Chapter 858 - The Way of the Heavens Stems from the Heart

The death of the nightmare soulworm meant that yet another terrifying nightmare of the citizens of Archaion was taken care of. Si Ling was completely enraged at the utter defeat; Tianming could see her raging through the grey mist behind him.

First, she turned into a grey beam that pierced through the clouds. Then she let her necrostyx phoenix give chase. The gigantic phoenix of death flew faster and faster with the wind. Tianming noted that its flesh seemed a little rotten and battered, and was oozing some kind of toxic liquid. Its eyes were also an oily green. It almost looked like it was heavily injured.

However, that was merely a consequence of a technique it cultivated with the ghoul king. When it spread its wings, the feathers on its back looked like a terrifying visage with sharp teeth. Before it even arrived, the flora around it was completely torn apart from the strong winds.

"Quick, zig zag!" Tianming cried.

"What do you mean?" Meow Meow asked.

"You're smaller and more agile, so if you randomly change directions you'll have the advantage!"

"Oh!" Even though it was now in its Regal Chaosfiend form, Meow Meow was still incredibly agile. It charged into the wilderness and kept changing directions as the phoenix's abilities rained down on them. It looked just like a bird of prey hunting down its next meal as it almost instantly closed the distance. Si Ling leaped off the phoenix's back.

"Ling'er!"

Feiling's temporal control ability was used at the opportune time, coupled with the countless walls. Si Ling rammed through the obstacles posed by Millennium Fort nonstop, demonstrating far more power than the five siblings had earlier, and Tianming had already had to risk his life in that fight.

"If she catches up, the only thing I can do is hide in the Prime Tower and remain captured." There was even a good chance he would never be able to leave the tower.

Fortunately for him, Temporal Field worked really well. Temporal Lock zeroed in on Si Ling without her noticing. From her point of view, Tianming and Meow Meow would simply charge with a sudden burst of speed whenever she approached. No matter how hard she tried, she wasn't able to keep up.

"Ghoul King Si Ling," Tianming said, turning back to face her cold gaze.

"What?"

"You've committed far too many sins. One day, I’ll send you to hell."

"Haha, so you must be a saint then? Have you not killed a single person before? How can you justify your own killing while condemning mine? It's just a double standard peddled by pathetic hypocrites like you. We're essentially on the same path. You have no right to mock me just because I'm ahead of you," she mocked.

"You're right. It's merely a matter of degree. You've had your share, and I'll soon have mine. I won’t judge you, but I will eradicate you. I'll leave the judgment of good and evil to the heavens!"

The only reason that even occurred to him was the good karma he had received after killing the nightmare soulworm. Over the years, Si Ling had made corpse puppets all over the place, and the worm had no doubt played a huge part in that as well. Compared to Omnisentient Will, good karma seemed to be even more potent and arcane, seemingly intertwined with the powers of fate. Its appearance had tremendously fueled Tianming's growth.

Even though he was at a bottleneck, he could still experience rapid spurts in his growth—much like the time when he had first formed his Imperial Will. He believed that no other heavenly will could possibly grow using his method. Imperial Will was far more significant than its name alone would suggest.

"Killing evildoers is a trial of the mind and heart. My intentions are simple and pure, and I shouldn't doubt myself." Feeling the benefits he had received from the worm's death brought him much comfort.

Si Ling was his next big target. She was the only one that had committed more sins than Ye Bodhi. Of the ghoul kings outside Tianming City, not even all of their sins combined would amount to a tenth of hers.

Throughout the nightmare soulworm's life, it had controlled tens of millions of soul puppets, all of whom continued suffering even after their death without so much as being able to shed a tear. Now, the waves of warmth that washed over him flowed toward the sword-shaped Imperial Will within his sea of consciousness. He saw countless smiling faces each time he felt the warm pulses. They had all been living, breathing people who’d had their own lives and families, yet the nightmare soulworm had ruined all of that, causing them to lose their sense of self and become mindless zombies. But today, they were finally free.

Tianming finally knew what good karma was about. It was the single chance for the aggrieved to thank him for the service he had rendered them. When they touched his soul, it felt like they were fusing into his lifeblood itself.

"Thank you."

"No matter what happens, we want you to know that you did the right thing."

"You’re committing the act of killing, but the consequences of your actions bring benefit to others, unlike those who kill for their own sake."

"Those who follow the way of the heavens shall be rewarded!"

