A never-dispersing evil aura lingered in the deepest parts of the swamp located in the farthest region of the beastworld. Li Qiye rode his carriage inside while it emitted an ancient law to prevent the aura from invading the space around him.
As for the bull, it was able to tread steadily even in the most dangerous locations; it continued to carry Li Qiye to his destination.
Eventually, the carriage stopped. This was a swamp that had no distinct characteristics compared to other places.
Li Qiye slowly walked forward and left behind one footprint after another as if he was measuring something. Moreover, they were not simple footprints, they were marks from the runes of the dao.
Finally, after imprinting enough footprints, the dao runes began to move and intertwined to form laws. These laws then formed a door above the muddy ground.
Li Qiye formed a mudra with both hands while chanting a mantra. His mind opened as his sea of memories roared. A second door reflected itself onto the first one.
Right when the two came together like two keys of a pair, Li Qiye shouted: “Open!”
A series of heavy sounds could be heard. A cave entrance emerged amidst the mud and morphed into the shape of a small fortress. As the two doors floated around, the fortress let out a sound that signaled the true opening of the door.
Li Qiye withdrew his mudra and closed his mind before sitting back on his carriage once more.
Beyond the entrance was completely silent. It was also pitch-black as if this little fortress was a prison.
“No need to play dead, I know you are still alive. I spent countless efforts to trap you all here so that you could continue to survive.” Li Qiye lazily looked while he remained on his carriage at the entrance.
“Hue hue hue…” A strange laughter came from the cave, then was a devious response: “Dark Crow, my Dark Crow… after so many years, you still haven’t given up. Hue hue hue… Go ahead and try all of your means. My old bones can handle the worst torture in this world.”
“I believe that.” Li Qiye chuckled: “I have destroyed your bones time and time again, but you continued to persevere — this is indeed very admirable. Bloodhand Butcher, this just not an empty title.”
“So kind, so kind. But compared to you, I’m still lacking a little. The victor is the king while the loser becomes the bandit. I dominated a thousand generations only to lose to you in the end.” The strange laughter continued inside the cave.
“Likewise. Didn’t you order Immortal Emperor Tian Tu to capture me back then as well?” Li Qiye chuckled: “Fengshui will continue to change. However, it is in my grasp and will never come back to you. You have lost and will never be able to reverse the tides!” 1
The person in the cave turned silent. Fewer than few people knew the story between the two.
“Your Ancient Ming can’t rely on you or anyone else. After so many generations, you still carry the hope of them being able to rise again.” Li Qiye continued: “However, I have taken care of your tribe one by one and vanquished them from the nine worlds!”
“I only despise the fact of picking the wrong person. Hue hue hue, Dark Crow, if it wasn’t for Gong Yang, I’m afraid the ones that would never be able to rise again would be you humans and not my Ancient Ming! You humans would have continued to be our slaves!” The laughter rang again. 2
Li Qiye smiled in response: “One cannot undo what has already been done in this world. If there isn’t a legend about Gong Yang and the Dark Crow, then there would still be a legend about Xi Yang and the Dark Crow. In short, you Ancient Ming have lost. The nine worlds isn’t a place for you all to come and intrude.” 3
“Hue hue hue, Dark Crow, you can only make these cheeky remarks since you are the victor. If the nine worlds didn’t have an undying creature like you… hue hue hue… I’m afraid your nine worlds would have forever been enslaved, never to be able to see sunlight again!” The voice inside the cave responded.
Li Qiye couldn’t help but smile and shake his head: “Bloodhand, Bloodhand… You have lingered on for so long while controlling the Ancient Ming, how can you not understand by now? With the way your race is, it would never have been able to last forever! After being expelled from that place and then being completely annihilated by us in the nine worlds, what does your race have left? At best, there are only a few remnant troops hiding in unknown locations, holding onto their last breaths.”
The odd laughter inquired: “Hue hue hue, is that so? Back when my Ancient Ming unified and drowned the nine worlds in darkness, didn’t even you tremble back then, Dark Crow?”
“Tremble?” Li Qiye couldn’t help but smile: “I’m even a bit bored of living, so why would I be afraid of death? That’s right, I have experienced indescribable suffering, but in terms of abnormalities, what in this world is more bizarre than me? I have been tortured by you along with countless other memories, but they are nothing to me now…”
“The only thing that makes me tremble sometimes is my own devilishness. As for your Ancient Ming, it had never made me tremble.” Li Qiye spoke without hiding anything: “It is true that the Ancient Ming Era was not a comfortable period. It lasted so long and no matter where I went, I saw your Ancient Ming’s dogs bearing their fangs. Later on, I finally thought it through. Ancient Ming, humans, all the other races… none of them mattered. Only by using blood to wash the nine worlds would there be hope.”
“Thus, after gaining this enlightenment, I raised my butcher’s blade against the nine worlds to mark the end of your Ancient Ming Era.” Li Qiye slowly closed his eyes as he continued: “For million of years, the only truth I stand by is that there is a bottom line in my heart. Those who violate this line, whether they be humans or Ancient Ming, will be massacred again! Only a bloody massacre can warn the world, only a merciless massacre can let the future descendants know that I, the Dark Crow, will not allow anyone or any sect to come close to the Ancient Ming!”
