131 The Two Ascendant Custodians
In three days' time!
In three days' time the iron sealed gate of the Stellar Sanctuary would finally open. It was a celestial event that was highly anticipated by all the celestials in the Celestial Realm!
This celestial event was so rare that it would not happen again for the next few centuries!
Most of the celestial practitioners were surprised that this time only the Stellar Sanctuary had made its appearance. It was because there was never a time when the Astronomic Stellar Formation had failed to appear with the Stellar Sanctuary.
The celestial practitioners were stumbled; it was because none of their calculations could figure out the real reason why the Astronomic Stellar Formation did not appear this time!
Because the Astronomic Stellar Formation had failed to appear, it created a panic among many of the celestial practitioners who feared that this may also be the last time that the Stellar Sanctuary would descend from the Immortal Realm.
It was not only the orthodox, unorthodox and the heretic celestials that were coming to unravel the mysteries of the Stellar Sanctuary. Many of the renegade celestials that were living in solitary near the boundaries of the First Heaven of the Celestial Realm were also secretly making their way to the Stellar Sanctuary!
But Yi Ping had a lot more to worry than the Stellar Sanctuary at the moment!
It was because Han Lin had already stepped forward in a threatening manner and she seemed to have lost her reasoning!
The Celestial Mistress said sternly to Han Lin again, "Step back immediately!"
Jing'Er urged panicky, "Sister Han Lin, this isn't like you at all…"
The Goddess Isa whispered again to Yi Ping, "Yi Ping, please step back. A treacherous fight is going to start soon."
But Yi Ping was not paying heed as he had immediately stepped forward tried to ask gently, "Maiden Han Lin, what is wrong?"
Lele was also startled. Along the way, she had found solace in Han Lin and they were particular close. It was because Lele was actually a lonely young maiden who spent much of her time in loneliness. That was why she was a constant attention seeker.
And when she had met Han Lin, she had found out that she was also particular chatty and her jovial nature was not an act. She was exactly like Lele. But behind her jovial mask was a sense of extreme loneliness that no one could really understand.
That was why they had clicked so well and their friendship was immediately!
It was because they had both experienced extreme loneliness!
Lele finally felt like she had found a close friend but today she was going to lose a good friend!
Lele asked, "Han Lin?"
Han Lin said coldly, "Lele, will you help me? I am going to cleanse this place…"
Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage interrupted coldly as he raised his hand, "Maiden, you are too insolent. Do you think that you or the whole lot of you can wipe out all the celestial practitioners that are in this place?"
Lele had already moved quietly beside Han Lin in an astonishing display of her swiftness movement ability!
Yi Ping was startled, "Lele? Even you…"
Lele's eyes were serene as she said quietly, "I can't do that. I can't leave her all alone. I am willing to fight for a friend. Whatever the reason may be, this is not important to me. It is because I trust my friend."
Yixian said weakly, "Lele, you can't possibly defeat him."
Lele laughed softly as she dismantle the blade of her scythe into two crescent swords, "Sister Xian'Er, please let me try. This is my fight."
Han Lin smiled weakly, "Thank you Lele…"
Youxue, Jing'Er, Yunzi and Shi Shi were also shaking their heads in disapproval!
The Celestial Mistress said sternly, "Xiao Qian, stop Han Lin!"
The Celeste Wind Maiden said quietly, "Han Lin, listen to us first!"
But Han Lin had turned toward the Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage to say, "I repeat. Surrender the Green Dragon Sacred Sword and I will back off. Or else don't blame me for being impolite!"
Yi Ping was panicky. It was because no one else other than him knew of Lele's secret Crescent Swords Technique. When she had decided to use her crescent swords, it could mean that there was no retreating for her anymore as her Crescent Swords Technique was an all-out offensive sword technique!
Just as Yi Ping stepped between Han Lin and Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage, there was a flash of grey as a man in grey robe had suddenly appeared in front of Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage and Han Lin, startling them!
This man was exceptional handsome and had golden eyes but his hair was completely white!
