In response to Bai Xiaochun’s words, the surrounding cultivators gasped in shock.
“That region which connects the Heavenspan region and the Wildlands? That Deadmire?!”
“Heavens! I can’t believe we ended up here!!”
These were all Nascent Soul cultivators who had experienced the deadliness of the trial by fire, and were now bearing witness to a battle involving the Celestial himself. Therefore, to hear that they were also in the Deadmire pushed them toward the brink of mental collapse.
The danger they had come to face surpassed anything they could have imagined before setting out on this endeavor.
No one could possibly have known that the supposed trial by fire was actually taking place in the depths of an enormous bone galleon, much less that the Celestial’s proclamation of accepting a new apprentice was actually a complete sham!
Perhaps to call it a 'sham’ was a bit of an exaggeration. Presumably, the Celestial would indeed select an apprentice after the matter was ended. But for all intents and purposes, the cultivators who had been brought here were being used through and through. It was a feeling that left them feeling profoundly cold inside, although they didn’t dare to reveal that openly.
Now they were here in the Deadmire, a fact that caused despair to stab deep into their hearts. Meanwhile, up above them, the Celestial and Gongsun Wan’er were teaming up against Ghostmother in a battle of completely epic proportions.
Booms rang out constantly, causing the bone sea that filled the Deadmire to ripple and distort. Many of the bones shattered, as did the sky above.
The Celestial’s Daoist magic sent a shocking projection of the Heavenspan Sea into action, and Gongsun Wan’er was going all out, fighting with even more ferocity than she had displayed in her battle with the gravekeeper. She was holding nothing back in her attempt to consume Ghostmother.
Bai Xiaochun was feeling very nervous as he craned his neck to observe the fighting overhead. Of course, he didn’t care at all about Ghostmother and the Celestial, only Hou Xiaomei. Unfortunately, he didn't qualify to participate in the battle.
Even as he looked on, the Celestial’s eyes glittered, and he shouted, “Don't forget our agreement! I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure you complete your fusion!”
As his words echoed about like thunder, he performed a double-handed incantation gesture, which caused the Heavenspan Sea projection to transform into a sealing mark that shot toward Ghostmother.
This was the most powerful move the Celestial had used so far. The truth was that he had actually been significantly injured during the fight with the gravekeeper, and although he had suppressed those injuries, his battle prowess had been significantly reduced because of it.
But now, he was sparing no cost to attack with full force.
As the weight of the Heavenspan Realm weighed down, massive winds screamed, and the Deadmire trembled. Meanwhile, the converged waters of the Heavenspan Sea seemed to have locked Ghostmother in place. Although she had no facial features, her face was clearly contorted with rage.
Reaching out to point at Ghostmother, the Celestial said, “You are within my world now, and you will be weak!”
The projection of the Heavenspan world flickered, causing Ghostmother’s aura to slowly weaken.
“You’re mine, Ghostmother!” Gongsun Wan’er shrieked, turning into a blur of afterimages that shot through the air to appear directly in front of her rival. There, she spat out masses of black smoke, which formed into the face of a girl. Looking profoundly excited and greedy, the girl opened her mouth and lunged at Ghostmother.
In that critical moment, Ghostmother’s voice suddenly floated out, soft, but somehow sly and treacherous. “Are you talking to me, Daoist Heavenspan? Or her?”
Then she performed a double-handed incantation gesture, sending black smoke pouring out of her hands to form countless evil ghosts, which smashed into the world projection.
Gongsun Wan’er’s eyes flickered, and the Celestial frowned.
“Another useless move?” the Celestial said, snorting coldly. Taking a step forward, he waved his right arm out in front of him, causing the air to distort and winds to scream as an enormous hand appeared. Radiating shocking power, the hand shot directly toward Ghostmother.
The world projection began to shrink down, and the Celestial’s all-destructive hand closed in. Ghostmother’s aura was weakening by the moment. In that dangerous juncture, Ghostmother went still, then let loose a piercing scream.
