Jiang Chen replied anxiously, "Senior, how do you know we'll fail before we even try?"
Newsun nodded in agreement. "Senior, young lord Jiang Chen is a one of a kind talent who'd compare favorably to the ancient geniuses. Maybe what the ancients left behind is waiting for him!"
Dazed with no coherent thought in his mind, he instinctively felt Jiang Chen was a ray of hope for humanity's future. For example, when everyone had scrambled for the vortex, only he had stayed outside. Such a detail demonstrated the young lord was unlike any other.
"Follow me!" The Vermilion Bird may be the realm's guardian, but it knew that it was currently powerless. In the end, human affairs were best left for humans to deal with.
Jiang Chen and Newsun glanced at each other, then flew behind the ancient bird without a word. Silently huddled in a corner until now, Forefather Zi also followed them, shouting, "Young lord, wait for me!"
His heart pounding, he'd be hard pressed to describe his current mood. The events had scared him witless, but he also felt incredibly lucky. What if he'd wavered and followed the crowd into the seal? He'd have been either killed by the black net or be a demon puppet by now. He shuddered at the thought.
Up at the front, Jiang Chen couldn't resist asking, "Senior, didn't you say the demon hasn't recovered as much as you thought? Why don't we…"
"What? Kill him?" the divine bird cackled.
"Err…" Jiang Chen coughed. Indeed those were his thoughts, but the divine creature's tone seemed to suggest it was an idiotic idea.
"Even the Primosanct Sect couldn't kill him. Are you stronger than them? An ordinary demon is already hard enough to kill with their tenacious lifeforce, but it's almost impossible with a demon lord."
"No matter how strong their vitality may be, it doesn't mean they can't be killed, does it?" The young lord understood demons better than most thanks to his past knowledge. True, they were war machines almost as enduring as cockroaches, but they weren't invincible.
No race was perfect. In the heavenly planes, even demon gods could be killed, to say nothing of empyrean demon lords.
The Divine Abyss Continent thought them immortal simply because the locals were too weak. Not even the strongest powerhouse could easily slaughter one.
However, Jiang Chen didn't argue with the Vermilion Bird. What good was his knowledge? He was merely mid rank emperor realm. He couldn't use any of the demon-slaying methods he knew.
The bird led them downstairs and out the palace. It sped up once outside with Jiang Chen and the others in tow. Shortly after, they arrived at the foot of a tall mountain on the western side.
"Senior, where are we going?"
"Up there!" the bird replied succinctly.
The mountain faced the palace from afar like a colossus challenging another.
The ancient bird soon led Jiang Chen to the mountain peak, where a barren precipice as glossy as a mirror could be found.
"Where are we?" The human couldn't help asking.
For once, the Vermilion Bird deigned to give further explanation. "The Primosanct Celestial Peak. Disciples used to come here to reflect on their mistakes."
"Oh, so it was used as a punishment area." Jiang Chen observed the surroundings.
"So, what do you think? Does anything feel different?"
Jiang Chen frowned with bafflement. "Hm? Senior, what do you mean?" But he soon sensed a trace of something odd. He spread his consciousness in every direction. "There's an enormous murderous aura permeating this place."
"As I thought, your consciousness is remarkable. The dunce beside you hasn't sensed anything even though he's a great emperor." The ancient bird glanced at Newsun.
The latter didn't understand the ancient beast language. He smiled foolishly, unaware he'd been derided.
"Senior, what does this place have to do with the seal? Can the mountain stop the demon's plans?" Jiang Chen asked, still puzzled.
"Don't fret. First, try to feel where the aura comes from." The bird deliberately tested him once more.
"It's right beneath the celestial peak. There's a power there that seems to be suppressing something."
"Correct. There's an ancient divine bow there. I've heard it's the sect's ultimate treasure. Sadly, it never acknowledged any master back in my time, but legends say its arrows can slay even a demon lord like the one we have trapped here."
"Amazing!" Jiang Chen gasped. "But how can it be called a ultimate treasure if no one can use it?"
The Vermilion Bird cackled. "It was a common occurrence back then. Many ultimate treasures were finicky. The ancient world wasn't as weak as now. Geniuses and treasures were as numerous as dogs. A treasure might spurn an entire generation, but it might favor someone in the next. You juniors can't imagine this sort of era…"
Jiang Chen didn't bicker with it. Spellbound, he looked at the bare ground, seemingly lost in thought. The ancient Primosanct Sect's greatest treasure!
"Senior, what was the sect's status back then?" he asked eagerly.
The bird thought for a moment. "Very high, probably amongst the ten greatest sects. They defended mankind's southwestern border, guarding the Boundary Stele here."
"Was it the strongest?"
"No, but one of the strongest."
"I see." Jiang Chen sighed softly. "Yet even such a great sect couldn't kill the celestial demon lord. He's a difficult enemy indeed."
"Young man, you can't begin to imagine the bitter struggles of that era. Alright, I've shown you the way. The bow is here, the rest is your own business."
Jiang Chen smiled wryly. "Senior, you aren't giving up yet, are you?"
The bird sighed. "My time is running out. My strength is far from what it used to be. Moreover, I've spent nearly all my energy this time. My mission will end when I die. Young man, you're very interesting. Unfortunately…"
Grief laced the bird's tone. As a divine creature, it was keen of spirit and rich in emotions. After finally meeting someone to talk to after a hundred thousand years, it was full of affection for the young man.
"Senior, don't despair. Believe me, with your heaven-bestowed gifts, you'll definitely have a chance at rebirth!" Jiang Chen didn't want to see it so crestfallen and give up on life. He still needed its help. More than that, he admired it greatly.
True, it was simply repaying its debt, but it'd gone above and beyond what most humans would have done for a mere debt.
"Senior, have faith in me. I'll find a way one day so that you may enter the cycle of rebirth."
He knew of several methods to help the Vermilion Bird. Alas, the human domain was currently far too lacking. With its current condition, he couldn't even refine pills to prolong the ancient beast's life.
The Pinecrane Pill was no use. The pill's astounding effects were limited to great emperors, while the Vermilion Bird was plainly above them. There were also many similar pills in the heavenly planes. The most perverse one was the Sun Moon Pill that Jiang Chen's father had refined for him.
It could absorb the essence of the sun and the moon, and pilfer the world's fortunes. Imagine a celestial emperor overturning the laws of nature and subverting the cycle of life and death with the strength of his fortunes alone, all for the sake of a single pill! Even though Jiang Chen couldn't cultivate in his past life, he'd lived a million years thanks to it.
In any case, there were pills to prolong anyone's life at any level. But he didn't make grand promises. Any of the ingredients necessary for a pill of that caliber was currently out of his reach.
About to speak, the Vermilion's Bird's eyes suddenly flashed with astonishment. It shouted, staring at the palace, "Young man, there's trouble brewing!"