With every passing second, the black-skeleton-like Colossus was getting stronger.
The crystal veins and nerves around its body were glittering, as if infinite spiritual energy was running inside unstoppably, giving everybody a weird feeling that he was something between a living creature and a metal being. Along with the pace of its heartbeat, the red mist flowing around the Colossus was pulsating. It was mysterious, elegant, cruel, and magnificent!
“Who—who is inside exactly? Why can he manipulate a Cloud Qin Gold Statue?” Qi Zhongdao demanded gravely on behalf of the locals of the Ancient Sages Sector.
“Haha. Hahahahaha!” Seeing that the Colossus had completely been controlled by one of his people, Emperor Phoenix could not have been more satisfied. He retreated to the feet of the Colossus together with the imperial guards who were wearing the crystal suits of the Imperium.
Raising his hand, he shouted loudly, “Now that the Cloud Qin Gold Statue has been activated, it doesn’t matter if I tell you now! This is ‘Deity Raincloud’, an ancestor of the Zhu family of the Thunderous Qian Sect who has been training in the deities’ realm since he embarked on the path of ascension a thousand years ago! The deity knew that the Ancient Sages Sector was in chaos and that the foundation of the Great Qian Dynasty was falling apart. So, he specifically visited the mortal world again to help me rebuild the Great Qian Dynasty and save the people of the world!”
“What!” Qi Zhongdao, Han Baling, and the other locals of the Ancient Sages Sector were all greatly surprised by Emperor Phoenix’s absurd tale. They looked at each other in bewilderment, not having the slightest idea what was going on.
Many of them were bulging their eyes and mumbling.
“Is—is it really a predecessor from the Thunderous Qian Sect who has ascended to the deities’ realm?”
“So to speak, is there really a deities’ realm?”
“A deity. A legendary deity. No wonder he can manipulate a Cloud Qin Gold Statue!”
“It’s impossible. It’s fake! Fake!”
“I think it’s true. Had it not been for the enlightenment of the deities, how could Emperor Phoenix have risen miraculously after only several years, and where did they find so many powerful treasures?”
“That armor must’ve been brought from the deities’ realm. It’s the deities’ armor!”
Qi Zhongdao and Han Baling looked at each other and noticed the intense suspicion in each other’s eyes.
Gloatingly, Emperor Phoenix grew more and more excited until he was almost roaring in the end. “Why are you mortals not kneeling down before Deity Raincloud, who has arrived at the earthly world? The deity is almighty, and the Cloud Qin Gold Statue is even more magnificent. You will easily be crushed if he wills it!
“However, Deity Raincloud is too benevolent and merciful to go on a killing spree. As long as you pledge loyalty to the Great Qian Dynasty as obedient subjects and listen to the commands of me and the deity dutifully, except for the flagitious leaders of the rebellions including Han Baling, Qi Changsheng, and Wan Mingzhu, you will all be pardoned, with rewards that are beyond your expectations!”
“Those who follow Raincloud shall live; those who don’t shall die! Kneel! Kneel now!”
All the imperial guards around Emperor Phoenix stepped forward at the same time and roared loudly.
Their voices, enhanced by special broadcasting rune arrays, exploded among everybody like ten thousand bombs. Everybody’s head was dizzy, and their mind was disturbed.
Some of the Core Formation Stage Cultivators who were less capable and the Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators who were too heavily wounded to maintain their level were truly frightened. Their faces were pale, and they felt the strong urge to kneel down and pledge loyalty to the inviolable!
Li Yao almost choked in fury after seeing that on the bridge.
The so-called deities’ realm and Deity Raincloud were obviously bullsh*t. It was clearly fictitious drivel that a special agent of the Imperium of True Human Beings had fabricated!
Li Yao gnashed his teeth and asked, “Is the teleportation array ready to be activated?”
“Soon. It is now being charged with spiritual energy. I’ll have to check if it can function normally, considering that it has been left unused for hundreds of thousands of years,” Long Yangjun said very calmly. She narrowed her eyes and continued swimming in the ocean of light.
Teleportation arrays were highly dangerous magical equipment that did not allow any negligence. With the tiniest error, half of Li Yao might be teleported to the head of the warship and the other half to the rear or even directly into a wall, making his internal organs meld with the metal in the wall. It would be very awkward if that happened!
Emperor Phoenix’s words blew the minds of every Cultivator in the temple of the Colossi like a sweeping tornado.
Right when everybody was still startled, an indifferent voice that was clear, deep, and unworldly echoed from the depths of the black-skeleton-like Colossus. “There is no need to fret, my young friends. I severed my connection from the mortal world and ascended to the deities’ realm a thousand years ago. The Ancient Sages Sector has nothing to do with me anymore. But recently, it occurred to me that I left something behind in the past and that I was still associated with the Ancient Sages Sector. This issue concerned the path that I am walking on right now in the deities’ realm. So, you can also say that fate arranged for the Ancient Sages Sector to encounter this deity again.
“I have come to the mortal world this time partly to help the progeny stabilize the Great Qian Dynasty, so that the world will be peaceful and prosperous, and partly to select a batch of devout, fortunate Cultivators to ascent to the deities’ realm together with me to explore the endless truth path of immortality. We will become supreme Immortal Cultivators and deities that everybody worships. That is my destiny in the Ancient Sages Sector this time!
“This is a rarely-seen opportunity. Your connections with the deities’ realm are unpredictable. With the deterioration of the Ancient Sages Sector, if you miss the chance to embark on the path of ascension to the deities’ realm, it will be impossible for you to go there by yourself for the rest of your life!
“Now that everybody here is fortunate enough to have heard my offer, it is evident enough that fate is smiling upon you. As long as you listen to my commands, you will all have chances to ascend to the deities’ realm and become deities!”
The tone of ‘Deity Raincloud’ was flat and unattractive, mixed with the innocent nonchalance.
However, to many Cultivators, it was like scorching magma that was almost boiling their hearts from their ears.
“Deities? I am connected with the deities?”
“Ascend to the deities’ realm and become Immortal Cultivators and deities?”
“How splendid and spectacular the deities’ realm must be! I will die without regrets if I have the chance to visit it in person!”
“Nobody in the Ancient Sages Sector has ascended to the deities’ realm for thousands of years. It is practically impossible for us to find the path of ascension on our own!”
For a moment, many of the high-level Cultivators from the six major sects were gulping, and their eyes were glittering in greed.
The subordinates of Han Baling and the other rapscallions were somewhat stunned by Deity Raincloud’s captivating promise, too. Even if they did not intend to defect, they all saw all kinds of bizarre illusions, and they could not help but let loose of their hands that were grabbed their weapons.
Vague confusion emerged on Qi Zhongdao’s dark face, but he came back to himself the next moment. Calming himself down, he bowed to the black-skeleton-like Colossus respectfully according to the manners of a junior and a disciple. Then he stood straight, craned his neck, and looked at the skull head of the Colossus in midair.
“You must forgive us for not greeting you properly, Deity Raincloud, as we were not informed of your arrival. However, there is something that I have to ask for your enlightenment on. You claim to be an ancestor of the Zhu family of the Great Qian Dynasty from a thousand years ago. I wonder, who were you exactly?”
“How bold of you!” Emperor Phoenix glared at him. “Do you think that an ancestor of the Zhu family’s name when he walked the mortal world can just be blemished by anyone?”
“It doesn’t matter.” A calm voice came over from the black-skeleton-like Colossus. “Before I ascended to the deities’ realm, my name in the world of mortals was Zhu Cangshui. I had a nickname among the Cultivators, which was ‘Thunderous Fire’. However, that’s all from a thousand years ago. I have been freed from all that. It barely has anything to do with the Deity Raincloud that is standing here right now!”
“Thunderous Fire Zhu Cangshui?”
The Cultivators furrowed their eyebrow and thought hard. The Nascent Soul Stage Cultivators all boasted astonishing memories, and few super experts from the Thunderous Qian Hall had been capable of ascending to the deities’ realm over the past two thousand years. Soon, somebody recalled who he was.
About a thousand and two hundred years ago, the Thunderous Qian Hall, which had not claimed the country yet, indeed had such a great expert in the Divinity Transformation Stage. He had even worked briefly as the leader of the law-enforcing department of his sect.
However, it had been the era of turbulence when the old dynasty was decaying and the new dynasty had yet to be established. All the main sects had been fighting and killing each other, and the entire Ancient Sages Sector had been consumed by war. Tremendous Cultivators in the Divinity Transformation Stage and the Nascent Soul Stage were involved in the gory fights, many of whom disappeared without a good reason.
‘Thunderous Fire’ Zhu Cangshui was one of them.
He had gone missing during an adventure to explore the relics of the primeval predecessors, never to be seen again.
For the Thunderous Qian Hall at that time, the uncanny disappearance of a Divinity Transformation Stage Cultivator had been quite a heavy blow. The accident had almost sent the sect to its doom.
At that time, everybody had thought that ‘Thunderous Fire’ Zhu Cangshui had been ambushed by the enemy and killed under the collected attack. Even his bodies had been shredded and burnt.
However, it was not entirely implausible that he had found an opportunity to ascend in the relics of the primeval predecessors and thereby rose to the deities’ ream, leaving the mortal trivia behind him.
Qi Zhongdao, however, was not entirely convinced. Taking a long breath, he asked toughly, “I didn’t know that you were Senior Zhu Cangshui, who went missing mysteriously a thousand and two hundred years ago. The deities’ realm is indeed a place of wonder where anything can happen! However… do you have any evidence that can prove that you are ‘Zhu Cangshui’?”
“How dare you! You are too rude!” If there were a pair of hands in his voice, Emperor Phoenix certainly would have grabbed Qi Zhongdao’s legs and split him apart from the center. “The deity has degraded himself by showing up here, and you are still so insolent and disobedient. Master Righteous One, I think that you have been bewildered by the evils!”
“Young Friend Qi!” Deity Raincloud’s voice turned solemn. He was even more aloof and aggressive than before as he demanded, “What do you mean? Are you doubting my identity?”
“Not a doubt but a certainty!” Before Qi Zhongdao replied, Han Baling laughed aloud not far away and shouted, “I am very certain that the so-called ‘Deity Raincloud’ is just a counterfeit. There’s absolutely no way that you are ‘Thunderous Fire Zhu Cangshui’ or a deity who has descended from the deities’ realm’!”