“Lu Yun greets the nine celestial emperors.” Lu Yun bowed with a respectful grand gesture of greeting when he faced the nine.
“The headmaster needs not to do such, we were no longer celestial emperors long ago.” Zhao Fengyang smiled at Lu Yun with a slight shake of his head.
The nine former celestial emperors were seated within a great formation, bearing the brunt of maximum pressure from the World Gates. Theyd become one with the formation and were no longer able to move.
Not only had they missed out on the best days of immortal dao, but theyd even offered up their very lives for the cause.
Lu Yun looked at the nine in the formation, his eyes stinging with unshed tears as he took in their condition.
“…can I save them” He looked at Violetgrave.
Violetgrave was still seated on the ground, hugging her knees to herself. She looked back at him and shook her head. “They became one with the formation a long time ago. Their nascent spirits, souls, and true spirits actually died a very long time ago as well, and they persist in their duties only through a bit of lingering will.”
The previous celestial emperors had perished long ago, but their wills refused to dissipate and continued to support their bodies to protect the World Gates and everyone in the world of immortals.
Lu Yun had discovered this on his last visit. Hence, hed gifted karmic fruits to the nine celestial emperors so they could recover some vitality. But instead of using the fruit on themselves and raising their cultivation, they sent the fruits power into the formation to reinforce the World Gates.
Though Lu Yun was now peak empyrean realm, he still wasnt able to resurrect them. The nine celestial emperors hadnt left even a strand of soul force behind.
They were also different from Fuxi in that Fuxi had resided in his own tomb. The Tome of Life and Death could easily call upon the karmic relationships of the tomb to resurrect him. Here, the nine celestial emperors were the equivalent of being exposed to the elements. Their souls had long since scattered, their true spirits extinguished, and there was nothing that Hell Flowers could do for them.
Their cultivation was also much weaker compared to Fuxis, which was why Lu Yun had planned on having them be the master of the nine hells and use those facets to recollect their true spirits and souls.
“Dont be saddened, Lu Yun. Such has been the destiny of the nine celestial emperors for the past eighty thousand years. It is splendid that this fate ends with us.” Zhao Fengyang smiled.
He was just a strand of lingering will, but this will lingered with incomparable strength. As long as the World Gates stood, it would remain. But with the impending completion of their mission, the tremendous power gathered on their bodies was beginning to fade.
The last generation of celestial emperors were indescribable talents. What a pity that theyd been born too early and missed the glory days of immortal dao. If theyd been born just ten thousand years later, in this modern age, they wouldve certainly become chaos realm experts.
“Since you are here, we shall take our leave. Standing guard here for a hundred years has been such a tiresome duty. We are greatly looking forward to our rest.” Smiles on their faces deepened as they looked at Lu Yun.
“What a truly exhausting responsibility… Royal father, you never said that you would levy such a heavy burden on my shoulders when you made me your heir all those years ago. Thank goodness I bore it with distinction and did not disappoint you or the souls of the world of immortals.
“We may have missed out on this era, but to see its rise bestows meaning to our lives.”
The nine threw their heads back with joyous laughter and with one final smile, began fading away. Swiftly disintegrating in a shower of sparks, the disappearance of the last sparkling mote marked the collapse of the great formation with a boom.
Lu Yun stood in front of the World Gates—speechless, voiceless, motionless.
“They were all personages of great virtue. You can raise images of them and have them be reborn through worship as gods,” Violetgrave said softly as she took in how affected Lu Yun was.
After a hundred years of close contact, she also greatly pitied and venerated the nine. How theyd remained standing guard here, as if still alive, though they were dead!
“Theres no need for that.” Lu Yun shook his head with a sigh. “They accepted their death the moment they set foot here. Life and death mattered no more to them, following in the footsteps of their fathers was their dying wish.
“The era of the celestial emperors is over. Since they are in the past, let the past be past. If they return as gods, they will no longer be them. The name of the nine celestial emperors will live on in immortal dao history forevermore, to be remembered by future descendants.”
Lu Yun wore a complicated expression on his face; he deeply wished for the nine to be reborn through the fires of worship to be divine spirits of the immortal court. But they didnt wish for that to happen. Just as theyd said, they were too tired. It was time to rest.
The current celestial lords of the nine majors were also far from the old celestial emperors. Otherwise, Lu Yun wouldve saved the celestial emperor title even if hed had to bear the brunt of the curse himself.
With the dissipation of the final vestiges of the curse on Di Ling, the great emperor and celestial emperor titles could return to use. However, Lu Yun didnt want the mediocre and unworthy to insult these names.
Violetgrave looked at Lu Yun and nodded gently.
“There is one more year until the World Gates collapses. You have one more year to prepare, and you should take us away from here now,” she suddenly said to him.
“Alright.” Lu Yun pulled out the sword in the ground before the World Gates and sent Diexi, Yueshen, and Ruyi into hell before departing. Without protection, the World Gates would last for another year at the most.
He didnt ask Violetgrave about her affairs. Shed helped him multiple times after he entered the chaos; sometimes, asking too many questions about personal affairs would only result in estrangement.
The World Gates continuously shuddered and buckled over the next year. The entire world of immortals could feel the vibrations of their shaking. Within the center of Witherdew Major, the image of the ghost ancestor slowly sharpened into focus. It seemed ready to be reborn at any time.
The ghost ancestor was a peculiar life form that could be reborn an infinite number of times upon its death. Lu Yun and Qing Yu hadnt been able to find a way to end it for good, so Lu Yun had sealed away the part of the sky that the ghost ancestor resided in.
Armies of immortals raised their banners in the nine majors, ten lands, four immortal seas, and four oceans. The immortal emperor from the central world led them to the void where the World Gates were and set up extensive formations, ready for the cataclysm to arrive.
Though there were immortals residing in the nine hells, those facets had yet to form their courts. The nine masters were only keeping order as their guardians.
Tensions ran high and nerves were tightly strung. Everyone was waiting, waiting for doom to present itself.
In the third month of the hundredth year in the Xuanhuang calendar, the ghost ancestor in Witherdew Major suddenly revealed itself in full and howled at the sky.
The demonic sound reverberated through the world of immortals, shattering the World Gates as if it were a call to arms. Countless dead spirits surged in through the broken gates and dove down at their prey.-