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Crack crack crack… sonorous cracking noises rang out as the heavenbound door slowly opened. Inexhaustible light quickly dyed the entire sky white. At the same time, all the talismans in the door’s surroundings lit up!
In the past several days, countless flying magik artifacts and cultivators had floated before the endless door. From far away, they appeared to be a colony of insects on a green leaf.
Swoosh! A formless ripple of wind blew forth, and a pure-white world slowly unfolded. In the beginning, it was an expanse of silence. After an unknown passage of time, following a white light that transformed from a thread into a ray, there was finally a person weaving seals in the silence. A swallow-like magik artifact soared and hummed, transforming into a streak of jade radiance as it rocketed forward.
In the next second, a green firework exploded in the air. Even after an extended period, it didn’t disperse and formed the enormous character of “Zhou” (周).
“The White Horse Zhou Clan…” On a centipede-like magik artifact over twenty meters long, the hair and beard of an old man billowed in disarray, and his clothing rustled. However, he didn’t fall back half a step and slowly opened his eyes.
No one could see, but his hand inside his changpao was tightly gripping a jade slip. His fingertips were somewhat white.
It hadn’t shattered… the young master’s jade slip still hadn’t shattered! Not only this… but among the twenty people who had entered, not a single one of their jade slips had shattered either!
“Second Steward…” On the centipede, there were three other equally old men sitting down. One of them was a thin old man who was so excited that his face was flushed. He gritted his teeth and said, “Our Ye Clan is one of the three top clans… if Fourth Young Master’s party of twenty-one all come out, we…”
Second Steward took a deep breath. His eyes were already brimming with energetic light. He forcibly suppressed his speeding pulse and said lowly, “Make the signal.”
“In the very first moment we receive Fourth Young Master from the secret realm, we’ll see where our clan stands…” He finished speaking, his eyes fixed on his surroundings like a hawk. “We’ll also have to take note of a few questionable disciples… especially the Five Great Demon Clans.”
Swoosh! The second ray of brilliance answered. In the same vein, it was jade, but this ray was evidently much more dazzling than the Zhou Clan’s first ray. Countless motes of spiritual light trailed behind the ray’s tail as it whizzed. Along its path, it left a scratch in the air like a writing brush. In the blink of an eye, a jade bamboo was floating in the sky.
“That’s the Ye Clan.” On the other side, a hawk-nosed middle-aged man with slitted pupils sneered and turned his head back. “Make the signal… welcome Sixth Young Master’s return to our Nangong Clan!”
“This time… not a single jade slip from Sixth Young Master’s squadron broke during this Danxia Temple secret realm exploration. Truly an unexpected delight. We must welcome back Sixth Young Master with the grandest scene!
Following this reply, four golden light-pillars charged out from the Nangong Clan’s encampment with the momentum of a thunderbolt evading ear-cover! Under the blood-colored Peng in the sky, they constructed a majestic golden Peng!
In an instant, the land sparkled with treasure light and a thousand streaks of prismatic qi. In the sky, all kinds of clans emblems sketched out incredibly glorious images. In front of the door, they seemed to be in chaos. Following the emergence of these clan emblems, they neatly took root in each and every encampment.
Below, the clamors of several thousand people roared. The region several thousand meters above also seemed to be infected by this roiling heat.
Thousands of meters high in the air, cold wind whistled. Hidden in clouds and mist, a mountainous figure was faintly visible in the clouds.
Daomaster Ancientpine sat cross-legged in the air. Not a single person below dared to act out of turn. This was because… the total might of his Core Formation pressure was already spilling out as if it had solidified. Even if there were only threads and strands, this might was still enough to force the appearance of calm and order in the area below.
“Naive…” After an unknown amount of time passed, Ancientpine seemed to speak to himself, “Everything from the outside world is isolated… Nothing comes out from the inside… The connection between life slips and cultivators was cut off long ago. Do you truly believe…” He slowly opened his eyes, smirking as he peered downwards. “That an eternal deadland… will allow so many to leave?”
“Even a showing of a hundred can’t be thought of as poor…”
Rustle rustle rustle… Amidst a nigh-solid state of passion, the door gradually opened. Countless eyes stared fixedly at it. As the door kept on opening, the white light inside flourished more and more! The light was so dense that it couldn’t be transformed in essence!
Swoosh… Without omen, at this moment, silence triumphed over sound. As the great door opened up by a third, a halo of white qi swept over everyone!
On the centipede, the gaze of the Ye Clan’s Second Steward was like fire as he gazed at the door. In this fleeting instant, his expression froze. Resembling a stone carving, he sat on the centipede. In this second, time seemed to freeze. Half a second later, he began to tremble from head to toe. His hand shook as if he had suffered a stroke. He falteringly stretched his hand out from his sleeve and felt the life slip of the Ye Clan’s Fourth Young Master in disbelief!
Where it touched his hand was ice-cold. Nonetheless, on this deathly silent icy-coldness, a shocking scar split the entire jade slip into two pieces!
Ye Old Four… had fallen!
This unforeseen event was too sudden. His face paled, and he uttered not a single word. He instinctively raised his head like a machine and look to his other companions. And yet, as far as he could see, everyone was looking at him with even greater grievance.
His lips trembled. In an instant, great joy had become great sorrow. He said shakily, “How many… survived?”
Even seconds later, not one person answered!
“Not…” His face became paper-white. “A single person?!”
The air between them was still silent, a morbid silence!
Second Steward appeared as if he wanted to stand up, yet tumbled over several times. He simply didn’t have the strength to brace himself up and stand.
The Ye Clan… All of them had been wiped out! But… how could this be?! How was this possible?! When the door closed, had the secret realm actually isolated all probing? Ridiculously, he’d still believed… that no one from the Ye Clan had died!
At the same moment of utter extermination, not only had he not quietly departed, he’d instead casted the clan’s emblem with great fanfare. Now… whether or not he disposed of it, it was already a massive joke!
No… It wasn’t like this… His gaze reddened in an instant and looked at the great door. Those of the Ye Clan had all died… but the door had opened… In that case who was coming out from within? How had the Ye Clan been wiped out?! Did these people know?!
No… even if they didn’t know, an answer still needed to be acquired from their mouths no matter the amount of times was necessary!
Bang! At the same time, in the Nangong Clan, the hawk-nosed middle-aged man suddenly bolted up on his feet. He looked at the jade slip before him in astonishment!
The Nangong Clan was dead-silent! A little while ago, the middle-aged man had taken out Nangong Xiaoran’s jade slip, yet it suddenly broke apart into pieces in the air! If the slip broke into two parts… it meant that the corpse still existed. If it shattered into pieces… then the person in question had been rendered into scattered ash and smoke!
“Who… Who is it!!!” The man was dazed for a full five seconds. He gnashed his teeth and said, “Who… Who actually dares break ground ahead of the Nangong Clan!!!”
Were it not for the other cultivators, how could he possibly allow any of those dregs to remain?! The life slip’s broken state was evidently due to someone’s actions against the Nangong Clan!
Sixth Young Master… Sixth Young Master who had awakened an elysial divine ability! He’d actually fallen in Danxia Temple’s secret realm! Although such preparations had been long since made for those who chose to enter… confronted with the truth before their eyes, it was still hard to accept!
The amount of resources that a genius occupied up… was enough to rear a hundred ordinary talents!
“Was it from among the Five Great Demon Clans, or…” His gaze cut through the other present lineages like a blade. “The other human lineages of equal standing?”
“F-Fifth Elder…” At this time, an old man said tremblingly, “You… You must brace yourself…”
“Speak.” Fifth Elder gritted his teeth and said. What could be worse? Nangong Xiaoran’s talents were astonishing. Although his battle experience couldn’t be considered great, it was by no means meager! Even if Nangong Xiaoran had fallen, this was already the most disastrous outcome!
“Fifth Elder…” the old man clenched his teeth and sighed deeply, “besides Sixth Young Master… the other… the other jade slips… have all… alll…”
Swish! In a flash, Fifth Elder had already drawn close to the old man, his voice somewhat light. “You don’t mean to tell me… none of them… made it?”
The old man lowered his head. After ages, he gritted his teeth and replied, “Yes…”
Fifth Elder’s vision went black!
From the Nangong Clan… so many people had entered! There were also the two half-step Foundation Establishment retainers, Qiao Wu and Quan Liu! Ultimately, all of them been utterly defeated!
It was a mystery how many jade slips exploded from each clan! The group of thousands that were still eagerly waiting moments ago were now collectively silent.
The casualties had been too great… Among those dispatched, who wasn’t a leading figure in their clan or power? Here and now, they absolutely hadn’t expected that there would be almost none who survived!
“Heavens…” A middle-aged cultivator’s face was black like the bottom of a pot. He gazed firmly at the heavenbound door. Their clansmen had all been totally annihilated. Even the seeds that they looked favorably upon hadn’t exited!
“Could this be… the entrance of hell…?”
It was dead-silent. Grave heaviness swiftly pervaded the grounds in the wake of shattered jade slips. However, everyone’s gazes then became even more burning!
Someone was coming out… Everyone could sense that someone was coming out! The number of people were few… but they wanted to see who it was! Who was able to leave Danxia Temple with their lives?!
“This Throne wants to see…” the Nangong Clan’s fifth elder grinded his teeth and said, “Xiaoran has died… Who were the last to survive…?”
“This truly is a place to rear Gu…” Her face ashen, an old woman brushed aside the support of her young maid. “Could it be that the last to come out is the Gu king?”
“The entire Mo Clan was wiped out, yet there are still those capable of leaving. Is it the Ye Clan? The Yi Clan?” A masked man restrained his aching heart and locked his eyes on the great door. “This Throne does not believe… that the geniuses of the Mo Clan are inferior to others by the slightest fraction!”
In the sky, Ancientpine cracked his eyes open. Under the endless crowd’s focused gazes, the great door became larger and larger. Finally, after a white light glimmered, the entire heavenbound door actually began to transform into an eruption of spiritual light that filled the sky!
“This is…” The light of Ancientpine’s eyes flashed, and he abruptly stood up. “A return to the Earth… Qi circulation? As expected… this was an artificial secret realm!”
After the collapse of all cultivator’s divine abilities, these skills would transform into qi and return to the Earth. However… a cultivator’s divine abilities were merely traces, yet this heavenbound door’s return... caused Longsu Province to immediately become a heavenly paradise!
Swoosh!!! Rays of spiritual light rose up in the air. The sky had turned pale in color. This return to the world was the first sign of a secret realm’s disappearance!
RUMBLE! Spiritual light pierced through the denseness of the clouds. From the ground, a boundless light tail dragged onwards to the sky. Regardless, in this twinkling, nine silhouettes finally emerged in everyone’s sight in the wake of this collapse of spiritual light!
1. The “Peng” in Kun Peng. I thought about translating this as roc or garuda, but decided against it, since we have an actual character who is a Kun Peng.
2. Reminder. Gu is sometimes considered a super poisonous insect. Other times, it is considered the last surviving poisonous creature in a battle between multiple poisonous creature. This last creature standing is thought to possess extremely potent venom.
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