“Boy, there’s a time for schemes and cleverness,” Ghost Emperor Yama said placidly. “But don’t get greedy. Becoming a Legendary is no simple feat.” His gaze was so piercing that it seemed capable of seeing through to all of Yang Qi’s secrets. “In the grand scheme of energy arts cultivation, the Lifeseizing level isn’t something particularly amazing. However, it is a time to set a solid foundation, which can deeply affect your future path. If you don’t seize enough life from the heavens, and end up with an unstable foundation, no amount of hard work later on will help. Some Nonary Lifeseizers take a thousand years to break into the Legendary level, and others even two thousand. For those who have a weak foundation, the process could even take as long as five thousand years.”
“You're absolutely right, Senior,” Yang Qi said. He actually had no idea what point Ghost Emperor Yama was trying to make, and was simply trying to play along.
“That energy art of yours seems deficient. Presumably it’s connected to some secret legacy of the distant past, so it’s only natural that it would be incomplete in certain areas. How about I help you solve those problems? With my help, you probably can reach the Legendary level even sooner.”
With that, he beckoned for Yang Qi to approach him.
Yang Qi could tell that this Ghost Emperor Yama was a crafty individual. Obviously, he had no intention of providing any so-called help, but rather, was hoping to trick Yang Qi into revealing his technique.
After getting it, he would most likely just kill Yang Qi.
“Most types of cultivation require personal exploration,” Yang Qi said. “Besides, when I acquired this technique, I swore an oath not to spread it. Therefore, I won’t bother you with asking for help, Senior.”
“Come on, boy. You don’t really think that I would try to steal your technique, do you?” It seemed that Ghost Emperor Yama could tell what Yang Qi was thinking. “I dominated all creation tens of thousands of years ago, and have my own ancient and mysterious technique. It’s just that I can see how much potential you have, and realize how much I can help you to grow. What I was doing just now was testing you to see how respectful you are. Sadly for you, you lost a good opportunity. If you had acted deferential, and given me your technique, I would have helped you reach the Legendary level right away. I might have even taken you as an apprentice, and let you join me as I conquer the world. Unfortunately, your lack of sincerity has lost you some good fortune. I was looking for a successor! Understand?”
“Aiya!” Yang Qi said with a gasp. “I really did lose out on some good fortune. Well, since you don't want me as your successor, Senior, I guess I’ll just have to leave empty-handed. You, the great Ghost Emperor Yama, definitely won’t cause any problems for a nobody like me, right? Well, I guess I’ll take my leave now.”
“Take your leave? To where? These are the Yama Mountains. Everything in the area is locked down with the power of yamas. Not even a Legendary could break free, let alone you.”
“Oh. Well, would you mind teleporting me out? I'd be eternally grateful.”
“Think this through, boy. I’m going to give you another chance. Take me as your master, and I’ll help you with your technique. All you have to do is pass three different tests. What do you say?”
Yang Qi shook his head. “No, that’s okay. Really. I'm not destined for such things, and wouldn’t want to disappoint you, Senior. Besides, this technique of mine is missing too much information. Although it looks hard and unyielding, I constantly run the risk of cultivation deviation. If that happened, I would lose my memories, and my soul would disperse. Then I would be left with absolutely nothing.”
There was quite a bit of hidden meaning to Yang Qi’s words. What he was really saying was: Don’t push me too far, Ghost Emperor Yama. I’d rather kill myself than give you my technique. And if my soul and memories disappear, then not even soulsearching me would do any good.
He had hit the nail on the head. Actually, the whole reason Ghost Emperor Yama was talking with Yang Qi instead of just killing him, was that the slightest mistake could result in exactly what Yang Qi had just mentioned.
In response to his words, Ghost Emperor Yama burst out in laughter. After all, he was so old that he had seen just about everything, and actually found Yang Qi to be somewhat amusing. “You’re pretty clever, you little punk. You remind me of another clever brat I met recently, although he's much, much stronger than you. He was able to force his way into the Yama Mountains, and you weren’t.”
“Are you talking about the Crown Prince?” Yang Qi asked.
“Exactly. He’s the new genius from the Demi-Immortal Institute. Well, anyway, what’s your decision? Your technique is obviously profoundly harmful to devil-ghosts like myself. Thankfully for you, I need something like that to dispel the nefarious energy around me, purify my own technique, and thus escape from the confines of this life force springwater. Who knows, maybe I could even absorb all the water. Listen, let’s make a deal. You help me get free, and I’ll give you a huge reward.”
“What if I don’t agree?” Yang Qi said.
“Don’t agree? Well. You can die.” A vicious smile played out on Ghost Emperor Yama’s face. “You’re in the Yama Mountains now. You think you can just waltz your way out of here? The truth is that you're trapped. If you agree to help me, I’ll help you. If you refuse to cooperate, I’ll have to kill you, and wait for the next person to come along.”