He clapped his silver fan before saying to Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage, "Old friend, stay your hand."
Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage was startled, "Old friend, why are you here? You never like to meet people…"
Yi Ping had never seen this man before but one thing was for sure; his state of divinity was on par with Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage!
Even the Goddess Isa was looking at the newcomer with interest!
Feng Mantian, Luo Wei and Wu Han immediately paid their utmost respect to him, "Reverend Sacred Sage…"
From the looks of their expressions, they were extremely respectful to him!
It seemed to everyone that this Reverend Sacred Sage was not an ordinary celestial practitioner!
Even though this Reverend Sacred Sage may not be a Supreme Celestial but he was one of the two Ascendant Custodians of the Holy Ascension Sect and his martial level was on par with the Lord Supreme!
This Reverend Sacred Sage was a mystery even in the Holy Ascension Sect and was one of the eight original founders of the Holy Ascension Sect in the Celestial Realm. He had only recently returned to the Holy Ascension Sect after a long absence.
Reverend Sacred Sage was looking at Han Lin as he said gently, "You are well?"
Han Lin covered her mouth as she gasped, "Brother Chu! Brother Chu…you are still alive…I thought, I thought…"
Reverend Sacred Sage nodded gently, "Yes. I am equally surprise to see you too. How are you throughout all these years?"
Han Lin pointed at the Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage with trembling finger, "He has the Green Dragon…"
Reverend Sacred Sage said nonchalantly, "I know. I am the one that has given him the Green Dragon."
Han Lin was stunned, "You…what? Do you know…"
Reverend Sacred Sage said, "Our clan is no more. We should spend our time to further our enlightenment instead of doing useless things."
He pointed at the Stellar Sanctuary that was floating splendidly in the midst of the dark heavens and were surrounded by brilliant lightning storms, "We should all find a way to breech the invincible of the Stellar Sanctuary and ascend to the Gods' Realm. The Gods' Realm or the Immortal Realm as it is known is our ultimate goal!"
Han Lin staggered backward as her voice grew coarse, "That is our goal?"
She laughed softly as she held back her tears, "Do you know how dangerous the Stellar Sanctuary is? And so what if we have ascended the Stellar Sanctuary? Have you wondered if we are wanted there?"
Reverend Sacred Sage said quietly, "That is not my concern now."
He looked quietly at the Goddess Isa and the Celestial Mistress, "If we stay here for too long, we will all going to die eventually from our heavenly tribulations. It is the goal of all the celestial practitioners to be a true immortal practitioner eventually. We don't have much of a choice and is like a moth that is drawn to the burning flame."
Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage nodded as he looked at the Celestial Mistress, "Xiaoci, why is that we have to be on opposite sides…alas! Go! This is not a place for you to come!"
"Since they are here, let them come." A hegemony voice thundered from the stairs of heavens and shook the surroundings with his Thousand Mile Resonate Divine Skill. It was the echoes of the Lord Supreme!
Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage said aloud, "But they are dark celestial practitioners…"
"Half of the celestial clans that are here have dark celestial practitioners within their ranks. It doesn't matter at all if we have a few more dark celestial practitioners that are joining us. And moreover…" the echoes of the Lord Supreme resonated aloud.
There was a pause before the Lord Supreme continued, "And moreover, we ought to welcome the Sagess Ai back."
Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage was startled and so were all the other Ascendant Protégés except for the Reverend Sacred Sage!
The Sagess Ai was one of the two Ascendant Custodians and also one of the eight co-founders of the Holy Ascension Sect in the Celestial Realm!
He asked, "The Sagess Ai is here?!"
Reverend Sacred Sage sighed softly as he smiled at the Celestial Mistress, "You didn't know she is the Sagess Ai? You are talking to her all this while and you seem to know her quite well too."
Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage was stunned as he stammered, "Xiaoci, is that true?"
The Celestial Mistress raised her pretty eyebrows as she said quietly, "Yes, I am the Sagess Ai. I have almost forgotten about it."
Even Han Lin, the Celeste Wind Maiden, Jing'Er, the Stellar Heaven Fairy and Yang Mi were all equally stunned at this proclamation!
