grandeur of Deus Citadel.
Heaps of golden and silver towers were littered across the land, so much so that it blinded the eyes of Shin and his friends. For protection, tamed Spirit Beasts guarded the skies, while hundreds of stone golems patrolled the streets of the holy city. To accommodate the new residents that were here temporarily, dozens of armoury shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities were set up. It truly was an Elysium of the skies.
However, the most prominent object that Shin saw wasn’t any of the elaborate shops that had been set up, but the enlarged arena that was built on the outskirts of the Citadel.
Its purpose? Well, wasn’t that clear?
‘So this is where the exhibition matches would be held…’
While Shin wasn’t going to participate in those matches, it didn’t stop his heart from palpitating frantically. In just a week, the most talented cultivators in the world were going to duke it out in the ring, making it the most magnificent showcase of spiritual abilities of modern history. Journalists had to pay upwards of ten thousand gold ingots just to gain a seat to witness the fights, yet Shin had a front-row seat for free!
For a moment, Shin had even forgotten his primary objective for coming to the Summit. Who in the younger generation was the mightiest of them all? Was it someone from the Himmel Empire? The Kori Federation? Or was it the Lantis Republic? The child inside of Shin wanted to know.
‘Just one more week… One more week until the exhibition matches!!!’