Serenity surrounded the Slow Winding Pavilion.
Que Jingxue and others sunk into silence, their faces revealing the complex emotions and dilemmas within.
The Celestial River Divine Treasure moved them, but Qin Mu's extremely convincing speech moved them more.
Qin Mu wasn't wrong. The reason that the celestial heavens looked at reforms in a hostile fashion wasn't that they were afraid that their rule would be threatened by the lower bounds. Considering its scale, even if Eternal Peace was given thousands of years, it wasn't the celestial heavens' opponent.
The reason that the celestial heavens viewed reforms with hostility was that those in power within the celestial heavens couldn't attain any benefits from them. If they supported or ignored it, the foundation of their rule would be shaken!
If they accepted the reform, they would very likely fall and be taken advantage of by political enemies.
Even if they didn't reincarnate, they would still have to alter their own techniques and comprehend them again, which was akin to starting from scratch!
The energy needed to reform was too large, and the time taken was too long. What if some new youngling surpassed them during this period? What if they were replaced by some new youngling?
Why would they be willing to hand over their power and position?
If they ignored the reform, that would constitute a replacement of the old gods with new ones, and these new gods would be stronger than them, the old gods. Eventually, they would be overthrown, just like how they overthrew the reign of the ancient gods!
Hence, the simplest way to deal with reforms was to treat them like a betrayal, a rebellion to be purged!
Only then could they ensure the longevity of their reign and that they wouldn't fall, as it made sure that there was no chance of being replaced by future generations.
Even though they understood, Que Jingxue and the others faced a difficult dilemma.
Should they cultivate the Celestial River Divine Treasure? Should they accept Eternal Peace's reform?
If they didn't accept it, they would die on the battlefield in the future since the benefits of the Celestial River Divine Treasure couldn't be matched by the traditional Divine Bridge Divine Treasure. If they met someone who had opened the Celestial River Divine Treasure on the battlefield in the future, they would certainly be eliminated!
However, accepting the reform would mean that their sects would no longer tolerate them. The elders of their sects would immediately change sides and eliminate them and their clansmen!
Qi Jiuyi entered the pavilion and sat down quietly.
The scent of blood was oozing from him.
Those in the pavilion were shocked. Qi Jiuyi had said that he was going to send off those who left, and now, the scent of blood was oozing from his body. The likelihood was that they had died.
Qin Mu appeared curious, so Qi Jiuyi explained, "They have been dealt with. The celestial heavens clearly had the intent to kill Celestial Venerable Mu when they ordered them here. Thus, they were to die at the hands of Celestial Venerable Mu."
Qin Mu frowned and questioned, "Why did you kill them? Couldn't you just let them go?"
Qi Jiuyi smugly replied, "Let them go? Cult Master Qin, were you hoping to use them to disrupt the celestial heavens? You underestimate it. After they leave, anyone that dared to come to the Jade Pool will die mysteriously. Not one will live, including me!"
Que Jingxue and the others felt scared as their hearts turned cold.
Qin Mu asked, concerned, "Was it dealt with cleanly?"
"Very clean, their souls were dispersed."
Qi Jiuyi continued with a tinge of pride, "There's no need to doubt my abilities, Cult Master Qin. Ever since I opened the Celestial River Divine Treasure, I have improved by leaps and bounds. Their divine arts were all outclassed. In the past, I may not have been a worthy opponent to them, but now, they couldn't even take a hit from me."
Behind him, a nine-headed phoenix appeared atop the celestial river. Its primordial spirit was arrogant and conceited, and the phoenix itself was abnormally vicious as it said, "They were killed by Celestial Venerable Mu. They challenged Celestial Venerable Mu, but they didn't know of Celestial Venerable Mu's fiendish nature, which led to him obliterating their primordial spirits directly! I believe Celestial Venerable Mu won't mind such a charge, right?"
Qin Mu smiled. "I don't care, I can bear that."
Qi Jiuyi observed his surroundings, his eyes carrying a sinister aura. He comforted everyone, saying, "Everyone can relax. They have been killed by me. Even if you cultivate the Celestial River Divine Treasure, no one will know."
A young man murmured, "What if one of us here doesn't cultivate the Celestial River Divine Treasure?"
Qi Jiuyi stopped talking, and the nine-headed phoenix behind him flapped its wings, which radiated flames.
In despair, that man pleaded, "We certainly can't hide the fact that we opened the Celestial River Divine Treasure from our sect brothers and our masters! My master is the heavenly king of the celestial heavens too!"
Yun Jianli interrupted him. "You can go to the Primordial Realm."
Everyone was stunned, confused by the purpose of his speech.