The Celestial Mistress was actually the Sagess Ai, one of the seven most powerful ancient celestial fighters!
The Celeste Wind Maiden said weakly, "That is such a surprise coming from our mistress. No wonder she dares to come here alone."
Shi Shi the Stellar Heavenly Fairy was taken aback as she thought, "That is impossible. She is actually the Sagess Ai! She is as legendary as the Heaveness…"
Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage was muttering, "Xiaoci is the Sagess Ai? That is impossible…"
Even Feng Mantian, Wu Han and Luo Wei were looking at the Celestial Mistress with stunned silence as they thought, "She is the Sagess Ai? Her rank within the Holy Ascension Sect is even higher than the Supreme Celestials! Within a span of a week, two of the Ascendant Custodians have returned. This is something that has never happened before!"
When Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage had ascended to the Celestial Realm, the Celestial Ascension Sect had already been established by the Lord Supreme and seven other ancient celestials.
Naturally he did not know that the friend that he had known as Song Xiaoci and who was also the Grand Matriarch of the Melody Palace in the lower Realm was the same Sagess Ai that had aided the Lord Supreme to establish the celestial Ascension Sect.
The Celestial Mistress said quietly as she stole a glance at the Goddess Isa, "That is a long story. I am forced to hide my identity because I have offended someone who I shouldn't offend."
Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage quickly said, "Who is he? Tell me. I will help you to settle the score with him!"
The Celestial Mistress lowered her face as she said softly, "If I tell you that not even the top seven celestial fighters in our time are a match for my nemesis. Will you believe me?"
Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage smiled bitterly, "I don't believe."
The Celestial Mistress sighed softly as she secretly looked at the Goddess Isa, "I don't believe either till I see it with my own eyes."
The Goddess Isa simply shrugged her shoulders and was observing Yi Ping.
YI Ping may not be very smart but he knew that the Celestial Mistress was referring to the Goddess Isa. Even though the Translucent Emptiness was a skill that could mask his emotions but it was not a skill that could hide his curiosity or intentions. So he stole a glance at the Goddess Isa and was quickly flustered to notice that she was also looking shyly in his direction!
He was startled and quickly looked away!
At the same time the Celestial Mistress said, "What are we waiting for? The Lord Supreme has invited us inside and it will be rude to decline his invitation, right?"
The Celeste Wind Maiden whispered, "You got a lot of explaining to do to us later. All these years we have been fighting against the celestial orthodox clans and you are in fact, one of them!"
The Celestial Mistress said gently to her and to everyone, "I will."
She closed her eyes as she took a deep breath before muttering, "It seems that my solitary meditation is going to end soon."
She composed herself to say to Yi Ping, "Yi Ping, can you lead the way for us?"
When Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage heard that, he quickly said. "Xiaoci, let me lead the way instead. I am more familiar with this place. With me around, you won't get lost and no one will bother you."
Yi Ping said as he bowed with his hands respectfully, "Then may Old Senior lead the way for us."
Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage laughed, "Of course, of course!"
He began to stroke his long beard as he said, "Xiaoci, do you know that you are here in a nick of time? Tonight we will draw the lots to enter the Stellar Sanctuary!"
The Celestial Mistress asked, "Draw lots for the Stellar Sanctuary? For?"
Old Reverend Vanquisher Sage replied, "That is right. In three more days' time, the sealed gates of the Stellar Sanctuary will finally be opened. To prevent a pandemonium from breaking out, all the celestial clans will draw a lot in advance for each of the twenty-four gates of the Stellar Sanctuary. This is to ensure that all the most powerful celestial clans do not congregate together to ensure fairness. After the lots are drawn, all the celestial clans will set off immediately for the designated gate that they had drawn."
He sighed softly, "A nasty fight may still break out at the Stellar Sanctuary. There are hundreds of celestial clans that are led by the Martial Deviant Clan and the Celestial Aiel Sect who will attempt to stop us. They too, will be rushing into the Stellar Sanctuary. No one really knows what is going to happen in three days' time."
