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Longsu Province, Danxia Temple Colonnades, night.
There were several hundred cultivators, all at Foundation Establishment. The middle stage of Foundation Establishment was considered a low cultivation and late-stage Foundation Establishment was even more common all around. The Great Circle cultivators were said to be as few as thirty or forty, and there were shockingly eight half-step Core Formation in the line up.
Everyone’s complexions were solemn. Each person was quietly meditating on the ground, but the mere cold sweat on their foreheads informed everyone that they weren’t meditating so simply.
In the sky, faintly indiscernible violet runes made up a great formation that was tens of kilometers in radius. The final destination of each talisman was shockingly each sitting cultivator!
Above the layers of black clouds above, there was a tremendous imperial palace, seemingly like a city floating in the air. It was a gigantic turtle puppet, and its four feet were surrounded by prismatic clouds. A huge palace hall was situated on its back. It was akin to a tremendous beast in the night.
Daomaster Ancientpine’s Core Formation imperial palace!
Suddenly, the complexion of a late-stage Foundation Establishment cultivator became increasingly hideous and the cold sweat on his forehead more and more plentiful. All of a sudden, the qi outside his body berserked, and the surrounding people immediately opened their eyes. Their eyes carried incomparable complexity, pity, and absolute determination. Afterwards, they all shut their eyes at the same time.
“Master!” An initial-stage Foundation Establishment cultivator behind wept, his cheeks streaming with tears. In the next second, his master fiercely spat out a mouthful of blood and all of his bodily qi suddenly dissipated.
In an instant, the purple light of the talismans in the sky became magnificent. The body of the already-deceased cultivator fell to the floor, yet his mouth mechanically extended. A strange-looking insect was faintly discernible within his mouth. As for him, he no longer had a tongue.
Swoosh! Under the sprinkling violet light, the little insect released a sharp and ugly cry. The couple legs it exposed on the outside moved, and its body color immediately turned from deathly-ashen to pitch-black. The insect moved no further.
The initial-stage cultivator gritted his teeth, carried away his master’s corpse, and sat down. From an aerial view in the sky, the several hundred Foundation Establishment cultivators were merging their bodies into the great formation, yet at the heart of the formation was Danxia Temple’s Colonnades!
In the Core Formation imperial palace above, Daomaster Ancientpine was sitting cross-legged and upright at the palace peak. Countless light screens unfolded besides him. Everything in a radius of fifty kilometers was in his grasp.
“Master-Ancestor.” Jadesun’s voice rang outside the door. Daomaster Ancientpine was silent for ages, but the two single-sided doors opened freely of the wind.
Jadesun soundlessly entered and cupped his hands. “Master-Ancestor… Disciple has already notified all junior brothers. Ninth Junior Sister’s Closed Moon Legion of Shanghai, Fourteenth Junior Brother’s Thousand Mountains Legion of Guifang, Eighth Junior Brother’s Chiyou Legion of Lingxi, and… Seventeenth Junior Brother’s Xingtian Legion of Mingshui have already been called on.”
Silence. After a long time, Daomaster Ancientpine’s voice echoed faintly with terrible complexity, “Six disciples, three major A-rank legions… Within twelve minutes, the jade slips all shattered… No less than several hundred Foundation Establishment cultivators… A calamitous massacre flooding the heavens, I have sinned…”
“Master-Ancestor, this is our responsibility.” Jadesun took a deep sigh and quietly waited at Daomaster Ancientpine’s side. “The Chinese government has already passed down directive. You can invoke the authority of the ultimate weapon at any time, sir. The closest is the Southwest King, Ancestor Titanspirit, and the Endless Beasts Legion under his banner. They’re rushing over to Longsu Province. His imperial palace will arrive tomorrow.”
At this moment, Ancientpine’s face didn’t have a sliver of his relaxation at the auction. Instead, he opened his eyes with terrible caution and wordlessly studied each light screen. After a while, he took a deep breath. “Connect to the surface qi-monitoring system.”
Resembling a living creature, a light screen instantly formed a clear image. On it, over a dozen tunic-suited cultivators were facing a computer with exceptional seriousness.
“How is it?”
“Reporting to Ancestor.” A thin cultivator raised his head, his lips chapped. “W-We might’ve detected incorrectly.”
