Chapter 1: Prologue – Fall of the Celestial Thearch. Shattering of the Divine Armament!
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Heavenly Realm, Heavenly Court.
The night was as dark as thick black ink, without even a ray of light. The surroundings were eerily quiet and nerve wracking.
As the most powerful dimension among the hundreds of millions dimensions where the formidable convened, the Heavenly Court was exceptionally quiet. How could the Heavenly Court, which was usually the most divine and stately in the Heavenly Realm, be so dark and silent on this night?
Suddenly, out of the the void in the north of the city, a strange crack appeared. From the crack, a pair of long, skeletal hands stretched out and pushed the crack wider.
As the crack widened, the owner of the pair of skeletal hands slowly emerged and stood up. Strange red lights shone from the hollows of its skull, and its white, bony body, covered in countless greyish runes, glowed steadily. A frightening lifeless aura was released, causing the surrounding air to stagnate.
Soon, the commotion grew in intensity. The rift at the top of this huge city continued to widen and out came hordes of the walking dead—skeletal bodies of human and beasts, all covered in blood and festering flesh. They were enveloped by some strange greyish glowing symbols. Besides that, there were numerous red-eyed, black-armored runic yin soldiers pouring out. They quickly blocked off and occupied the void surrounding the Heavenly Court.
Countless skeleton giants, zombies, zombie-beasts, and yin soldiers crowded the space, blotting out the sky and moon. Grey runic patterns sparkled continuously from their bodies—light and shadows blurred. The spectacle was so grand and divine that even the Heavenly Court city, dark and silent that night, paled in comparison.
Shrill laughter pierced through the abnormally strange ambiance, and out of the closing cracks emerged an elder, shrouded in blackish-red robes. His face was pale white without a tinge of blood and covered in wrinkles. His long brows drooped down to his ears, and his eerily piercing eyes glowed a deep cherry red.
“Undying Netherworld King!”
When the red-robed elder appeared, the yin soldiers, skeleton giants, zombies, and beasts all genuflected and bowed while shouting out in unison.
The Netherworld King ignored his fanatical subjects. Instead, his vision was fixed on the grand city in front, his dark red eyes burning bright.
He had conspired for 6600 years just for this day, the day he would enter the Heavenly Court! 6600 years of bitter waiting, just for that man who sat on the throne!
Nine Yang Celestial Thearch!
The Netherworld King’s long grey hair fluttered despite the lack of wind. Red light flickered in his lifeless eyes, unable to conceal the brimming emotions that were running through his heart. Suddenly, boundless killing intent arose from the Netherworld King’s body. Following which, he slowly lifted his hands and pointed at the Heavenly Court with his index finger.
“Tsk, tsk ”
Following the orders of the Netherworld King, the skeleton giants, zombies, zombie-beasts, and zombie generals surged forward with a crazy roar. Immense amounts of violent, brutal, and festering smells were all released instantly.
Instantly, the heaven and earth cried out, the winds and clouds changed color, and the space shuddered!
“Pong! Pong! Pong!”
The skeleton giants took wide steps toward the Heavenly Court, their massive bodies as huge as a hill. Ripples vibrated across the vast expanse with every step they took, transmitting deep sounds akin to that of war drums.
The running yin soldiers and zombies, as well as their black armors, weapons, and the greyish glowing runic patterns coruscated at the same time, producing all sorts of colored streams of light. From all four corners, they poured forward like a cadaveric torrent, moving toward the Heavenly Court.
The zombie-beasts attacked—they crawled, flew, or pounced like countless locusts surging forward. They wildly swallowed and destroyed everything in their path!
However, just when the army of invaders were three feet away from the quiet, silent city of the Heavenly Court…
Suddenly, the Heavenly Court, which appeared like a ghost town, came alive!
The towering palace walls, the insides of the majestic palace lofts, and the surface and road corners of the Heavenly Court all lit up, and countless multi-colored runic patterns suddenly appeared.
The runic patterns surfaced from all directions, flashing blinding lights.
At the same time, thousands of carvings of flowers, grasses, fish, insects, avians, and land creatures from the Heavenly Court’s complex came alive. As they moved around and extended themselves, they released a vigorous aura which converged towards the Heavenly Court. Under the illumination from the glowing runes, a dazzling dome formed in midair, encompassing the entirety of the Heavenly Court.
The huge skeleton giant struck down with the force of a million pounds upon the dome formed by the runic halos. In a blink of an eye, it was reduced to dust from the aftershock, but the shield did not sway a single bit.
