When Jiang Chen had reincarnated on the Divine Abyss Continent, he'd felt little sense of belonging. But now, he had parents, brothers, lovers, a daughter, friends, and like-minded companions...
Just like the heavenly planes of his previous life, this human world was also his home. He knew full well how terrifying the demons were.
They wouldn't be worth mentioning if he had his former father behind him. Even the most arrogant demon wouldn't dare act high and mighty in front of the celestial emperor and his host of powerhouses.
Though Divine Abyss Continent was unusual and even seemed somehow related to his past life, the continent was too weak to withstand the demons. The human domain in particular was far too lacking.
He'd always been on guard against them and observed their activities in the desolate wildlands. They'd begun to stir, but he was confident they wouldn't be able to stir huge, catastrophic waves within a hundred years.
However, a celestial demon lord had suddenly appeared from thin air! No one in the human domain would be able to stop such an existence at the peak of its power.
He activated the Evil Golden Eye and shot a golden beam shot his eyes to pierce the formation's curtain of hazy light. Inside, he saw the cultivators crowded like quails. He could almost smell their fear.
It seemed that they hadn't realized their predicament yet. To them, the Vermilion Bird was still the mortal enemy. He flung caution to the wind and tore off his mask to reveal his true face. He spread out his consciousness, his voice ringing like a bell. "Cloudbillow, Long Baxiang, take a good look. Who am I?"
Many recognized him instantly.
"Jiang Chen!" Cloudbillow clenched his teeth, his eyes screaming murder. "I knew it! When there's trouble, this kid is never far away!"
Long Baxiang stared in bewilderment. Why had the young man exposed his identity? There was no point to this. Was the Vermilion Bird compelling him to seek shelter inside the formation? But that made even less sense to reveal himself. No one could figure it out.
Jiang Chen looked at Ninesuns' great emperor, cutting straight to the point. "Emperor Newsun, there's some friendship between me and Emperor Clearsky, so I don't want to see you die in vain. Charge outside with your sect if you want to live."
Emperor Newsun was the sect's number two. He'd met Jiang Chen when the latter had borrowed his sect's refining formation. He blinked and smiled wryly. "Young lord Jiang Chen, surely you jest? Wouldn't that be suicide? The formation is our only defense against the ominous bird."
"Do you really think it will save you? Not that I want to scare you, but you don't realize the dire straits you're in. Do any of you know where we are?"
"The Primosanct Sect's sacred land, no?"
Jiang Chen nodded. "Right. However, it's also a Boundary Stele. The ancient sect once fought a celestial demon lord here. Your so-called protective formation is the seal imprisoning the demon. The demon has lured all of you inside like lambs to the slaughter!"
"What?" Newsun gasped aloud. "Young lord Jiang Chen, now's not the time for jokes."
"Hmph! Do you think I'm in the mood for that? Pillfire is my Veluriyam's enemy. They can die for all I care. However, if you stay there, the demon will feast on your flesh and escape from his prison. Worse than death, even history will revile your names!" The young lord was solemn with no trace of amusement on his face.
Newsun hesitated. In truth, the warning did alarm him. His gaze shifted to the Vermilion Bird, his heart beating like a drum. The bird's earlier massacre was too frightening to recall. Even the great emperors had been scared stiff.
"Young Lord, it's not that I don't believe you, but... how do you know this much? Can it be from the Vermilion Bird?"
Jiang Chen didn't deny things. "I conversed with it in the ancient beast language. The bird once owed a debt to the ancient Primosanct Sect and watches over the seal because of it. It did everything in its power to stop us from entering. It doesn't want us to fuel the demon's power. Alas, the celestial demon kept lending us a hand time and again. Think about it. How was our journey in so smooth?"
Indeed, apart from the Vermilion Bird's final assault, they hadn't been harmed at all.
Cloudbillow sneered. "You little rascal, don't try to frighten us. What are you plotting? Maybe you want to lure us out so the bird can kill us in one fell swoop. Veluriyam will have no enemies then, am I right?"
"Indeed, you conniving little bastard. Everyone, don't fall for his lies!" the Eternal Celestial Capital's great emperor shouted.
The Empyrean River Palace's great emperor followed suit. "Veluriyam's always wanted to conquer the human domain. There must a fishy reason why he's staying out there!"
The crowd was deeply torn. Which side were they to believe?
Jiang Chen made sense. Thinking about it now, their expedition had gone too smoothly, almost unbelievably so.
However, Pillfire also made sense. Everyone knew of the conflict between Pillfire and Veluriyam. If the young lord were scheming against them, leaving their shelter would be walking into the lion's den.
His eyes indifferent, Jiang Chen glanced one more time at Newsun. "I wouldn't even have warned you if not for Emperor Clearsky. Do as you see fit!"
He couldn't run inside and drag them out one by one. Their fate rested in their own hands. No matter what he said, Cloudbillow and the others would always muddy the waters.
His conscience was clear. What else was he to do? If they were determined to die, he was powerless to stop them. If he could, he'd even bear the infamy and kill them all. Better to die at his hands than to become food for the celestial demon!
There were so many elites, almost ten great emperors and countless emperor realm experts, what a wonderful feast this was!
The Vermilion Bird observed in marked silence. A trace of admiration for Jiang Chen sparkled in its aloof eyes. Despite mankind's decline, such an insightful and unflinching young genius yet walked amongst them.
"Senior, can we salvage the situation?" Jiang Chen asked in earnest.
The bird shook its head. "We can't. The seal has been bleeding power since antiquity, and the demon has feasted on too many humans to count. It's only a matter of time before he escapes ."
"Senior, you're an ancient divine bird. Is there nothing you can do?"
"Hmph, do you think I'd fear a measly demon back in my heyday?" Grief laced the its tone. "Alas, my life is soon ending." It was unthinkable for the proud bird to expose weakness. It was just, the years had been too lonely.
It'd finally met someone who spoke his language. It brought a sense of intimacy, even from a human kid. That was why, despite its earlier murderous intentions, it hadn't directly attacked the young man.
"Senior, Vermilion Birds are known as immortal birds who can resurrect in fire. Even in your current state, you will rise again from the ashes and recover your former glory."
"Hm? You know quite a bit." The Vermilion Bird's eyes shone, but it sighed immediately. "Alas, this world has declined too much. It can't sustain my rebirth."
Several conditions had to be met for a Vermilion Bird to be reborn.
First, formidable spirit energy, enough to bear the mighty waves caused by a rebirth.
Second, sufficient resources and a suitable location.
There were also several other harsh requirements. Each had to be fulfilled, or else the odds of rebirth would be greatly affected. Any of the conditions therein was too tall an order for the current human domain.
More importantly, the Vermilion Bird had made an ancient vow to protect humans against the demon lord. To violate it would be to incur the heavens' wrath.
Jiang Chen naturally knew of the severe prerequisites and empathized with the bird's difficulties.
"Senior, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. The human domain can't provide for you, but that's not the only territory on the Divine Abyss Continent," Jiang Chen reminded.