Jiang Chen peered at the palace with the power of the Evil Golden Eye.
Surprised by his golden eyes, the Vermillion Bird sighed with praise. "Tsk, young man, your eye technique is quite interesting."
An eerie, thick black haze shrouded the inside of the palace, obscuring the young lord's vision. No matter how strong his consciousness was, he still couldn't compare to a divine ancient beast, even one nearing the end of its life.
"What do you see?" the bird asked.
"An eerie, black fog." Jiang Chen's tone was grave.
"The demon's unexpectedly repressed his appetite. Instead of devouring the humans, he must be imparting demon arts to them to turn them into useful pawns," the divine bird responded with conflicted tones.
"Hmph, as long as the demon lord doesn't come out himself, we have no need to fear this rabble."
"Is that so?" the ancient bird asked with faint amusement. "You think too little of him. Celestial demons have mysterious abilities. With his guidance and the help of demon techniques, the humans might become three to five times stronger! Or even ten times, if they can obtain demon blood! The great emperors could become empyrean powerhouses in a short period of time. Tell me, can humanity withstand this group in its current state?"
It heaved a soft sigh. "Our enemy isn't an ordinary figure, it seems. It's quite a character amongst its kind and has decent foresight."
Jiang Chen took a deep breath. He'd taken things too lightly. As the ancient bird said, a demon bloodline could help the human cultivators break through to empyrean realm. Moreover, they knew the human domain like the back of their hand. They might wreck greater havoc than demons themselves.
Raw strength could possibly be deflected. But what to do against enemies with full knowledge of their enemies? Not even a chance for escape existed.
"Young lord, what's going on?" Newsun had also noticed the black haze, but was unaware of its implications.
"Nothing good, I'm afraid. Those bastards have surrendered and are receiving the demon's teachings." Jiang Chen didn't hold back.
Newsun blanched. "What should we do?"
The young man stayed silent. His golden gaze locked onto the palace entrance, beholding the eight statues at the entrance.
"Senior, what about these statues at the doors? Do they hide any secrets?" he was more interested in them at the moment.
The Vermillion Bird started. "What secret do you see?"
Jiang Chen couldn't put his finger on it, but there was something odd about them. Other than size, they were identical to the eight stone carvings he possessed down to the smallest detail. It was why he was so interested in them.
"Senior, they can't be mere decorations. I can feel an extraordinary power hidden inside," he responded, testing the waters.
The bird replied with mixed tones, "Even the sectmaster of my time didn't know all the specifics. Apparently the statues have stood there since the beginning of this sacred land's history, when the first generation of the sect cleaved this land into existence via a great art. According to the sect's earliest records, the statues are creatures of the stone golem tribe from the primordial times. When the tribe met with disaster, the first sectmaster used a secret art to shelter eight of them. He separated their souls from their bodies. These statues must be their bodies, but they are empty shells."
"Incredible!" Jiang Chen's heart raced.
As he seemed to recall, the tribe had been a rare sight even in the heavenly planes, but their fighting prowess was astounding. However, their extraordinary power was also their downfall, attracting hostility and envy from other races.
No matter how mighty, each race had its own weaknesses. Just like the demons, the golem tribe's reproductive abilities were low, and they consumed a frightening amount of resources. Moreover, they were naive and not given to scheming, so they were often reduced to being hired muscle for others.
The Vermillion Bird sighed. "We wouldn't need to fear the demon if we could reattach their souls to their bodies."
"Are they that powerful?" Despite his memories, the young lord only had a vague idea about their specific strength. But at a guess, they certainly weren't weak.
Do my stone carvings contain their consciousness? Otherwise, why would I sense tremendous consciousness emanating from them?
The possibility suddenly seemed more and more real. The carvings had felt odd back in the desolate wildlands when he took them from the Prince of Shangping. What was the strange power hidden inside when he occasionally probed them with his consciousness? Why did they almost seem alive?
After hearing the Vermillion Bird's explanation, he was almost certain they were related to the eight giant statues. The carvings might even be their souls!
Seeing the human fall silent, the Vermillion Bird expounded, "Young man, I haven't experienced the remote era myself either, but I've inherited some memories from that time. The golems were once one of the ten strongest races. Even the demon lord would cower in front of them. Alas, fate seems not to have blessed them. They were few in numbers, and more importantly, they attracted resentment from all sides."
"Senior, could we awaken them if we had their souls?"
"We also need a secret technique. But they've never been whole again after the first sectmaster separated them from their bodies. Their souls are also lost, or perhaps even extinguished. It's been too long since the primordial times, after all." The bird was downcast.
"Secret technique? Does the Primosanct Sect have a copy?"
"Of course. It's carved on the statues' back." The bird suddenly glanced at Jiang Chen. "Young man, don't waste your time. The primordial times are an era that precede the ancient times. They're much too far back. You might as well try to find a way to activate the divine bow instead."
Where would they find even the beginning of a trail? The souls had been long lost in the river of time. Rather than this vain hope, the divine bow was a more realistic approach.
Jiang Chen smiled. "Senior, do you know what the souls materialize as?"
The bird shook its head. "I'm not sure."
"Let's take a closer look at the statues."
The bird blinked. "Young man, what are you thinking of?"
Jiang Chen chuckled. "Our connection seems destined by fate."
The ancient bird tilted its head and stared at him. "How so?"
"Senior, if I can revive them, will they listen to my commands?" Jiang Chen asked.
"The golems make the best friends and the worst enemies. They're strong of limbs and simple of mind. Once their mind is set, they will never waver. Alas, many of them have fallen with the relentless march of time, their heritage and very foundations destroyed. But if you can breathe life into them again, they'll definitely swear allegiance to you!"
Jiang Chen nodded. The ancient bird's opinion agreed with his.
"Hehe, then you must help me resurrect them. Senior, you might finally be able complete your lifelong mission and be free to seek an opportunity for rebirth."
The bird froze. "Young man, are you serious?"
Jiang Chen spread his hands, levitating the eight stone carvings in the air. "Senior, please take a look. I obtained these carvings a few years ago in another land of sealed demons. They're identical, miniature versions of the statues. Also, I've sensed formidable mental fluctuations from them more than once."
The Vermillion Bird suddenly narrowed its eyes and stared at the carvings, enraptured.