Ever since meeting Archmonk Dharma Treasury, Yang Qi had been treated with kindness and grace. The Archmonk was immensely powerful and had an exquisite mastery of buddhist magic. Merely conversing with him provided immense benefit. In only a few hours of conversation, Yang Qi found that his psychic power advanced another step, and many of his divine abilities felt freer and easier to use. In fact, his entire being had entered a unique and improved state.
In the middle of their conversation, a beam of sword light suddenly appeared, slashing through the wall and heading toward them like a writhing snake. Then it shattered into a rain of sword energy that, in the blink of an eye, bore down on their acupoints with deadly force.
“How dare you, ruffians!” Archmonk Dharma Treasury scolded, and his fingers spread out in the manner of a lotus flower, sending eruptions of power out to each of the countless raindrops of sword energy that blocked their path. Then he leaped to his feet and casually reached out, grabbing something out of midair. Instantly, a sound rang out like that of metal striking metal.
A sword appeared, clasped between his forefinger and middle finger. Whoever was holding the sword grunted, then twisted the sword, causing the blade to snap and allowing them to blur backward and disappear.
Meanwhile, some of the sword energy managed to reach Yang Qi. Although it stung when it hit his skin, it did little more than scratch him.
“Quite a powerful sword,” said Archmonk Dharma Treasury. “If I'm not mistaken, that was one of the most powerful fiend-devils from the Ancient Road to the Gods, Dugu Space-Maimer, also known as the Fanged Sword-Devil. He was born as a book-devil in the Hell of Sutra Conservation. He shook the ancient road for many years, always evading the executors. Clearly, his cultivation base has reached a very high level.”
“The Hell of Sutra Conservation...?”
This was Yang Qi’s first time hearing of the place, which was obviously a formidable hell. Although he didn’t know it, the Hell of Sutra Conservation was filled with repositories of sutras, ancient records, historical annals, and the like. The book-devils from there were immensely powerful and could innately master any daoist technique or devil art they encountered. They also had such profound cultivation bases that they were always capable of fighting enemies above their own level.
“It seems to me this isn’t a very safe location,” Yang Qi said. “Our best course of action is probably to find the league-lord’s command medallion, then get out of here.”
“I agree. I’ve already used my Buddha’s Eye God Dao to determine the general location of the command medallion. Unfortunately, the capital city is under the direct control of the ruler of the Hell of Sages and Mahātmās, the same Shepherd I mentioned earlier. If he notices us, we’ll both die, so we can’t afford to act rashly.”
Archmonk Dharma Treasury extended his finger and began tracing a line on the table in front of him. The line quickly turned into a map of the city magistrate’s mansion.
“According to my calculations, the league-lord’s command medallion is located in this mansion. Right here.” He pointed to the location on the map. "It seems to me I need to use my Buddha Comes to a Strange World Grand Magic to enter the mansion and steal the medallion. But it’ll be a very dangerous undertaking. Furthermore, I’ll need your help in two regards, young friend. First of all, using my grand magic will cause my fleshly body to enter a state of collapse, so I’ll need your true energy to keep my fleshly body in one piece. Second, there's a warding magic protecting the medallion, something called the Nine-Heavens Ten-Earths Devil-King Herculean-Ability. The best way to break it will be to use your Unspoiled Body. If you succeed, we’ll be able to take the medallion. If not, we won’t be able to budge it an inch.”
“I’ll follow whatever orders you give me, Grandmaster,” Yang Qi said. Considering he had the Myriad Worlds Monarch Chart, and also had the Archmonk as his ally, he was very confident in the success of the upcoming mission.
“Great,” the Archmonk said. “By the way, there are some more details you need to be aware of, young friend. You see, my entire purpose here is to ensure that this meeting of fiend-devils is a failure. Even if I have to die in the process. Once we take the command medallion, the Shepherd will surely realize what happened. And in that case, I’ll likely lose my life. In the final moment, I’ll use a boundless buddhist energy art to buy some time. That’s when you will abscond with the medallion, young friend. Don’t hesitate. Go into hiding as soon as you can. Based on what I can sense, few people other than you would ever be able to escape from the Shepherd. After all, you have the constitution of a Fateless One.”
“What?!” Yang Qi said, shaken to the core at how Archmonk Dharma Treasury had seen through so many of his secrets. Trying to keep a straight face, he said, “Grandmaster, there’s no need for you to sacrifice yourself. I’m sure I’ll be able to find an opportunity to get both of us out safely.”
The Archmonk chuckled. “Don’t worry, young friend, I'm not trying to force you to reveal any secrets. Besides, secrets are ultimately meaningless, even for gods and buddhas. The only true secrets are your most hidden intentions....” With that, Archmonk Dharma Treasury sank into a motionless trance as he once again performed some divinations.
Yang Qi couldn’t help but click his tongue in admiration.
