Translator: Silavin & Tia
Translation Checker: PewPewLazerGun
Editor and Proofreader: Leo of Zion Mountain & Dhael Ligerkeys
Nobody knew how a mighty Giant Spirit God had been corrupted by the Black Ink Clan in ancient times.
Both the Dragon and Phoenix Clans only succeeded in suppressing and sealing the Giant Spirit God by sacrificing the Dragon Emperor and the Phoenix Empress of the time in addition to half of the Ancestral Land. So many years had passed that even the Giant Spirit God had lost all vitality and the Black Ink Clan’s aura was nowhere to be found.
The Ancestral Strength was extremely peculiar and powerful; moreover, it clearly had some restraining effects towards the Black Ink Clan. If that was not the case, there would be remnants of the Black Ink Clan even though so many years had passed and the Giant Spirit God had died completely.
“The Black Ink Insect is extremely precious to the Black Ink Clan, which is also why the Black Ink Clan’s actions are generally aimed only at High-Rank Open Heaven Realm Masters. After all, converting a Mid-Rank Open Heaven Realm Master is not worth the effort to them.” Yu Xiang Die explained, “Speaking of this, I’m sure you’ve also heard of another rumour. Aside from the Cave Heavens and Paradises, anybody else who advances into the Seventh-Order Open Heaven Realm and above would be pursued relentlessly. For that reason, many High-Rank Open Heaven Realm Masters even flee to the Shattered Heaven, hide their names, and live in seclusion.”
Yang Kai asked pensively, “So, the reason why the High-Rank Open Heaven Realm Masters are being targeted by the Cave Heavens and Paradises is that you are afraid they might come into contact with the Black Ink Clan?”
She nodded, “That’s part of the reason. All the Open Heaven Realm Masters from the Cave Heavens and Paradises cultivate Secret Techniques to stabilize their Small Universes to prevent corrosion by external forces. Although the effects are not as great as the World Spring, these Secret Techniques will at least offer them some protection so that they are not completely powerless against the corrosion of the Black Ink Insects. On the other hand, it is different for those who were not raised by the Cave Heavens and Paradises. Despite being High-Rank Open Heaven Realm Masters, if they were targeted by the Black Ink Insect, they would only end up corroded by them.”
Yang Kai nodded lightly. After listening to her explanation, the other question in his heart had been answered.
Having been to the Shattered Heaven, he knew that there were indeed many High-Rank Open Heaven Realm Masters hiding there. All the High-Rank Open Heaven Realm Masters hiding there were afraid of being rounded up by the Cave Heavens and Paradises. Xia Lin Lang once mentioned that in order for the Cave Heavens and Paradises to maintain their dominance, any outsiders who advanced into the Seventh-Order Open Heaven Realm would either be recruited into their ranks or vanish without a trace, suspected to have been killed.
That was why, no matter how barren and dangerous it was in the Shattered Heaven, the High-Rank Open Heaven Realm Masters hiding there would not leave easily. That was also the reason why Xia Lin Lang would rather flee into the depths of the Shattered Heaven, where death was almost certain, than leave together with Yang Kai.
“I heard that many High-Rank Open Heaven Realm Masters just vanish without a trace, never to be heard from again, after being taken away…” Yang Kai looked at Yu Xiang Die.
Yu Xiang Die remained silent.
The white-robed High-Rank Open Heaven Realm Master replied, “They are not dead. The Cave Heavens and Paradises have never abused them either. They were simply sent to a certain place. As for where that place is… That information cannot be disclosed for the time being!”
Yang Kai took out the wooden box with a flip of his hand. The cover of the wooden box opened and closed, revealing the black thing inside that was eager to leap out of the box.
The white-robed High-Rank Open Heaven Realm Master looked melancholic! [Am I being targeted? I’m definitely being targeted, right!?]
Yu Xiang Die stepped in to smooth things between them, “Yang Kai, please stop asking questions. You will understand when the time comes. There are many things that the Cave Heavens and Paradises have no choice but to conceal. It is not because we wish to do so, but because the truth will cause panic and havoc. It is not beneficial to the peace of the 3,000 Worlds.”
Yang Kai pondered in silence for a moment. Putting the wooden box away, he grinned meaningfully, “When the time comes… Are you referring to the moment when I advance into the Seventh-Order Open Heaven Realm?”
She said nothing once more, so it could only be taken as tacit acknowledgement.
