Chapter 167 – Xiao Mang Celestial Temple
From their departure until now, the ship was filled with laughter and banter. But now, even the loquacious Lei Teng had lost his voice as he stared vacantly at the misfortunes of the human race outside of the Great Wilderness.
The humans in the Great Wilderness were under the protection of Swords Gate, living lives of peace and tranquility, sequestered away from the dangers and perils of the outside world – a burden that the Swords Gate took upon their own shoulders so that their own kin wouldn’t have to.
Even the Swords Gate itself was a microcosm of its role in the Great Wilderness as a whole; the inner hall disciples were taken under the wing of the higher ups’ to shield them from the true danger and callousness of the outside world. The indifferent reality of the world had only been experienced by very few inner hall disciples that walked out of the Great Wilderness, a select group that veritably included Zhong Yue among its ranks. It was only now that the hitherto ingenuous and naive inner hall disciples had truly been elucidated on the sad and startling misfortunes that the humans outside of the Great Wilderness were subject to every day.
The humans were too weak, and the strong prey on the weak!
Feng Shouzhu’s words trembled their ears, words said so softly and yet heard so loudly … the scene before them washed away all the illusions of strength and invincibility that the innocent disciples harbored about the Swords Gate. It was only now that they understood, that the Swords Gate was never the undefeatable juggernaut that they always believed it was. It was a frail bastion of humanity that was besieged by enemies on all sides, all of whom were lying in wait for the moment they crumbled before pouncing on the final haven of humanity – the Great Wilderness, seeking to expand their dominion to continue enslaving the humans in Great Wilderness just so that it would become the same as all the other regions under their control!
Tears soaked the lapels of her simple and yet elegant clothes, even for a soft and gentle lady like Qiu Jin’er. The benevolence in her eyes was shed away with every tear that fell off her face, only to be slowly supplanted by an unyielding will.
She was never a strong-willed lady, although she was the holder of the Innate Wood Spirit Body, her desire for battle was barely noticeable. Even after the personal instruction of the Swords Gate headmaster, she remained uninterested in any form of battle, remaining indifferent to the duels with the experts of Xiao Mang Celestial Race.
But now, with the misfortunes of her own kind presented to her very own eyes, an overpowering drive overtook her heart that ignited her will to fight for the humans of the Great Wilderness!
Why do so many see me as a monster? It is not that my heart longs for blood, but the indifferent reality, the harsh truth … that drives me to kill.
Zhong Yue whispered in his heart, I never wanted to be a butcher, but humanity is simply too weak and petty in this world of brutality….
The ship sailed deep into the West Barren, this land was once an ancient divine court, countless vestiges and ruins were left behind by the gods. There was a statue, huge like a sky-high mountain, the ship was like an ant beside it.
There were battlefields of the gods, ruins left by devastated temples, lone and solitary heavenly doors, burning flames of fire ocean, and dark and bottomless abysses.
Then, more pitiful and horrible sights could be seen, not only the humans, but there were also the monsters and some other peculiar beings — all enslaved by the celestials. Even the living conditions of the monsters were no better than the humans.
The celestials were high and noble, their race was one that disdained all the other races as inferior beings in their eyes. Such a tyrannical ideology had propagated rampantly throughout the land such that even the races that found themselves as its victims had meekly accepted it without dispute – there were no riots, and no insurrection … only dispirited acceptance and acquiescence.
“We are reaching to the Xiao Mang Celestial Race’s territory.”
Feng Shouzhu took in a deep breath of air and said, “It was a peaceful journey all the way until now, once we’ve reached the Xiao Mang Celestial Race, this peace will be broken. There will be provocations from the celestial experts to test out our strengths. Remember, wounds we can suffer, but your trump cards must never be revealed — your secret moves are only to be used in winning the duels! We are not here to vent our anger and emotions, we are only here on a mission for the survival of the Great Wilderness. All of this is to prevent us from ceding our lands and our people! Understand?”
“Understood!” they all answered in militant unison.
Abruptly, Feng Shouzhu activated his psyche and transmitted a message to Zhong Yue, asking, “Disciple from the Zhong Shan Clan, how is your sword eye progressing?”
Zhong Yue shook his head and answered, “I’m still working on the last layer of totem patterns”.
