They cleaned up the battlefield.
Ye Zichen had been the first of the reinforcements to arrive on scene, and the way he’d sliced up the enemy commanders had been utterly intimidating. Then, the forces of the Upheaval Alliance arrived.
The Southern Kingdom had suffered what could only be described as a crushing defeat. Most of the corpses littering the ground belonged to yao, with some river denizens mixed in. The Upheaval Alliance and Profound Pavilion suffered essentially no casualties at all.
The yao servants of the Yao-Sealing Pagoda had it easiest of all. If they could beat their opponents, they did. If they couldn’t, they just fled back into the pagoda. Few of them, regardless of cultivation, had suffered any injuries to speak up.
The physicians of the Hermits Palace went about treating the wounded. They were coordinated and well organized.
The river stretched as far as the eye could see, its blue-green waters glistening.
“I’m rich, I’m rich!”
If you had to say who was the happiest about this, it was undoubtedly Pu Jingwan! Her hands were full of glass bottles. No one knew just which divine art she’d used, but she’d somehow seized the souls of the dead and trapped them in the bottles.
Her eyes flashed with greed and excitement, like a miser reveling in their riches.
“But I still haven’t gotten my fill of fighting,” said the Great Sage. He rested his head in his hands, and he looked visibly displeased. He’d barely swung his staff a few times before the Southern Kingdom’s army scattered and fled.
Never mind him; even his hair clones were complaining about wanting to fight more. He had to actively persuade them to calm down before they returned to their original forms and re-merged with his fur.
“Monkey, how many did you kill?” Yang Jian grinned, then let out a burst of base laughter.
The Great Sage couldn’t help but frown. “Why do you want to know? I’ve never counted how many enemies I killed in battle!”
“I kept track!” Yang Jian’s grin broadened. “You killed thirteen yao diviners, but not a single ruler. As for supremes, you killed around four thousand.”
“Are you counting the ones my ‘monkey descendants’ killed?” The Great Sage arched his brows.
“They’re included in the final tally.”
“Heh, I killed sixteen diviners, and around eight thousand supremes. I won, but only by a little bit. How embarrassing!”
Just looking at him, it was clear he was cruisin’ for a bruisin’.
The Great Sage, who was already feeling rather dissatisfied, glared at him. He’d slipped his staff behind his ears, but he quickly drew it again.
“It seems you’re itching for a beating.” The Great Sage whirled his staff, and the two of them started brawling.
The way these two bros started fighting at the drop of a hat was strange, but by now, everyone was used to it, even Xuan Ji and her Divine Generals. They merely glanced at them tussling in the skies, then looked away. This time, their gazes were directed at the River Styx. Their expressions were grim.
“Auntie, you….” When he saw her expression, Ye Zichen couldn’t help but ask about it.
“It’s nothing.” Xuan Ji looked away, then said, “I’m just worried about our ‘eternal evergreen’ of a senior.”
“What do you mean?”
“In the past, it’s not that his technique didn’t have low ebbs, but there were thousand year gaps between them. They were always predictable and on schedule, too. But of late, his low ebbs have been increasing in frequency. The way I see it, this isn’t a good sign.” Xuan Ji’s brows were tightly knit.
“You’re saying Emperor Hades….” Ye Zichen’s heart clenched, but Xuan Ji refused to answer.
Instead, she summoned her god-given artifact, the Destiny Compass.
Peering into heavenly mysteries was her specialty!
She bragged that no one knew more gossip than her, but those weren’t mere words. If she wanted to know secrets others weren’t privy to, it wasn’t the least bit difficult.
Amongst the gods, the former Emperor Hades’ death had always been a mystery.
There were countless conflicting rumors of all sorts, but Xuan Ji knew what had really happened. He’d simply reached his limit.
If she said that, others wouldn’t believe her. When you reached the ruler level, your lifespan extended until you could last as long as the heavens themselves. So long as you didn’t encounter calamity or suffer a backlash while gleaning enlightenment into the laws of heaven and earth, it was rare for rulers to die.
Xuan Ji had once thought the same way, which was why she couldn’t suppress her curiosity. She’d privately used the Destiny Compass to investigate the former Emperor Hades’ death.
And indeed, he’d died due to reaching the limits of his lifespan!
This was perhaps related to his cultivation technique.
When the former Emperor Hades was still in power, even if the Yao and Demon Emperors joined forces, they were no match for him. There were three Realm Emperors then too, but the former Emperor Hades was the peak expert of his time.
But he’d disappeared so suddenly...
It happened one day, completely out of the blue. He simply disappeared from view. When his palace next opened its doors, his former closed-door apprentice had taken his place on the throne. That was none other than the current Emperor Hades, his inheritor.
Furthermore, in the years leading up to the former Emperor Hades’ death, he, too, had suffered low ebbs and an increasingly high frequency. He’d relied on sheer strength to overcome each incident. He’d sink, then force his way out…
But by then, he’d already lived for millions of years. The current Emperor Hades wasn’t even a hundred thousand years old yet.
Logically speaking, before the former Emperor Hades died, he ought to have polished his cultivation technique before passing it onto his successor, the current Emperor Hades. If anything, the current Emperor Hades’ ought to have had a longer lifespan than his predecessor.
And yet, the current Emperor Hades was fading. This wasn’t a good sign.
Xuan Ji knew far too many secrets, but she couldn’t share them all with others. This was because of karma; peering into heavenly profound secrets so many times had bound her with countless karmic ties. Some secrets, she could only bury deep in her heart.
This was one of those times. She could only scrunch up her brow and gaze into the River Styx in silence.
Emperor Hades’ words echoed throughout the grand and imposing palace. Su Yiyun stood in the center of the building. For some reason, he froze. He’d just had an ill premonition. Something was coming, and whatever it was, it was bad.
His ill premonition was so strong, he didn’t even want to think about what it could mean. As such, when his master asked if he knew why his low ebbs were increasing in frequency, Su Yiyun merely shook his head. “I don’t know.”
“You don’t know, or you don’t want to know?” The aged Hermit Emperor laughed, then beckoned him over. “Come here. Stand closer to your master.”
Su Yiyun wordlessly walked over. The Hermit Emperor raised his withered hands, then gently patted him on the head. “Even after taking you as my apprentice, I never taught you a single one of my ultimate techniques. Have you ever resented me for it?”
“Never!” Su Yiyun shook his head.
“Is that the truth?” asked Emperor Hades.
Su Yiyun firmly nodded his head. Suddenly, his head shot up. “Master, you’ll get through this low ebb, right?”
“I was once blind and chose poorly, but this time, it seems I’ve found the right person.” Emperor Hades’ eyes were bright, but he seemed to be reminiscing about something. “Excellent. This way, I can pass Master’s mantle on.”
“This time, I won’t recover from my low ebb.”
Su Yiyun froze like a statue. When he finally looked up, his eyes were full of disbelief. He’d only just realized, but even as they spoke, his master had visibly aged. He was now nothing but skin and bones.
“In truth, you knew this was coming a long time ago, didn’t you?”
“You’re the Emperor Star’s dear friend. Back in the day, I was close to Five Elements too. My failure to help him ascend the throne of the God Emperor is my life’s greatest regret. Fortunately, that kid, Ye Zichen, has inherited Five Elements’ will and legacy. You….. Please, help him ascend to the throne in my place. If you do…. You’ll fulfil my heart’s desire.”
“Master, don’t say that! The River Styx needs you! The River Styx can’t be without its Emperor Hades!” Su Yiyun cried out in grief and fury, his eyes bloodshot.
“Emperor Hades? After I’m gone, you…. Are the new Emperor Hades!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter