Cheng Hao and Uncle White were sitting on chairs and drinking happily: Cheng Hao had just narrated the events that had happened ever since his battle with Tian, to his rebirth and up to now.
The old man clad in white sometimes frowned, sometimes smiled and at others he face palmed at how absurd the boy’s methods were. After Cheng Hao finished telling his story, the older man lifted his head and spoke:
“Xu Ling, No, Cheng Hao, I understand that you might feel embarrassed or even sad for sealing me in here, but you see” he lifted his head and it could be seen in his eyes that he wasn’t lying.
“I don’t mind. The place is spacious, I have many forms of entertainment like the book you have just seen. My only regret is not being able to fly into the sky again, after all, I was born to be the one and only ruler of the sky, unfazed by anything.”
The old man sighed “But the situation wouldn’t have changed much: after my attempt at rebellion towards him, Tian has branded me an enemy of the Nine Heavens, I doubt I would be able to fly as unhindered as in the past… But I guess, that after flying for millions of years, stopping for a short while shouldn’t do any harm, right?”
“As you know, during your battle with Tian, due to my peaceful and cowardly nature, although I wielded great strength, I didn’t fight nor aid you or Blindlight. First of all, I would like to apologize for that!” The old man bowed and Cheng Hao helped him to prop himself up.
“Uncle White, you needn’t say any longer: you have helped us considerably even though you were in a neutral faction!”
Cheng Hao bowed as well “Without you, we wouldn’t have been able to reach the Ninth Level of the Nine Heavens safely. I, in the place of my comrades, thank you wholeheartedly!”
The two smiled at each other and began to laugh… After all, when they thought about, their meeting truly looked like too perfect for it to be a coincidence…
About a thousand years ago, while ravaging and pillaging the Nine Heavens Of Tian, a huge army had gathered: it was composed of humans, beasts and monsters alike, and it was both huge in terms of size and powerful in terms of strength. Most of all, almost each and every one of them had a grudge with Tian!
Although he called himself the Ruler of the True Heavens, he only seized the position by killing the Jade Emperor. He was only a lowly servant then, and by stealing the Jade Emperor’s cultivation he gained strength, created the Nine Heavens and proclaimed himself the ruler.
At that time, he had announced that the Emperor had fallen and he had given him his power as he was the one the Emperor had trusted the most.
Nobody doubted the ‘Emperor’s words’, so they firmly believed all that Tian said. Millions of years of peace under the kind and war-hating Jade Emperor had clouded their judgement and, before they knew it, Tian had already become a tyrant.
A tyrant that was one of the strongest beings under all heavens. Most of those who had greater power had already been enticed to join him or had been forced to make contracts that denied them the strength to fight directly against the Nine Heavens.
Few in the Heavenly Realm didn’t have grudges with Tian, but most who did had already pledged their submission to him and had no way of fighting back. This period of tyranny went on for thousands, even millions of years and seemed like it would never happen. That was until, an unlikely incident happen…
Humans, who had been deemed as unworthy to stand on the same ground as the Heavenly had the biggest impact on the Nine Heavens themselves, even declaring war to the Tyrant. One man in particular showed burning hate and raging fury towards the Heavenly Lord Tian. His name… Was Xu Ling!
Back to a thousand years ago: after marching for more than thousands of miles, slaughtering their way up to the borders to the highest level of heaven, the leader of that group, the human Xu Ling, had no choice but to stop.
“What’s the matter, Evil Saint?” A spirit beast with the body of a lion and the head of a python asked “Is something the matter?”
Xu Ling nodded, his expression warm and his smile kind “Yes, brother Lazka. In front of us is the last obstacle that separates us from Tian. There’s a powerful array that blocks the way to the ninth level, it is one of the Nine Heavens’ triumph card. According to my information, it negates the ability to fly as well as not allowing anyone to enter before being expelled right out by the array. As of now, I can’t think of any way to get past it… Tell everyone to rest, we will camp here!”
Grunts and sighs of relief could be heard behind him and Xu Ling smiled. Beasts of all shapes and colors, monsters that could shock humans to death with their terrifying appearance, humans that carried the most bizarre weapons… In this chaos of countless figures, people that could have come from completely different world from how different they looked, all were sitting, drinking and chatting happily together.
There were no such things as groups: everyone spoke, laughed, drank with everyone else. Well… Everyone except for a man in his late forties. He wore black, scaly armor and a young boy in his early twenties was teasing him.
The older person had thin mustache and a pointy beard that kind of made him look like some stereotypical villain from any fantasy book.
The young boy suddenly jumped on his back and pulled his ears “C’mon, Blacky! Why the long face? Is it that beard? Shouldn’t you cut it then?”