Yun Jianli continued, "Going to the Primordial Realm is a way to live, as it will allow everyone here to avoid being detected by their sects. Additionally, there's Eternal Peace's reform in the lower bounds, which allows one to absorb more of the reform's benefits. After witnessing the capabilities of Celestial Venerable Mu, I too would like to head down. Staying in the celestial heavens is akin to watching the sky from a well, making one narrow-minded and limited in knowledge, unable to experience true heaven and earth. My generation of divine arts practitioners are also seekers of the path. Since the celestial heavens is a dead world where the high gods hold onto their positions of power, reluctant to improve, I see no hope in staying in the celestial heavens. Thus, why not head down below!"
Que Jingxue rose and laughed. "Celestial Venerable Mu, Yun Jianli, and the savage with nine brains, we will meet again in the Primordial Realm!"
Suddenly, she stopped, turned, and vaguely smiled at a silent youth in the pavilion that wore a yellow shirt. She then said, "Prince Yu, you are a member of the royal family, and thus, it's impossible that you would support the reform, right? It's also impossible for you to cultivate the Celestial River Divine Treasure, right?"
That youth with the yellow shirt's expression changed rapidly, and he rose immediately. In a state of alarm, he rebutted, "What are you talking about, Sister Jingxue? I have no chance of being the emperor, no matter how high my level of cultivation is! Celestial Emperor doesn't age and doesn't die. Naturally, I am to be rebellious! I support the reform!"
"Well said! Although I don't trust you."
Que Jingxue laughed and called on the others, saying, "All of us here are on the Splendid Youths List and Divine Talents List, and it's clear that we all need to dirty our hands in order to feel assured. Otherwise, should the news break out that we have cultivated the Celestial River Divine Treasure, none of us will live!"
Those in the pavilion rose.
The youth in the yellow shirt knew that the situation was bad for him, so he immediately rose into the air and attempt to bust out of the roof of the Slow Winding Pavilion and escape from the top.
The moment his body moved, nearly everyone in the Slow Winding Pavilion acted as well. One by one, figures flashed as countless divine arts were activated to crush the youth in the yellow shirt.
His primordial spirit didn't escape either, being completely obliterated by them.
It took a long time for tranquility to be restored after everyone landed with their clothes still fluttering.
Qin Mu, Qi Jiuyi, and Yun Jianli watched the scene silently, refusing to intervene by stopping it or speaking.
Que Jingxue wiped her hands clean and stared deeply into Qin Mu's eyes, probing him by saying, "Prince Yu challenged Celestial Venerable Mu and was killed by him in the Slow Winding Pavilion."
Qin Mu nodded and acknowledged her, saying, "I killed him."
"Many thanks for the blessing of the Celestial Venerable!"
Que Jingxue kowtowed to Qin Mu before she rose and left.
The others followed suit.
Within the pavilion, only Qin Mu, Qi Jiuyi, and Yun Jianli were left, while outside of it, Yan'er and the dragon qilin stood guard.
Qin Mu was the first to break the silence, sighing. "When I came to the celestial heavens, I intended to kill people to show off my might and greatly disrupt the celestial heavens. Unexpectedly, not only did I not kill a single person, but I have to take the blame for killing many whom I didn't kill."
Yun Jianli coughed as the black qi between his eyebrows became denser, remarking, "This is where Celestial Venerable Mu's power lies. Celestial Venerable, in a short while, you removed over 20 talents from the Splendid Youths List and the Divine Talents List. All of them were talents painstakingly groomed by the celestial heavens' heavenly kings, Celestial Venerables, and ancient gods, and all of them were forced and manipulated to rebel against them. I'm curious, what exactly did you do in the Primordial Realm?"
Qin Mu's spirits rose as he leaned over and asked, "Brother Yun, have you heard of the Heavenly Saint Cult? You see, the reason that Brother Qi always refers to me as Cult Master Qin is that I'm the Heavenly Saint Cult's master. Are you interested, Brother Yun?"
Yun Jianli laughed before coughing violently again.
Qin Mu felt shaken in his heart as his third eye opened wide. After some examination, he concluded, "After you opened the Celestial River Divine Treasure, your power increased greatly. Thus, you are now nearer to your death date!"
Yun Jianli smiled in reply. "Although my death will come soon, your death is sooner. Now that you took responsibility for so many lives, there will be high gods coming after you!"
Qin Mu leisurely replied, "There are a lot of people that want me dead in the celestial heavens, but there are also a lot of people that wish to avoid that. This is because of how I'm not only Celestial Venerable Mu and one of the three heroes of Eternal Peace's reform but also the invincible Great Wizard. People who wish for me to live will protect me after witnessing my power during our battle. The unbreakable celestial heavens will break into two because of my arrival. The feud between them will grow deeper and more obvious."
