Li Qiye paused a bit to stare at the old man ahead while voicing his refusal: “All of this has nothing to do with me. As a passerby, I am insignificant to your three schools.”
The old man repeated: “But Young Noble, you have been chosen by the ancestral whale. Since the start of time, few have been chosen by it. This must be the imperial decree of our progenitor, Immortal Emperor Wu Gou…”
Li Qiye interrupted him: “Okay, I have a deeper understanding of this matter than you lot, there’s no need to use the emperor as justification. Just remember what I have said, I cannot bring anything to your schools, so don’t rely on me.”
Having said that, he turned and left. These old men felt helpless and only followed Li Qiye to see him off.
After leaving the ancestral whale’s body, Li Qiye stood on the sea’s surface to look at its gigantic size. He sighed gently and touched it while murmuring: “We’ll meet again if it is meant to be.”
“Woooo—” The whale cried out and gently moved its huge head ever so slightly forward against Li Qiye’s palm.
The old men were in disbelief after seeing how intimate the pair was. Outside of Immortal Emperor Wu Gou, no one else had been this close to the whale.
Li Qiye patted the whale’s head. He gave this whale to Immortal Emperor Wu Gou when it was still an infant. Later on, it always accompanied the emperor.
Eventually, Li Qiye looked at the old men and said: “Even if you see a friend off for a thousand miles, you will still have to part in the end. Go back now, the ancestral whale will start moving again.”
An old man still didn’t give up and told Li Qiye: “Young Noble, you can reconsider later. If you do return to our schools in the future, all of our echelons will obey your commands.”
Li Qiye only smiled and reached out with his palm. A portal opened and he vanished inside.
He went back to Peacock Land and saw Kong Qinru. She busily asked after seeing him again: “Young Noble, the preparations have been carried out. The inhabitants here have been evacuated, may I ask when you will start?”
Li Qiye smiled and slowly uttered: “Very soon. Everything is ready, we are only waiting for the east wind.” 1
She asked: “What is the east wind you are referring to?”
“Life — only something as precious as this will be able to replenish the tree.” Li Qiye replied dismissively: “It will come very soon.”
Kong Qinru was startled after hearing this. She thought about a very terrifying matter and turned pale. She gasped and asked: “This, is this right?”
Li Qiye lazily glanced at her and replied: “Little woman, do you think there is such a thing as a free lunch in this world? There is no harvest without a price! Life replenishment is a heaven-defying task, this is going against the villainous heavens, so do you think we can accomplish this quickly?”
Li Qiye closed his eyes at this point then continued: “If you want to prolong the tree’s life, you must be mentally prepared. Without this awareness, there won’t be any need to talk about life replenishment or working for the well-being of the human race.”
She hesitated a bit and asked: “Will, will this violate the harmony of the heavens?”
“Harmony of the heavens?” Li Qiye sneered: “What is this harmony? It definitely doesn’t exist in the eyes of the villainous heavens. Plus, since when did cultivators not violate this harmony? Fighting and competing against the heavens, resisting the Heaven’s Will! The path of cultivation itself is violating the harmony of this world, it is a path of rebellion.”
With that, Li Qiye told her: “There’s no need to worry about this violation. Instead, you should ask your conscience and morality to see if you can get over it. Only by surpassing this dao ridge will you be able to sleep well at night.”
He continued by pointing at his heart: “This is the most important thing for cultivators, the thing that allows them to go to the very end! As for the villainous heavens, he is but a wretch! People can be killed, but their conscience will live on! Not even the villainous heavens can do anything about it!”
Kong Qinru quietly thought for a moment. She could imagine the scene of hell, a terrible catastrophe that was about to come.
“It is not too late to change your mind, it will be one less thing for me to do.” Li Qiye smiled freely and added: “The plans have been set in motion, whether we carry them out or not is up to your will.”
Eventually, she took a deep breath and solemnly spoke: “Since we have made it this far, there is no reason to retreat! For the human race, I am willing to bear all the infamy.”
“Leave that to me.” Li Qiye said: “If others know about it, a disaster will come to your Exquisite Valley.”
“But…” Kong Qinru looked at him in response: “This was my idea. If you have to bear the infamy, I’m afraid you won’t ever be able to wash it off.”
“Having a bad reputation is nothing. Don’t worry, even though I am a vicious and ruthless man, I know better than you on who deserves to die and who doesn’t.”
She emotionally replied: “Young Noble, you are working for the human race while shouldering the infamy. You are the savior of our race.”
“Savior?” Li Qiye smiled and looked at the far horizon. For millions of years, he had gained plenty of titles. Of course, there were those who praised him as the guardian of the human race, but more often than not they cursed him as a criminal, the evil hand behind the curtains, a murderous devil king… He had grown used to them and no longer cared about their condemnation.
He said: “Let’s go, it is almost showtime. I have to leave when this is done.”
She gently nodded before speaking: “There is more news about the person you are looking for. She has left the Jade Sea for the Dragon Demon Sea, headed for a particular lineage. I heard this lineage has deep ties with the Undying Gate, some believe it is an offshoot.”
“Undying Gate.” Li Qiye’s eyes narrowed with a glint.
She elaborated: “However, the Undying Gate has been in decline for a long time. The branch in question is almost completely gone. Even if there are disciples left, I’m afraid there won’t be many of them.”
He replied: “I know, their end was determined the moment Immortal Emperor Bu Si collapsed.”
The Undying Gate was a lineage established by Immortal Emperor Bu Si. There were plenty of legends about this sect. Many generations of wise men believed that the Undying Gate still had the art of immortality from Immortal Emperor Bu Si. Because of this, people continuously searched for its secrets.
No matter who they may be, people wished for the day they could obtain everlasting life. Unfortunately, everyone knew that it was impossible. However, legends of Immortal Emperor Bu Si’s art of immortality had existed since ancient times. These arts allowed him to revive time and time again. Thus, everyone wanted this art that would allow them to have a second life.
But as time passed, how many had seen this art or knew why the emperor was unkillable?
After a few days, several strange visual phenomena emerged at Peacock Land. At first, a bloody light soared to the sky in a boundless manner like an inexhaustible flood. The entire place trembled with earthquakes. Next, it began to crack, forming a great chasm as if the entire land was about to crumble.
Cultivators and sects from the outside were attracted by the frequent changes of this land. A piece of news quickly spread across the entire Heaven Spirit World.
“The Peacock Tree is about to wither and die.” No one knows who began to gossip first, but it traveled very quickly across the Jade Sea.
The sea was in a clamor. Many cultivators and sects discussed this matter.
In the Heaven Spirit World and all that inhabit it, an existence like an ancestral tree dying was an earth-shattering event.
A big sect didn’t believe this news. They immediately sent disciples to Peacock Land to seek confirmation. After seeing these visual images, the disciple went back to report right away.
After confirming the information, the sect master of this sect murmured: “It looks like the Peacock Tree is truly dying.”
An elder said: “With a quick finger augur, the Peacock Tree’s lifespan should end right about now. The treefather has returned to the earth for too long, the time is about right.”
“Isn’t this too fast though? The death of the Peacock Tree is inevitable, but this collapse is too sudden. What happened to accelerate this withering process?” A different big shot was curious and decided to go see for himself.
Some were saddened by this news, but even more were excited. For many people and sects, a dying ancestral tree meant a great feast was coming. Anyone would want a bowl of soup from this great feast!