When the others saw the situation, they moved away in due haste. The self-detonation of a Great Perfection quasi-Emperor was not something that they could withstand.
Xiao Chen did not move back. According to his calculations, Mo Chen should be almost done at Black Flame Island. Zhuang Zhenghe’s Dharmic Body would not last for much longer.
Even if she was not done yet, he could not retreat. He needed to block most of the energy from Zhuang Zhenghe’s self-detonation.
Xiao Chen could not allow the people of Heavenly Star Island to be swept up in the blast.
Xiao Chen’s physical body already reached the peak of the Sage Body. Furthermore, he had the Azure Dragon Battle Armor formed by the Azure Dragon Body Nourishing Art. Hence, he would not suffer much damage from Zhuang Zhenghe’s self-detonation.
Suddenly, the berserk Zhuang Zhenghe revealed an expression of horror. He quickly discontinued his self-detonation, and his body deflated like a leaking balloon.
Not only did Zhuang Zhenghe stop his self-detonation, but his cultivation also fell from Great Perfection quasi-Emperor to Small Perfection quasi-Emperor. Then, it declined further until it stabilized at peak great grandmaster-level Martial Sage.
“You broke my source of faith. How can that be? How did you know the weakness of the power of faith?!” Zhuang Zhenghe stared at Xiao Chen in extreme disbelief. How could Xiao Chen learn about this secret?
Xiao Chen placed his saber against Zhuang Zhenghe’s neck. His eyes were calm as he retorted indifferently, “How did I know? There is no need for you to care. Just tell me how you obtained the methods of spreading Buddhism for cultivation. Spit it out, and I’ll let you die painlessly.”
Just as Zhuang Zhenghe was about to say something, he suddenly stopped breathing. His eyes lost their animation, and his heart stopped beating. He died.
Xiao Chen’s expression changed. He bent over and took a look. Zhuang Zhenghe’s body was still warm, and there was no obvious sign of damage.
Zhuang Zhenghe’s heart, lungs, and other internal organs were all intact and functional. There were no signs of him committing suicide. It looked like his soul was destroyed. Someone forcibly eliminated the soul in this physical body.
Xiao Chen straightened and stared in the direction of Black Flame Island. Something probably happened there.
“Xiao Chen, what should we do with these people?”
Lan Shaobai had people restrain the leaders of the eight factions before he went to Xiao Chen.
Of these faction leaders, aside from Fu Lianyun being gravely injured, on the verge of death, the others sustained relatively lighter injuries. They only lost their capability to fight.
To a quasi-Emperor, as long as it was not a fatal wound, they could recover from it.
When the injured quasi-Emperors heard Lan Shaobai’s words, they all looked at Xiao Chen. Aside from the Metal Blood Sect’s Chen Ming, they all started pleading for mercy.
“Azure Dragon King, we were too rash this time. We are willing to compensate for all of Heavenly Star City’s losses.”
“That’s right. We are even willing to give you everything we possess. All we ask is that you let us live.”
At this moment, some hope appeared in Fu Lianyun’s eyes. He said weakly, “Azure Dragon King, please let us go. I, Fu Lianyun, can vow that I will bring my family far away and live an ordinary life.”
“Family?” Xiao Chen scoffed lightly. Then, he said indifferently, “You all probably do not have families anymore.”
When the quasi-Emperors heard this, their expressions all changed. They all became agitated and shouted.
“What do you mean?! Xiao Chen, you can’t be that ruthless, right? There are rules and morals in the world. We do not harm each other’s families. Do you not even know that? Be careful of upsetting someone of the older generation who decides to come for your life!”
That was right. In this world where strength ruled, there were no saints and laws. Whoever was stronger was the voice of reason. This was especially so in the chaotic Western Sea. Nevertheless, everyone still had a bottom line.
Not bringing trouble to one’s family was an unwritten rule. As long as one was not an evil cultivator or a Demon, they could not do such an immoral thing.
