No one said anything. Everyone sensed the distinct tranquility of war before it approached. It was as if they found themselves in a maelstrom formed by a storm, a fleeting serenity before the advent of mountain rain.
This serenity dampened the searing and restless turmoil in their hearts and allowed them to settle their minds. They gazed at the twinkling starry ocean in the sky, recollecting their pasts.
Xu Yangyi looked at his watch. It was 11:30 at night. “There’s still half an hour.” Fifteen people and one dog sat cross-legged on top of the building, enjoying the wintry-cold night wind. It was as if such a chilly night wind was able to blow out the burning fires in their hearts.
Zhan Twelve quietly wiped and cleaned the sharp glass-like blade that extended from his hand. He remained silent.
At some unknown place, Qin Xueluan had taken out a gorgeously rainbow-colored centipede, and it danced along her snow-white fingertips in the wind. She too didn’t speak.
Jun Man’s scorpion was climbing up his arm, and his gaze was peaceful like a lake as he looked at it. Likewise, he was silent.
Repression, expectation, and tension interweaved to form a great web of complex emotions, cloaking everyone underneath it. No one wanted to speak.
“We will return.” After ages, Xu Yangyi took a swig of his beer. He said calmly, yet unflagging in determination, “And everyone will return together.”
Silence. A minute passed, and Mo Yeyu looked up at the sky in somewhat of a daze, his voice soft, “That’s a given.”
Crunch… Xu Yangyi flattened the beer can in his hand, stood up, and laughed, “And furthermore, we’ll bear the name of the Xingtian Legion and rise up in the cultivation world.”
Yao Xintan finally laughed. His smile was weak, very weak, and died away in the turn of an eye. Merely, it seemed that the crook of his mouth faintly rose up by a hair. He wanted to speak, yet he had no words and softly sighed first instead. He said quietly after ages, “Definitely.”
The Eight Great Deadlands. Danxia Temple’s underground. Sixteen people, sixteen Qi Condensation cultivators. They were on the eve of charging into this place that had swallowed countless Foundation Establishment seniors. They were akin to large ants exploring a great tree.
“11:40.” Xu Yangyi looked at his watch and took a deep breath. In the sky, a droning sound was already in hearing range. Signal lights flickered in the sky. In the night, seven helicopters slowly flew over like fluttering monsters.
Rustle rustle rustle… Everyone stood up in silence. A voice in the night was so tiny and yet so distinct.
“Everybody.” The light of Xu Yangyi’s eyes was like a star, and he turned his head and looked towards everyone. Each person’s face was devoid of fear. They were only a stretch of grave expressions. He collected his gaze and looked at the vast night, unyielding. The sound of the seven helicopters in the sky reverberated at every person’s ear side. “Only in the defiance of the heavens is the true nature of a hero revealed.”
“Yeah…” Yao Xintan sighed emotionally as he looked at everything before his eyes. It was like he was engraving the mortal scenery, the night set with endless blooming lights, and the stars falling like rain. As he closed his eyes and opened them, he faced upwards and roared in laughter. “By rising straight up to azure skies can a great hero’s initial aspirations be rewarded.”
Xu Yangyi extended his hand. A powerful hand held onto him. It was Jun Man. In the next second, a tender hand was held on top. It was Qin Xueluan. Soon, there was a third, and a fourth… sixteen hands, everyone’s hands, were held together! It was like a silent torch burning ragingly in the night.
They all felt the temperature of each other’s hands. Xu Yangyi said austerely, “We’ll come back alive.” The torch of hands separated slowly. He suddenly pulled his field pack and raised a cry, “Go!” Taking a step onto the airplane’s winding staircase, he looked up to the sky and laughed happily, “I’m not convinced that Danxia Temple can even swallow us down!”
At the same time.
Swooosh… The night brightened. Moonlight in the sky seemed to lose its luster. At this moment, in the southwest and northwest military-region commander center, everyone qualified to know about the inside story gathered at a surveillance monitor. In shock, they observed the scene on it.
