“Master...” Zhaoqing was about to speak, but was cut off by her new master.
“Don’t call me master, it sounds kind of weird. Eh, just call me ‘sir’ like everyone else,” he corrected.
“Yes, sir.” Zhaoqing stretched out a small, fair hand and gently poked his arm.
“What’s the matter?” Lu Yun looked at her in puzzlement.
Her cheeks bright red, Zhaoqing ducked her head. Recalling Qi Hai’s reaction, Lu Yun couldn’t help but feel a bit smug.
There’d been some sort of relationship between Qi Hai and Zhao Qing. In the past, the man had almost become the Exalted Divine Emperor’s son-in-law. But now that Zhaoqing had become his tenth Yama King, that relationship would forever be a thing of the past.
“Sir, this treasure is a formation diagram left by a human ancestor a long time ago and sealed here since time immemorial. The sword formation it’s currently releasing is nothing more than energy it’s accumulated from the land during this time. It’s not the sword formation’s own power,” Zhaoqing explained carefully.
“Not its own power?” Lu Yun almost jumped out of his skin. Was this nothing more than the remnant of some stored energy that’d manifested itself as a sword formation? If so, how potent would the sword formation be if it were to be unleashed at full power?
The thought was too frightening to pursue.
“But the sword formation might not be enough to eradicate both threats.” Lu Yun frowned.
Sword rain fell from the sky as the four vibrating sword gates unleashed rays of sword energies that assaulted the stone spirit and demon god. Unexpectedly, the two giants’ reaction was to set their enmity aside and resist the formation together.
The world shook as three hundred and sixty-five talismans suddenly shot into the sky and arranged themselves according to the constellations, fashioning a vast talisman formation from which appeared the figure of the Ninth Heaven’s Demon-Destroying Patriarch.
Lin Yu and Lin Xuan had joined the fray.
They’d foregone the Formation of the Black Tortoise this time around, opting instead for a talisman formation to depict the cosmos and summon the Demon-Destroying Patriarch into existence. As a result, the patriarch absorbed the power of the Black Tortoise and was twice as strong as the last time he’d been called forth.
“The little fox is also taking part… Wait, what’s she doing?” Startled, Lu Yun noticed that the fox had slipped inside the sword formation around the mountain and was deploying a second one identical to the first! Explosive energy erupted from the superposition of the two sword formations!
An illusion? Refining illusion into reality?
However, this was closer to duplication... to think the fox possessed this kind of ability as well!
Soon enough, the truth dawned on Lu Yun. This sword formation wasn’t the real thing, merely the energy of the land that’d been absorbed by the formation diagram. In other words, a simple rearrangement of nature’s qi.
On top of being a grandmaster of illusion, the primordial monster celestial master had been a formation expert as well, a sublime virtuoso in both domains. Now that she’d learned Qing Yu’s formula dao, she’d used it to theorize the very structure of the world’s energy.
As a result, she’d summoned a vast amount of energy from the land and arranged it according to the exact structure of the sword formation, thereby creating a second copy. Both formations originated from the land, so stacking them together magnified their force many times over.
As if he too had been strengthened by the formations, the Demon-Destroying Patriarch stormed through Mount Exalted and obliterated all corpse demons that stood in his path.
Hailing from the dawn of known time, the divine tombs under Mount Exalted were a mausoleum for the entire divine race. No one truly knew how many divine powerhouses were laid to rest there, and it was very possible that the Exalted Divine Emperor’s remains were located there as well. Hence, there were so many corpse demons swarming forth that it seemed impossible to kill them all.
Mount Exalted—or more precisely, the divine race’s Last Repose—had been corrupted into a demonic land by the demon god’s aura. In an even more appalling turn of events, the stone spirit was similarly undergoing assimilation. By now, it was even gradually beginning to follow the demon god’s orders!
The combined force of the two titans thwarted the sword formations’ onslaught. Worse, they struck back and cracked the formations in return!
A white scroll barrelled out of the void and shielded the sword formations.
“God’s core essence!” The demon god stiffened at the sight of the scroll.
Demon god he may be, but as a creature both demonic and divine, divine blood also flowed in his veins. Therefore, God’s essence possessed a natural restraining effect on him. Moreover, a remnant of God’s power was contained in the demonized tomb. A joint attack from both was extremely likely to leave the demon heavily wounded.
That wouldn’t be an issue in ordinary times, but seventy percent of his true spirit had been incinerated by the Exalted Daofire earlier and he was currently under pressure from two sword formations as well. More importantly, there was also the sword formation’s master to contend with!
Since the formation had revealed itself, that human powerhouse that’d once been invincible in the Primeval Era was certainly hidden nearby as well.
“We’re leaving!!” the demon god snarled.
The collapsed Mount Exalted, together with the Last Repose and the Exalted Divine mausoleum, uprooted itself from the earth and floated into the sky.
“What, he’s trying to take Mount Exalted away?!”
“Stop him!” the Exalted celestial emperor roared furiously.
Mount Exalted was the divine race’s sacred land, the pillar of Exalted Major’s faith. While it’d been demonized, her ruler and immortals were loath to give it up.
Hovering above the Exalted capital city, the Exalted Palace flared with another burst of radiant golden light that illuminated all of Center Province.
“Mount Exalted is the sacred land of every immortal in Our major. Even if it is to be destroyed, it must not fall into a demon’s hands…” Full of stern authority, the Exalted celestial emperor’s voice echoed throughout the land.
The power of a peak origin dao immortal erupted in broad daylight as the Exalted Palace rose high in the sky, then flung itself at a Mount Exalted slowly floating up into the air.
“Worry not, fellow daoist. Let me assist you.” the Truespirit celestial emperor’s voice sounded as the power of a second peak origin dao immortal shimmered into existence alongside the Truespirit Palace!
“Fellow daoist, well met. For the good of all!” Sensing the power radiating from his Truespirit peer, the Exalted celestial emperor clapped his hands and laughed heartily.
The greeting “fellow daoist” resonated in harmony within their hearts. Together, eighteen origin dao fruits pulsated with magnificent waves of energy that draped around both of them.
The heart of a celestial emperor beheld the world, rather than turn inward on themselves.
The World Gates.
Nine former celestial emperors opened their eyes at the same time. Together, they looked in the direction of Exalted Major and applauded with jovial laughter.
“Fellow daoists, for the good of all.”
The two sword formations continued to circle around Mount Exalted even as the Scroll of Shepherding Immortals transformed into pure white light to awaken the divine power inside the mountain. Trembling, the mountain hummed with resonance.
Its surface jet-black, the fully assimilated stone spirit was now a demonic spirit. Together with the demon god, they tore apart the Demon-Destroying Patriarch’s projection, leaving the sword formations teetering on the brink of collapse. With a frosty glare, the demon god glowered at the two celestial palaces flying straight at him.
“We’re leaving!” With a few leaps, Lu Yun sent Qing Yu, the little fox, and the two Lin brothers into the resurrection layout in hell and resorted to the Boundless Step, disappearing far into the distance with each immeasurable step.
As soon as he left, the two celestial emperors steered their palaces into a brutal ram of Mount Exalted.
“I couldn’t save them…” Lu Yun’s sigh reverberated in the air for a long time.
“Well met, fellow daoist, for the good of all.”
This “fellow daoist” would never again be heard in this world as the two celestial emperors, newly-awakened to their true mantle and position, perished in fulfillment of their duties.
Say what you will, but the celestial emperors of this world truly are something.