Xiao Chen made some mental calculations. With this large number of Spirit Stones, as long as there were people with talent in Heavenly Star City, he could nurture them to prepare for the future establishment of the Dragon’s Gate, bringing in new blood continuously.
The two weaved their way between the piles of Spirit Stones and eventually found themselves before another stone door.
The path to the next hall was not smooth going. There was also a combat puppet with its bowed head covered in dust at both sides of the stone door.
After ten thousand years, these combat puppets of unknown strength in the past now appeared lifeless, showing no sign of any activity.
Mo Chen glanced at them and said, “Those are Emperor Grade combat puppets. If they were perfect and flawless, their strength would rival a Martial Emperor.”
Xiao Chen was astonished in his heart. How strong exactly was the Dragon’s Gate in the past? They even managed to create Emperor Grade combat puppets.
“Creak! Creak! Creak!”
Just as Xiao Chen was thinking of how to open the stone door in front, one of the combat puppets gave off creaking sounds from every joint as it started to move.
This startled both Xiao Chen and Mo Chen. They pushed off the ground and moved back immediately, raising their guard.
After a while, this combat puppet suddenly raised its head. Two faint flames burned in its eye sockets. The dim flames gave off a feeling of weakness as if they might die out at any moment.
However, the aura that the combat puppet exuded deterred them from underestimating it. The instant it raised its head, it forced the two to move back again.
When the combat puppet saw the Azure Dragon King’s insignia on Xiao Chen’s chest, it lost all hostile intentions.
“The current Azure Dragon King is actually this weak! How far has the Dragon’s Gate sunk? Even for a small reserve treasure trove, the Azure Dragon King himself is here to collect it? Is there no one else in the Xiao Clan’s line?”
A somewhat mechanical and hoarse voice came from the combat puppet.
This startled Xiao Chen and Mo Chen anew. This combat puppet could actually think. Its thoughts were clear, and its reasoning ability was good like it was a normal human being.
However, it seemed like the combat puppet did not notice the passing of time or know what went on outside.
Xiao Chen calmed himself and said, “Senior, the Azure Emperor is already dead, and the Dragon’s Gate was destroyed ten thousand years ago. The Xiao Clan was forced to a lower realm, the Sky Dome Realm, and left the Kunlun Realm long ago.”
“Ten thousand years? The Dragon’s Gate is destroyed already?”
The combat puppet seemed like it could not take in that news, unable to accept the truth before it. “How did the Azure Emperor die? He was unparalleled, sweeping through everywhere he went. The Immortal Deity Sovereign, the Reincarnated Corpse King, the Fiend God Ju Yi, the Master of the Seven Seas, the Deep Abyss Demon Monarchs, the Dark Church Master, none of them are a match for him. How did he die?!”
Xiao Chen said, “Before reaching Martial God, death is inevitable on the path of cultivation. Senior, please calm down. Although the Azure Emperor’s death was very mysterious, it already happened and is indisputable. Furthermore, the Dragon’s Gate no longer exists.”
The truth was cruel. However, Xiao Chen still needed to say it. After he explained a few times, the mysterious combat puppet finally accepted this truth. However, the flames in the eye sockets turned even more illusory.
After chatting for a while, Xiao Chen also came to know who this combat puppet was. While alive, it had been a War Venerate of the Dragon’s Gate. After death, the soul used a secret technique of the Ghost Race to seal itself in the combat puppet. Then, it continued to serve the Dragon’s Gate by guarding the treasure trove.
According to the combat puppet, a Dragon’s Gate War Venerate was someone who had made great military contributions and survived ten thousand battles. One would be honored with such a title only after many rigorous and difficult tests.
Only these people could continue to serve the Dragon’s Gate loyally after death. Every War Venerate had been a Greater Heavenly Martial Emperor, at the very least, when they were still alive. At the Dragon’s Gate peak, there had been over a hundred War Venerates, an extremely strong force.
“The matters of the world are really hard to predict. After sleeping for so long, I find that ten thousand years have passed. Since you opened this Dragon’s Gate Treasure Trove, then we will do things by the rules the Dragon’s Gate left behind. How much you can obtain depends on how strong you are. The Dragon’s Gate Treasure Trove cannot be taken just because you are the Azure Emperor’s descendant.”
The mysterious combat puppet stretched out its hand, and a suction pulled over a spear on the ground.
Xiao Chen and Mo Chen exchanged glances. They were surprised at the way events were unfolding.
Mo Chen sent a voice projection, He is currently not in a good state. His soul has reached a point where it can dissipate at any moment. As long as the battle starts, he will die immediately.
“If you want to open these stone doors, you have to defeat me first. Only then will you be qualified to enter. If you do not have the courage, then just take the Spirit Stones outside and leave.” The combat puppet looked at Xiao Chen and brandished the spear while standing in front of the stone doors.
Xiao Chen hesitated for a while and then said, “In that case, I choose to leave. In the future, when I have time, I’ll come down frequently to spend time with Senior.”
“Coward!” the combat puppet roared with rage burning deep in its heart.
It pointed the spear at Xiao Chen and said in a quivering voice, “Who gave you a choice, letting you be so soft? Don’t make me, a Dragon’s Gate War Venerate, look down on you. Draw your saber and make the decision that you should really make.”
The quivering voice echoed in the vast hall, sounding very mournful.
This was simply seeking death. Using its death, the combat puppet forced Xiao Chen down the path to the next hall.