The boy had pure golden eyes, even shinier than Cheng Hao’s in his current life. Still, although he looked young and powerless, those who knew his real identity unconsciously treated him as well as they could…
That boy was actually the human form of the one and only Heaven Devouring Dragon Blindlight (Who would in the future be referred to as Goldy by Cheng Hao), one of the first being to have ever been created in the world together with the True Earth and the True Heavens.
He was the Primordial Heavenly Beast, also referred to as the Crown-less Emperor of the Dragons, a being on the same level as the Four Primordial Emperors, the four rulers of all beneath the heavens before the Jade Emperor had separated the true Heavens from the true Earth!
Seeing that everyone’s mood had recovered back to normal after the exhausting trip, Xu Ling decided to ignore them and turned to look at the transparent membrane above him. He looked for a long time and the more he looked, the more his expression brightened until he began some kind countdown “163… 162… 161…”
“Has boss gone crazy?” A human carrying a sword over a hundred meters long asked. He waved the weapon and its size reduced dramatically until it was only as big as his pinky finger. He waved it again and it became a few thousands meters long, not caring wether he hurt anybody in doing so.
Blacky, the Hellish Nightmare Dragon shook his head “He was not sane to begin with… Ouch, master Blindlight, please stop pulling my facial hair out. Uh? Yes it hurts, of course it does! Ehi, why are you pulling even harder now! You frigging old thing!”
Xu Ling was well over a hundred years old, but thanks to his cultivation he would have no problem to live up to a few tens of thousand years. A human at the Reverend stage would usually be able to live for a hundred and twenty or so years.
Cultivators’ lifespans varied depending on the race, with humans being at the very bottom.
Beasts such as the Heavenly Beasts had a pretty much unlimited lifespan. If they actually reached their limit, they could just Re-live, thus the only way they could die was due to external causes.
Xu Ling had long black hair, wore black and white robes with designs of black and white flames on them. His eyes were also black and white, but it was clear that it was not their natural color. At times, the monochromatic hue would lift, revealing a pair of beautiful, blue eyes.
He wasn’t too buffed, however he could effortlessly destroy mountains with only a finger just by using his Fleshly Body’s strength!
Ignoring the opinions of others, Xu Ling stood still and looked at the world beyond the membrane until his eyes shone with excitement.
“… 14… 13… 12… Quick! Everybody, move aside!”
The human-form golden dragon Blindlight looked at the membrane and then grinned in understanding.
‘This brat… Is he thinking of catching him? Ahah, good luck, our, no, your revenge depends on that, you know? Go for it kid, show the Nine Heavens, show Tian your resolve and how that resolve gave you the strength to protect and fight for those you love!’
Xu Ling rolled up his sleeves and charged forward “… 3… 2…”
‘Show the world how much you have grown by catching the Emperor of the Skies, the Primordial Beast ruler of the Sky!’ Goldy grinned widely as his eyes glittered.
“Everyone, move aside this instant!” Blindlight bellowed.
Everyone was surprised but still did as he said.
Xu Ling kicked off the ground and grabbed the empty air…
Suddenly, a gigantic white blur appeared and Xu Ling was just in time to grab a hold of it before it disappeared once again, dragging Xu Ling along with it.
“W-Where did boss go?” A man asked, shivering from the shock.
Blindlight yawned as he turned back into the golden dragon form and began coiling in the air.
He kept on for a while before stopping. When he saw the worried faces of the people in front of him, he felt a warm feeling appearing in his chest.
He sighed ‘These people, our brothers, we have met all over the world and countless Planes of Existence. Still, you convinced them all to join you, kid. To think that when I first met you you were nothing but a human running away from a the patriarch of a small family… So little time has passed, only a little more than a hundred years, and look now: you are an existence everybody knows about, that everybody fears and respect!’
Goldy sighed and smiled. He turned towards the crowd of confused beasts, monsters and men and answered “No need to worry. That poor excuse of an Hellish Nightmare Dragon is too slow for the great Evil Saint, so he decided to find someone else to ride. He’s cheating on Blacky and gaining a new mount…”
Hearing that, everyone relaxed and also laughed out loud, ridiculing the black robed Hellish Nightmare Dragon that almost choked in rage “Youuuuu… Blindlight! You old thing, I’ll get my revenge later!”
Far away and getting even farther, Xu Ling held himself on the white blur as tight as possible: to fall at such high speeds, even he would be hurt a bit! His body was bashed by strong winds as he stabilized himself on the head of the flying beast.
“Senior! Can you please slow down? I am Xu Ling, I wish to ask you to help us do something!” The man asked and although the wind was going incredibly fast it was unable to dissipate or carry away his words. The white beast slowed down a bit and looked around before stopping.
“Uh? Where are you?” It asked.
Xu Ling jumped on its head and then floated before its eyes “Senior, I am here!”
The white beast was shocked for a second and then exploded with a self-depreciating laugh “Ahaha, to think that a human would be the first being able to catch me while going at my fastest speed… Still, for a human to have so much power… You are really rare… Unique I would say, you know? This is really intriguing! Who are you, child?”
Xu Ling bowed “Senior, my name is Xu Ling. Right now I am leading an army of millions of beasts, humans and demons to rebel against the Nine Heavens. Unfortunately, we can’t get past the barrier at the Ninth Level, can senior please help us with that? I saw that you could fly in and out of the magical array without any trouble, so could you do us a favor and help us in our journey?”
The white beasts stood silent for a second “Boy… I am a being that wishes no harm to fall on those around me. I am the most peaceful existence and have never been part of any war as I despise violence and you ask me, the Roc, the Primordial Sky Emperor, to help you in your own war? You have guts kid!”
Cheng Hao faked shock: of course he would be a powerful guy to fly so fast so he already had his own theories on this guy’s identity. However, how could he brace himself for this?
“Senior is the almighty Roc??? Please, forgive this junior for his lack of respect towards the might of one of the Emperors of the Primordial Heavenly Beasts!”
Ever since ancient times, Heavenly Beasts were divided into three main categories: the most ancient beings, Primordial Heavenly Beasts, the first generation.
The primordial beasts that had existed ever since the origin of the world were given the title of Primordial as they were the first beings, the first generation of all living beings.
After that, there were four beasts that were born from the four Primordial Emperors, the four most powerful beings in the world.
Those four would then be called the four Divine Beasts: they were none other than the Azure Dragon, the Black Tortoise, the White Tiger and the Vermillion Bird. Being the sons and daughters of the four Primordial Emperors, they were given the titles of the four Divine Kings!
After that came countless generations of beasts. That was why, people would simply refer to them as Heavenly Beasts: only the Primordial Beasts and the Divine Beasts had titles unique to them.
The Roc shook his head “You need not worry… Also, as a Heavenly Beast, only those connected through Karma with me should be able to sense my existence… How can you see me, boy?”
Xu Ling shook his head “I do not know, that was also the reason I didn’t show Senior Roc respect, because I didn’t understand Senior’s might as a Primordial Heavenly Beast!”
The Roc pondered “I have been traveling basically nonstop for thousands and even millions of years, the times I have stopped in the last few millennial can be counted on one hand, I should have no Karma threads attached with any human, except for…”
A spark of understanding flashed by in its huge eyes “For the human those four younglings had adopted! You said you were Xu Ling, wasn’t Xu Ling also the name of the-”
“Yes, I am Xu Ling, adopted by the four Divine Kings. Senior, how do you know me?”
Hearing that, the Roc demanded excitedly “Little kid, do you by any chance know of Ren Hong? That’s right, the Vermillion Bird is my daughter!”
Xu Ling was startled and he looked away, as grief, true grief, surfaced in his previously mild expression…
The Roc opened his mouth in confusion and then rage burned in its pristine white eyes “Who was it? Who dared to harm my girl! Tell me, who was it? Was it another one of the Primordial Emperors? Tell me! Was it the Water Emperor? The Fire Emperor? The Earth Emperor? Who was it! Tell me!”
Lu Xing had fire burning in his eyes “Senior… The fault was mine. I will receive any kind of punishment, because it was for my sake that my sister blocked the blow of the Heavenly Emperor Tian for me!”
Although the words seemed to say that the fault was his, it actually made most of the blame fall on Tian, and the Roc, a beast that had close to no contact with other beings for most of his life, was easy to fool.
As expected, the Roc was angered “TIAN! YOU DARE HURT MY REN HONG?” The gigantic beast stopped in mid air, its wings spanning for hundreds of miles and every time he moved them, he generated the winds that would blow in the lands below! This was the Primordial Sky Emperor, the ruler of the sky and the one that creates the wind itself by flapping its gigantic wings!
“Little human, I will aid you! I will help you wipe away Tian, I will assist you in destroying him! No matter who harms my daughter, he will not live! Unfortunately, us four beasts can’t fight directly with Tian as he is the Heavenly Lord, us Primordial Emperors can’t lay our hands on him because a contract had been signed, however I will help you and your companions get past the Ninth Sealing Array!”
Xu Ling had nodded his head “Senior… We won’t let your effort be in vain! Even if we can’t kill Tian, we will make sure that he gets such a beating that he will not recover in less than a million years!”
The Roc bowed his head and Xu Ling also bowed. The boy then lifted his hand and the palm touched the forehead of the flying beast: from now on, the two of them would be allies!
