“You know something about this.” Fei Bai Mu didn’t ask. This much was plain to see.
Shen An De hesitated but then nodded. “I am not sure if I can answer all questions you have but I do suppose that I have some knowledge on this. You see, the Hei Dian Sect was founded by four people. Even though we haven’t retained all knowledge of what happened at that time, there are at least … rumors or maybe it would be more accurate to say scraps of information that suggest that those four founders of our sect each left behind a realm of their own.
“We don’t know where exactly those realms are but we have long suspected the so-called ‘demonic ancestor’s poisonous herb garden’ to be precisely the realm that Duan Gui Ying, the first alchemist of our sect, left behind. It would fit his area of interest and since the origins of the realm have been lost to time, there is a good chance this might be true. He sure had the strength.”
Fei Bai Mu nodded. She didn’t know how old exactly the Hei Dian Sect was but it had a long history. It was probably not any less old than the Jian Yi Sect. In those times, things had been different. She didn’t know why. Maybe it was because the cultivators and practitioners back then didn’t follow an already established path.
They had to forge their own path ahead to reach immortality and maybe that made them more courageous to try things out. There were no limits to their practices save for their own imagination and willingness to take a risk. In those days, the number of them who ascended to the immortal realms was much higher than it was nowadays. That was also why so many realms were left over from back then.
The demonic ancestor’s poisonous herb garden being created by one of the founders of the Hei Dian Sect wasn’t unthinkable. In fact, considering that this man seemed to have specialized in alchemy, it was quite likely. After all, alchemists were not as numerous as cultivators or other practitioners. How many strong enough to create a realm like that could there have been?
“If it really was him who created that realm, then do you think he would have created both sides? And a second realm connected to them?”
Shen An De furrowed his brows. “That is precisely what I am wondering about. I have not too much doubt about the original realm’s creator being him. But as for the rest …” He shook his head from side to side. “I don’t think it is likely. Why would he do that? If he wanted to have a secret realm only at his own disposal, he could have created that in the first place. Why go to the trouble of expending more energy and creating one realm with one open and one hidden side? Unless he was luring people in there, I don’t think that is the case. And if he was luring people in there, not just us but the Jian Yi Sect would know about it as well.”
Fei Bai Mu nodded. “That makes sense. There is also the fact that the other side of the realm seemed to be a much more recent creation.”
“You said it was about a millennium old?” Shen An De furrowed his brows. “Of the four original founders, two are dead. One died when trying to ascend, the other — and that was Duan Gui Ying — seems to have succumbed to illness. It is possible his pursuit of mastering alchemy was what actually killed him. So if this was a recent matter, it couldn’t have been him.”
Fei Bai Mu smiled faintly. “You’re saying that but I never took that possibility into consideration. A person from that time … if they hadn’t died, they’d have ascended. I doubt anyone would stay in the mortal realm for this long.”
There were many who stayed past their time, this Grandmaster Shen of the Hei Dian Sect being one of them, just like their own Jian Yi Sect’s Grandmaster Leng had done for them. Many people who were closely tied to their sects and held a special status in them decided on this path. But there would always come a day when that delay came to an end. A few thousand years were possible to be waited but longer than that? No, that was unlikely.
Shen An De chuckled at that. “You say that but surprisingly enough, the other two founders are still alive as far as I am aware. One of them would come by every now and then, while the other was staying here most of the time until …” He tilted his head, trying to look for the right words. “Well, we had somewhat of a falling out with him.”
Hong Ai looked at her husband when he said that. To be honest, she remembered that time. An De had worried back then, clearly fearing that An Rong would do something drastic that would put the whole sect in danger. At that time, even he wouldn’t have been able to handle it.
Thinking of that time, she turned back to Fei Bai Mu. “Ah Mu, actually, that fall-out we had with him had to do with Duan Gui Ying and it was precisely a millennium ago. There is a high chance he has to do with the appearance of that new realm and …” She shook her head, her brows furrowing tightly. “If this is indeed the case, then you and your disciples should stay as far away as possible. That man isn’t somebody you want to antagonize.”
Shen An De immediately inclined his head. “Yes, when it comes to An Rong, even I wouldn’t dare to go up against him carelessly. To do that … I’m afraid you’d need the help of the immortal races.”