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‘If you really want to do this, you’ll have to go all out Little Ryu. Entering the Spiritual Severing Realm isn’t just about gaining sturdier meridians. Remember, by increasing the connection one has to your dantian, your meridians begin to gain some characteristics of its plane of existence. Simply put, your meridians gain the ability to exist on two planes at once, allowing it to store more energy without expanding too much.’

Ryu nodded. Meridians were a lot like blood vessels although they were a separate organ system. It was obvious that it couldn’t expand indefinitely without some special considerations. The Spiritual Severing Realm is what allowed for this consideration. An expert of that level could essentially make their meridians larger than they appeared from the outside, almost like a creating its own inner space.

However, Ryu was trying to skip this step. Though he believed his meridians were more than sturdy enough to handle it, there was another problem… He didn’t have enough energy to pry his Qi Vessels open!

Had he been too rash? Trying to open his Qi Vessels now was like trying to break open a fort with a toothpick. He didn’t have enough energy to succeed.

Ailsa smiled. ‘Don’t worry, Big Sis will help you with your reckless actions this time. Finish fusing with the Realm Heart and return to the Small Realm first.’

Hearing Ailsa’s words, Ryu focused on the task at hand.

The almost ethereal feeling in his heart grew. Slowly, but surely, Ryu began to understand what Ailsa meant by the Realm Heart having many more abilities he could only slowly begin to comprehend.

For one, Ryu now felt that even if someone stabbed him in the heart, it would now only be a minor injury, whereas in the past, it would have been fatal even with his Ice Flame.

The Realm Heart was an Ethereal Plane being. By fusing with it, Ryu’s heart now also existed on two separate Planes. This might very well save Ryu’s life in the future… Even if the portion of his heart that existed on the Real Plane was injured, the portion that existed on the Ethereal Plane would sustain his life for long enough for the initial injury to heal.

Of course, if Ryu was being attacked by an individual adept at existing between both the Real and Ethereal Planes like Ailsa, he’d be dead no matter what.

‘Wow… With my vitality, if I somehow managed to shift my brain to the Ethereal Plane as well, wouldn’t I be near undying?’

The days sped by one after another.

When Ryu finally completed the fusion, he felt as though a breath of life had been breathed into him.

“I’m… Immortal?” Ryu’s eyes blinked with surprise.

Immortality wasn’t something cultivators gained until completing the Path Extinction Realm and stepping into the Dao Pedestal Realm. It was only then that one’s life was sustained not by vitality, but by comprehension. Essentially, one was effectively Immortal after entering this Realm. As long as your Martial Path remained sturdy and didn’t waver, you could theoretically live until the end of existence itself although such a thing was impossible in action.

Yet, Ryu had reached this state as a Qi Refinement Realm pup?

Even though this so-called Immortality wasn’t immortality in its truest sense and definition, for the current Ryu, living a few dozen thousand years wasn’t a problem.  

For context, the Divine Vessel Realm gave one about a thousand years of life on average. The Connecting Heaven Realm gave about ten thousand. The Immortal Ring Realm provided another factor of ten increase.

Ryu could essentially outlive an Immortal Ring Realm expert even if he never cultivated again from this point onward. Maybe to regular cultivators, this matter didn’t mean much… But to Ryu who had lived his first life with his lifespan constantly looming over his head, he almost couldn’t stop his eyes from watering.

In the end, he closed his reddened eyes, controlling his breathing.

Ailsa smiled lightly. ‘You big dope. Is there a need to pretend to be emotionless all the time? Big Sis’ greatest hope is that you’ll become that wide-eyed, smiling little boy again…’

These words weren’t heard by Ryu, but Ailsa only said them for herself…

“It seems that the Abyss is no longer so dangerous for me?” Ryu said after recollecting himself.

‘That’s another benefit. Those with Realm Hearts can explore the Abyss more freely. After all, what are Realms if not safe havens within the Void?’

Ryu nodded. All True Realms floated within certain coordinates of the Void or Abyss. They were the only locations life could flourish. So, of course Realm Hearts and the like had the ability to protect from its dangers.

‘But, because you have the lowest ranked Realm Heart, you are still limited in where you can go. Also, even the natural environment of the Abyss can’t harm you under normal circumstances, there are many other dangers involved. I don’t advise exploring it before you’re ready.’

“I’ll follow your words.” Ryu agreed. “But… How do I leave this place?”

Ailsa giggled. ‘You should now feel a special connection with the Mortal Qi Small Realm. Follow your heart… Literally.’

With Ryu’s intelligence, it didn’t take much pushing for him to understand what he must do. In what felt like an instant, he had already reappeared by the very pond he had entered to begin with.

“Wow…” Ryu suddenly felt a blissful rush surge into his body.

His Spiritual Sense was only twenty kilometers wide. But somehow, he could sense every inch of this Mortal Qi Small Realm now, all several thousand kilometers of it.

‘This is another benefit. Though this Realm will collapse after you step foot outside and leave, while you remain here, you can sense every aspect of it. Every lifeform, every growth, every hidden treasure… everything. Nothing will be hidden from you. After all, this is now your domain.’

Ryu felt a sudden bittersweet feeling. “Do I really have to give this up after I leave?”

‘Unfortunately, there’s no other option. You don’t have the strength to sustain its existence. You remember that according to those of the Inner Ring, this Small Realm never left the range of Mortal Qi Mountain? Well there’s a reason for that. Without this dense source of Mortal Qi in combination with the Realm Heart, the Small Realm would collapse.’

Ryu’s brows suddenly furrowed. “You mean to say that it’s this Small Realm relying on Mortal Qi Mountain and not the other way around? Doesn’t that mean we haven’t solved this mystery at all?”

‘Exactly right… In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s because of Mortal Qi Mountain that this Small Realm managed to form its Realm Heart at all…’

Ryu sucked in a cold breath. He thought everything was over after he found the Realm Heart, but things turned out to be far deeper than this…

Shaking his head, he focused on the task at hand. He had an obligation to represent the Loom Clan, which meant he only had a month and a half left to snatch all the resources of this Mortal Qi Small Realm for himself.

‘It seems that gathering enough Qi Stones to open the gate to the Moon Realm won’t be much of a problem for me anymore…’

Ryu’s mind was instantly filled with all sorts of hidden treasures buried in places even the Core Clans of the Inner Ring had yet to find. In fact, he saw through many secret and dangerous locations they hadn’t even dared to step into that wouldn’t pose any problem for him thanks to the Realm Heart.

The wealth here was so astronomical that even though these were all resources of the Mortal Grade, they could only be sensibly counted in Immortal Qi Stones.

‘Don’t forget that if you’re planning on entering the Divine Vessel Realm, the cost of opening the gate to the Moon World will increase again.’

Ryu nodded. He thought of this as well, but it was worth it. If he entered the Divine Vessel Realm, he wouldn’t fear anyone of the Inner Ring!

Others might not have the heart to sell these precious Spiritual Herbs he had locked on to, especially since they were the most beneficial to his current Cultivation Realm, but what reason did Ryu have to feel this way? After all… He had the Incubator!

Ryu smiled. ‘Let’s start with the closest one.’