Chapter 1875: Emergence of the Devilish Mark

Bai Guo'er and Hai Yuetian were both at the early-Nascent Soul Stage, while Qi Lingzi was already a mid-Nascent Soul cultivator. 

"By the way, Junior Martial Sister, speaking of Master, he immediately went into seclusion again after returning from the primordial world 200 years ago; is he really planning to stay in seclusion until he makes a breakthrough to the late-Body Integration Stage?"

"I'm not particularly sure about that, either. Currently, the place where Master is in seclusion is surrounded by layers of restrictions, and even Senior Ice Phoenix isn't able to approach the secret chamber. It seems that Master is either preparing to make a breakthrough to the late-Body Integration Stage or cultivating some kind of powerful ability, and he doesn't want us to disrupt him," Bai Guo'er replied.

"Master took only about 300 years to progress from the early-Body Integration Stage to the mid-Body Integration Stage; if he can successfully progress to the late-Body Integration Stage in such a short time, that would simply be unheard of!" Hai Yuetian exclaimed.

"If Master really can make a breakthrough, then that would be vastly fortunate both for the three of us, and for the entire human race, but it's probably very unlikely. After all, under normal circumstances, it would take 1,000 to 2,000 years of arduous cultivation just to accumulate the enormous magic power required to progress from the mid-Body Integration Stage to the late-Body Integration Stage. It's simply unrealistic to attain that much magic power in just a few centuries," Qi Lingzi mused as he stroked his chin in deep thought.

"Hmph, why are you talking about normal circumstances, Senior Martial Brother? When has our master ever been bound by normal circumstances? If you ask me, Master must've been quite confident in his ability to make a breakthrough prior to the commencement of the devilish tribulation. Otherwise, he wouldn't have gone into seclusion in the first place. During these past few centuries, Deep Heaven City and the three sovereigns have regularly sent people to visit master, and we passed on all of this information, but haven't received any response from Master. This shows us that Master is focusing wholeheartedly in his cultivation and doesn't want to be distracted by anything else," Bai Guo'er countered.

"Looks like Junior Martial Sister Bai is the one who has the most confidence in Master among the three of us. However, all of our analysis is futile; the truth will be revealed once Master emerges from seclusion. The devilish tribulation is about to commence in a few more decades, so Master will have to come out of seclusion before that no matter what," Qi Lingzi said. 

"That's true. It's quite a pity; if the tribulation could be delayed a little, Master would at least be able to make some significant improvements, if not achieve that breakthrough," Hai Yuetian said in a slightly forlorn manner.

"Alright, Master's cultivation is not something for us disciples to discuss as we please. All we can do now is ensure that we survive this devilish tribulation. By the way, Junior Martial Sister, why don't you join Deep Heaven City as well? After all, Deep Heaven City will be one of the only places in the entire human race that'll be relatively safe once the tribulation commences. With your status as Master's disciple, I'm sure the elders of the city will look after you," Qi Lingzi suggested in a serious manner.

"Senior Martial Brother Qi Lingzi is right. We've already decided to move all of our disciples to Deep Heaven City once the devilish tribulation commences. Even though they'll only be guards of the lowest level, with us there to look after them, they won't be used as cannon fodder, at the very least. If you can come with us, then that would naturally be even better," Hai Yuetian said with a smile.

"Deep Heaven City?" Bai Guo'er's brows furrowed slightly as a contemplative look appeared on her face.

"Do you have some other plans, Junior Martial Sister? It would be best to make your decision as soon as possible. After all, Master already told us prior to going into seclusion that he'll be leaving the human race to do something once the devilish tribulation begins, so there's no way he'll be able to keep all three of us around," Qi Lingzi said in a concerned manner.

After some consideration, Bai Guo'er finally made her decision. "Truth be told, I received a letter from my father not long ago, telling me that my entire family has moved to Xuan Wu City. My father wants me to go there as well, and I only have a few loved ones left in this world, so I want to be with them in such a tumultuous time."

"I see. It would indeed be rather worrisome to be separated from family at a time like this. Thankfully, Xuan Wu City is quite safe as well, so I'm sure you'll be fine there," Hai Yuetian said.

"If you're going to Xuan Wu City, I suggest you take Liu Feng and Fu Yun with you. Those two are Core Formation cultivators, so I'm sure they'll be useful to you," Qi Lingzi suddenly said.

"I can't take them; those two are your most prized disciples, Senior Martial Brother. Rest assured, I have a few personal maids, and they've been with me for some time. They still haven't reached the Core Formation Stage yet, but they're all Foundation Establishment cultivators, so they'll suffice," Bai Guo'er said with a smile.

