‘Hong, Da Hong. Could it be Celestial Venerable Hong of the later generations? Could he be the Grand Emperor then?'
Qin Mu stared at that young man with wide robes and instantly felt like he was being suffocated.
He suspected Celestial Venerable Hong to be the identity that the Grand Emperor used to hide in the celestial heavens. Now, the young man called Hong appeared suddenly, which gave him the feeling that he was being watched.
If he didn't come from the later generations and know that there was a Celestial Venerable Hong there, he would likely be fooled by this young man called Da Hong.
If Hong really was the Grand Emperor, it would be terrifying.
The Grand Emperor's strength was on the level of beings like Celestial Emperor. His corporeal body was made to be the strongest by the masters of creation, though Qin Mu believed that Celestial Emperor's corporeal body was even stronger.
One thing was certain, though, which was that the Grand Emperor's consciousness was number one. No one before or after him had as strong a consciousness. Even Crimson Emperor, who was known for his Undying God Consciousness, paled greatly in comparison to him!
It would be easy if the Grand Emperor wanted to kill him.
Qin Mu sat in the carriage and felt that he was sitting in front of the ancient Celestial Emperor. He felt a chill down his spine. However, he overcame his fear and only allowed goosebumps on the back of his neck.
The sails of the boats on the celestial river fluttered in the wind. Each boat had thousands of men and horses, and most were half-gods that cultivated to the level of gods and devils.
Qin Mu looked at the navy, smiled, and said, “Dao Friend Hong, there are too many people chasing you. It would be better if you don't pull us down.”
Hong suddenly boarded the carriage, saying, “You are dying too, Celestial Venerable Mu. There won't be any difference in bringing me with you, right?”
He entered the carriage, and Qin Mu tried to suppress his fear. The Grand Emperor of this era still hadn't been killed by Celestial Venerable Yun and the masters of creation of the Great Void.
Celestial Venerable Yun and the masters of creation of the Great Void only killed his corporeal body and half of his consciousness. The Hong now was likely the Grand Emperor in his complete form.
Qin Mu felt cold sweat coming out of the back of his neck again, and he tried to suppress it. He smiled and said, “Hong, you know me?”
Hong sat opposite Luo Xiao, looking at him and looking out. He was visibly nervous as he replied, “Celestial Venerable Mu made a ruckus at the Jade Pool a thousand years ago. You received an attack from Mistress Yuanmu's projection and even critically injured Celestial Venerable Hao under her projection's suppression. You shook heaven and earth. Who wouldn't know you after you did such shocking things?”
At the same time, another cry for help came from outside the carriage. “Is that Celestial Venerable Mu? Save me!”
Qin Mu, Luo Xiao, and Hong looked out and saw an army coming out of the Southern Heavenly Gate. It was the Southern Sect Army, and they were chasing a handsome youth.
That youth ran across the celestial river towards the carriage. He was fast and caught up to the carriage quickly. He hollered, “Leave now, leave now!”
The armies of the four sects of the celestial heavens were controlled by the four great heavenly teachers. Although Qin Mu didn't know who they were during the Dragon Han Era, the person that got the Southern Sect to mobilize to kill him must be a big deal!
The carriage sped away and left the Celestial River Navy and Southern Sect behind.
Qin Mu used his consciousness wave to transmit his voice to the dragon qilin, telling him the ancestral court's location so he would head there.
At the same time, he felt that his consciousness was being investigated.
The one doing it was Luo Xiao. His consciousness was the most obvious. He was curious about Qin Mu since his consciousness was strong and mysterious. He knew a lot about masters of creation too.
Thus, when he felt Qin Mu's consciousness wave, he attempted to use his own consciousness to investigate it.
Yet, Qin Mu felt a second consciousness.
It was so discreet that it was almost undetectable!
This consciousness came from the void, which made it hard to detect. If Qin Mu didn't acquire the Grand Emperor's Great Overarching Supreme Consciousness, it would have been hard for him to detect that consciousness investigating him.
It was hard for him to judge which one of the two youths aboard the carriage was using consciousness to investigate him.
‘However, one can be certain that the Grand Emperor is in here!'
