It was more apt to describe the Heavenvine Citadel as a world suspending in the sky rather than a city.
If one were sailing on the grand sea and looking forward, this would seem like a gigantic monster, an unimaginably large tree growing on the water.
In fact, this was not a tree but a gigantic vine of an unreal magnitude since it reached even the sky canopy. One could see islands scattered about right below this great vine.
Outside of little islets that were actually made from soil, there were also islands made out of the branches from intertwining vines.
When squatting down for a different perspective, people could actually see more astonishing islands. They were being held up by roots and even the leaves of the vine tree. Such islands were mountains taken from under the sea and placed on top of the vine tree.
While standing below the vine and looking up, the entire sky would be blotted out by its branches and leaves. In fact, in this sea region, countless vine roots were crisscrossing each other. Some surfaced on the sea and looked like mountain ranges.
At the same time, there was a feeling that the sky up above was another world entirely due to the sheer size of the vine tree. Its parts intertwined to form a new world. Palaces were built on them and even smaller cities could be found. The old ancestors worked hard to bring many mountains up the vine tree to form landmasses and cities.
In the deepest recesses of the vine tree were numerous peaks brought together into a huge continent. It was refined into a forbidden location. This was the heavenly grotto meant for the ancestors.
Such a magical scene appeared before everyone, causing them to be overwhelmed with awe. An entire world was held up by this vine tree.
“Prosperity and downfall both brought about by the heavenly vine.” Li Qiye commented as he gazed at the scenery.
Such words shook Teng Jiwen’s mind as an ominous feeling arose. He wasn’t clear of what this omen meant.
“Sir, this way, please.” He calmed down and quickly told Li Qiye: “Our disciples have prepared your quarters. Please rest well, it has been a long and hard journey.” 1
Li Qiye faintly smiled without saying anything and left the dao platform.
After preparing Li Qiye’s quarters, Teng Jiwen went to report to his seniors before talking to the upper echelons.
The citadel treated Li Qiye with the greatest amount of respect for a guest. Such treatment was no less than if he was a sect master from an imperial lineage.
After Teng Jiwen left, Li Qiye opened his palace and released the Myriad Era Tree. It drilled into the ground like a spirit serpent.
The ancestral vine was everything in this place. Its roots were the foundation of the citadel. Nothing was more important and comparable to the vine. Thus, many generations of wise sages here worked quite hard. Despite the large territory, every single branch and leaf had formation seals on them. Anyone who wanted to conspire against the ancestral vine would be found out right away.
Outside of being vigilant against outsiders, they prevented disciples from their own sect from causing trouble as well. However, the truth was that even without these preparations from the wise sages, invading the ancestral vine was next to impossible since it was powerful beyond imagination.
Even if a truly heaven-defying person could infiltrate a leaf or a branch, they wouldn’t be able to infiltrate the main root of the tree, let alone the truly important zones.
Of course, this was no problem for Li Qiye. Outside of the Longevity Grass, there was nothing more precious than the Myriad Era Tree.
More importantly, it didn’t drill into the ancestral vine with malicious intent. It carried a vigorous amount of life force. This was the power of eternal life, something one could only come across with great fortune.
Without a doubt, the ancestral vine did not refuse and even welcomed this quiet intruder.
Li Qiye used the Myriad Era Tree to diagnose the ancestral vine. He eventually shook his head and murmured: “Even more serious than I imagined.”
Eventually, he recalled the Myriad Era Tree and smiled before leaving his room to stand on the edge of the sky.
The pavilion he was staying at was built on top of a medium-sized mountain. It was clearly transported from somewhere else to the top of this particular leaf.
While looking at the strange world ahead, he chuckled and said with emotions: “No matter which generation, there are no rootless duckweeds in this world.” 2
He stood there and gazed at the horizon while contemplating many things. It was difficult to find someone who understood the Heaven Spirit World more than him.
Just like he told Kong Qinru before, he didn’t agree with humans staying in this world; they were simply rootless duckweeds here. 3
In the future, they would one day come to find that this was not their world and that they were simply traveling passersby or even those less significant than that. In his eyes, they were orphans without any shelter or support.
This was a world of the charming spirits, the world of the treants, and the world of the sea demons, leaving nothing behind for the humans.
Of course, everyone had the choice and rights to stay or leave. For millions of years, Li Qiye had been too lazy to care about it. After all, people didn’t know about certain things. Only when that day arrives would they realize it.
Of course, that would be when they have to face the choice they must make.
He stood there for an unknown period of time. Teng Jiwen came back and stood next to Li Qiye without daring to disturb him. After a long time, he softly spoke: “Sir, my master is here.”
Li Qiye came back from his reflection and casually smiled: “Have you ever thought about where the Heavenvine Citadel will go if the ancestral vine does collapse one day?”
Such words were too much for Teng Jiwen. The jolt made him take one step back. He had never thought about such a terrible thing before. It would be disrespectful towards his ancestors.
He wryly smiled and spoke right away: “Sir, that is a very unlucky statement.”
Li Qiye raised his brows and flatly said: “I am only stating the truth, there is nothing unlucky about it. Even if an ancestral tree could be revived, it will also wither once more in due time! Nothing is eternal in this world, and your ancestral vine is no exception. At the Heaven Spirit World, many ancestral trees have already fallen with their lineages soon afterward.”
Teng Jiwen couldn’t come up with a retort right away for his mind was quite confused. These ancestors would scold him if they were to hear such words. Even though he was unwilling to think about it, Li Qiye was right about this fact. That day would come. However, it was very far away to him. He would definitely not live to see it.
Li Qiye turned and walked inside at this time. Teng Jiwen regained his composure and quickly followed behind him.
There was already an old man waiting in the room. He was a little bit different. Although his body was made out of flesh and blood, his right arm still carried the characteristics of a treant for it seemed to be carved out of wood.
“Profound Treehand.” Li Qiye took a glimpse at the man’s right hand and smiled: “To have such a level of atavism, you must be the Heavenvine Citadel Lord.”
The old man was surprised to see Li Qiye blurting out his background so quickly. Anyone could see that his right hand was atavistic. However, few could see through its mysteries.
And yet, an outsider was able to discern it with a single glance. His surprise was well warranted.
Teng Jiwen was scared by Li Qiye as well. He eventually gave the introduction after calming down: “Sir, this is my master and also the current lord of our citadel.”
Despite being the citadel lord, the old man was very respectful and polite towards Li Qiye. He bowed and said: “You must be the supreme alchemist that my disciple has been harping about…” 4
1. This last part is just a literary formality. They took a portal here. Usually, the host would say it to the guest who traveled far distances, especially when they’re here to carry out a favor. 2. I’m not familiar with this expression. The only idiom I know of duckweeds is duckweeds coming together by chance or strangers coming together by chance. I’m not sure what this one means, but I would guess from the narrative that the root signifies home. 3. There we go, now the expression makes sense. 4. The “you” here is not quite “sir” level, but it is a polite and formal “you”.