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“You will stay here.” Ryu said with a cold tone one could hardly respond to.

“But –.” Tae felt quite indignant. Her relationship with Ryu had grown closer, but it had changed into more of a master and disciple connection.

Over the last half month, she had become extremely grateful toward Ryu and his help, and even a bit overwhelmed by the resources he gave her. How could she, a member of a Clan of the Inner Ring, ever imagine one day having a Six Star Cultivation Technique in the palm of her hands? Yet, now she could proudly say such a thing!

A few days ago, with Ryu’s support, Tae had been able to stand up to her grandfather and demand to take the third and final spot their Clan was allocated. Seeing his granddaughter sweep through the geniuses of the Loom Clan, the City Lord felt conflicted, but only let go in the end.

Of course, this wasn’t because Tae’s power had so suddenly skyrocketed in the last few days. If anything, she was actually a bit weaker than she had been due to the fact she needed to rebuild her foundation with a new technique. However, it was exactly because of this reason Ryu stopped her from participating.

“I can’t protect you, so it’s best you stay here.” Ryu cut her off. Though he didn’t say it, he was quite aware that it would be difficult to even protect himself.

The difference between the Connecting Heaven Realm and Ryu’s current Qi Refinement Realm was too large. Luckily, his body had reached the depths of the Divine Vessel Realm despite still being in the Pulse Tempering Realm, so he had a small degree of confidence in at least being able to protect his life.

Unfortunately, though, he was still keenly aware of the danger. The truth was that the difference between him and ‘geniuses’ of the Core Region should have been large. After all, he practiced three Six Star Cultivation Techniques. Still… The matter wasn’t so simple.

One had to remember that Cultivation Techniques had three distinct stages. The Mortal Qi stage, the Immortal Qi stage, and the Cosmic Qi stage.

A weak Plane like the Pedestal Plane couldn’t possibly have Six Star Immortal and Cosmic Qi Cultivation Techniques, but was the same true of Mortal Qi Cultivation Techniques?

The main issue lied in the fact that the Connecting Heaven Realm still lied within the Mortal Qi stage. Essentially, Ryu could very well face geniuses who used Five and Six Star techniques in this battle! If Ryu had already entered the Immortal Qi realms and was facing a Pedestal Plane genius, he would crush them because their inheritances were too shallow – this was even if they were of a higher cultivation stage!

But… This simply wasn’t the case now…

“I …” Tae didn’t know what to say. She had just started down the path of regaining her confidence, of forging herself into the woman she wanted to be… Yet she hit a brick wall before she could even take a second step.

Matheus smiled lightly. “It seems I may get to see your true strength very soon.”

Ryu didn’t respond to Matheus’ words, but his blood his boiling. When his bloodlines were dormant, it was easy to ignore their influence. But now that he had begun to nurture them, things had changed. At the sight of a seemingly unwinnable battle, his Fire Dragon blood roared with arrogant disdain.

Though Ryu thought this was the reason, Ailsa smiled, knowing he was fooling himself. Was it really his bloodline that was responsible? Or was it her Little Ryu himself who loved this situation so much?

She could see Ryu’s memories clearly. That day he stepped out of the Immortal Path, he roared into the skies, eager for the challenge the Pedestal Plane would bring. Ailsa knew very well that this excitement he was feeling had nothing to do with his bloodlines.

“You all have six months to complete enough tasks and gather the necessary points to reach the top eight. Take hold of this opportunity well. Those of you who perform to a certain standard will be invited to the Core Region to participate in an even more important Selection to enter the Ice Devil Legacy World in just a bit more than one year’s time.”

Ryu tuned the old man’s words out. He didn’t care about receiving such help, he had already planned on entering as a wild card. Plus, he was planning on enraging those Core Regions Clans even as the old man spoke with that sly smile. Why would he then decide to represent them? In Ryu’s opinion, but that was giving them too much of a good thing. He would represent himself!