"What is the way of the heavens? It’s formless. It isn’t gods, and not even the laws of the world can fully encompass it."

"If there's one way to describe it, the way of the heavens would be the hearts of all sentient beings!"

Tianming had always thought that the way of the heavens was the ultimate arbiter of truth and justice. But today, those he put to rest had taught him that it might stem from the hearts of people instead.

"Walk your own path without a hint of regret! No matter what kind of obstacles you run into, don't turn back!"

Si Ling had brought pain and suffering to countless lives. The word countless, ironically, didn’t even come close to being able to describe the extent of her atrocities. They were real, warm-blooded humans who shouldn't be brushed off by a single word like that. That fact alone was enough to make Tianming shed a tear for their souls. This infusion of good karma steeled his resolve and helped his Imperial Will grow past the level required for the seventh-level life phase. However, he couldn't stop now to form his next set of samsara rings, as Si Ling was still on his tail.

"I helped them, and they paid me back in kind. I have to keep doing more." He urged Meow Meow on in the direction of Tianming City.

"This isn't the Kilostar Domain! There's no sealing formation, so how am I not able to keep up? If I let this monster escape and grow, he might be the key that ruins all of our plans! He has to die!" Si Ling zipped across the landscape, consistently feeling the distance widen every time she and her phoenix approached Tianming. The phoenix's abilities didn't do any real damage to the fleeing pair, either.

Gradually, the distance began widening and Tianming grew closer and closer to the city. It was a shame that the messenger that was sent out from Fufeng City was probably only on the way back now. Currently, Si Ling had no way of knowing what was happening with their army around the city.

When Meow Meow crossed the mountains, Tianming finally saw the city in the distance. "Do we rush in?" it asked.

"No." Tianming looked around and saw a large river nearby. "Meow Meow, you should go there."

"What are you planning?"

"There's no time for questions."

"Meow!" The gigantic feline beast leaped into the river, causing a huge splash.

"Go back to the city alone and be careful!" Tianming said.

"What? Why?!"

Tianming had jumped off its back and entered the river, then burrowed deeply into the mud. Meow Meow was too lazy to figure it out and did what he said.

"You won't get away!" Si Ling's voice rang from the distance.

"Catch him!" The troops outside the city began acting once more.

"Meow?" It finally occurred to the cat that it was being used as bait. "Now I'm the only one in danger of losing my life!"

It desperately charged at the city as frantically as it could.

"Fu You, catch it!" Si Ling yelled, causing many third-origin tribulation elders to come charging out. However, Fu You wasn't among them. Meow Meow used this chance to zigzag around as it made its way toward the city.

At the critical moment, the city gates opened and a sword flash of about ten thousand meters in length came blasting out, helping the cat deal with the obstacles around it. Meow Meow easily entered the Sun-Moon-Star Formation and was finally safe. Right after it entered, a large group of people surrounded it, among them Jian Wuyi, Beigong Linlan, Lin Qingtian, and Xuanyuan Xie.

"Where's the imperial son?" they anxiously asked. Meow Meow had returned alone; what could it mean?

"Him? He abandoned me halfway here! That traitor! I'm so mad!"

"Is he fine?"

"Of course he is! He probably had me come back alone to trick the enemies into thinking he's back in here." As Meow Meow ran toward the city, its body was covered in black lightning from Ninefold Chaos Thunderscape, so it would have been hard to tell if Tianming was sitting on its back.

"What's he planning?" Jian Wuyi asked.

"I don't know," Meow Meow said haughtily. They watched as it turned back into its smaller form and stretched lazily. Yawning, it said, "I'm so worn out. Since he abandoned me, he’d better not blame me for sleeping! Ah, it's going to be awesome for my sleep to not be interrupted all the time!"

Meow Meow leaned against the city wall and prepared to doze off.

"Wait a second, Sir Cat," Xuanyuan Xie said with a smile. "You haven't told us what happened after you went to Fufeng City. What happened? Did Tianming stop Ghoul King Si Ling from making more corpse puppets?"

"Stop her? Meow Meow widened its eyes, stretched out its claws, and patted Xuanyuan Xie's head. "Are you looking down on my brother?"

"Then what did you do?"

"We killed the Five Wraiths of Shoal Mountain and that kilometer-long worm!"

Everyone’s face froze, then the joy set in. It was news that was worthy of celebration! The only question was what Tianming was planning that caused him not to return to the city.

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