After getting wind that the Exalted Earth Luminary – Jiang Shen had returned to the World beyond Worlds from the Astro Sovereign – Chen Xuanzong, Yan Zhaoge let out a long sigh.
After checking his plottings one last time, he started calculating in his heart, “It’s still a little too early.”
It would naturally be better if he had more time.
However, those were just his wishful thinking. His opponent wouldn’t give him time to prepare.
Yan Zhaoge was feeling calm. After making arrangements for everything, he told the Astro Sovereign, “I would have to trouble you, Astro Sovereign.”
“I’ll do my best.” The Astro Sovereign – Chen Xuanzong’s expression was calm as well. He just nodded lightly.
Yan Zhaoge immediately left the World beyond Worlds and reached the cosmic void by the outskirts of the boundary.
He headed towards the hidden Pill Hall, while his North Ocean Clone went towards another direction.
Currently, there was a silhouette quietly sitting in a lotus position by the cosmos of the World beyond Worlds.
Despite being separated by layers of void which contained a vast amount of difference in distance, everyone in the world could see the short-haired man clearly no matter where they were.
As if he was the center of the cosmos, he seemed to exist everywhere.
He was the Exalted Fire Luminary – Suo Mingzhang.
In front of him stood an old man with a fifty to sixty years old appearance.
The old man’s gaze was warm. However, his expression was serious.
Yan Zhaoge naturally recognized the old man, considering how many times he had seen his portrait. He was the head of the Three Sovereigns within the World beyond Worlds, the Earthly Sovereign – Jiang Shen. Also known as the Exalted Earth Luminary, he had ascended to the Virtual Immortal Realm and gained the position of a Heavenly Monarch.
With just the two of them standing there, the light seemed to have faded, and the surroundings paled in comparison.
As if everything else in the cosmos were illusory, only the two of them seemed to be the reality.
As the North Ocean Clone got closer, the familiar sonorous voice of the great dao seemed to have resounded again.
Only, the sonorous voice of the great dao didn’t hold any form of oppression to him. Instead, it seemed to be more profound, and more insightful.
As he got closer, he saw the Sword Sovereign – Yue Zhenbei and the Concealed Sovereign – Yang Ce standing beside Suo Mingzhang and Jiang Shen.
Noticing the North Ocean Clone closing in, the Exalted Earth Luminary – Jiang Shen and the Concealed Sovereign – Yang Ce’s gaze went towards him.
The North Ocean Clone’s expression was calm. He cupped his hands as a form of formality, “Forgive me for only meeting the four of you with only my clone alone. Please excuse me for my rudeness.”
“Is he Daoist Yan Xintang’ descendant?” Jiang Shen smiled, “While I haven’t been in the World beyond Worlds for a long time, I’ve heard of how great the title of the “Fallen Deity” was.”
There wasn’t any hint of sarcasm in his face. Instead, within his kind gaze, a hint of pity seemed to have appeared.
Jiang Shen’s tone was very calm even when he was a Grand Virtual Immortal, while Yan Zhaoge was a mere Martial Saint Realm that had yet to push open the Immortal Door. It was as if he was just conversing casually with an old acquaintance.
“Such an outstanding youth like you would definitely achieve outstanding achievements in the future. Just like me, you should help protect your lineage to prevent it from being lost. With that, the orthodox Daoism would be able to return back to its prime.”
Jiang Shen shook his head slowly, “It’s a pity that you became the successor of the Dim Radiant Yin, while your mother became the official successor of the Bright Connection Hu.”
The North Ocean Clone said, “Forgive me for being rude, but Elder Jiang, you’re wrong.”
“The things done by Emperor Dim Radiant and Emperor Bright Connection not only benefited us, the juniors. Even you and the Concealed Sovereign had benefited from them.”
“After the Immeasurable Heavenly Lord had accumulated all of the Heavenly Essence Stone, he could illuminate the Daoist martial arts practitioners without forcefully taking hold of them as long as he is willing to. It doesn’t matter where they are.”
The North Ocean Clone looked at Jiang Shen, “A Heavenly Lord Monarch like you with Five Qis Unification is of no exception.”
Jiang Shen said in a disapproving tone, “Whether if it’s true, or if it was just merely Emperor Dim Radiant and Emperor Bright Connection committing jobbery to impose fear upon others, no one is entirely sure of it.”
He paused for a while, and continued, “If this was true, then I must admit that not only do I owe them a favor, the entire orthodox Daoism owes them as well. However… In the meantime or even a long time ahead in the future, we wouldn’t be able to openly admit to their accomplishments or praise them.”
“In fact, even if it’s true, we still wouldn’t change what we’re currently doing.”
The old man said calmly, “We have to do many things which go against our moral values. It is all for the grand scheme of things. No matter how difficult it may be, we can only force ourselves to do so.”
“Now, those matters have already passed, and we shall let the later generations comment on this matter. What we have to do now is to secure a future for the later generations.”
The North Ocean Clone didn’t have a change of expression, “But, what kind of future would it be?”
“The heretics are now very powerful and aren’t easy to deal with. That’s for sure. It’s precisely because of this that they wouldn’t allow our orthodox Daoism to return back to its prime.”
The heretics might not care if the orthodox daoism were still within the range which they could handle.
However, if signs of the orthodox daoism going out of control appeared, they definitely wouldn’t be merciful anymore.
Even if their attacks wouldn’t bring annihilation upon the orthodox Daoism, their progress would definitely devolve drastically until the point where the heretics could keep them under control.
Just like rearing a herd of sheep, and shaving off their wools.
Under the circumstances where they were forced to comply and stay low, and are constantly being in control of others, such a deadlock situation would not experience any breakthrough unless a major external change occurred.
“The situation hadn’t remained the same.” Jiang Shen seemed to have understood what Yan Zhaoge meant. He said calmly, “The world is much more complicated than what most people think.”
“However, we’re not certain whether the change is beneficial for us.” Yan Zhaoge was calm as well.
Jiang Shen did not object.
No one could guarantee that everything happening in the world would turn out like how they expected it to and that everything would be beneficial to them.
The Future Buddha and the Immeasurable Heavenly Lord was of no exception.
Facing this old Heavenly Monarch which held a deep vengeance against his own faction, Yan Zhaoge said calmly, “Although I’m not on the same side as you, your efforts to bring the orthodox daoism to its prime is commendable.”
“Your contributions have definitely helped the World beyond Worlds’ development.”
He was staring at the Exalted Earth Luminary calmly when he spoke, “However, the contributions that the Southern Extremity Longevity Emperor, Incongruence Divine Mother, Dim Radiant Emperor, Bright Connection Emperor, and many others had provided were the reason why the World beyond Worlds, even the Roving Jade Heavens and the Three Clear Lineage now have hopes to return back to its past glory.”
The North Ocean Clone extended one hand, and flipped his hand, “It’s impractical to solely hope that by enduring and yielding, you’re able to gain more space and time of preparation with some sacrifices. The reason being that your opponent wouldn’t agree to it.”
“This fragile balance we have wasn’t because of the heretics being kind towards us. Instead, our orthodox Daoism had borrowed the fact that the Blessed Lands and the Immortal Court were holding each other back which allowed us to venture a path of survival.”
“Other than the fact that the Immortal Court and the Blessed Lands were holding each other back, to begin with. One of the main reasons why the heretics didn’t decide to massacre the entire Three Clear Lineage is because we still have the three great Heavenly Monarchs.”
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