The Azure Emperor was no longer around; the Dragon’s Gate was already destroyed. Its past glory had all turned to ashes.
However, these previous Dragon’s Gate War Venerates still carried themselves proudly, proud of the glory. They served the Dragon’s Gate loyally even to the point of being unable to rest after their death.
No matter how long this dream is, when I open my eyes, even if the sky has flipped over and the ground is destroyed, I am still me. However, the world is no longer the world of before.
“Xiao Chen, draw your saber and don’t be a coward. Don’t forget your identity!”
The weak flames in the combat puppet’s eyes suddenly blazed, radiating boundless light. The thick layer of dust on its armor fell off, and an azure-colored Battle Armor with the words “War Venerate” on it appeared.
Xiao Chen’s expression turned serious, and he nudged Mo Chen away. With a wave of his hand, he held up the Lunar Shadow Saber. The feeling in his heart was indescribable.
He bowed, conveying all the things unsaid in his heart.
“Ta! Ta! Ta!” The previous War Venerate, now combat puppet, broke into a dash.
During the past ten thousand years, no one had maintained the combat puppet. Time was a cruel weapon. This puppet was once an Emperor Grade combat puppet. Now, it was no longer as ferocious and agile as before. It even had many broken parts inside.
However, as the combat puppet ran over, the entire space started trembling. It moved nimbly and projected a horrifying aura, presenting an invulnerable stance.
Everything it did made this move even more horrifying, surging with an indomitable aura.
Xiao Chen knew that this was just a sudden spurt of strength prior to collapse. Soon, the other party’s already weak soul would drain all its energy and dissipate, vanishing from this world.
The combat puppet leaped into the air!
This previous Dragon’s Gate War Venerate linked hundreds of spear images together, creating a very shocking scene. This spear strike looked extremely beautiful, the most moving spear strike Xiao Chen had ever seen.
“Rattle! Rattle!” As the combat puppet charged forward, parts of its armor fell off and burned in the air. By the time they landed, only piles of ashes remained.
It looked like the combat puppet would just reach Xiao Chen, but most of its body had already vanished and burned as the pieces fell to the ground, turning into ash. Before it reached Xiao Chen, it would probably all burn away.
The combat puppet shouted a war cry with just half its head left. It clearly felt deeply dissatisfied, but it still placed its hopes on Xiao Chen. With its final ergs of strength, the Dragon’s Gate War Venerate hurled the spear in its hand at Xiao Chen.
The instant the spear left the combat puppet’s hand, the rest of its body immediately burned up. At the very end, Xiao Chen thought he saw it smile.
This was not a smile of satisfaction at receiving release but a smile at Xiao Chen for making a choice, so that all its painstaking efforts had not been in vain. Even after death, the Dragon’s Gate War Venerate was a person of the Dragon’s Gate.
In the end, Xiao Chen did not draw his saber. The instant the spear flew towards him, he tilted his hand to the side, reached out, and grabbed, catching this spear.
The sight of the ashes on the ground rendered him speechless for a long time. He could still feel the warmth from the spear as if it was the loyalty and hot-bloodedness of this Dragon’s Gate War Venerate.
Xiao Chen put away the spear and walked over to the pile of ash. Now, everything had turned into ash except for a badge. Even after getting burned by the flames, this badge still shone brightly, its light undiminished.
Xiao Chen picked it up and blew off the ash on it. The words “Dragon’s Gate War Venerate” were carved on it.
As he clasped the badge, his heart felt heavy.
“Big Brother Xiao Chen, are you alright?” Mo Chen asked out of concern as she walked over. She noticed something off with his emotions.
He stood up and forced out a smile. Then, he opened his hand, letting the War Venerate badge sit on his palm. He replied, “I’m fine.”
Mo Chen said with a serious expression, “Big Brother Xiao, don’t overthink this. That senior departed happily. I saw him smiling at the end. He hopes that you will continue going forward. Mo Chen will accompany Big Brother Xiao all the way as well.”
Xiao Chen entered deep thought. Then, he handed the badge he held to Mo Chen. “This badge is for you.”
Mo Chen revealed a smile of joy as she received the badge. Then, she glanced at it and said, “Dragon’s Gate War Venerate. Are you bestowing this title on me? However, Mo Chen is still far from being worthy of this title.”
Xiao Chen smiled and said, “It’s fine. I believe that Mo Chen will be worthy one day.”
Mo Chen felt happy as she properly put away the badge. Then, she headed down to the next hall with Xiao Chen. The stone doors in the way had already opened silently, allowing for smooth passage.
The second hall of the treasure trove held piles upon piles of Black Astral Coins. The amount was shocking like before—over ten billion.
When Mo Chen saw this, her eyes gleamed. The most basic material for refining Secret Treasures was the metal contained within Black Astral Coins. With so many Black Astral Coins, she was now more likely to be able to mass-produce King Grade Secret Treasures.
This hall also contained a combat puppet guarding the stone doors. Its reaction was exactly the same as the one before it.
After Xiao Chen found the Dragon’s Gate War Venerate badge in the ashes, he and Mo Chen continued to the next hall.
In such a manner, Xiao Chen went through halls containing Superior Grade Spirit Stones and Black Astral Coins, then reached halls containing Secret Treasures, secret manuals, Medicinal Pills, and divine materials.
The Secret Treasures were all at least Sage Grade Secret Treasures; some of them reached King Grade. However, there was no Emperor Grade Secret Treasure at all.
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