"Young man, what are those statuettes?" The urgency in the Vermillion Bird's voice betrayed its excitement.
After Jiang Chen relayed the entire story, it murmured, "This must be providence. There can't be such a coincidence in the world. Young man, they must be the statues' souls."
Jiang Chen beamed. "Senior, even if they aren't, we've got to give it a shot."
"Right, we have to try!" The divine creature's personal fate was at stake. If the statues could truly be revived, they could replace it as guardians of this land. It might not have to die here! It would be free to seek another cycle of rebirth.
"Let's go, let's go right now! I'll stand guard while you try!" It was so eager that it let Jiang Chen ride on its back and hurtled towards the place.
Jiang Chen transmitted, "Emperor Newsun, wait here with Zi Tan for now. Don't act on your own."
Newsun and Zi Tan were unwilling to tarry a second longer. They could die at the slightest provocation in this terrifying place! However, leaving now would be the ultimate disgrace of desertion.
Most importantly, Jiang Chen was their only lifeline. Here was a young man who could even chat and joke with a divine creature! Their faith in him was almost total. Since he'd commanded them to stay, they wouldn't budge an inch.
Forefather Zi was particularly overwhelmed. He'd spent a lifetime as a prominent figure of his region, but the last few days had felt like a dream.
All of the other local heavyweights had fallen and become demon puppets, leaving him the lone survivor. Moreover, he'd struck up a good relationship with Veluriyam's young lord and judging from the august personage's tone, the young lord wouldn't abandon Zi Tan.
He couldn't resist praising his own wisdom. He'd be dead if he hadn't stuck by Jiang Chen in front of the demonic formation, or worse, become a demon's dog.
"Daoist Zi Tan was it?" Emperor Newsun suddenly asked.
Flustered, Zi Tan protested, "I dare not. This humble one is Zi Tan. Allow me to pay my respects, Emperor Newsun."
"Haha, we're fellow sufferers now. Let's drop with the ceremonies. Daoist Zi, I admire your decisiveness. It must have taken courage and insight to stand by the young lord so staunchly." His praise was heartfelt. Inside of following the crowd, Zi Tan had resolutely cast his lot with Jiang Chen. An ordinary man couldn't have done that with his life on the line.
Zi Tan hurried to respond modestly, "It wasn't courage. The young lord is simply trustworthy."
The Vermillion Bird pierced the sky like a bolt of red lightning, landing in front of the palace.
From up close, the statues' build was even more awe-inspiring. They were as tall as eight ordinary men stacked on each other, if not more.
"Were the members of this tribe all so enormous?" Ambling between them, Jiang Chen observed them in earnest.
The golems were a giant tribe, but not to this degree, at least to his knowledge. They could also adjust their size at will.
Carved on their backs was the sect's secret art to dispersing and recollecting the golems' souls. However, the various passages were plainly purposefully in the wrong order. It took Jiang Chen and the divine creature a long time to rearrange them.
He studied it repeatedly and finally sighed in relief after confirming there were no further issues.
He took out the eight figurines. They were minuscule compared to the statues.
"Senior, according to what's written here, we need to break the seal in the carvings' outer layer in order to awaken their souls."
The figurines might look small, but they were extremely durable. He'd used them as shields in the Eight Trigram Boulder Formation in the past; the powerful of attacks had left only faint traces.
To peel away their exterior would be an arduous task. Thankfully, he could utilize the first sectmaster's secret art. After all, the one who'd created the problem ought to be able to fix it.
He held out a figurine. "Senior, I'm going to start. I have to arrange a defensive formation as I can suffer no disturbance in the process. Will you stand guard for me please?"
The ancient bird hurried to say, "Don't worry, you can count on me! Other than the bastard demon, the rest is mere rabble."
Even exhausted and near the end of its life, it still was a divine bird from ancient times. Cloudbillow and the rest were no match for it.
Jiang Chen conscientiously arranged the formation before starting the secret technique.
First, he needed to find the sealing points on the statuette, then follow the layout in order to unravel the seal.
Caution was required. The lives of the ancient golems were at stake. An moment of careless could kill them for good. In fact, were the souls still intact? Nothing was more uncertain.
True, he'd sensed their auras several times in the past, but they'd been separated from their bodies since time immemorial.
"No matter. I can only do my best."
Concentrating wholly, he pinpointed the sealing points. Then he started dismantling the seal's power. Any mistake could harm the souls inside. A fine sheen of sweat appeared on his brow.
Seconds ticked by, turning into minutes.
As he held his breath and slowly worked on the figurine, a golden glow suddenly spilled from it, chipping and melting away grit from the stone. The figurine shrank more and more.
Jiang Chen stayed sharp for any signs coming from it. If a soul was truly sealed inside, it should manifest itself soon.
However, nothing happened.
The presence he'd once sensed had seemingly vanished, as if everything had been an illusion. But he didn't give up. He doggedly continued onwards with his mental communications, his consciousness alert to any unusual signs.
Once the process perfectly completed, he held the figurine, flabbergasted. It was as quiet and still as ever.
Was I mistaken? But he'd always paid close attention to the eight statuettes. The sensations couldn't have been solely his imagination.
When he started losing hope, he finally caught a faint ripple with his consciousness. In the next moment, a formidable aura spilled forth, a terrifying presence suddenly awakening after eons and ripping free of its restraints.
"Oh… who woke me?" This consciousness was groggy and confused, but the power it unintentionally emitted was almost too much to bear. Jiang Chen's mind would've crumbled if not for the chain seal inside.
"I am the Primosanct Sect's heir. I came here especially to return your souls and revive you," he sent tentatively.
"Ooh… Primosanct Sect… Is the Primordial War finally over? Can our tribe… finally see the light of day again?"
The Primordial War?
Jiang Chen felt his brain seize up. He knew little about the Divine Abyss Continent's ancient era, to say nothing of time periods even more remote. The primordial times possibly referred to when the light of civilization had first dawned on the continent. It was far too distant a time reference for him.
"Eons have gone by since," he revealed.
"What? What about Saint Dan?" The voice asked despite itself.
"Saint Dan? Are you talking about the sect's founding sectmaster?"
"Ai... yes, that's him. When our tribe met with extermination, he secretly took us in and separated our souls from our bodies to save us brothers." Filled with sorrow, the voice added, "Are you a descendant of his?"
Jiang Chen thought a moment. "You could say that."