"Are you from another continent?" Ying Qing asked Ye Futian.
"Continent?" Ye Futian looked at Ying Qing in confusion.
Ying Qing looked more and more perplexed. Ye Futian had a perfect Divine Wheel and extraordinary power. But it seemed that he didn't know anything.
Then where did he come from?
"I came from a secret zone in the Divine Prefecture that was cut off from the outer world. That's why I don't have much knowledge about the Divine Prefecture," Ye Futian said to Ying Qing.
Ying was a little surprised. She didn't know that Ye Futian was referring to the Original Realm. The Original Realm was a distant concept to the majority of people in the Divine Prefecture. Except for the top forces at the highest level, many people didn't even know about the existence of the Original Realm.
Ying Qing obviously wasn't a top-level insider. Even so, she did doubt him since the Divine Prefecture was boundless and did have many secret zones that were sealed off from the outside. No wonder Ye Futian had such terrifying strength. She was curious about how he was injured and ended up in this area.
"You do know that the Divine Prefecture is made up of many plates, right?" Ying Qing asked.
Ye Futian shook his head and responded, "Isn't the Divine Prefecture whole?"
"You can say it is whole, but you could also say it's separated." Ying Qing realized that Ye Futian truly had zero knowledge about the Divine Prefecture once she heard his answer.
"Countless continents are floating in the Divine Prefecture. They are located in different places or may even be at different altitudes. Therefore, it's not technically a single piece of land, but a powerful cultivator can go to any place he wants. Some of the continents are only a few steps away from each other. So it doesn't really matter to cultivators."
Ye Futian nodded slightly in understanding. The countless continents Ying Qing mentioned were similar to the 3,000 Realms of the Great Path. They were all considered as parts of the Divine Prefecture. People didn't assign names to each plate, probably because there were too many of them.
The difference was that the 3,000 Realms of the Great Path were surrounded by empty space, while the Divine Prefecture was likely to be full.
"After the Great Emperor unified the Divine Prefecture years ago, he divided it into 18 domains. Our continent is one of the plates in the Donghua Domain. A Domain Chief's Manor was set up in each domain. Although Senluo Manor is also called a 'manor,' it was a totally different concept. The Domain Chiefs of the 18 domains in the Divine Prefecture are lords who help the Great Emperor govern the boundless Divine Prefecture. I heard that every Domain Chief is super frightening." Ying Qing was aware that Ye Futian didn't know anything about the Divine Prefecture. Thus, she explained to him the partition of the Divine Prefecture in detail.
"The Domain Chief's Manors govern the Divine Prefecture directly?" Ye Futian asked. Did they operate like emperors?
Ying Qing shook her head. "The Divine Prefecture is vast and contains infinite numbers of continents. How can they govern all of them? The Domain Chief's Manors usually sit out. They only get involved in balancing power when something serious happened."
Ye Futian nodded. That sounded a little like the Empty Imperial Palace in the Void Realm; they were inspectors and reported to Donghuang the Great Emperor.
"After the Great Emperor unified the Divine Prefecture and set up the Domain Chief's Manors over three centuries ago, he ordered people to collect ancient literature on cultivation and summoned many cultivators to make copies by hand. Then he asked the Domain Chief's Manors to build a place for cultivation in the largest capital in each continent and share and distribute the copies there."
Ye Futian was visibly surprised. How much manpower and time would such an ambitious project require?
"They picked Dongyuan City in this continent and built the Dongyuan Pavilion to store all the books and literature," said Ying Qing. Back in the Nine States in the Void Realm, Ye Futian already heard that the Twin Great Emperors established academies around the world after they unified the Divine Prefecture.
It turned out that the Original Realm wasn't the only one. They even distributed the manuscripts all around the Divine Prefecture.
"The master of the Dongyuan Pavilion." Ye Futian remembered the man Ying Qing wanted him to kill. Dongyuan Pavilion was the holy land of this continent. No wonder Ying Qing was surprised that Ye Futian never heard of it.
"Yes." Ying Qing nodded and said, "The most powerful groups in the continent manage the Dongyuan Pavilion together after it was established. They also select the master of the Dongyuan Pavilion in concert. Senluo Manor always wants to join this inner circle and participate in the decision-making process. However, Senluo Manor was excluded due to their unusual cultivation method, even though they are influential enough. Therefore, the chief of Senluo Manor has been cultivating in seclusion, hoping that he could achieve some breakthrough and overpower everyone else. By that time, no one could stop him from controlling the Dongyuan Pavilion."
"Won't these groups become greedy?" Ye Futian asked.
"Of course they will." Ying Qing nodded and continued, "The Great Emperor distributed the copies of the literature around the world with the intention of sharing the knowledge with everyone. But there are too many cultivators in the Divine Prefecture, and the books can't be available to everybody. Otherwise, the Great Emperor probably would be kept occupied for this matter alone. Therefore, the top forces and powerful cultivators became the first beneficiaries of the books since it was easy for them to visit the Dongyuan Pavilion. The groups are obviously greedy and want to share their knowledge with their members, which is allowed. However, since the books are not permitted to be brought out of the Dongyuan Pavilion—no one ever dared to try it anyway—other groups still want to become co-managers of the Dongyuan Pavilion in order to bring members in and out more conveniently."
Ye Futian nodded. The books and manuscripts given to them by the Great Emperor contained thorough and encyclopedic knowledge. They were the best resources on cultivation methods most of the cultivators could ever get.