A moment later, Ryu’s hand reached out and grasped a light green jade necklace that was thrown to him. His Heavenly Pupils could easily see the complex formation hidden within, meant to keep track of the legitimacy of his points.

“Your first challenge is to make it to the Mortal Qi Small Realm.” The old man smiled a bit deviously. “The Selection begins now!”

Numerous figures flashed forward at once, blazing toward the greenery covered mountain.

‘Ailsa…’ Ryu thought faintly.

‘Already on it.’ Ailsa grinned.

Though Ryu’s Feng Shui comprehension was deep, he didn’t have the proper tools on hand. However, Ailsa’s innate bloodline abilities allowed her to disregard the need for such tools. Why would he run around the mountain like a bumbling fool when he could wait a moment and have Ailsa lead the way.

“Wait a moment.” Ryu held Matheus back. Seeing his questioning gaze, Ryu didn’t explain. However, Matheus seemed to feel that he could trust Ryu in this moment.

“Ah, the Loom Clan is so grand. But why is it that I feel you don’t have a single Connecting Heaven Realm genius?” The sharp-eyed young man lamented as though he truly cared. “Even relying on a mere Qi Refinement expert? Is it really so difficult to find good help?”

Many of the other participants had already made a mad sprint for the mountain. Mortal Qi Mountain spanning hundreds of kilometers, if they didn’t rush, maybe the time limit would be up before they even found the ever-moving Small Realm entrance.

However, there were a few confident individuals who acted as though they were on a leisurely walk, hanging behind and staring forward as though those rushing were nothing but a colony of ants.

“Oh, Little Sister Tae, my elder brother thinks of you every day. You know how much he wants you… Just say the word and the Zu Clan’s position is yours.”

The elders of the Loom Clan who followed grew agitated, many gritting their teeth, while others seemed incredibly tempted.

As Ryu had expected, it really had been something like this that pushed the Loom Clan into dire straits. At least it seemed City Lord Loom had a backbone even if his elders and ministers didn’t.

“I suggest you shut your mouth.” Ryu said faintly. “There are some things in this world that no one can touch when they belong to another. One of those things is my women.”

Tae who was just feeling a stifling pressure was stunned by Ryu’s words but instantly blushed profusely, hiding her embarrassed expression behind his shoulder.

At this point, it wasn’t just the sharp-eyed young man who frowned, but even the amiable old man who headed The Selection turned his gaze toward Dyon.

“Do you have any idea who my brother is?” The sharp-eyed young man sneered. “You have a lot of nerve speaking these words.”

Ryu didn’t respond, but this only man the young man’s sneer deepen.

“Good, good. Do you dare to tell me your name?!” The young man’s roar shook the very ground he stood upon.

‘Found it.’ Ailsa suddenly said.

“Let’s go.” Ryu’s figure almost turned into a mirage, Matheus following swiftly afterward.

Fast. This was the foremost thought in the minds of everyone who watched on.

“You want my name?” Ryu’s voice covered the forest’s landscape as he casually glided by the smiling old man. “Those of the Pedestal Plane know me as Throne Ryu.”

The sharp-eyed young man and the Connecting Heaven Realm experts around him were stunned. They could have never guessed that the young man they felt was overestimating himself actually had the very same status as the man whose reputation they sought to protect.

After a moment, though, the young man’s sneer returned.

‘This Throne Ryu must be the new Throne of the Outer Ring… But how can the Throne of a Fifth Order Sect compare to the Throne of a Sixth Order Clan?!’

Plus, there was another thing that made the young man extremely confident. Thrones were known for their battle prowess, but Ryu was simply far too young. Rumors said that he was only eighteen years old. But his elder brother was not only a Throne, but was already over five hundred years old!

The gap between them was akin to Heaven and Earth. In fact, even the young man himself was confident in defeating Ryu.  

‘To have defeated a ‘mighty’ Throne myself…’ Suddenly he shook his head. ‘… No, such a defeat would be too easy. For disrespecting my Lao Clan, I’ll force you to understand that even a Throne is useless before me!’