Unexpectedly, the Archmonk actually intended to sacrifice himself on this mission. Considering that, Yang Qi decided that rescuing him was a top priority. Unfortunately, he really didn't want to reveal that he possessed the Myriad Worlds Monarch Chart. For all he knew, the Archmonk was merely putting up a pretense of righteousness and justice, but was secretly an evil villain. Yang Qi was no child, and wouldn’t blindly trust anyone. From the moment his path began in the mortal world, he had encountered evil villains, and many of them were the type that pretended to be virtuous but were secretly evildoers.
Sitting down, he began meditating in preparation.
Meanwhile, some distance away in a towering building, Lord Blood River sat with his three fiend-devil companions. In front of them was a man in a long black robe, who was circulating his true energy to heal himself. All of a sudden, he coughed up a mouthful of blood, indicating the process was completed.
“That buddhist true energy is incredible,” said the man in black. “Whoever that fiend-devil was, he’s cultivated that buddhist art to the highest level imaginable. Lord Blood River, hurry up and give me one of those Blood-Convergence God Pills. The injuries I just now sustained were severe.”
Lord Blood River chuckled. “As it turns out, Dugu Space-Maimer, the renowned Fanged Sword-Devil, actually failed in his assassination attempt and was even driven away with severe injuries. I paid a premium for your services, but you failed in the end. And now you think I'm going to give you one of my Blood-Convergence God Pills? What makes you think you have the face for demands like that?”
Dugu Space-Maimer snorted coldly. “I don’t know who that devil is, Lord Blood River, but he’s extremely powerful. I’d say it’s highly likely he disguised himself and joined one of the buddhist schools. In any case, I'm no match for him. It’s only natural that I would fail in my mission. I'd say the only possibility of success would be if the two of us joined forces in the attack. If you don’t help me to fully recover from this, then there’s going to be a major grudge between the two of us. And in that case, you’d better watch your back from here on out.”
“Considering your injuries, do you really think you can just walk out of here?” Dream Mintdance said. She along with the mahātmā and scholarly fiend-devils all rose to their feet and fanned out to surround Dugu Space-Maimer.
“Come on, Lord Blood River,” Dugu Space-Maimer said. “You haven’t even crossed the river, but you’re already burning the bridge down? Do you really think I'm that easy to kill? If so, then you’re definitely insane.”
“Cut the crap,” Lord Blood River said. “We might’ve been friends before, but I've been away for too long and my Violet-River Blood-Shadow Grand Magic needs fresh blood. Yours. You see, when I gave you some of my Blood River True Energy years ago, it was all for the purpose of fattening you up for this moment. Kill him!”
Before anything else could happen, a command medallion shot into the room, much to the surprise of everyone present. Carved on the medallion was the image of a man with a shepherd’s crook, leading a flock of sheep. Even just looking at the medallion made them all feel like their souls were about to be pulled out of their bodies.
Suddenly, a voice echoed into their ears through the window. “The Shepherd has commanded that no fighting and killing go on before the general assembly. Any who violate that command will be immediately punished!”
Looking outside, they saw a young man hovering there, clad in a cyan scholar’s robe. He was handsome, without any wretch energy at all, but with such profound energy arts that it was obvious he was no ordinary person.
“Who are you?” Lord Blood River shouted. “How dare you stick your nose into the affairs of a patriarch like me?”
“I’m one of the Shepherd’s Five God-Generals. Specifically, God-General Crystallaine. If you dare to violate the commands of the Shepherd, you’ll die beyond the shadow of a doubt!”
“We haven't selected a league-lord yet,” said the mahātmā fiend-devil, “and although the Shepherd is powerful, he doesn’t command the horde of devils. Besides, he was injured by the executors, then fell victim to the plot of Magister Proud Heaven from the future world. He’s critically injured and virtually on his deathbed, so what makes him think he can tell us what to do?”
“Well, if it isn’t a mahātmā exile of the Sikong Clan,” God-General Crystallaine said. “Back when we purged your clan, you escaped, only to return now. And instead of coming back with greater abilities than before, you've actually regressed. You’ve made a big mistake here. Hand over the sheepskin scroll!”
“I don’t have the sheepskin scroll. It was stolen by Proud Heaven’s son. Don’t tell me the Shepherd isn’t aware of that fact.”
“Of course the Shepherd knows. He's omniscient. For now, I’ll let you live. When the time for the general assembly comes, if you endorse the Shepherd, you can live. Fail to do so, and you’ll be killed beyond the shadow of a doubt. And I’ll say one more time: no fighting and killing. The Shepherd has recovered from his injuries and will soon force all fiend-devils to submit to him. Afterward, he’ll lead the fight against the Executors of the Ancient Road, as well as the humans of the immortal dao civilization. We’ll devour them all, and take control of all the many heavens. That is our path to godly ascension!”
“I refuse to believe that the Shepherd has recovered,” Lord Blood River said. “Get out of here, God-General Crystallaine. Otherwise I’ll kill you! I was dominating the Ancient Road to the Gods before you were even born!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter