The Celestial’s hand was descending from the heavens!
It seemed to supplant all creation, as though the only things in existence were that vortex… and that hand, which thrummed with enough power to destroy the world!
The hand grew larger and larger, until it seemed that it would surpass the vortex. The lands quaked from the pressure, and crevices began to open up everywhere.
It was even possible to see the fingerprints on the hands, which were almost like enormous mountains and valleys, all of which threatened to crush the world.
Intense fluctuations spread out in all directions, causing all the cultivators to be so shocked that they could do nothing other than stare blankly.
It wasn’t just the people near Giant Ghost City who could see this amazing scene. In the cities belonging to the three other heavenly kings, cultivators on all sides of the conflict could see what was happening!
Although the vortex and the hand were not large enough to cover all of the Wildlands, they were large enough to cover nearly seventy percent of it. It was truly an astonishing sight.
“What is that?!?!”
“Heavens! That’s… that’s a huge hand….”
“The Celestial! It's definitely the Celestial!!” Cries of alarm rose up from both Wildlanders and Heavenspan cultivators alike. However, it only took moment for the Heavenspan cultivators to start getting excited.
“The Celestial is making a move! We’re definitely going to win the war!!” As such cries rang out, the soul cultivators and savage giants suddenly looked profoundly worried.
In fact, their eyes began to glitter with despair.
The Nine Serenities King, War Champion King, and even Xu Shan's father, the Spirit Advent King, were all deeply shocked. As for their opponents, the demigod patriarchs from the other three riversource sects, they couldn't control their reactions.
“That’s… the direction of Giant Ghost City!”
“What’s happening in Giant Ghost City!?!?”
“Something strange is going on!!”
Virtually everyone in the Wildlands was completely focused on that enormous hand emerging from the vortex.
A very serious expression could be seen on the face of the Grand Heavenmaster as he stared out of Arch-Emperor City and up into the sky. As for the reigning Arch-Emperor, he stood in the imperial palace, eyes flickering with intense hatred.
Meanwhile, Bai Xiaochun hovered in the air above Giant Ghost City, hardly able to breathe as he stared up at the vortex and the hand. Already, a sense of deep foreboding filled him.
As that sensation grew more and more intense, it reached the point where he was sure something catastrophic was about to happen.
“The Celestial… is going to attack me!!” Bai Xiaochun had no time to try to figure out why the Celestial would do such a thing. Without any hesitation, he prepared to flee.
However, the hand was too big. It was far larger than Patriarch Starry Sky’s magic of the starry sky. After all, that starry sky was a Daoist magic, whereas the Celestial’s hand contained the power of the world itself!
Even as Bai Xiaochun prepared to flee, the hand began to close in on him. Clearly, it didn’t matter where in the world he went, that hand would catch him!
A look of shock could be seen on the Giant Ghost King’s face, and Patriarch Starry Sky was stunned. By now, both of them could tell that the Celestial’s hand… was going after Bai Xiaochun!!
“The Blood Ancestor….” All of a sudden, both of them thought back to what the Celestial had done to the Blood Ancestor years ago. Of the two demigods, the Giant Ghost King reacted the most dramatically.
“Get to Arch-Emperor City!!” he shouted. “The Celestial is going to try to kill you!!”
Bitterness gripped Bai Xiaochun’s heart as he thought about how he had never done anything to offend the Celestial too badly. Furthermore, he was in a relationship with his daughter, Du Lingfei. He just wanted to stop this war, and had been just getting ready to go talk to the gravekeeper about opening the Worldgate to let the Celestial leave.
Although he had made an agreement with the Frigid Matriarch, Bai Xiaochun had pointed out from the beginning that he didn’t have any beef with the Celestial, and therefore, wouldn’t take the initiative to try to kill him.
He didn’t like fighting and killing. He only wanted to figure out a way to resolve all of the issues everyone had with each other….
“He… wants to kill me!” However, despite his bitterness, he wasn’t very surprised…. It was as if, based on all his experiences, he had somehow been prepared for this on a very deep level.
Whether it was his relationship with the gravekeeper and Bai Hao, or the matters pertaining to the world treasure and the Frigid Matriarch… the Celestial had plenty of reasons to want to attack him.
Rumbling sounds echoed out as the hand got closer and closer, filling the sky. In turn, Bai Xiaochun fled, although it didn’t seem to do him any good.
In that critical moment, he drew upon the full power of the Cloud Lighnting Forefather Transformation.
“Damn you, Celestial!!” he howled. Aware that fleeing would do no good, he decided to do the only thing possible: fight back.
Meanwhile, in the most ultimate reserve power of the Arch-Emperor Dynasty, the magical treasure that was Arch-Emperor City, deep in the third subterranean level of the city….
Within the ruins, in a place that had been buried ever since the original war between the Heavenspan region and the Arch-Emperor Dynasty, there was a crumbling pagoda. Inside of that pagoda sat an old man.
He wore a long black robe, and had hair so white and old that it emanated an aura of decay. His face was crisscrossed with wrinkles, and he emanated a powerful aura of death. Were it not for the fact that his eyes were open, and glittering dully, he could easily be mistaken for a corpse.
However, despite the glittering of his eyes, he still seemed like he was mostly dead, an oil lamp just on the verge of winking out. He might be able to survive for a bit longer, but soon, would return to dust.
He was none other than… the gravekeeper!
He had lived for many, many years, as if he had been born along with the very world in which he lived. He had seen many changes throughout his life, and had seen many generations come and go. Generations were born, and generations died… but he remained. It was an enormous weight to bear.
In his spectacular battle with the Celestial and Ghostmother’s soulclone, heaven and earth had been significantly damaged. He had used his magic of the Five Yin Organs, calling up metal, wood, water, fire, and earth in a way that weakened him even more than he already had been.
Afterward, he had passed his title on to Bai Hao. At the moment, he only had a tiny bit of energy left… energy which might vanish at any moment. In fact, he couldn’t even move. He could only sit there cross-legged.
That was the reason why he hadn’t appeared during the true battle between the Celestial and Ghostmother on the ghost galleon. It wasn’t that he didn't want to; he simply couldn’t.
However, in the moment that the Celestial made his move in the Wildlands, the decrepit gravekeeper took a breath. Then he slowly looked up. It seemed to take profound effort, but as he did, his eyes began to shine with increasingly bright light.
He was like kindling that had been sparked into flame. His lips twitched as though he were speaking, although no words could be heard.
Back outside of Giant Ghost City, the Celestial’s hand continued on toward Bai Xiaochun, who was struggling to fight back…. But then, the lands shook, and powerful fluctuations spilled out everywhere as… the earth broke apart, revealing an enormous hand that reached upward!
This new hand seemed comparable to the Celestial’s hand in all ways. As the lands collapsed, the hand shot up and slammed into the Celestial’s hand!
The Wildlands shook violently as a huge boom echoed out. A massive shockwave rippled out into all the cultivators watching the event. Thankfully, the demigods and devas were there to absorb some of the energy, otherwise all of the other cultivators would have been either seriously injured or killed.
“Gravekeeper, you old bastard!!”
Two voices filled all creation, one shaking with rage, the other quivering with extreme weariness!