Chapter 964: The Sealing Mark Transforms

“Tell me what energy art that was, boy!” Dream Mintdance repeated. She took a step forward, her energy arts surging until a vortex formed behind her. Inwardly, Yang Qi was shocked by what he was seeing, and scrambled to think of a way to deal with the situation. He knew that if he didn’t answer the question, this monstress would attack even more viciously than before.

The surrounding horde of devils simply looked on, none of them daring to interfere with Dream Mintdance.

“I made this energy art,” Yang Qi said, "based on enlightenment I acquired from a variety of godrelics. It doesn’t really have a name. As for why I seem to be the bane of you fiend-devils, it actually has nothing to do with my energy art. You see, I'm backed by someone so strong you can’t even imagine who it is. If you kill me, you’ll be hunted down and killed no matter where you are! Run to the edges of reality, and you’ll still be wiped out of existence.”

“This backer of yours is that impressive?” Dream Mintdance said, stopping in place. She didn't care much about Yang Qi, but had to admit that he seemed to be perfectly equipped to counter her moves. As such, she had to find out exactly who this backer of his was.

“Hold on a moment, Dream Mintdance,” said the mahātmā fiend-devil. “Boy, could it be that you’re not really a disciple of the Will Manifestation Heaven Sect? I'm very familiar with the techniques of that sect, and I happen to know that not even the sectlord has power and will strong enough to vanquish devilish godpower like ours. If the Will Manifestation Heaven Sect were that strong, we would long since have been wiped out.”

“Tell us where you're really from, boy,” said the scholarly fiend-devil. “Who’s your backer? Who gave you the power to vanquish wretch-gods?”

“I'm not at liberty to say,” Yang Qi replied. “All I can say is that, if I die, my powerful backer will cross any planes of existence necessary to come find my murderer. Not even the Great Necropolis would pose an obstacle for him. And once he’s here, he’ll destroy all of you. Incidentally, considering the devil-vanquishing powers I have in me, I could always self-detonate if I wanted to.” Yang Qi was trying to buy time, and also trying to get his enemies to hesitate to shoot the rat for fear of breaking the vases.

“Is there really someone that powerful?” Dream Mintdance said, clearly unconvinced. She took a step forward. “Fine. I’ll kill you and find out. I was amused by you at first, but you’re turning out to be too pig-headed.”

“Slow down.” A stream of devil light shot out from the mahātmā fiend-devil, blocking Dream Mintdance’s path. “Let’s get to the bottom of this before we make a decision. This boy might be of some value to us. The devil-vanquishing godpower he has might be just what we need to break open the sealing mark and subdue Lord Blood River.”

“Right...” Dream Mintdance said. “Fine, good idea. I forgot about that for a moment. Even if we do break the sealing mark, it'll be difficult to deal with the obstinate and unruly Lord Blood River. Maybe this boy really can solve the problem of how to subdue Lord Blood River and turn him into a battle puppet.”

“Boy, tell us where you’re really from,” the scholarly fiend-devil said. “You have some very impressive energy arts, but considering there are so many of us, and only one of you, it would be an easy thing for us to crush you. Besides, it seems like you haven’t pushed those energy arts to their ultimate potential.”

“I accepted the legacy of an extraordinary person from the future,” Yang Qi said. Yet again, he was making a feint, hoping to manipulate his enemies into hurting each other. “Someone from the future world chose me as an apprentice, baptizing me and imparting new energy arts to me.” He was weaving lies so adeptly that there was no way the fiend-devils would catch on to his falsehoods.

Obviously, he was trying to shift blame to Proud Heaven. After all, it was highly likely that the fiend-devils here knew that Proud Heaven had one of the God Legion Seals.

“What? Someone from the future world, with devil-vanquishing godpower?” The mahātmā fiend-devil was visibly taken aback. “Don’t tell me Magister Proud Heaven from the future world has come to this era!? He led a reign of terror on the Ancient Road to the Gods, even running circles around the executors. It would be terrifying to have him in our time period. That said, he was injured badly enough that I doubt he's recovered. I wonder if we could capture him, too....”

The mahātmā’s eyes were virtually glittering with vicious schemes and plots.

“It’s definitely Proud Heaven,” said the scholarly fiend-devil. “He’s the only one who has that thing. That’s what he used to rob and plunder countless individuals on the Ancient Road to the Gods, and elude the executors. He even stole the head and heart of the god Brahma. I wonder if we could—”

“That’s right!” Dream Mintdance interjected. “If we could get that thing, then we could finally shed our fiend-devil identities!”

“Might I ask what the three of you are talking about?” Yang Qi said. “Considering that you seem to personally know my backer, you must know that he can’t be defied.”

Dream Mintdance snorted coldly. “It's not as though he’s completely invincible. Incidentally, do you know how full of craft and cunning he is? Do you really think he gave you those energy arts out of good will? If so, you’re wrong. You can't trust Proud Heaven. Did you know that he once had a son with a woman on the Ancient Road to the Gods? Later, he used that son to accomplish great deeds, only to kill him afterward. The boy's mother sought revenge, so he tried to kill her too, only to fail in the end. The only reason she escaped with her life was that someone rescued her. In any case, do you really think it's a good thing to have energy arts from a person like that?”

“I'm fully aware that he’s using me as a pawn,” Yang Qi said with a cold sneer. “But do you really think I would just let him manipulate me forever? I’ve already devised a way to free myself from his control, and even take his magical treasures in the process. In fact, I plan to kill and assimilate him. Then all of his energy arts will be mine!”