Although Xiao Chen already sentenced these people to death in his heart, he did not have any intention of touching their families. He looked around, and his gaze stopped on Chen Ming. Then, he calmly said, “Don’t overthink this. It is not I who did it. Sect Master Chen should be very clear on what happened.”
The others all looked at Chen Ming. Anxiety filled their eyes as they asked, “Chen Ming, what’s going on? Are our families all dead?”
Chen Ming looked at the rest and laughed loudly, “That’s right. Your families are all dead; that goes for all the ordinary people on the islands as well. Every one of them died in Zhuang Zhenghe’s ceremony. Don’t blame anyone but yourselves for being greedy. The winner takes all, and the loser loses everything. This is something that you guys should have learned the moment you became cultivators.
“I, Chen Ming, am greedy too. I believed that Zhuang Zhenghe had some path to becoming a Martial Emperor. How naive of me! How could the path to Emperor be so easy to take? Azure Dragon King, I will go first. I’ll meet you four years later. Hahahaha!”
As the Metal Blood Sect’s Sect Master Chen Ming laughed maniacally, he vomited mouthfuls of blood. He broke his own heart veins and died of a shattered heart.
The other leaders of the eight factions all turned ashen, somewhat unable to accept this fact. They kept muttering to themselves.
This was especially so for Fu Lianyun. He thought about his earlier actions and found them extremely funny. He had tossed away his pride and fought hard while Zhuang Zhenghe remained behind and killed his family. What could be sadder than this?
The more Fu Lianyun thought about this, the more stifled he felt. Originally, he had already been on the verge of death. Now, he could no longer breathe and collapsed entirely, showing no signs of life.
Xiao Chen looked at the other faction leaders but did not have much compassion for them. He said, “Kill them!”
The cultivators restraining the group of Small Perfection quasi-Emperors raised their weapons and chopped down; blood spurted everywhere. Having invaded Heavenly Star Island and reduced Heavenly Star City to rubble, these Small Perfection quasi-Emperors who had killed so many cultivators all died.
The path to Martial Emperor is built on bones and blood. If I do not kill today, someday, someone else will kill me, hurt my friends, and destroy my family.
The heart of an Emperor could not hesitate; it could not waver. It had to be decisive when killing.
As Xiao Chen stood beside Lan Shaobai, they chatted softly, looking with regret at the ruined Heavenly Star City.
This Heavenly Star City had been built well. It was just constructed, and it already underwent such a disaster. Fortunately, this happened before they set out the Dragon’s Gate’s mountain tablet. If they had already done so and announced it to the world, this disaster would have stirred up a huge wave.
Amid the howling cold wind, Xiao Chen seemed to see a scene of the future.
There were endless killing and blood. A city of metal and blood stood tall in flames. In the end, no one dared to attack it anymore.
As Xiao Chen looked at Lan Shaobai beside him, he felt very moved as well.
Back then, when Xiao Chen was in the Supreme Sky Sect, Shui Lingling told him that Lan Shaobai and his two companions wanted to come along. At that time, he did not believe it. He thought that they were only out to have some fun.
As an outstanding talent of the ancient Asura Race, Lan Shaobai held a status similar to that of the Holy Scions.
How could he be willing to follow someone whose future was uncertain?
There was a proverb from Xiao Chen’s previous world, “just as distance determines the stamina of a horse, so does time reveal a person’s true heart.” This was a perfect description for Lan Shaobai. At this point, there was no need to try and test Lan Shaobai’s sincerity.
“Shaobai, get the people below to come out. It is time to settle the matters on Black Flame Island,” Xiao Chen said when he sensed Mo Chen flying back swiftly.
The complicated underground tunnels beneath Heavenly Star City had been built by Lord Jiu and already contributed immensely many times.
If not for these underground passageways, many ordinary people would have died under the Amitabha Buddha palm strike.
Lan Shaobai nodded and quickly made arrangements. Then, he took his leave.
