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“The most basic ability of Life Partners is one that shares cultivation. Unfortunately, since Fate played a trick on us, the difference between you and I is too large to allow this. If I truly shared my cultivation with you, not to mention the fact our intimacy is not yet deep enough, you would die without a corpse.

“However, the little bit I can share should be enough…” Ailsa said lightly.

Ryu had already sunk into a state of absolute focus, his silver pupils trained upon the image of the Immortal Sakura.

The intimacy between Ryu and Ailsa was not yet deep enough to share cultivation outside the Ethereal Realm. And, even if it was, Ryu would die long before he could use it. But, at least here, Ailsa could share a bit of it… Just enough for Ryu to truly gaze upon the Immortal Sakura and peer into its secrets.

‘The essence of the Immortal Sakura…’

It was one of the most ancient existences. A tree, much like humans, that started with nothing to become a mighty race that ruled over many.

The Immortal Sakura… Ryu remembered reading about it.

At the start of its existence, it was a beautiful Cherry Blossom Tree. Though a gorgeous sight to behold, it held no strength of its own. 

One might think that with such an amazing evolutionary peak, that the Cherry Blossom was also quite grand when it was a mere Common Grade existence. However, this was not true.

Its presence wasn’t particularly domineering. Its lifespan was relatively short when compared to other trees. And, its most beautiful flowering stage only existed for a fraction of that already short time…

However, when it shone… Was there another tree that could compare to it?

Ryu involuntarily smiled at this thought. Wasn’t the Immortal Sakura very much like himself?

He still remembered the view of his Fate Star, that blazing ball of silver-platinum flames. Since that day at the peak of Shrine Mountain when he discovered the downturn of his Tatsuya Clan’s Faith, he had never sought to look at his Fate Star again. In fact, if it wasn’t for his family, he wouldn’t have looked at it then either. He simply hated to see it…

What were his words back then…?

… It would burn brighter and larger than the rest, but also dim and die sooner as well.

That was Ryu’s reality. He had been destined to die. Though his talent out shone all others, though he had a dazzling, gorgeous peak… that was all… it was all empty.

However, despite being raised under the same circumstances, that ordinary Cherry Blossom Tree, only know for its beauty, became the mighty Immortal Sakura. How did it do it? The answer was simple! Persistence!

Threw rain, snow, sleet, hale, it learned to stand tall. Through savage winds and murderous tsunamis, it learned to endure. Through untold tides and the undefeatable passage of time… It became Immortal!

‘Persistence…’

Ryu’s eyes glowed.

Ailsa shook her head. ‘It’s only been a few minutes yet he’s already seen through the essence of the White Stage. The first step of the Cherry Blossom’s evolution into the Immortal Sakura… Persistence!

‘The First Ranked Pupils are truly too monstrous in comprehension… If it hadn’t been for Little Ryu trying to fool those Zu Ancestor back then by having them think his Heavenly Pupils were weaker than they were, he wouldn’t have wasted months pretending he didn’t understand.’

It wasn’t that Ailsa was already aware of the secrets of [Immortal Sakura] before. After all, Eska had never shared her technique before and only did so with Ryu to force him to lower their guard against them, a scheme that almost cost Ryu his life.

However, Ailsa had very keen senses. Through Ryu’s comprehension, she was immediately able to deduce several things to a level far deeper than even Ryu could thanks to their gap in strength.

The Translucent Stage was only about being able to Visualize the form of the Immortal Sakura appropriately. However, each subsequent stage required the comprehension of the very substance of its being. It was about more than simply superficially projecting its outward appearance.

The White Stage? It was about Persistence. As for the next stage, though Ryu could likely easily sense its true meaning even now, he did not do so. Instead, he immediately exited his State of Meditation. If his projection of the [Immortal Sakura] became too perfect, it would burden him instead of help him.

If others heard this, they likely wouldn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Others were bending over backward to comprehend their chosen techniques, but Ryu was purposely choosing not to.

Unfortunately, though with a technique like [White Serpent’s Dance] Ryu could fully comprehend it, yet only attack with a portion of its strength, Mental Realm techniques were different. Visualizations were set in stone, so changes made them were permanent. Undoing progression made to a Visualization would only harm your foundation. This was why this step was so important.

In that moment, a surge of Spiritual Qi erupted in Ryu’s Mental Realm. The Immortal Sakura in his mind, wrapped in bolts of lightning, waved gently, its white blossoms becoming more and more corporeal.

In the end, they looked no different from large, beautiful snowflakes. In addition, if one looked closely, there was already the slightest hint of pink.

When Ryu awoke, his gaze seemed a little loss.

‘If only comprehending every technique was this easy…’

Unfortunately, Qi and Body Realm techniques didn’t have statues Ryu could just observe like this. For them, he could only slowly train himself, comprehending the path on his own.

“Not necessarily.” Ailsa said with a sweet smile. “There are some places where those techniques can be observed in this crude way. For example, Holy Battle Grounds.”

Ryu’s eyes glowed. Ailsa was right.

Holy Battle Grounds were Faith dense pockets where legendary battles of the past had taken place. As such, they became national treasures for many powerful Sects and Clans.

These places often had Battle Scars with carried traces of the techniques used by the masters who left them behind. Those sorts of treasured places would be a great boon for Ryu.

Unfortunately, places like this Pedestal Plane, and the even the higher Blossom Plane, simply weren’t qualified to have treasures like this. And, the current Ryu was simply too far from stepping foot upon the Shrine Plane once more.

Still, Holy Battle Grounds weren’t the only examples of these exceptions. The martial world had all sorts of wonderful existences. Ryu could slowly find them in the future…

‘Now I simply need to fuse my Immortal Sakura’s Visualization with my Freeze Talent…’

Though the first process had been easy, Ailsa’s brows couldn’t help but knit slightly.

For Ryu, fusing two concepts wasn’t difficult. After all, this was what his Ice Jade Crystal Body was born to do thanks to its perfect balance. The issue was whether his Mental Realm could handle it.

As of now, his Immortal Sakura could already withstand attacks Connecting Heaven Realm experts. If the Ice Flame’s comprehension was combined with it, even attacks from weaker Immortal Ring experts could be blocked for several short moments. However, everything came with a price. Namely… Could Ryu withstand the consumption?

‘No…’ Ailsa shook her head. ‘… I’ll allow the fusion, Little Ryu needs life saving measures. Instead of always thinking about how he’ll be limited, I need to think about how to fix those limitations! That’s the only way I can support him properly!’

As a piercing cold erupted from Ryu’s body, Ailsa turned her gaze toward the four remaining Core Visualizations.

The fifth still worried her. Like Ryu, she was aware that there were only four Zu Ancestors. So where had this fifth Visualization come from? Even the sight of it filled her with fear… However, she had no choice but to ignore it. No matter what pitfall ls lay with this Zu Clan, they must persist. This was the only path toward Ryu’s growth.

‘The next will be you.’ Ailsa set her sights on one of the Visualization statues. ‘Since my Little Ryu will soon face a stamina problem… You will be the one to fix it!’

**

Within the Mortal Qi Small Realm, several figures with blemishless white hair and piercing silver eyes stood over two corpses, both of which had a violet glaive in hand.

They all sneered fiercely, a rage that throw the Inner Ring into a sea of turmoil boiling in their eyes.

“It seems the world has forgotten the might of our Zu Clan. To dare turn a promising elder of my Clan into a corpse puppet! This Throne Ryu is truly bold!”

The enraged roar shook the skies.

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