It was evening, and the disciples of the River-Defying Sect were busy at their repair work. By now, the four mountain ranges that made up the sect headquarters were mostly back to normal. Buildings once again rose up near and far. Although traces of damage still existed, for the most part, the sect was on its way to a complete recovery.
Morale was very high. The sound of jovial laughter and conversation could be heard everywhere, and the entire sect seemed to thrum with life.
After fighting side-by-side, the four divisions had grown closer than ever, making the general atmosphere in the sect better than ever.
Nothing seemed out of place among the patriarchs, and yet, their hearts were weighed down by one looming fact. Their repeated attempts to contact the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect had failed. Not even the child deva of the Sky Quarter had responded to them.
Patriarch Spirit Stream and the others were all very worried about what that meant. However, they didn't let that show, worried that the River-Defying Sect would fare badly if they knew that impending catastrophe loomed on the horizon.
“We can’t let Xiaochun bear all the burden!” Patriarch Spirit Stream said.
The Nascent Soul patriarchs were currently in a grand hall in the sect, serious expressions on their faces as they discussed the matter. Of course, Patriarch Spirit Stream and Patriarch Blood Stream took the lead in the meeting.
In response to Patriarch Spirit Stream’s words, Patriarch Blood Stream sat in silence for a moment, then said, “If worst comes to worst… we can always leave the Middle Reaches and go back to the Lower Reaches!”
They wouldn’t do such a thing unless there were no other options. However, there was no way to tell what the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect was thinking at the moment, and therefore, they had to plan for the worst-case scenario.
Patriarch Blood Stream’s words were met with silence in the grand hall. The only thing that could be heard was the laughing and chatting coming from the disciples outside.
That only served to emphasize the gravity of the situation. If things got worse, and the River-Defying Sect really did retreat from the Middle Reaches, it would be a devastating blow to both patriarchs and disciples alike.
Patriarch Spirit Stream sighed, and was just about to say something more, when a shadow blurred into the room. It was none other than the Spirit Stream Sect’s monkey. Even as he took form, another shadowy form appeared, which was the Blood Stream Sect’s rabbit!
Both of them began to speak in high-pitched tones, making it impossible to determine which of them began speaking first.
“Devas are invading!!”
“Activate the spell formation!!”
As the urgent voices of the monkey and rabbit echoed out, Patriarch Spirit Stream’s face fell. Without the slightest hesitation, he performed an incantation gesture, activating the sect's defensive spell formation. Patriarch Blood Stream and the other two patriarchs offered assistance. In the blink of an eye, rumbling sounds filled the air in the sect’s four mountain ranges. At the same time, shield after shield rose up to create defensive barriers.
The Dire Skybanyan, which had just been brought back from the brink of death, shivered. Magical symbols erupted from its leaves, and in the blink of an eye, green light shot out from it, creating even more protective shields for the sect.
It all happened so quickly that, before the shocked disciples could react, the spell formation had been fully activated…. And that was when intense rumbling sounds could be heard as five beams of light shot toward the sect!
It was none other than Chen Hetian, Li Xiandao and Bai Zhentian, followed by Patriarch Starry River and Patriarch Dao River!
The will of the five devas immediately spread out to fill heaven and earth, causing crackles of thunder to rip across the sky!
Their will replaced the will of the heavens, locking down the entire area and making it a world unto its own!
When the disciples of the River-Defying Sect saw the five figures up above, they gasped, and their faces fell!
“Patriarch Dao River!”
“That’s Patriarch Starry River!”
“I've never seen those other three… but their auras seem even more terrifying than the first two!!”
Shangguan Tianyou’s throat tightened, and Beihan Lie shivered. Song Que and the other chosen were immediately wracked with nervousness, as were Song Junwan and the other leaders in the sect.
Even with the spell formation activated, the pressure from the five devas was intense enough that everyone was left completely shaken.
The pressure was like mountain after mountain crushing down onto the hearts and minds of the disciples, stifling them and filling them with terror.
An anxious commotion broke out; everyone got the sense that disaster was pending. Patriarch Spirit Stream and Patriarch Blood Stream were both half-devas, and were the strongest cultivators in the sect besides Bai Xiaochun. They both flew up toward the border of the spell formation, grim expressions on their faces as they faced the five devas.
None of the other disciples recognized Chen Hetian and his compatriots, but Patriarch Spirit Stream and Patriarch Blood Stream did.
Suppressing his anxiety, Patriarch Spirit Stream clasped hands and bowed. “Greetings Patriarchs Chen, Bai, and Li! Honored sirs, I'm not sure the reason for your visit, hopefully you can forgive any breaches in etiquette!”
Next to him, the equally nervous Patriarch Blood Stream similarly bowed in greeting.
When the River-Defying Sect disciples saw their two patriarchs acting so respectfully, it only caused their anxiety to grow.
As for Chen Hetian and the other two devas, they completely ignored the two River-Defying Sect patriarchs. Looking down coldly at the spell formation shield, they began to transmit a conversation among themselves.
“This River-Defying Sect certainly reacted quickly.”
“Well, that Bai Xiaochun is a deva after all. It only makes sense that he would detect our arrival.”
“It doesn’t matter. At worst, we’ll have to do a bit of work.”
When the two River-Defying Sect patriarchs realized that they were being ignored, their anxiety mounted, and their eyes grew more bloodshot.
The other disciples in the sect were completely shocked, and had begun trembling in despair. After all, even with Bai Xiaochun there to help, this was a collection of five devas they were facing!!
Patriarch Spirit Stream gritted his teeth and once again spoke. “Patriarchs, would you--”
“Pipe down!” Li Xiandao interrupted. Snorting coldly, he waved his hand, summoning a 300-meter-wide illusory hand that shot down toward the spell formation shield.
Massive rumbling sounds filled the air as the hand landed onto the shield, which erupted with brilliant light. The shield bent inward, and cracks spread out across its surface, but in the end it held, whereas the hand shattered.
However, one of the shield layers had been broken. When that happened, the mountain ranges in the River-Defying Sect trembled, and countless bits of rubble crashed down their sides. The newly-repaired mountains were already on the verge of collapsing again.
Eyes bloodshot with madness, Patriarch Spirit Stream looked at Chen Hetian and the other devas and shouted, “Patriarchs, what crime did the River-Defying Sect commit that has you so set on exterminating us!?!?”
The other disciples in the sect couldn’t hold back any longer either, and began to shout out in anger.
“What crime did the River-Defying Sect commit!!”
“Why must you try over and over again to exterminate our sect!?!?”
Their cries became a sound wave that rolled out in all directions across the landscape. Finally, Chen Hetian snorted coldly. Ignoring the River-Defying Sect, he turned to Patriarch Dao River and Patriarch Starry River.
“You have the time it takes half an incense stick to burn to break open that spell formation shield. If you don’t… then the two of you can forget about continuing on as devas.”
The two patriarchs shivered. Eyes bloodshot, they rotated their cultivation bases in preparation to take action. They knew that what Chen Hetian had said was no empty threat. In the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect, his words were like law, and they didn’t dare to defy him.
Shouting at the tops of their lungs, Patriarch Dao River and Patriarch Starry River unleashed all the power they could muster onto the River-Defying Sect.