The closer they got to their destination, the less relaxed Bai Xiaochun felt. Not only was Hou Xiaomei on Heavenspan Island, so was that very same figure whom he hadn’t seen for many years. Du Lingfei.
The truth was that, other than the chance to get some longevity pills, one of the big reasons he had agreed to come to this event was his desire to make sure that Hou Xiaomei was safe. He had missed her for a long time.
Another reason… was Du Lingfei!
As he stood there on the deck of the ship, looking off into the distance, he murmured, “Back before I left for the Great Wall, she said… that the next time we met, she would explain everything.”
He had met many women throughout the years, and although they all had left varying impressions on him, there was something unique about Du Lingfei. Although he came to know her after meeting Hou Xiaomei, there was something about Du Lingfei that made her more unforgettable than anyone else.
They had faced death together in the Luochen Mountains. After the events of the Fallen Sword Abyss, she had suddenly vanished, only to reappear again in the Blood Stream Sect, in the trial by fire for the position of blood master. When the mask fell from her face in the heart chamber of the Blood Ancestor, they had gazed into each other’s eyes, both of them shocked to the core….
When he came to the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect, she had secretly protected him from the shadows, and then gave him a parting gift in the form of a deva soul….
All of those things were unforgettable memories. And yet, by this point, not even Bai Xiaochun was very certain of the true nature of their relationship.
Perhaps they had once had feelings for one another, but now… he wasn’t sure.
Years ago, he had been obsessed with finding out how she truly felt about him. But as time passed, such desires slowly faded. Although they had never vanished completely, based on everything that had happened throughout the years, there seemed to be only one explanation.
“I can pretty much guess who you really are,” he murmured, closing his eyes.
Bai Xiaochun wasn’t the only one to lapse into solemn silence as Heavenspan Island neared. Everyone onboard felt the pressure building, and slowly became quiet.
No one missed any chances to look at the horizon in the hopes of catching sight of their destination. One day, it was Bai Xiaochun… who noticed a vague form off in the distance.
It looked like an island….
Soon, gasps could be heard on the battleship. At the same time, Bai Xiaochun’s eyes began to glitter.
He could see things more clearly than anyone, and thus was able to make out many more details about the island.
It was actually gourd-shaped, with the larger of the two circles forming the main part of the island, and the smaller of the two circles made by the docks. Connecting them was a huge mountain range that rose up like the spine of a dragon.
Lush greenery and ornate buildings covered the place. Particularly noteworthy were three mountain peaks, all of which were covered by spectacularly shocking palaces. The middle peak was the largest, with the two mountains on either side being slightly smaller.
Steep stone staircases wound down the mountain like snakes, leading to various smaller palaces that dotted the mountains. Overall, the island looked like a combination of a beautiful garden and an imperial palace!
This was none other than Heavenspan Island!
The Celestial’s Palace of the Dao!
Each and every palace on the island radiated terrifying pressure, and there were so many of them that they were difficult to count. After a short examination, Bai Xiaochun guessed that there were probably over a thousand.
The combined pressure of all those palaces was enough to topple mountains and drain seas, to overturn the world. It was almost as if this island were an enormous, almighty being, gazing down with impunity upon all living beings in the world!
In a grand hall on the primary palace in the middle of the three mountain peaks was an enormous throne crafted from pitch-black crystal. The crystal that made up the throne actually grew up from the very base of the mountain itself, apparently connecting it to the Heavenspan Sea. Black sparks of electricity danced across the surface of the throne, to eventually be absorbed by the mighty figure who sat upon it.
He was none other than the Celestial!
As Bai Xiaochun and his group neared the island, the Celestial opened his eyes, looked at the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect’s battleship, and frowned slightly.
“Thanks to my wounds, I almost completely forgot…. That’s the same kid the gravekeeper managed to reel in, the one rife with Willpower. What trouble is he here to stir up?
