The Ancient Fortress
The Ancient Fortress was actually a gigantic floating city that was suspending in mid-air.
It was massive, extending for miles, almost like the mountain ranges!
Yi Ping wondered how this big city could stay afloat just like this. It seemed to be familiar to the Stellar Sanctuary in many ways. Could this Ancient Fortress be a mystery artefect from the Great Beyond too?
Just as Yi Ping wondered how they were going to go up, the Great Lord Xuan Yuan said, “Do you have your own stead? Why don’t we fly up to the City of the Gods?”
He took a mocking glance at the Goddess Aeris at the same time. That was because he had killed her stead and could see the painful expressions that were on her.
Yi Ping thought, “The City of the Gods? He must be referring to the Ancient Fortress. So that must be its other name.”
At the same time, he answered. “No, I don’t have a stead. I have come alone.”
The Great Lord Xuan Yuan looked at Yi Ping sternly but Yi Ping returned a steadfast look at him. He laughed aloud, “I am just astonished that you do not have your own stead even though I can sniff the scent of Kirin on you.”
Yi Ping smiled weakly as he thought, “That must be Xiao Ping’s scent.”
But he said firmly, “I do not have one with me now.”
The Great Lord Xuan Yuan said, “Doesn’t matter. Follow me on foot then.”
And with a flash, he had leapt on top of the ridge, “I hope that the two of you can keep up with my pace or I will be none the pleased.”
The Goddess Aeris lowered her eyes and said, “Yes, my lord.”
Yi Ping had no other choice but to follow him.
The Great Lord Xuan Yuan had actually taken them to the plains below.
The haste that was displayed by the Great Lord Xuan Yuan was astonishing and it had only taken them just a while to go down the plains!
Yi Ping was startled but he did not give it away. He thought, “We are supposed to go up to the Ancient Fortress but why are we going further and further away?”
Very soon Yi Ping was on the plains below but what he had seen was disturbing to him. Thousands of forced laborers were dragging heavy blocks of stones around steep stone monument pyramids!
The Great Lord Xuan Yuan said haughtily, “What do you think of my city? Isn’t it beautiful?”
Yi Ping said unhappily, “Your city may be beautiful but your people are suffering!”
The Great Lord Xuan Yuan gave a mocking smile, “Those are our slaves. Mortals and Immortals simply don’t mix. Aren’t you a little sentimental for an Immortal?
Just as Yi Ping was about to argue further, the Goddess Aeris said. “He is from the Borderlands, remember? No mortals can survive the scorching heat of the other side. Maybe he has been away for too long and has never seen so many mortals before.”
Yi Ping was jolted as he thought, “There are mortals here?”
His thoughts quickly translated into curiosity as he asked, “There are mortals here?”
The Great Lord Xuan Yuan smiled wryly, “It seems that you are really been away for too long. The mortals here are a result of a freak unison between the Desolate Immortals. Normally, it is impossible for us to have any offspring. Or maybe we are actually capable of it but it rarely happens. Or it is because of this realm that we are in.”
He raised his fist, “They are mortals and their lives have little consequences to us.”
The Goddess Aeris stole a sly glance at Yi Ping as she said to the Great Lord Xuan Yuan, “Some of the mortals have actually succeeded to be the golden eyes half-immortals.”
The Great Lord Xuan Yuan hummed coldly, “And we have almost eliminated most of them by now. They are nothing else but trouble makers. We have actually given them a special position among us and yet they dare to incite the mortals to rebel against us. Since they want to be on the same level as the mortals then so shall it be. Only the true immortals like us, shall rule over all things.”
Yi Ping hummed coldly, “You should not be so callous…”
The Great Lord Xuan Yuan stared coldly at him, “You do not tell me what to do or you will find it to be a terrible mistake…”
Just as Yi Ping was about to say something, the Goddess Aeris had pointed to a direction and hurriedly said. “Look!”
A group of eleven men were coming toward them at a startling speed and they all had scarlet eyes!
Yi Ping immediately knew that they were Desolate Immortals!
They were all Sixth Positioning Immortals except for the one leading them, who was the Seventh Positioning.
The Great Lord Xuan Yuan did not seem to be startled as he turned to look at them coolly.
The leader of the group began to bow respectfully as he said hurriedly, “Our honorable respect to the Great Lord Xuan Yuan and Great Goddess Aeris, we didn’t know that you are here. Your humble servant Asatru pays my respects to you.”