Qin Mu suppressed his fear and said, “Could Dao Friend Hong have been at the celestial heavens at that time as well? If you weren't at the Jade Pool, you would have surely been at the Celestial Heavens Meeting. If you could receive Celestial Emperor's invitation to go there, your power must be stunning. You must be a leader of the half-gods. If so, why would you be hunted down by the Celestial River Navy?”
Hong folded his arms and sighed. “You are smart, Celestial Venerable Mu. I'm the number one demon in the world. I'm different from you humans. Us demons awaken at a very early time. While you humans still can't cultivate, we have already begun doing it. I was the first demon to awaken. I traveled everywhere and ate the essence of the sun and moon. Soon, I developed wisdom. Celestial Emperor ordered me to rule over the demons. I was invited to the Celestial Heavens Meeting too. I was just at the Numinous Sky Treasure Hall, which prevented me from meeting you, Celestial Venerable Mu.”
Qin Mu looked at the handsome youth that boarded the carriage. He silently praised his looks. He was on par with Son of Heaven Yin. He smiled and asked, “May I ask for your name, Dao Friend?”
That handsome youth smiled. “I'm Xiao of the human race. The Xiao in dawn. Celestial Venerable Mu has probably never heard of my name, while I have heard of yours plenty of times.”
Qin Mu's heart violently cramped. His blood almost coagulated as he thought, ‘It can't be Celestial Venerable Xiao, can it? If it's, then my little carriage will soon see a lot of drama and action. The Grand Emperor of the masters of creation and the ancient Celestial Emperor both came…'
He suppressed the impulse to get Yan'er to extinguish the lantern and run. He put on a smile and asked, “Xiao is your name, but what is your surname?”
The handsome youth said, “Celestial Venerable Mu doesn't know about this, but I only had my surname in my youth. Besides, only prestigious figures have the right to a surname. My family's poor, so I don't have a surname, only a name. Later on, I made one up randomly, Gu. So, I'm Gu Xiao, but people who know me still call me Xiao.”
Qin Mu looked at Da Hong and Gu Xiao of the human race in the carriage, and his heart violently cramped again.
Da Hong looked young. He smiled a lot as he hugged himself with his hands in his sleeves. One could see his faint resemblance to Celestial Venerable Hong of the later generations.
Gu Xiao was exceptionally handsome and completely different from Celestial Venerable Xiao of the later generations, though.
The Celestial Venerable Xiao of the later generations was haughty, arrogant, and the Celestial Venerable of humans. Yet, he wasn't handsome and bore little resemblance to this youth called Gu Xiao.
Besides, calculating based on Celestial Venerable Xiao's age, Celestial Venerable Xiao shouldn't have been born yet. He only became the fervent disciple of Celestial Venerable Yun midway through the Dragon Han Era.
‘Could this Xiao be Celestial Venerable Xiao?' Qin Mu wondered.
The carriage sunk into silence. The four of them had their own things to think about.
The carriage had left the celestial river already, speeding into outer space. The coordinates Qin Mu gave to the dragon qilin were in outer space.
Behind them, countless gods hollered on the ships of the Celestial River Navy as they waved and displayed their flags. They saw the celestial river creating a tributary for those ships to continue chasing them.
Hong looked outside and was in shock. His gaze flashed as he asked, “Celestial Venerable, are you escaping into outer space? The Primordial Realm's world barrier is solid. It won't be easy to escape the Primordial Realm.”
Qin Mu's gaze flashed in return as he asked, “Do you have a way to leave the Primordial Realm, Dao Friend Hong?”
Hong shook his head. “I want to, but I'm stuck here, and I can't do much to escape. However, I heard that one can follow the celestial river and escape the Primordial Realm with it. One can head into the universe and even visit the four poles, Xuandu, and Youdu!”
“Many thanks for your guidance, Dao Friend Hong.”
Qin Mu laughed. “You claim that you can't do much, yet you know the method to escape the Primordial Realm so well. How odd.”
Gu Xiao took out a small file to file his armor and looked up at Hong curiously. “Why would you be hunted by the Celestial River Navy? As far as I know, you are its chief admiral. It's difficult to understand why they would hunt you down.”
Qin Mu's heart shuddered as he looked at Da Hong.