“Excellent,” the mahātmā said, nodding. “In that case, boy, are you interested in working with us? We won’t harm you, and in fact, we can help you get stronger. With our help, you might even be able to reach the Terrifying level. Once you’re strong enough, we can use your status as Proud Heaven’s pawn to lure him out into the open and kill him!”

“Seriously?” Yang Qi said, narrowing his eyes suspiciously. “I don’t trust him, so what makes you think I would trust you people? Working with you would be like asking a tiger for its skin! How would that be worth it for me?”

“You don’t have a choice, boy,” the mahātmā fiend-devil replied. “Besides, we want Proud Heaven, not you. You don’t even have Terrifying will, so it’s a foregone conclusion that he’ll kill you. Your only shot is to reach the Terrifying level. Well, boy? Do you agree, or not? If you have what it takes, we could push you to the Terrifying level right here and now.”

“Really? How?” Yang Qi intentionally plastered an excited expression on his face. “If I could reach the Terrifying level, I’d definitely be in the position to free myself from Proud Heaven.”

“How? Well, first tell us if you agree to our proposal or not. You're surely aware that this sealing mark is imprisoning Lord Blood River. He was a domineering figure long ago on the Ancient Road to the Gods, and was so strong that not even the Executors of the Ancient Road could kill him. Eventually, they sealed him here, where he has remained ever since, his cultivation base slowly weakening. The whole reason we came here today is to take control of him. And the best way to do that will be to use your devil-vanquishing godpower. In the moment that we unravel the seal, we can transfer both Lord Blood River and the god talismans from the Executors of the Ancient Road into you. You will act as the furnace, and our devil art will be the flame that assimilates Lord Blood River. What do you think?”

It was obviously a very dangerous plan.

“You want me to act as a furnace for you to assimilate a fiend-devil?” Yang Qi smiled coldly. “Do you take me for a complete fool? Wouldn’t you just assimilate me along with the fiend-devil?”

“Why would we do that?” the scholarly fiend-devil said. “What would be the point? If we wanted to assimilate you, we could do it right now. Look, we have a devil art called the True-Devil Unspoiled-by-Myriad-Kalpas-and-Tribulations Body, which will allow you to accommodate anything inside of you. Given the level of your cultivation base, it would normally take a hundred million years to cultivate the technique to perfection, but considering how many of us fiend-devils are here to help, we can impart it to you right now. Once we do, it’ll be an easy matter to seal Lord Blood River inside of you. While you use your devil-vanquishing godpower to suppress him, we can use our devil arts from the outside to offer support. Cultivating the Unspoiled Body in this way will be a torment, but if you can handle the pain until the end, it’ll be worth it. It’s not as if people like you come around all the time.” [1]

“True-Devil Unspoiled-by-Myriad-Kalpas-and-Tribulations Body?” Yang Qi said. “You people have mastered an energy art like that?”

Considering how many hell-born fiend-devils Yang Qi had slaughtered throughout the years, he knew a lot about the techniques of hell, and had heard of this Unspoiled Body.

Supposedly, back in the era of the legion of gods, there was a powerful monster who had risen up and fought the gods. He gained enlightenment of the essence of darkness and gloom, and of wretchedness and evil. He eventually sowed major chaos in the god world, killing multiple Paramount Gods before being defeated. He was the one who had created the boundless energy art known as the True-Devil Unspoiled-by-Myriad-Kalpas-and-Tribulations Body.

Supposedly, it could allow one to remain unspoiled and perfect through both a myriad of kalpas, and a myriad of tribulations.

Unfortunately, it was an impossible energy art to master. Even considering all of the fiend-devils Yang Qi had killed or captured, he had never heard any whispers of anyone cultivating it successfully.

In fact, he had eventually come to the conclusion it was just a myth.

“That's right,” the mahātmā fiend-devil said. “The technique has floated around in the Hell of Sages and Mahātmās for years. Few people have ever cultivated it, and none mastered it. However, you seem to meet all the prerequisites. First, you have a body molded by Proud Heaven himself, designed to be the bane of devil energy. We cultivators of devil arts could never do such a thing. Second, the Executors of the Ancient Road created the sealing mark to begin with, so that also helps. Third, once Lord Blood River is sealed inside of you, you’ll have access to the internal pressure you need. It’ll obviously be very dangerous to attempt this, but if you succeed, do you know how powerful your will convergence would be? The only question is whether you dare to make the attempt.”

1.  Kalpa is a Sanskrit word that generally refers to the period of time between the creation and recreation of a world or universe. However, there’s a bit of wordplay that's impossible to convey with a single word. The character 劫 can mean both “kalpa” and “tribulation”. Most of the time in cultivation novels, it’s used for the latter. For example 仙劫 is usually immortal tribulation and 天劫 is usually heavenly tribulation, etc. But since it has the additional meaning of “kalpa”, it makes for great wordplay between the two. In fact, during my original read-through and “pre-translation”, I had this technique written down as simply “True-Devil Unspoiled-by-Myriad-Tribulations Body”, because I glossed over the “kalpa” explanation. In reality, the “Kalpas-and-Tribulations” part is actually a single character, so I want to include both the concept of the kalpa and the concept of the tribulation, as both are encompassed in the meaning of this technique. The author occasionally mixes and matches the various characters that make up the technique, and occasionally uses a shortened version of the name. I will do the same, perhaps a bit more often as I'm not concerned with reaching a word-count goal for each chapter. I’ll use “Unspoiled Body” wherever it makes sense, but will still throw in the entire technique name occasionally as well.

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