The leader of the group looked at Yi Ping, not knowing what to address him. But anyone that was in the company of the Great Lord Xuan Yuan had to be someone of great important.
Yi Ping saw his subtle expression and said indifferently, “You can call me Yi Ping.”
The leader of the group immediately said, “My respects to the Lord Yi Ping…”
All eleven of them still carried startled expressions and a lingering fear.
That was because the Great Lord Xuan Yuan had rarely descended from the Ancient Fortress except on official business and the reasons were often not good. Also, they could see that the Great Lord Xuan Yuan, the Great Goddess Aeris and this Lord Ping had just been through a terrible fight; they wondered what exactly had happened…
The Goddess Aeris smiled, “It seems that I am not used to being called a Great Goddess.”
The leader of the group shifted uncomfortably, not knowing if this smile was a sharp dagger or a beautiful compliment.
The Great Lord Xuan Yuan smiled wryly, “There is no need for anyone of you to worry unduly. I just have a duel with this Lord Yi Ping. In the process, some of our steads are lost. So I want you to take them to the Great Pyramid of Cheops and bring them up to my palace in the City of the Gods.”
The leader of the group stammered, “Yes, we will do as your sire commands…”
The Great Lord Xuan Yuan interrupted coolly, “You and your men will bring them to me without any delay.”
He paused briefly to give a sly smile, “I don’t want anything to happen to my honorable guests, is that understood?”
The leader of the group immediately understood the subtle intentions so he quickly said, “I will escort them personally without any delay.”
The Great Lord Xuan Yuan smiled, “What if Lord Yi Ping wants to go to other places?”
The leader of the group immediately said, “That will not happen. We have a hundred desolate immortals to watch over him!”
The Great Lord Xuan Yuan nodded and smiled, “After all, he is my honorable guest and I don’t want anything to happen to him. Do not let him off from your sight and I don’t want the other immortals to talk to him. When that is done, I will give you a divine sword as a reward.”
He smiled coldly, “But if you fail, I will execute all the escorts personally.”
The leader of the group turned ashen and he quickly replied firmly, “I will not let your sire down!”
Yi Ping smiled bitterly as he thought, “Isn’t it obvious that he is asking them to watch over me warily?”
As though the Great Lord Xuan Yuan understood what he was thinking about, he gave Yi Ping a smile. “They can’t stop you if you really want to go. But you should at least talk to my consort-to-be for a little while first. After all, you won’t have a lot of chances in the future.”
He gave Yi Ping a blank stare as though he was saying to Yi Ping, “So your weakness is her, am I right? Then you will surely come quietly to my palace.”
Yi Ping shrugged his shoulders as he sighed softly, thinking to himself. “Why did I have to get into this mess?
The Goddess Aeris lowered her glances to say softly, “Do I have to go too? Don’t I have to prepare for the day of my honor tomorrow?”
The Great Lord Xuan Yuan said matter of fact, “I will send a message to your clan for you. You will stay at my palace tonight.”
When he had finished saying, he gave a mighty howling shout to the heavens!
So terrifying was his martial shout that Yi Ping and the rest were repulsed several steps from him!
And immediately, a gigantic crimson four winged dragon burst from the dark clouds at a startling speed!
Yi Ping was startled at the sight of this dragon for it was ten times bigger than the divine blue dragon that he had seen earlier!
The Great Lord Xuan Yuan laughed, “My divine stead has come. See you in a little while. If my stead can tolerate strangers, I will surely bring you up on her.”
The gigantic crimson four winged dragon slide down with thunderous explosive windforce but it never touched down for the Great Lord Xuan Yuan had already leapt onto her and in a blink of an eye, they had disappeared within the shadows of the massively Ancient Fortress!
The leader of the group said to Yi Ping with a cold smile, “Shall we go now?”
Yi Ping nodded slowly while the Goddess Aeris looked at Yi Ping discreetly before she said aloud, “So what are we waiting for? Let us move on hastily then.”
She took a look at Yi Ping before saying coolly to him, “You are really brave to fight with the Great Lord Xuan Yuan and you live to tell about it. I don’t know who you are but you are wiser to stay where you are…”
All of a sudden she gasped because Yi Ping took great stride forward as he said jovially, “What are we waiting for? I have never seen the great palace of the Great Lord Xuan Yuan before and I am all too curious about it.”
The Goddess Aeris leapt next to him and rebuked him gently, “You are too impossible. Don’t say I didn’t warn you or anything!”
Yi Ping heaved a soft sigh, “Don’t worry. This is the fate that I have chosen for myself. My destiny is in my own hands. I am the one that choose this path so I am to be responsible for it. Don’t worry for me. I will be alright.”
The Goddess Aeris was startled as she stammered, “I am not at all worry for you!…”
But she quickly muttered, “Your fate? My destiny is in my own hands…is this possible? This is a new notion…”
The leader of the group said as he pointed to a gigantic golden pyramid, “We are going there. It won’t take us long.”
Indeed in a while time they were already on its golden steps.
Along the way, Yi Ping heaved a heavy sigh as he saw groups of hundreds pulling the mega stones that must have weighed at least a hundred tons. He shivered at the forced labor yet he knew that he was helpless to help them for his intervention would result in their deaths.
So he turned to Asatru and said, “If you are able then you should not be harsh to them and treat them humanely. This will be good for your future attainment.”
Asatru was startled as he looked into Yi Ping’s eyes. All of a sudden, he felt lost and confused. This Lord Yi Ping seemed to possess an enthralling aura that compels him to listen to him!
And he was shaken by it. It was because he had indeed struck at the Seventh Immortal Positioning for too long!
Yi Ping added, “The strength that we have is used to fight the strong and not to harass the weak. Only then can our level of attainment be improved.”
Asatru trembled a little. Somehow what this Lord Yi Ping had said to me, sounded irresistible!
The Desolate Immortals had split into two main groups. One group had chosen to stay under the twilight zone while the other group had chosen to venture into the Borderlands, a scorching desert under the eternal sun that only the strong could survive.
He began to question himself, “Have I become so weak willed because I have chosen to stay in this place? Here, I fear the strong and harass the weak. This is not our old ways…”
He found himself liking this Lord Yi Ping so he lit a smile, “Lord Yi Ping, did you really fight with the Great Lord Xuan Yuan? How was it? You are really too daring and lucky to escape unscathed.”
The Goddess Aeris said excitedly, “He! He…what do you guys know? He can even battle the Great Lord Xuan Yuan Thirty-Three Degree Technique on equal ground. So what do you think? You should have seen their epic fight!”
Asatru the leader of the group and the rest of the Desolate Immortals had suddenly turned ashen as they looked at Yi Ping blankly!
Asatru asked, “Great Goddess Aeris, you are serious?”
The Goddess Aeris lifted her eyes to look at them as she replied coolly, “I don’t look serious?”
Asatru and the rest of the immortals looked at Yi Ping slowly as they appraised him and the two divine swords that he had on his back. They were a little afraid. That was because if this Lord Yi Ping was able to fight the Great Lord Xuan Yuan then he must also be on the Ninth Immortal Positioning. If so then there was no way they would be able to stop him from leaving if he so pleased!
Yi Ping had already walked to the entrance of the gigantic pyramid and was looking curiously at the two gigantic monument dragons that were arranged elegantly near it. He turned around to say, “Your worries are unfounded. I will surely pay the Great Lord Xuan Yuan a visit!”
All of a sudden Asatru had raised his palm as he flew to Yi Ping with a startling force!
But Yi Ping had simply raised his palm and there was a thunderous bang and Asatru was sent crashing with a thunderous impact into a mega obelisk, cracking it!
Everyone was startled, including the Goddess Aeris who called out, “What are you trying to do?”
One of the immortals shouted, “Lord Asatru!”
Asatru was trembling as he rose slowly from the cloud of debris, “I am alright…I am only testing him…”
He quickly said, “Lord Yi Ping, pardon me.”
Yi Ping rubbed his nose and heaved a soft sigh, “So that is a test?”
He looked at the rest of the Desolate Immortals before he said slowly, “It is a lucky thing that Lord Yi Ping has chosen to restrain his strength or I won’t be standing here. None of us is able to stop him unless we have the Practitioners of the Eighth Positioning here.”
The Goddess Aeris hummed coldly, “I am glad that you have realized that.”
Asatru smiled weakly, “Follow me. Lord Yi Ping, please forgive my rudeness. I am curious to know your strength.”
Yi Ping nodded slowly as he observed that his escorts were all looking at him with weird expressions. He wondered why…
The Goddess Aeris smiled shyly at him and said, “You didn’t know what you have just done, didn’t you?”
Yi Ping did not know what to answer so he simply smiled weakly. It was better not to say a thing in this unfamiliar situation lest he would get into more trouble!
So he simply followed after him!
Very soon he was escorted into the deep recesses of the pyramid. There were many winding passages inside and they had come into a grand hall.
In the hall, there were many more immortals and they were all looking at Yi Ping curiously, wondering who he was.
Yi Ping could see a blue radiance pool in the middle and he could see people appearing and vanishing from it!
The Goddess Aeris said with a lingering sadness, “This gate will lead us to the City of the Gods that is above.”
Asatru said loudly to the guards that were in the hall, “We are going through the gate, make way!”
A Desolate Immortal asked, “My respects to the Great Goddess Aeris. You shouldn’t be here at all…”
The Goddess Aeris said coldly, “You are out of your place. I am free to go wherever I please. Moreover I am summoned by the Great Lord Xuan Yuan to his palace. How dare you question me!”
The Desolate Immortal immediately stammered, “This is not what I mean. Please forgive me, your Great Goddess…”
Asatru quickly said, “Be gone! I am personally escorting the Great Goddess Aeris and Lord Yi Ping to the Ancient Fortress.”
The Desolate Immortal immediately said humbly, “Yes, yes.”
Asatru said aloud to the thirty or so other immortals that were in the hall, “Quickly summon a hundred others and follow me through the gate quickly!”
One Desolate Immortal was startled, “A hundred?!”
Asatru said firmly, “Gather all the sixth to the seventh ranking immortals immediately!”
Another Desolate Immortal was equally startled as he said, “If we all go through the gate, won’t the Great Lords of the Ancient Fortress think that we are creating an uprising? Why do you need us to go with you?”
Asatru hummed coldly as he looked at Yi Ping and the Goddess Aeris, “Firstly, we have to ensure the safety of the Great Goddess Aeris…”
Quite a few Desolate Immortals were already muttering even before he had finished, “Who would trifle with the consort of the Great Lord Xuan Yuan? Even the World Ruler Fu Xi respects the domain of the Great Lord Xuan Yuan! Is the Great Lord Xuan Yuan really going to accord upon the Great Goddess Aeris such great honor?”
Asatru hummed coldly, “Secondly, I am under instructions from the Great Lord Xuan Yuan to escort this Lord Yi Ping to his presence. Under no circumstances must we allow him out of our sight. Gather a hundred men now. But be warned; if we fail, all one hundred of us will be executed by the Great Lord Xuan Yuan personally!”
The entire great hall was suddenly silent as all the other Desolate Immortals froze in their tracks upon hearing the message of the Lord Asatru!
But almost immediately, seven high level Desolate Immortals had reacted as they attacked Yi Ping from all sides!
To the astonishment of all the onlookers, Yi Ping had immediately intercepted them and had floored every single one of them with a thunderous impact in all directions!
No sooner had the first seven fighters been floored, seven more additional fighters that had joined in the fray were also floored in less time than the first seven!
It was because they were not as capable fighters as the first wave.
Everyone was gasping in shock!
It was because even if it was an Eighth Positioning Immortal, it was nearly impossible to do what Yi Ping had done!
Yi Ping had reacted instinctively and out of self-defense. He was almost surprised at the ease that he had thrown off their attacks!
He thought, “Compare to the Celestial Immortals, aren’t they a little too weak? Or is it because my strength is now empowered by the Creation Universal Force?”
He knew that they were testing him and had not deployed their best fighting techniques yet. So he said, “If you want to fight then you got to be serious.”
The Goddess Aeris stared blankly at Yi Ping before she said bitterly, “So you are really not serious when you are fighting me…”
Yi Ping could only smile weakly to her as he said, “Lady, this is not what I mean…”
The Goddess Aeris interrupted him with an alluring smile as she looked at everyone, “This Lord Yi Ping has fought the Great Lord Xuan Yuan to a standstill. Do you think that anyone of you here will be able to stop him? Better get a thousand instead to watch over him!”
Everyone was startled as they stared at Yi Ping keenly!
They really could not tell his state of divinity or attainment!
Yi Ping was startled by the Goddess Aeris as he said hurriedly, “Lady, aren’t you trying to get me into a fix? After all, I am only here because of you…”
The Goddess Aeris looked at him coldly, “Who knows what you are really trying to do? Maybe you have an ulterior motive?”
Yi Ping protested immediately, “That is not true at all…”
She immediately smiled shyly and said, “Or maybe you are just trying to get my attention?”
Yi Ping was so dumbfounded by her latest remark that he could only blink his eyes and not knowing what to answer!