‘Devil-ghosts are devil-ghosts,’ Yang Qi reminded himself. ‘You can’t trust them, no matter what.’
“To tell you the truth,” Ghost Emperor Yama continued, “although my true self is bound by Quake-Dawn godsteel, I could still send out enough true energy to kill a Legendary, much less an ant like you. But I can tell you’re smart. You know the old saying, right? Hesitate to shoot the rat for fear of breaking the vases. If I destroyed your soul and memories, then you’re right, not even a soulsearch would help me get your technique. Come. Tell me of your technique. I'm more knowledgeable than anyone else in this continent, so I can tell that it’s not saintly-class. It’s heavenly-class, isn’t it?”
“I don’t know,” Yang Qi replied simply.
At this point, he truly had stopped thinking about matters of his own life or death. This was an infinitely powerful wretch-devil that he was dealing with, a devil emperor in the Great Sage level. If he got his hands on a godly-class energy art, then he would definitely cause a rain of blood and death to soak the Rich-Lush Continent, the likes of which Yang Qi could scarcely imagine.
“Listen, brat, you’re really pushing your luck here. Tens of thousands of years ago, I would never even look at an ant like you. I'm making an exception today by giving you a chance to become my apprentice. And yet you refuse? Do you have a death wish or something? If so, then I can make your wish come true!”
Apparently, Ghost Emperor Yama was starting to get angry.
Considering how powerful he was, it was little wonder. He had asked a tiny nobody for a technique, only to have that nobody refuse him. Of course he would become enraged!
All of a sudden, he lifted his hand off his throne, sending an enormous, dark gold palm flying through the air. “Hand of the Yama!”
The entire savage palace filled with rumbling sounds as the enormous palm stretched out, filling the air around Yang Qi and giving him no room to escape.
Yang Qi was instantly immobilized, unable to even draw on his true energy.
“You think that I would just let you destroy your own memories and soul? Never! I'm Ghost Emperor Yama, and I can make you live a life in which you beg for death only to be refused!”
Yang Qi wasn't even close to being a match for Ghost Emperor Yama; he was simply too far below him.
Perhaps if he was a Legendary, with a deeper understanding of magical law, he might have qualified to fight back. But he wasn’t.
‘Hell-crushing godmammoths can overawe all wretch-devils!’
Under the immense pressure, Yang Qi’s unyielding spirit kicked in. His true energy began to bubble in his dantian region, and then pour out into his body like the rising tide.
Unfortunately, the dark gold Ghost Emperor Yama reached out and placed a finger onto Yang Qi’s forehead. Voice filled with rage, he said, “Heavenly Reincarnation Art! Ten Lives Transmigration! Your name is Yang Qi, right? Well, let’s see what happens if your soul slips into eternal bewilderment. With my Heavenly Reincarnation Art, I can take everything you know from within the cycle of reincarnation, and make you speak it out loud.”
At that moment, Yang Qi felt an evil, powerful, and irresistible force pouring into his forehead.
Ghost Emperor Yama was so strong that he could force Yang Qi’s soul into the cycle of reincarnation, destroying any control he had over himself. It was a boundless devil art that experts even more powerful than Yang Qi couldn't defend against.
In fact, it contained magical laws of both space and time.
As the evil true energy entered Yang Qi’s acupoints, Ghost Emperor Yama spoke in the cruelest of voices. “When you cultivate to the Legendary level, your acupoints will become expressions of space. The acupoint in your forehead is called the ancestral aperture, which contains the ultimate expression of your soul. All I have to do is take control of that, and I’ll know exactly what technique you cultivate!”
It was in this very moment that Yang Qi realized the golden imp which resided in his ancestral aperture had noticed the devil energy.
Then, Ghost Emperor Yama noticed the golden imp. “What?” he blurted. “What do you have hiding in your forehead? What is that thing? A golden imp? Don’t tell me you cultivate some nascent divinity technique? Well, I’ll just dig this thing out!”
The evil energy grew stronger, pouring into Yang Qi’s forehead and wrapping around the golden imp as if to tear it out of him.
As soon as the devil energy touched the golden imp, everything changed! Golden streams of light suddenly poured out of nowhere, shattering the air; it was as though some mighty, mysterious entity were suddenly taking form.
It was impossible to see whether the tiny golden person inside of Yang Qi’s forehead was male or female. However, the imp’s eyes had definitely opened. Godly might erupted out, causing the previously pitch-black Yama Mountains to suddenly shine with golden light, and tremble violently. It was almost as if some wretch-devil had blasphemed a god-spirit, who had then come to inflict divine punishment.Previous Chapter Next Chapter