"What should I do?" she thought.
It was difficult to just destroy the Evergreen Heart and forget about it. It would be a waste to destroy something as world-shaking as this. At the same time, the amount of attention and danger it would give her did not seem worth it. Even being associated with it could bring trouble much less finding it. There were people out there who would do anything for near-immortality. She would be wanted everywhere and Ming Yue did not want this.
She thought long and hard but could not come to an answer
"I should take advantage of this energy first. Destroy it or not, I should use it at least", she sat down by the glowing tree and began cultivating under its influence.
Days passed by as her body was continually nourished by the Evergreen Heart. Bathing in this miraculous energy had filled her with power, strengthened her body. Her cultivation skyrocketed until she reached the bottleneck of the Core stage, arriving at the Mind Stage. Even then, breaking through was relatively easy for her.
The island within Ming Yue's body was glowing with energy. Suddenly all of it exploded forth and the energy had caused the island to expand, forming a great mountain next to it.
With the Mind Stage, one's mental capabilities would improve. Their comprehension and thinking is quicker and much stronger.
Once Ming Yue had reached it, information bursted into her mind. Every battle she had witnessed or participated in, every skill that she had created or used, everything that she had experienced blazed through her mind. She saw her shortcomings, weaknesses and improvements. In the span of several hours, she had rewatched her entire life.
As this happened, she never stopped cultivating and continued to devour as much of the Evergreen Heart's power as she could.
The Mind Stage was only a cursory thought as the mountain began to rumble and split apart, transforming into two. From its depths, streams of water spewed out and a great waterfall formed. It flowed down and cascaded towards the edge of the island, falling to the depths of the empty space within her body.
This was the Sight Stage, where one would view the world in a new light. They could easily discern the differences in energy and their properties. Whether it was the world's energy or someone's life force, one could discern evil from good, chaos from serenity, softness and firmness.
Of the seven stages in the Earth Realm, Ming Yue had gone from the first stage of Core to the third stage of Sight. Though she had managed to break past two stages, crossing them was nothing compared to reaching the stage of Perception. This stage is the gate-keeper that kept many cultivators back. It is also the most important one second to reaching the Sky Realm.
The Perception Stage can be considered an evolution to the Sight Stage. Where one can see the subtleties of countless types of energy, the perception stage would give you the ability to interact with these energies. Hence, it was at this stage that one could achieve true flight, to soar in the sky and go wherever one pleased.
Unfortunately, Ming Yue could not reach this stage at this moment. Even with the miraculous powers of the Evergreen Heart, that flourishing island of hers did not expand even further. Nothing improved from cultivating here anymore. Rather, she was too weak to enjoy all of its benefits. Her body could not refine as quickly as she could absorb and in a week, her body was absolutely saturated. Filled to its utmost, absrobing anymore only ended up being dispersed from her body.
"Haah", she stood up and turned towards the Evergreen Heart.
The great tree continued to release more of its powers, like ripples in a pond it washed over her gently. She could not bear to destroy it but she knew it was the best thing to do. She took out her sword and held it tightly with both her hands.
Power surged through her as wind wrapped the blade, strengthening it ten times over. She raised it high above her head, prepared to chop it in one move.
"Ugh, damnit!", she cursed herself and released her energy, lowering her sword.
She sheathed it and instead brought out her dagger. Coating that with her energy, she walked up to the Evergreen Heart and found a small branch. It was only an inch at its thickest and thirteen inches long. WIth that dagger, she cut of the branch carefully and placed it within her spacial ring.
"Destroying all of it really is too much of a waste. At least, I should keep this branch just in case."
Its power might diminish greatly but it would be extremely useful for desperate situations. If she had it made into an accessory, it could be life saving. She reaffirmed herself and brought her sword out again. This time, she was resolute and prepared to cut down the Evergreen Heart.
She chopped it into halves before cutting them into smaller pieces. Afterwards, she brought these broken parts out into the surface. Exiting the spiral stairs and stepping back into the small cottage, the floors rumbled as the fireplace that was still lit returned to its place.
The blazing fires within it was fierce and with her cultivation, she found that this flame was no ordinary one. Even after a week, it continued to burn violently. It didn't take much to know that it was special but Ming Yue determined much more than just that.
"I guess, the head researcher was prepared. An ordinary flame probably wouldn't do a thing to the Evergreen Heart."
Ming Yue took about all of the pieces of the Evergreen Heart except for that branch and looked at them. Even after reducing it into bits and pieces, they were all still pulsating with power. She gave them one look and tossed them into the flames, watching them turn to ashes as the power evaporated.
She studied the powers that fueled this flame, it was violent in nature and seemed to feed on the Evergreen Heart's power. With each piece, it would grow stronger and stronger. Part way there, the red flames suddenly turned blue and the raging flames reduced down to small fire. However, its power only grew stronger and the violent nature had transformed. Instead, it released a baleful aura, full of death and despair.
Each piece she tossed in had disappeared the moment it entered the fire. The pure and calm energy would be overtaken by the deathly aura and absorbed.
Once day broke, she was finished. The Evergreen Heart was no more, a treasure that has stayed hidden for millenia only to be destroyed without anyone's knowledge. Though it was not entirely true as she still had one branch from it. If luck is on her side, she could have the oppurtunity to regrow it. Of course, such a thing would not happen for years to come.
She left the cottage and watched as the sun rose. Then she remembered something.
"Fuck! The thirty days!" she completely forgot about the deadline and smacked herself.
"Damn it, did it already end? No that can't be, I should still have at least a day. I've only been in there for a week! I should send a message to the elder!"
She quickly held her badge up and then looked back at the buildings before her. Although the Evergreen Heart was destroyed, the flame within the cottage had yet to disappear most likely taking its time with the Evergreen Heart's energy.
"I should send a message to meet in the third pavilion."
She sent a message to the elder and began ran off, leaving the pavilion and heading into the fourth zone.
Ming Yue looked at the map from her badge as she ran, navigating through the overgrown grass and towering trees. Just a kilometer in, she felt a powerful energy approach her and looked up into the sky. There, Elder Xiang's ship floated above and descended down.
"Where the hell did you go?" Elder Xiang yelled out, "Even after tracking your badge, I couldn't find you!"
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