A blue ripple… sudden and towering in its emergence, brushed through all of China’s lands with a swoosh! The entire 9.6 million square kilometers! From Red Willow Gully’s Danxia Temple in Longsu Province, it burst forth with a rumble! It was akin to a circular sickle, scything through all of China!
WHOOSH!!! In Panshan City at the top of the Featherwood Guard building, everyone’s gazes all looked towards the northwest in astonishment! Azure, so blue that it lacked a sliver of impurity! Clear, like the purest river of the Mountains of Heaven! Swift, as if it was flowing light flitting across the sky, passing on in the wink of an eye!
Everyone’s hair and clothes all flew back with a rustle! Their eyes were blinded by the gust of the wild squall brought by this immense spiritual pressure. As far as the eye reached, everything was blue without exception.
“This is…” Between heaven and earth, blue radiance flashed. Everyone looked at all of this in utter infatuation. In their hearts, an inconceivable idea came forth.
“God…” At this moment, an unknown number of mortals in China still weren’t sleeping. All of them were dumbstruck like wooden chickens.
A middle-aged man was on his balcony and chatting on his cell phone, yet in this instant he was foolishly looking at the sky. Over yonder, a scattering blue radiance containing an immeasurable amount of rampaging qi spread forth like a sacred halo.
Its beginning and end were a mystery. The light awfully resembled a scene of aliens descending in a movie!
“Hey, Chief Zhang? What’s up? Why aren’t you speaking?” The voice on the other end of the phone became quieter and quieter. Ultimately, it transformed into the sound of a clatter, and the phone fell and broke on the floor. Amidst his unwittingness, Chief Zhang’s cell phone had slid out of his hand and dropped onto the ground. The woman on the other end was still speaking.
“Heavens…” Chief Zhang stretched out his neck and looked at the sky, incomparably shocked. It was a blue halo growing more and more distant in its journey. The sky consequently changed color!
“Is t-this an alien? A flying saucer? Is the Earth exploding?”
In all the surrounding buildings, each person stuck out their heads, flabbergasted heads that were met by shock. All together, they were silent.
At this moment, inside a university building, things had already come to a total boil! Countless people took out their cell phones, taking videos with their utmost effort as they screeched. They excitedly looked at this once-in-a-century marvel that was in the sky!
“Damn! What the fuck is this?!”
“Is it aliens?!”
“Is a world war going to break out?”
“Is there something like this in astronomy?”
“My god… that’s really fucking awesome! There’s still a marvel like this in the world! Isn’t this a dang aurora?!”
In Longsu Province, outside of Danxia Temple, Daomaster Ancientpine’s entire face was ashen. The appearance of this location was no longer that of the past! In the sky, endless violet talismans had already turned scarlet! Moreover… a tremendous bell was suspended high overhead!
The entire body of this bell was carved full of talismans and emitted a kind of aged aura along with an indescribable might of a sovereign king. However, it conveyed an even stronger death qi at the same time!
It was Longsu Province’s Umbran Armament! At this moment, two Core Formation ancestors, an Umbran Armament, and the Nine Absolutes Dragon Slaughtering Formation were fully mobilized!
They were simply unable to suppress this domain of blue light and shattered apart without warning!
“The world anomaly… has already begun…” Ancientpine tightly clenched his teeth and gazed fixedly before him. “All Foundation Establishment cultivators, ascend into the air and wait for command!”
Following his gruff shout, several hundred silhouettes on the ground immediately rose up into the sky without the slightest hesitation. Treasure swords were unsheathed. On the other side, a water dragon circled around in the air. In the northwest corner, a hundred-meter-long water-sleeve surrounded the inside with a tremendous circle… In the sky, numerous magik treasures struggled in a twinkling battle of wonder and color. Treasure light sparkled like a white sun!
Ancientpine breathed in deeply and closed his eyes. After he opened them, his sleeves shook freely of the wind! In the next second, all shadows in the night charged into his hand and converged into a meter-long black sword! It was absent of edge and devoid of light. Simple and heavy, its killing intent was astonishing.
