"That person from a million years ago has returned."
The resplendent celestial heavens was filled with countless gods and countless devils who resided in this unbelievably extravagant world. Originally, the celestial heavens was very peaceful, at least superficially. Even when the celestial heavens' army went down to get rid of Mother Earth and raze the Primordial Realm, no billows were raised in the celestial heavens.
Yet now, in the originally calm celestial heavens, a stone had been dropped into the peaceful surface of the lake, which resulted in ripples.
All kinds of news spread around, spreading not only to the gates of the palace but also into the ears of the Celestial Venerables before becoming the talking point that swept the celestial heavens by storm.
That person had returned.
During the first year of the Dragon Han Era a million years ago, that person was conferred the title of Celestial Venerable by Celestial Emperor. He became one of the Nine Celestial Venerables, using his unique paths, skills, and divine arts to win over an era.
He imparted Celestial Venerable Yu's technique in place of him and established the cultivation system of the celestial palace for the people. He also severely injured Celestial Venerable Hao, causing him to lie in bed for many years without any signs of recovery.
And today, as Celestial Emperor continued to stay detached from worldly affairs, Celestial Venerable Hao was already the Celestial Venerable in charge of the celestial heavens, high above others.
However, the person that severely injured him had disappeared without a trace from the world for a million years.
More news came and stated how, when Celestial Venerable Hao operated the most formidable weapon to pacify the rebellion in the lower bound, that person manipulated Mother Earth to severely injure Celestial Venerable Hao's primordial spirit.
Other news stated that this person was Son of Youdu, who was attacked by the four deities of the celestial heavens and had suffered a serious injury.
Even more news said that this person removed his own soul, becoming a soulless man with little power.
And then the news came that this person had slain many of the celestial heavens' powerful young practitioners, which included an unknown number of disciples of the ancient gods and the four deities.
Furthermore, the devils that returned from the lower bounds claimed that this person was on his dying breath, not long for this world.
Regardless of the number of people discussing the coming of that person or talking about this topic, there was a peculiar atmosphere that blanketed the celestial heavens. Under its calm surface, there was darkness surging.
"Is the arrival of South Deity Zhu Que's ship at the celestial heavens today related to that person?"
"I heard that East Deity has left the East Pole, same goes for West Deity and the West Pole."
"The water of the celestial river is acting abnormally. Recently, the water level rose greatly, leading people to suspect that North Deity Xuan Wu has secretly arrived at the celestial heavens!"
"I even heard that the celestial heavens' four deities wrote to Celestial Emperor to return to the celestial heavens. Rumors have it that Black Deity arrived a long time ago!"
"I heard that too many of the ancient gods of great desolation came to report on their duties, with even gods like Great Sun Sovereign coming to the celestial heavens! I also heard that Dao Ancestor, who has been missing for many years, has also returned to the celestial heavens' Dao Sect. Even Brahma Buddha, who has slept for countless years, awakened and arrived at the celestial heavens with the intent of seeing Dao Ancestor immediately."
"The situation in the celestial heavens is currently somewhat peculiar."
"I heard that this person has reached the Jade Pool and claims that he wishes to pay his respects to Celestial Empress! How daring of him! It was at the Jade Pool that he severely injured Celestial Venerable Hao a million years ago!"
"Celestial Empress allowed him to stay at the Slow Winding Pavilion, the place where Celestial Venerable Yu was assassinated back then!"
"I personally ran to the Jade Pool and saw that person. His breath was shallow, his body was as skinny as a match, and his complexion was pale. He is losing vital qi every moment. I suspect that he's here to reminisce with old friends and use this opportunity to die by provoking people who cannot resist the opportunity, so their names will be cursed for years to come!"
"Who dares to kill him? Are they not afraid of being attacked by political enemies?"
"A lot of people want to kill him, and there are many different ways to do so. After the killing, they can just find a couple of scapegoats anyway."
"The celestial heavens of today is no longer the celestial heavens that he understood in the past."
The sacred grounds of the Jade Pool, the Slow Winding Pavilion.
Qin Mu arrived in front of the Slow Winding Pavilion's window and gazed at the giant lotuses of the Jade Sea as well as the divine turtle who carried the divine mountains that were swimming in the Jade Sea, as per usual.
His body was very skinny, and his complexion was indeed pale. However, with the revisiting of old haunts, he couldn't help but sigh ruefully.
Although the main body of the celestial heavens remained unchanged since the first year of Dragon Han, there were big changes elsewhere.
Then, the celestial heavens had 36 celestial palaces and 72 throne halls nearby. Today, however, most of those celestial palaces and throne halls had been relocated to every part of the universe to suppress it. Only a couple of the celestial palaces had been left behind.
Despite this, the scale of the celestial heavens was grander. With thousands of stories and even more halls, it was the definition of extravagance.
The Jade Pool was rebuilt too. The Jade Pool then was already extremely vast, but after a million years, the Jade Pool resembled more of a Jade Sea with such beautiful scenery that nothing more beautiful could be imagined.
It was here that he joined the Jade Pool Meeting and experienced an unforeseen event that changed the course of history for a million years.
Qin Mu and Founding Emperor were opportunists who exploited knowledge that exceeded the first year of Dragon Han by a million years to stun an era. If he and Founding Emperor were born in that era, they might have been two plain men during that magnificent era.
This was another reason that many of the celestial heavens' younglings looked down on him. These young talents thought that if they were the ones who returned to the first year of Dragon Han, they would only be able to do better than him, not worse.
Yan'er approached him, holding a plate of fruits as she said, "Young Master, the palace maids have plucked some fruits. I just let Fatty Dragon and Young Master Qi try them. Neither of them has died yet, so it shouldn't be poisonous."
After hearing that, Qi Jiuyi and the dragon qilin, who were followed behind her, had their faces turn black uncontrollably before feeling a sharp pain within their heart.
The phoenix ship sent them outside the Southern Heavenly Gate and then immediately returned to the Primordial Realm. Only Qi Jiuyi stayed behind out of concern for the dragon qilin's safety.
The news that Qin Mu had arrived in the celestial heavens soon spread rapidly. He asked to see Celestial Empress, but she didn't show up. Instead, she ordered him to stay in the Jade Pool at the Slow Winding Pavilion, where Celestial Venerable Yu was assassinated.
All of the palace maids there served Celestial Empress, and all of them were gorgeously dressed gods of impeccable beauty.
It was just that Yan'er was worried that someone would poison Qin Mu. Thus, she had Qi Jiuyi and the dragon qilin try every item of food before offering it to Qin Mu.
"Sister Yan'er, you don't need to be so careful. I'm well versed in medicine. Poisoning someone by poisoning their food isn't an easy feat."
Qin Mu laughed. "Besides, the celestial heavens don't need to resort to poison to get rid of me. They have all sorts of ways to do that."
The eyes of Qi Jiuyi flashed as he sized up the environment around him before he commented, "Cult Master Qin, you know that this is the place that the head of the Nine Celestial Venerables, Celestial Venerable Yu, was harmed?"
Qin Mu gently nodded before he said, "This place is also the source of countless calamities from Dragon Han to Eternal Peace."
Qi Jiuyi continued, "I heard that the Heaven Alliance originated here. Celestial Venerable Ling, Celestial Venerable Yun, and Celestial Venerable Yue set up the Heaven Alliance here before joining forces with Celestial Venerable Mu and Celestial Venerable Qin to form the Five Founding Elders of the Heaven Alliance."
Qin Mu's eyebrows twitched before he corrected him. "By then, I had already left."
Qi Jiuyi glanced at him before saying, "I also heard that later on, when the Heaven Alliance was successfully formed, the heads of the Heaven Alliance would come here frequently to discuss matters. Thus, this place can be considered a headquarters of the Heaven Alliance."
Qin Mu asked with interest, "Who are the heads of the Heaven Alliance?"
"Today, the Heaven Alliance has 10 heads, all of whom are conferred the title of Celestial Venerable by Celestial Emperor. It's just that the ancient gods refuse to recognize them, choosing to only recognize the original Nine Celestial Venerables."
Qi Jiuyi said, "The first is Celestial Venerable Hao, the second is Celestial Venerable Huo, the third is Celestial Venerable Xiao, the fourth is Ancestral God King, also known as Celestial Venerable Zu. The fifth is God Emperor Lang Xuan, Celestial Venerable Lang. The sixth is Heavenly Lady Qiang, conferred with the title of Celestial Venerable Qiang. The seventh is Heavenly Lady Yan, conferred with the title of Celestial Venerable Yan. The eighth is Celestial Venerable Hong, the ninth is Celestial Venerable Xu, and the tenth is Celestial Venerable Gong."
Qin Mu frowned. Out of these 10 Celestial Venerables, he only recognized Celestial Venerable Hao and Celestial Venerable Huo, along with Ancestral God King, somewhat. However, he had only battled Ancestral God King's Celestial Venerable Yu weapon and hadn't met him before.
As for the other Celestial Venerables, he hadn't met any of them before.
"What about Celestial Venerable Yue and Celestial Venerable You? Why are they not among the 10 Celestial Venerables?" Qin Mu asked.
Qi Jiuyi shook his head before he said, "I have heard that Celestial Venerable Yue and Celestial Venerable You decided to hide in seclusion since a long time ago. With a lacking reputation, when Celestial Emperor decided to reform the Celestial Venerables' ranks, he excluded them. In contrast, the new Celestial Venerables have great power in the celestial heavens. Nevertheless, the new Celestial Venerables fail at pleasing the crowd."
He looked around him and, suppressing the noise, said, "Someone once said that except for Celestial Venerable Qin, all of the previous Nine Celestial Venerables had a great amount of merit for they affirmed the cultivation system of divine treasure and the cultivation system of celestial palaces, a great achievement that benefitted generations to come. Even Celestial Venerable Qin, who battled at the Jade Pool then, had God Eyes, which affected countless after him and by some accounts, achieved a great amount of merit. However, today's Celestial Venerables all relied on their power and combat prowess without leaving behind legacies that affect future generations. Thus, within the celestial heavens, many people are dissatisfied and refer to the original Nine Celestial Venerables instead of the current ten when talking about the Celestial Venerables.