The suffocating cadaveric air inundated the shield, but only served to trigger more sparkling rainbow-colored lights to emit from the countless runes inside the barrier. This illuminated the Heavenly Court with snow-white brightness inside and outside. The cadaveric air disappeared under the 100,000-foot-wide beam of light.
“Empyreal Star Lock Array!” A Netherworld warrior with ornate armor let out an exasperated sigh.
He turned to the Netherworld King next to him and said, “Your Majesty, this Empyreal Star Lock Array absorbs the energy from the Ninth Heaven Star, scattering it throughout every corner of the Heavenly Court. Its capacity is limitless. I am afraid our army is unable to penetrate the barrier before the energy which has accumulated for eons wears off.”
Not batting an eye at the Netherworld general, the Netherworld King gave a cold snort. The Netherworld general immediately flew into the air as his flesh and blood, as well as his black armor, disintegrated into flying ash.
“This is what will become of you if you dampen our troops’ morale!”
The Netherworld King then swept his cold, red-eyed eyes across the surrounding generals. Upon seeing them tremble, he uttered coldly, “The Empyreal Star Lock Array is just an array which took Fogey Nine-Yang three thousand years to research.
“He spent another two thousand years setting it up. Ever since it was successfully set up, it has only been 1600 years. How much energy can it absorb from the stars to turn them into an array formation forcefield? Now that Fogey Nine-Yang is the only one left inside the Heavenly Court, you will be given twenty-four hours to destroy this array formation regardless of the cost or number of casualties we suffer!”
All the surrounding Netherworld generals knelt and replied in the affirmative. One of the skeleton generals who was thousands of feet tall stood up first. His skeletal body shimmered with greyish glowing runes as his entire body emitted a dark glow that shot towards the sky. From his cranial cavity came a sky-shattering roar, “All forces, attack!”
The other Netherworld generals did not dare utter another word. They pumped themselves up and ordered their subordinate zombie soldiers, zombie-beasts, and yin soldiers to begin attacking at full force.
“There’s no need to go through this much trouble.”
In the midst of all the commotion, a calm, ordinary sound pierced through all the noises and rang within everyone’s ears.
The voice that delivered the sentence seemed to contain infinite charm. It silenced hundreds of millions of Netherworld soldiers and stopped their advance.
Following those words, the resplendent and dazzling barrier that shielded the Heavenly Court’s periphery suddenly diminished before disappearing completely. The lively floral and creature carvings stopped moving, and the rainbow-colored runes inside and outside the buildings stopped emitting light.
The Heavenly Court was restored to its original dim and dark state. The only difference was that in the southern city entrance to the Heavenly Court, a figure had appeared undetected.
Decked in a simple long robe, an old man wielded an opulent, narrow rainbow-colored longsword in his hands. He was seated casually on the stone steps.
That man has finally appeared!
Every one of the hundreds of millions of Netherworld soldiers were astounded. Although he did not manifest an air of majestic might, he looked to be in good health. He had a chiseled face, ruddy cheeks, a long white beard, sword-like eyebrows, and star-like eyes. Despite the fact that he looked very old on the surface, he sent reverberations down their souls for he was in no way inferior to their master. It was even possible that he surpassed their master, the Undying Netherworld King.
No one knew his name. In the early years, his friends used to call him Wu Ming, the nameless one.
He only spent three thousand years to attain the throne. He experienced the shortest rise to power in history, and at the same time, he was the thearch with the best martial intelligence.
He presided over the Heavenly Court, ruling the various worlds for as long as seven thousand years. As the Celestial Thearch was nameless, people eventually addressed him as the Nine-Yang Celestial Thearch in his twilight years due to his extreme attainment in the martial realm of Yang.
This instant, the Netherworld army’s target, Nine-Yang Celestial Thearch, Wu Ming, finally… appeared!
“Old Fart Undying, are you that anxious to send me to my death?” Wu Ming asked smilingly. “Is it because you learned that I don’t have much longer to live?”
“Hmph! Fogey Nine-Yang, I haven’t seen you for a few thousand years, yet you are still full of crap and as thick-skinned as ever!” the Netherworld King retorted coldly. “The four imperial troops are now deployed in remote places. Besides, each of them has their own evil schemes. Millions of Heavenly Court troops will perish, scatter, or lose their morale because of this long war.”
“You are now just a lonely man in your final moments, and yet you are not putting up a struggle. Hmph, don’t tell me that you still have a dying wish?”
