“Long time no see, Wuzhiqi.” The Deaf Prince and the remaining prodigals walked out from the depths of Mount Vastspace, all of them wearing evil grins.
Wuzhiqi’s replica stumbled backward with surprise, but he was restrained and immobilized before he could do anything else.
“I really am loath to give up my current identity…” Lin Yan sighed softly, deep resignation shining out of his eyes. “It’s so nice to be a carefree second-generation of rich and powerful nobility with no responsibilities whatsoever…”
“We don’t need to rush into anything.” Jing Huaci and Houtu walked out of the shadows as well.
Desperation dawned in Wuzhiqi’s eyes when he saw that they were also here. He finally understood what these eight wanted, but there was nothing he could do about it. Mount Vastspace had severed the connection between the replica and his main body. His main body was still embroiled in battling the blood demon outside and had no idea what was happening here.
Regardless, alarm crept in when his main body realized that he was no longer in contact with his replica. A foreboding feeling rose from his heart at this unexpected development, but he was currently caught between a rock and a hard place. He didn’t even have the room to maneuver for a surrender if he wanted to!
The blood demon would grievously injure him if he ever so slightly eased up on his offensive, which could very easily lead to his death. This was the first time Wuzhiqi had felt death claw at him ever since the disappearance of the Flame and Yellow Emperors, as well as the Three Purities.
The eight occupants of Mount Vastspace weren’t ordinary demon gods.
Goumang, Rushou, Zhurong, and Gonggong were first generation rulers of the four divine nations in the great wilderness, while Taiyi and Changxi had built the celestial court together. The former was born from a sun star and thus a sun star spirit, while the latter was from the Taiyin Star and hailed as the Taiyin Star Lady in the era of human dao.
Houtu and the Queen Mother of the West needed no introduction. Houtu was the first Yin Prince of the world, beholder of the rules of the earth, and mistress of yin and yang. The Queen Mother of the West was the first connate divine spirit to be born in the world of celestials and ruler of Kunlun Mountain. Given her title as Queen Mother, she ranked second to only Taiyi in the world of celestials.
All of them bore a special presence about them that could be best described as a “decree”.
The position of the Huai river god, when bestowed by Taiyi, was also a type of decree—a divine decree.
The divine decree present on Wuzhiqi could resonate with the decrees on the other eight, summoning forth the core essence within their true spirits that had been obscured by endless rounds of reincarnation. They would return to their roots this way and once again assume the mantle of eight great chaos realm masters from the great wilderness.
After a long period of refinement from the six prodigals, Mount Vastspace had melded with the Timelight Tower. The eight took up positions in different directions, surrounding Wuzhiqi’s replica in their center.
Horrified dismay churned through Wuzhiqi’s face. Though he was just here in replica form, these terrifying beings would be able to suck his core essence dry and wither him to nothingness all the same.
He’d been a far cry from a kind soul in the Primeval Era and differed greatly from Carmine Eternal and Daoist Yuyu. Though those two had been equally out of control and unbridled, they’d stuck to their principles and bottom line.
When Wuzhiqi went on the warpath, he smashed everyone in his way to pieces—whether ordinary being or great master of the combat arts.
Countless numbers of mundane souls had died at his hands and he’d accumulated so much retribution that for a long time, he constantly attracted thunder tribulations from the heavens. He was very much aware that after these eight restrained him, they would allow him no chance of escape or survival.
“We can wait for a bit,” Houtu suddenly said. “He can die after the current heavenly emperor becomes a great emperor, and after the celestial lords of the nine majors and the rulers of the four seas reach grand pure realm.”
“Rulers of the four seas? Lords of the nine majors and the heavenly emperor?” Lin Yan blinked. “But the celestial lords and rulers are just Supreme Immortals of Original Order  and the heavenly emperor at the ingress realm… When they reach grand pure and great emperor…”
“You won’t have to revert back to your old selves?” Houtu smiled faintly.
Since she hadn’t experienced reincarnation or been reborn into another life, she remained who she was—a chaos realm master on par with Leize. She’d also fully recovered from her injuries, which made her the strongest expert in the world of immortals. Wuzhiqi wouldn’t stand a chance if she wanted to take him down.
“Eh?” Lin Yan and the others blinked.
“When the immortal dao is strong enough, us old farts born under the primitive great dao will become anomalies. The immortal dao will do everything in its power to assimilate us as its life forms,” Houtu explained. “The rulers of the twenty-four facets are the pillars upholding the immortal dao. If they all reach cultivation realms in which they behold their own decrees, that will strengthen the immortal dao to the point where it can erase your old selves.”
Though the rulers of the ten lands were creatures under the primeval human dao, their foundations ran exceedingly deep. In their time, they’d already known that the immortal dao would exist in the future, and so they’d been chosen in that era to pave the way for the future immortal dao.
Thus, they’d remained themselves after all this time, forgoing reincarnation and easily assimilating into this new modern era.
What the eight referred to as “decrees” were the cultivation realms like “king” and “emperor” that came with their own titles. Though human king was no longer a realm anymore, its “king decree” had been integrated into the grand pure realm.
Decrees were originally something created by God and inherited by the Exalted Divine Emperor. When the Exalted divines conquered the world of immortals and etched the Sacred Origin Runes into the Dao Flower, they’d done so to incorporate cultivation realms with decrees into the immortal dao.
The monarchs of the twenty-four facets would be able to uphold the immortal dao only when bolstered with a decree’s power. Since they had yet to all take their place, Mount Xuanhuang supported the immortal dao for now.
While the Central World had become Qing Yu’s heavenly palace, its decree was held by Qing Taxian. He was the ruler of the Central World and thus the heavenly emperor.
“Alright!” Lin Yan was the first to agree. “How long?”
“Ten years!” Houtu calculated.
It was the forty-eighth year of the Xuanhuang calendar. She foresaw the nine celestial lords, rulers of the four seas, and heavenly emperor reaching a decreed cultivation realm in the fifty-eighth year.
Before that time arrived, the eight would hold down the fort from Mount Vastspace and help the blood demon keep Wuzhiqi in check. As for how they could help those fourteen ascend to that realm…
Five resplendent pillars of light shot to the heavens within Dusk Province. They resonated with the land, marking the emergence of another five great emperors. The sovereigns of the dao of five elements in the Dao Academy—the previous five priests in the Xuan Yuan Tomb!
After becoming one with their altars, they were almost the equivalent of five Exalted divine spirits. Great emperor was but a hair's breadth away from them, easily obtained.
That the masters of the five elements had become great emperors under the immortal dao instantaneously sharpened the dao into greater focus. The celestial lords that already grasped a mandate of the world made great strides in their cultivation, their rate of improvement faster than before.
...I really thought they'd needed to die too.