Feng Shouzhu sighed and comforted him, “No matter what, you’ll have to acquire the sword eye before the duel, reverse open the Dao Yi Realm and acquire the Dao Yi Wheel. Or otherwise, our defeat will be inevitable….”
Zhong Yue nodded heavily, he could feel the immense pressure on his shoulders.
The strong and powerful Xiao Mang Celestial Race had conquered a large piece of land where there were countless celestial temples, sky-high statues, and huge totem pillars that stood majestically all over the place. Xiao Mang celestial experts stood sentry over the West Barren, suffusing an overwhelming aura that unfailingly instilled abject terror into newcomers.
From time to time, the statues and celestial temples would emanate surges of a saintly and holy air, or there would be godly light rays projecting out from the temples, piercing over hundreds of miles through the sky, before abruptly disappearing.
Those were the doings of the godly spirits, denoting that the godly spirits were still in a very active state!
The Xiao Mang Celestial Race was incredibly strong, having countless experts and godly spirits left behind by the gods of the Xiao Mang Celestial Race. It came as no surprise as to why they could be so strong.
Zhong Yue had seen the godly spirit of Swords Gate, but it was not as active as the ones in the Xiao Mang celestial temples. The activeness of the godly spirits denoted that there were magnate cultivators that continued to worship them, showing the superiority of the godly spirits.
Along the way, there were five surges of light rays emanating from five celestial temples, meaning that there would be at least one Xiao Mang Celestial Race magnate in each of the celestial temples — a strong hint that suggested that the numbers of magnates in the Xiao Mang Celestial Race alone would be higher than the whole of the Great Wilderness!
These were also warnings and acknowledgement of their arrivals from the Xiao Mang Celestial Race.
The following day, Feng Shouzhu led them deep into the territory of the Xiao Mang Celestial Race. From afar, they could see a steep and majestic mountain, one that was no inferior to the Swords Gate Mountain. However, there were barely any trees on the mountain as nearly every inch of land was taken by the temples and palaces, one layer after another!
Countless buildings were built on the mountain, enormous celestial palaces, sky-high temples, and ancient statues — they had transformed the mountain itself into a mountainous city!
The Xiao Mang Celestial Race took the form of the Pan Ao, or the Tian Gou. Hence, all over the mountain, one could see statues of the three-headed Pan Ao celestial beings – dog-headed, human-bodied, and with a long spear in their hands. Even the art that adorned the mountain slopes were engraved with the totem patterns that depicted the worshipping ceremony of a large group of Pan Ao. It was a scene that trembled the heart!
The humans measured the statues with their eyes — the Pan Ao were creatures covered in dragon scales all over their bodies, except for their heads which were covered with furs instead.
“The Xiao Mang celestial temple.”
Rays flashed in Feng Shouzhu’s eyes as the ship gradually landed. He lowered his voice, “Be cautious, there will be provocations from the celestials to probe our prowesses. Keep my words in mind — never show your true prowess. Endure and bear the humiliation that would come, all for the safety of our dear homeland, Great Wilderness!”
They all nodded.
Feng Shouzhu then turned to Zhong Yue as he transmitted his voice over, “How is the sword eye going?”
Zhong Yue nodded and replied, “Replying to the elder, it’s done!”
His old and tensed face visibly eased as he said happily, “Good, good! Once we’ve entered the celestial temple, I’ll come and watch over you when you opening the Dao Yi Realm. Remember, you are the secret weapon of Swords Gate, your mission is to duel with the Awakening Xiao Mang celestial — never try to reverse open the Dao Yi Realm on your own. Also, if any Xiao Mang celestial provok….”
“Hahahaha! Feng Shouzhu, Brother Shouzhu, finally, you’ve all arrived!”
An deafening laughter resounded through the air, quivering their blood essences. Zhong Yue and the others quickly looked over to see a few white-robed priests walking down from the celestial temple on the top of the mountain. One of them had three heads and six eyes with an icon of the moon crescent sewn on the front of his white robe. He would be the priest from the Xiao Mang Celestial Race; while another one had one head with only one eye and a mouth and without a nose.
And there was one with four arms extending out in all directions, one head and a face with no eyes, his eyes were in the palms of his hands!