“Hue hue hue, your incessant spiel sounds as if you are the savior of the world. Those who truly know you, which of them isn’t aware that you are just a butcher?!” The strange voice came about again.
“That’s right, I am a butcher.” Li Qiye chuckled: “I have never called myself a savior before. Those who have died in my hands are too numerous to count. The myriad races in the nine worlds had all lost loved ones due to me; in fact, they amount to no less than the how much the Ancient Ming massacred! However, I have never shown mercy just because they are different races…”
“… In the past, some fools thought that they could change your Ancient Ming, some idiots thought that they could befriend you and take advantage of each other to rule the era! It was these fools who led the wolves into their home, resulting in darkness spreading across the nine worlds to forever exile the light!” Li Qiye coldly smiled at this point.
“Hue hue hue, no matter what, Dark Crow, even if you keep on torturing me and grinding my bones, I will still agree with these words.” The strange voice responded: “I can only blame some fools from my clan who showed mercy, some idiots who gained emotions from inter-marriages…”
“… They actually thought that they became human or something and forgot that they are forever Ancient Ming with an eternal evil flowing through their blood! The fools made that stupid decision. Hue hue hue, what is this about enslaving other races? This is simply a ludicrous choice. We should have killed all the races in the nine worlds from the beginning without leaving even a single survivor. Then, the world would have been ours forever!”
“Stupid?” Li Qiye chortled in response: “Bloodhand, oh Bloodhand… still uttering these silly words to me. It is undeniable that your creed was to slaughter my myriad races. However, do you dare say that you didn’t have your own hidden intention? This intention made you agree with the decision from Tian Tu’s group…
“Hah, all of you simply wanted to enslave the nine worlds and use its blood to create an invincible legion. Bloodhand, do you dare deny your wish of a far-reaching counterattack in the future?”
Li Qiye snorted at this point: “You and the other Ancient Ming geezers were unwilling and still dreamed about the day of the counterattack.”
The person in the cave only scowled and didn’t say anything. After a long time, he finally laughed out loud and declared: “My Ancient Ming is the real invincible race, we are the real rulers of the high heavens!”
“Okay, I already know your ambitions.” Li Qiye smiled and shook his head: “There’s no need to bring up the past again. I only have one thing to say, let your ambition die. Your Ancient Ming will never have the chance again. There is only one fate awaiting all of you… extinction!”
The person in the cave only smiled grimly without saying anything.
Li Qiye was half lying down on his carriage as he lazily said: “Bloodhand, I didn’t come this time to blabber on and on with you since we could have done this in the old eras. I came this time for only one thing, just like before — hand over the Corporeal Zone, then perhaps I will spare your life or maybe give you a swift death. Your choice.”
“Hue hue hue, so many generations have passed, Dark Crow, yet you still haven’t given up. Like I said, I don’t have the Corporeal Zone!” The person in the cave laughed.
“I have heard this many times before.” Li Qiye shook his head gently: “You incessantly repeated these words over the years, too many times for me to remember in fact. Correct, you truly don’t have the Corporeal Zone on you, but you know where it is as well as the hiding spot of the remnant Ancient Ming!”
“I have no comment about that.” A strange laughter resounded in response: “What now? Do you want to torture me again like before? Perhaps you can find an Immortal Emperor like before to tear apart my soul. Of course, you can also try to tear apart my sea of memories as well. I don’t care either way since you have performed countless agonizing tortures on my body. You have destroyed my cultivation and my flesh as well as grinding out my bones…”
“Okay, Bloodhand, there’s no need to pretend to be pitiful before me. You and I are not good people. If you want to act pitifully and curse me for being vicious, then you should first think about those who died in your hands in the past. The young ones whose bones you took to build the Evil Palace! Their dismay before death was a million times worse than yours.” Li Qiye coldly interrupted him.
“Hue hue hue, I didn’t torture them in countless ways like you did. Their agony only came from their primal fear, but me? I have no fear, not even for an eternity of pain!” The strange laughter sounded again.
“Will you experience fear when I destroy your Ancient Ming?” Li Qiye couldn’t help but smile: “I know you are not afraid of death or pain, but without the Ancient Ming, what is left for you? You are the oldest controller of the Ancient Ming. Without it, you have nothing, you would just be a lost ghost!”
Such words made Bloodhand silently contemplate. After a while, he let out an ominous laugh: “Unfortunately, Dark Crow, you will never have that chance.”
“You are too confident.” Li Qiye smiled: “There are very few things across the eons that I cannot do. Don’t forget, I have patience and plenty of time. I will find them one day!”
“I’m afraid you will never have that chance! Just let this idea die, Dark Crow. Even until the day your human race faces extinction, our Ancient Ming will never perish.”
1. Tian Tu is Heaven Massacre. There was a war with him as the focus. I believe Li Qiye told this story back during the Heavenly Dao Academy arc and how he killed Tian Tu. I remember one more occasion back during the boat arc as well. 2. Gong Yang is a character in Li Qiye’s story back at Necropolis. He told this story to Imp. 3. Okay, Li Qiye is saying that their defeat was inevitable. Someone else would have contributed to the fall of the Ancient Ming eventually, if not Gong Yang.