Long Yichen's entire body tingled when he felt the cold tip of the sword against his neck, and he audibly gulped. The sword was so chilling that he didn't dare to move one bit. Death had never been so close to him before. He breathed heavily, but didn't dare so much as swallow a larger gulp of saliva than necessary, lest his throat move too much and cause the blade to pierce into him. "You, it's you!" he answered helplessly.
"Didn't you say Ye Bodhi was the one earlier?" Tianming asked, still smiling.
"It was my mistake. I had eyes, but couldn't see. You are far more terrifying than I imagined. I am fully convinced of your abilities." To survive, he no longer cared the slightest bit about his pride. As long as he lived, there was hope, but once it was over, that was it. There was no way he would carelessly toss his life away without having fulfilled his life's aspirations nor avenged his mother. The sensation of dread from a brush so close with death wasn’t something anyone would wish to experience.
"Hahahaha...." Tianming put his sword away and said, "No need to flatter me. I was only joking around with you. This continent has existed for aeons, and no single person was able to reign over it in any permanent capacity. Everyone's but an insignificant speck of dust in this world, in the grand scheme of things. If even the gods are slaves to the cycle of reincarnation, who am I to claim to be able to do even better than them?"
Having seen the likes of Ye Bodhi and Autarch Qian and gaining a new outlook with the Eyes of Judgment, he had gained a lot of newfound insights. "It’s laughable how so many mundane people think they'll be able to move mountains and flip seas just because they know a trick or two. They delude themselves into thinking they've ascended beyond this world of ours to be its ruler. What they don't know is that everything in this world works according to its own laws and within its own framework. We mustn’t forget to respect and honor nature, nor should we ever forget how insignificant we truly are."
Long Yichen couldn't understand what Tianming’s words meant at all. The only thing on his mind was whether he would kill him as he lowered his head and waited nervously.
At that moment, Tianming walked past him and gave him a pat on the shoulder. "As you've lived a rather upright life, I will spare you today. Make sure to not stray from the right path."
Hearing that, Long Yichen's tense body finally relaxed. He laid flat on the sea, possibly deliberating how he would continue living on with a different outlook.
After leaving that star, Tianming selected somewhere quiet to study the shiny map in his hand. "If I'm not mistaken, this should be the starmap."
He had taken it from Ye Bodhi after killing him. The hundred thousand tribulation artifacts were far too much, and his own spatial ring wouldn't be able to store them all. Fortunately, Ye Bodhi had a lot of empty rings on him, so Tianming took them all. Now, he had more than ten thousand tribulation manna and a hundred plus thousand tribulation artifacts on him, all of which were near peak grade.
"These treasures will no doubt be able to raise Archaion's might by magnitudes. It'll turn our troops into an elite army. It's a shame I can't give them to them right now." Though, he wasn't in much of a rush. He was getting stronger in the Kilostar Domain anyway. "So long as I remain here, I’ll be able to dominate. Whoever comes to me will be killed. However, evil fiends like Ye Bodhi really are far and few between. He must've been trained to cultivate the Saintking Bodhi Body by his parents from childhood."
Tianming could only look at that practice disapprovingly. The irony was that training a technique with such a saintly name actually required such an evil method as the consumption of human hearts. No matter how powerful one became, they would eventually have to bear the weight of their sin.
"There’s actually nine black hole stars? I haven't gone to the last two. I wonder what’ll happen after I visit them all? Come to think of it, someone on the level of the ghoul kings must be waiting for me at the last two black hole stars."
He continued to study the markings on the map, recognizing some of the stars he had been to. "So those two stars with treasures weren't marked. Ghoul King Xue Yi and the rest also seemed to be blindly searching for treasures. It looks like the markings might be fake... Or is it just Ye Bodhi's copy?"
He had many doubts about the starmap.
"Forget it, let's cultivate." He went to a lightning-covered star and reached its very center. "Not a single one from Nonahall is here. That must mean they've stopped searching for treasure in favor of waiting to ambush me."
He smirked. "Getting desperate, eh? I’ll make you feel far worse than that. Ghoul King Xue Yi, please enjoy."
