The Eternal City at Beyond
It was late at night.
Yi Ping was alone in his chamber and he was sighing softly. The room was dark but he could see perfectly well.
He quietly sheathed the Celestial Alice into the scabbard as he wondered, “I can’t see the rainbow hues now. That is such a weird thing…”
He was sighing with a heavy heart after relating the accounts of the Astronomic Stellar Formation to the Lord Supreme and Old Venerable Vanquisher Sage.
It was because what they had requested from him was asking the impossible.
He sighed again as he began to reflect on it…
After hearing the accounts of Yi Ping, Yu’Er, Mei’Er, Ye Yin and Shen Xingyue, the Lord Supreme and the Old Venerable Vanquisher Sage were even more mystified than moving closer to solving Maiden Ziyan true identity.
Old Venerable Vanquisher Sage muttered, “No wonder you have called her the Dark Lord of the Chaos Cosmos. But is she? I find it hard to believe that even the Kirins will obey her. Do you know how many celestial practitioners have perished in the hands of the Dragon Race? Is that a trick or illusions? If it is the Goddess Celestial Alice that has sent the edict to destroy the Ancient Dragons, then why is she in the company of the Dragon Race and even directing them?”
The Lord Supreme was muttering repeatedly after he had heard Yi Ping’s account, “…to be humble and know the virtues of Heaven, mortals therefore must be sincere and truthful; knowing right and wrong and be filled with the expansive air of righteousness. Only then can they be one with the virtues of Heaven and be oneness with the heavens and the earth…”
Yu’Er asked gently when she sensed that the Lord Supreme seemed trouble, “Father, what is the matter?”
Mei’Er nodded gently too…
At the same time, Yi Ping was a little startled to notice that Yu’Er and Mei’Er seemed to have matured now and their state of divinities seemed to have made them appeared stately. He thought, “They are the Eclipse Heaven Goddess and the Axis Heaven Goddess…”
The Lord Supreme regained some of his composure as he said, “Nothing. Just think that it is weird that she calls the celestial practitioners mortals…”
But he soon began to mutter, “The Goddess Celestial Alice of the Ninth Heavens…the Sacred Sword of the Seven Stars…the Goddess Celestial Alice…is she really a Goddess?”
Old Venerable Vanquisher Sage looked at Yi Ping, “Yi Ping, do you think she is the Goddess Celestial Alice?”
Yi Ping smiled bitterly, “I don’t know. I don’t think so. She never claims to be the Goddess Celestial Alice. There is no reason not to believe her, am I right?”
Shen Xingyue muttered, “You are too trusting of others, Ping’Er.”
The Ascension Goddess hummed coldly but she only dared to do it softly because she was in the presence of the Lord Supreme, “Is it because you like her or she like her that you are defending her?”
Yi Ping said quietly, “I don’t know her…”
The Ascension Goddess said, “You don’t know her? She had saved your life earlier in the Golden Ascension Hall? Even though it is subtle and brief, I have seen it!”
Shen Xingyue was smiling bitterly, “You don’t know her, and you will burn joss sticks to her every day?”
Yi Ping said awkwardly, “Without her Negative Core Divine Pills, we will never survive through the aftermath of the collapse of the Astronomic Stellar Formation. Moreover, I have always blamed myself for causing her death. If I didn’t break that seal…if only I have held onto her more firmly…”
Yu’Er sighed softly, “Yi Ping, you have a kind heart…”
Mei’Er nodded, “Sisters, let’s us not blame Yi Ping anymore…”
All of a sudden, the Lord Supreme said solemnly. “That’s right. There is only one thing left for my good son-in-law to do now. He has to seduce Maiden Ziyan and coerce her to tell the truth.”
Yi Ping was stunned at what he had heard and so were the others!
Yu’Er smiled bitterly, “Father, you must be joking…”
The Lord Supreme sighed softly, “Do I look or sound like I am joking?”
Yi Ping quickly said, “That is impossible! Moreover, she has never offended anyone of us. Everyone have their own secrets…”
The Lord Supreme interrupted, “If you don’t do it, many will die. Is that what you want? Whether she is the Goddess Celestial Alice and how she got that Sacred Sword of the Seven Stars is very important.”
Yi Ping asked, “That is so important?”
The Lord Supreme said, “If she is the Goddess Celestial Alice and is here to observe us before delivering her judgment, I am afraid that she will wipe us all out from the Celestial Realm if she wants to.”
Yi Ping said firmly, “The Sacred Sword of the Seven Stars belong to the Erudite Sect and belongs to Lady Snowflake. Shouldn’t we look for the protégé leader and question her first?”
The Lord Supreme said, “You are too naïve. One look at Lady Snowflake and I know that her level of divinity can’t be compared to Maiden Ziyan. You really believe that Maiden Ziyan is her protégé? Yet you have seen her in the Astronomic Stellar Formation. Can you explain this contradiction?”
Yi Ping was speechless as he stumbled for words…
Shen Xingyue quickly added, “To say a word of fairness, we have really never seen her with the Sacred Sword of the Seven Stars. Moreover, the Erudite Sect is known as the follower of the Goddess Theocracy. So if they have the Sacred Sword of the Seven Stairs, it is still not so surprising.”
The Ascension Goddess pretended to yawn as she said, “For someone that is wearing the Celestium Silk underneath her robe, possesses the Sacred Sword of the Seven Stars and the ability to direct the Kirins…that is omnipotent already. Do we need further proof of anything?”
Yi Ping smiled bitterly, “We must not wrong or accuse her. She is not as omnipotent as you say…or else, she won’t almost die…”
The Lord Supreme said solemnly, “That is because you are still young and inexperienced. There are many things that you ought to be wary and not be deceived. Ask yourself first, do you think she is truthful to you? That is very important.”
Yi Ping muttered, “Is she truthful to me…is she?”
But he quickly regained his composure as he asked, “What if I refuse?”
The Ascension Goddess interrupted sarcastically, “What is wrong with you? Why are you so quick to defend her? We are asking you to seduce her to coerce the truth from her and didn’t ask you to go to bed with her. You have a problem with this? Is not like she is not an attractive lady!”
Indeed, Maiden Ziyan was really a most attractive lady and her epitome beauty was indeed extremely breathtaking and not beneath Yixian the Celestial Fairy at all!
However, Yi Ping was most afraid of such beautiful maidens!
The Lord Supreme said, “You have to. The lives of all the Ascendants depend on you.”
Yi Ping was puzzled, “What do you mean?”
Yu’Er laughed softly, “My father is saying that you are his successor and a future protégé leader of the Holy Ascension Sect!”
Yi Ping was startled as he stumbled backward!
Shen Xingyue and the Ascension Goddess gasped softly as they looked at Yi Ping!
The Lord Supreme smiled wryly, “However, I am having some doubts now. First, you don’t have the bolder vision and I think that with you in the helm of the Holy Ascension Sect, it is more likely that your consorts will be the ones in charge and that will only bring pandemonium and anarchy to the sect.”
All of a sudden, the Ascension Goddess panicked hugged the arms of Yi Ping, “Whatever you say in future, I will listen alright? I don’t mean to be fierce to you but I am just trying to let you see things from another point of view.”
Shen Xingyue was smiling angelic, “You know, I am the most accommodating to you all the time…”
Mei’Er covered her mouth as she laughed softly, “I am as well!”
Yu’Er’s eyes seemed to be smiling as she looked at Yi Ping tenderly while saying, “When did your Yu’Er says anything that is disagreeable with your heart?”
The Lord Supreme and the Old Venerable Vanquisher Sage stroked their long beards as they secretly smiled; it seemed that these maidens were all afraid that Yi Ping may not be the next Ascendant Supreme Leader and were eager to prove that they were his confidants!
Back to the present, Yi Ping was still sighing softly as he fingered with his wine cup. “This is something that I will never do. I hope that they will understand me…”
All of a sudden, Yi Ping sharp hearings had picked up footsteps approaching his door.
Sure enough, there was a knock on the door.
He had already got up to open the door and was surprised to see that it was actually Feng Mantian who was standing awkwardly outside and he was carrying two jar of wines in his hands.
As soon as Yi Ping had opened the door, Feng Mantian was apologizing respectfully. “Master Yi Ping, I didn’t know who you are. I didn’t know that the Eclipse and Axis Heaven Goddess are your consorts. I hope that you can put a few words of leniency for me in front of them and…the Lord Supreme…”
He had broken in cold sweat as he looked at Yi Ping.
Yi Ping was smiling bitterly as he said, “That is in the past now. I have forgotten about it already.”
Feng Mantian was startled, “Master Yi Ping, you are really willing to put the past behind?”
Yi Ping smiled as he bowed respectfully, “I am really. I hope that you can show me more of the views of the Unmoving Mountains too!”
When Feng Mantian heard that and when he saw the righteousness that was in Yi Ping’s eyes, he was comforted; he saw no deceit and saw the sincerity of his heart so he laughed awkwardly, “These two jars of fine wines are for you. I hope Master Yi Ping does not find the quality of the wines poor.”
Yi Ping took over the wines as he said, “Even if you don’t offer me these wines, I will request for it too! I can already sniff the wonderful fragrances of the wines!”
Feng Mantian laughed as he bowed respectfully, “In that case, I have to go first. I hope that Master Yi Ping will be able to appreciate these fine wines then!”
Yi Ping was startled, “You are drinking with me?”
Feng Mantian said solemnly, “The elders of the sect are dispensing the sect punishments for me at dawn. If I turn up drunk, my punishments will be even more severe. There is surely a next time!”
Yi Ping replied, “Good! Then next time it will be!”
Feng Mantian bade, “I have to take my leave now. Good night!”
Yi Ping lifted his hands to bow respectfully, “Good night!”
Yi Ping closed the door and returned to his seat. But he had barely sat down when there was again a knock on his door!
He thought, “Is it Feng Mantian again? Perhaps he has left in a hurry and forgot to say something important to me.”
So his surprise when he had opened the door, he was startled to see Maiden Ziyan standing quietly at the entrance and he could sniff her wonderful fragrance.
But this time she was wearing a pair of long earrings, decorated with an intricate bronze coin at the long end and she was wearing a golden phoenix and peacock dress that had many intricate green golden eyes that were so surreal!
Of course, Yi Ping did not recognize that this Phoenix and Peacock dress was an unearthly material that was even more superior to the Celestium Silk or he would surely be stunned at its origin!
The Goddess Celestial Alice was smiling, “You seem to have good wines in there and I can sniff it from a mile away. Surely you are not thinking of drinking it all by yourself? That will be so distasteful, am I right to say so?”
Yi Ping was really startled to see her and she was the last person that he wanted to see so he quickly said, “Maiden, it is already so late and I am a married man…”
The Goddess Celestial Alice simply slipped past him as she walked into his chamber while explaining aloud, “Your quarters seem to be much better than the one that is assigned to the Erudite Sect and is so spacious.”
Yi Ping quickly dashed in front of her as he lifted his hand to say, “Maiden, it is really late now…”
The Goddess Celestial Alice looked at him with a woeful look that immediately caused Yi Ping to take a step back as he asked himself, “Her expressions…did I say something wrong?”
Finally the Goddess Celestial Alice said melancholy, “I am not afraid so why are you so afraid of your consorts? Maybe in the future, it is prohibited for a man to have more than one consort but not in this time and age!”
She added, “Moreover…”
She smiled, “Even if you want to eat me, you may not have the expertise to do so!”
Yi Ping could only smile bitterly as he said, “True…”
She pointed to the two jars of wines on his table, “So all I want is to drink with you. Is that the way to treat a person that has aided you previously? Where is your sense of righteousness?”
Yi Ping felt a sense of guilt in his heart so he immediately said, “I am wrong. Please have a seat! But I have something to ask you and I hope that you can answer me honestly.”
But he was mindful that he must not get drunk or drink too much. It was because the last time that he got drunk, he had committed a scandalous affair with both Yixian the Celestial Fairy and Ye Yin the Ascension Goddess.
She immediately broke into a jovial smile as she seated herself comfortably, “That is better. We can sit down, drink and talk over it slowly. Don’t you agree?”
Yi Ping nodded as he bowed respectfully with his hands, “That is right…”
She interrupted, “Actually do you think that I am beautiful?”
Yi Ping was startled that she could ask this. He stammered out, “Yes you are…”
She looked at him as she sighed softly, “You really look like him…”
Yi Ping was startled, “Who?”
She replied woefully as she pours herself a cup of wine, “Nothing…”
Yi Ping asked, “Are you really the Dark Lord of the Chaos Cosmos?”
She was quiet for a while. After she took a sip of wine, she said. “You don’t believe me?”
Yi Ping sighed softly, “It is not that I don’t believe you but the others are curious to know who you are…”
She smiled, “Hmph, others? Who?”
Yi Ping replied honestly, “The Lord Supreme and many others. They are curious how you got your Sacred Sword of the Seven Stars and the Celestium Silk. This is also my question. How is that you will suddenly become a protégé of the Erudite Sect? I think too that your martial skills are actually much higher than Lady Snowflake.”
She sighed softly, “Then who do you think I am?”
Yi Ping stammered, “I don’t know. You are Maiden Ziyan? No?”
She looked at Yi Ping as she said slowly, “Even you don’t believe me?”
Yi Ping raised both his hands as he said, “I really respect maiden your privacy. If maiden does not feel comfortable to disclose to me who you are, I am sure that you have your reasons for that. I won’t force on you then and will still treat you as a friend though…”
She was quiet for a while before she muttered, “If you know who I am then we may not be friends and things may not be the same again.”
Yi Ping was startled, “How will knowing who you are or your name change anything? We are friends, am I right? It is not like we are enemies?”
She smiled gently, “Maybe. But sometimes people can change because of conflict of interests or to further their own interests. However, I can tell you but you…mustn’t tell anyone?”
Yi Ping smiled bitterly, “I can’t tell anyone?”
She nodded as she asked, “Promise me?”
Yi Ping nodded, “I promise!”
She gave a faint smile and pointed at the Celestial Alice, “Unsheathe your sword.”
While Yi Ping was puzzled that she had suddenly requested for him to unsheathe his sword, he did so nevertheless. When he did so, there was a rainbow halo that had suddenly brightened the room!
He was startled as he said, “The rainbow halo that has appeared earlier in the hall is back now…”
All of a sudden, she tapped her fingers on the Celestial Alice and the sword began to reverberate nonstop!
Yi Ping was startled as he tried to hold the Celestial Alice firmly in his hands, “This is…what is happening?”
She gave a jovial smile, “The Celestial Alice Divine Sword is overjoyed to see me. That is all.”
Yi Ping was startled, “Why will the Celestial Alice be overjoyed to see you unless the sword is acquainted with you?”
She clapped her hands, “You have guessed it. You are so smart…”
Yi Ping began to ponder, “The Celestial Alice belongs to the Immortal Saint of Swords. Don’t tell me that you are his daughter?”
All of a sudden, Yi Ping received a quick kick from under the table from her as she said exasperating, “I am taking back what I have just said about you!”
Yi Ping smiled bitterly…
She looked at Yi Ping, “They didn’t tell you anything?”
Yi Ping began to stare at the Celestial Alice as he recalled that the Lord Supreme had told him that she may be the Goddess Celestial Alice…
But Yi Ping shook his head, “Surely you are not the Goddess Celestial Alice. That is impossible…”
She sighed softly as she rose quietly, “Ziyan is not my real name. I am indeed the Goddess Celestial Alice of the Ninth Heavens, the Goddess Celestial Alice of the Three Known Realms and in the lower realm, I am known as the Goddess Celestial Alice of the Seven Stars. You need not guess further; the Celestial Alice is indeed named after me and I am her true mistress until I have sealed her.”
All of a sudden, there was a flicker in her eyes and her presence became imposing!
Yi Ping was stunned as he felt the awe of her presence, “You are really the Goddess Celestial Alice? You have sealed the Celestial Alice?”
The Goddess Celestial Alice nodded slowly, “That is right. And you are the one that has broken the seal of the Celestial Alice and have awakened me from my deep slumber. That is why the Astronomic Stellar Formation has descended upon you and that is why I have brought you to me.”
Yi Ping shook his head in disbelief, “But I don’t understand. What is the reason that you want to take away your own life?”
Yi Ping seemed to hit the crux of her heart; she stumbled slightly backward with blank expressions while muttering, “That is because…”
The Goddess Celestial Alice inhaled deeply, “…I have promised someone. If someone can awaken the Celestial Alice then I will destroy the Astronomic Stellar Formation on my own accord….”
Yi Ping clenched his fists and his eyes were burning with fury, “That someone! He is too cruel to ask you to do such a thing! You have almost perished inside because of that!”
The Goddess Celestial Alice turned around while muttering, “Is that so? I don’t think so.”
Then she turned around and looked quietly at him, “That is because he is right here now.”
Yi Ping gasped aloud as he grabbed the Celestial Alice as he started to look around the surroundings for sight of moving shadows, “Where?! Is he outside?”
The Goddess Celestial Alice sighed softly but she quickly smiled and said to him, “I am…just teasing you!”
Yi Ping heaved a soft sigh as he calmed down, “I have thought that is real…”
The Goddess Celestial Alice looked at him keenly before she asked him, “Now that is my turn to ask you some questions. Is that fair?”
Yi Ping asked, “If there is anything that I can answer, I will surely answer you!”
The Goddess Celestial Alice gave a soft clap as she asked him softly, “Why did you kiss me in front of many others in the Golden Ascension Hall earlier? You did that intentionally?”
Yi Ping was stunned at her question!
He began to fluster as he finally stammered out, “I…I…that is really an accident…”
The Goddess Celestial Alice said unhappily, “Really? Do you know that you have ruined my reputation in front of so many others! How am I going to lift my head in front of others in the future?”
Yi Ping realized his unforgivable folly so he bowed down, “Maiden Ziyan, I…beg for your forgiveness. If there is anything that you want me to do to atone for it, I will surely do it if it is something that I am able to do!”
The Goddess Celestial Alice stomped her foot lightly, “Maiden Ziyan? You still think that I am Maiden Ziyan? Do you know that only death can atone for what you did to my sacred body?”
Yi Ping was trembling as he muttered, “I know I did wrong…”
The Goddess Celestial Alice interrupted coldly, “So you are afraid of death?”
Yi Ping smiled bitterly as he sighed softly, “I am not afraid of death personally! I am afraid that after I am gone, the rest of my love ones may not find the will to live!”
The Goddess Celestial Alice hummed coldly, “That is only your excuse. Do you think that I didn’t hear your conversations with the Lord Supreme? They really think that they are in a secure room but they have forgotten who I am. So, they have asked you to seduce me and to check who I am?”
Yi Ping was stunned, “You have overheard? I didn’t agree…”
The Goddess Celestial Alice said coldly, “You didn’t agree but your heart has already secretly agreed. All this so that you can become the next Ascendant Supreme Leader, am I right to say so?”
Yi Ping said weakly, “That is not my intention at all.”
All of a sudden a thought struck him as he asked, “If maiden you have already known about the intentions of the Lord Supreme, why then are you here to tell that me that you are the Goddess Celestial Alice? Isn’t that as good as telling the Lord Supreme?”
The Goddess Celestial Alice whispered softly, “That is because dead man tells no tales…”
Yi Ping was startled but he quickly regained his composure as he said, “I won’t fight with you. If you want to fight with me, you won’t tell me who you are and don’t have to give me a chance to know…”
The Goddess Celestial Alice suddenly said coldly, “That is when you are wrong!”
She had suddenly raised her hand against him!
Yi Ping raised his hand instinctively to block her and in a blink of an eye, they had exchanged a dozen furious blows!
In an instant, the table and chairs were totally wrecked and shattered in all directions by the sheer execution of their martial forces!
Yi Ping was gasping, “Maiden Ziyan, please stop. I don’t want to fight you whether you are the Goddess Celestial Alice or not. It is because who you are don’t mean anything to me…”
All of a sudden, the Goddess Celestial Alice had lurched forward as she kissed him gently on his lips, stunning him!
That was a move that he had no defense and he was not anticipating that!
Before Yi Ping had realized it, they were soon embracing and he could sniff her enticing fragrance of her body as they rolled onto the ground!
The Goddess Celestial Alice whispered softly, “I have taken my vengeance now but don’t you think that it is too light a punishment for you?”
Yi Ping was gasping because she had suddenly bit him on his neck, drawing blood and her fingers had scratched deep into his back!
The Goddess Celestial Alice said, “Even if your wounds can heal immediately but I can assure you that your scars will remain…”
Yi Ping was gasping and he had turned extremely flustered, “Maiden Ziyan, you…are not taking my life?”
She had got up and there were tears in her eyes, “Why should I? Without you, I may have already perished in the aftermath of the collapse of the Astronomic Stellar Formation. It is because of you that I have found the will to live again. The one that should atone for my past deeds is me and not you. I hope that you will forgive me for what I have done in the past…”
All of a sudden she gave an alluring smile, “At first I thought that you are just an unscrupulous man. So I give you a few tests along the way. But it seems that your devotions for your consorts are sincere while mine can never be reciprocated…”
Yi Ping was bewildered, “The one that should apologize is me and not you. We are already friends, isn’t that enough? ”
She had suddenly touched the Celestial Alice Divine Sword; all of a sudden a rainbow halo burst forth brightly in all directions as she muttered, “Yi Ping, the last binding seal of the Celestial Alice is now unsealed. If you want to find me, you must ascend the Stellar Sanctuary or look for me in the Immortal Realm of the Ninth Heavens. I will be at the Eternal City that is beyond time reckoning. You must come…”
Yi Ping was startled, “You are leaving?”
The Goddess Celestial Alice nodded with a woeful look at him, “Even if I wait for you for a thousand years, you must come. My time here is almost up. Remember your pledge not to tell anyone who I am…”
Yi Ping said panicky, “Wait. You are really leaving?”
The Goddess Celestial Alice gave a soft sigh, “You don’t want to retain me so why would you stop me from leaving? If you want to make atonements to me or when you have remember who I am, then come to the Eternal City. I will be there…”
Yi Ping was befuddled as he muttered, “Isn’t the Immortal Realm inaccessible? No one has ever ascended to the Immortal Realm except for the Dark Lord of the Chaos Cosmos…”
But before Yi Ping could ask her further or to stop her, she had already made a tearful dash out of the room and her last words were, “You mustn’t forget about me and must come!”
After some time, Yi Ping regained his composure as he staggered backward as he looked at the shimmering blade of the Celestial Alice while muttering. “The Goddess Celestial Alice…the Eternal City beyond time reckoning…the Immortal Realm…are you really the Goddess Celestial Alice?”
All of a sudden, Yi Ping had a spinning headache that caused him to collapse flat onto the ground. In his unconscious state, he was muttering. “Dragon Maiden Alice…”