The land a hundred miles west of Bazhou City was filled with murderous intent, and even the air there seemed to have solidified. The vital qi around the old Daoists and old monks raged and formed into gods whose aura could swallow mountains and rivers.
Dao Sect and Great Thunderclap Monastery had long legacies which were even greater than that of Heavenly Devil Cult. To these two sacred grounds, Heavenly Devil Cult was still considered a young cult.
From the gods that were formed by the vital of old Daoists and old monks there, they could see the gods that had appeared in the course of history. There was one with three heads and four arms, another with a tortoise's shell and a horsetail whisk, another was a hoopoe with a leopard's tail, one was a Vajrayaksa and many others.
As for Teacher Poor, True Lord Tian, and the rest, they were a different sight. Even though their legacies weren't as ancient as those of Dao Sect and Great Thunderclap Monastery, they were still incomparably powerful. Some of the gods that appeared behind them were wise saints, some were women holding onto golden insects, and some were poor gods that wore clothes filled with holes.
The qi appearance of the first ranking high officials of the imperial court was different from them, however. Behind General of Heavenly Strategies Qin Baoyue wasn't a god, but a pair of golden truncheons. They shone with a brilliant light, and on their bodies were eight blades that spun continuously. This man had frequently participated in wars and didn't cultivate to become a god or buddha, so he treated his weapons as a god who took charge in battle.
The god behind Grand Marshall Monk Yuan Kong wasn't a buddha, either, but an ascetic monk who was wrapped in chains and holding a buddhist's monk knife. He had a battle posture and looked very much like the man himself.
Behind King of Mount Tai Ling Xuhua were nine dragons coiling around Mount Tai with Mount Tai as the altar to worship them. He was in charge of the offering of sacrifices to the ancestors.
Sikong Wei Pingbo was in charge of the water conservancy in Eternal Peace Empire, so his vital qi didn't form a god behind him, but a long river dam that was constructed from earth, wood, and water. His god was water conservancy.
Situ Xiu Leqing was a female official who was in charge of the empire's treasury; she was responsible for all the finances in the world. The god that her vital qi formed was no god, either, but a string of great abundance coins that slithered around like a huge python. Her god was money.
High Official Su Yunzhi was also a female official. She could open her own bureau so her rank was on par with the three councilors. She was a free civil official, but she had reached the highest official position. She was in charge of all primary schools and colleges so what had transformed from her vital qi also wasn't a god, but a book and a ruler.
Behind Grand General of White Horse Quan Dingwu was a steed that was blazing with flames, and on that horse was a god bathed in the flames of war. He had eight arms which held a knife, shield, spear, pike, sword, and halberd. He had four faces which looked in four sides and eight directions while flames spewed out his eyes like beams. All the four faces were the general's own face.
From this, one could see that cult master level strong practitioners of the imperial court were different from those of the sects. Dao Sect and Great Thunderclap Monastery worshiped gods and buddha, so the gods behind them were all gods and buddhas. On the other hand, the strong practitioners of the imperial court treated whatever they managed. Each of them had different duties and each had their own specialty.
Even Monk Yuan Kong who was from buddhism treated himself as an ascetic monk that was cultivating in battle and didn't show the bearing of a great buddha.
A long-eared monk's expression changed slightly, and he said in a low voice, "Imperial Preceptor's reform has caused all these evil and unorthodox paths that don't worship the gods! They would rather worship all this rubbish than gods and buddhas!"
Grand General of White Horse pointed at this long-eared monk and sneered, "Use what you learn, act with your knowledge. Long-eared monk, your skills acquired through religious practices are shallow; it'll be hard for you to escape death."
"How can cultivating your entire life be any worse than achieving enlightenment to become a god or buddha?" Emperor Yanfeng said leisurely. "These are all people's own abilities, so relying on gods and buddhas is the unorthodox path. By doing their jobs properly and cultivating them into the realm of gods and buddha will they become gods and buddhas!"
The old Daoists of Dao Sect frowned, and Old Dao Master shook his head. "Cultivating their jobs to the realm of god? In that case, won't they still have to work for mortals even after becoming gods? This is once again the teachings of Heavenly Devil Cult! None other than the everyday use of common people. Emperor, you've been influenced by Imperial Preceptor and Heavenly Devil Cult."
Emperor Yanfeng smiled. "If I went to Heavenly Devil Cult, I just might be able to become the cult master."
"Since it's the devil path, there's no need for further words."
The old Daoists adjusted the treasure swords on their backs, and it was hard to say who had shouted out the first "Die!".
Once this word was out, murderous air overflowed into the heavens, and the trembling cold wind became incomparably bone piercing. Yet at that moment, an old man walked over while pulling onto a cow cart that went gulu gulu.
Everyone pulled their murderous air back and stood quietly, looking down without saying a word.
