A Martial Odyssey Book 3: The Stellar Sanctuary – Chapter 24

The Martial Emperor Unifying Force

Yi Ping said bitterly as he shuddered slightly, grasping his long sword even tighter as he stared at Yun Dingzhong. “I won’t let you hurt Ziyan…”

Old Man Xuantian and Yun Dingzhong were a little perplexed they thought, “Is he getting delirious? Who is Ziyan?”

Yi Ping adjusted his Forward Heaven Stance slightly as he mustered his martial power via the Martial Emperor Unifying Force instead of the Absolute Equilibrium Force as he stared coldly at Old Man Xuantian. 

As Yi Ping mustered his martial power, there were shimmering tiny sparks that appeared briefly.

There was nothing awe inspiring about his martial force, lacking the impressive martial force of the Fiery Phoenix Shen Xingyue’s Divine Rejuvenation Force and Lie Qing’s Invincible Divine Force but it had the effect of causing Old Man Xuantian and Yun Dingzhong to shudder lightly!

Old Man Xuantian hummed coldly, “No wonder your martial power is so impressive. I see that you are a practitioner of the Martial Emperor Unifying Force. Just who are you to the Martial Emperor Heavenly King?”

Yun Dingzhong was smiling all of a sudden, “I wonder if the Martial Emperor Heavenly King is here in the Stellar Sanctuary?”

The Goddess Asura who was clinging onto the Goddess Isa, began to shiver uncontrollably as she murmured miserably and the poisonous anguish in her eyes were unmistaken. “He is…one of them…”

The Goddess Isa was about to say something to her when she was startled by the burning touch of the Goddess Asura!

The Goddess Asura had been using her internal strength to suppress the aphrodisiac effects of the pill that she was forced to consume earlier. But when she had heard that this Yi Ping was actually a disciple of the Martial Emperor Heavenly King, she was so shocked that she had lost control of her internal strength and the effects of the aphrodisiac pill began to spread rapidly!

Of course Yi Ping did not know any Martial Emperor Heavenly King but he had guessed that it had to do with the newly Martial Emperor Unifying Force that he had acquired from the Martial Emperor Unifying Theorem. 

He began to smile bitterly because he obviously knew that the Martial Emperor Unifying Force that he had just mustered was only at the basic level and was crude. In fact Ye Yin the Ascension Goddess had progressed to a higher level than him and it was she who had instructed him on the Martial Emperor Unifying Force. 

It seemed that Yun Dingzhong had thought of him as the disciple of this Martial Emperor Heavenly King?

If he could convince them that at least he was on the same side as them, would he be able to get out of this situation intact?

No wait, could it be a ruse by Yun Dingzhong?

It was because he had suddenly remembered that Ye Yin’s divine sword was the Despairing Heavenly but was now revealed to be the Blessed Heaven. Since divine swords were rare and even rarer for darkswords, could it be that the Blessed Heaven was actually the divine sword of this Martial Emperor Heavenly King? 

And how did the Blessed Heaven become a darksword? Could it be that this Martial Emperor Heavenly King had also become a dark immortal? For immortals of their caliber, it was impossible for them to lose their divine swords unless they were really dead. So maybe that was why the Blessed Heaven had also become a cursed darksword? 

Yi Ping had no way to prove if his conclusions were correct. But learning from Lie Qing, Youxue and Yunzi had certainly taught him to be more wary of false information that was given to him by his foes. 

Indeed if it was the old him, he would have already attacked them without much thought. But now, he had to consider things on a wider picture. It was not important if he dies but it was very important if his love ones would suffer. Therefore he had to keep himself alive!

Therefore in that split second after Old Man Xuantian and Yun Dingzhong had thrown at him two quick questions, he showed no hesitation as he replied coldly. “Since you can already identify the Martial Emperor Unifying Force, surely you already know my relation to the Martial Emperor Heavenly King. But don’t you know that the Martial Emperor Heavenly King had already passed on a long time, so how is it possible for him to be in the Stellar Sanctuary?”

At this Old Man Xuantian and Yun Dingzhong were suddenly speechless as they exchanged wary looks with each other. They did know that the Martial Emperor Heavenly King was no longer around and Yun Dingzhong who was the craftier of the two, was actually testing Yi Ping. 

Yi Ping did not exactly claim to be the direct protégé of the Martial Emperor Heavenly King but had thrown them a question to be answered in their minds instead! 

And judging from their hesitate exchanges with the Great Emptiness Translucence, Yi Ping could roughly guess that the Martial Emperor Heavenly King was indeed no longer around and they had already known about it.

Old Man Xuantian was soon smirking coldly and his eyes were murderous, “Fine! While it is good to meet an old acquaintance’s protégé but you have no respects for us. You have dared to snatch our prey from us and you must know that we are really offended by it. As the saying goes, he who has no respects for others gain no respects either!”

Yun Dingzhong was smiling gleefully as he added oil to the flames, “And he had killed your protégé Chu Mingfan and has stolen the Green Dragon Sacred Sword too!”

Yi Ping sighed softly in his heart. While he did well in the first round of the battle of the wits but as soon as he was being accused of killing Chu Mingfan, he had decided to take the rap for Ziyan.

So he answered coldly, “So what?”

This time Old Man Xuantian was truly mad as he replied coldly, “Then I will surely tear you to pieces…”

The Goddess Isa knew that Old Man Xuantian would surely attacked Yi Ping at the end of his speech so she panicky interrupted, “My two heavenly kings, do you know that if you kill Yi Ping, you will be in dire situation?”

Old Man Xuantian immediately eyed her as he laughed coldly, “If you are thinking of pulling a fast one with me and taking me for an old fool then you are making a big mistake. You have better think of how you are going to please me in a while time.” 

The Goddess Isa smiled coldly as she flashed her phoenix eyes at Old Man Xuantian and Yun Dingzhong, “You have better believed it or else the Jade Emperor won’t be too pleased when he has learnt that the two of you will actually be covetous after his prized sword. Let me tell you honestly. This Yi Ping is actually the son-in-law of the Jade Emperor. So are you afraid now?”

In her haste to save Yi Ping, she made up a quick story. She was a terrible liar and was not good in making up a story. So it was not a surprise that the story that she had made up was unexpectedly close to the truth! 

The Goddess Asura shuddered at the mention of the Jade Emperor as she gasped at the same time, “You…are actually…one of them…let…go of me now!”

Yun Dingzhong began to furrow his white brows while Old Man Xuantian gave a loud martial shout as he jumped upon Yi Ping, “Rubbish!”

Yi Ping was not slow to react either. He had also gave a great shout as he augmented his martial power with the Asper Divinity as three rings of outburst exploded around him!

He had slashed forward with the Divine Horizon Swordplay!

Old Man Xuantian hummed coldly as he raised his hands forward as the ground below exploded into martial shockwave by his Dark Primordial Martial Force!

Yi Ping was not startled that Old Man Xuantian had dispelled his sword attacks with his forceful palms so he quickly changed his sword stance to the Perfect Swordplay as he split the Celestial Alice into two!

In that instant the number of attacks that Yi Ping had executed in a blink of an eye had quadrupled, startling Old Man Xuantian who gasped. “Your one sword is actually two swords!”

The Goddess Asura and Yun Dingzhong were also gasping with astonishment at this intricate change of the Celestial Alice!

Just as Yi Ping thought he may be able to defeat Old Man Xuantian with his Perfect Swordplay, Old Man Xuantian had retaliated with six shadowy imprints of his hands for each of his usual hand stance! 

The Goddess Isa gasped panicky, “Yi Ping, watch out! This is his Dark Phenomenal Hands!” 

No matter how swift Yi Ping had been with his swordplay, there were no way he could be swifter than the hand stances of this Old Man Xuantian and it seemed to him that he was like fighting against twelve hands at the same time!

Therefore for every six strokes that Yi Ping had exchanged with Old Man Xuantian, he was struck with a thunderous impact!

When eighteen strokes had passed in a blink of an eye, Old Man Xuantian had already struck Yi Ping thrice with a thunderous impact each time that caused Yi Ping to cough out a bout of blood!

This time Old Man Xuantian was genuinely surprised that Yi Ping would still be standing and had continued to attack relentless against him! 

It was because when he had used the Dark Phenomenal Hands, his Dark Primordial Martial Force would also be at its peak of power!

Moreover he had never seen this type of ambidextrous swordplay before that could attack and guard at the same time which caused him to be even more confounded! 

By the time Yi Ping had executed his thirty-sixth strokes, he had been struck six times!

Yi Ping was smiling bitterly to himself as he had broken in cold sweat because the attacks of Old Man Xuantian was leaving him no room to display the Asper Continuum or mustered his other epitome techniques. Moreover after being struck fatally six times, his movements and attacking speed had also slowed down! 

Everyone could only see a whirling of shadows between these two combatants as swirling shadows of swords and palms were seen flashing in all directions with their martial shockwaves, shaking the ground below them as the fierce impact of their exchanges took place!