The Celestial Mistress nodded, "Even for the Celestial Aiel Sect, it is hard to control the celestial clans that are under our influence once the sealed gates of the Stellar Sanctuary are opened."
Han Lin asked jovially, "Of course it will be difficult. There are no directions at all from you. Your edict for the celestial clans that are under our sphere of influence is just a mad rush for the Stellar Sanctuary. You don't even have any idea or plan which gate they will enter except for the nearest."
It seemed that Han Lin had once again regained her jovial self!
The Celestial Mistress growled softly, "You didn't pay any attention, am I right? I have tasked the Lord Lu Zhongli of the Lofty Sword Sect to plan the expedition on behalf of the Celestial Aiel Sect…"
Han Lin injected, "Then do you know how many celestial clans and how many celestial practitioners that have accompanied us on this trip?"
The Celestial Mistress answered weakly, "How many?"
Han Lin smiled weakly, "I am asking you and you are asking me?"
The Celestial Mistress replied with a flush, "I…really do not know!"
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Han Lin replied, "Three hundred and thirty-three celestial clans. Twenty-two thousands and sixty celestial practitioners!"
When the number of celestial clans that had accompanied the Celestial Aiel Sect was announced, almost all the Ascendant Protégés were startled!
Old Reverend Vanquishing Sage gasped, "That many?!"
That was because the Holy Ascension Sect had received a secret estimate on the number of celestial practitioners that were on the side of the Celestial Aiel Sect as around ten thousand celestial practitioners!
Han Lin smiled, "And of course we also know that there are ten thousand celestial practitioners that are in the Holy Ascension Sect right now."
Old Reverend Vanquishing Sage looked at Han Lin with a sense of realization, "I see now! There is a spy here or else you won't be able to know our true strength so well."
The Celestial Mistress kicked Han Lin lightly, "You are too talkative."
Han Lin laughed softly, "Does it matter? Shall I call you the Sagess Ai or the Goddess…"
The Celestial Mistress quickly said, "Time is short. Let us find some place to talk first."
Old Reverend Vanquishing Sage nodded as he said aloud, "Feng Mantian, Wu Han, Luo Wei! You have heard the Lord Supreme? Put away all your swords and let them pass!"
Wu Han panicky shouted, "Put away all your swords! It is the Sagess Ai and her friends!"
Luo Wei added too, "Quickly step aside and pay your respects to the Sagess Ai!"
Immediately the two hundred Ascendant Protégés were all shouting, "Our respects to the Sagess Ai! Our respects to the Ascendant Custodian!"
Feng Mantian was also bowing respectfully to the Celestial Mistress as he stepped aside, "Our respect to the Sagess Ai, welcome back…"
Lele yawned softly, "That should be the way from the start, am I right to say so?"
She turned to Han Lin to say, "Han Lin, who is he? You seem very close to him. Why didn't you introduce him to us?"
She was referring of course to the Reverend Sacred Sage.
Han Lin smiled weakly, "He is my Protégé Brother Chu Mingfan."
Reverend Sacred Sage laughed heartily, "I am Chu Mingfan. If maiden can honor me with your name, I will certainly consider today as my lucky day!"
Lele laughed softly, "I am the Joyful Goddess. You can call me Lele if you want to."
Reverend Sacred Sage clapped his fan as he praised her, "Good name, beautiful name!"
Yi Ping was unhappy when he saw how the Reverend Sacred Sage was making advances to Lele so he said, "I am Yi Ping and she is my lady consort."
He was discreetly warning him not to have any funny ideas with Lele!
Even Lie Qing was saying coldly to Reverend Sacred Sage, "I warn you. Stay away from her or else I will be nasty to you."
Lele however was delighted with the attention that she was getting from Yi Ping that she said, "He is Han Lin's protégé brother. What is wrong with you people?"
Just when Lie Qing was about to say something, there was a familiar shout from the stairs of heaven. "Ai, is that you?"
