“Feng!” An even louder voice came from Tianming.
Just when Ye Lingfeng’s dagger was stabbed into Jiang Chengfeng’s flesh, he suddenly stopped. Not only did he not stab it in, he even pulled out the other dagger in Jiang Chengfeng’s saint palace and left. On the other hand, Jiang Chengfeng collapsed onto the ground.
“Big Brother Tianming.…” Ye Lingfeng could feel the burn in his throat and his breathing became heavier as he walked toward Tianming.
“Come here!” Tianming quickly grabbed him.
“Look here.” Tianming looked at Ye Lingfeng with the Insightful Eye from a hidden angle.
“Are you better now?” Tianming patted Ye Lingfeng’s back.
“I’m fine now.…” Ye Lingfeng took a deep breath, and the bloodlust in his eyes finally disappeared.
“Who did you see?” Tianming smirked.
“You, without any clothes on.…” Ye Lingfeng replied with a blank expression.
“What the fuck?!” Tianming felt his head buzzing and almost vomited blood. “Holy shit, can you be more normal? You and I are impossible!”
The Bewitching Pupil was an art of seduction. By now, Feiling and his three lifebound beasts were all laughing together at Tianming. But this atmosphere didn’t last for long. It was interrupted by someone howling, “Ye Lingfeng!”
The shriek came from Jiang Chengfeng. He was still kneeling on the ground, weeping blood and looking at Ye Lingfeng and Tianming with a distorted expression like a beast. “You guys will definitely die at the hands of the Ancient Theocrats! And that goes the same for everyone who’s related to the two of you!”
His eyes were bloodshot, and a smile hung from his lips. Then, he struggled up and looked at the other members of the Theocrats with an indifferent expression and said, “Fellow elders and ancestors, I’m sorry for being defeated. I put the Ancient Theocrats to shame, and I deserve to die. Please dump my corpse outside the Theocracy of the Ancients. I’m not worthy of my status.”
He wasn’t the same as Jiang Junhe and Jiang Yutong. He was a loyal, fanatical heir of the Ancient Theocrats’ will. He kowtowed heavily on the ground three times before looking at the palace and weeping. “Father, grandfather, I’m sorry. I let the two of you down. But please take revenge for me! I’m already a cripple, and I’ll only continue to bring shame if I carry on living. If there’s an afterlife, I still want to be born in the royal clan!”
When he was done, he plunged the saber in his hand directly into his chest. When he pulled it back out, blood started gushing out from the wound. Staring at Tianming and Ye Lingfeng, his corpse collapsed into the puddle of blood.
The entire battlefield was enveloped by silence. Tianming turned to look at Jiang Chengfeng, kneeling on the ground after his defeat with a grim face. Jiang Chengfeng had reminded him of the conversation he had with Bai Mo a few days ago. It was a conversation that made him truly understand what the Ancient Theocrats were all about. He could only say that if Yueling Long were still alive, she would absolutely fall in love with the clan, because their will coincided with her ideals. So much so that Jun Shengxiao even mentioned that they merely learned from the Ancient Theocrats when he had used commoners as cannon fodder.
That day, Bai Mo spoke to him in a grave voice, “Long ago, the Ancient Theocrats used to be called the Nineshades Clan. But one day, that chanced upon the Cyclic Mirror. The mirror would absorb fate souls to aid them in comprehending the heavenly will, and since that day, the clan’s rise began. They violently expanded their territory through bloody means, ultimately destroying the predecessor of the Decimo Dao Palace and establishing the Theocracy of the Ancients.”
The method of absorbing fate souls to cultivate shared some similarity with the Infernal Soul Race, but at the same time, it was on a whole new level. The Cyclic Mirror was crueler and less efficient than the methods of the Infernal Soul Race. The Cyclic Mirror needed five hundred thousand souls to be completely filled, not to mention that it wouldn’t last for long.
“Many people lost their lives to the Cyclic Mirror, and the number of corpses buried under the Theocracy of the Ancients is as high as tens of billions!” Bai Mo’s voice trembled when he said that.
When Tianming heard that number, his scalp immediately went numb and he muttered, “Tens of billions over the past tens of thousands of years.…”
“That’s right. Everyone’s out for themselves, and this was the teaching passed down in the Theocracy. It’s something that’d already been imprinted deep in their bones. That was the reason they would plunder resources for their own use and cruelly suppressed anyone who retaliated against them, including the Infernal Soul Race. As for the Ancient Clans, they could only survive by bowing to the Theocrats.
“The Decimo Dao Palace managed to seize some resources from the Theocracy of the Ancients and preserved our inheritance. But it still wasn’t enough. If it weren’t for our forefathers holding on, the four remaining halls would’ve been infiltrated by now. And without the dao palace, the Dark Hall will only get smaller. Not only do they plunder resources, but women as well. They have two surnames in their clan, Dongyang and Jiang, respectively, with the Dongyang surname ruling the clan. Women are nothing but tools to them, so every royal clan member has multiple wives.
“For tens of thousands of years, all the outstanding women have been seized by them to birth to talented descendants, ensuring the inheritance and prosperity of their clan. After all, their talent depended on the number of heads of their lifebound beasts. So the birth of a descendant with a nine-headed lifebound beast would shake the nation. The Primeval Autarch was never the strongest in their clan, but the soul of their clan.