“You really do understand me, Old Fart Undying. You know I have words to say…” Wu Ming sighed. “If you want to fight, Old Fart Undying, you will need to expend half of all the Netherworld’s military might before you can take down the three-layered protective array of the Heavenly Court.
“How long can you withstand the array? Ten days? Half a month? Even if you finally succeed in overrunning the area, you will only succeed in getting rid of me. After that, how much blood do you need to shed in order to recover your strength and military might. I am actually vexed over that…”
“Hmph! Fogey Nine-Yang, you possess peerless talent, but ultimately you failed to become immortal, solely because of this pointless attitude! Mere mortals are nothing but dogs in this world.
“If you can’t overlook this, how can you expect to enjoy a lifespan equal to the world and ascend to the ranks of the immortals? If rubbish is all you can spew, I have no reason to continue listening. Draw your Fire Dragon Sword. I am going to send you on your way!”
A long sickle-like weapon appeared out of thin air and floated into the hands of the Netherworld King. With a flick of his hands, the smell of death and hell arose, lingering on both sides.
Wu Ming sighed. “I can’t win a war of words against you! Now that the peace-loving me is at hell’s gate, I’m in no fighting mood…”
Ignoring the Netherworld King’s menacing stare, Wu Ming continued to sit there blabbering away. However… it was unknown when wisps of raging flames emerged out of his body.
The burning flames quickly engulfed Wu Ming, including the sword he held.
This was the Fire Dragon Sword that had accompanied him in battle his entire life! A sword that reigned supreme!
Suddenly, a loud explosion sounded from the fire as Celestial Thearch’s sword broke into tiny shards and shot out in all directions.
Bright red metal shards shot through the Netherworld Realm’s forces without any regard, eliminating them in an instant.
The sickle in the Netherworld King’s hands jolted a little, but he chose not to attack. This was because he knew Wu Ming’s dying intention had shackled him. If he took action to shield off the numerous shards, Wu Ming’s final attack would make him pay a tragic price.
“Old friend,” Wu Ming muttered, “my apologies, but I cannot bring you to the immortal realm today…”
As the flame-engulfed Wu Ming silently watched the shards vanish into the distance, he let out a sigh and turned to the Netherworld King. “Old Fart Undying, there’s no doubt of your amazing talent, but ultimately you can’t attain immortality. Hopefully, in the days to come, you will be more mellow and not go overboard in your conquest.”
“Though both of us were originally members of the Great Dao, we are undoubtedly no different from all sentient beings. Do more good deeds; perhaps it will help you break out of this cycle one day through your accumulations in the Heavenly Dao. Perhaps the opportunity I was missing to attain immortality in my present life was also concealed amidst all of this…”
“The Heavenly Court, the responsibility of nine generations of Celestial Thearchs throughout history, does not suit you. I shall not leave it for you to destroy. It’d be better to leave it to future successors…”
The Celestial Thearch’s body melted as he spoke, and when the temperature of the raging fire reached an unimaginable peak, so high that it became blinding, the Celestial Thearch and the flames vanished from the world.
On the stone stairs on the south gates of the Heavenly Court, there was no longer any sign of the Nine-Yang Celestial Thearch’s existence.
It was as if the nameless one had never stepped forth into this universe.
The Heavenly Court returned to its calm and quiet state, still as dark as before.
After a long while, a Netherworld general in the form of a dozen-foot-tall pig-man could not help but ask, “Your Majesty, do we still attack?”
“Up to you, stupid fool!”
The Netherworld King—no, he was now an existence worthy of the name Netherworld Emperor, delivered those words in a peeved manner. He then tore open the void and turned to leave the Heavenly Realm.
The silly pig soldier was taken aback when he heard that. After seriously contemplating for a while, he came to a decision. Just as he was about to charge towards the silent and uninhabited Heavenly Court, he felt the void shake violently. His massive body nearly fell flat on the floor!
At the same time, the whole Heavenly Court also shook violently. The countless runes that surfaced on the buildings of the Heavenly Court were completely unlike the rainbow-colored Empyreal Star Lock Array runes. They were golden in color and made it seem like the entire Heavenly Court was draped in a golden cloak.
Moments later, the entire Heavenly Court glowed with extreme radiance amidst the lights of the golden runes…
From the appearance of the golden light till it vanished, it took the time for half an incense to burn. What left the Netherworld army flabbergasted was that the massive Heavenly Court, which spanned hundreds of kilometers, had actually disappeared, leaving only a huge, ugly abyss.
The legend of a generation, the invincible Nine-Yang Celestial Thearch, had come to an end. The cycle of Samsara slowly pulled opened the curtains of a new beginning…