“Who would have thought that the old ghost actually let him come back to the lands of Heavenspan…. As calculating as ever, gravekeeper. Well, I’ll use him just the same way I used the Blood Ancestor. I’ll do everything the same. When all other plans fail, he will be my most powerful tool. Not only will I not harm him for the time being, I will protect him until he matures….
“You know me well, you old ghost…. The truth is that, unless I have absolutely no other choice… I won’t take that final step….” After a long moment passed, the Celestial closed his eyes again.
Despite that, the pressure radiating out from Heavenspan Island grew even more intense!
It was at that exact same moment that Bai Xiaochun’s gaze shifted to another location on the Heavenspan Sea.
Before long, three ships appeared, each one coming from one of the cardinal directions…. They were battleships, much the same size as the one from the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect, although each one looked somewhat different in design and style. All of them were speeding toward the docks on Heavenspan Island.
The ship coming from the west was made of green stone, and seemed ancient beyond belief. It radiated power to shake mountains and dry up rivers as it sped through the sea water.
Bai Xiaochun could just barely make out a crowd of people on the deck of the ship. Furthest toward the prow was a person who attracted immediate attention. He was old, with the demeanor of a transcendent being, and profound deva fluctuations.
The ship coming from the south caused Bai Xiaochun’s pupils to constrict. It was made of pitch-black wood, and was surrounded by sinister black smoke. Occasionally, a black dragon could be seen in the smoke, the mere sight of which caused Bai Xiaochun’s heart to start racing. Clearly, that dragon was the soul automaton of the battleship!
Seated cross-legged on the head of the dragon was a figure too obscure to be seen clearly. Only a vague outline was visible, and yet, it was possible to tell that his hair was actually the source of all the black smoke!
Even more eye-catching than the ships from the south and west was the battleship coming from the north. It seemed to be made of pure ice, which radiated a strong frigid qi. Furthermore, countless bolts of lightning danced within the ice, causing booming thunder to echo out in all directions, terrifying thunder that shook the soul.
Most conspicuous of all was the person standing on the prow of the ship from the north. He was a burly man that looked as tall and strong as a tower. In fact, he was at least 9 meters tall, powerfully built, with an aura that caused Bai Xiaochun’s pupils to constrict.
It didn’t take any consideration or thought to realize that these three ships… were cultivators from the other three branches of the Heavenspan River!
All of the other ships had set sail at roughly the same time as the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect’s, and had moved with similar speed. Thus, they all arrived at about the same time.
This was Bai Xiaochun’s first time actually laying eyes on cultivators from the other river branches. Although he had been given a lot information from that Nascent Soul elder, it was still different to see them personally. Even as he looked them over, the other cultivators on the ship around him did the same.
The pressure they felt immediately mounted. At the same time, the four different ships continued on their way toward Heavenspan Island’s docks.
As the ships got closer to each other, the cultivators on the decks became more clear.
It was at that point that the Nascent Soul elder who was an expert on the other three river branches began to provide more detailed introductions to everyone about the various cultivators!
“As you know, the east is controlled by the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect. As for the other three rivers, the west is controlled by the Exalted Zodiac Moon Domination Sect. In the south is the Dragon Totem Ghost Sea Sect. And from the north is the Nine Heavens Cloud Lightning Sect! 
“Everyone, watch out for the Exalted Zodiac Moon Domination Sect from the west. That old man with a transcendent air is known as Guru Spirit Immortal, and is adept with the Daoist magic of mountains and stones. He can transform living beings into nothing more than soil and rock! He’s very formidable. In general, the Exalted Zodiac Moon Domination Sect is adept with the Daoist magic of the five elements. Although that might not seem like anything extraordinary, their skill has reached the level of being completely terrifying.
“I'm unfamiliar with most of the other Nascent Soul cultivators from the west. But there’s one that all of you should pay close attention to. See that young man standing next to Guru Spirit Immortal? His name is Shi Yan, and he’s widely known as the top Nascent Soul expert in their entire sect. He once fought a shocking battle with someone in the early Deva Realm, and came out alive in the end!”