Everyone was startled and turned to the direction of the shout to see the Universal Old Man rushing down the stairs with a startling speed!
All of a sudden the Celestial Mistress began to turn pale as she muttered, "I think my worst nightmare has come even before I have drawn the lots for the Stellar Sanctuary…"
Yi Ping was surprised that his protégé master the Universal Old Man was acquainted with the Celestial Mistress.
The Universal Old Man laughed heartily as he looked at the Celestial Mistress, "Ai, is that you? When I have heard your name being mention by the Lord Supreme, I couldn't believe my ears and rush down to have a look. It is really you! I have thought that you are gone for good. It has been so many years…"
The Celestial Mistress put her slender hand over her veil as she looked at the Universal Old Man, "You must be mistaken. I do not know you."
Old Reverend Vanquishing Sage asked, "Xiaoci, you know him?"
The Celestial Mistress appeared to be smiling weakly from behind her veil, "No, I don't. Really. Who are you, seriously?"
Han Lin was groaning softly. It was because from the startled expressions of the Celestial Mistress, it was obvious that she was lying!
Even Lie Qing was sighing softly as she thought, "Did I praise her lying skills a little too quickly?"
The Universal Old Man was stammering feebly, "I…I…you still can't forgive me?"
The Celestial Mistress hummed coldly as she said to Old Reverend Vanquishing Sage, "Let's go. What are we waiting for? My escorts and I are in need of a good bath first. I certainly don't want to present my ugly side to the Lord Supreme or to the other celestials later."
"Hah! Hahaha!" The laughing echoes of the Lord Supreme thundered resonantly, "I certainly won't mind. The Sagess Ai is a renowned beauty in the Celestial Realm. Do you suppose we can talk first? I am really surprise that you are the Celestial Mistress of the Celestial Aiel Sect. Are we still on the same side or are we foes? Since you have the courage to come here, surely you have the courage to meet me alone? "
Han Lin took a quick look at the Reverend Sacred Sage before she whispered to the Celestial Mistress, "Mistress, it may be a trap."
The Celestial Mistress shook her head as she lifted her voice to say resoundingly to the Lord Supreme, "Why should I be afraid?"
The Lord Supreme thundered, "Good!"
The Universal Old Man murmured, "That Lord Supreme is really lazy. He can't be bothered to even show his face. Ai, just ignore him."
Yi Ping said, "Master, we are guests in this place. I think it is best not to speak ill of others…"
The Universal Old Man laughed as he patted Yi Ping on his shoulder, "Don't worry. He can't hear me at all. It is one thing to use the Thousand Mile Resonate Divine Skill to convey yourself but if the listeners do not have the internal strength to shout back then he can't pick our voices."
Youxue said coldly, "That may be true but you just badmouth the Lord Supreme in front of two hundreds of his clan protégés. Surely they are all not deaf and mute."
The Universal Old Man looked sheepish as he muttered under the gazes of Old Reverend Vanquishing Sage and the other Ascendant protégés, "No cares!…"
Old Reverend Vanquishing Sage said to everyone, "Come with me."
He turned to the Universal Old Man, "The Lord Supreme has requested to speak to the Sagess Ai first. I suggest that you return to your quarter first."
The Universal Old Man was about to protest when the Celeste Wind Maiden had stepped in to say coldly, "You should go."
The Universal Old Man appraised the Celeste Wind Maiden with caution as he said, "Good sword that you have with you. I am really an old friend of the Sagess Ai…"
All of a sudden he had frozen when he had caught sight of a golden hair maiden who was standing stately behind Yi Ping. In his haste and excitement, he had forgotten to be mindful of the others.
Now that he had noticed her, he was stunned at the sight of her stately demeanor and her unfathomable level of divinity!
He was stumped when he blinked his eyes, "Ping'Er, who is she?"
Yi Ping stammered, "She…"
But before Yi Ping could continue further, the Goddess Isa smiled shyly with a deep flush, "Who I am is not important. Why I am here is more important for I am here to kill an unfaithful man."
Yi Ping first reaction was to ask, "Who?"