The Goddess Asura seemed to sober up as she watched the fight intently as she gasped in her heart, “This Yi Ping, he can actually exchange more than thirty strokes with Old Man Xuantian. How is it possible? And he could take a blow, no several blows from Old Man Xuantian without backing off and still remain standing…”

All of a sudden she became fearful for this Yi Ping and secretly hoped that he could win…

The Goddess Isa was also watching the duel intently and she was crying inside her now. It was because she blamed herself for enraging Old Man Xuantian and caused him to be serious…

Old Man Xuantian was not having an easy time either. It was because it was an exhausting effort to maintain his Dark Primordial Martial Force and his Dark Phenomenal Hands at the same time. He had never encountered a foe that was like Yi Ping before! 

Yun Dingzhong was also perplexed. It was because he was squatting on the rock above the two fighters. In most cases, his presence would definitely serve as huge psychology barrier to Yi Ping for two reasons. Firstly for his looming presence that would strike Yi Ping at any time. Secondly, Yi Ping would have to divert some of his focus to guard against him. Either way, even if another Heavenly King was to be presented, it was nearly impossible not to be distracted!

But this Yi Ping did not seem to be bothered nor did he make any effort to move away from his looming presence. 

He thought gloomily, “Don’t tell me he had reached the divine state of where they are no others, including his own self?” 

He had almost readied his Divine Shattering Impact finger stance to try this Yi Ping but he had hesitated. Firstly, he would not be giving Old Man Xuantian any face saving measures if he were to intervene. Secondly, pride and honor restraint him from backstabbing a junior no matter how despicable and deplorable he was. Thirdly, he was curious to see the martial origins of this Yi Ping and how this fight would turn out to be. 

Therefore he continued to watch this duel intently! 

In another six blinks of an eye, a weary Yi Ping had displayed seventy-two strokes without even getting close to hurting Old Man Xuantian and at the same time he had already taken twelve tremendous impacts that caused his movements to be wobbly!

But at the same time Yi Ping could sense that Old Man Xuantian was also weakening and slowing down. He quickly raised the lighter Celestial Alice as he seized the opportunity to swipe Old Man Xuantian with the Fatal Masterstroke, which was the first technique of the Flawless Sword Energy Techniques!

Old Man Xuantian was startled when Yi Ping’s divine sword was suddenly enveloped by a beam of powerful sword energies shockwaves. It was because even for him, he dared not to take this powerful sword energy technique headlong!

Therefore he quickly took a step back as he avoided this sword technique completely and there was a cringing expression on his face!

This gave Yi Ping the breathing space that he had wanted as he scurried backward with a defensive sword stance as he began to tremble nonstop!

The Goddess Isa was beside Yi Ping in an instant as she positioned her divine sword protectively over him, “Yi Ping, let me take over from you!”

The Goddess Asura who was being held by the Goddess Isa soon found herself next to the trembling Yi Ping and she was looking at him in awe as she thought weakly, “He is really at the Seventh Cosmos Positioning? Or else he won’t be able to survive after so many hits. If they knew that he has reached the Seventh Cosmos Positioning then they will surely eat his heart…”

Her thoughts were interrupted by Old Man Xuantian who was roaring at Yi Ping, “You! You actually know the Flawless Sword Energy Techniques as well! Don’t tell me you are also the protégé of that old freak…”

Yun Dingzhong was growling, “He actually knows the sword energy technique of the Ceremonial Saint Sword Heavenly King. What a surprise. What a surprise!”

The Goddess Asura lowered her gaze as she was not willing to look at Yi Ping anymore. It was because she too, had recognized the sword skills of the Ceremonial Saint Sword Heavenly King, who was one of the two most powerful Dark Immortals ever. The other one was the Martial Emperor Heavenly King! 

This Yi Ping was obvious the same as them and was a dark practitioner. She had no wish to be associated with this Dark Lord Yi Ping. She had really underestimated him and thought that he was just being heroic as he intervened to save her. Now she truly understood that he too had an ulterior motive! 

And she began to shiver at that thought!

Yun Dingzhong said to Old Man Xuantian, “No wonder he does not fear us and even dare to challenge us. Brother Xuantian, you have almost been fooled by him. He has feigned weakness as to lure you to drop your guard. If you have been less wary, you would have been killed instantly or received a grievous injury by the Fatal Masterstroke!” 

Yi Ping said weakly, “I am not…”

Old Man Xuantian hummed coldly, “Indeed! And he has not even displayed the Slashing Crucifixion and the Exalting Obliteration yet.”

Yun Dingzhong nodded as he analyzed, “In case that we will suspect his martial level, he has actually displays the Martial Emperor Martial Force first as he slowly builds up a false pretense to lure us into his bait.”

Old Man Xuantian laughed aloud as he pointed at Yi Ping, “You really think I cannot sense the imbued power of the Sanctorum Relic in your divine sword? So unless you actually display your true strength, I will always be wary. Hehe!”

Yi Ping had wanted to protest immediately that he was not feigning but these two old men kept talking nonstop and giving him no chance to explain himself!

Yun Dingzhong continued, “Earlier I have been thinking. He dares to admit to killing your protégé and taking your Green Dragon Sacred Sword. If he is alone, surely he is not that bold. Therefore he must have the support of powerful backers or else he won’t acts so disdaining in our presence.”

Old Man Xuantian nodded, “So you think that two old freaks are still around after all?”

Yun Dingzhong smiled coldly as he stole a glance at his surroundings, “It seems that it may be true after all but one thing for sure, he is not alone or else he won’t dare to challenge us.”

All of a sudden he leapt down from the towering rock as he stared coldly at Yi Ping, “Surely you have heard of the Unification Plan? Are you with us or not?”

Yi Ping was perplexed as he murmured, “The Unification Plan?”

Old Man Xuantian laughed, “Stop feigning innocent anymore. Listen, our true goal is the top level of the Stellar Sanctuary. And I am sure that is your true goal too. You have better wise up and not interfere with us anymore. I can be generous this time and even give you the Green Dragon Sacred Sword. As for Chu Mingfan, I can also totally forget about that incident too.”

Yun Dingzhong smirked coldly, “Brother Xuantian is indeed generous and takes account of the bigger picture. What is the point of expending our precious martial strength from infighting? All the dark practitioners should be united under the same heaven. Aren’t we all here to be the Great God and take our revenge on the Immortal Realm?”

Yi Ping immediately said, “This is not my intention…”

Old Man Xuantian took a look at the Goddess Asura, “You greedy bastard. After all the efforts that we have expended….never mind, you can have her too. Will it do for you?”

The heart of the Goddess Asura grew cold. They were treating her as a commodity to be traded…

Yi Ping immediately said, “Of course. That is my intention in the first place…”

“Good!” Old Man Xuantian said and he had suddenly taken flight with Yun Dingzhong as they snatched the two immortal practitioners along with them!

In a blink of an eye, they had vanished into the woods!

As they disappeared, Yun Dingzhong’s voice could be heard reverberating via the Thousand Miles Resonate Skill, “We have a need for the hearts of these two immortals to nourish us and we are taking them away…”

Yi Ping and the Goddess Isa broke out in cold sweat when Old Man Xuantian and Yun Dingzhong were gone.

Yi Ping muttered, “I don’t know what is exactly happening…”

The Goddess Isa was looking at Yi Ping in disbelief. Earlier they had engaged in a battle of wits to force their opponents into retreating but had failed miserably. But now without resorting to anything, their opponents had actually retreated on their own!

She sighed softly as she muttered, “Three idiots.”

Yi Ping knew that she had included him as one of the idiots but he said nothing. Instead he sighed softly, “I think that they are too cunning and too smart for their own good.”

The Goddess Asura was trembling; she said hatefully even as her face had turned peach red, “You must thinking that only you are the only smart one. If only Alice is here to witness your despicable self! Or should I address you as the Dark Lord Yi Ping!”

She turned slightly to face the Goddess Isa as she said weakly, “Isa, I am really disappointed in you. Never have I thought that you will stoop so low as to join the dark side.”

Her voice was actually too soft and incoherent for Isa and Yi Ping to hear…

The Goddess Isa gasped aloud, “Yi Ping, we have forgotten that despicable Yun Dingzhong has given her some kind of a drug. She is now in a state of delirium now. We got to help her!”

Yi Ping sighed softly, “Let me carry her. Maybe Aiel can do something about it.”

As Yi Ping piggybacked the Goddess Asura, she was protesting weakly. “Don’t…touch me…let go…of me…”

Yi Ping suddenly said to Isa, “Isa, she is burning hot. What do we do now?”

The Goddess Isa turned to look at him and she was flushing with embarrassment, “What do you think and propose then?”

Yi Ping was startled by her question as he tried to think of a reply, “I…”

All of a sudden he said to her again, “Isa, I don’t know the way back. Do you know the way back?”

The Goddess Isa looked at him shockingly, “I have thought that you know…”

All of a sudden she called out, “Watch out!”

Before she knew what was happening, Yi Ping had lost his footing and had fallen down into the steep river gorge below!