The old man was astonished when he saw the entire sky filled with gods and buddhas. The cow shivered in fear, unable to even pull the cart anymore on its shaky legs. The old man was so angry that he whipped that cow a few times until it exerted its force to slowly pull the cart out of this place where they shouldn't be.
When the old man and the cow cart disappeared into the distance, the battle was about to erupt!
Yet when the strong practitioners of the divine bridge realm were about to make a move, they suddenly heard another gulu gulu sound of the turning wheel. Another cow cart came driving over, and everyone saw another old man walking over while pulling onto that cow cart. When he saw everyone, he trembled in fear and used a lot of effort to move the cow cart away.
Everyone let out a sigh of relief and was about to make a move when the gulu gulu of the wheel turning was heard again. An old Daoist said angrily, "In such cold weather and frozen land after a natural disaster, where did so many cow carts come from?"
Everyone was astonished. That was indeed the case. Now that there were calamities everywhere, all the livestock had been eaten, so how did three cow carts just pass by them one after another. Furthermore, why here of all places?
An elderly couple sat on the next cow cart. One of them was a white-haired old woman while the other was an old yet not that old man. Everyone waited quietly for the cow cart to pass.
However, that cow cart stopped nearby. That cow seemed to be fearless, and the old man and old woman jumped down without much care. As if they were about to perform a conjuring trick, they opened up the cloth on the cart and gave a gentle shake before pulling it off. Instantly, dozens of weirdly-shaped people appeared on the cow cart, filling it up until they were almost spilling out.
"Heavenly Devil Cult's Left and Right Guardians, twelve cult protector elders, and also two heavenly kings." Dao Master looked down with a helpless expression. "We only saw two people and a cow coming on a cow cart, so I never expected to see sixteen people springing out. What a great trick, Heavenly Devil Cult."
Left Guardian Kong Lingxian raised his head and chuckled. "We like to perform conjuring tricks as we traveled through the martial world to make a living by getting tips from officials. We're sorry to have embarrassed ourselves in front of the lords."
Right Guardian Xue Bi'e beamed at everyone. "Old Bald Donkey, Old Daoist, the cult master ordered us to follow the emperor when he went home for New Year, so now that the emperor is in trouble, the old brothers and I can't ignore it. Otherwise, we wouldn't be able to take the punishment once cult master comes back."
The twelve cult protector elders and two heavenly kings of Heavenly Devil Cult jumped down from the cow cart. Heavenly King Shi and Heavenly King Yu stretched their bodies and paid their respects to everyone with a smile. "Everyone here are all high figures, so we, the little old men, pay our respect. Cult master handed us a living and breathing emperor, so if you guys killed him and we had to return a dead emperor to him, we could only use our lives to appease his anger."
Beggar Sect Master Qi Dayou shouted out loudly, "Evil and unorthodox path! The imperial court associates with the filthy Heavenly Devil Cult, so fellow friends of Great Thunderclap Monastery, feel free to subdue the devils!"
A shout burst forth, and thunder rumbled in the sky once the battle erupted. In an instant, violent gusts of air surged forth in all directions, flattening portions of a forest nearby.
This battle far surpassed the one to pacify the rebellion by Imperial Preceptor. Even though there were many cult master level existence in that battle, they were all a level inferior when compared to the cult master level strong practitioners of the three big sacred grounds. With the imperial court being equivalent to one big sacred ground as well, one could well imagine the power of the strongest practitioners from the four big sacred grounds clashing at the same time!
However, the whole nest of Great Thunderclap Monastery and Dao Sect had come out to fight this time, whereas there were only half of the strong practitioners from the imperial court and Heavenly Devil Cult. Since Dao Master and Rulai were present as well, the situation of the opposing side wasn't optimistic.
Once a battle starts, people will fall.
The long-eared monk found Quan Dingwu straightaway, and the two strong practitioners of Divine Bridge Realm opened up all of their divine treasures, cracking the heaven and rending fissures in the earth. The long-eared monk was the head of Great Thunderclap Monastery's Hall of Arhats and was proficient in buddhism and Victorious Fighting Skill.
Meanwhile, Quan Dingwu was the Grand General of White Horse, riding horses and killing people all his life, eradicating countries and sects as he went through fire and water. When Imperial College was just founded, Eternal Peace Imperial Preceptor had gathered all the experts in the world to study the path, skills, and divine arts. One of them was Quan Dingwu, and he could be said to be one of the top strong practitioners of Eternal Peace Empire.
When the Victorious Fighting Skill met with the skill of slaughter, a sea of blood overflowed into the sky, and flames of war blazed furiously atop it. This vision seemed like a real existence, and it had been formed by the murderous air of Quan Dingwu.
A huge buddha stood over the sea of blood, and in front of it was the long-eared monk. Compared to the huge buddha, he seemed to be much smaller. Through the sea of blood and flames, a person rushed towards him, and it was Quan Dingwu. The horse behind him stepped on the flames of battle and the person behind the horse was like a monstrous god of slaughter, looking terrifying and incomparably fierce!
