A look of astonishment showed on Ye Qingyu's face.
Although it was just a casual push he gave, it nevertheless contained a force of several million Newtons, yet the tombstone remained completely unmoved!
It was too odd.
How can such a small stone tablet be this heavy!
Unable to believe it, Ye Qingyu pushed once again.
This time, he really used force.
The tombstone remained standing, as steady as a mountain.
Ye Qingyu felt like he was an ant trying to shake a tree during that moment.
He inspected the tombstone again but still did not feel that it contained any fiendgod power or even a strain of yuan qi. It was well and truly a normal tombstone.
I still don't believe it!
Trying once again, Ye Qingyu exerted all of his power to push the stone tablet.
But it simply did not budge an inch.
The feeble voice from beneath the tombstone continued to be heard intermittently.
True Will of the Sky Dragon!
Turning his palms into dragon claws, Ye Qingyu burst forth the greatest physical power possible to push the tombstone.
Amid the dull thud, the black tombstone remained as unmoved as a block of iron which had lodged here for ten thousand years.
"What's going on?" Ye Qingyu was utterly confounded.
Unconvinced, he subsequently tried various methods and angles several times, but the tombstone still remained steadfast and unshakeable, such that even the soil around it did not show any sign of caving in.
Since I can't push you open, I'll split you apart!
He immediately clenched his empty palm, causing the purple chaotic power of thunder and lightning to transform into an electric longsword which struck toward the tombstone.
A huge blare rang out.
Sparks flew in every direction.
The tombstone trembled several times but showed no sign of cracking, as if it was a bulwark made from diamond and iron which had just been struck by an ordinary blunt weapon.
Ye Qingyu’s mouth gaped open.
The chaotic power of thunder and lightning, which was able to sunder the physical body of an Immortal Step realm expert in an instant, and which contained a legacy of the Lightning Emperor, had only managed to set off a few sparks on the tombstone!
Where are these rocks of a black-and-gray material from, and how can they be this heavy and sturdy?
"Saveee me... save me..."
The activity beneath the tombstone was tapering off.
Ye Qingyu turned his head and glanced at the Celestial Phoenix Maiden.
She betrayed no intention of doing anything.
His divine sense immediately worked up and entered the [Cloud Top Cauldron].
The [Blood Drinker Sword], which was as huge as a door plank, was gleaming in a weak, blood-colored splendor as it floated in the cauldron. Just as Ye Qingyu was about to grab hold of and try using it, he suddenly saw that floating on the other side was the [Dragonblood halberd] resting in a dormant state.
How did I forget about it?
The stretch of ruins on which the halberd had appeared was the most severely wrecked battlefield Ye Qingyu had passed by. All of its Fiendgod-age buildings and tombstones were pulverized, and were testament to the apocalyptic power of this sub-Emperor weapon.
Why not give it a shot first?
Ye Qingyu wanted to ascertain the might of the halberd.
He directly reached a hand out to grab hold of it.
"Time to try you out."
Being an ancestral weapon of the Dragonblood Dynasty, it remained uncertain whether Ye Qingyu could activate it.
Feeling doubtful, Ye Qingyu tried to inject a pinch of the power of thunder and lightning into the halberd.
A strange change abruptly broke out.
A burst of purple and golden radiance appeared on the body of the seemingly-dormant dragon, which was immediately awakened. At the same time, the blood-colored halberd emitted a bloody mist and erupted with an extremely terrifying power.
"Done... I've actually managed to activate this divine weapon. Hah!"
Ye Qingyu was ecstatic.
As if it contained the might of a fiendgod, the roar of the dragon shook the heavens and caused one to feel mentally uneasy.
Bathed in a purple and golden halo, Ye Qingyu clenched the halberd and effortfully struck the tombstone.
The tough-as-diamond-and-iron black tombstone was instantly crushed into stones that scattered all around the grave.
A haggard figure in tattered clothes whose body was badly mutilated and covered in bloodstain and dirt crawled out from the grave.
"It's... it's you!"
Ye Qingyu exclaimed in surprise.
He was still able to recognize the figure's identity from the aura and clothing material even though the latter was not only disheveled and stained all over but also facially disfigured.
It was the master of the Ancient Sky Dragon Sect - Tian Huayu.
Ye Qingyu remembered that Tian Huayu was the first Immortal Step realm pinnacle expert who stood in the ring and entered the Door of Life using a spot of a guardian of the Sky Meteor Sect.
After crawling out of the grave with his hands and legs, Tian Huayu's breath was so thin that it seemed like it could soon be his last. He expended all of his remaining energy to crawl beside a broken tombstone which he then leaned on as he panted. The expression of agony on his face suggested that his body was constantly being tormented by some kind of power.
Ye Qingyu examined in detail.
He realized that Tian Huayu's body was covered all over in strange blackish-green marks to go with the bloodied flesh and dirt.
These marks appeared to be disclosed from beneath his skin rather than smeared onto it.
On closer look, it was found that the blood vessels throughout his limbs were bulging, and a blackish-green liquid was surging within them.
It appeared that a frightening power had corroded his vessels and yuan qi, causing his vitality to drop close to nil.
"It's the power of a curse."
There was a surprise and caution in the voice of the Celestial Phoenix Maiden, who took a step back.
Ye Qingyu was astounded upon hearing this.
Those blackish-green marks are the power of a curse?
He had heard that anyone, even a quasi-emperor, whose body was afflicted with the power of a curse would be on a death timer. Moreover, this power was like a bone-corroding poisonous insect which would instantly infect nearby experts and cause sudden deaths.
"You... you're... human..."