Yang Kai thus continued, “I have another question. Lan You Ruo is currently in retreat in Void Land and attempting to advance into the Seventh-Order Open Heaven Realm. What will you do if she succeeds?”
Yu Xiang Die answered, “Lan You Ruo used to be a First Inn shopkeeper, and First Inn is the private property of Si Tu Kong from Xuan Yuan Cave Heaven. Hence, she can also be considered part of Xuan Yuan Cave Heaven. When she advances into the Seventh-Order Open Heaven Realm, Xuan Yuan Cave Heaven will take the appropriate measures. Besides, she herself knows about these things, so there is no need for you to worry.”
Yang Kai furrowed his brow slightly. Although his questions had gone unanswered, he could not inquire any further seeing as Yu Xiang Die had already said so much.
At this moment, Yu Chang Dao spoke up, “Friends, what we need to deal with right now is the matter related to Shi Zheng. Although he chose death, he had initially tried to corrupt Yang Kai with a Black Ink Insect. That can only mean that he has even more Black Ink Insects in his possession. This Old Master has reason to suspect that Shi Zheng is not the only person in Lang Ya Paradise to be corrupted by the Black Ink!”
As soon as that statement came out, the expressions of all the High-Rank Open Heaven Realm Masters became solemn.
The fact that Shi Zheng had been corrupted by the Black Ink Clan was truly unexpected. Something like this had not happened in 70,000 years after all. The Cave Heavens and Paradises might have taken some precautions, but too much time had passed and their guard had clearly become too relaxed as a result.
If Shi Zheng had not tried to corrupt Yang Kai with the Black Ink Insect today, his identity would not have been exposed either.
In that case, how many more Shi Zhengs were there in Lang Ya Paradise? More importantly, how many other Shi Zhengs were there among the rest of the Cave Heavens and Paradises?
Nobody knew for certain the answers to those questions, but the situation seemed to have taken a turn for the worse all of a sudden.
Most importantly, where did the Black Ink Insect come from? It was impossible for people corrupted by the Black Ink to produce the Black Ink Insects themselves. The only ones who could produce the Black Ink Insect were the true Black Ink Clan clansmen. In other words, there was at least one pure Black Ink Clan clansman hidden somewhere in the 3,000 Worlds! Just thinking about the possibility was terrifying.
“Shi Zheng has set a precedent. Every one of us is a suspect. It isn’t just us, but all the High-Rank Open Heaven Masters in the Star Boundary too. That is why this Old Master has a suggestion. We will start with a voluntary examination to prove our innocence!” While speaking, Yu Chang Dao looked at the rest of the High-Rank Open Heaven Masters.
The High-Rank Open Heaven Masters hesitated for a moment before quickly nodding in agreement. This matter was an important one that might even affect the stability of the 3,000 Worlds. All the people present here today were not ignorant of the bigger picture, so they would not object to the suggestion.
“In that case, let us begin!” Yu Chang Dao, as the one to make the suggestion, took the lead, surging his World Force and opening the portal to his Small Universe, “Please take a look!”
Nobody held back out of politeness and numerous Divine Senses poured into Yu Chang Dao’s Small Universe in quick succession.
Yang Kai also joined in the fun. The main reason was that he wanted to know the difference between his Small Universe and the Small Universe of an actual High-Rank Open Heaven Master. His Divine Sense poured into Yu Chang Dao’s Small Universe. After some investigation and comparisons, he discovered that his Small Universe was still vastly inferior in terms of size and the richness of World Force when compared to Yu Chang Dao’s.
With the gap in their cultivation, it was only normal to experience those differences; nevertheless, Yang Kai was raising many living beings in his Small Universe in addition to the Small Stone Race. Given time, he would certainly enjoy a brilliant future.
After a while, everybody withdrew their Divine Senses once they confirmed that there were no issues with Yu Chang Dao’s Small Universe.
The Small Universe was the foundation of an Open Heaven Realm Master, so under normal circumstances, one would never allow others to investigate it. Doing so was equivalent to exposing all their secrets after all. It was just that this situation gave them no other choice. The best way to determine whether a person had been corrupted by the Black Ink was to take a look at their Small Universe. The Small Universe of an Open Heaven Realm Master corrupted by the Black Ink was vastly different from normal after all.
With Yu Chang Dao serving as an example, the others quickly opened the portals to their respective Small Universes and allowed the crowd to investigate freely. Every one of them was tense and nervous, scared that another Shi Zheng might appear among them.
