“Why would you say that they are dead?” Old Man Yuan flicked his whisk, a smile on his face. “They are alive and well. Isn’t that right, Gonggong?”
“Yes, Master.” Gonggong spoke in a low, respectful voice.
Upon Gonggong say the word ‘master’, whispers broke out within both the Nuwa Alliance and the Seamless Gate. Looks of pain and hatred appeared in the eyes of Ji Ning, Daoist Three Purities, and the others. They wanted nothing more than to kill Old Man Yuan right now. They weren’t fools; they could tell that it was Old Man Yuan behind all of this.
“So it was you, Old Man Yuan, who caused them to turn traitor?” The Lord of All Fiends growled.
“They are all my children. Why speak of ‘betrayal’?” Old Man Yuan smiled.
Everyone in both alliances, be it Ji Ning, Daoist Three Purities, the Lord of All Fiends, or Keeper Everwood, was completely enraged. Still, they knew that they had to maintain their calm. They knew very well that this was a critical moment; they had to be even more careful than they were before. Old Man Yuan’s ambitions were truly terrifying, and he was in control of so many major powers. Once he mobilized them…he would be even more dangerous than Lord Demonheart had been.
“You’ve taken control of them?” Ji Ning suddenly spoke out.
Soul control. This was something which terrified any and every cultivator.
It meant to be controlled, to lose all free will, to feel complete and slavish devotion. If the master ordered the soulslave to die, the soulslave would commit suicide with a smile on his face. This was what made soul control so terrifying! Once you were controlled, it might look as though you were still alive, but you would lose all of your free will. It would be no different from death.
In the endless primordial chaos, there were certain supreme major powers who knew soul control techniques. However, they would generally only be able to use it against weaklings.
By contrast, Old Man Yuan had actually been able to make the likes of Fuxi and Gonggong his soulslaves. This meant that he was most likely incredibly skilled in ways of heartforce, perhaps to the point of being an actual, terrifying Heartforce Cultivator.
“He definitely is a Heartforce Cultivator.” Godfiend and Witherspike were both watching from far away, and both of them were stunned. Saber immediately said, “To be able to stealthily take control over so many major powers without revealing any flaws at all…this Old Man Yuan is definitely a terrifyingly powerful Heartforce Cultivator. He’s even more terrifying than Houyi.”
“For someone like Houyi to appear within this local chaosworld is one thing, but how could a true Heartforce Cultivator appear here? Aren’t they supposed to be extremely rare and extremely mysterious, with very few legacies left behind for others?” Godfiend Witherspike felt his heart grow cold.
No Heartforce Cultivator could be underestimated.
Heartforce…it was ephemeral, formless, and extremely strange.
The cultivators of the endless primordial chaos were primarily divided up into three major paths: Fiendgod Refiners, Ki Refiners, and the mysterious Heartforce Cultivators! Fiendgod Refiners primarily focused on refining the body, Ki Refiners focused on cultivating their Immortal energy, and Heartforce Cultivators focused on cultivating the ephemeral power of heartforce.
“Just before you joined the Seamless Gate, you sought me out,” Ning said. “You suddenly launched a heartforce attack against me. Were you attempting to take control over me as well?”
“Yes.” Old Man Yuan smiled. “Your rise to power was simply far too sudden, much faster than I had expected. Given that the Endwar was nigh, I didn’t have any time to slowly infiltrate your soul defenses. To be honest, I acted against you in a brutish and rather inelegant manner, and I knew that my chances of succeeding would be much lower as a result. When I took over Gonggong and Fuxi, I slowly worked on them over the course of countless years, causing them to fall under my control without even knowing about it. I tried to do the same against Three Purities and Tathagata as well. These locals naturally weren’t able to notice a thing, but their hearts were far too powerful. There was no way for me to truly control them.”
“What?” Three Purities and Tathagata were both shocked.
So Old Man Yuan had tried to secretly take control of the two of them as well. They had automatically defended against it without even knowing about it.
This was simply too terrifying.
“Ahaha, you local yokels…how could you possibly understand how truly formidable heartforce is?” Old Man Yuan laughed coldly, then glanced at the distant Houyi with a look of praise in his eyes. “But for someone like you, Houyi, to emerge in a backwater chaosworld is quite admirable. You received no legacies at all, but you were actually able to come up with a few heartforce techniques on your own. Although you are a child when compared to true Heartforce Cultivators, you are still quite impressive.”
“Heartforce Cultivator?” Lord Tathagata’s face changed. “You are a Heartforce Cultivator?”
They had acquired quite a bit of information from alien Outsiders they had slain. They knew a bit about what Heartforce Cultivators were and knew exactly how terrifying they were.
“Yes.” Old Man Yuan smiled and nodded, continuing to look at the distant Houyi. “Houyi, I actually wanted to take control over you a long time ago. I knew it would be easy, because your spirit has an obvious weakness…her.” Old Man Yuan waved his hand, causing an absolutely peerless beauty to appear by his side. The woman looked towards Old Man Yuan with absolute adoration on her face.
“Chang’e.” Houyi’s face changed. [1. Chang’e is an important part of the Houyi legend in Chinese mythology. She was his wife, and in many versions of the story she betrayed him, be it intentionally or accidentally.]
“As I said, your flaw is obvious. Although your heartforce is powerful, I’m completely convinced that I could take control over you. Alas…after the war that ended the Primordial Era, I was never able to find you. I had no chance to seize your soul.” Old Man Yuan shook his head. “So you were hiding by Subhuti’s side all this time. You hid yourself quite well.”
“What did you do to Chang’e…” Houyi was enraged.
“Ahaha…” Old Man Yuan glanced at Chang’e, who stood by his side.
