At the very center of the Yuan Continent Holy Lands, the massive Qi whirlpool, or better described as a Qi hurricane, continued to revolve in perpetuity. The Four Great Sects had established their sects around the whirlpool, as the Qi in this area was the most dense anywhere on the continent.
Not only that, but each sect had devised a way to siphon Qi from the whirlpool to harness it for various purposes within the sect. This siphoning had been going on for tens of thousands of years, but the Qi whirlpool remained as dense and powerful as ever.
High up in the air, several figures floated on the outskirts on the whirlpool, looking into it and closely inspecting it. The man in front reached out his hand and attempted to move it forward into the tempest of Qi.
However, his hand was stopped midway, and no matter what he did, he was unable to move it forward at all. A screen of light blocked his hand.
"It's the same as always," Sect Leader Thunderzen spoke up. "The formation surrounding the whirlpool remains in effect."
Sect Leader Thunderzen was joined by several high ranking members of the sect, including the Vice Sect Leader.
"If the whirlpool is weakening, then why is the formation not weakening as well?" The Vice Sect Leader asked.
As far back as anyone could remember, the Qi whirlpool had always been surrounded by a protective formation. After many tests to find its weakness, the only thing discovered was that the formation allowed those sixteen years and younger within.
As Celestial Soulrend had explained, there used to be many entrances to the pocket realm, but all but one had been lost to time. This entrance was one of them, as the protective formation that kept the storm contained had been broken by unknown means, while the age formation had not been. This resulted in the contained Qi storm expanding uncontrollably, to its present day size.
The age formation had also been warped by the powerful Qi storm, and had expanded with the storm to its edges.
All those with a bone age over sixteen years were unable to enter. The reason for this had always been baffling to those who did not know the truth, as the Qi storm within the formation was strong enough to kill any Qi Condensation or Core Formation youth when they entered.
When John had been expelled from this Qi whirlpool, he had the protection of Celestial Soulrend, who was the creator of the pocket realm, and this Qi whirlpool. Otherwise, if he was to enter it on his own, he would die as well due to the storm's immense power.
However, the Sect's most powerful experts had gathered today before the storm due to a startling discovery. The Qi whirlpool, which had remained stable for tens of thousands of years, was now weakening at a frightening rate. At the current weakening rate, it wouldn't be long before the storm completely died out.
None of the experts gathered knew the reason why, and when they tried to explore within, they discovered that the formation keeping them out was unaffected. As such, all they could do was look into the storm from the outside, and try to figure out the reason for its weakening.
"The age formation must be independent from the Qi whirlpool, and is unaffected by its weakening," Sect Leader Thunderzen replied to the Vice Sect Leader's question.
"Without this whirlpool, how is our Sect supposed to maintain hegemony over these lands?" Another man spoke up. He was middle aged, with a thick black beard and a shaved head. He wore the robes of the Enforcement Hall, similar to Elder Ragur's, and was the head of the Enforcement Hall.
The whirlpool provided a massive advantage to the Four Great Sects, which allowed them to remain unmatched.
"You should know more than anyone that our hegemony does not depend on this whirlpool. If the whirlpool truly dies out, we can always receive more aid from the mainland," Thunderzen looked over to the man and replied.
His vision once again pierced into the storm, examining its depths as far as he could see.
"Besides, if the whirlpool truly does die out, I wonder if we can find out what sort of wonderful things exist within?" Thunderzen said with an amused tone. His thoughts suddenly thought of a lone boy, who was mysteriously found directly outside of this whirlpool several months ago.
Thunderzen knew it was impossible for John to reach this area undetected, as it was a restricted area, and so that only left one explanation. Now, several months later, the whirlpool, which had remained stable for tens of thousands of years, suddenly began to weaken.
"Some of you remain here and continue to inspect this situation. Let me know if anything changes. In the meantime, it seems like I have to ask a certain someone some questions," Thunderzen stated out loud before his figure suddenly vanished.
John inspected Kirii closely after Kirii's attack....
"Can you do that again?" John asked in an excited tone.
Kirii's attack had been incredibly powerful, and would be an incredible help in battle if Kirii was able to unleash it whenever John asked for it.
However, Kirii only snuggled deeper into John's embrace, fully falling asleep without concern for his question.
"I suppose you still are only a few days old," John mumbled out loud as he began to leave the basement. With a thought, he transferred Kirii from his embrace to his soul space, to allow Kirii to rest without anything disturbing his rest.
Suddenly, Reya and Francel burst through the door leading to the basement stairs and spotted John walking towards them.
"What happened?" Reya asked anxiously. "We heard a loud explosion, and the house shook quite violently."
John smiled wryly before responding. "Just training down here. It's nothing to worry about."
Both Reya and Francel looked at John with disbelieving eyes, but said nothing to argue against his words. As long as he was safe and the house was not destroyed, they were content.
"Oh yeah," John suddenly spoke to the two of them. "I want to buy some battle arts. Do either of you know a place where I can do so?"
It was the next main thing on his to do list. Once he obtained some powerful lightning battle arts, his combat prowess would soar even more.
"The Sect will teach you many battle arts for free as the year progresses, and you can save money or contribution points this way," Francel commented, but John's look on his face made him realize that John already knew this.
"If you can't wait for that, there is such a place. The Heavenly Lightning Library. It contains all the literary works of the sect, including battle arts," Francel replied, before explaining where it was located.
"That's perfect, thanks," John replied in a thankful tone. He quickly left his house and began to descend the mountain, heading straight towards the library.
The Heavenly Lightning Library was located quite close to the central Heavenly Lightning Palace, and was one of the most popular buildings for the sect's cultivators to visit. Not only did it contain a vast array of battle arts ranging from the Qi Condensation realm all the way to the Heaven Tribulation realm, it also contained other documents covering a wide range of topics, such as history, art, and business.
John leisurely strolled through the sect, taking in the scenery.
"No matter how many times I walk through the sect, I'm always amazed by it."
The grand buildings, beautiful landscape, majestic waterfalls, tranquil streams, and towering mountains made the sect feel like an immortal paradise. John eventually found himself passing by the Martial Arena's, and his vision lingered on the large stone tablet in front.
"Only a week until my fight. I can't wait."
John had not fought a proper fight against another cultivator since the pocket realm, and was eagerly looking forward to his fight with Russell.
All of a sudden, John felt himself wrapped up in a mysterious power, which he was unable to do anything about. It was so powerful as to make any attempt of resisting futile. Before he could even react however, John found his scenery completely change.
The sect grounds, which he had just been in a moment ago, sprawled out far below him. John quickly looked around to get his bearings and figure out what had just happened. He noticed that he was on a balcony, over a thousand yards above the sect grounds below. Above him, a towering spire pierced high into the sky, its top obscured by the clouds.
"Take a seat," a voice spoke out.
John quickly turned around to the source of the voice, and his face lit up in surprise. Sect Leader Thunderzen was seated at a table on the large balcony, a small smile on his face as he stared at John.