Chapter 645: Tempered God

“I see,” Yang Qi said, picking up the embroidered robe. It was clearly a magical treasure, although it had been drained of any residual spirit energy and the formations inside it were broken. Being corroded by devil energy for so long had completely ruined it.

Next, he looked over at the crushed skeleton and waved his hand, causing it to rise into the air and return to a whole state. Then his vital energy washed over the skull, causing flesh and blood to wriggle out until the corpse’s original facial features were made clear.

“Is that… it is! It really is one of my Sect Grandaunts!” Sword Matriarch Ice Spirit was visibly shocked. “I've seen her portrait in our sect headquarters. You see, my sect is unique in that we’re led exclusively by sword matriarchs. Not all of the sects in the Sage Sword Heaven are like that. Can you resurrect her?”

“Resurrect her?” Yang Qi smiled. “No, I used a powerful energy art to get a glimpse at her face, but I can’t restore her body. Perhaps one day, when my cultivation has reached an extremely high level, I could do something like that, but not now.”

Sword Matriarch Ice Spirit let out a long sigh. “At the least, I need to take her remains back to be properly buried. She was a second division Tempered God, yet she perished in the depths of this castle. What a pity. Her death is one of the reasons why our Ice Spirit Sword Sect is in its current weakened state.”

“The fact that a Tempered God died here is a good reminder for us to be very careful,” Yang Qi said. “If my speculations are correct, the devil sealed in that altar over there is the very same one who cost your Sect Grandaunt her life.”

His eyes were locked onto an altar just off to the side. It was covered with a host of glittering magical symbols and layers of dried blood. It was also decorated with carvings of devil-ghosts, and sitting atop it was a bottle gourd. Considering the deathless godliness that it radiated, it was clearly a god item.

Truth be told, just about all of the altars in the second level had god items like this.

Although they were quite a temptation, Yang Qi knew that he couldn’t take them. If he did, the fiend-devils sealed within the altars would be freed, and that would be a huge disaster.

After all, if one fiend-devil got out, and he wasn’t able to kill it, it would start freeing other fiend-devils.

“That devil energy is so powerful!” Yang Qi murmured, looking closer at the altar. He even sent some divine will inside and saw a vast sea of blood, with some enormous entity lurking in its depths. Clearly, whatever devil was sealed here was something mysterious and unpredictable.

“Tempered Gods are so much more powerful than Seer Gods that it's hard to quantify,” Sword Matriarch Ice Spirit said. “Seer Gods have just begun to see the profound mysteries of their virtual godhood, but Tempered Gods are different. Their virtual godhood has reached the consummate level, allowing them to unleash power reminiscent of the legion of gods.”

Yang Qi definitely wouldn’t take Tempered Gods lightly. However, that didn’t mean that his hands were tied here. After all, he was dying to use a Tempered God to further his cultivation base. And given the level of his cultivation base, plus the synergy between the Eight Tribes Godfist and the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, he suspected that he might actually be strong enough to take out a Tempered God.

The main problem was that, if it turned out he wasn't strong enough to actually kill such a monster, letting it escape wasn’t an option.

“Let me think for a moment,” he said, dropping down cross-legged. After a bit of time passed, he said, “Okay, I'm going to try to kill this fiend-devil. First, I’ll set up a composite spell formation. And I’ll need your help. Use whatever sword formations you can think of to bolster the formation. Then we’ll strike simultaneously. If we can take out a Tempered God fiend-devil, it will be a big accomplishment!”

“Alright!” she replied, mustering her courage. “I know just the sword formation to use, and I’ll power it with my animadestiny quintessence-blood. It might be strong enough to take down a Tempered God.”

“Perfect!” Yang Qi said, sending out his primal-chaos elder-snake to coil around the base of the enormous altar. The altar was fully five thousand kilometers from end to end, but truth be told, that wasn't very large. Yang Qi’s primal-chaos elder-snake could consume entire planets, and even third ranked immortal worlds. So an altar like this was actually tiny.

Next, Yang Qi sent out true energy to form a banner that was fully thirty-thousand meters long, embroidered with true dragons. It emanated a majestic, holy aura that immediately began suppressing the devil energy in the area.

Then he created another banner, then another, and another. The devil energy in the area was being purified as hundreds of thousands of banners were laid out in a complex pattern around the altar. The area was soon filled with divine dragons, flying about as they prepared to crush the altar to bits.

These banners were a devil-suppressing art from the Eight Tribes Godfist. They were called the Eight Tribes Devil-Suppressing Dragon Banners, and they could draw on the magical laws and godpower of the Eight Tribes Heaven to powerful effect.

Of course, it involved a huge drain on true energy. Normally speaking, even a powerful Godmyth like August Patriarch Fire Dragon would only have been able to call on about a thousand of the banners.

The banners would disappear after being used, and could easily inflict severe injury to the vital energy of the user.