Someone like Ye Bodhi was akin to treasure for Tianming. After killing him, he got a lot of good karma. It was as if he was receiving a gift from the laws of the world and the aggrieved souls. If Ye Bodhi had such a staggering kill count, despite only being around forty years old, who was to say how many millions he would have killed if he lived to be a few centuries old?
After that battle, his Imperial Will had grown considerably. Not to mention, he had managed to gain a lot of life force thanks to the Aeonic Grandbane, allowing him to once more enter the life phase after three days of cultivating. "I'm at the fifth level now!"
Once more, his body transcended the death phase after his life samsara rings formed, returning him to a youthful state once more. Now, even young girls would be jealous of how smooth his skin was. However, that didn't mean he looked feminine. His current aura was cold and sharp when he kept quiet. Only when he smiled would he look like a pure young boy.
"Even though I'm at the fifth-level life phase now, I'm not suppressed by Kilostar Domain's sealing formation. In other words, it’s based on level, rather than actual power. The formation isn't able to recognize how powerful anyone really is at any level. By the time I reach the seventh-level death phase, I doubt anyone would be my match if they come here. Though, I doubt there will be so many others who are like Ye Bodhi, or rather, I should hope there aren't. I can't pray for there to be more sinners for me to cull, or that would completely defeat the point."
Tianming felt that killing sinners for good karma was a slippery slope. He had to make sure his heart was always in the right place.
After his breakthrough, he left the lightning star. Now, there were few who could truly stop him within the domain. "You thought I was already a nightmare? Wait until you see what I have in store!"
The currents endlessly flowed on the freezing water star. By now, the vortex where the formation used to be was no more. Long Yichen aimlessly traveled the seas on one of his dragons, not knowing where he should go now. The scene of Tianming killing Ye Bodhi, as well as the conversation they had, played back nonstop in his mind.
"Deference?" He couldn't figure it out no matter how he tried. The legendary Ye Bodhi was a saint in the Nonahall Divine Realm and had a really good reputation. He was their hope for the future. "And he's gone just like that!"
He sighed again and continued sailing about. Suddenly, he saw two flashes up ahead. While they weren't particularly bright, they were unique enough to catch his attention. He approached them and saw two white pearls.
"What in the world are these?" He put the two pearls in one hand and squinted at them, spinning them around as he did. All of a sudden, he smelled a fragrance.
"It's soft... and smells a little sweet?" He couldn't help but give it a lick. Abruptly, his eyes widened. "Bllleaaarggh!"
He coughed hard for a good while, struggling to breathe. "Ye Bodhi!"
He suddenly recalled that these two pearls were actually Ye Bodhi's eyes! While his body had been eradicated by the Ninesky Beastsoul Formation, not even Tianming knew the eyes were left behind.
"By my mother's balls!" Just as he was about to toss them away, he felt a chill down his spine. It was as if the eyeballs had turned by themselves. While they didn't have any irises, he felt them looking at him.
Near a black hole star, thousands of people had gathered, no longer in hiding. There were many more coming from all directions. The treasure hunt had stopped for good. Beside Xue Yi stood an old, green-robed man with half his face green in color and the other half looking normal. He was covered in boils and dirt, and pus could be seen oozing out of the boils. He was the ninth ghoul king, Qing Ming. Most of the people that had entered the Kilostar Domain with the ghoul kings were gathering by their sides.
"Has word been sent to Li Caiwei and Feng Qingyu?" Xue Yi asked.
"We informed those of their sect. They should be hearing about it soon. The other four sects have all stopped their search and retreated to the entrance of Kilostar Domain. As for those from our sect, they're gathering near the two remaining black hole stars," Qing Ming said.
"In other words, we can't track down Feng Qingyu and Li Caiwei?" Xue Yi seemed rather dissatisfied.
"They were gone the moment they entered the domain. As far as we're concerned, they can claim to have not received our notice with plausible deniability."
"Those two seem to be overestimating themselves," Xue Yi said with a cold glare.
"It's what we expected. Their realms aren't weaker than Archaion, after all, and they’re rather powerful themselves, too."Previous Chapter Next Chapter