Feiling and Huiye Shi no longer left Duyue Mansion, due to all the commotion going on outside. Nowadays, the place was relatively quiet, with the servants and guards from before having left. Xian Xian's main body took root at the center of the mansion, guarding Feiling with its other siblings.
Within the courtyard, Feiling leaned against the huge tree in its shade. As she could barely move, this was the only pose she could easily maintain. Xian Xian's spiritform was nestled in her bosom, looking pitifully at her.
Huiye Shi sat on a huge rock not far away. Given the recent happenings, she felt a little frustrated and asked, "Does it feel bad?"
Before, Feiling would smile and shake her head. But nobody answered the question this time around. A little shocked, she quickly went to where Feiling was and saw her leaning against the tree with her head lowered. The entire time, Xian Xian was blankly looking in her eyes.
"Ling'er?" Huiye Shi called out. Worried that something had happened to her, she quickly approached, only for Feiling to abruptly look up with a searing white gaze that was so bright and piercing that Huiye Shi shrieked. Stunned, she quickly backed off and rolled on the ground.
"What... what's going on with you?" she said blankly. When she calmed down, she noticed that Feiling hadn't been paying her any heed at all. Instead, she was slightly shuddering, and even glowing. Her aura had noticeably changed and the Moonsoul Blooddragon chain that bound her also shook and made a wailing sound.
That instant, Ying Huo descended from the tree and asked, "What's going on with Ling'er? Does she feel bad?"
However, Feiling didn't seem to hear it. Instead, she looked akin to the time when she had suppressed the Archaionfiend at Xuanyuan Lake—angry, frustrated and cold. It was a chilling sight to behold. Lan Huang and Meow Meow also came to see.
"Try yelling at her," Ying Huo said.
"Okay!" Lan Huang roared loudly, causing the tree to shake and shed many leaves. After the resounding blast of sound, they saw that Feiling's gaze had returned to normal and the terrifying aura around her was no more.
A little later, she shook her head and looked at them. "Why are you all surrounding me? Don't worry, I'm fine." Though she tried to squeeze out a smile, the fact remained that being bound still felt really uncomfortable.
"Are you really okay?" Huiye Shi asked, still inspecting her. "You look normal now, but you seemed scary just now."
"Really?" Feiling knew better than anyone. Ever since Fang Qingli had tried to kill her, she had entered that state a number of times. While it had saved her time and again, she didn't know what it meant. Was the consciousness of Xuanyuan Xi still alive, or was the city lord of Perpetia manifesting in her? It might not necessarily be a good thing.
"It's just like last time," Ying Huo said with a solemn look.
"I'm fine. There's no need to worry," Feiling said.
"Let's tell him when he comes back later tonight."
For now, that was the end of the matter. However, none of them noticed that part of the Moonsoul Blooddragon was cracked.
"Shishi, my back's a little itchy. Can you take a look and see if the chains are the cause?" Feiling asked.
"Alright." Huiye Shi went to her back and confirmed the location with Feiling. "The chain isn't there."
"How could that be? Look closer," Feiling said with a furrowed brow. Not only did it feel itchy, it also hurt a little.
"Okay." Huiye Shi undid part of Feiling's blue dress, revealing her pristine back and feeling the spot up. "Ling'er, your back's really smooth. There isn't any wound or anything."
"Is there anything weird about it?"
"Umm, only these two spots. They seem a little raised, but not by much. It could be natural."
"Alright. I'm fine now."
"Good to hear." Huiye Shi didn't ask too much. She didn't notice how Feiling lowered her head with worry.
It had been roughly twenty days since Huiyue Jie attacked them. Ten days ago, Tianming had reached the death phase of the twelfth level, where Dugu Jin used to be. After breaking through one final time, he would reach the Ascension stage and become a 'god', as the common folk believed. Little did they know that this was only the very beginning of godhood. The only difference was that they would be able to leave the Welkin plane and head for the stars, but the astralscape was boundless in scope.
Once reaching the twelfth-level death phase, as long as one's heavenly will was mature, it would transform into divine will, allowing one to take the final step at any time. As such, Tianming had spent the past few days with Ying Huo and the rest, trying to make the final push.
Huiyue City had been peaceful in the past few days. Even the matter of the killer had faded into obscurity. However, Tianming knew that if the killer really was Bodhi, it was merely the calm before the storm.
