“Baa baa… baa baa… baa baa…”
The cries of a young shepherd’s sheep echoed across the usually tranquil mountain range.
Li Qiye crawled to the top of a cliff with the cold night’s breeze violently blowing against his body. His body was currently drenched in perspiration. At thirteen years of age, a little boy like Li Qiye was using all of his might to climb this mountain range — this scene in the night sky would give a macabre sensation to just about anyone.
Although the night was quiet, Li Qiye’s mind was being tormented by a flame of uncertainty.
Coming from a poor family, his parents were both peasants. At the age of seven, he began his life as a shepherd. His family name was Li; his name was Li Qiye because he cried for seven days and seven nights after birth. 
Today, he had completed his daily tasks. However, during the approach of dawn, he noticed that he was missing his leading sheep. While filled with worry, he rushed back to the mountain range to search for it. After seemingly scouring the entire mountain range, he still couldn’t find even a shadow of this sheep.
Thinking about the missing sheep and its evil owner, Zhang Dahu, Li Qiye feared for the worst in his heart.
Suddenly, Li Qiye thought of one place where the sheep might be. There was only one location that he didn’t search — the Immortal Demon Grotto!
As he looked towards the Immortal Demon Grotto before him, he noticed that the mountain range in the dark night resembled a fierce beast from the ancient Desolate Era; its mouth appeared to be gaping, hungering for human flesh. Hearing the howls of wolves resound from all around him, he couldn’t help but shiver in fear.
The Immortal Demon Grotto was considered a cursed land in the surrounding area. Legend states that an evil demon presided over this location, a demon who instantly consumed any trespassers. No one had ever made it out of the cave alive.
At this moment, the sound of Zhang Dahu’s whip reverberated in Li Qiye’s ears. If Li Qiye truly lost the sheep, then Zhang Dahu would definitely whip his flesh to tatters.
Having reached this point, Li Qiye gritted his teeth and approached the cave.
His body disappeared in the night.
The calm night was interrupted by a young boy’s miserable scream.
Li Qiye’s frightened voice rang once again: “You, you, what do you want? … Ahh…!”
Suddenly, the screams came to an end.
An unknown amount of time later at the depths of the Immortal Demon Grotto, the silence was broken by a menacing voice: “Good, good, good! My immortal Dark Crow has finally been completed. Since only a soul was missing, today, I will conveniently borrow your soul for a little bit!”
“Phwoosh… phwoosh… phwoosh!”
A moment later, as each flap loudly resounded, a strange, dark crow flew away from the Immortal Demon Grotto.
“Fly, fly, fly! I will use your soul to find all the Forbidden Burials. Fly across all the lands! As long as the Nine Worlds exist, I will find you again!” From the depths of the Immortal Demon Grotto, the heavy voice came out once again and lingered in the air.
From then on, throughout this heaven and earth, a Dark Crow flew across the planes. From heavenly cities to the most dangerous reaches and secret areas, it flew without a free will straight through the Nine Worlds for eras on end.
As time passed, millions of years came and went. A new peerless master would rise as another fell. Slowly, the crow would disappear only to reappear later on. It wanted to escape its master, it wanted to find a purpose to its life.
From the Alchemy God to Immortal Emperor Fei, Immortal Emperor Xue Xi to Immortal Emperor Min Ren, Immortal Emperor Tun Ri to Immortal Emperor Bing Yu… all the way up until the Black Dragon King. 
Behind each of these paragons lies the shadow of a crow, one that struggled to find freedom.
As these strongest beings came and went, the crow continued to mysteriously appear throughout the river of time.
The crow was not willing to have his fate controlled. It wanted to oppose the most frightening character in this world.
And now, millions of years has gone by with the passing of many eras…
Li Qiye, who was floating in a river, was suddenly dragged out by a person.
As he was being dragged out, Li Qiye suddenly woke up. His first reaction was to jump as he was unfamiliar with his own body. Unable to find his footing, he almost fell down to the ground.
“Ah, my body!” Looking down and seeing how his body had stayed the same, Li Qiye was both ecstatic and scared. Even after the thousands of struggles while fighting against the unending waves and winds, Dark Crow Li Qiye still couldn’t contain his emotions after regaining his own body.
Taking a deep breath, he lifted his head and found that an old man was in front of him.
“Hehehe, it is this old man who saved you from your impending doom.” The old man loudly laughed in an inglorious manner, revealing his three remaining yellow teeth. His demeanor made others feel that his smile was very sinister.
Up the stream, Li Qiye could see the dim structure of the Immortal Demon Grotto. His eyes became increasingly cold and his aura exceeded anything that a thirteen year old child could exude.
Li Qiye took a deep breath and then stared at the old man. After a while, he eventually asked: “How should I address you, old man?”
“Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect, Old Devil.” The old man answered with his mouth agape, still revealing his three golden teeth while smiling and spitting everywhere.
“Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect…” Li Qiye whispered under his breath. This name made him recall the sealed memories in his mind. These memories were from a time when he was still imprisoned in the body of the Dark Crow.
Li Qiye regained his composure and asked the old man: “Right now, who has the Heaven’s Will?”
The old man was still smiling as he replied: “Heaven’s Will eh? Right now, no one in this era has been able to shoulder the Heaven’s Will.”
“Where is Immortal Emperor Ta Kong?” After hearing the old man’s response, Li Qiye’s demeanor darkened. How long had he been asleep for? Over a hundred thousand years? 
“Immortal Emperor Ta Kong has been missing for thirty thousand years.”
Li Qiye inquired the old man once more: “What about the Black Dragon King of the Heaven Protector Palace?”
“No one knows. The Black Dragon King went missing at the same time as Immortal Emperor Ta Kong.” Old Devil shook his head.
Hearing this, Li Qiye’s expression drastically changed. He looked back at the Immortal Demon Grotto again and finally understood why he had regained his body.
“Let us go.” With a saddened expression, Li Qiye turned around and started to walk away. He didn’t care if Old Devil was following him or not. After experiencing pseudo-immortality, he knew exactly what he had to do.
The Heaven Protector Palace was an incredibly powerful lineage in the current times. Back in that era when the Black Dragon King — a peerless master — was still alive, no one could match him across the Nine Worlds. He was respected for three whole generations!
Even though he had been missing for thirty thousand years, the Heaven Protector Palace still stood arrogantly in this domain.
At this moment, a young boy around the age of thirteen and a lowly old man with three golden teeth were standing outside of the Heaven Protector Palace.
Just beyond the perimeter of the palace’s outer city, Li Qiye burned ceremonial money while whispering: “Little Black Dragon, you don’t have to worry. You have helped me regain my body, my life. One day, I will destroy the evil land to seek revenge for you.”
After the ceremony was over, Li Qiye stared at the Heaven Protector Palace in front of him. The scene was still the same, but the people were no longer there; everything had become foreign. He reminisced about the old days with the Little Black Dragon, the memory of them building this city from the ground up through their efforts was fresh in his mind.
Unfortunately, after thirty thousand years, not many remembered the Dark Crow hiding behind the curtains.
“Heh, let us go back to the Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect.” At this time, the old man glanced at Li Qiye and stated his purpose while revealing his three shiny golden teeth.
“Let us go.” Li Qiye calmly nodded his head. No matter how illustrious or mysterious this old man might be, his origin could not surprise Li Qiye. Li Qiye had experienced countless difficulties and his soul had been trapped inside the Dark Crow for millions of years. Era after era, he walked together shoulder to shoulder alongside Immortal Emperors and became friends with the Alchemy God, so what could actually surprise him?
As they were leaving, an extremely elegant and beautiful girl stepped out of the palace. She resembled an angel from heaven, an otherworldly goddess. The moment she stepped out, she inadvertently noticed the remains of the fire from the ceremony as well as some mysterious symbols beside it.
After seeing these symbols, her expression greatly changed: “Who was having a ceremony here just now?”
An old servant nearby immediately went around to look for information and came back with results: “The city guards say that an old man and a young boy around the age of thirteen were here just now. They were burning ceremonial money.”
The girl issued her command: “Give chase and find them immediately.”
“Your Highness is supposed to go to God’s Mountain right now.” The old servant hesitantly whimpered.
The goddess softly yelled: “Find them!” Her body then disappeared as she flew across space to find the two.
In the end, she was unable to find them. She dejectedly returned to the palace after her search. The symbols beside the fire remained in her head. These symbols hadn’t appeared for a long time, so why was it that they appeared in the outskirts after tens of thousands of years? Were they friends or foes?
An old loyal servant reported: “Your Highness, we couldn’t find the people who were burning the ceremonial money.”
The goddess commanded with a serious demeanor: “Order everyone to keep in mind that if any news about those two people show up, immediately report back to me.”
The servant was extremely surprised to hear this. With the current power of the Heaven Protector Palace and the reputation of their goddess, it would be rare for her to show such a serious expression.
The servant asked: “Then what about the trip to God’s Mountain…?”
“Cancel it!” The goddess exclaimed: “I have to read the ancient books that the ancestors have left behind. Something strange is happening.”
She then immediately went to the deepest parts of the forbidden grounds in the Heaven Protector Palace.
The Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect resided in the nation of the Heavenly Jewel Kingdom. This sect was an Immortal Emperor lineage with a long history. At the beginning of the Emperors Era, Immortal Emperor Min Ren proudly stood at the peak and established a sect, naming it Cleansing Incense.
Unfortunately, after millions of years, it could not withstand the test of time and its unforgiving nature. The sect was no longer of the Immortal Emperor rank and could no longer rule the land like in the past. No matter how hard it tried, it could neither regain their ancient glory nor prevent their unrelenting and slow demise.
“Elder, I have bad news. A mortal said that he wants us to accept him as the prime disciple.” A disciple hurriedly reported to the first elder of the Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect as this elder was stepping outside.
“Kick him off the mountain!” Without giving the disciple a glance, the first elder continued: “Why would you even report something so ridiculous?”
A mortal wanting to become the prime disciple of their sect? What a joke. A prime disciple was the same as the sect master’s protege, the one with the highest chance of becoming the future sect master. Of course, when the sect master wasn’t present, the first elder could still personally take care of these matters.
The disciple stuttered: “But, but he was recommended by Old Devil.”
Raising his eyebrows, the first elder unhappily repeated: “Old Devil? Was he bribed by liquor? Is that why he is recommending a mortal?”
Old Devil belonged to the sect, but the sect did not want to recognize this geezer.
Although the name sounded very heroic, this old man had caused the sect to lose all face.
Old Devil had three “good” qualities to him. He was very good at spending money, lying, and fooling around in brothels. This was why they called him Old Devil. 
He had not cultivated any methods to the end, but he did have a very shocking background within the sect. Rumor has it that he was the bastard child of the previous sect master. This was why, when the last sect master passed away, he asked for the current sect master to take care of Old Devil.
However, there was another rumor stating that Old Devil was a bastard from the sect master two generations ago. Because the previous sect master owed this person a great favor, he had no choice but to accept this piece of trash and unwillingly took care of Old Devil. Before the previous sect master passed away, he also asked the current sect master to take care of Old Devil.
No matter who his father was, the whole sect and its upper echelons had no love for the old man. They detested the unflattering words regarding Old Devil’s character and didn’t care about the rumors in the world.
From the elders to the lowest ranking disciples, the entire sect did not welcome this old man without any cultivation.
The first elder yelled out in annoyance: “So what if it was Old Devil’s recommendation? Kick the mortal off the mountain!” His morning and good mood had been ruined by this event.
“But, but he said he has the Cleansing Incense Ancient Order from Old Devil.” The disciple stuttered once again out of fear.
“Cleansing Incense Ancient Order?!” After hearing these words, the first elder’s expression darkened. After quietly contemplating the situation, he quickly ordered: “Gather all of the elders and tell the mortal to wait outside of the grand chamber.”
The Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect had a total of six elders. After hearing the four words “Cleansing Incense Ancient Order”, the other five quickly came to the meeting.
The patriarch of the sect was Immortal Emperor Min Ren, the one who left behind three of these orders. Two had been reclaimed by the sect, but the third one fell into the hands of Old Devil.
Outside of the request from the previous sect master to take care of Old Devil, the second reason why the elders were helpless against him was because he possessed the last order.
The order represented Immortal Emperor Min Ren; the holder could request anything from the Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect.
Sitting in the grand chamber of the Cleansing Incense Ancient Sect while staring at an elusive statue covered in golden smoke, Li Qiye couldn’t help but recall many stories from the past.
The statue of Immortal Emperor Min Ren stood strong at the highest point of this location. Although many years had passed, the statue still carried an ancient aura seemingly capable of piercing the nine heavens. Spectators couldn’t help but worship this statue; it was as if the emperor was actually in front of them.
Li Qiye didn’t know how to describe his feelings as he stared at this statue. The emperor was gone, but Li Qiye was still alive and forever will be. Although he had achieved his goal and regained his body, all of his old acquaintances had slowly disappeared in the river of time.