Ancientpine’s face was without the slightest expression. “I… came here a couple decades ago. I know what might be inside. You only need to worry yourself with speaking.”
“Yes…” The thin cultivator clenched his teeth and clicked with his finger. In the air, another light screen emerged.
On the light screen, there was only a little spot of green while everything else was red! Furthermore… the red was moving!
“Ancestor.” The thin cultivator’s voice began to grow embarrassed. “W-We really might’ve messed up… T-There wasn’t any qi detected below. B-But using mortal infrared detection methods, we d-discovered…”
He dared not continue speaking, and Ancientpine said indifferently, “Go on.”
The thin cultivator sucked in deeply. “Below… there is… a tremendous lifeform…”
“Length… 4,832 meters… Width… 673 meters… and…” He rigidly locked his teeth. “It’s a living creature…”
“Huff…” Jadesun coldly gasped, looking at the boundless red on the screen in disbelief. “Is it possible… that this is a Chinese ancestor comparable to Quetzalcoatl? Or… an ancient monster sealed by a Chinese ancestor?”
Ancientpine painfully shut his eyes. A single verse had smashed his beautiful dream to smithereens. “It… is a demon…”
“Qi is not detected… because its qi transcends the upper bound of detection. Several decades ago… I entered here but did not see its form… yet that demonic qi, so unforgettably concentrated… I was almost incapable of resisting...”
Jadesun’s back was ice-cold. “Master-Ancestor, if it leaves…”
“It will NOT leave!” Ancientpine’s voice became somewhat loud, and his eyes opened, brimming with vigor. “Inside… there is an extremely awesome seal. It cannot even move. What is there to discuss of emergence?”
Jadesun didn’t speak. A 4,000-meter-plus demon form… What kind of terrible cultivation was this?! Perhaps the other had existed here since the start of human civilization! This was the only possibility for it to grow so enormous! If it arose, it would be the greatest catastrophe to the human world and Cultivation Civilization! One like no other!
As if he saw through Jadesun’s thoughts, Ancientpine smiled. “You don’t need to be too worried.” His face grew heavy. “Could it be that you believe the great abbots of Shaoshi Mountain and Song Mountain, or the old fogey Daoists of Greenwall Mountain and Dragon-Tiger Mountain don’t have a speck of an item at the bottom of their reserves?”
“I dare vouch that so long as they possess Celestial Master Zhang’s and Master Xuanzang’s ancestral magik treasures from back then in their hands, this tremendous demon might still be terribly afraid of the consequences if it leaves. This… is a character on the level of a Daofather or Buddha…”
“Moreover…” he laughed unhurriedly, “don’t look down on the Cultivation Court… Do you know who old ghost Skybearer’s true persona is?”
“Please enlighten me, Master-Ancestor.” Jadesun asked.
“Why is it you believe we respect him somewhat? Or even so much?” Daomaster Ancientpine narrowed his eyes. “I suspect there is an extremely high chance that he is Zhang Sanfeng of Taiji.”
“Zhang Sanfeng?!” Unable to remain silent any longer, Jadesun cried out in alarm. His turmoil couldn’t be blamed. In fact… this person’s name was too legendary!
“It’s still nothing more than conjecture. However… it isn’t an unfounded guess, wind from an empty cave… Hehe, Liang Jiugong even ran out… In the end, he couldn’t endure the loneliness of centuries-long cultivation as he stayed in a hanging coffin. For Zhang Sanfeng not to have died yet… is still nothing bizarre.” He laughed with some ruefulness, “Could it be that you believe among the Core Formation masters’ identities, besides old ghost Floatingcloud’s normal identity of Zhang Guangyao, the others are simple?”
“Were it not for that period of supreme fortune on that day, power overturning the world, how would they hold such great destiny?”
Jadesun calmed down. “H-He’s lived for over seven centuries? H-He isn’t half-step Nascent Soul?”
“Half-step Nascent Soul?” Ancientpine laughed indifferently. “Perhaps…”
“That old ghost… I have never seen him truly act… even in arcane combat with several of demonkind’s Core Formation in the past, he was still an incarnation… For an incarnation to possess this kind of might… In particular… he actually remained unmoved that day when the Nascent Soul Pill formula emerged! Heh heh heh… Never mind it, it’s nothing. These are just nothing but speculations.”
