The journey to the Varis clan took two days. On the trip, John had spotted many villages and towns pass them by, all of which were under the protection of either the Fenix Clan or the Varis Clan. Although the two clans existed several hundred miles apart, they owned all the land between them, a testament to their power.
John had spent the two days of traveling by carriage by practicing the Supreme Battle Art. Although he couldn't fully unleash it inside the carriage without breaking the carriage, John was able to circulate his Qi according to the technique without using it, which allowed him to get a better feel for the technique. John also tried to cultivate the Supreme Battle Body just to see if it had any additional benefits to his body, but the cultivation technique was unable to alter his body at all.
John surmised the reason was that the Immortal Asura Body was a higher level body cultivation art, and so his body was already more powerful than anything the Supreme Battle Body could provide. The only problem with his Immortal Asura Body was that it was limited by his essence dantian cultivation level, since going too far away from his essence cultivation resulted in those head and soul splitting murmurs. Also, the cultivation technique required the blood essence of either beasts or humans, which was troublesome.
While cultivating the Immortal Asura Body to the late Mist Creation Realm, John could tell that the effect of beast blood essence was getting less and less potent. At the rate it was going, John figured that human blood would become the only reasonable way to cultivate the technique, which was going to be a large problem.
John rested his chin on his hand as he stared out the window of the carriage as it sped along. Fresh morning dew was visible on the tree leaves and grass, while a slight fog that came from the nearby Skycleave Mountains hung in the air, giving an ethereal glow to the early morning sunshine.
'The human blood essence is going to be a problem going forward when cultivating the Immortal Asura Body, but I refuse to just stop cultivating it either. It's far too powerful and profound for me to not utilize it. I'll just have to figure out a way to get the blood essence of humans in a way that I can accept without compromising my morals.'
Although John wasn't a saint, he wasn't a devil either. He refused to slaughter indiscriminately just to cultivate his Immortal Asura Body. Not only that, but the blood he needed was from cultivators, and they needed to at least be at his cultivation level, so it wasn't like he could go around slaughtering innocents for their blood essence, not that he would have if it worked though.
Finding an abundant source of blood essence from cultivators at his level or above was definitely going to be a tall task that persisted throughout his entire body cultivation journey, but the reward of a supremely powerful body was worth it in the end.
"We should be arriving soon."
John was stirred out of his deep thoughts by the comment from his father. He looked forward through the window of the carriage and spotted a large stone-grey wall in the distance. It spanned for miles in each direction, and many guards could be seen patrolling on top of it. John looked past the wall and towards the Varis Clan's grounds sprawled along the base of the mountain. Much like the Fenix Clan, the Varis Clan was situated against the Skycleave Mountain. By using their powerful cultivation's, the two clans were able to clear out any powerful beasts that lived near and on the mountain, and establish their permanent clan grounds.
The Varis Clan was just as large as the Fenix Clan, and just as wealthy. Hundreds of massive buildings could be seen lining the mountainside, while the early morning sun shone through a heavy mist that hung in the air, caused by the many waterfalls within the Varis Clan grounds, which made the clan grounds look like an immortal paradise.
"Father, whose clan is stronger, ours or the Varis Clan?"
Barden looked towards his son and thought for a moment before answering. "Our two clans are almost exactly the same in terms of power, although our clan has a slightly more powerful ace in the hole."
"What ace would that be?" John asked with curiosity. ...
"You'll find out eventually, but for now, it's a clan secret," Barden winked at his son but refused to answer anything further.
John frowned at his fathers response but said nothing.
'If he's keeping it from even me, then he must have a good reason for doing so. It doesn't really affect me in the end anyways, so there's no point in badgering him about it.'
John once again looked outside the carriage window and watched the landscape pass by. The contingent of carriages soon arrived at the gates of the Varis Clan, at which point they were stopped by a large group of guards.
The Varis Clan guards confirmed the identity of the Fenix Clan members, at which point they ushered them inside and sent two guards to act as escorts to guide them to the tournament grounds. The carriages continued on further into the Varis Clan, and John could see hundreds of people pass by on the busy streets, going about their morning routines.
'It's been a few years since I've been here, but it's just as lively as ever.'
The carriage continued on for some time, and John watched as the busy business district gave way to the housing of the clan, and eventually the martial area. The tournament grounds were situated directly at the base of the Skycleave Mountains, and the looming mountains gave the fighting arenas a more profound feeling. The carriage eventually came to a stop, and a loud voice from a Varis Clan guard boomed out, allowing everyone in the various carriages to hear.
"You have arrived at the Varis Clan tournament grounds. Please enjoy your visit."
The driver of John's carriage hopped off and walked over to open the door of the carriage. Barden Fenix exited the carriage first, followed by John soon afterwards. After leaving the carriage, John took a deep breath of the fresh morning air and looked around at the familiar grounds of the Varis Clan. Although it had been several years since he was last year, John had spent quite some time in the Varis Clan, including the tournament grounds. Some distance away, John spotted the carriages and cultivators of the Flowing River Sect, as well as the Ronan Clan, but was unable to spot anyone from the Crimson Valley Sect.
Barden looked around and noticed the same. "The Crimson Valley Sect is always the last to show up. They act as if everything and everyone should wait for them. Arrogant bastards."
John nodded his head in agreement at the words of his father. From what he had experienced so far regarding the Crimson Valley Sect members, they were all arrogant assholes. John thought back to his last run in with the Crimson Valley Sect members, and a large smile soon broke out on his face. His gift towards the group of boys had been quite something, and he was sure they would look for revenge at this tournament.
'I look forward to what they can do.'
John thought of something and turned around towards his father to ask him a question, but all he saw as he turned around was a foot inches from his face.