Yang Kai finally realized why the Ancestors had been so adamant about investigating his Small Universe when he first began repairing the Universe Temples. Their actions were clearly a precaution lest he turned out to be corrupted by the Black Ink! It was not until they confirmed he was clean that they allowed him to act with peace of mind.
At the time, they also mentioned that the Universe Temples were related to the stability of the 3,000 Worlds. That was something he had yet to understand so far.
Although the Universe Temples were a convenient method of travel, it was a bit of an exaggeration to say that they were related to the stability of the 3,000 Worlds. Nevertheless, these words had come from the mouth of an Eighth-Order Open Heaven Realm Master, so it was impossible not to wonder about their deeper meaning.
After checking everybody, it was revealed that nobody else showed signs of being corrupted by the Black Ink and the tense atmosphere finally dissipated a bit.
However, thanks to this opportunity, Yang Kai learned about the wealth of the High-Rank Open Heaven Realm Masters. The foreign affairs envoys of the Cave Heavens and Paradises had many amazing treasures in their Small Universes, some of which simply made one drool at the sight.
Yu Chang Dao nodded and followed up, “We can now be certain that there is nothing wrong with any of us present, but we will still need to check those in the Star Boundary.”
Yu Xiang Die added, “This matter is related to the Black Ink Clan. I’m sure they will take the overall situation into consideration. If anybody raises an objection, then there is no doubt that they have been corrupted by the Black Ink.”
The white-robed High-Rank Open Heaven Realm Master hesitated for a long time before he carefully opened his mouth, “The Star Boundary’s existence is critical, so this matter cannot be delayed. If there exist other people who have been corrupted by the Black Ink, there is no saying whether they were communicating with Shi Zheng. Now that Shi Zheng is dead, they might target the other Star Boundary Great Emperors. With the current cultivation of the Star Boundary’s Great Emperors, it will be difficult for them to defend themselves.”
While speaking, he would glance at Yang Kai from time to time. He was scared that Yang Kai might suddenly bring out that wooden box again. When he saw that Yang Kai did not react, he finally breathed a sigh of relief and volunteered, “I will head back to the Star Boundary first to ensure its safety.”
Yu Chang Dao nodded, “Many thanks for your hard work. Nevertheless, it is better to bring more people back with you so as to avoid any unexpected accidents. In addition, you can ignore all the others for now, but the Star Boundary Great Emperors must be investigated carefully!”
Yang Kai’s expression twitched slightly at those words, but he did not say anything. Yu Chang Dao’s actions were understandable. Shi Zheng had tried to attack Yang Kai mainly because of the Star Boundary; therefore, the other Star Boundary Great Emperors were also valid targets.
The white-robed High-Rank Open Heaven Realm Master left quickly with seven or eight other High-Rank Open Heaven Realm Masters in tow.
Serene Soul Great Emperor and the others, who had come to help after realizing that Yang Kai was in trouble, soon encountered the white-robed High-Rank Open Heaven Realm Master and the others coming towards them before they even arrived at their location.
As they were only in the Sixth-Order Open Heaven Realm, their cultivation was one Order lower than the foreign affairs envoys, so it was only natural for their speed to be slower. That was why they failed to arrive in time even though the dust had already settled regarding this matter.
Along the way here, they also ran into Zhang Ruo Xi. Following a brief inquiry, they hurriedly rushed here as though there were coals burning under their feet.
When both sides encountered each other and understood the situation, Serene Soul Great Emperor and the others immediately realized that the matter was urgent; therefore, they swiftly utilized the privileges of Star Boundary Great Emperors to bring the white-robed High-Rank Open Heaven Realm Master and the others back directly.
Meanwhile, the High-Rank Open Heaven Realm Masters who remained in the Star Boundary immediately detected the return of the white-robed High-Rank Open Heaven Realm Master and the others; hence, they quickly came to ask about the situation.
The white-robed High-Rank Open Heaven Realm Master and the others recounted everything that happened earlier, and everybody’s expression turned grim.
The Black Ink Clan and the Black Ink Insect… These were no trivial matters. If they did not handle this matter well, then all the Cave Heavens, Paradises, and the 3,000 Worlds would be dragged into this. It would surely lead to a huge catastrophe. That was why there was not much hesitation, and many High-Rank Open Heaven Masters quickly agreed to submit to an examination.