The appearance of the last priest was a peculiar looking bird-headed human wearing a white robe with a sun totem pattern sew on it. In the sun totem pattern, there was a fire crow.
“They are invited over by Elder Shui Zian as moderators. The one-eyed priest is from the Wei Celestial Race, also known as the ghost celestial race. The one and only eye they have is their divine eye, it is very strong. The one with four arms is from the mountain celestial race, the eyes in their palms watch over in all directions. The bird-headed human is from the crow celestial race, they are born with the ability to command fire. These three celestial races are as strong as the Xiao Mang Celestial Race, ones who can contend against the Xiao Mang Celestial Race over the title of the strongest celestial race in West Barren. Elder Shui Zian has invited them over so they could suppress the Xiao Mang Celestial Race, leveraging their prowess to our advantage! However, they also have their eyes on the Great Wilderness, they cannot be completely trusted!”
Rays flashed in Feng Shouzhu’s eyes, he transmitted a message into the disciples’ ears. The ship landed on a huge platform on the middle of the mountain slopes, Feng Shouzhu strode forward and walked down from the ship, whispering to them, “Come down, the formalities and manners must not be taken lightly!”
Zuo Xiangsheng, Tian Yanzhong, Zhong Yue and the others all walked down from the ship, they greeted the white-robed priests who completely ignored them, walking forward with a smile plastered on their faces and said, “Brother Shouzhu, I was too busy the last time we met, it’s a regret we did not have the chance to have a chat with you, today will be just the right day to drink until we are all drunk!
Feng Shouzhu’s startled and smiled, “Those brats of the Swords Gate aren’t settled down yet, I’ll make a toast the fellow junior martial brothers after they have settled down….”
“Let them be handled by the people in the Xiao Mang Temple. The Xiao Mang celestial race won’t pull any tricks with our presence. If they did, their reputation in the West Barren will be gone!”
The few white-robed worshippers grabbed him by the arm and laughed, “Let’s go, let the kid’s matter be settled by kids!”
Feng Shouzhu frowned and felt something was not right. These three worshippers were helpers employed by Shui Zian, if he offended them, they wouldn’t stand a chance. Zhong Yue had already cultivated the sword eye and he needed to stand guard when he reverse opens the secret realm; if he is taken away by the worshippers, who will protect Zhong Yue?
Without the presence of a magnate-level cultivator to protect Zhong Yue, the reverse opening of the secret realm would be very dangerous!
“Disciple of the Zhong Shan Clan, do not open the secret realm until it is necessary, wait for my return!”, Feng Shouzhu said, while escorted by three white-robed worshippers.
Zhong Yue frowned slightly. A Xiao Mang Celestial Race worshipper came forward, watching them as if they were merely a slab of walking flesh. His face was blank as he said, “Humans… follow me!”
He lead the crowd into the Xiao Mang Temple, until they walked into the temple, only Zhong Yue and the others knew how wealthy and luxurious the Xiap Mang Celestial Race was. The place was magnificent, gold and silver tiled the floor, carved with mysterious totem patterns, and glittering jewels all colors and sizes to be seen everywhere!
The Xiao Mang Celestial Race decorated the palace with treasures, cultivating them into soul weapons with the help of all types of totem carvings. No doubt that the palace would be sparkling during the night, illuminating the saint mountain as if it were daytime!
When they walked past a wide plaza, there were the sounds of intense battle. Zhong Yue and the others looked down from the walkway above and saw dozens of Xiao Mang Celestial Race Qi Practitioners sitting and watching the battle on the stage, while a Xiao Mang Qi Practitioner was engaged in a battle against more than ten human Qi Practitioners on the plaza.
Tian Yanzhong, Zuo Xiangsheng and the other hall masters halted their footsteps. The ragged and shabby clothes of the humans gave a strong hint that suggested that they were the Qi Practitioners chosen among the human slaves and trained by the Xiao Mang Celestial Race. They were all well talented, cultivating to the level of Rebirth; flickering and moving around as if they were flying, manipulating all sorts of soul weapons, and their attacks were strong and daunting!
The Xiao Mang Celestial Race had enslaved more humans than any other celestial race. They had raised the human Qi Practitioners not to nurture them, but simply to raise them as training targets for their celestial disciples.