The next day, Tianming, Feiling, and Ye Lingfeng came to the main entrance of the palace. With the chaos outside, the Decimo Dao Palace was really quiet all over, with the number of disciples present far lower than usual. Soon, Chen Jinghong, Bai Xiaozhu, and Situ Yiyi joined them, along with Bai Mo and Ye Yi.
"We’ll send you to the Second Divine Capital. If nothing else happens here, we'll stay there as well until your safe return," Bai Mo said. That meant they would remain there from a month to as long as half a year.
"Let's go. We'll head to the Abyssal Battlefield first."
There was an abyss that led to the Abyssal Battlefield near the entrance of the dao palace. After passing through it, Tianming once more emerged in that dark, lightning-filled world. An anti-sun loomed threateningly in the sky, swallowing as much light from the realm as it could.
On the abyssal side of the Divine Capital was a smaller capital that was mainly used to stop wildbeasts from passing through the abyss to the other side and causing chaos there. Bai Mo was using a transportation saint beastial artifact, the Decimo Ark, to transport the rest to the Second Divine Capital. The winds blew strongly as the ark soared through the sky at high speeds.
"Before entering the tomb, your spatial rings will be checked for forbidden items to prevent unnecessary fights from your personal grudges. The Theocrats have also decreed that no heavenly pattern tomes that are purchased can be brought in. I’ll also check your opponents' items before they enter," Ye Yi said.
"That's right. While there’s many different factions in the Divine Capital, most are ultimately aligned with the Theocrats. There are twenty-five of them in total and they’re all against you. Make sure you beware when you enter," Bai Mo warned.
"Hall King, how strong is the crown prince?" Tianming asked.
"I heard that he reached third-level Sky Saint two years ago. I wonder if he’s made a breakthrough since. He’s the second person among the Theocrats to have a lifebound beast with nine heads, after Autarch Qian, and he became a sky saint at twenty-two, only slightly slower than your father," Bai Mo said.
Tianming's actual age now was twenty-two. It had been a year since he left Ignispolis. While his abilities were nothing to scoff at, he was still quite some way from being a sky saint. Yet Dongyang Fengchen had reached the third level two years ago. Tianming recalled that the late vice sect master of the Earthorigin Sect, Yuan Hun, was a third-level sky saint. Dongyang Fengchen, being among the most talented of the Theocrats with their signature nine heads, was in many ways even superior to Jun Shengxiao, the Elysian Emperor.
"It's no wonder he looks down on me. He’s capable in his own right," Tianming said.
"That's right. It seems that Autarch Yun no longer has a chance to break through to the Empyrean Saint stage, but Dongyang Fengchen stands a good chance even without the Cyclic Mirror," Bai Mo said.
It seemed that this crown prince was the next most promising Theocrat after Autarch Qian.
"It could be that he's even stronger than he was two years ago." Making progress as a Sky Saint was so hard that it could take a few years to a decade for one level. Even then, Bai Mo estimated that the crown prince could become an empyrean saint before he reached a hundred years old.
"Will he kill me?" Tianming said with a laugh.
"He will, but your biggest worry in the tomb isn't him."
Not even Chen Jinghong and the rest knew what Bai Mo meant by that, but Tianming did. If it weren’t for Feiling, Bai Mo and the others would never allow him to risk himself in the tomb, for it was tantamount to suicide.
Soon, they arrived at the Second Divine Capital, a walled city built on the Abyssal Battlefield. The walls stretched for hundreds of miles like a great black divide. The Second Divine Capital was currently controlled by Autarch Yun, and the one who stood guard here was Grand Sky General Zhao Shenhong of the Saint Martial Manor, who was also the North Hall King of Decimo Dao Palace. Ever since the internal strife in the Divine Capital started, he was sent by Autarch Yun to prevent Jiang Ling from ambushing the Second Divine Capital.
"I heard that the palace lord has removed me from my post as Hall King," Zhao Shenhong said as he coldly approached.
"That's right. She summoned you back to the dao palace, but you refused to answer the call. That’s akin to abandoning your post, so the palace lord temporarily removed you from it. If you don't return soon, I believe that will become permanent," Ye Yi said.
"Why would the palace lord be up to childish shenanigans like that?" Zhao Shenhong said with a chuckle.
"Desperate times, desperate measures. If you don't like it, you can just return to the dao palace."
"Hmph!" It was obviously more important for him to defend the Second Divine Capital than to return to Decimo Dao Palace and resume his post. "Once Jiang Ling's dealt with, Autarch Yun will gain control once more. I doubt you'll forbid me from returning to the dao palace then!"
After all, he hadn’t laid his foundations there for nothing.
Soon, the thirty juniors that were to enter the tomb had all gathered at the center of the city. Tianming looked around and noticed that Dongyang Fengxiao and Jiang Fengyue were both there. However, hadn't they already lost to him and Ye Lingfeng, and their spots by extension?