The top forces in each continent passed the knowledge to their members and then spread it to outsiders through different means. As time went by, all the decent cultivators in the Divine Prefecture would be able to get some exposure.
Of course, the less powerful cultivators only had the chance to get their hands on the second-class books on cultivation methods.
Ye Futian admired the intention and effort of Donghuang the Great Emperor and Emperor Ye Qing. They genuinely cared about the cultivators around the world even after they were crowned. Ye Futian wondered what kind of thing made them fall out with each other and eventually led to Emperor Ye Qing's death.
"How long did it take for the Great Emperor to accomplish such a large-scale project?" Ye Futian asked.
"A hundred years," Ying Qing answered.
Ye Futian was deeply moved. He had been cultivating for less than a hundred years in total, yet the Great Emperor spent an entire century on this thing alone.
"The Divine Prefecture is too big. Besides taking the time to make copies by hand, people also needed to build places like the Dongyuan Pavilion as depositaries and set up matrices for protection. Many cultivators other than the Great Emperor also devoted a lot of time to this. It was said that everyone who worked with the Great Emperor was awarded in the end. "Ying Qing said, "The Great Emperor did plenty of other things besides this."
"Do you admire the Great Emperor a lot?" Ye Futian asked.
"Apart from the 18 domains established by the Great Emperor himself, there were many other top forces in the Divine Prefecture. Who else would keep ordinary people in mind at that time of division? Everybody was cultivating solely for themselves," Ying Qing said. "Most people in the Divine Prefecture admire the Great Emperor."
Ye Futian nodded in agreement. People were selfish by nature. The Twin Great Emperors were indeed remarkable and special in that regard. He didn't realize how popular Donghuang the Great Emperor was in the Divine Prefecture.
"So, why do you want to kill the master of the Dongyuan Pavilion?" Ye Futian asked. He finally came to the point.
Hearing Ye Futian's question, a look of hatred flared in Ying Qing's eyes.
"I was a cultivator in Dongyuan City. My master was an eminent man there and had a close relationship with the master of the Dongyuan Pavilion. They were good friends and often played chess together. The son of the master of the Dongyuan Pavilion was fond of my master's daughter. Although she didn't like him because of his arrogance and smugness, they were still friends due to the relationship between their fathers. Who would have thought that the father and son duo were actually worse than beasts? The master of the Dongyuan Pavilion suspected that my master was becoming stronger than him and was worried that his position as the head of the Dongyuan Pavilion would be threatened. Therefore, he directed his son to work on my master's daughter. The son attempted to rape her and eventually killed her during the struggle when she was cultivating in the Dongyuan Pavilion. Then, the father invited my master over and killed him in a sneak attack. After that, he ordered people to slaughter all of my master's disciples to keep it a secret. I survived by luck and hid in Senluo Manor. Senluo Manor was never on good terms with him since the chief of Senluo Manor had been pining for his position as the master of the Dongyuan Pavilion. That's how I got to hide here all these years."
Ying Qing's voice was filled with loathing. She had been keeping this secret for so long, yet she couldn't take revenge on her enemies.
Besides, she vaguely felt that Han Lin of Senluo Manor might kill her as soon as she proved her path and became a Renhuang. After all, she heard that it happened to other people in the past.
Ye Futian remained calm and composed. Endless conflicts and bloodshed concealed beneath the surface of prosperity in the world of cultivators.
"Does the master of the Dongyuan Pavilion care about his position a lot?" Ye Futian asked.
"Yes," Ying Qing nodded. "The man is a hypocrite who is obsessed with the exercise of power. Being the head of the Dongyuan Pavilion symbolizes his status in this continent and gives him control over the access to the Dongyuan Pavilion. Anyone who goes into the Dongyuan Pavilion would be counted as his disciple. Maybe some exceptionally talented cultivators will rise in the future. But my master had no intention of competing with him at all."
"What's his cultivation level?" Ye Futian asked.
"Since the chief of Senluo Manor had been hankering for his position, I suppose they are on the same level. He is probably slightly better than the chief of Senluo Manor," said Ying Qing. It occurred to her that she could ask Ye Futian to avenge on her behalf only after witnessing how he exterminated Senluo Manor all by himself.
"Moreover, you should go to Dongyuan City regardless if you want to know more about the Divine Prefecture," Ying Qing added.
"I promise to do it if everything you said is true," Ye Futian said. "But I need to cultivate alone for a while before that. It may take a long time, and I can't say exactly how long."
"That's alright." Ying Qing nodded. She didn't mind waiting for a couple more years as long as she could get her revenge.
"Clean up Senluo Manor first," Ye Futian said and left. There should be belongings left in Senluo Manor since he had killed most of the people. They searched the manor thoroughly yet didn't find many valuable items. Although Ye Futian only arrived at the Divine Prefecture not so long ago, he had fine taste and didn't care for ordinary things.
After that, Ye Futian had been cultivating by himself in Senluo Manor. He covered Senluo Manor with the formidable Sword Will to deter anyone who wished to enter.
He would like to advance to a higher level after this narrow escape from death.
It was difficult for someone in the Divine Wheel second order to kill a high-level Renhuang in the Divine Wheel seventh order. He had to rely on the Will of the Emperor, which he didn't want to use too often.
Therefore, he needed to make some progress before venturing out into the Divine Prefecture!
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