Proofreader: Dhael Ligerkeys & Silavin
‘I may be stained by darkness, my heart remains worthy.’?
‘I bear the will to aid the righteous hearts and souls of the world’?
Outside the court, Ye Liuli could not help feeling embarrassed for Gu Changge as he said this. It was as bewildering as hearing that a wolf had elected to become a herbivore, the contradiction was uncomfortable to behold.
However, Gu Changge made himself look like some valiant warrior, and anyone who did not know him would have fallen for his noble facade. He had pulled off the act flawlessly.
“Kindness is my greatest virtue, and nature is my witness,” he went on to claim righteously, testing the limits of his lies. If this plan fell through, he could always settle for another; it was not as if he only had the one trick up his sleeve anyway.
From the looks of it, the spirit of the Perfect Prodigy did not seem very bright. Perhaps it had been idle for so long that all it took were Gu Changge’s lies to prompt its deepest thoughts. At the sight of this, he began to have other thoughts. If this was the spirit of the Perfect Prodigy, then surely it was the vessel for some of his essence. [If I could absorb this essence using Nommening, then I might be able to make a breakthrough.]
Granted, there were other cultivation methods, but a chance like this was hard to come by, and he would be a fool to waste it. After all, cultivating Nommening was different from that of Skyward Ascension; where the former absorbed the essence of an object, the latter required modifications to help him attain his full potential. With these two very different powers co-existing within him, Gu Changge was at liberty to cultivate any one that he liked.
Thankfully, he had the Demonic Heart and Daoist Bone which gave him the tolerance for these powers, otherwise he might end up dead like those cultivators who suffered qi deviation due to the repercussions of the conflicting energy.
Presently, Gu Changge only appeared to be cultivating Skyward Ascension on the surface, but he kept his cultivation of Nommening a secret from the rest of the world.
He wanted to use Nommening as a way to elevate his skills, but that was impossible at this point, not to mention futile if he could not get a better grasp of it. As things were, he should reserve it for some other technique to boost his powers.
If one had to get technical, Nommening was not considered martial arts, but a cultivation method.
At the thought of this, Gu Changge remained impassive as he tried to figure out how to trick the spirit of the Perfect Prodigy in front of him.
“You shameless little liar! How can I pass on my ways to you if you are so deceitful and cunning? Your pretentious words do little to hide your true intentions!”
Just then, a voice boomed and echoed through the court, and the Demonic Energy that thrummed in the air was overwhelming.
The apparition of the ancient king dressed in a golden robe and an amethyst-gold crown suddenly began to take form. He appraised Gu Changge with a fury that was unknown to man. He did not for one second fall for Gu Changge’s lies as expected. As it turned out, he was indeed the spirit left behind by the owner of this domain, for he possessed traces of the owner’s powers to see through Gu Changge’s true intentions.
The young man before him was sly and dishonest, and he wanted to plot against him! This angered the ancient king to no end. “You ought to die for your deceit of me! You hide your ulterior motive behind your words. What grave sin!” he barked in a cold, crisp voice like he was proclaiming a judgment for Gu Changge’s death, then, he struck.
A terrifying surge of energy seemed to radiate from his apparated form until it converged into something like a sunbeam, casting light that drowned out all the darkness.
Gu Changge’s false humility began to wane. Not wanting to spend another moment keeping up his pretenses and lowering himself, he grew even more stoic than the apparition before him. “Do you think I care about whether you’re willing to pass on your ways to me? Don’t flatter yourself. I wouldn’t bother speaking with you if you didn’t have something I wanted. For a dead man, you certainly are arrogant.”
With that, he produced the Domain Shattering Talisman. Now that things were taking an ugly turn, retreating was the best thing he could do. He had to run to save his own life.
“You are asking for death, you insolent fool!” The spirit was thunderous, his rage was stoked by Gu Changge’s provoking words. The whole court rumbled with his escalating violent energy, and it felt like it would collapse anytime soon, but Gu Changge was still smiling easily as he stood in place.
With a loud whooshing sound, a hazy light appeared to coat his Five-Hue Magic Robe and a blinding beam of light burst forth.
He had discovered at that moment that the spirit had not unleashed much power, and that the Five-Hue Magic Robe was more than capable of holding it back. That said, the robe would be rendered useless after fending off this attack, for the spirit had some sort of mystical power that was unlimited by the domain, and it could naturally wipe out its enemy without effort.
Alas, the domain was all too fragile.
Knowing this fueled Gu Changge’s drive. “The Eight Barren Demon Halberd is wasting away here. To leave such a refined weapon unused and stored in this godforsaken place is a shame, and even I can’t help feeling sorry for you,” he drawled insouciantly as he kept his eyes on the Eight Barren Demon Halberd.
The demonic energy pulsating in the weapon felt like it could shatter the universe and bring the world to its knees. The more he gazed upon it, the more pleased he was. Right there and then, he took one step forward, his bones cracking under his skin as he braced against the overwhelming pressure.
Outside the court, Ye Liuli’s eyes widened when she saw this. She could hardly believe that Gu Changge did not so much as flinch when the spirit of the Perfect Prodigy confronted him, and that he went on to challenge it, too. [The gall of this man! Does he truly not care for his own life at all? ]
Even among the Ancient Immortal Race, the Perfect Prodigy was considered a live fossil, an antique, ageless being that could exist for virtually millions of years on end. She had never seen him up close before this.
