Li Qiye sneered at the citadel lord: “Really, if your ancestral vine ever lives again one day, it would crush all of you into meat paste out of anger. It would be incredibly disappointed at how greedy its descendants are. Back then, in order to bear another calabash, you all tried to seize the essence of the Heaven’s Will, but none of you expected the punishment from the heavens that left behind an eternal calamity on your ancestral vine.”
“How, how, did you know?!” The citadel lord was feeling quite ashamed, but he became shocked after hearing this.
This was a great secret. Outside of the citadel lords across the generations, even very few ancestors knew about it.
Teng Jiwen was stunned as well since he didn’t know about this matter. As one of the descendants, he only knew that the ancestral vine was in trouble and needed an invincible alchemist. He didn’t know that this illness was caused by their ancestors in the first place.
“This is no secret at all. Even if your citadel has been quite deliberate in your attempt to conceal it, it still can’t hide from me.” Li Qiye smiled: “Back when Immortal Emperor Bu Si collapsed and the Heaven’s Will returned to the void, your group of ancestors became greedy and wanted to seize its essence to produce another calabash so that they could live on via life replenishment. Alas, it was a complete disaster and the heavens answered with a punishment. If your ancestral vine wasn’t extremely powerful back then due to being young, your Heavenvine Citadel would have been rendered to ashes right then and there!” 1
The citadel lord fell into silence after hearing this. Teng Jiwen was frightened as well. He didn’t expect that there was such a secret about their citadel. He looked over at the lord and asked: “Master, is this true?”
After a good while, the lord smiled wryly and said: “Since Sir already knows about it, then there is no need to hide it from you. Yes, it is true.”
Teng Jiwen was stunned. He didn’t expect that the ancestral vine’s calamity was inflicted by their own ancestors. His prior understanding was that it was just a natural punishment from the heavens.
“It was a very long time ago and only a few ancestors had personally experienced it.” The citadel lord had to tell the story: “You are qualified to become the next citadel lord, so there is no need to hide it from you. Back then, Immortal Emperor Bu Si fell into ruin and the Heaven’s Will returned to the origin. The Sacred Ancestor’s group had an extremely bold idea to obtain another calabash, but it only ended with the wrath from above.”
Teng Jiwen was quite shaken after hearing this because it contained too much shocking information.
“With the collapse of an Immortal Emperor, many priceless items appeared, inciting the greed of the salivating crowd.” Li Qiye chuckled. Even he was moved by this event.
Immortal Emperor Bu Si was praised as an undying who possessed true eternal life. However, his death was real. Moreover, he was the only emperor among all of them with a known ending.
The legend told that he was unkillable throughout his entire life. He was put down time and time again; these were real deaths, not a type of suspended animation. However, he always climbed out of the dirt and revived successfully regardless of how he was killed.
After so many deaths, he eventually became an Immortal Emperor. However, no one could have imagined that he would eventually collapse and die! Such a thing was too unbelievable. It became a stirring mystery.
For millions of years, everyone wanted to figure it out. Why was Immortal Emperor Bu Si unkillable? Why did he collapse? Alas, an answer was not found.
The only thing people knew for certain was that this was the only emperor whose fate was known to all.
The boy stood there, frozen. There was too much within this matter that he didn’t know about prior.
“I don’t want to talk to you about the individual aspects of this matter since there is simply too much.” Li Qiye gazed at the citadel lord and said: “Instead, I come with a message: your ancestral vine doesn’t have that much time left.”
The lord was shaken and immediately stood up again: “Sir, are you certain?!”
Li Qiye replied: “You can also think of it as mere alarmist talk, an attempt to scare you and not worry about it. However, I can only say that I have told the truth and laid out the opportunity. Whether you wish to seize it or not is now up to your citadel.”
The flustered citadel lord didn’t believe Li Qiye at all. Nevertheless, he still asked: “Then, Sir, how long can our ancestral vine hang on for?”
“If I was motivated by my own gains, I can scare you and say ten years, or maybe it’s on the verge of demise already.” Li Qiye smiled: “However, there’s no need to do so. Your ancestral vine can still survive a bit longer than the Peacock Tree.”
The citadel lord simply didn’t believe Li Qiye and blurted out: “That is impossible!”
In fact, Teng Jiwen was skeptical as well: “Sir, that can’t be. Our ancestral vine is still full of vitality. It can shoulder stars and grasp the sun and moon. If it wasn’t doing well, we would have recognized it already.”
This was an understandable reaction. After all, the tree was still in its prime with exuberant life force. How could it collapse so easily?
“This has nothing to do with its lifespan.” Li Qiye lightly said: “It is due to the calamity. Despite it being very strong, it won’t be able to handle this stress for much longer.”
The lord countered: “Sir, our ancestors have sealed the calamity. If it broke through the seal, our citadel would know right away. I’m afraid your words are not very persuasive.”
Li Qiye looked at him with one eye and dismissively said: “It is your business to believe it or not. Go ahead and think about it, but let me remind you, my time is limited.”
There was nothing left to say, so the citadel lord stood up and bowed: “Since it is so, I will have to discuss this with the ancestors.” He turned and walked away afterward.
Teng Jiwen was one step behind his master. After the citadel lord, he hesitated for a moment and looked at Li Qiye then spoke with sincerity: “Sir, is this the truth?”
Li Qiye looked at him and smiled: “You can think that I am deceiving you, but the person making the choice is no longer me. I’m giving your citadel exactly one chance. Think about it carefully.” Li Qiye then pointed at his own head: “I can replenish the life of the Peacock Tree, what else can’t I do? Do you really think that I must beseech your citadel for the calabash?”
Teng Jiwen mused quietly. It was definitely not wise for Li Qiye to try to trick them for the calabash. After all, it wasn’t that easy to trick them. Plus, if he offended them, there would be no place for him to stay at the Heaven Spirit World. Lastly, the people who are truly capable wouldn’t resort to such trickery.
He eventually said: “Sir, even if I trust you, the ancestors won’t.”
“That is your business. As the descendant, you can go do something about it. The fate of the Heavenvine Citadel will either be up to you or those old geezers.”
“I’ll try.” He weakly said: “But I’m not sure whether I can convince them.”
At this moment, he believed Li Qiye more. The person didn’t need to trick them. Moreover, curing the ancestral vine was much better than losing a single Heavenvine Calabash. Eventually, he bowed and left.
The citadel lord immediately met several ancestors upon his return. After hearing the claim, the group immediately went to check the seal of the calamity. The seal remained completely untouched.
Nevertheless, for prudence’s sake, the citadel lord still convened a meeting and invited several more ancestors. Many old ancestors disagreed with Li Qiye’s claim and thought that he was simply trying to scare them for the calabash.
However, the citadel lord still carried out this meeting solemnly. He personally met Li Qiye and, though he still had a lot of questions, he felt that the possibility of Li Qiye lying to them was quite low from their conversation. After all, this was their territory, Li Qiye shouldn’t even think about leaving if he was trying to trick them. On the other hand, those strong enough to leave their citadel forcefully would look down on such trickery.
After the meeting, many ancestors opposed Li Qiye’s argument. They thought that even if he wasn’t trying to trick them, it was still exaggerated.
The citadel lord’s idea was to ask Li Qiye to treat the ancestral vine. In his mind, regardless of how long the vine had left to live, it indeed was trapped by a calamity and they had always wanted to eradicate it.
1. Bu Si = Undying Immortal Emperor or Everlasting Immortal Emperor.