Things though, didn’t go exactly as planned…
“So… Cheng Hao, what are you planning on doing now?” The old man asked. His previous carefree manner had rapidly changed and he had become serious and cold.
Cheng Hao nodded decisively “Uncle White, we are family that have fought together for years, shared life and death situations, I trust you like few others and this is why I will tell you exactly what I want to do”
Cheng Hao waved his hand and explained “At first, I had gone after Tian for revenge, for the so called… Justice. But, I have understood. I know what I will have to do. From now on, I won’t live to beat Tian, I will live to usurp his throne! I will become the new Heavenly Emperor and I won’t allow any more people to get hurt! No one will die, no one will fight! I don’t know how I will do that, but I am sure that I will find out how! That is why, I need your help, Primordial Sky Emperor, White Roc!”
Cheng Hao stared intently at the human-form Roc and he added “I need to get strong and stronger so that I will be able to protect those around me, so I beg of you” Cheng Hao bowed “Please give me your power, please give me your speed!”
The old man stood silent for a second and pondered. Cheng Hao kept staring in his eyes but he could not understand what the Primordial Beast was thinking. Finally, the man let out a sigh and looked towards the chaotic space outside.
“You once told me… A Friend for a day, a Brother for a life. You are my friend and a brother, I will follow your decision and help you in your path, wether it is right or wrong I will aid you, it is your job to find out. Yes, I will aid you!” The old man stood up and looked into Cheng Hao’s eyes “Xu Ling or Evil Saint, it doesn’t matter who you have been, it matters what you will make of your present to build a better future! Come, receive my blessing and become faster than the wind, as fast as the Roc!”
The old man waved his sleeve and a current of hot air blowed towards Cheng Hao, slowly refining his body and greatly enhancing his speed.
When the Roc flew, it used its powerful gigantic wings to bend the space in front of him, scattering the particles in the air surrounding him that slowed him down, and pushing them back to become even faster! This way, it would be able to fly for countless miles unhindered by attrition and going at unimaginable speeds.
Meaning, what Cheng Hao had just received was not only a boost in speed, but also the ability to negate attrition and move faster than the eye could see, an ability that could very well rival teleportation!
Cheng Hao smiled “Friend, I assure you that I will defeat Tian and bring peace across this land!” Cheng Hao turned and walked away.
The old man nodded “Of course you will. Because you were prophesied to!”
Cheng Hao stopped for a moment, his teeth gritted and finally he shook his head “Prophecies do not exist, they are just bullshit. It is people who make them for other people and no one is able to predict the future!”
Cheng Hao walked towards the exit of the fake world holding the Immortal Ascension Tower. He was about to step out when the Roc’s voice reached him “And that is the reason that people strive to make them come true, wether in their favor… or not.”
Cheng Hao blinked as a few memories swiped over him. Red hair and flaming pupils, her skin was warm to the touch. He remembered her pristine laugh and the white teeth arranged into a smile… The image of a beautiful woman appeared in his mind before slowly fading away, devoured by the darkness…
Something broke in Cheng Hao’s mind, his train of thought changed, he himself started to change! The compassion that he previously held towards his own enemies disappeared replaced by ruthlessness and evil. Now people would not call him a Saint anymore.
Gone was the forgiveness towards those who had grudges against him. Gone was the pity towards those who hurt him or blocked his way towards his goal. What now remained in their place… Was nothing but cruelness.
“That is right” Cheng Hao’s ruthless and incredibly cold voice startled the Roc. Those few words were enough to make him lose balance and fall off his chair, the words were like blades cutting directly through its mind.
The old man cheered inside ‘Did this boy snap? Yes! My revenge, accomplish it! Accomplish it and free us of the Tyrant!’
“I initially had no conflict with Tian. But after that time, I decided that I would kill Tian. He almost seemed to strive to fulfill the prophecy that predicted his own doom, so I won’t spare myself and also help him on my end…”
‘That’s right, kill him, erase his very existence from this world, torture his soul!’ The Roc grinned, but there was no trace of playfulness in this grin of his, only hate and resolution.
“He killed my loved ones, but by doing so, he also made the prophecy come true because I will spare no means to kill him back! I will drag him down from that comfortable throne and sit on it myself, to understand just what he saw that he would sacrifice his whole life to maintain!”
Uncle White, the human-form Roc, also shouted “That is right. Go, my friend, go get revenge for my Ren Hong, KILL TIAN!” ever since his daughter had been killed, the once peaceful Roc had completely changed, he would not permit that such a crime would go unpunished!
Cheng Hao nodded as dense killing intent swirled around his body and stepped forward: each of his steps carrying him dozens of meters forward as if space itself was bending. He stepped out of the space inside his Pseudo-Core and the consciousness dissipated…
The golden-eyed boy that had been unconscious for three whole days… Woke up!