"The power struggle among the Theocrats saw many of the Ancient Clans join Jiang Ling's side. As a result, the juniors of those clans had their spots revoked, so Autarch Yun filled them with his own kin," Bai Mo explained.
After all, Dongyang Fengxiao and Jiang Fengyue were among the most powerful earth saints. They were definitely qualified to enter the tomb. As a result, the original number of sky saints that were part of the thirty had fallen from twenty-one to eighteen, leaving three spots open.
They were all loyal descendants of the Theocrats who had half-darkened faces. The expressionless Dongyang Fengchen stood at their center. Even though they hadn't entered the tomb yet, he was giving off a cold, domineering aura.
Tianming didn't know many of the others, apart from the second on the Sky Ranking, Meng Qingqing, who was inferior to only Chen Jinghong. Both of them were said to be second-level sky saints. As for the rest, they were pushing thirty and were as strong as the strongest people in the Grand-Orient Realm.
Dongyang Fengchen, when he saw Tianming come, seemed a little happy and relieved. He wouldn't know what to do if he hadn't come.
"Brother Tianming, looks like he believes he'll definitely have you," Ye Lingfeng said. His observation skills were as sharp as a beast's.
"Well, he does have me here, alright. All we have to do is run when we run into him in the tomb." Tianming wasn't proud enough to underestimate any and everyone. It was a fact that Dongyang Fengchen was no doubt far more powerful than him right now. If it weren’t for Feiling's matter, Tianming would be busy thinking how he could escape Dongyang Fengchen's vengeance.
"The tomb will soon open. Follow along to the entrance now," Zhao Shenhong said.
The thirty juniors followed behind as Bai Mo and Ye Yi watched. Along the way, the Theocrats followed the crown prince's lead. After a while, Dongyang Fengchen turned back to Tianming and raised his eyebrow. "Aren't you afraid I'll do something to you inside the tomb?"
"If I really were afraid of you, I wouldn't have come."
"Hahahaha...." The crown prince's cohort joined in the laughter.
"That sounds like something a coward would say. Was what you said during the Earth Ranking battle nothing but ignorance?"
"What did I say again?" Tianming asked, but they couldn't even bear to quote him. "Oh, I called you the Nineshades Clan, didn’t I? I'm sorry, that was completely intentional," he said with a smirk.
The atmosphere immediately turned cold. Dongyang Fengchen squinted; it was the second time he felt an itch he could scratch, thanks to Tianming. He clenched his fists so hard that the cracking sounds were piercing to the ear.
An hour later, Tianming saw a stone building. It looked just like any other building in the Second Divine Capital, but it didn't have windows, only a door.
"What did Zhao Shenhong bring us here for?" Tianming asked.
"This is the entrance of the tomb, that's why," Bai Xiaozhu said.
"How can this be it? You're saying this decrepit old building is our destination all along?"
"Oh, you're completely mistaken. Every brick that forms this building can't be moved even by the strongest in the Theocracy. A long time ago, this building appeared on the Abyssal Battlefield, but no one has thus far been able to force their way in. Soon, it drew quite a lot of attention and people found out that this was none other than the Tomb of the Ancients. The reason there’s so many similar stone buildings in the Second Divine Capital is to hide the existence of the tomb's entrance," he explained. It sounded truly mystical. At the very least, Tianming couldn't tell at all what was special about the building.
"No wonder they say that this is definitely the tomb's entrance." Based on the fact that it was indestructible alone, they could be sure it was the entrance.
Feiling seemed a little restless when they arrived and all Tianming could do was console her. He took a deep breath and resolved himself. I have to survive. Ling'er too!
After six hours of waiting, a click was suddenly heard. Everyone looked at the building and saw the wooden door open. Within it was total darkness. It almost felt like there were evil spirits waiting inside, thanks to the howl of the wind gushing in. A wet, musty odor came wafting out.
The rotten wooden door creaked from time to time, as if it was beckoning them to enter like an old crone who had lost all her teeth, smiling insidiously. At least, that was a huge contrast to how Tianming imagined it would be: grand like a palace and decorated with countless, unmatched riches. Instead, all he got was a puny, decrepit entryway without any illumination. The building was so small it didn't look like the thirty of them could all fit.
Is this really the place the Grand-Orient Sword and Prime Tower came from? he wondered.
It seemed that nobody apart from Dongyang Fengchen had entered the tomb before. He seemed rather confident, while the rest were quite anxious. Situ Yiyi even shuddered and leaned against Bai Xiaozhu.
"Enter," Zhao Shenhong said.
"I'll lead the way," Dongyang Fengchen said and immediately stepped into the dark doorway, after which blood-red words depicting '29' appeared on the wooden door.Previous Chapter Next Chapter