After setting up hundreds of thousands of them, Yang Qi waved his hand, causing them to fade from view. Then he flicked his finger, sending out pellets of sagelight that turned into numerous angels, who hovered there singing holy hymns to the Sovereign Lord.

WHIZZZ!

Another spell formation took shape.

Yang Qi exhaled and called on his five phases godly-class energy art, with its eighty-one cycles of reincarnation. Yet another spell formation popped into being.

“The Cardinal Grand Brahma Five Phases Energy Arts?!” Sword Matriarch Ice Spirit said as she set up her own formation, complete with thousands of swords flying back and forth. “That's a consummate art from the Brahman Immortal World. People say that it’s actually impossible to cultivate all five phases to the perfect level. How did you possibly do it? It's a miracle!”

Yang Qi smiled. “You’d be surprised how many miracles I can pull off. In fact, if you’re going to work with me, I’d appreciate it if you stop being so surprised all the time.” Waving his hand, he began to set up another formation, this one featuring countless spears, which of course were manifestations of his Infernal Deity Spear.

Three days and nights passed, during which time Yang Qi and Sword Matriarch Ice Spirit set up a whole host of enormous formations. After the main work was done, they set about adjusting their vital energy and preparing for their deadly strike against the fiend-devil.

Sometimes Yang Qi would jump into a fight without much thought, but not this time. He was being very cautious in all the preparations.

‘This area is great. I took down August Patriarch Fire Dragon, allied with Sword Matriarch Ice Spirit, and finally ended up in Castle Heaven-Devil. I originally thought it would be impossible to use the three years on my hands to reach the Godmyth level. But if I can take down a Tempered God, it might actually happen.’

Another three days and nights passed, and Yang Qi’s vital energy was back to full level.

Looking over at Sword Matriarch Ice Spirit, he asked, “Are you ready?” 

She nodded. “Ready.”

“Alright, brace yourself. I'm going to remove the god item sealing the altar. Once the fiend-devil is out in the open, it's going to be a life or death battle. Win or lose, it all ends here!”

RUMBLE!

He sent out a projected hand to grab the god item, which looked like a jade bottle gourd and was filled with ancient devil-subduing godlight. Clearly, the godlight had slowly been drained away over the years and would eventually run out, at which point the fiend-devil would be freed.

Without any hesitation, Yang Qi took the bottle gourd and threw it in with the rest of his belongings.

The altar instantly began to tremble, and an expression of devil will rolled out from it. 

“It’s been so long! So many years! I've been suppressed for so long. But I’ve finally broken through the ancient seals. I'm finally awake! Foolish humans. You released me all for the sake of that god item?! My thanks to you. I’ll now reward you by killing you, taking your souls, and adding them to my Blood Throne. Thus, you will live forever as my slaves.”

All of a sudden, a mountain of corpses and a sea of blood appeared, which took the shape of an enormous throne. Then a devil-god appeared on the throne. He looked like a middle-aged man clad in a blood red robe. His eyes were green, and glowed with a sorcerous light that seemingly contained the transformations of life and death from countless devil worlds.

He had long, sharp fingernails that were also blood-red, and he tapped them on the throne as he looked at Yang Qi and Sword Matriarch Ice Spirit.

All of a sudden, their vision was overtaken by endless blood and they felt their nascent divinities being overwhelmed by nightmares. It didn’t matter how many spell formations they had set up if they couldn’t activate them, thanks to being trapped in a nightmare.

‘What a powerful fiend-devil!’ Yang Qi thought. This was definitely the strongest opponent he had ever faced, yet he wasn’t about to let himself be suppressed by a nightmare. He waved his hand and a beam of sagelight shot out to activate the spell formations.

“Eight Tribes Devil-Suppressing Dragon Banners! Detonate!”

BOOM!

The hundreds of thousands of banners exploded, turning the sea of blood into a mist and causing the enormous throne to crack and crumble. Then Yang Qi began activating all of the other countless formations, sending a terrifying attack against the fiend-devil. If the fiend-devil didn’t fall, the consequences would be too horrible to contemplate.

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Deathblade's Thoughts

Recommendation: If you are a fan of Chinese fantasy novels, but have not yet read Outlaws of the Marsh (also known as Water Margin), you HAVE to read it. This is one of the four classics of Chinese literature, written nearly a thousand years ago. If you read it, you will see where many of the tropes and concepts of modern-day Chinese fantasy originated. Or at least, you will see how long they have been part of the Chinese literary vernacular. Without getting into too many spoilers, I will point out that the first half is essentially a collection of loosely connected adventure stories featuring a whole host of protagonists with varying skills and abilities. The second half is something of a war campaign story, and was not as compelling to me as the first part. This was obviously written a long time ago, so the narrative does not read like a modern novel. But there are tons of cool things, and I really do think of this as being "required reading" for anyone who is into wuxia, xianxia, xuanhuan, etc. Get it here!