Bolstered by the Nephrite mandate’s heavenly energies, Zhao Shenguang resonated with the entire major. The other celestial emperors collectively paled, and the monster emperors were sent tumbling to the ground by the shock.
After disappearing for so long, no one had expected the prince to return with so much newfound strength, alongside the harbingers of trouble, Chen Xiao and Qing Buyi. Right now, he was displaying power far greater than Zhao Changkong had ever shown!
During the incident in Azure Province, Zhao Changkong had called upon the Path of Ingress rather than Nephrite Major’s heavenly mandate. By that point, he’d reached peak arcane dao realm. Though he’d poured everything he had into the treasure, he still had a decent shot at surviving in some form of life—he’d only perished thanks to the misfortune of landing in the celestial master tomb.
On the other hand, if he’d used the heavenly mandate against Goldenlight and Kui, he would’ve been crushed by its backlash—soul, true spirit, and all.
That was a far steeper price than using the Path of Ingress. Though Zhao Changkong had willingly chosen death, he had done so with fear in his heart. Without the heavenly mandate’s recognition, he couldn’t comprehend the heart of the world.
In comparison, Zhao Shenguang had done all of that and more. After summoning the Path of Ingress to connect Nephrite Major and the central world, he’d also resonated with Nephrite’s heavenly mandate as a mere peerless immortal.
Such a feat would’ve been unimaginable for his brother.
“That Zhao Shenguang came out of the Ancient Tree of Life with Chen Xiao and Qing Buyi, didn’t he? Maybe those devils had a miraculous encounter of some sort inside?” The celestial emperors of Primus, Enlightened, Truespirit, Thundergale, and Lazuli Majors were uniformly concerned.
That Zhao Shenguang could resonate with his territory placed him far ahead of them, making them feel just as self-conscious as the monster and dragon emperors of the ten lands and three immortal seas.
Zhao Shenguang was Chen Xiao and Qing Buyi’s sidekick, and had indubitably been influenced by those two daredevils. If he crushed them with the power of Nephrite Major in a fit of impulse, they would have all died for nothing.
The new celestial emperor looked more murderous by the minute.
“You’re mistaken, Your Majesty.” The long-absent Qi Hai finally reappeared. “Destiny City is a sacred city for all cultivators and an uncountable number of them have congregated here. Even if we want to kill that fur seal, we must do so somewhere else.
“The fur seal is an underling of the demon lord. If a fight breaks out, the whole of Life Province will be caught up in it, much less than a singular Destiny City. It is our responsibility to make sure he doesn’t try anything drastic, we can figure out where to go from there.”
Qi Hai had a pale, handsome face and a lean figure. As soon as he appeared, Destiny City pulsed with a miraculous force that pushed back against Nephrite’s heavenly mandate. The looming pressure of the Four Legions was rebuffed as well.
Destiny City had been one of the three hundred and sixty-five main cities during the era of human dao. As one of the wellsprings of humanity’s power, it naturally possessed certain extraordinary qualities that couldn’t be denied. Moreover, Qi Hai was the foremost city lord among all three hundred and sixty-five cities, with sufficient authority to command the rest. It was trivial for him to make use of the power within Destiny City.
“You…” Zhao Shenguang’s face colored slightly. “If that’s the case, this emperor shall not pursue the matter further.”
Qi Hai’s mouth twitched at the pompous self-reference. Before Emperors Fall, it had been used by celestial emperors of all races. Nowadays, rulers preferred the royal ‘We’, much like monarchs back on Earth. The difference, and the reappearance of ‘emperors’ and ‘kings’, had been brought about after the severing of the path of cultivation. It seemed to have something to do with humanity’s ancestral planet.
As such, Zhao Shenguang’s continued usage of the term made Qi Hai’s teeth hurt. Not that he could do much about it, alas. If Destiny City were at its peak, he would have thrashed the young man and halted his antics a long time ago.
“However, the fur seals are subordinate to the demon god. They plot to overturn the world of immortals with every breath. Therefore, this emperor believes there is a great need for us to come together to defeat them.”
Inside the teahouse, Lu Yun and Qing Yu stared flabbergasted at the Nephrite once-prince.
“Is he really Zhao Shenguang?” Qing Yu blinked. She knew the youth—or thought she did, anyway. The prince was a dandy who’d gotten both of his legs broken by Chen Xiao when fighting over a woman, then ended up hung up over the Nephrite palace doors…
How had he become so assertive?
Moreover, his ability to use the Path of Ingress and Nephrite’s mandate simultaneously was also a mystery.
“Ge Long once said that the Key of Life wasn’t a part of the original Ancient Tree of Life. Born of the Wood Altar, it eventually became a part of the tree’s source.” Lu Yun furrowed his brow. “Before Emperors Fall, the ancient tree was the personal treasure of a certain emperor. If Chen Xiao and Qing Buyi specifically brought Zhao Shenguang along to pluck the tree’s fruit…”
“Are you saying…” Qing Yu’s eyes widened in shock. “Zhao Shenguang received that emperor’s heritage from the tree?”
“It’s just a sudden theory of mine.” Lu Yun shook his head. “After the battle of Emperors Fall, every trace of the great emperors was wiped away from history… I’ve never heard of anyone obtaining their heritage after that. In fact, the very title of ‘emperor’ became an ill omen.”
He turned back toward Dusk Province. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but the demon spirit that’d corrupted the Ancient Tree of Life still seemed odd to him. However, Ge Long had already eaten the crystal core that once contained it, so there was nothing that could be further explored there.
Nevertheless, Zhao Shenguang’s transformation was clearly due to some kind of inherited strength from the Ancient Tree of Life. If Chen Xiao and Qing Buyi hadn’t placed any restrictions on him—indeed, they apparently condoned his ascension to Nephrite’s imperial throne—they evidently thought he was qualified to rule.
“Oh, didn’t Holy Lord Ashu say that the Ancient Tree of Life was some sort of great emperor’s… covenant?” Qing Yu wasn’t too sure about this.
During her baptism by the energies of the ancient tree, she had felt the full extent of its tremendous vigor. There was enough life contained there to construct an entire world. Lu Yun shook his head again; he had no way to know whether the holy lord had spoken true.
“Wow, what a beauty!!” A loud shriek echoed beside Lu Yun and Qing Yu’s ears. The triumphant Zhao Shenguang had landed at some point when they weren’t looking. His eyes were practically glued to Qing Yu’s face. “Hello, miss. This emperor is Zhao Shenguang, the celestial emperor of Nephrite Major. Do you have a dao partner? If We may, We would like to suggest…”
“Are you not worried about Chen Xiao and Qing Buyi breaking your third leg?” Qing Yu snickered, then hurriedly flung out a restraining arm in front of Lu Yun.
“Huh?” Zhao Shenguang shivered violently at the mention of the Twin Devils.
Heaven and earth trembled alongside him. Two instances of ascension phenomena appeared consecutively, rippling through the whole world! In the next instant, they vanished as quickly as they’d appeared.
“Those Twin Devils became void-ascended immortals so fast…” The gathered celestial emperors gulped apprehensively in wariness and envy. They absolutely didn’t have the courage to discard their cultivation and ascend anew through the void realm.
Shame, would've been funny to see a celestial emperor get beat up lol.