While showing every sign that he was enduring great pain, Tian Huayu raised his head to look at Ye Qingyu and even revealed a feeble smile on his wretched face.
The latter nodded.
As if seeing hope, Tian Huayu suddenly channeled his remaining yuan qi into a heart vessel and then, with what seemed to be his last gasp, opened his mouth to speak words which sounded like that of an imploration.
"This is... the Sky Dragon token... The Ancient Sky Dragon Sect's.... master token... The Ancient Sky Dragon Domain has run out of resources... its laws have been worn out... its life cycle won't reach two thousand years... and when the time comes... all beings will face destruction... The former masters of my sect put in painstaking efforts to... impart their lifelong learnings... and only thus gave me the strength to enter the Door of Life... A million years ago, the quasi-emperor of my sect... entered the 18th district... but... disappeared together with... several precious treasures... Please use this master token to... find the Sky Dragon treasures and... bring them back to the Ancient Sky Dragon Domain to revitalize the sect... Seeing as we're... fellow humans... Save the people of... the domain... I... won't make it... Young man... I... beggg you... please..."
Tian Huanyu spoke brokenly with a face of beseechment.
A generational talent had fallen just like that.
Tightly grasping a dark iron token engraved with a totem of a dragon soaring into the sky, his consciousness was already somewhat muddled, but the depths of his eyes still revealed a hint of unresignedness and aggrievance.
In the contention for hegemony among the tenthousand races of the myriad domains, the Human Race's downward trend was already old news.
As Ye Qingyu looked at the man who bore the destiny of an entire domain, he could not help thinking associatively about the circumstances of the Heaven Wasteland Domain, and thus felt a tinge of sympathy in his heart.
He reached his hand out to take the master token.
"Okay... I promise you."
His expression and tone were solemn and respectful.
"That... great... I've used up my vitality... I was afflicted... with the power of a curse... and will soon leave this place... My body will... bring the curse onto innocent people... so please also bury me here..."
Tian Huayu revealed a hint of relief.
His breath instantly waned.
He had managed to sustain himself on a single breath earlier on.
As a holder of Great Dao, his responsibilities were heavy and his road had been long.
He had borne the prosperity and decline of the Ancient Sky Dragon Sect, as well as the livelihoods of all beings in the Ancient Sky Dragon Domain, on his back since the day he was born. His time, however, was up before he had realized his aspirations, and thus his mental anguish way surpassed his physical pain.
Seeing that the young man had come all this way and even rescued him from the tombstone that pinned him down, he knew that the latter was of uncommon strength and opportunity, and hence believed that entrusting the latter with the destiny of the Ancient Sky Dragon Sect would not be unaccountable to the hopes of his ancestors.
When Ye Qingyu saw that Tian Huayu had a dying divine sense and but a lingering breath of life, he hurriedly asked, "What exactly happened? Why were you afflicted with the power of a curse? Where are the others?"
"It's... it's..." Tian was practically sleep-talking in his muzzy consciousness. "Beware of... the Four Stars holy girl... she..."
As soon as he spoke.
Without exhaling a breath, the sect master's head tilted to one side as he moved onto another world.
What do you mean?
Who suppressed you under the tombstone and implanted the curse?
And what's with the Four Stars holy girl?
Ye Qingyu's head was filled with fog.
While he still had a stomachful of questions he had not managed to ask, Tian Huayu had already run out of vitality.
Two hours later.
Ye Qingyu's mind was still full of questions as he galloped forth.
Tian Huanyu was already peacefully lying six feet under.
The Celestial Phoenix Maiden continued to hurry with great haste.
After they passed through the grassland, they arrived before a hill with a gentle slope and blooming wild flowers.
"We've arrived." The Celestial Phoenix Maiden paused her footsteps and spoke with a hint of delight and excitement.
"Ah? Arrived at what?" Ye Qingyu looked at the hill ahead.
The Celestial Phoenix Maiden raised a finger and pointed.
Ye Qingyu looked toward the direction she pointed in.
"Eh, you mean... that... withered tree?"
He was somewhat unconvinced.
In the distance.
Among the large stretch of flourishing green stood a veteran tree of several hundred meters in height whose canopy covered the greater part of the hill and whose trunk needed a dozen-odd people to wrap around.
Exhibiting a whole universe of vicissitudes and heaviness, the veteran tree's bark was gloomy and dry-cracked while its leafless, dead branches spread obliquely like an extended iron arm.
Ever since entering this primeval plane of the Fiendgod Age, Ye Qingyu saw that the natural scenery all contained a spiritual essence and exuberant vitality.
Along the way, they had seen quite a number of towering, canopy-providing trees with luxuriant leaves.
However, the strange old tree in front of them was the first withered tree they had seen.
That's odd. If it's a withered tree, why does it contain a trace of vitality within it...
Ye Qingyu's divine sense had perceived a very weak vitality emanating from the withered tree.
He carefully scrutinized the tree and discovered that there were a few fingernail-sized buds on some thin branches at the top of the cone-shaped tree.
A withered tree can grow leaves?
This is certainly a rare sight.
Moreover, these small heart-shaped leaves were extremely pointed. With one glance, Ye Qingyu identified them as the leaves of a parasol tree.
There's actually a parasol tree here?
Along the way, Ye Qingyu had seen innumerable common and rare plant species, but this nearly-withered veteran tree was the first parasol tree he had seen.
At the same time, he saw a giant bird’s nest built using twigs and withered leaves on those budding branches.
This bird’s nest was as big as a typical human house, and was heavily concealed among the tree crotch. From afar, it looked like a messy heap of dead branches, each of which was of an extremely primitive metallic texture, as though they were metal bones that were deposited over a period of millions of years.
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