The Yao-Sealing Pagoda’s final layer was starkly different from the first three.
In the past, whenever he opened a new layer’s gate, he saw evidence of vast numbers of yao servants. Then, the layer’s commanders would lead the ordinary yao servants in a show of submission.
In stark contrast with the earlier layer’s liveliness, the final layer was practically deserted.
There was a cobblestone path leading from the doorway. It wound its way through a verdant bamboo garden.
A gentle stream, singing birds, the fragrance of flowers.
The lower floors were busy with pill, artifact, and talisman refining, and the yao servants lived busy, fast-paced lives. Yet here, the scenery’s calm beauty soothed the nerves.
This pleasure suddenly jolted Ye Zichen to his senses; he wasn’t here on vacation!
“Is anyone here?”
He walked for several minutes, traversing almost the entire cobblestone path, but he didn’t see any trace of people.
He wasn’t sure where it came from, but a clear breeze brushed past, shaking the bamboo and rustling its leaves.
Before long, four buildings appeared before them, one at each of the bamboo grove’s four corners.
“Your subordinate, Yong Ran, greets his master.”
“Your subordinate, Cai Hua, greets her master.”
“Your subordinate, Bai Ye, greets his master.”
“Your subordinate, Wen Li, greets his master.”
Several blurry figures flashed by Ye Zichen’s eyes. By the time he realized what was happening, three men and one woman were kneeling before him.
Finally, he saw people!
He couldn’t help but mutter to himself, then glance at the four buildings.
It seemed that the Yao-Sealing Pagoda’s final floor only housed the four of them.
But judging by their auras, their cultivations weren’t as high as he’d imagined. They were no different from ordinary rulers. The only one he could call an ‘emperor’ was the lone woman; she might be an imperial-level expert. One of the men looked like a Divine General, too.
Although the quality of the fourth layer’s yao servants disappointed him a little, Ye Zichen’s primary goal was to obtain the Divine Mausoleum key fragment.
“Do you have the Divine Mausoleum key fragment?” said Ye Zichen, getting straight to the point.
“You must be joking, My Lord,” said the woman with a bitter laugh. “How could the likes of us be worthy of safeguarding such a treasure?”
When she said that, Ye Zichen froze. Didn’t that mean…?
“There are still others here?” Before he’d even finished asking the question, someone appeared amongst the bamboo. “Someone’s here!”
The new arrival was big and strong; he looked at least seven feet tall, and his waist was so thick, it would be difficult to wrap your arms around. His limbs burst with power, and when he trod along the cobblestone path, Ye Zichen could feel the ground shake.
“An expert!” The moment the bulky man appeared, Ye Zichen ascertained that he was an expert. A rough estimate put his cultivation as no lower than Yang Jian’s.
“It seems this is the inheritor of the Five Elements Yao-Sealing Pagoda.”
Shortly after the coarse, bulky man appeared, another man appeared in the grove. He was clad in green, and he looked a little gaunt. He had a seemingly perpetual warm smile on his face, and he seemed kind.
“Brother Lan.” The bulky man saw him, laughed, and walked up to him. Then, they walked up to Ye Zichen side by side.
When the first four yao servants saw the two of them, their expressions filled with respect, and they stepped out of the way.
Ye Zichen was the master of the Yao-Sealing Pagoda, not these two men, but it was clear they held these two yao rulers in greater awe.
The two men stopped in front of Ye Zichen. It was only when they drew near that Ye Zichen realized just how tall and stalwart the first man was; he was like a miniature mountain blocking the way ahead. Ye Zichen wasn’t short, but he didn’t even reach the man’s chest.
Ye Zichen was also, in comparison, rather scrawny. Before this muscular giant, he looked so weak, it was as a strong breeze might knock him over.
“You’re the new owner of the Yao-Sealing Pagoda, then?” When the bulky man spoke, his voice boomed like thunder.
Despite Ye ZIchen’s cultivation, he felt his heart shake. He narrowed his eyes and surreptitiously circulated his divine power to block off the sound. Then, he nodded. “That’s me!”
“Heh, you’re not completely inept.” The bulky man snorted, then said no more.
“Little friend, don’t take offense. That’s just how Cang Xiong’s personality is, and he’s always held a grudge against Five Elements. You’re the new owner of the Yao-Sealing Pagoda, so…”
In stark contrast with the hulking giant’s unmasked disdain, the smaller, gaunter middle-aged man seemed far more approachable.
“Allow me to introduce myself,” he said. “My name is Qing Lan. I’ve lived here the longest, so as a show of respect, everyone calls me ‘Brother Lan.’”
“Nice to meet you.” Ye Zichen nodded.
“As for this guy, he might look like a meathead, but he’s as clever as anyone. His name’s Cang Xiong. His original body is a mutated Ironback Bear. He’s currently an imperial lord, and he’s gained enlightenment into the true meaning of strength.”
“Hmph!” Cang Xiong furrowed his brows and snorted. “Kid, it seems you’ve only just become a ruler. Really…. The owner of the pagoda’s really this weak? Don’t think you can put me to work. When Five Elements himself met his end, I didn’t even lift a finger, so why would I work for some paltry, trifling, pipsqueak of a kid who barely even counts as a ruler?”
“Cang Xiong!” Qing Lan bellowed at him.
It was clear that Cang Qiong feared Qing Lan. One shout, and Cang Xiong shut his mouth. However, when he looked at Ye Zichen, his gaze was still just as disdainful.
“I still don’t know your name, our young friend,” laughed Qing Lan.
“You needn’t take offense at Cang Xiong’s words, my young friend. Since we are yao of the Yao-Sealing Pagoda, we will naturally serve you. However, Cang Qiong and I are different from the other yao servants. In our lives, we will only serve each master once. When Five Elements fought the Demon Emperor, we already helped out once. That’s why we didn’t assist when Five Elements met his end. Please, don’t misunderstand.”
“So you’re saying that I can call upon you once, but afterward, even if I encounter danger, you’ll just stand back and watch me die?” asked Ye Zichen.
“You could say that.” Although Qing Lan smiled and laughed throughout their conversation, he responded to this question without the slightest hint of hesitation.
Ye Zichen nodded. Imperial lord-level yao servants. He didn’t know how the Five Elements Great Emperor had caught them, but since they were true experts, it was natural that they’d have tempers.
Besides, he hadn’t really been counting on them for anything. He wasn’t the impoverished, ignorant youth he once was.
He had Yang Jian, the Great Sage, Pu Jingwan, and the great emperors of their alliance at his side. What did he need the few of them for?
To his surprise, as soon as the thought popped into his head, Qing Lan chuckled. “Little friend, you can’t think of it that way. Even though there are numerous experts around you, we…. Can truly save your life in the face of calamity.”
“Brother Lan, why are you telling him that? If he doesn’t need us, we can just enjoy our leisure,” said Cang Xiong.
“That’s no good. Since we live in the Yao-Sealing Pagoda, we must act according to protocol, and say what we have to say,” said Qing Lan with a laugh. Then, his eyes flashed, and his gaze landed on Ye Zichen. “But although we will only help you once, we can help even in the face of a transcendent!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter