"What?!" Gasps, exclamations, breaths, and all sorts of airy movements of the lungs were taken by the crowd. Despite being miles upon miles away, the vision of these Ascended beings was impeccably perceptive, and their spirits were attuned to the slightest fluctuation, including Pope Huoyan's determined declaration of submission!
The old Pope kneeled on one knee firmly upon space, solidified by his powers, and placed his head down, submissive and accepting. Most felt as if they were dreaming, an illustrious, prideful, and powerful Earthly Saint had, without any indication otherwise, directly submitted themselves under Wei Wuyin!
While Wei Wuyin's eighty-one Earthly Saints, especially the Armored Saint, was terrifying to witness and caused their hearts to quiver endlessly, the title—Saintmaker—hadn't stopped resounding in their minds as they felt the murderous auras of each Spirit of War. But they were Ascended beings, many Earthly Saints, and they were extremely prideful with their own degree of confidence.
Moreover, there was no reason for Wei Wuyin to target them. Some of them considered themselves as being on good terms with Wei Wuyin, sending him privileged information, assisting the Ascendants or their operations during these past few decades, or trading resources of their territory, uniquely grown, extremely desired, to him or those related to him.
They were in awe of him, what a mere mortal could develop, and curious of whatever hidden organization behind him. Despite Wei Wuyin's origins being known by all, there were still extremely questionable points that suggested his origins weren't so simple. The most important detail was his relationship with the Golden Life Pavilion immediately after entering the scene and his peerless skills in the Alchemic Dao.
Without the guidance of a Mortal Sovereign Alchemist, how could Wei Wuyin have possibly developed to his level so quickly? The legacies within the Everlore Starfield were severely lacking, and deliberately so. It was imposed by the King of Everlore and the Everlore Association that prohibited any cultivator that wasn't given explicit permission to enter the territory.
Only places such as World Realms, like the Devil War Realm, or specific origin-linked forces, such as the True Element Sect and the San Clan, were given restricted and heavily regulated access to the territory.
The evidence of a hidden organization in Wei Wuyin's movements was extremely clear, especially the presence of the Armored Saint, the ability to fool Heavenly Seers' divinations, or Oracles' calculations of fate. Given Zhan Zheng's cultivated strength and show of supremacy amongst the elite of the elite, there was a heavy load of justification to reason that he had been an Earthly Saint for numerous years, long before Wei Wuyin's birth.
"Have you gone utterly senile, old ghost?" A thunderous roar of the spirit resounded. This roar was forceful, domineering, weighty, accusatory, and questioning. An imposing body distorted space with every move, catching the attention of everyone.
The Boundless Martial High King!
As a top expert amongst the ranks of Earthly Saints, the Boundless Martial High King was renowned for his prideful and tyrannical personality. He fought alongside the Aeternal Sky Divine Emperor during the utmost period of unrest, dominating the entire world with one sword, one fist, and one crown. He was the one fist, the Jiang Clan's Head Patriarch was the one sword, and the crown was none other than the Aeternal Sky Divine Emperor.
Even while the Divine Emperor reigned supreme, widely considered the number one expert throughout the known world, the Boundless Martial High King never considered himself lesser than anyone else. Pope Huoyan was a longtime rival of his. A foreign expert that harnessed great power, capable of drowning the world in flames, and they had fought long, long ago and had ended the fight in a draw.
The Boundless Martial High King has great respect for this old man, considering him an equal. To see an equal kneel before a mortal, and pledge loyalty before the eyes of the true experts of the world, his heart was ravaged by his rage and disbelief.
"Are you doing this because of that?" The Boundless Martial High King pointed at Baby Defiant, his teeth bared like fangs, and his eyes intense. "Do you think that he could simply own this because he says so? Saintmaker?! Alchemic Sovereign? It doesn't matter—this new star is precious, an incredible resource, and no single power or organization can hope to seize it for themselves!"
Wei Wuyin watched this all unfold silently; he could already see the shadow of Empress Xiaocheng in effect, her transmissions invading their thoughts, fueling their want for possession, and a refusal to simply back down. Baby Defiant was too valuable, and the closer these Earthly Saints got to it, the greater their understanding of how valuable!
The deterrent force of eighty-one Earthly Saints was offset by the possibility of a united front of every Earthly Saint. This startled Wei Wuyin slightly. It was a little inconceivable to him as there were other experts that hadn't aligned with him that were utterly fearless, and their expressions showed they agreed with the Boundless Martial High King's statement.
"Just like before, the name of the Divine Emperor was a source of boundless confidence…" Wei Wuyin thought, in awe of the unquestioned belief in the Aeternal Sky Divine Emperor's might. Unfortunately, they were no different than Xun Yicao, beguiled by Empress Xiaocheng into believing that the Divine Emperor's stance was set, that he wanted to share this newfound discovery with magnanimity, and so, they felt they should get their portion by contributing a little here. The more they thought of it, the greater the greed stirred in their heart.
"Pope Huoyan," a middle-aged, grey-haired handsome man called out from afar. He was garbed in pure white robes, a sheathed sword at his waist, and a flawless bearing with a sharpness between his brows, within the depths of his pupils, and circulating around every step. Almost everyone noticed this person!
The Jiang Clan's Head Patriarch, Jiang Jingshi!
Pope Huoyan hadn't raised his head nor responded to either of these kings of the cultivation world.
Jiang Jingshi's sword-like brows furrowed slightly, and he sighed. "As the leader of the Scarlet Solaris Church, you worship the stars, and I understand your position. Trust me, I know." His eyes looked at the flag-wielding Wei Wuyin and the Armored Saint beside him, and he sighed once again. He continued, "But your decision is too quick. You should consider this a little more. Communicate with your fellow religious followers for a consensus."
"..." Huoyan Xingshi didn't respond, didn't lift his head, didn't even move so much as a hair. It was as if the one fist and one sword were nothing but stale air, or perhaps a fart in the wind.
Jiang Jingshi sighed again. Three times! He sighed thrice, shocking all present, and then he calmly turned to the Sky Destroyers. "Empress Xiaocheng of the Imperial Clan, what do you think?" He wasn't asking for the Empress' opinion about Huoyan Xingshi's submission but toward Wei Wuyin's act of trying to obtain sole ownership of this unknown star.
Empress Xiaocheng's outward appearance was undisturbed, but her inner heart was anything but. She hadn't expected Pope Huoyan to surrender instantly! They all knew Wei Wuyin's intentions, and it was extremely clear as the stars in the vast Dark Void!
A star larger than the Aeternal Sky Star!
A show of force with eighty-one Earthly Saints!
A flag stabbed into the area, calling it the Neo-Dawn Starfield!
Announcing himself as the Ascendant Emperor Neo-Dawn!
What was this if not a declaration of establishing a power in his name? He was planning to become a ruler! With that star that seemed of a much higher quality than the Aeternal Sky Star, about ten times larger, and this once abandoned space ready to be cultivated as one pleased, these were all signs of Wei Wuyin's ambitions. 𝓁𝑖𝒷𝑟𝘦𝒶𝑑.𝒸𝘰𝘮
No one here was slow in their thoughts; Huoyan Xingshi had obediently submitted because he understood! They all did! But they were Earthly Saints, they had their own territories, they had their own autonomy, and they had their own pride! Some might even have plans to submit, but if they went to submit to Wei Wuyin, their gains would be less than what Wei Wuyin could offer them if he approached first!
"I-" Just as she was about to throw a rock into the waters, stirring up the crowd's greed a little more, a voice resounded loudly and explosively.
"I, Hai Shuilin, the Ninth Named Sea of the Great Blue, and the force that I command willingly submit to you."
A surge of watery ripples erupted for countless miles, and almost everyone was shocked to see the Great Sea Oceanic Queen on her knees! Behind her, there were several Demi-Mortal Lords and other Ascended beings that she had brought along!
Her life had been saved by Wei Wuyin, and then his support led to her obtaining the throne, improving her powers, and remaining untouched by Trueborn's ambitious desires. She, the experts of the Great Blue Starfield, and every life in the starfield owed Wei Wuyin the greatest of debts.
Today, she intended to repay it!
Even if it was only a little!
"What?" Empress Xiaocheng's eyes shifted.