“Heavenly Ghosts Slaughter the World!” Suddenly, her body shattered into pieces, which became roiling black smoke that spread out in a ring, in two rings, then in three rings. Soon, nine rings of black smoke had formed, in the middle of which was an evil ghost.
Looking profoundly shocking, the ghost roared and began to charge forward. At the same time, the rings of black smoke began to spin rapidly, transforming into something like a tornado!
The nine-layered tornado emanated a terrifying aura that struck fear into Bai Xiaochun’s heart. It seemed like the type of thing that could destroy all magical laws in heaven and earth, including the world projection that had been unleashed by the Celestial.
When the Celestial’s enormous hand slammed into the tornado created by Ghostmother’s divine ability, it was the Celestial’s attack that shattered. Then, the black smoke from the tornado swirled back into the shape of Ghostmother.
However, she looked blurrier than before, and was also retreating at top speed.
“So, Daoist Heavenspan, you really can call upon the power of this world. I underestimated you!” Even as Ghostmother retreated, Gongsun Wan’er picked up speed, becoming almost nothing more than a huge mouth of smoke as she got closer and closer.
Moments later, the weakened Ghostmother began to fight with Gongsun Wan’er, a sight which was completely riveting to both Bai Xiaochun and the rest of the crowd.
Bai Xiaochun was actually less shocked than everyone else. After all, this was not his first time witnessing the Celestial, and the way he wielded the power of the world via projection.
Clearly, the Celestial had managed to weaken Ghostmother enough to give Gongsun Wan’er an advantage. Gongsun Wan’er continued to try to consume Ghostmother, whose aura weakened with every moment that passed!
Normally speaking, Gongsun Wan’er would never have been a match for Ghostmother. If control over one’s soul could be described with percentages, then Gongsun Wan’er only had about twenty percent control, whereas Ghostmother had eighty.
But now… as Gongsun Wan’er harried Ghostmother, she rose from twenty percent to thirty. And then forty. And finally… fifty percent!
Ghostmother was clearly feeling very anxious, and was having a very difficult time escaping because of the pressure of the world projection.
As for the Celestial, he hovered in midair watching the scene with cold eyes. He didn’t step in to help directly, but continued to send pressure weighing down through the world projection. This same technique had been unable to control the gravekeeper, the reason being that both the Celestial and the gravekeeper were of this world. But when it came to people who were not of this world, the power of the world had the advantage.
Various emotions flickered across Bai Xiaochun’s face. The truth was that he didn't know who he supported in this fight. The only thing he did know was that he feared for Hou Xiaomei’s safety.
Before long, Gongsun Wan’er had sixty percent control, as well as the clear advantage. At that point, a cold smile appeared on the Celestial’s face.
“It seems Ghostmother really is weakening,” he murmured to himself. “If this is some sort of trick, then I have to say, it's a very daring one. And if I lose to it, well, I’d have no choice but to accept it.” After a moment, his eyes flashed with determination. Then, in the moment in which Gongsun Wan’er reached seventy percent control, he spread his arms wide and spoke in a voice that seemed to represent the world itself!
“Slave Seal, activate!” The world projection twisted and distorted, and in the blink of an eye, transformed into an enormous sealing mark that descended toward Gongsun Wan’er!
The sealing power on display was fearsome to say the least, and even contained the power of time. Clearly, there was energy at play which had been building up for a long time!
Bai Xiaochun could sense that fact, and was shocked. Although he didn’t recognize this sealing mark, he could tell that if it landed on Gongsun Wan’er, there would be no way for her to resist it, and she would definitely become the Celestial’s slave!
And that was the Celestial's true plan. A person as arrogant as him, the ruler of an entire world, couldn’t possibly put all his hopes in a person who might not win in the end. After all, how could he be sure that Gongsun Wan’er would actually take him with her when she left? However… if he sealed her and made her his slave, then he could be completely certain of the final outcome!
The sealing mark was incredibly powerful, and truly had taken a long time to prepare. In fact… he had begun to prepare it years ago, back when they first met and had begun working out the plan that culminated in this epic battle in the Wildlands!