"Evil and orthodox path, death cannot wipe out the crimes of those who don't cultivate true buddhism!"
Golden color appeared around the body of the long-eared monk as he interlocked his arms. Chanting the incantations of buddhism, he executed two kinds of mudra at the same time. They were incomparably intricate and struck towards the lethal points on Quan Dingwu!
To the monk's surprise, Quan Dingwu did not dodge but allow the skills to hit him. The arms formed by vital qi, which were under Quan Dingwu's armpits, flailed as he wielded the knife, shield, spear, pike, sword, and halberd to strike. The knife severed the arms of the long-eared monk, the shield bashed open his skull, the spear pierced through his chest and lifted him up, the pike penetrated his heart, the sword light sliced his throat, and the halberd hung his body high up!
Behind them, the god of slaughter clashed against the huge buddha while the sea of blood and flames swirled around them like a whirlpool.
"You didn't dodge" the long-eared monk said astringently as he hung on the long halberd.
A huge shield smashed down and shattered him into pieces.
"Killing people on the battlefield only requires one or two moves, so what's the point of dodging? The battlefield requires a skill for slaughter. If I matched your fighting style, wouldn't I be taking my weak side to match your expert one?"
Quan Dingwu spat out a huge mouthful of blood. The two mudras from the long-eared monk had almost shattered his five viscera and six bowels. His ribs and shoulder blades were crushed, causing him to suck in cold air from the pain.
Suddenly, a golden bright palm came smashing down, and a loud boom rang out. Another monk had come rushing over, his hands carrying emptiness as he squashed him with an eighteen heavens pagoda. This building was filled with gods and buddhas that crushed all of Quan Dingwu's bones.
"Monk Yuan Kong, you are also a buddhist, why did you have to take the devil path and become part of the hawks and hounds of the imperial court?" Nun Hong Yin from Great Thunderclap Monastery's Hall of Great Teachings blocked Grand Marshall Monk Yuan Kong and tried to persuade him. "It's time for you to come to your senses and stop making mistakes! If you continue to make them, you will forever be unable to achieve the spiritual state!"
Monk Yuan Kong's eyes burst open, and he shouted out, "What's this spiritual state? With a buddha in heart, one will never achieve the spiritual state. His Majesty has ordered me to manage the laws of the army, so I chained myself down with iron laws. When I break these chains, I'll be able to achieve the spiritual state!"
Nun Hong Yin was furious and swung her horsetail whisk over. "You've been tainted by the devil, let me get rid of it for you!"
The huge battle erupted, and the old Daoists of Dao Sect sent out their swords. In an instant, the sky was full of sword lights. They came from the sword skills of Fourteen Writings of Dao Sword and were incomparably powerful as well as extraordinary sharp. There was no question that it was the number one sword technique in Dao Sect!
"Get into the formation, get rid of the devil!" an old Daoist shouted out.
"Lay a formation and refine the Daoists to death!" Xue Bi'e shouted out sternly, and the two heavenly kings, as well as the twelve cult protector elders, formed a huge formation to welcome the old Daoists. All the people here were all old acquaintances and had fought each other countless times before, so they knew each other's methods well.
On the other side, General of Heavenly Strategies, High Official, Sikong, Situ, King of Mount Tai were all blocked by the strong practitioners of Great Thunderclap Monastery. The monks relied on having more people to encircle and annihilate them, avoiding only Emperor Yanfeng.
Emperor Yanfeng looked over and saw Teacher Poor, Qi Dayou, and True Lord Tian walking over. Meanwhile, Rulai and Dao Master were carrying over an alms bowl and a sword.
Rulai said with a warm expression, "Teacher, fellow Dao friends, go and assist the others. Leave this to this old monk and the old Daoist."
Teacher Poor and the rest acknowledged it and immediately joined the battle nearby.
Rulai looked at Emperor Yanfeng and said, "Your Majesty, excuse me."
Emperor Yanfeng's body trembled, and his dragon qi cut across the vast sky with a grandeur. Roars of the dragon came from the sky, and a real dragon could be faintly seen in the clouds. It stretched out its head and claws, then the huge dragon's head lowered to look at Rulai.
Dao Master walked over and swung his Dao sword. Sword light covered the sky and forced the dragon back. The old man then praised, "Your Majesty is about to turn the fake into real, becoming a true god. What a pity the divine bridge is broken and there's no hope. This Old Dao is useless and could only cultivate half of the fourteenth move in the Fourteen Writings of Dao Sword. Today, I shall use this incomplete writing to experience the powerful and benevolent rule of Your Majesty."
Rulai's golden alms bowl flew up and covered the sky. A piece of golden light spewed out, and in it were both gods and buddhas of the twenty heavens. The topmost level was Brahma, and it had a majestic atmosphere. Rulai smiled. "I shall use the highest realm of Rulai's Mahayana Sutra to experience the Nine Dragons Monarch Technique of Your Majesty."