The Heavenly City was blown to smithereens?
Although Nine Lanterns said that this Heavenly City and the one mentioned in legends weren't the same, Shuhang was still shaken after hearing this sentence.
"How was it destroyed?" Song Shuhang asked out of curiosity. Since it was called Heavenly City, even if it wasn't as powerful as the Heavenly City in legends, it should have been still a huge influence, right? How could such a place be blown to smithereens?
Nine Lanterns replied, "There are many theories. Theory No. 1: The person who established the Heavenly City, the Heavenly Emperor, was researching a fearful magical technique. Later, the power of the technique went out of control, and the entire city was blown to smithereens. According to this theory, even the Heavenly Emperor himself was reduced to ashes during the explosion! Although the top-cultivators in the world think that someone as powerful as the Heavenly Emperor wouldn't die due to a mere explosion, the fact that the Heavenly Emperor hasn't shown himself since then is still true. Therefore, people started to think that something might have happened to him."
"..." Song Shuhang.
He carelessly made the city explode while researching a powerful magical technique? Couldn't he have conducted this research in a better place? This is as stupid as developing an atomic bomb in your courtyard, was this Heavenly Emperor trying to seek death?
"Theory No. 2: According to this theory, the Heavenly City was encircled and attacked by several powerful influences. Amongst these influences were the Netherworld Realm, the Beast Realm, the Ghost Realm, and several others. After being besieged from several sides, the Heavenly City finally fell and was destroyed." Nine Lanterns raised two fingers as she explained.
Song Shuhang silently nodded. This theory actually made sense! Next, Shuhang imagined a scene where monsters, demons, ghosts, evil spirits, and beasts were besieging the Heavenly City. At last, the Heavenly City fell under the attack of the enemy. What a shocking scene!
"Theory No. 3: According to this theory, the current Will of the Heavens plotted against the Heavenly City, and the city was blown to smithereens in the span of a night. The previously bustling city vanished into thin air in a mere instant." Nine Lanterns raised the third finger.
After saying this much, she narrowed her eyes and asked, "Then, which of the three theories do you find more reasonable?"
Song Shuhang shook his head and replied honestly, "Miss Nine Lanterns, I'm was an ordinary boy not too long ago, and I've been cultivating only for a few months. I don't even know what the Heavenly City is. I'm afraid I can't answer your question."
"What a party pooper. Can't you casually guess?" Nine Lanterns said as she finally let Song Shuhang's hand go.
At this time, Song Shuhang discovered that the cloud beneath his feet was actually solid and that he could stand on it without falling down.
After taking a few steps on the cloud out of curiosity, he thoughtlessly replied, "It's pointless to make a casual guess… moreover, rather than the three theories, I'm more interested in this 'current Will of the Heavens' you mentioned in the third theory. If there is a 'current' Will of the Heavens, is there a 'previous' one too?"
The 'Will of the Heavens' represented the ultimate truth, the origin of things, the noumenon, the law, the principle of things, and so on. It was the principle and foundation of all the things in the universe. It also had a very close relation to cultivation in general.
However, could something like the Will of the Heavens be divided into 'current' and 'previous'?
If the 'Will of the Heavens' was frequently changing, how could cultivators even cultivate?
To explain it with an example: If you want to reach immortality today, you'd have to eat a watermelon. But the next day, the rule would change and you could reach immortality only by eating a pumpkin. The day after it would change again and now you had to eat a wax gourd to reach immortality. Wouldn't cultivators go insane if this were to happen?
"The Will of the Heavens is eternal and never changing. However, the Wielder of the Will has changed several times during the course of history." Nine Lanterns looked ahead and said calmly, "The goal of us cultivators is to reach immortality. After practicing to the peak and suppressing all the cultivators in the universe, one would carry the Will of the Heavens and become the Wielder of the Heavens' Will and the ruler of all. From that moment, they would surmount immortality and become eternal and everlasting. You can say that they would become the embodiment of the Will of the Heavens itself!"
Somewhat confused, Song Shuhang asked, "Since the Wielder of the Will is eternal and everlasting, how come it changed several times during the course of history?"
Nine Lanterns shrugged her shoulders and said, "I don't know either. I'm just telling you what I heard from a senior. The more quick-witted you are, the more things you will understand."
Song Shuhang nodded and asked about another thing, "Then, why would the current Wielder of the Will decide to destroy the Heavenly City?"
Nine Lanterns smiled happily. "This is a good question! Now, you're finally asking questions pertaining to the conversation. What you said earlier was rather unpredictable and almost threw me off. You really pushed me into a corner, you know? Sorry, I had to let out these pent-up feelings."
"..." Song Shuhang.
"Cough. Now then, you asked why the current Wielder of the Will would want to deal with the Heavenly City, right? At the time, the strongest influence amongst the world of cultivators was exactly the Heavenly City, and if one wanted to deal with cultivators, they had to attack their strongest foothold." Nine Lanterns sighed with emotion.
"Deal with cultivators and attack the Heavenly City? For what reason?" Song Shuhang furrowed his brows and suddenly thought of something. "Is it possible that the current Wielder of the Will isn't a cultivator?"
Aside from cultivators, this world had other existences, such as monsters, demons, ghosts, etc.
If the current Wielder of the Will wasn't a cultivator and even had a grudge against them, it was reasonable for him to attack the Heavenly City.
"Your brain works pretty fast, huh," Nine Lanterns said with a bitter expression. "You guessed the right answer so easily that my happy feelings were reduced by at least 80%."
"I'm sorry," Song Shuhang immediately apologized.
"Anyway, your guess is correct. The current Wielder of the Will isn't a cultivator. Even up to this day, we are unaware of the origin, race, or affiliation of this new Wielder of the Will. The previous Wielder of the Will, who was friendly toward cultivators, 'retired' overnight and was replaced by the current one. By the way, this change in authority took place in remote times, but those old seniors that survived the ordeal always have a bitter and painful expression on their face when the topic is brought up," Nine Lanterns said, somewhat depressed.
Song Shuhang rubbed his temples.
Why did this conversation suddenly turn so serious?
This situation was somewhat similar to that of an employee that was giving his all and working overtime to please his boss and get a promotion, and the boss also appreciated this hard-working employee of his. But in the next days, just when the employee was getting ready to enjoy his bright future, the old boss would be suddenly replaced with a new one that hated the employee to the core.
Moreover, Song Shuhang was just a small cultivator of the First Stage; knowing this big secret shocked him quite a bit!
While explaining these matters of the past, Nine Lanterns led Song Shuhang through the Southern Heavenly Gate.
After entering the gate, Song Shuhang saw a boundless sea of clouds. Amongst the sea of clouds were many 'drifting' palaces. However, in most cases it was only the foundation that'd been laid down, the upper part had yet to be built.
"This place is the real 'Heaven', and that powerful senior resides inside that bronze palace at the end." Nine Lanterns pointed toward the depths of the sea of clouds, in the direction of the huge bronze palace.
"Heaven Island... Heavenly City… Miss Nine Lanterns, is it possible that you're trying to rebuild the Heavenly City?" Song Shuhang asked.
Song Shuhang was quite sure of his guess. If one were to see this scene, they would immediately guess what Nine Lanterns and the senior behind her were trying to do!
"Yes, we're indeed trying to rebuild the Heavenly City," Nine Lanterns replied honestly. It was something she would have to tell him sooner or later.
After leaving the Heavenly Island, Song Shuhang's memories would be temporarily sealed. And in the future, if he were to make a certain decision, the seal would come undone automatically, allowing him to visit the island again.
At that time, Song Shuhang would have the opportunity to become a member of the Heavenly Island.
"I see. Since you can't let the current Wielder of the Will know that you're rebuilding the Heavenly City, all cultivators that leave this place have to seal their memories. Is that right?" Song Shuhang guessed.
"It's not so simple," Nine Lanterns said with a smile.
This information alone wasn't enough to convince them to seal their memories.
After all, a memory seal could easily damage their minds, making it very difficult for them to advance their realm in the future.
"The reconstruction of the Heavenly City is something that concerns the future of every cultivator. If you want to know more about it, you can ask the senior yourself," Nine Lanterns said as she brought Song Shuhang toward the palace.
In the next instant, Song Shuhang felt as though he had passed through an invisible barrier and entered another world.
"An illusory reality!" Song Shuhang blurted out.
He was familiar with this feeling because he felt the same way whenever he had entered Venerable White's illusory reality.
"Yes, it's indeed an illusory reality. It seems you have come in contact with a cultivator of the Seventh Stage," Nine Lanterns said with a faint smile. "Moreover, this illusory reality was one of the greatest secrets of the Heavenly City back in those days."
While speaking, they kept going forward and arrived in front of the gate of the ancient bronze palace.
Song Shuhang took a deep breath.
Next, he made up his mind… he decided that he wouldn't talk or ask too many questions after entering the ancient palace. He would merely have his memories sealed and leave the island.
He felt that knowing more about this matter would only bring him troubles.
Meanwhile, in that big forest in the Heavenly Island.
The old professor bent down and cut some tree leaves cautiously before putting them in his bosom. He seemed very satisfied.
But right at this time, a huge earthworm-like monster drilled out from the ground and opened its mouth wide, biting towards the old professor.
Fresh blood spurted out… and the old professor cried out again and again.
The other passengers were scared to death and held each other tightly, screaming and crying.
And just when the old professor was about to die, blazing light covered his entire body. After an instant, his body turned into particles of light and disappeared.
This was the third method to leave the Heavenly Island—if you were to 'die', you would be automatically sent home. Moreover, you would also receive a powerful healing spell as a complimentary gift while leaving the island, filling your entire body with vigor and energy.
Of course, you would have to pay a small fee in exchange for this healing spell. After all, the Heavenly Island was a place where the 'equivalent exchange' reigned supreme.
This was the reason Nine Lanterns said that mortals weren't in danger.