Because of how the spiderweb made up the sky of the world therein, everything was as dark as late evening. Mortals might have had difficulty seeing, but of course, cultivators had no such problems.
However, everything was gray and dusty, from mountains to plants. Other than Bai Xiaochun and Gongsun Wan’er, all of the celestials found it somewhat unsettling. Anyone who entered a place like this for the first time would feel alarmed.
Just as had been the case back in Murknine County, some of the villages, towns, and cities were not covered with dust, and contained cultivators and mortal citizens. However, they all ambled around like the walking dead, making for a very shocking scene.
Bai Xiaochun and Gongsun Wan’er has seen such things before, but the others had not. Therefore, the two of them were much quicker to acclimate, and almost immediately headed out in two different directions to start their search.
After all, this wasn’t a single county like Murknine. It encompassed more than half of the entire second immortal domain, at least seven prefectures. The area to be covered in the search for the injured sovereign clone was vast, to say the least.
Of course, the search was being carried out by twelve celestials. In the immortal domains, that was a level of power that could not be rivaled. Furthermore, each celestial could search a huge area with divine sense. The fact that the sovereign clone had been injured by two archaeans meant that the fluctuations it emanated would be even easier to detect, and also, it would be weaker. Therefore, the group searched the world within the spiderweb with full fervor, aware that, at worst, it might take some time to find their quarry.
As Bai Xiaochun and Gongsun Wan’er headed off, the other celestials picked different directions and followed suit. Everyone hoped to succeed on their own, and would join forces only if it became necessary later.
The Vile-Emperor and Saint-Emperor had intentionally set things up so that their subordinate celestials would avoid their inclination to refuse to work together. After all, the rewards would be given out regardless of who actually did the deed.
It was easy to imagine conflict breaking out between the forces of the two dynasties if celestials from opposing sides both came across the sovereign clone at the same time. But considering the huge territory involved, that didn’t seem likely.
Bai Xiaochun sped through the air, his divine sense sweeping the area as he looked for clues.
“This is a sovereign clone. Maybe it’s injured, but all we have to go on is the word of the Vile-Emperor and Saint-Emperor.” Bai Xiaochun couldn’t help but analyze the matter as he went along. After all, only he and Gongsun Wan’er had personally dealt with this sovereign clone before.
When he closed his eyes, he could picture that single palm strike reducing all of Murknine County to ashes. He also had the feeling that the reason why the clone was only a hair from being in the late Archaean Realm was because of that bit of life force he had stolen with the Eternal Parasol.
“I bet if that lizard had actually been in the late Archaean Realm, the Vile-Emperor and Saint-Emperor would be in even worse condition than they are now….” The more he thought about it, the more he realized that the sovereign clone most likely hated him to a very profound degree.
“It’s not like I did it on purpose! Who asked it to set up shop right at my front door?” He really felt like he was getting the short end of the stick in the matter, but realized there was nothing he could do about it. If he found traces of the lizard, he would simply send a message to the other celestials and wait for them to come help.
Others among the celestials might be considering trying to take the clone for their own, but not Bai Xiaochun. In fact, he actually hoped the Vile-Emperor Dynasty celestials tracked it down first. Let them be the ones who tested out the thing's current battle prowess.
Because of all of these thoughts, he wasn’t actually going about his search efforts very thoroughly. To him, safety was the priority. He wasn’t even paying very close attention to what his divine sense was telling him of his surroundings.
The area covered by the spiderweb was huge, and before long, three days had passed. The twelve celestials were all searching in different areas, and were also keeping in touch. By maintaining full vigilance, they weren’t giving the sovereign clone any chances to slip through their grasp.
Many of the celestials assumed there was more to the situation than the two archaeans had let on, and some had surmised that they might have been thrown out as bait. That thought caused everyone to be even more on guard than normal.
Bai Xiaochun was being especially cautious. Although he hadn’t found any clues about the clone, he had come across seven or eight villages like the one he had entered in Murknine County. From outside, everything looked normal in such places, except for the laughter that echoed out from inside of them. He always avoided such places when he saw them.
He headed in the general direction of Mistysea Prefecture, and as the days passed, he gradually began to see familiar areas. He recognized certain cities, and although none of them contained cultivators ravenously devouring each other, they still caused his mood to sink.
Sighing, he continued northward. At one point, his expression flickered, and he pulled his transmission jade slip out of his bag of holding. After scanning it with divine sense, he heard Celestial Aged Spirit’s voice echoing in his ear.
“I found it!” he said excitedly. “All of you, hurry over here!” At that point, a stream of divine sense appeared that led off in a certain direction.
Bai Xiaochun blinked a few times hesitantly, then turned and followed the divine sense. During the past few days, he had been maintaining a speed that could be described as neither fast nor slow. But the situation was urgent now, so he immediately blurred into motion, resorting to teleportations to move even faster.
Thankfully, the distance involved wasn’t immense, and with the regenerative powers of the Undying Live Forever Technique to help him, he was able to maintain incredible speed. Streaking through the air, he continued to follow the stream of divine sense for six hours!
During that time, his speed helped him travel a distance that would take days for average celestials. Eventually, he sensed Celestial Aged Spirit’s aura up ahead of him.
In addition, there were shocking fluctuations that indicated a spell formation was sealing down a huge area!
As Bai Xiaochun approached, he saw the glowing red light of the spell formation, which was intermingled with a thick black mist. It almost looked as though an enormous, upside-down bowl were covering the area, which was about 500 kilometers from side to side.
Just barely visible above the black mist were three huge faces, which belonged to none other than Celestial Deadfall, Prince Ur-Demon and Daoist Heavenspan, all of whom were staring coldly at Celestial Aged Spirit, as well as Gu Tianjun and Sima Yunhua, who stood off to the side, expressions flickering as they waited anxiously.
When Bai Xiaochun appeared, the three of them immediately looked over at him, and their expressions brightened.
“Chen Su is still about four hours away….”
“There’s no time to wait!” The other three celestials quickly began to update Bai Xiaochun on the situation. Celestial Aged Spirit had been the first to locate the flesh and blood clone of the sovereign. However, the clone moved too quickly, and escaped. As Celestial Aged Spirit gave chase, Celestial Virūpākṣa arrived, and called other Vile-Emperor Dynasty forces to his aid.
The Vile-Emperor Dynasty celestials had the advantage of numbers, and had showed up before Gu Tianjun and Sima Yunhua. Not only had they set up a spell formation to keep Celestial Aged Spirit out, but Celestial Deadfall was maintaining it in a way that sealed whatever was inside.
At the same time, they had a number of celestials inside who were trying to capture the sovereign clone!
“We can’t wait any longer,” Gu Tianjun said through gritted teeth, his eyes flashing with determination. “Let’s attack and see if we can figure out what's going on inside the spell formation!” Sima Yunhua and Celestial Aged Spirit nodded in agreement. As for Bai Xiaochun, he realized that this was a rare opportunity, and that if he didn’t help out, it might also be their last. Waving his hand, he summoned the Greatsword of the North!
Even as the sword light glittered, the four of them became glittering beams of light that shot toward the spell formation!
Daoist Heavenspan, Prince Ur-Demon, and Celestial Deadfall were clearly surprised, and focused more power on maintaining the spell formation. Just as the two sides were about to clash, something dramatic happened!!
A bloodcurdling scream echoed out from the mists that filled the spell formation!