Chang’e called out in a soft voice, “Master.”
This sight caused Houyi to feel even more miserable. Still, he quickly regained his calm…but his eyes remained as cold as the edge of a blade as he stared at Old Man Yuan.
“Stop trying to scare me. You can’t actually kill me with your eyes, you know.” Old Man Yuan shook his head. “If you were at full power, I’d need to use a bit of effort to deal with you, but now, after killing the Lord of the Demonheart? Hmph. Although I look down upon you local bumpkins, I have to admit that he had the power of a supreme Elder God. In killing him, you most assuredly did considerable damage to your own vital essence as well. I could just stand here and let you attack me as you please, but even if you used up all of your divine power you still wouldn’t be able to kill me. And…I won’t actually let you hit me, of course. Your techniques might be useful against other major powers, but against me? You are still just a kid.”
Daoist Three Purities said in a cold voice, “From what you are saying, I assume you already started to take part in our wars during the Primordial Era?”
Old Man Yuan said, “I arrived in this place during the Primordial Era. Back then, it was still the Pangu Chaosworld. I was heavily injured when I arrived, so I possessed Old Man Yuan and took his body for my own. Back then, he wasn’t that powerful, and he was a very solitary figure. After I took his body, I slowly began to grow more powerful and took control over other major powers. I’ve been here all along, partially because I wanted to take the Worldheart, and partially because I wish to acquire Subhuti’s spacetime techniques.”
“You honor me too much.” A white-haired old man in Daoist robes appeared next to Ji Ning. It was Subhuti’s incarnation. “So all those years ago, when you risked your life to save this old Daoist, it was all part of your plan?”
“Ahaha…who in the puny little Pangu Chaosworld could possibly do anything to me? Everything was part of my plan.” Old Man Yuan shook his head. “The Dao of Spacetime…it truly is quite incredible. Once you reach a truly high level in this Dao, you can effortlessly travel through both space and time, making it impossible for your foes to find and kill you. I really did want to acquire those abilities of yours and learn them from you…but you refused to teach them to me.”
“You have no talent in that regard.” Subhuti shook his head.
“You simply refused to give me the techniques you came up with.” Old Man Yuan’s gaze was icy cold. In the primordial chaos, spacetime techniques were considered incredibly valuable techniques, far more valuable than most divine abilities.
Subhuti was a prime example of why this was the case. At his level of mastery, he could leave a place whenever he wished. He was different from the Lord of All Fiends; the Lord of All Fiends had managed to merge the Dao of Wind and the Dao of Space to an unfathomable degree, resulting in him being able to move at incredible speeds. Subhuti, however, had completely surpassed speed itself. He operated in the realm of spacetime and was able to transport himself to a completely different time continuum, making it impossible for any enemies to catch up to him.
This was quite a terrifying ability, especially when used for subterfuge, assassination, or escaping. The value of this technique was actually greater than that of the Worldheart!
“Still, I’m a patient man.” Old Man Yuan smiled. “I’m never hasty. I always wait for the end before making any move. I was quite patient during the war that ended the Primordial Era as well…and it was a good thing I did. I watched as Nuwa, Lord Demonheart, and the Lord of All Things fought against each other. I saw Nuwa make her sudden breakthrough and dominate all her foes…and because I waited and watched, I managed to avoid bringing disaster upon myself.”
“This time, however, the two sides decided to stop fighting, forcing me to make my move.” Old Man Yuan shook his head. “A true pity. As a result, I won’t be able to acquire Subhuti’s spacetime technique. This disappoints me greatly.”
Ning let out a secret sigh of relief.
His master had only transmitted his spacetime technique to Redsnow, teaching it to no others at all. The only people who even knew that Redsnow had learned this technique were Ji Ning, Crazy Ji, and Subhuti himself.
If it wasn’t for that, Old Man Yuan would probably have gone after Redsnow.
“Spacetime techniques are actually this valuable?” True God Redsnow, protected behind the Nuwa Alliance’s formations, was shocked upon hearing this. He had lost one of his clones during the chaotic battle just now, but fortunately he had a total of eighteen clones. Prior to this, he had simply believed spacetime techniques to be powerful…but he had no idea that they were this powerful! Now, it seemed as though the ‘Worldheart’, an item which countless alien Outsiders would go mad for, was not necessarily as valuable as his spacetime techniques.
“Forget it. Can’t win’m all. If I can’t get it, I can’t get it.” Old Man Yuan turned his head to glance at the distant dark-golden castle. “Witherspike, do you still remember that black lotus? If you do, give me a hand. I’ll definitely reward you heavily.”
Godfiend Witherspike and Saber were located deep within that dark-golden castle. Upon hearing these words, both their faces changed, with Witherspike’s face turning completely ashen. He had always believed Old Man Yuan to be a local, but upon listening Old Man Yuan’s soliloquy he started to have a feeling that something was off. Now…he finally understood everything.
“It’s him.” Godfiend Witherspike was stunned. “Him. He’s one of the Nine Divine Generals under the command of God Emperor Blacklotus…the Mindlord. Why has he appeared in this backwater?! Let’s leave! Let’s leave right now! We need to get the hell out of here!”
“One of the Nine Divine Generals of God Emperor Blacklotus?” Saber’s face turned pale as well.
Each of the nine were supremely powerful Elder Gods and Ancestral Immortals who were utterly, terrifyingly powerful. Compared to them, lone wanderers like Witherspike and Saber were nothing.
The dark-golden castle instantly fled, disappearing like a streak of light.
“How useless.” Old Man Yuan watched as the dark-golden castle fled at high speed, then shook his head. “Kids like them are as slippery as eels. As soon as they sense a bit of danger, they’ll immediately slip away.”