"I, Feng Qingchu, and the United Source Clear Palace that I command willingly submit to you."
Three rulers of three starfields, they all submitted without question! The expressions of everyone changed, and Boundless Martial High King's face became extremely unsightly, even a little astonished by this development.
Wei Wuyin helplessly sighed in his heart; his accumulations during the last half-century were bleeding through, and it prevented him from putting on the domineering show he intended. This was not planned or plotted; the three submitted out of their own free will!
A heavy pressure descended, and an explosive thud resounded throughout the world! A brilliance of raging sanguine light began to erupt, and they saw a silhouette amidst the glow arrive alongside a few others also exuding a similar evil aura. They were all Ascended beings! 𝑙𝑖𝘣𝓇𝑒𝒶𝘥.𝑐ℴ𝑚
The Boundless Martial High King's eyes narrowed, "Sanguine Demon!" He slowly exclaimed. Before he could act, the Sanguine Demon Evil King was already kneeling before the crowd.
"I, Ye Mufeng, and the Sanguine Ghosts that I command willingly submit to you, the Ascendant Emperor of Neo-Dawn!" His tone was thrashing to the senses, yet it was unable to be ignored.
The Sanguine Ghosts!
The Evil Organization was led by the Sanguine Demon Evil King, and they were notorious, wanted by more than half of the starfields! Unfortunately, they were like worms that would escape to the depths of the Dark Void should one pursue them. Like worms, they burrow; like ghosts, they vanish. This was the saying of countless cultivators!
While the Sanguine Demon Evil King was a rogue cultivator at heart, the strength he commanded wasn't to be underestimated!
Jiang Jingshi deeply frowned, his eyes bleeding with a sharp light, and he lightly touched his hilt. A faint sword hum resounded, and he lightly remarked: "Even vile, irredeemable demons can submit? My eyes have truly been opened today."
The Jiang Clan's Head Patriarch and the Sanguine Demon Evil King had several clashes in the past, and the latter had slayed a few of his sons, wives, and daughters, sending back their heads, after he offhandedly slayed a few Sanguine Ghost members on a trip. The Evil Organization was decisive with their revenge—kill us, we kill all of you. It was simple, but it made them extremely terrifying because if you acted against them, they had no issues taking down your entire family at any opportunity.
His words were laced with a sharp edge, and he took a single step forward. The ambient Chaos Mana stirred. Just as he was about to make a move, a calm voice resounded: "Stand down!"
It was a heavy order, the words of a Spirit of War! The Spirit of War held a spear in his hand, and his eyes bore down on Jiang Jingshi without stepping back.
"Stand down? Haha! Who are you to tell me, Jiang Jingshi, to stand down? Today, there's nowhere for you to run, Sanguine Demon. I'll have your head on this day," Jiang Jingshi coldly declared and his Mystic Aura flared!
Wei Wuyin initially wanted to regulate this event with oaths, plan out the venue, and officially announce this moment to prevent this very thing from happening. There were too many forces here with unknown grudges, and it wasn't just the Sanguine Demon Evil King who had enemies, but even others were only barely restraining themselves, either against others or the Sanguine Demon Evil King! After living for so long, if not for the difficulties of killing each other, the restraints of prohibiting Earthly Saint-level fights in the Aeternal Sky Starfield and many territories of the Grand Cyclic Stellar Region, chaos would've descended long ago!
Unfortunately, Baby Defiant was a premature birth, and so the problems caused were expected.
However, Wei Wuyin's eyes gradually gained an icy cold glint. A fight between Earthly Saints, especially an unrestrained one, could ravage starfields with ease and bring chaos across the stellar region!
Jiang Jingshi's actions were no different than disrespecting his territory!
Jiang Jingshi moved; his speed was like flowing light, and he seemingly transformed into a streak of sword light, cutting across chaos mana and space, charging toward the kneeling Sanguine Ghosts with killing intent. The Sanguine Demon Evil King didn't even move despite the torrential force approaching, nor did he lift his head!
None of those who submitted lifted their heads!
Just two words and it had sent shivers down everyone's spines, clutching at their hearts, and resounding throughout their minds.
"Yes." The spear-wielding Spirit of War took a step forward!
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