Yun Jianli felt a chill down his spine before he sighed. "I now understand why you insisted on coming to the celestial heavens, even at the risk of your life. If you remained in the Primordial Realm, the conflict within the celestial heavens could be suppressed. However, your arrival aroused the internal conflicts within the celestial heavens, causing them to explode and fracture the celestial heavens. After this, the celestial heavens will no longer focus on the lower bounds and will instead focus on handling the internal crisis. Celestial Venerable Mu, are your schemes always so deep?"
Qin Mu vaguely smiled as he said, "Down below, what we have are old and experienced wanderers. I was played by these wanderers to help kickstart the Eternal Peace Calamity. What I'm doing now is nothing compared to that."
Outside the door, the dragon qilin called out, "Cult Master, Lady Yun Chuxiu has arrived."
They immediately changed topics as Qin Mu told him, "I ordered people to arrange rooms for the both of you. It would be great for both of you to stay here temporarily."
Yun Chuxiu's arrival at the Slow Winding Pavilion was a showcase of her energetic nature. She was always busy surrounding herself with Qin Mu and Qi Jiuyi, while Qi Jiuyi tried to have her by his side, which made her feel harassed.
Yun Jianli's condition grew to become more desperate due to his dense cultivation, so Qin Mu was forced to cultivate the Supreme Palace Enclosure Higher Knowledge faster to strengthen his consciousness to prepare for his refining of the cure for Yun Jianli's bloodline curse.
His consciousness grew stronger and stronger, and after his modification of the Supreme Palace Enclosure Higher Knowledge, the speed of his cultivation superseded his expectations.
'Not much longer, and I will be able to try and break Yun Jianli's bloodline curse!'
Suddenly, the sky slowly turned dark, and Qin Mu was forced to stop his cultivation and exit the Slow Winding Pavilion quickly. The Slow Winding Pavilion was Celestial Empress' residence and should be eternally radiant. It was impossible for the sky here to turn dark.
Yet, at this moment, the celestial bodies of the sky turned dark, and the stars faded. The sky's color resembled that of dusk.
Many of the Slow Winding Pavilion's palace maids emerged, and some hastily looked for lanterns to hang up.
Yun Jianli, Yun Chuxiu, and Qi Jiuyi also walked out to look at the sky.
In the sky, the sun also slowly faded away while the moon dimmed. As the moonlight became impossible to observe, the stars disappeared from the sky, the color of night becoming denser and denser.
"Is this the case for the entire celestial heavens?"
A palace maid shouted, "Or is it only the sky above the Jade Pool?"
The other palace maids were busy lighting up lanterns and hanging them, so no answers came.
The number of lights in the Slow Winding Pavilion grew, and it became extremely striking in the darkness.
Yun Jianli realized the situation and ran to the Slow Winding Pavilion, shouting, "This isn't good! Don't light up the lanterns! Quickly extinguish them!"
Qin Mu restrained him and said, "Don't be so anxious, Brother Yun, let's see which side is more powerful!"
A cold sweat broke out on Yun Jianli's forehead as Yun Chuxiu curiously examined her surroundings before exclaiming, "There's something approaching in the Jade Sea! Something came from the tributary of the celestial river and entered the Jade Sea!"
In the darkness, waves suddenly rose from the Jade Sea's surface and towered over the sky. It was as tall as the wall that connected heaven and earth and approached the Slow Winding Pavilion at a terrifying speed!
Countless instances of lightning and thunder flashed and rumbled in the sky. The entire Jade Pool had been secretly blanketed by dark clouds, and within it, sparks appeared suddenly. The sparks grew brighter and brighter, and they lit up the dark clouds so much that it looked like they were going to burn them.
Soon, from the clouds, a sinister face belonging to a heavenly king with a curly mustache was spotted. The lightning formed his mustache, and it spread out in all directions, looking as if it was a chaotic dance by curly dragons. It was unspeakably terrifying!
The heavenly king of lightning with the curly mustache looked down at the huge waves on the Jade Sea below and suddenly opened his twisted mouth and released an earth-shattering roar that made the waves crumble.
A huge object rose from the ocean, and the dragon roar from it shook the ground. An incomprehensibly large island that was both black and green in color rose from the bottom of the ocean.
Qin Mu looked at the terrifying sight in front of him, and his gaze grew ever brighter before he muttered, "How to acquire a turning point and drag a son from the celestial heavens?"
Yun Chuxiu heard that and turned to look at him, appearing to be confused.
Qin Mu smiled at her, and Yun Chuxiu, in return, smiled back sweetly.
Serenity surrounded the Slow Winding Pavilion.