Qin Mu laughed. "So, even you think I have great merit and am worthy of the title Celestial Venerable Mu?"
Qi Jiuyi was initially very angry before he laughed and said, "Although I don't like you, ever since I learned that you were the Celestial Venerable Mu who imparted the technique to become a god, my respect for you has gradually risen. It's just that every time I see you, I can't help but feel disgusted."
Qin Mu laughed heartily. When he was about to inquire about the origins of the new Celestial Venerables like Celestial Venerable Xiao and Celestial Venerable Zu, a palace maid suddenly entered the Slow Winding Pavilion, presented an invitation card, and proclaimed, "Celestial Venerable, there's a visitor."
Qin Mu had to calm himself down and receive the invitation card. He laughed and said, "I knew that someone would actively seek me out, I just didn't expect it to be so soon. Please invite him in."
The palace maid withdrew.
Qin Mu opened the invitation and only saw that the person who sent it was named Yun Jianli. He asked, "Who is this Yun Jianli?"
Qi Jiuyi paled before replying, "Yun Jianli is a person from the Yun family."
Qin Mu curiously asked, 'Yun family? Which Yun family?"
"The descendants of Celestial Venerable Yun."
Qi Jiuyi continued, "According to others, when Celestial Venerable Yun died, the Yun family survived, but with few members left. Every generation only has one son, barely maintaining the bloodline. However, every generation of the Yun family is filled with outstanding and extraordinary talent. Mysteriously though, when they cultivate to the Divine Bridge Realm, before they enter the celestial palace, they suddenly die. Hence, the Yun family usually only has one adult male, with the rest of the Yun family being widows. Yun Jianli is this generation's male heir, the celestial heavens' rising star, nicknamed the sickly master. His talent, however…"
The corners of his eyes trembled before he continued, "Prior to following the orders to eliminate you from the lower bounds, I was once here and fought with the celestial heavens' young experts, and he is very powerful."
Qin Mu laughed slightly before saying, "You were Red Deity and Black Deity's disciple then, cultivating two Emperor's Throne grand techniques. When I fought you, your power was astonishing and impressed both Zhe Huali and me. It was just that you borrowed Red Deity's technique to enter the path, which made your divine art's reaction time slower than mine and Zhe Huali's. How did you fare against this sickly master Yun Jianli?"
"I lost pretty convincingly."
Qi Jiuyi could only admit it. "Even now, I don't think much of you, and I believe that I can win against you, but I admit defeat to him, and I admit how lacking my abilities are compared to his. However, I have experienced the baptism of Eternal Peace's reform, and if we were to fight again today, the outcome would be uncertain."
Qin Mu's expression changed.
Qi Jiuyi was originally already very powerful. Adding how he had always stayed in the lower bounds to help Xu Shenghua establish the High Heavens Academy, his experience had improved a long time ago.
Xu Shenghua also epitomized Eternal Peace's reform and possessed unmatched talent. Qi Jiuyi's power today was definitely much greater than before. Yet, he only dared to say that the outcome of the battle would be uncertain. That provided a great clue as to how badly Qi Jiuyi lost then!
At this very moment, the palace maid from before led a male and a female up the Slow Winding Pavilion. The young leader was skinny and tall. He wore a simple and elegant white shirt, and while he was somewhat pale, he was handsome.
Although he was in high spirits, there lingered some black aura in the heart of his eyebrows, as if it was permanent and beyond cure.
The sickly master Yun Jianli bowed down to Qin Mu and respectfully greeted him, saying, "Son of Yun, here to pay my respects to Celestial Venerable Mu."
Just as Qin Mu was about to hold him by the arm, he saw the lady behind Yun Jianli bowing to him as well, greeting him by saying, "Yun Chuxiu, here to pay my respects to Celestial Venerable Mu."
As Qin Mu observed Yun Chuxiu's features, he couldn't help but have his mind shaken.
Yan'er, who followed behind him, immediately observed the dense amount of goosebumps on the back of his neck. It was clear that Qin Mu felt that great danger was present and was extremely nervous.
'Young Master, why are you so nervous about the lady named Yun Chuxiu?'
Yan'er looked in the direction of the lady and couldn't help but be fascinated as she silently thought, 'Her robe is a cloud, and her face is a flower. Such a pretty girl is rare in this world. She would hardly be inferior to the young master's Granny Si.'
That lady had a lucid, elegant, and refined appearance, as if she was the world's most beautiful goddess who had walked out of legends, out of paintings. Her every frown, every smile, every action, and every word were natural and faultless.
Yet, Qin Mu felt a chill down his spine.
He had seen this lady before.
The cold air from the bottom of his heart uncontrollably rose to the top as he wondered, 'Shouldn't she be buried together with Celestial Empress in the coffins of the ghost ship? How has she escaped?'
"That person from a million years ago has returned."