“As a result, birthrate and plunder have always been important to the royal clan, which led to the multiple chaotic factions in the clan. For example, Autarch Qian has just died, right? But his youngest son, who’s in the same generation as Autarch Yun, is just a newborn.…” Bai Mo was shaking his head when he shared this with Tianming.
There were many misfortunes in the Theocracy of the Ancients, such as the commoners’ miserable life, or the bloody vendetta in the royal clan. This was also the reason why there was so much unrest within the clan when Autarch Qian died. So much so that the conflicts between factions had come to the surface.
“I believe you’re also curious why they’re so cruel, right?” Bai Mo asked.
“A little. At least, for the time being, I haven’t encountered anything pleasing to my eye,” said Tianming.
“Well, that’s not surprising. That’s the will of the clan. The newborns are instilled with the mindset of plunder and competition between them from a young age. Their elders would teach them to bully others, and their ancestral teachings forced them to give birth. This resulted in the cruelty and hideousness of the clan. But at the same time, it’s also guaranteed their prosperity for the past tens of thousands of years. At least until Princess Skyfate, not a single woman in the history of Ancient Theocrats had any position,” said Bai Mo.
“Princess Skyfate? Why is that?” Tianming sounded his curiosity.
“To be honest, there’s something unusual about that, as well. Autarch Qian had hundreds of children, but he only had one daughter. Even after Princess Skyfate’s death, Autarch Qian was never able to produce another daughter,” Bai Mo explained.
“Hundreds.… Does he even know everyone?” Tianming was stunned by Bai Mo’s revelation.
“You want to know the truth?”
“Aside from his first twenty children, he couldn’t even remember the rest.”
Tianming was flabbergasted.
“Tianming, do you find it unbelievable?”
“Yeah. But I don’t think that it’s unbelievable anymore, after hearing about the will of their clan. After all, there’s all kinds of birds in a forest, and every single one of them has its own way of surviving. At least for them, they don’t feel that there’s anything wrong with their actions. But since the beginning of their reign, many people have only been able to tremble in fear,” said Tianming.
“That’s right. They think that they’re right. But the funny thing is that they lost the Cyclic Mirror more than four decades ago.” Bai Mo suddenly smiled.
Tianming trembled when he heard that. He asked, “Because of my father?”
“That’s right. Your father is the savior of countless lives.”
“That’s right. Otherwise, why do you think we’d protect you? Just because of Li Wudi? Li Wudi isn’t reliable, but your biological father is the greatest person in history!” Bai Mo replied.
Tianming was hearing this story for the very first time. His father, who was called a sinner, suddenly became the greatest person?
“Do you know why so many people share a different opinion from ours and hate your father?” Bai Mo asked. Tianming could only respond with a shake of his head.
“A rabbit will never feast on the grass near its nest. The Ancient Theocrats never used the Cyclic Mirror on anyone in the Theocracy of the Ancients. After all, they were elites. They mainly targeted remote nations, those without any influence in the Theocracy. They reared them like livestock,” Bai Mo replied.
Tianming knew what Bai Mo was saying. He meant nations like Vermillion Bird. Jun Shengxiao naturally knew that the Theocrats cultivated by using others’ fate souls, so he must’ve provided the commoners of smaller nations to the Theocrats as the Grand-Orient Realm’s ruler. The truth had a huge impact on Tianming.
“As for those in the Theocracy of the Ancients, they think it’s fine as long as it has nothing to do with them. In their eyes, a true hero is labeled a traitor. The Ancient Theocrats hold the authority here, so whatever they say is the law,” said Bai Mo.
“I see… I have another question.”
“What is it?”
“Why did my father kill Princess Skyfate? Is it because Princess Skyfate was also someone like you’ve described?” Tianming asked.
“No. Jiang Lingjing was a good girl.”
“I don’t know the reason your father killed Princess Skyfate. Perhaps there’s another side to the story. After all, what you hear around here is only what the Theocrats want you to hear, and no one knows what actually happened,” replied Bai Mo.
“Okay.” Tianming was relieved to know that, at the very least, Li Muyang was on the righteous side when he stole the Cyclic Mirror. He was worried that Li Muyang would turn out to be someone he detests. As for the original story, only the Primeval Autarch and his father probably knew about it.
“Then why didn’t Autarch Qian look for the Cyclic Mirror since they’re so desperate about it? There wasn’t any response from him when I came here. Is it because he was about to die?” Tianming questioned his doubt.
“Tianming, I can only say that we’re all curious about that. Honestly speaking, the majority here don't know about the Cyclic Mirror’s actual usage. But we do know that, without it, the Theocracy will decline. At the very least, Autarch Yun isn’t an empyrean saint. He should be feeling anxious about getting back the Cyclic Mirror, but he doesn’t seem that way at all.” Bai Mo frowned.
“Even you guys have no idea about the Cyclic Mirror’s actual usage?”
This question could only be left in his heart. Tianming was having a headache when he thought about the connection between Princess Skyfate, Jiang Lingjing, Wei Jing, and him. Most importantly, he would probably never be able to find out, since Autarch Qian was dead.
“It’s complicated between your father and the Theocrats, and we’re unsure of many things. But since he’s still alive, the truth will come out, sooner or later,” said Bai Mo.
“Yeah!” Tianming nodded. He was already looking forward to that day.Previous Chapter Next Chapter