Adam's stunned words lingered in the air as he stared at John as if he didn't recognize him. John scratched his head, unsure of how to respond.
"Haha, I guess that pill was pretty impressive," John replied. He couldn't reveal the truth of what happened.
"Pill my ass," Adam replied with a raised voice. "No pill helps like that. Just how the hell did you manage that?"
Adam was truly curious, as he was about to ascend to Early Core Formation soon as well. If he could simulate John's ascension, it would improve his power by untold amounts.
"Luck. Anyways, stop asking about it. We have wasted enough time here, let's move out," John replied quickly, his voice indicating that he didn't want to talk about it.
Adam wanted to rebuke, but held his tongue. Everyone had their secrets, and while John's appeared to be absolutely monumental, Adam still respected his privacy. His face suddenly filled with undeserved pride, as he tried to lighten the mood.
"Well, if someone like you reaches twenty compressions, then the heavenly talented prodigy such as myself surely will reach thirty."
John scoffed and shook his head at Adam's antics as he packed up his stuff. John wanted to venture further into the city, as he had wasted enough time already. He had a goal he needed to fulfill, and would not forgive himself if this wasted time made him fail that goal.
The two of them left the building and continued further into the city. They hastened their pace this time, making sure to not get distracted by any minor things of interest that drew their attention.
Occasionally, a unique looking building or mysterious aura would pop up, but John ignored them all as he ventured directly to the city's center. They ventured forward for several hours at a quickened pace, when they suddenly found themselves leaving the cities streets lined with ancient buildings.
The city opened up into a massive open circular area, over a dozen miles wide. The ground before them sloped upwards, revealing a large hill at the very center of the city. The hill was half a mile tall, and nearly ten miles wide at the top. It was covered in grass, trees, beautiful flowers, and other vibrant vegetation.
John and Adam's eyes trailed upwards, and became stunned at the sight before them. At the very top of the hill, a massive temple stood. It was nearly the full width of the hill's top, and stood ten miles from end to end.
The temple was marble white, with blue and gold accents, making it look incredibly beautiful. Massive columns, hundreds of feet high, lined the outside of the temple, each carved with ornate and detailed designs. Large statues, depicting many different people lined the outside as well, as if they were guarding the temple.
Each statue was so detailed that they appeared life-like, and an impressive ancient aura emanated from each one. Unlike the other crumbling buildings in the city, the temple before them was in pristine condition, adding to its majesty.
Both of them stood there in silence for a moment before John spoke up.
"Well, we've discovered what exists in the center of this city. Let's go."
Adam nodded his head and followed along, his eyes lingering on the temple above. It was more grand and beautiful than anything he had seen in his life, and he truly appreciated master craftsmanship. The two approached the base of the hill, at which point they spotted a massive set of marble white stairs leading up the hillside to the temple at the top of the mountain.
John could spot several cultivators ascending the stairs, although they seemed to be struggling for some reason.
A large crowd of disciples had gathered at the bottom of the stairs, piquing John's interest.
"We really took our sweet time to get here if this many people have already gathered outside this temple, let alone how many might have entered already" John commented as he shook his head in disapproval at himself.
He moved over towards the crowd, intending to ask what was going on. He quickly reached the crowd, which contained nearly thirty cultivators of all the sects. They were broken into groups, each group consisting of a sect.
The Heavenly Lightning Sect group had eight disciples in it, and John recognized three that belonged to the lower ranked Core Discipleship. There were also several Inner Disciples, and they nodded their heads towards John with respect as they noticed him approaching.
The Divine Soul Sect had nine disciples outside, each emanating a pure aura, as if they were untouched by the mortal world. There were six Supreme Battle Sect disciples, each emanating an intense fighting spirit, as if they wanted a fight to break out at any moment.
Lastly, at the far end of the gathering were five Bloodfiend Sect Disciples. They each had a Half-Step Core Formation cultivation, and stood there at the very front as if they owned the place.
John's eyes instantly darkened as he saw the Bloodfiend Sect Disciples. While they were making no trouble for the others right now as they were outnumbered, John knew none of them would hesitate to kill if the opportunity arose.
His scythe suddenly appeared in his one hand, as he raised his other hand and pointed his finger towards them....
Several Lightning Ruins were instantly unleashed, piercing directly towards the five Bloodfiend Sect Disciples.
"What the hell are you doing!" one of the disciples yelled out in rage, and each of them took out their weapon to block the approaching attacks.
As the Lightning Ruins were travelling forward, John slashed his scythe out, sending a powerful scythe image towards the five of them.
Five attacks, the most powerful the Bloodfiend Sect Disciples could muster were unleashed as they fought against the three Lightning Ruin attacks. Despite their superior numbers, the disciples were dismayed to find that they had actually lost out in power against the Lightning Ruins.
The Lightning Ruins struck against the disciples, inundating them with pain. Their attacks had weakened the power of the Lightning Ruins, but the destructive properties of John's lightning rampaged through their bodies, destroying them from within.
The scythe image finally caught up, slicing into the five disciples who were struggling against John's lightning.
Pained cries rang out as each disciple was cleanly bisected in two, not having the slightest ability to resist. Their severed bodies collapsed to the ground, and before long, each disciple died from the excessive blood loss.
Silence once again filled the crowd as all those present stared at John with wary eyes. He had attacked without warning, and had mercilessly killed the five Bloodfiend Sect Disciples in an instant. His lack of emotion when killing the five, as well as the shocking power he displayed, stunned everyone.
John casually walked over to the bodies and collected them, and a thoughtful look appeared on his face.
'Those casual essence attacks of mine just now were much stronger than before to a terrifying degree. Achieving twenty compressions on my dantian has raised it's power to an incredible level, and I can now rely on it just as much as my body dantian.'
John had always favored his body dantian, as it naturally at a much higher level than his own essence dantian. The power and quality of Qi it unleashed was completely shocking, and it gave John his incredible battle prowess. While his essence dantian was always impressive, it was always lacking when compared to the mysterious sphere acting as his body dantian.
However, the twenty compressions had completely transformed his essence dantian into one beyond the level of myths and legends, and had firmly put it alongside his body dantian in quality and profundity.
John quickly absorbed the blood essence from each cultivator, making sure to do so through the connection to his palace realm. No other cultivator could see this process taking place, and so it perfectly hid his taboo cultivation method.
A frown appeared on John's face after he absorbed all the blood essence.
'It's still not enough to advance my body to the Core Formation Realm. Each major realm increase seems to require a massive increase in blood essence requirement. Oh well, I'll advance my body as well before long.'
John wasn't too worried about it, as his newfound essence strength gave him an amazing power to rely on. He was practically a new person after ascending to the Core Formation Realm for essence cultivation, and his advantages over other cultivators would only continue to grow in the future.
After completing his dirty work regarding the Bloodfiend Sect, John turned to one of the Heavenly Lightning Sect disciples, who was still staring at him as if he was a monster.
However, some pride was also evident on the Heavenly Lightning Sect disciples' faces, as John was a member of their sect, and his achievements only served to elevate the status of their sect.
"What is this place, and why are you gathered before this large staircase?" John asked curiously.