"Haha, in that case..." Qi Lingzi smiled and was just about to say something when a resounding boom suddenly rang out in the air nearby. Immediately thereafter, heaven and earth tremored, and the mountain beneath their feet began to quake.

The three of them were all Nascent Soul cultivators, so these tremors naturally weren't enough to harm them, but their expressions all changed drastically as they looked up in unison.

A massive grey mark had appeared in the air overhead, and it was quickly spreading. At the same time, powerful spatial fluctuations were emanating from within it and proliferating in all directions.

Within moments, the mark had swelled to several times its original size, and the entire sky dimmed as if it were being rapidly devoured by the vast expanse of murky greyness.

"That's a devilish mark, the phenomenon that heralds the arrival of the devilish tribulation!" Hai Yuetian exclaimed as his face paled considerably.

Bai Guo'er and Qi Lingzi were also staring intently up into the murky grey heavens with strained looks on their faces.

"This is indeed a devilish mark; the devilish tribulation is arriving earlier than anticipated," Bai Guo'er murmured.

"It may not be a true devilish mark; perhaps it's just a similar phenomenon. We'll have to get people from Deep Heaven City to officially verify it," Qi Lingzi said in a hopeful manner.

"Hmph, what's there to verify? If this really is a devilish mark, then this won't be the only one that appears," Hai Yuetian countered with a shake of his head.

"That's true, everyone in the three regions have most likely already been alerted to this," Qi Lingzi replied.

"There's no need to be overly concerned, Senior Martial Brother. The emergence of the devilish mark only indicates that the Elder Devil Realm is just beginning to overlap with our Spirit Realm, and this process is an extremely slow one. According to past records, it'll be at least half a year before the Elder Devil Race will actually be able to infiltrate our Spirit Realm, so we still have ample time to make preparations," Bai Guo'er reassured.

"That is indeed true, but the Elder Devil Race can also gather their troops at the devilish marks, so the first few waves of attacks will be particularly ferocious. I wonder how many cities will survive," Qi Lingzi said with a wry smile.

Bai Guo'er and Hai Yuetian's expressions darkened even further upon hearing this.

Right at this moment, light flashed in the distant sky, and a golden flying ark traveled toward them.

There were a dozen or so azure-armored guards standing atop the ark, which was over 100 feet in length, and all of the guards wore solemn expressions.

The ark stopped under the giant grey mark, and all of the armored guards rose up into the air, then brought out formation flags and formation plates, as well as some strangely-shaped treasures, before activating all of them in unison.

Spiritual light of different colors immediately erupted in the air, creating a very eye-catching sight to behold, and there were even more streaks of light approaching this place from all directions.

"Let's go. The patrolling guards from Deep Heaven City have arrived; we have to inform Master of this right away," Qi Lingzi said in a solemn voice.

Bai Guo'er and Hai Yuetian naturally had no objections to this, and three of them all flew toward a certain mountain.

...

At the center of a secret chamber that was shimmering with faint white light, there was a huge azure cauldron that was around the same height as a grown man hovering in mid-air.

There were three Han Lis seated around the cauldron atop futons, and all of them were completely still with their eyes tightly shut.

Among the three Han Lis, one was shimmering with golden light and had black Qi revolving around his body, one had green skin and was glowing with purple light, and the final one had a golden halo behind him that was constantly fluctuating in size, and contained countless surging golden runes.

At the center of the halo, there were 72 azure swords pursuing one another.

All of a sudden, the three Han Lis opened their eyes in unison, then raised their arms in complete synchronicity before thrusting their hands toward the giant cauldron.

A dull clang rang out as the lid of the cauldron flew up into the air, following which countless white threads shot forth out of the cauldron.

The three Han Lis then each pointed a finger toward the air above the cauldron, and the white threads seemed to have encountered an invisible barrier that forced them to abruptly halt in mid-air.

Right at this moment, a loud buzzing sound rang out from within the cauldron, and a dozen or so balls of golden light emerged. These were thirteen fist-sized golden beetles, and all of them had purple patterns all over their bodies. Furthermore, their abdomens were as translucent as elixir, and as soon as they emerged from the cauldron, they immediately engaged in a fierce brawl, trying to devour their companions.

Bursts of astonishing baleful Qi erupted forth as the buzzing sound grew even louder, and the three Han Lis immediately let loose a collective loud cry upon seeing this. Spiritual light flashed from their fingers, and they cast a series of incantation seals toward the beetles.

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