“Extinguisher…” He took a long sigh and firmly gripped the sword handle. “Even after a century, there was actually a day where my hand would hold this sword…”
Everyone was waiting with rapt attention… waiting in rapt attention for what was in front of them! Ahead of them… in the black night, there was a tremendous blue vortex... thats ends were simply unseen! It even exceeded the total area of Longsu Province! Akin to a mirror of primal chaos! It was lazily spinning in the air!
Terrible spiritual pressures came from the chaotic black hole, and peals of hair-raising wisping sounds spread forth every now and then. It was like an infernal rift was opening little by little!
Swoosh!!! An azure halo, boundless like the Milky Way, streaked across Xichuan. It cut across the two great mountains of Greenwall and Cranecry.
At this instant, at the peak of Greenwall Mountain, an old Daoist inside a Dao temple snapped his eyes open. Swoosh… Right now, the candles within the Dao temple flickered in harmony. The old Daoist turned his head and looked at four half-kneeling young Daoists in front of him. He said seriously, “Ling Xiaozi, Wu Weizi, Qing Jingzi, Xuan Chengzi.” 
“Disciple is here!” the four young Daoists below answered in chorus.
“Inheritors of the Four Mountain-Protector Swords…” He closed his eyes again. “Immediately leave for Danxia Temple! You mustn’t delay by a hair!”
The four people left, and the old Daoist opened his eyes again. He fixed his gaze on the blue radiance in the sky and sighed heavily, “Why… is this poor Daoist actually unable to calculate their fortune and danger for this occasion? There is life in death, and death in life… This journey… will be extremely ruthless… Nine deaths and a single life...”
At Mount Song, an old Buddhist monk, all of his hair already stark white, looked at the borderless ripple cutting through the sky and sighed deeply. He turned back and left. Behind him was a young monk who had a kasaya draped over his shoulders and had his head bowed and eyes restrained. Yet behind this young monk, there were eighteen monks who resembled golden men and wore short-sleeved martial attire. Likewise, their hands were joined in prayer, and they bowed their heads in silence.
“Fahui…” The old monk’s voice was like a lake, and he said serenely, “In the northwest… great changes are at hand. As this generation’s Shaolin Temple Buddha successor, are you willing to set forth? To slay demons and defend the Dao for my Three Great Sects?”
Within a pavilion in the north, a young man lifted his head and looked at the blue halo sweeping through the sky. He faced the heavens and roared gleefully, “It’s started! It’s started! It’s finally begun! Hahaha!”
Even more unaware cultivators, simply without the qualifications to know about all of this, looked at the sky vacantly. They only sensed that this halo, which enveloped China, contained a terrible spiritual force!
“This! What is this?!” In a mountain cave, an elderly man whose face was completely emaciated suddenly flew out from a coffin and stepped into the sky. In shock, he looked at the tremendous blue ray of light that cut through the sky, his face colored with astonishment. Soon after, he stared straight at the northwest. “That’s… Longsu Province! What in the world happened?!”
“This…” In a tall building, over a dozen middle-aged men and women were having a meeting, but the instant they sensed this blue radiance, they all rushed over to French window in front of them. The looked at the sky in disbelief.
In Beijing’s Cultivation Court, a giant door with the character “sky” above it suddenly opened without a sound. An incomparably aged voice came out from within. “It’s finally started, eh… The largest secret realm in China as of now… Actually come forth from a demon’s evolution…”
Gazes bewilderedly looked towards the northwest in uncertainty. However, all of this… had just begun moments ago!
In black clouds, the cloud stratum above, and the moon… rays of red light scattered forth all of a sudden! From the black clouds, their depths unseen, wisps and strands cast down. They seemed to embroider the entire Earth with a red-dotted headscarf. Furthermore...
These red rays of light formed a tremendous design, little by little!
1. These are all Daoist titles, but actual traditional Daoist titles. I usually translate these by a case by case basis, but find myself hard-pressed in this situation. These titles sometimes refer to a greater Daoist ideal. Ling Xiaozi = Approaching Firmament. Wu Weizi = Daoist doctrine of inaction. Qing Jingzi = purified of defiling illusions. Xuan Chengzi = Profound Sincerity. A more accurate form of these names would be all together, i.e: Xuanchengzi, Wuweizi, Qingjingzi, Lingxiaozi.