Once the Heavenly Dragon City was built, Heavenly Star City would not be that vulnerable anymore. Even without a protective formation, a Martial Emperor would not be able to destroy a Heavenly Dragon City so easily.
However, building a Heavenly Dragon City was a monumental job. Xiao Chen had gained a rough understanding of it when he took a cursory glance at its blueprints.
Not to mention the resources required to build a Heavenly Dragon City, its construction involved formations, restrictions, astrology, geomancy, city planning, and many other skills. This was not something that an ordinary person could accomplish.
Such an undertaking required someone proficient in every field to direct the project. Xiao Chen asked himself whether if he was capable of this or not.
Then, he realized that there was such a person right before him, skilled in the four arts—zither, chess, calligraphy, and painting—as well as astronomy, a miraculous woman proficient in many areas.
Mo Chen smiled faintly. “If Big Brother Xiao is willing to commit to it, let me use the resources in the Dragon’s Gate Treasure Trove. I can give Big Brother Xiao a sketch of the Heavenly Dragon City in half a month.”
“Just a sketch of it requires half a month?”
“Yes, that is still the conservative estimate. Of all the cities I have seen before, the complexity of a Heavenly Dragon City is at the very top. Once it is built, it will be just slightly inferior to Bright Moon City.”
Xiao Chen was somewhat surprised. How could Heavenly Dragon City still be inferior to Bright Moon City after it was built? Back then, the Dragon’s Gate’s reputation far surpassed that of the Lunar Palace. This comparison was unacceptable to him.
Mo Chen explained, “That is very normal. After Bright Moon City was built, it accumulated resources for ten thousand years. As for the Heavenly Dragon City, it will be the only city that is comparable with these ten-thousand-year-old ancient cities the moment it is built.”
“Very well, in that case, I’ll trouble you with this. However, these people now do not have homes. How should we deal with this?”
Seeing how much Xiao Chen trusted her, asking only a few questions before handing over the resources of the Dragon’s Gate Treasure Trove for her to administer, Mo Chen was over the moon. She explained, “Various professions have their own specialties. Big Brother Xiao, there is no need to worry. Lan Shaobai and I will deal with the rest.
“You just broke into Great Perfection quasi-Emperor. Time is precious for you, and you should spend more time comprehending. In the end, your strength is the foundation for how far Heavenly Star Island can go!”
Xiao Chen felt moved. The hardest thing to find in the world was a close friend. What was a close friend? It was a friend that understood oneself well. Mo Chen was without a doubt such a person for Xiao Chen.
“Many thanks.” Xiao Chen had many things to say but did not know how to say them. So, everything was contained in these two words.
Under the veil, Mo Chen smiled embarrassedly. “There is no need for thanks between you and me. Back then, in the Cloud Sea Domain, if you did not help me out, the bitter experience I would have gone through went without saying. If there is any need for saying thank you, it should be from me to you.”
Xiao Chen was not the kind of person to mind the small details. He smiled and said, “Let’s go. Come with me to Black Flame Island. I want to take a look at where that hidden head was as soon as possible.”
“Alright.” Mo Chen nodded gently.
Xiao Chen brought out the flood dragon war chariot, and the two rode it through the clouds, heading quickly for Black Flame Island.
While in the clouds, Xiao Chen opened the curtains of the war chariot. He peered around with a sharp gaze and noted several warships hiding in the surroundings, behaving very carefully.
These warships did not display any evil intention. When they saw the flood dragon war chariot, they all made a point of moving far away.
Mo Chen also noticed these warships. She said, “These are the major factions around Heavenly Star Island. They are all Rank 9 sects with Martial Emperors in them. It seems like they are very concerned about the results of this battle.”
Xiao Chen retracted his gaze, not feeling surprised. Heavenly Star Island was like a fat piece of meat. How could those factions not be tempted?
Even though these factions did not dare to make a move on account of the Martial God Palace and the Thunder Sovereign, they still needed to pay some attention to a new faction.
After this battle, the Azure Dragon King’s fame for fighting prowess would spread, striking awe in people everywhere.
This battle let those big factions know that even if the Three Holy Lands did not support Xiao Chen, Heavenly Star Island was not that easy to bully. If anyone wanted to act on any malicious intents, they could have to consider whether they could handle the wrath of the Azure Dragon King.
After fifteen minutes, the chariot arrived in the seas near Black Flame Island. Xiao Chen came out of the carriage and was instantly shocked by the scene before him.
He saw nine-colored lights shooting up into the air from where the Enlightened Sense Temple was. Colorful clouds packed the sky, and a golden rain fell endlessly over the entire island.
Black Flame Island, which had a reputation for being hot and desolate, appeared peaceful at that moment. Grass and trees flourished, blooming with hundreds of flowers. The place abounded with life.
All the ordinary people soaking in the rain revealed excited expressions. They all knelt on the ground, crying out, “Lord Buddha is upon us!”
As the rain infused into their bones, blood, and marrows, they all clearly felt a comfortable feeling in their bodies like they were renewed. The diseases that plagued them vanished entirely. All sorts of miracles happened, making them feel invigorated.
Xiao Chen thought, This is just a repayment. All the power of faith that Zhuang Zhenghe collected in the past year is being returned.
In the future, he intended to get rid of this Buddhist foundation.
