Mountain God Li opened his beak and picked up the old man, raising his head and swallowing him completely. After, he flapped his wings, transforming into a beam of red light and disappearing into the distance.
Qin Mu was stunned. When he watched the god and the old man engage in small talk, he had really believed that there was such a rule that one was to serve the mountain god when they were of old age. Thus, he wasn't able to stop him in time.
He followed behind Mountain God Li. Mountain God Li had flown for several thousand miles before he retracted his wings and landed at a divine mountain. He turned his head around abruptly, and only then did he notice Qin Mu. He hurriedly exclaimed, “Senior Brother, I pay my respects to you!”
Qin Mu nodded his head gently. “Mountain God Li, I watched you eat someone just now, yet he seemed to have enjoyed your conversation with him. What's the reason behind this?”
Mountain God Li laughed. “Is Senior Brother a foreigner? No wonder you are unaware of the rules here. Our heavens of the south are a place of civility and etiquette, it's where Celestial Venerable Huo teaches. The gods of Southern Heaven live in harmony and peace with the tens of thousands of races in the world. The mortals ask for things from us, such as good weather and plentiful harvests, but we also need to eat. Thus, a rule like this was set. Any normal mortal who has reached the age of 60 will be considered a dead man and will be required to go to the temple and become an offering to the gods.”
Qin Mu questioned, “This was laid down by Celestial Venerable Huo?”
Mountain God Li replied, “Yes. Southern Heaven is a land of civility. We are unlike Western Heaven and Northern Heaven. They are so barbaric. We are also better off than Eastern Heaven.”
Qin Mu questioned again, “What about divine arts practitioners? Human divine arts practitioners can live for up to 800 years.”
“If a divine arts practitioner fails to become a god after 700 years, he has to enter the temple to worship the gods.”
Mountain God Li smiled and said, “If one becomes a god, they become our equal and our brother. It's just that there are few divine arts practitioners in my territory, so I can only eat them once every half a year. Brother, you come at an inopportune time. There are no divine arts practitioners that are 700 years old now, else I would've invited you to feast on them with me.”
Qin Mu frowned and said, “The whole Southern Heaven follows such a rule?”
Mountain God Li said, “Yes. Look at this place. It's all peaceful. Humans and gods co-exist peacefully. Half-gods and Postcelestial lifeforms don't fight either. Isn't it pure?”
Qin Mu vaguely smiled. “Why would there be the consumption of humans in a pure land? This act of getting humans to die voluntarily by Celestial Venerable Huo is cruel and brutal.”
Mountain God Li said solemnly, “Brother, it's wrong for you to say that. We are reasonable. We ask them beforehand about eating them.”
Qin Mu asked, “What if that man said no? Do you not eat them if they reject?”
Mountain God Li smiled and said, “Brother, your naivete makes you cute! It's merely a formality to ask. We eat them even if we get rejected.”
The dragon qilin couldn't help but ask, “What about human gods? Will human gods tolerate you eating their people?”
Mountain God Li smiled and said, “Brother, human gods aren't humans! How high up are gods? Wouldn't one become a laughing stock if others knew that they still thought of themself as a human after becoming a god? Divine arts practitioners train hard for their entire life to become a god high up! If you told human gods that they were still humans, they would be angry and curse at you!”
Qin Mu's murderous intent was triggered before dissipating instantly.
It was the case of Southern Heaven. Killing Mountain God Li wouldn't make a difference.
Killing Mountain God Li would instead cause disasters to strike the place he guarded, causing more to die.
'The pure land that Celestial Venerable Huo created. Heh…'
He led the dragon qilin and Yan'er to leave while Mountain God Li watched. He frowned and said, “What a weird person that lacks manners! Barbaric outsider!”
Qin Mu's tour of Southern Heaven led him to conclude that the place was merely an orderly yet primal society. Humans slashed and burned while divine arts practitioners stayed secluded in the mountains, refusing to help normal humans.
Yet human gods were so high up that they deemed themselves brothers of half-gods. They refused to think of themselves as being the same as humans after becoming gods. Fighting to the death for other humans would only earn them mockery.
They would never do that. They wore bright clothes and used luxurious carriages to rush to the banquets of half-gods. The people they associated themselves with were gods too. They followed inflexible manners.
Southern Heaven was a land of customs.
Qin Mu saw many sects in his tour there. They were sects built by the gods of Southern Heaven. They were nearly identical to those of Eternal Peace in the past.
However, the past sects of Eternal Peace had stood in great numbers. They also controlled normal people's fortunes, lives, deaths, and the conquest of nations to steal land.
However, the sects there loved and respected each other to the point that they never fought.
The peacefulness there was akin to a pool of stagnant water.
Normal people remained that way for their entire lives. The same for their descendants. They never had any chance of making a name for themselves!
Any ambitions, ideals, or research into divine arts to benefit the people were illusions!
Besides, nobody thought that way. Nobody did that.
It was a world so peaceful that it became suffocating.
Qin Mu was solemn. Celestial Venerable Huo seemed to have sheltered the people of Southern Heaven, but in reality, what he did was get the humans there to accept a set fate with no way to free themselves!
He came to a god city, which had a statue of Celestial Venerable Huo erected. It was tall and majestic and had a wheel of fire made from bronze behind its head.
Celestial Venerable Huo's gaze on the statue seemed deep and far. He gazed into the distance in a wise and strong manner.
There were many disciples of Celestial Venerable Huo there. They were teaching their own disciples, imparting the traditional divine treasure and celestial palace system in an orderly fashion, without any changes.
However, when a disciple presented any doubts, they would be reprimanded harshly and even beaten. They would be judged by those around them too.
The divine arts of Celestial Venerable Huo's disciples were nearly identical. Their divine weapons were nearly identical too. Even their clothing was nearly identical.
They wore the same clothes and had the same hairstyles and facial hair. They were full of smiles when meeting people, and they said similar greetings and followed similar formalities.
Qin Mu clenched his fists and went by Celestial Venerable Huo's statue. His robes flew about like a large flag, making a lot of noise in the process.
The tall and majestic statue of Celestial Venerable Huo suddenly collapsed and melted. It became molten bronze, which had devilish flames on it!
Celestial Venerable Huo's disciples hurried over to try and extinguish the devilish fire. Some of them were extremely strong practitioners that reached the Jade Capital Realm and the Numinous Sky Realm.
Celestial Venerable Huo was specialized in fire divine arts. The paths, skills, and divine arts he passed down largely related to fire too. His disciples' attainments in that path were so extraordinary that they became well known in the celestial heavens!
Yet, none of them knew what to do against the devilish flames. They couldn't extinguish the flames at all.
“Get Big Brother!”
The masses panicked and called out, “Get Big Brother, quickly!”
Suddenly, an emperor's awe filled the city. An Emperor's Throne being dressed almost exactly like Celestial Venerable Huo flew out. He went on top of the flames and utilized his divine art to suppress it while hollering, “Extinguish!”
The devilish flames shook, but they still weren't extinguished.
The Emperor's Throne being used his divine arts again, sending them down to suppress the flames.
“Extinguish! Extinguish! Extinguish!”
The flames burnt on, brightening the face of the Emperor's Throne being. He was visibly embarrassed.
Qin Mu was nearby and watched this scene coldly. He hated him, for he wanted him to get better. He remarked, “He doesn't know how to adapt because he hasn't learned to before. Celestial Venerable Huo nurtured a pile of garbage!”