Mo Chen landed beside Xiao Chen. She looked rather fatigued, but Xiao Chen heaved a sigh of relief; her body showed no significant injuries.
“I dealt with the matters on Black Flame Island. Enlightened Sense Temple is already destroyed, and I killed all of Zhuang Zhenghe’s subordinates that remained in the city. The rest ran away already.”
Mo Chen gave a brief explanation of what happened on Black Flame Island.
Xiao Chen nodded and said, “However, something unexpected happened with Zhuang Zhenghe’s Dharmic Body, right?”
A trace of surprise flickered in Mo Chen’s eyes. She asked, “How did you know? There was actually a Buddha head hidden in the Enlightened Sense Temple. At the very last moment, it swallowed up Zhuang Zhenghe’s Dharmic Body. However, I’m not sure if it is alive or not.”
“Buddha head?” A strange look flashed across Xiao Chen’s face. He recalled something that made his heart suddenly skip a beat.
“That’s right, a Buddha head, a lone, independent Buddha head without a body. It looked quite bizarre. Since it seemed extremely weak, I did not block it when it made to escape.”
Xiao Chen cared a lot about this Buddha head. The moment he heard “Buddha head,” he immediately remembered the headless Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva in the Nine Layers of Purgatory.
There was also that horrifying soul of the Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva that frequented the Yellow Springs Road, searching for its head. It made anyone who entered the Yellow Springs Road not dare to look back.
If Xiao Chen guessed right, this head should be the head that the Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva had been searching for. That would be rather horrifying.
The Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva that the Azure Emperor beheaded ten thousand years ago was not dead yet. Now, it even found an inheritor and was stirring things up. Just thinking about it gave Xiao Chen a headache.
This was especially so because Xiao Chen was closely connected to the Azure Emperor. The mainspring in the past led to the consequences today, cycling over and over, never breaking.
Now that Xiao Chen thought about it, it was likely not a coincidence that Zhuang Zhenghe chose to spread the Buddhist teachings on Heavenly Star Island.
However, it was fortunate that this Buddha head was still very weak. Mo Chen alone could deal with it, and there was no need to worry about it for now. However, the future was hard to predict.
Furthermore, all this was just Xiao Chen’s guess. It might not necessarily be the Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva’s head.
“What’s wrong? Big Brother Xiao, you seem to know a little about this Buddha head,” Mo Chen asked curiously.
Xiao Chen collected his thoughts before nodding. “I know a little. However, as for the exact answers, I will have to make a trip personally to confirm it. For now, let’s not care about it. The things here are troublesome enough already.”
Mo Chen looked and saw the citizens of Heavenly Star City coming out of the city’s tunnels. She agreed with Xiao Chen.
The great battle demolished these people’s homes, leaving them with nothing to return to. Many of them even had family or children who were cultivators that lost their lives in the battle, making the situation even more tragic.
With over two million people in Heavenly Star City, settling so many in one go would not be easy.
They would be busy for a long time to come.
After what seemed like ages, Mo Chen made a bold proposal: “Big Brother Xiao, I think we should build a Heavenly Dragon City on this rubble.”
Xiao Chen felt excited. With the city destroyed, they needed to build a new one. This was a good chance to take advantage of the situation to build a Heavenly Dragon City.
Currently, the IMDC team is not being paid for our efforts in translating this novel. Patreon is all that is keeping us afloat. However, don't feel obligated to give, only if you want to and can afford it. Still, every dollar helps.
If you like the novel and would like to have advanced chapters, There is a Patreon. Currently, there are 23 advanced chapters available but the pile will be growing. This will not affect the regular releases. https://www.patreon.com/DragonInWhite
Been getting a couple of comments about this. For those who are not aware, the blurred chapter titles can be revealed by hovering your mouse over it, clicking it, or tapping on it (for those on mobile).
Support the IMDC by buying out Ebooks, here is the lastest one: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G1GN9QV
Would you guys help to support the novel by voting here?
We started a discord group for IMDC: https://discord.gg/frtSDWe