“The Eight Barren Demon Halberd’s powers are apocalyptic once unleashed, and you want to use them to further demonic aims?” The apparition faltered when it realized how difficult it was to suppress the shameless young man.
He had been the Perfect Prodigy in his prime, one that garnered the religious respect of many. He could destroy the world with a snap of his fingers, and his powers were without limits. He certainly did not think some petulant young man would be the one to put up such a strong fight against him!
“Further demonic aims? Why, I am the demon himself!” Gu Changge drawled, chuckling playfully.
He did not suppress his demonic intent anymore, and he could even feel the Eight Barren Demon Halberd tremble after its long silence.
Sure enough, it worked. The Eight Barren Demonic Helbard had always been tied to the Demonic Heart, Daoist Bone.
“All demons shall perish!” The spirit was outraged. A large, intimidating sunbeam started to bear down on Gu Changge, threatening to smolder him to death. For a moment, it felt like the whole domain would melt away.
There was no mistaking how angry the spirit was, but such an outburst was slowly draining the residual magic in the spirit.
The Five-Hue Magic Robe, however, grew even more radiant.
Gu Changge continued forward as if it was the most natural thing, and other than the immense pressure that seemed to push him back, he felt no discomfort.
He was unfazed as he pointed out, “I cannot agree with you and say that my acknowledgement of you means I am righteous, or that my denial of you indicates my wickedness. If you are truly as noble as you claim to be, then why did you only leave one map among all and any information there is of you? You even set up traps around the court just so you can lure cultivators into the area and have them die here. How is that noble?”
He sputtered after this, and his remarks left the apparition stumped. He had a feeling that something was not right, and introspectively, he knew that Gu Changge had a point.
But his demeanor shifted just as quickly as he barked angrily, “It is the cultivators’ way to fight for opportunities to the death. This is how we weed out the unfaithful and the weak so that we may choose the best candidate.” The apparition gazed at Gu Changge icily, though the young man’s words were starting to sway him and make him doubt his ways.
It was an ancient notion that opportunity and danger came hand in hand.
“So, this does not affect my intention of pursuing this opportunity myself, right? To you, it is demonic, but to me, I am merely seizing the chance. Besides, the best candidate you chose has been killed by me, and this is what you meant when you said opportunity and danger came hand in hand,” Gu Changge said with a lighthearted smile.
Just as the spirit began to ponder this, Gu Changge summoned his strength, and he arrived in the depths of the court with a flash.
All he needed was one chance to break the seal.
“The Eight Barren Demon Halberd…” He stood just below the throne and reached out to touch the weapon imbued with demonic energy. As far as he was concerned, the weapon was not an aggressive one, but rather a docile and familiar object that resonated with him.
There was a muted whirring that followed Gu Changge’s touch, and runes began to surface on the Eight Barren Demon Halberd. It was the seal that kept the weapon within the domain.
“Let these runes be destroyed today!”
Naturally, he did not wish to let this opportunity go to waste. He summoned his magic and struck the runes on the weapon.
He had already studied the ways to break the sealing runes when he was in the mortal world. Presently, black light emitted from his hands, and the rays criss-crossed over one another in a fascinating manner. The Grand Runes that glowed black hovered and fell upon the seal in demonic rays of light.
There was a sputtering sound that filled the air as the seal broke, and the terrifying demonic energy was as bold as the sun in the sky.
The Eight Barren Demon Halberd, just as its namesake, could destroy and lay bare regions!
Gu Changge held onto it and felt the joy and warmth it felt following its rebirth, and there were countless other sentiments thriving in it. The energy it held resonated with the Demonic Heart, Daoist Bone, and this could save him plenty of trouble during his cultivation.
That said, it would still be a challenge for him to try and cultivate the Eight Barren Demon Halberd, seeing as it was levels above that of the Perfect Prodigy’s weapon.
This was merely a fraction of its power, and already it was terrifying to behold. One could only imagine how easily the weapon could tear up the world if it unleashed its full powers.
“Oh, no…” As though snapping out of its daze, the spirit finally noticed what Gu Changge was doing. [How did he get there so fast?]
He hurried to reach Gu Changge. He had not forgotten how he had died before this.
He had to admit Gu Changge made a point earlier, but that should not affect his decision. The moment the Eight Barren Demon Halberd was reborn, it would wreak havoc underneath the heavens. For the sake of all mortal kind, it must remain sealed in this domain. That was more important than passing down the heritage of the Perfect Prodigy!
“It’s too late,” Gu Changge gave the spirit an icy look. Now that he had the Eight Barren Demon Halberd in hand, he pulled out the form trapped within the broken vessel.
A black demonic light burst forth as he wielded it, and the sharp obsidian rays were like a tempestuous sea. The power was indescribably aggressive and overwhelming.
As it turned out, a weapon like this had been legendary since ancient times. It packed the strength of countless warriors, and it packed the ferocity and wrath that was beyond mortal limits.
With a loud boom, the spirit found himself in disbelief as the weapon sliced through him, and the demonic energy drowned him.
He had expended too much magic during the battle with Gu Changge earlier, and he could do nothing to brace against the attack.
The domain could not suppress the powers of the Eight Barren Demon Halberd!
With a loud whirring sound, a gleaming black Grand Flask appeared above Gu Changge’s head, and he used this chance to absorb the soul of the spirit.
At once, silence returned to the court.