Chapter 1534 - The Divine Arbiter, Conflicted

Heavenly God City

 

News of the yao and demons’ invasion of god race territory spread like wildfire. Countless cultivators of the capital city, as well as the Central Divine Mountain, shook with terror.

 

Countless others started contacting their friends to find out what was happening on the other Divine Mountains.

 

Fortunately, although the other Divine Mountains had been invaded too, the invasion wasn’t particularly large-scale. This put the cultivators of Heavenly God City at ease. However, when they tried to leave Heavenly God City to reinforce friends and family on other Divine Mountains, the city guards stopped them at the gates.

 

In the near future, it was forbidden to take so much as a single step outside the city limits without the God Emperor’s permission.

 

Such rigid countermeasures naturally resulted in a string of complaints, but beneath the guards’ threats, the citizens could only linger in Heavenly God City, their hearts anxious, their complaints practically flowing over.

 

And yet, despite the circumstances, Zhou Wu made this choice. 

 

He made no attempt to comfort the concerned and angry citizens. Rather than ease up on his restrictions, he ordered the various factions of the capital city to suppress all protests with martial force.

 

“God Emperor.” The Divine Arbiter stood just beyond the curtains of his chambers. Her pretty face was rife with anxiety.

 

Ever since word of the invasion spread, she’d been under more pressure than just about anyone. The God Emperor wasn’t directly managing much of anything at this point; he was completely fixated on transcendence. The various clans of the god race pretty much all wanted to support and reinforce the invaded Divine Mountains. She’d been the one to forbid them from doing so on Zhou Wu’s behalf, and she’d been the one to pass on Zhou Wu’s orders to suppress all malcontents, with force if need be.

 

Afterward, the cultivations gradually quieted down, but their complaints only built up in bitter silence. Finally, violence broke out once more. News of the invasion had spread rapidly. Only three days had passed, but several small-scale rebellions had already broken out.

 

Suppression!

 

Forceful suppression!

 

Time after time, the Divine Arbiter, her clan, or their allied clans went and suppressed these rebellions, but this only made the populace even more bitter. If things went on like this, it was hard to say whether even the God Emperor’s Estate itself could intimidate the increasingly angry populace much longer.

 

As such, she’d come here to discuss the matter with the God Emperor. She wasn’t necessarily planning to argue that they should reinforce the Divine Mountains, but at the very least, she wanted to soothe the populace.

 

After calling out to the God Emperor, the Divine Arbiter waited outside the curtains.

 

She was closer to Zhou Wu than anyone, and she deeply understood his current mental state. He was trying to glean enlightenment and break through, and he hated nothing more than others disturbing him.

 

Time flew by. She could only watch as the sun set and the skies went dark. Only then did she hear a soft voice from within Zhou Wu’s quarters.

 

“Come on in.”

 

She parted the curtains and saw the God Emperor in a white nightgown, his feet bare, and his hair scraggly and unkempt.

 

He stared at his hands, his eyes bloodshot. Even after the Divine Arbiter walked inside, he didn’t so much as blink. There was a hint of madness in his gaze. “I’m still just a little bit off. Just a little bit off!”

 

Zhou Wu muttered to himself without pause. He’d brushed up against the door to transcendence countless times of late. He was so close, he could practically feel it. And yet, he still couldn’t take that final step. All he could do was linger at the doorway; he couldn’t go inside, no matter how hard he tried.

 

The first few times, he’d been excited. He truly believed he’d succeed. However, with each passing failure, he grew more restless. He was now starting to get hysterical. He muttered on, seemingly to himself, for a full hour without stopping.

 

“What are you here for? Is there news about Xue Tie?” Zhou Wu suddenly sat upright on his bed, then knit his brows. “I’m just a single step away from transcendence. If we can find Xue Tie, if I can seize his celestial fight, I’m absolutely certain to succeed and become a transcendent.”

 

“Not yet,” said the Divine Arbiter.

 

“Not yet? Then what are you here for? Didn’t I say that, unless something of the utmost importance happened, you weren’t to disturb me?” Zhou Wu’s gaze instantly frosted over.

 

“The family is protecting Xue Tie with the utmost caution. I’ve already sent people to investigate, but as you know, the demons are currently invading the Divine Mountains, and the Sea of Innocence is now thoroughly defended. It’s been extremely difficult to get anyone inside,” said the Divine Arbiter.

 

“If you hadn’t mentioned it, I might very well have forgotten. How is the situation on the Divine Mountains? Have they suffered heavy losses?” asked Zhou Wu.

 

“For now, the demons have launched only a probing assault, and the Divine Mountains’ casualties have remained fairly light.”

 

Zhou Wu suddenly seemed vaguely disappointed. Seeing this, the Divine Arbiter’s heart sank.

 

“Is there anything else you have to tell me?” Zhou Wu seemed to have lost interest. He was preparing to request that she leave.

 

Just as the Divine Arbiter was about to bring up the situation in the city, purplish blue light filled the skies.

 

Still in his nightgown, the God Emperor disappeared in a puff of smoke. The Divine Arbiter instantly followed him outside.

 

The light originated from the Lower Lands. Zhou Wu and the Divine Arbiter weren’t the only ones to have noticed it; the other cultivators and major powers had noticed it too.

 

“Could it be that some unprecedented treasure has appeared in the Lower Lands?”

 

This light was dazzling, even all the way up on the Divine Mountains. It didn’t take much of an imagination to realize how brilliant it must have been from up close.

 

Many cultivators made the same assumption. If this wasn’t some kind of grand treasure, what was it? What else in the lower lands could cause such a phenomenon up on the Divine Mountains? 

 

The God Emperor watched this play out in solemn silence. Then, inexplicably, he burst into laughter. “How utterly splendid!” 

 

This exclamation came out of the blue. In response, the Divine Arbiter frowned in confusion. “Is there something special about this light? Is it foretelling the birth of some ultimate treasure? Do you need me to go fetch whatever it is for you?”

 

“Treasure?” Zhou Wu sneered. “This isn’t some kind of treasure!”

 

Radiance like this could, of course, originate from various treasures. This was undeniable. If the light originated from anywhere else, Zhou Wu would have assumed the same thing. But this was the glow of the River Styx.

 

But he could say with confidence that he was right about what he’d seen.

 

This light indeed originated from the River Styx.

 

“It’s not a supreme treasure? Then…”

 

“This is the light of the River Styx.” Zhou Wu snorted derisively. “Even after all my efforts to target him, he survived. To think that the demon and yaos’ invasion would grant my heart’s desire. I really ought to thank the Southern Kingdom.”

 

“You’re saying….”

 

“Enough. There’s nothing to see here. Go back.” God Emperor Zhou Wu seemed to be in excellent spirits.

 

They landed in his courtyard. Standing in the sky, the Divine Arbiter gazed at the radiant light for quite some time. “God Emperor, Your Majesty, are you saying Emperor Hades….”

 

“That’s right. It’s just as you think.”

 

The Divine Arbiter’s expression instantly grew solemn. “Then shouldn’t we send reinforcements to the River Styx? If Emperor Hades passes, the river’s defenses will plummet. If the yao make it past the river, then we don’t have any other lines of defense….”

 

“Who says we don’t have any? Don’t we still have the other Divine Mountains?”  

“But….”

 

“No ‘buts.’” The God Emperor coldly cut her off. “Divine Arbiter, it seems you’re rather concerned about these enemies of mine.”  

“I wouldn’t dare!”

 

“In that case, don’t even suggest reinforcing them again. I don’t want to lose faith in you!”

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