At this time, an ear-piercing beep was heard. The thin cultivator, who was just in dialog, looked at a screen, ashen-faced. “H-How? H-How is t-this possible?!”
“What happened?” Daomaster Ancientpine immediately stowed his mind for conversation and said with a solemn face.
“Impossible… Impossible! This just can’t be real!” The thin cultivator and everyone in the surroundings seemed not to have heard anything at all. Instead, they studied the light screen in shock, their complexions green and lips shivering!
Ancientpine’s eyes flashed with a cold edge. “I… am asking about your words.”
In an instant, an ice-cold line startled the people below slightly back into their wits. The legs of over a dozen people went soft, and all of them kneeled, their voices floaty. “A-Ancestor, j-just now, w-w-we discovered t-t-there isn’t j-just one giant demon i-inside!”
“What?!” These words even caused Daomaster Ancientpine’s complexion to instantly turn grave. “Body mass!” he immediately asked.
“842 meters… long… 79 meters… wide…” The thin cultivator’s head was slick with cold sweat. “How could… How is this possible… The newly emerged, suspected demon is inside the giant demon’s body!”
No one spoke. This information was too astonishing. The most horrific information… was that this demon was suspected to be with child! That tremendous demon was possibly in the middle of giving birth! If this was the case, everything was explained!
Why Danxia Temple had suddenly changed! It was because that while this giant demon was on the eve of childbirth, it was being restricted by a seal, left with no option but to struggle. However… this seal was marked on a single giant demon. If… after waiting for centuries and the two giant demons joined as one… would the seal originally established on one giant demon be capable of sealing them both?
Cultivation Civilization would experience an unimaginable peril, raging waves and stormy seas!
“Not just this.” A fat cultivator kneeling on the ground proceeded to speak, “Ancestor… we discovered… there is a shocking qi-fluctuation in the giant demon’s surroundings… It’s spreading extremely fast!”
“We’ve already probed that there are spirit plants and even medicinal pill fluctuations inside! Also… c-countless abnormal organisms… We’re even unable to survey the topography… T-This is like…”
Ancientpine’s two eyes, black qi curling around them, gazed fixedly at him, and he interrupted the other, enunciating each word, “Secret realm!”
“Gulp…” Everyone present all gulped and spoke no further.
The cultivation world had many, many hopes. However, legends pertaining to secret realms never ceased. The story used in the past several thousand years, and the one most praised, was Ancestor Floatingcloud, Zhang Guangyao, who had returned alive from the Dragon Hole. In fifty years, he had went from the late stage of Foundation Establishment to directly congealing the golden core!
Secret realms had eternally been the favored and peerless tool for stimulating the cultivation world! Many lost items and even more arcane efforts—so far as to a few ancient secrets—could all be explored in a secret realm!
One could imagine that if this was truly a secret realm, the day it opened was destined to be a time of the cultivation world’s uproar!
When the time arrived… clouds would stir in all eight reaches and dragons would converge to sea! Humanity’s Seven Noble Lineages, demonkind’s Five Great Clans, the great powers, hidden sects, and even the three transcendent lineages of Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism would dispatch their most elite troops to come search the unknown!
Only Daomaster Ancientpine was grave-faced, mumbling to himself in silence. Others cared for secret realms, but he already stood at the world’s apex. He didn’t care much for it.
What he cared about… was what on earth was this demon! Several thousand meters large… Was this… a Nascent Soul demon? Or even… higher?
Pregnant for a millennium and furthermore autonomously triggering a secret realm as it was with child. In the end… what was this monster?!
1. Couple notes here. Shaoshi and Song Mountains are considered great mountains. Some might find that they know Shaoshi as where the Shaolin Temple is. “Old fogey Daoists” is another kinda sarcastic term for Daoists in general. Literal Chinese is “Cow Nose.” This term has a couple different origins, one: it relates to the hat’s Daoists wear (there is a braid on the side that sticks up like a cow nose), two: a Daoist’s traditional hairstyle looks like a cow nose, and three: it is said that originator of Daoism, Laozi, sat on a young cow. It just so happens that the word in Chinese for “Originator/earliest ancestor” has the character for nose in it.
2. Zhang Sanfeng is a very famous Daoist. He is “Zhang Sanfeng of Taiji” because it it purported that he created the Chinese martial art of Taiji Fist. It’s these type of reveals that make TLing this novel so enjoyable for me.
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