Hong sighed. “I made the error of speaking wrongly. Truth be told, when Celestial Venerable Mu was killing the Five Elements Star Sovereigns on the celestial river, I was drilling the navy on it. When I saw it, I couldn't help but praise it. I was won over by Celestial Venerable Mu's divine arts, though I had no intention to rebel. Yet, someone snitched on me all the way to Celestial Emperor. He was furious and ordered my capture so that I could be executed on the God Execution Stage. I had no choice but to become a fugitive.”
Qin Mu heaved a long sigh and said with tears, “I never thought that I would pull you down, Dao Friend Hong! It's my fault!”
Hong's gaze flashed as it fell on Gu Xiao, and he said, “I heard that the heavenly master of the Southern Sect is extremely mysterious and elusive. I have some friends in the sect who told me that the heavenly master of the sect is a human god. I was shocked and impressed. Could that human heavenly master be you, Dao Friend Xiao? Why are you being hunted by your own army?”
Qin Mu's gaze fell on Gu Xiao. He was visibly curious.
Gu Xiao put down his file and sighed. “I was guilty because of the battle too. However, I wasn't guilty because I praised Celestial Venerable Mu's divine arts. Instead, I was guilty because of this Dao friend.”
He looked at Luo Xiao and said, “I saw how his corporeal body was vast, even beyond that of the ancient gods, so I praised him out of instinct. I only learned that he was a master of creation and that there were conflicts between them and the ancient gods afterward. Thus, I'm wanted for careless words of mine.”
Qin Mu couldn't help but be filled with sorrow as he said, “Both of you are guilty over your words. You two were so high up, yet you ended up becoming fugitives like me because of one wrong word.”
He couldn't help sighing and shedding tears.
Gu Xiao and Da Hong tried to calm him down. “Everyone claims you to be very righteous, warm-hearted, and one that gives timely assistance. It seems the claims were right.”
“You don't have to be troubled over our experiences. Maybe we deserved it.”
Qin Mu stopped crying, choked, and said, “I thought of myself when I heard your experiences, which made me sorrowful. My experiences are so similar to the two of yours, so I can't help myself. We share the same fate despite being different people. Today, everything was set up for us to be on the same carriage, running for our lives. Why don't we…”
He clutched his fists and excitedly said, “Why don't we become sworn brothers of different surnames? We might not have been born on the same day, month, and year, but we can beg to die on the same day, month, and year!”
Gu Xiao and Da Hong didn't know what to say as they looked at each other.
Qin Mu became more excited as he stood up to walk around the carriage. He slammed his fist suddenly and said, “Luo Xiao, you are a master of creation and hence are a traveler far from home. You are hunted by the celestial heavens and not tolerated by ancient gods. We are the same. The four of us should become sworn brothers!”
Gu Xiao and Da Hong became visibly more weirded out and soon frowned.
Qin Mu excitedly shouted, “Let's swear to Earth Count to die on the same day, month, and year!”
Cold sweat broke out on Da Hong's forehead as he laughed and said, “Celestial Venerable Mu, you're a Celestial Venerable. How can we afford to associate with you?”
Gu Xiao laughed too. “Masters of creation are the enemies of the ancient gods. If we swear to Earth Count, won't we be sending Brother Luo Xiao to him? This thing has to be planned.”
Qin Mu's excitement seemed like it couldn't be contained as he pulled them to kneel down. He smiled and said, “Since fate brought us together today, let's kowtow together and become sworn brothers today! Brother Luo Xiao, come and join us too!”
Luo Xiao hesitated before making up his mind to join them in kneeling down.
Qin Mu glanced at Gu Xiao and Da Hong. He smiled and said, “Are you two looking down on me and Brother Luo Xiao? I'm Celestial Venerable Mu, after all, and I've already kneeled down. Are you two not following?”
Gu Xiao and Da Hong looked at each other. They had to kneel down too. Gu Xiao whispered, “Brother Luo Xiao is a master of creation. We can't swear to Earth Count or to Heaven Duke…”
Qin Mu pressed on Gu Xiao's head with one hand and Da Hong's head with another. They kowtowed together as he said, “Then we swear to neither Earth Count nor Heaven Duke.”