Mo Chen had already seen this scene. As she stood beside Xiao Chen, she appeared rather calm, saying, “Actually, the ancient Buddhist teachings have good intentions. The doctrine speaks of the cycle of karma—cause and effect—to do good and accumulate virtue. Good is repaid with good and evil is repaid with evil. It is an excellent doctrine.
“Even though the ancient Buddhist sects also used the power of faith, they spread their teachings with a sincere heart and did not speak of purification or have those evil ceremonies. The believers worshiped and made offerings, the Buddhas and bodhisattva listened to the prayers and sent out blessings. It was a good cycle of exchange, a boon to the ordinary people.”
Xiao Chen nodded to indicate his agreement. There were accounts of this in the Minor Leiyin Temple’s records as well.
However, the human heart was unfathomable. There was too much temptation. Even Buddha would find it hard to maintain his calm before such vast power.
Xiao Chen reflected on this. If an ordinary person faced such a temptation, it would be extremely difficult for that person to control himself. That person would surely use the power of faith to strengthen himself. Over time, this person would start to purify others forcibly, and his ambition would grow, sinking step by further step into an abyss.
He believed that there were benevolent Buddhas and bodhisattvas. However, that headless Buddha behind Zhuang Zhenghe was definitely not among their number.
“Come, let’s go to the Enlightened Sense Temple and take a look.”
Xiao Chen’s figure flashed, heading for the Enlightened Sense Temple. Whether it was indeed the head of the Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva or not, he had to take a look for himself.
While flying, he noticed that the statues of the Buddhist figures in the temples were all cracked and shattered.
The temples were also empty. Not only were the people in charge of the temples gone, but the novice monks were gone too.
While all the believers on the island were enjoying the spiritual bounty, the people who relied on the power of faith were all suffering.
The source of faith was no more, and the vast, stored-up power of faith was being all returned. Furthermore, the backbone of the sect had been killed. This seemingly large, false Buddhist sect had fallen in mere moments.
When Xiao Chen arrived at the Enlightened Sense Temple, the complex looked gloomy. All the Buddhist figures in the originally vast and glorious temple were broken. A scene of defeat filled his eyes.
Everywhere else on the island flourished with life. However, the origin of the Buddhist light was filled with deathly stillness. Flowers and grass withered, void of trees.
There was a great difference compared to when Xiao Chen came previously.
Back then, the Enlightened Sense Temple had been filled with mysteries, deterring him from entering. Now, that feeling was gone.
The entire roof of the temple had been knocked off. Mo Chen must have done that while fighting with the person in charge of the temple.
The nine-colored Buddhist light came from the cracks between the shattered rocks on the ground, shooting up into the clouds.
Xiao Chen threw a palm strike to clear the shattered rocks. The strong palm wind blew all the rubble away.
A huge hole appeared in the empty ground ahead. The source of the Buddhist light lay within the hole.
“Mo Chen, have you been down there?” Xiao Chen asked as he looked at the hole where the light was coming from.
Mo Chen shook her head and replied, “I did not have time to do so. Back then, when the Buddha head flew out from there, its Mental Energy injured me. I was also busy chasing after the remaining people. By the time I was done, I was afraid that you would get worried, so I returned first.”
After Xiao Chen heard that, he jumped into the hole. Then, Mo Chen leaped down after him.
The hole was very deep, much deeper than the two expected. They descended amid the Buddhist light for about seven minutes before arriving at a pool of black water in a rather vast cave.
Xiao Chen looked in front. There was a headless Buddhist body at the end of the cave. This body was the one giving off the Buddhist light.
This sight startled Xiao Chen. This headless body looked exactly the same as the headless Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva that he had seen in the Nine Layers of Purgatory.
Suddenly, Xiao Chen understood. That Buddha head was indeed the lost head of the Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva. It wanted to use the power of faith to rebuild its body and merge with it to undergo a true revival.
However, it looked like the process was not that easy. Although the headless body matched the one in the Nine Layers of Purgatory, the might that it radiated was entirely different—completely absent.
However, that body in the Nine Layers of Purgatory was simply horrifying. Xiao Chen had felt extremely small before it, powerless to resist.
“What is this?” Mo Chen asked with a somewhat unsightly expression as she stared at the black water covering the cave floor.
Xiao Chen recovered his wits and replied, “This is the sea of bitterness. It is also the bitterness contained in the prayers of the many believers. The Buddhist sect did not care about them at all. They just filtered out the power of faith from the prayers, resulting in the formation of this vast sea of bitterness.”
When Mo Chen saw Xiao Chen’s expression, she said, “Big Brother Xiao seems to recognize this headless body.”
“Yes, I once saw the original headless body in the Nine Layers of Purgatory.”
Xiao Chen did not hide anything from Mo Chen, telling her of all he had seen and heard.
When Mo Chen heard his account, she found it strange. “Since it has its own body, why did it not go to the Nine Layers of Purgatory to reconnect with it?”
Xiao Chen recalled that horrifying saber light. Even after ten thousand years, it could give that place color. He said, “That is impossible. I believe that even after ten thousand years, the wound left by the Azure Emperor on the neck still has a saber intent lingering in it. If the head tried to reconnect with its own body, it would be like committing suicide.”
“Was the Azure Emperor truly that strong? Even after ten thousand years, the saber intent still lingers?” The saber intent was actually still so mighty despite the passage of ten thousand years. Clearly, this concept shocked Mo Chen.
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