"Ying Huo, Ling'er entered that state eight times in total over the past few days, right?" Even as Tianming was surrounded by tens of thousands of caeli, he was still concerned about Feiling.
"Yeah. But it's been getting less frequent," Ying Huo said.
Even though he was doing his best to make progress, he still couldn't shake his worry for her while she was bound by the chain. At the very least, the fact that she entered that state worried him even more. "Looks like we have more and more things to worry about."
Tianming forced himself to put that aside, knowing that excessive worry would be a detriment to making actual progress. He immersed himself in the experiences of the caeli as they made their way toward the Ascension stage. However, he noticed that none of their paths matched him very well. His Imperial Will represented his path as a sovereign; it was different from the normal laws of the world. The best he could do was gain a frame of reference from those experiences without actually using them for himself.
"These days, the more I suppress my anger and keep my cool, the worse I feel," Tianming said.
"Then don't suppress it. I don't get it. Focusing solely on cultivation and ignoring everything else feels pointless. What’s the point of growing stronger if you don't care about anything? There's nothing inherently good about unfeeling tranquility. Where would you get your drive for growing stronger? I know many people say a clear mind is the key to greater insight, but that might not necessarily be what you need," Ying Huo said.
"You're right. I've only been suppressing it. I can't forget it at all. The Moonsoul Blooddragon is the heart of my worries. It has also bound my Imperial Will and stopped me from progressing. Even if I forget about it, that doesn't mean it's gone. It's still stopping me from moving forward. Since my heavenly will takes the shape of a sharp sword, I should face my rage directly and let it fuel my power. I will crush those chains!"
He began feeling like forgetting his worries in favor of tranquility was a mistake. "Any obstacle or chain in my path shall fall by my sword! That’s always been my style! It makes no sense for me to play the role of a good boy all of a sudden before reaching the Ascension stage!"
It was only the beginning of his new path, not the end. "I can only feel out my path in the universe with divine will. Only then will I be able to use the will of the heavens and earth to control the power in my body."
The flames of passion burned brightly within him. He opened his blazing eyes and used his fists to send the caeli around him flying, making space for himself.
"They helped me make up the holes in my knowledge, allowing me to learn about countless different cultivation styles. However, they can't help me take my final step. After all, they’re merely subjects of my heavenly will."
Some scenes kept replaying in his mind, such as the time he killed Ghoul King Xue Yi in the Kilostar Domain and killing Fang Taiqing, Dugu Jin, Di Zang, and Jiang Wuxin at Taiji Peak Lake, as well as the crisis humanity was facing from the specter threat and the indifference of the Divine Moon Realm. He had inherited the will of his forebears and was treading a path of bloodshed with his lover and family. And now he had to deal with the remnant specters, the bullying of the divine moonrace, and the fact that he didn't even know if his sworn brother was still alive. Fortunately, he had formed his own dynasty and become the emperor of humanity across all of the Flameyellow Continent.
"What is the goal of being a sovereign? It’s to set one's heart for their realm, use one's life for their subjects, and gain mastery and dominion over knowledge and wisdom to usher in an era of world peace." Those words stilled his mind, making his body seemingly synchronize with the Flameyellow Continent. It was as if he was staring at the countless stars in the sky from the world below, uttering a primordial, guttural roar.
Within the realm of order, elites reigned supreme above the world below, passing down their legacies and strengthening their descendants generation by generation, while the weak remained beneath them with no hope of growing truly powerful. The weak needed someone that could overturn the status quo and soar to the skies, representing their wills. That person had to head to the Divine Moon Realm and announce to the world that even the weakest of life had the right to live on. They would not and should not be ignored.
The rage of life, of the humans living on the precarious Flameyellow Continent, and of the chained-up Feiling all needed to be addressed by Tianming. He would have to be the one to strive for their survival and safety. Did it make sense that he should still his mind to ascend to godhood like the millions of divine moonrace, who had the privilege of living in a peaceful realm, did? He simply couldn't! The truth was clear to him now.
"What I want is domination!" The humans of the Flameyellow Continent needed to change their fates and obtain the right to survive. Ever since the Tianming Dynasty was formed, Tianming's mind had been linked with the billions of his subjects' through the will of the sovereign. "I need all of you!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter