The walled city of the Dominating Aura Clan was situated between scenic mountains and lush greeneries. The city itself was situated on the highest peak of these mountain ranges.
Yi Ping was traveling with the Universal Old Man and the ten maidens.
The Stellar Heaven Fairy said quietly, "Soon, we will reach the place. There is still time to turn back."
Yi Ping nodded but there was no indication that he would back off now.
All of a sudden, Yi Ping saw something far away and was immediately appalled at what he had seen. There were hundreds of slaves being forced into heavy labor as they pulled heavy blocks of limestone and granite. The slaves were being whipped into submission and quite a few had even crumbled on the ground right in front of his eyes!
Immediately, Shen Xingyue said unhappily. "Let's go and check it out."
Yi Ping nodded and they hurried their paces!
When the guards saw them from afar, they were startled and they were just standing there holding their whips. Even the slaves stopped their work as they stared in awe of them.
When they saw Yi Ping, they saw a dashing young man in white with a righteous air around him and on his back, were two sheathed swords. To evil-doers, he was extremely intimidating for he was like a bright sun that disintegrated the darkness. To the people in need, he was like a hero that had suddenly descended and instantly inspired hope to everyone!
Behind him, walked an old man with a long white beard. Anyone that saw him would immediately thought of him as wise old man. The Universal Old Man was an Ancient Celestial and one of the first to be in the Celestial Realm. His attainment was high enough that he was able to disguise himself as a mortal and there was no tell-tale sign that he was a celestial practitioner. The only thing that marred his sagely look was his two black eyes and face that seemed to be scratched by something.
What was even more astonishing was the extraordinary beautiful sight of the ten maidens that were in view!
Yu'Er the Jade Sword Fairy and Mei'Er the Beautiful Sword Fairy were whistling beautiful tunes, Yunzi and Youxue were laughing captivatingly, the Stellar Heaven Fairy was looking sweetly as she walked with Yixian, Lie Qing and Lele at the same time, Lingfeng was looking at her surroundings keenly with her alluring as though her eyes could speak while Shen Xingyue was walking elegantly with her long red flowing dress in the cool winds.
What an extraordinary sight! It was like the immortal fairies had suddenly decided to descend upon the Celestial Realm!
When the guards and the slaves saw them, they were completely dumbfounded and everyone became immobilized on the spot!
Before they could even react, Yi Ping was already shouting. "I am Yi Ping. Let them all go!"
When he shouted, there was a burst of martial shockwave that frightened the guards but at the same time, the hearts of the slaves saw hope and they were cheering loudly as they could sense excitement today that this young hero was going to liberate them today!
There were just two dozen guards armed with whips and poles. All of them were mortals except for the Captain of the Guard who was a practicing celestial. He was easy to spot for he had white hair and crimson eyes, characteristics of a dark celestial practitioner.
His men were all looking at him for instructions but the usual battled hardened veteran Captain of the Guard was trembling!
It was because other than the Heaveness and the Universal Old Man who had normal eyes, the newly arrival intruders were all practicing celestials! In fact in the group there were two True Celestials, the Stellar Heaven Fairy and the Fiery Phoenix (Shen Xingyue).
The Captain of the Guard had recognized the Stellar Heaven Fairy immediately. There was a warrant and a bounty for her by the Dominating Aura Clan for betraying the clan. She Weilun, the right-hand man Ximen Nanqing who was also their protégé master came back with a light injury warning one day announcing her betrayal and the death of Lian Longba.
Ximen Nanqing was furious. Since then, the Dominating Aura Clan had sent many super fighters to comb the surrounding mountains for her whereabouts but was futile.
But of course that was not the only reason. She Weilun had reported with due diligence that the group that the Stellar Heaven Fairy was with, possesses several divine swords and metallic weapons.
Ximen Nanqing was immediately intrigued. It was because metals were a scarcity in the Celestial Realm. The few metallic weapons and divine weapons that were in the Celestial Realm were mostly in the hands of the most powerful celestials and celestial clans!
Therefore he ordered half of his most powerful fighters to search the mountains for their whereabouts but to no futile. Finally two months later, She Weilun returned from the mountains in a critical condition. Before he could find the Stellar Heaven Fairy, he was injured by Yi Ping, Yixian and Lie Qing!
And he brought back the name of the only attacker that he could remember; his name was Yi Ping!
The Captain of the Guards remembered this account all too well. And this young man who had come from nowhere had just announced his name to be Yi Ping!
That was the reason why he was trembling!
He had never expected these renegade celestials to be so bold and had come to the Dominating Aura Clan. Did they all have a death wish? But now he knew that if he took them headlong, the one having a death wish was himself.
Yi Ping shouted again, "Freed them all or I won't be polite anymore!"
As Yi Ping shouted, the ground was reverberating with the aftershocks of his martial shouts!
The Captain of the Guards was totally freaked out and he had bolted immediately without saying a single word!
When his men saw that their captain had fled, they too took flight after him!
Even Yi Ping himself was surprised that his martial shout had improved. He thought, "Is it because I have reached the Transverse level that my martial shout is now further amplified? I have only thought that the Transverse Level is an enhancement of the speed only. This is a surprising find."
The Universal Old Man knew what he was thinking so he said, "Every practitioner will go through a different experience at the same celestial level. It all depends on the type of skills that the practitioner is most apt with and his natural affinity."
Yi Ping nodded and asked curiously, "There are so many mortals in the Celestial Realm?"
The Universal Old Man explained, "There are a lot more mortals than celestials than you think here. They are the descendants of celestial practitioners in the past. But they are a pitiful lot. They are oppressed by the celestials here and used for manual work. The Dark Celestials also feast on their blood and hearts. Even if they can have a hope of becoming an aspiring celestial, they are quickly converted to the dark side. Very few of them ever make it to become a Golden Celestial. Even then, those Golden Celestials that are here have mostly converted to the dark side too, like Ximen Nanqing and She Weilun. Many Golden Celestials are actually forced to join them. The Celestial Realm is a ruthless place for the renegade celestials and the clanless celestials."
Yi Ping secretly looked at the Stellar Heaven Fairy who shifted uncomfortably.
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He was soon interrupted by the loud cheering slaves as they approached Yi Ping hesitatingly. It was not because they had feared Yi Ping but because they were too much in awe of him and his companions!
Yi Ping smiled and said gently to them, "You may go now. You are all freed men now. From now on, no one will oppress you anymore."
Lingfeng smiled at them, "That's right."
A thin old man who seemed to be in his sixties boldly stepped forward as he said weakly, "Thank you…hero…"
This thin old man was half-naked and his body was covered with blood, fresh from the lashing of the whips.
All the men that were behind the old man were all shouting aloud, "Thank you hero!" And some of them had even fallen on their knees to give the highest honor to Yi Ping and his group!
Yi Ping saw that the thin old man was about to bow so he panicky stepped forward, saying compassionately to him, "That's alright. You are now all free."
The old man was moved to tears. He had dreamt of freedom every single day but saw it as an impossible dream. Even if he was free for just an hour, he would be glad to give up his life for it!
He coughed a few times before he said weakly, "This place is the domain of the despicable Ximen Nanqing. Even we are freed for just a while, we are happy. Young Hero, you must flee this place and escape to the mountains. You are not Ximen Nanqing's match. In the past, there are many celestials that had come to challenge him but none of them had survived. We really thank you…"
When Yi Ping saw the state of the old man in this close up view, he was moved to anger and he looked at the gathering crowd who were all in a similar state of misery. "I will surely free all of you today. I am going to the Dominating Aura Clan now and seek justice for everyone."
The old man was trembling as he could hardly believe his ears!
Lingfeng hummed coldly, "I thought that a few days someone didn't want to come here and now he wants to be a hero."
Yu'Er and Mei'Er were giggling now. They knew that Lingfeng was about to tease Yi Ping again and they were always happy to see their master awkward expression.
Yi Ping rubbed his nose and said, "My Heaveness. I have already changed my mind!"
Lingfeng trembled slightly and she quickly said, "Stop! Stop calling my…"
Yi Ping said, "Heaveness, Heaveness, Heaveness!"
Lingfeng was annoyed but she quickly said, "I surrender! You…I won't tease you anymore, alright? So stop calling my name!"
Yi Ping was grinning much to the disappointment of Yu'Er and Mei"Er.
The Universal Old Man was startled as he dropped a whisper to Yi Ping, "When did you become so smart?"
All of a sudden, a middle-age man from the crowd was frantically saying, "Could he be the Son of Heaven? Young hero, can you unsheathe the swords from behind your back?"
Yi Ping was curious and with a quick flickering of movement, there were two bright halos as he held the Divine Echo and the White Phoenix in both hands!
The newly freed men were all startled as they began to hold their breath as they behold the beaming lights of the two divine swords.
The thin old man had suddenly caught of Yi Ping's hand as he trembled nonstop, "Young Hero, you are indeed the Son of Heaven. Are you an Immortal from the Gods' Realm that is here to be our savior?"
Yi Ping could only smile weakly, "Unfortunately I am not."
Another old man had stepped forward, "The prophecy can't be wrong. The Ancient Celestials say that a young hero with a pair of divine swords will one day appear to save us from the Dark Celestials. You are the one, no doubt!"
Yi Ping quickly protested, "Unfortunately I am not…"
But the crowd refused to heed his explanations and was now rushing forward to touch him.
"Maybe young hero, you didn't know your true destiny yet."
"What are the odds of a person with two divine swords?"
"The Immortal Being doesn't want anyone to know his true identity yet because it is not the time…"
"It is said that when the Immortal Being comes, he will be accompanied by heavenly maidens…"
Yi Ping was shouting frantically, "Stop, wait. Hold…I am not." But he dared not use his martial shout because he was afraid of hurting them.
Lingfeng secretly stole a glance at the Universal Old Man who was also looking at her. She began to sigh softly…
It was because many years ago, they had made up a prophecy in the Celestial Realm about an Immortal Being that could be the savior of the people. The powerful Celestials were oppressing the people and they had divided the Celestial Realm into thousands of domains and fiefdoms. So they invented a prophecy to give a hope to the people so that they could have the courage and hope to carry on living in their darkness hour.
That prophecy caught on like wildfire and there were even some Celestials that actually repented from their wicked ways because they feared the retributions of the Immortal Being.
But that was a long time ago while the Heaveness was still in the Celestial Realm and the prophecy was now largely forgotten. But today, it was revived again!
Before Yi Ping knew what was happening, he was being ushered by hundreds of people!
Yi Ping could not smile bitterly. It was because he did not want to shatter the faith of these people. He could only say to them, "I will do my best. I come here to challenge Ximen Nanqing but I really have no confident at all. If you follow me, you may all be captured again or killed. It is better that you run to the mountains first."
The thin old man said tearfully, "Great Hero, I am already so old. Moreover, even if I am young and can hide in the mountains, Ximen Nanqing's men will still be able to find me. The fates that they deal to escape slaves cannot be imagined. I will rather take my chance with you. I am content enough to have a day of freedom and till unto death, I will fight for my freedom."
When Lele had heard that, she had burst into tears. Among all the maidens even though it appeared that she was the most difficult to get along with and the most incomprehension to the feelings of others, it was actually a front for her to disguise her true feelings. She was easiest the compassionate and emotional among all the maidens.
Yunzi and Lie Qing were immediately at Lele's side as they tried to comfort her.
Almost all the men that were also shouting, "Unto death we will follow you! Unto death we will follow you!"
Yi Ping muttered, "All of you…I will do my best…"
Yixian said gently to Yi Ping, "Ping'Er, you are not fighting alone."
Xiao Youxue said shyly, "That's right."
Just when Yi Ping was about to say something, Lingfeng said. "Something isn't right! Come!"
Indeed, they had all sensed a powerful malevolent air that came from the direction of the city!
Yi Ping turned and said to the crowd, "Wait here!"
Before the crowd could react, Yi Ping, the Universal Old Man and the ten maidens were gone in a few blinks of an eye. Their swiftness movement skills were extraordinary and left the crowd gasping in astonishment!
When Yi Ping and his group arrived at the walled city of the Dominating Aura Clan, they were startled to see the dead bodies of the protégés of the Dominating Aura Clan on the city walls, on the ground, at the drawbridge, at the iron gates and everywhere!
Yi Ping was appalled at the sight. Most were mortals but there were at least a dozen dark celestial practitioners and two Golden Celestials.
Yixian said, "They are killed by claws, swords, palm skill, finger skills and many more. Many of them are killed by a single fatal blow."
Lie Qing was solemn, "The killing malevolent air is just in front of us on the other side of the gate. It seems that these people are all killed swiftly but it is not a surprise attack. It is obviously that they saw their assailants but couldn't put up a fight. Only the celestial practitioners did slightly better."
Shen Xingyue said wryly, "It seems that someone else did the job for us. I was wondering how we are going to make our dramatic entrance but it seems that it saves us the trouble now!"
Yi Ping was solemn as he said, "Let's go in."
As Yi Ping walked through the gate, he was immediately greeted by a strong dominating aura and an equally powerful malevolent air!
The entrance of the gate was equally appalling and there were many dead.
Yi Ping had recognized She Weilun immediately and he was standing beside a middle-aged muscular man with black and white beard. The dominating aura had come from him. Without any doubt, only Ximen Nanqing could possess a dominating aura like this. Around him were two other celestial practitioners with golden eyes but they were all coughing weakly. It seemed that their injuries were not light.
This was confirmed by the Stellar Heaven Fairy as she whispered to Yi Ping, "He is Ximen Nanqing. The other two are his clan division leaders. It seems that he has some unwanted visitors today."
Yi Ping looked the other way and saw five men in a priestly garb. The killing malevolent air had come from them!
A handsome man that was standing in the middle was waving a fan and had a sword by his side. When he saw Yi Ping and his group, he said coldly, "So Master Ximen Nanqing, is that your reinforcements? A young man, an old man and ten maidens?"
Ximen Nanqing hummed coldly, "They are not my men. In fact, one of them is a traitor."
When She Weilun saw the Universal Old Man and Yi Ping, he was immediately startled and murmured with the Great Whispering Skill so that none could hear them, "That old man was the one that hurt me. Don't be fooled by his innocuous appearances. He is in fact an Ancient Celestial. He may be the real leader of this group."
Ximen Nanqing immediately used the Great Whispering Skill and said, "Good. I am a little afraid that these newcomers may not be their match. We can pull a little ruse and let them fight among themselves first then we can wipe them all out in a single swoop."
They did not know that Lingfeng was carefully reading their lips and knew their exchanges. Ever since she had regained her memories as the Heaveness, she had remembered many skills that she used to know and one of the skills was the Silent Reading Skill.
The handsome man took a look at Yi Ping and his group with interest and noticed the number of metallic weapons that they had as he said to Ximen Nanqing, "Oh? They are not on your side?"
At the same time, Yi Ping had also noticed that these five men all had golden eyes. What was startling was that the other four men were much older than the handsome young man and looked more formidable than him yet they seemed to be following his lead.
The handsome young man looked intently at Yi Ping and asked, "So why are you here if you are not an ally of the Dominating Aura Clan? You seem to be the leader of this group. Or is it one of the two maidens that are behind you that is actually the real leader?"
Yi Ping was clenching his fists. He was upset when he saw the loss of so many lives even though they were his enemies. He replied coldly, "I am indeed the leader."
The handsome young man was looking intently at Shen Xingyue and the Stellar Heaven Fairy, refusing to believe him. It was because it was obviously that these two maidens had the superior elevated divinity and the leadership of any group naturally belonged to the strongest.
But all of a sudden, the handsome young man stopped waving his silver fan and he was looking at Shen Xingyue, "It is you?"
Shen Xingyue was startled as she too stepped forward. She began to encircle the young handsome man rapidly to identify him before she gasped, "It is you! You have become so ruthless? Why are you here?"
The handsome young man answered coolly, "That is my question as well. So you have managed to ascend. That is a good thing. So why are you here? I have almost forgotten about you. Have you forgotten who you really are?"
Shen Xingyue hummed coldly, "It seemed that I am not the only ones that you have forgotten."
She stole a glance at Yu'Er and Mei'Er.
When the handsome young man saw them, he immediately staggered backward while muttering. "That's impossible. It is not real. They can't be…"
Ximen Nanqing immediately noticed his expressions and he too, was looking at Yu'Er and Mei'Er who were identical twins. But there was nothing fearsome about them. So why was he so startled?
Shen Xingyue said coldly, "So why don't you tell me first?"
Instead of replying Shen Xingyue, the handsome young man looked at Yi Ping asked, "You are married to this man?"
For no reason, Yi Ping was suddenly overwhelmed with jealousy. He tried to calm himself with the Absolute Spirits Intricacy as he thought, "They know each other, they know each other…"
He had to admit that this young handsome man was the most charismatic man that he had ever met. He had already noticed that even Yu'Er, Mei'Er, Yunzi, Youxue and the other maidens seemed to be dazzled by his beautiful looks!
Shen Xingyue replied, "That's none of your business, really."
The handsome young man appraised Yi Ping again as he asked, "What is your name?"
Yi Ping said coldly, "I don't make friends with killers…"
All of a sudden, the handsome young man tumbled forward and attacked Yi Ping with his fingers as he said, "I teach you for being rude to a superior celestial!"
The speed of his attack was like lightning but Yi Ping was able to block the attack with his hands. But no sooner had he blocked the attack, the handsome young man switched his stance and rained dozens of tremendous attacks in a blink of an eye upon Yi Ping as he smirked, "Not bad. But how about this?"
Yi Ping was startled as he too, returned dozens of blows with lightning reflexes in a blink of an eye!
Their clashes were so mighty that the windforce that was generated from their attacks exploded with thunderously impact all around them as even the stone stabs below them broke under their martial force!
Shen Xingyue could only call out helplessly, "No wait! Don't attack Yi Ping!"
In five blinks of an eye, Yi Ping and the handsome young man had exchanged more than one hundred tremendous blows with each other! But while Yi Ping had broken into sweat, the handsome young man was still looking calm.
Yi Ping was startled and his hands were trembling. He had already used all his martial strength against this handsome young man. He had not used one stroke but one hundred full strength strokes. The fatigue and exhaustion that he was possibly facing could not be imagined. He had sustained himself through the Absolute Spirits and the Divine Revelation!
Even the handsome young man was somewhat surprised by Yi Ping's resilient but he had no wish to be dragged by a prolong fight because he still had one more enemy to fight. So he increased his martial power all of a sudden and displayed the Denunciation Force.
When Yi Ping sensed that his opponent had suddenly retracted his attacks, he knew that a powerful martial force was forthcoming and he raised his martial power to execute the Asper Horizon Hand in a nick of time!
The air around them exploded with a thunderous force and Yi Ping was thrown off the ground and flung to the back! He was quickly caught by Yixian, Lele and Youxue!
But the handsome young man was still standing on the same spot and was casually dusting off the dust from his priestly garb. All these took place in less than ten blinks of an eye!
He was smiling casually, "It is just a small lesson for him."
Yi Ping forced himself to stand straight as he said coldly, "I have not lost yet."
The handsome young man smiled, "It appears so. You want to fight me again?"
He looked at the rest of the maidens who were all looking at him coldly and laughed softly, "Or, you are all thinking of fighting me at the same time? I don't mind at all."
Lele hummed coldly, "You will regret taking us at the same time."
The handsome young man replied, "Is that so?"
Lie Qing used her Great Whispering Skill on Lele, "Sister, he doesn't seem to have ill intention against us yet. We still have another enemy, remember? So calm down first."
Lele looked at Lie Qing who nodded silently at her as did Yixian.
Shen Xingyue had stepped forward, "That's enough. You still have not told me why you are here?"
The handsome young man said, "I have almost forgotten."
So he said aloud, "So Master Ximen Nanqing, have you decided already or not to swear your allegiance and to join the Holy Ascension Sect?"
Shen Xingyue was startled, "The Holy Ascension Sect? The Ascension Sect has become the Holy Ascension Sect?"
The handsome young man nodded, "We are now grouping all the known celestial clans together. You should join us. You are from our sect too. Have you forgotten who you are and your celestial oaths?"
Shen Xingyue was solemn as she said quietly, "My divine soul, my holy body belongs to the Ascension Sect and to the Ascension Supreme. I have never forgotten."
Yi Ping and the others were startled that this handsome young man was from the same sect as Shen Xingyue!
The handsome young man smiled, "Good."
Shen Xingyue asked, "Who is the current leader of the Holy Ascension Sect now?"
The handsome young man replied casually, "The Lord Supreme."
Shen Xingyue was startled as did Lingfeng and the Universal Old Man!
The Lord Supreme was the patriarch of the Ascension Sect and all the Ascendant Celestials regarded him as the founding patriarch of the Ascension Sect!
The Universal Old Man was muttering, "That old freak is not dead yet?"
Like the Universal Old Man and the Heaveness, the Lord Supreme was also an Ancient Celestial.
The handsome young man looked sharply at Ximen Nanqing, "So Master Ximen Nanqing, have you decided yet? Don't make me repeat myself again. I am not as patience as you think I am."
Ximen Nanqing laughed aloud, "If you want me to surrender, it is not impossible."
He pointed at Yi Ping and the Stellar Heaven Fairy before saying, "I despise traitors in my ranks and they have killed my beloved protégé Lian Longba. If you can take revenge for me, then I will promise to submit to you with open arms. What do you say?"
The handsome young man smiled and said, "That sound like a good deal. What about your men that we have killed?"
Ximen Nanqing said, "I treat it as nothing has happened!"
The handsome young man waved his hands and smiled, "Excellent!"
He turned around and said coolly to Shen Xingyue, "Xingyue, come over here. By the holy decree of the Lord Supreme, all Ascendants are one. Betrayers to the sacred oath will be destroyed, soul and body for all eternity."
Shen Xingyue was bleary eyes as she looked at Yi Ping and Yi Ping was also looking at her.
All the other maidens were also looking at Shen Xingyue with pleading eyes!
Yi Ping was trembling, "Xingyue, don't go please. We may not lose. If the Holy Ascension Sect intends to separate us, I will rather fight them!"
Shen Xingyue said quietly, "I…the oath is binding. I don't have a choice or any choice…"
Yunzi had covered her face with her hands and she was secretly crying. It was because she had gone through her experience before and had understood how she had felt!
Yi Ping had drawn his two divine swords and he was muttering, "I won't let that happen. If I can defeat this despicable man here, then he cannot take you away."
The instant that Yi Ping had drawn his divine swords, the resounding echoes began to ripple throughout as though his divine swords agreed with him and two small bright halos appeared on the tip of his divine swords!
Yi Ping was muttering, "You agree with me too? Good! This is a battle that we cannot afford to lose…"
The Stellar Heaven Fairy and Lingfeng was gasping, "The Divine Harmony!"
The Heaveness was stupefied, "This is the harmony of the divine swords. Only a few can attain this awakening. I have never seen this before too and have only heard of it. Now Yi Ping has truly reached the divine state of 'One with the Sword'!"
The handsome young man said quietly, "There are two things that you have to remember today. Firstly, I am not a despicable man…"
Shen Xingyue continued for her, "Of course you are not a despicable man. You are a maiden. You can only be a despicable maiden and not a despicable man."
Yi Ping was stunned, "He is a…she?"
Lingfeng sighed softly, "You didn't notice at all? Have you ever seen such a beautiful man?"
The Stellar Heaven Fairy said, "And an extremely beautiful maiden too."
Shen Xingyue said, "Her celestial fraternity name is the Ascension Goddess. She is in the same ranking as the Eclipse Heaven Goddess and the Axis Heaven Goddess."
The Ascension Goddess drew her long sword and the echo of her divine sword reverberated and resounded even louder than Yi Ping's divine swords!
There was even a bright halo on the tip of her divine sword!
The Ascension Goddess said coolly, "And secondly, you are not the only one that has attained the Divine Harmony. Thirdly, I have a divine sword too and her name is the Despairing Heavenly Sword."
Even Ximen Nanqing was startled at her stunning display as he secretly thought, "She is the Ascension Goddess?! Just how high is her celestial attainment now?"
It was as though the Ascension Goddess could hear his thoughts that she had suddenly remarked, "Master Ximen Nanqing, do you want to know how your Dominating Force fare against me?"
Ximen Nanqing smiled bitterly but did not say anything.
At the same time, Shui Yixian the Celestial Fairy had already drawn out her Heavenly Earth Celestial Sword as she said gently, "My swordplay may not be the best but I am not going to let Ping'Er fight you alone."
Lie Qing the Heavenly Temptress was stroking and arranging her long hair to and fro, "Alas, I really want to know if my Invincible Divine Force is now truly invincible."
Ji Lingfeng the Heaveness was sighing softly, "Somehow I have this death wish as well…"
The Ascension Goddess laughed jovially, "Why don't you all attack me at the same time?"
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