Jiang Chen wasn't a native of Divine Abyss. He hadn't experienced the chaotic fighting between the ancient races, nor did he know much about Boundary Steles and the other lands. However, he had heard others discuss them incessantly. Mo Wushuang for one, and the great emperors of Veluriyam Capital.
He knew that their purpose was to keep Divine Abyss Continent's races apart. In ancient times, these steles were intended to prevent demons, ravaging the lands of another, from intruding into neighboring territory.
There was another factor though, or at least Jiang Chen was hazarding the guess. Even the strongest factions and top experts in the human domain obeyed an unspoken rule - they were never to touch the Boundary Steles.
Obviously, destruction of said steles was included in that rule.
There was a popular rumor in the human domain from the ancient times that the Boundary Steles were primarily to protect the safety of the world.
Anyone who destroyed them was likely to ruin the peace. In grander terms, doing so would also introduce unknown dangers to the human domain at large. Therefore, Jiang Chen was stupendously shocked when he heard the Boundary Stele had been destroyed.
"Let me take a look." He stood up, wanting to go investigate.
The bird stopped him. "You can't go."
"Why can't I?" Jiang Chen was exasperated.
The bird sounded conflicted. "Boundary Steles were built by innumerable ancient experts in concert as a collaborative effort. Normal cultivators can't possibly pass through their zones of influence, much less break the steles. Whoever did this deed is motivated by only malice!"
Though the Vermilion Bird appreciated Jiang Chen quite a bit, it knew that the human was only emperor realm. If another race was destroying the stele to start an incursion into human lands, the cultivators comprising those forces were sure to be many levels above emperor realm.
Jiang Chen knew that the Vermilion Bird only meant well for him. Still, he couldn't simply sit on his hands at such a crucial time. If the Boundary Stele was broken, humanity would face yet another problem.
The celestial demon lord was already trouble enough for him. Broken Boundary Steles atop this - an invasion by yet another alien species - made his head spin. Insult was certainly being added to injury in this situation.
"You stay here. I'll go take a look." The bird appropriately played the role of a senior. It didn't have much strength remaining, but it was still an ancient divine creature. It wasn't about to let a human junior to risk his life in its stead.
Protecting this place was the bird's duty. This was only an extension of that.
"We can go together," Jiang Chen said.
The Vermilion Bird had no good response to that. However, it did see that Jiang Chen was sincere. Nodding, it instructed, "Alright, I'll take you along. However, you must remember that you can't be impulsive… no matter what happens!"
Jiang Chen inclined his head. He knew what the bird meant. As he was about to utter a reply, an arrogant bray of laughter pierced the air.
"Hahaha, I'm the first one here. That stupid restriction is finally broken! Are these the lands of the fabled human race?" A rough voice sounded like a thunderclap, slicing through the void into Jiang Chen's ears.
"Tsk tsk. The human lands are nothing short of picturesque, just like the rumors say. Eh? There's a palace here."
"This place feels a bit odd. Is this a sect?" A few more voices joined the first one.
The Vermilion Bird's tone was leaden. "I guess there's no need to check," it smiled wryly. "The Boundary Stele is broken. Alien races have invaded!"
"Demons, maybe?" Jiang Chen raised an eyebrow.
The bird had as much of an idea as he did. "I'm not sure," it shook its head. "Divine Abyss has innumerable races and inter-racial warfare used to be rather common."
Three vortices appeared in the skies above. Chaotic spatial winds whipped up as well, creating thick layers of clouds roiling in the firmament. The vortices were three distinct colors: purple, blue, and red.
Each vortex carried its own occupant and divine seals shot out of them. Within the purple vortex was a young man robed in luxurious violet with a youthful complexion and a perfect demeanor. He was more exquisite than the most beautiful of women.
However, his flawless visage contained a pair of arctic eyes. They regarded the entire world around them with frigid superiority, even as they took in the foreign landscape around them. It seemed that the entire world was an affront to him.
Watching from afar, Jiang Chen could feel the terrifying forces of nature within the vortices. The speed at which they spun at was something he could only marvel at.
He could easily sense from their flashy entrances and fierce auras that all three were empyrean realm without a doubt.
Out of the other two, one was a bald, burly man in blue. A long, thin ponytail swung at the back of his head, like the tail of a mouse. It made his appearance several times more absurd. However, his brawny build was nothing to scoff at.
Though he couldn't quite compare to the stone golems, he was the biggest among most of the ordinary people Jiang Chen had met. In fact, he was comparable to Tang Hong in this regard.
Built like a veritable bear, he was as big as one too.
The remaining person was an old man in red. His expression was completely impassive, almost like he'd seen beyond the trifling meaning of life. There was absolutely no indication of what his mood was at any given time.
Jiang Chen didn't take the old man lightly because of it. In the end, he might be the hardest out of the three to deal with. The other two were either proud and dominant, or such was Jiang Chen's initial judgment regarding them. This old man in red though, looked deep and unreadable.
This kind of person was typically the most difficult sort of opponent.
The trio hovered within the cosmic vortices high above, as if they were rulers inspecting their territory beneath.
"This palace seems rather interesting. Hmm, is that a formation? There's a corner missing though."
"Is this a problem set out for us? To take us down a notch?"
"Young master Zhong Li, are you interested in a competition?" The bald man provoked the youth.
"What kind of competition?" The violet-robed youth retorted with obvious disdain.
"Let's make it about the palace. There's a powerful formation that surrounds the outside. Those seven pillars and four formation cardinals seem to support each other. One of the cardinals is obviously broken, but the others are still intact! Each man to one cardinal, first one to succeed is the winner. How about it?"
In comparison, the celestial demon lord's deception of a large group of human cultivators and goading of them to continuous attacks had only led to the breaking of a single cardinal.
"What do you intend to bet?" The violet-robed youth asked coolly.
"Heheh, the human domain's resources, of course. Whoever breaks their side first has the priority to divide the spoils. What do you think?"
The red-cloaked old man harrumphed softly. "You certainly have an optimistic view of things. Whether or not you prove faster than us two in the end, even if you did… eh? Is someone over there?"
The old man's consciousness suddenly scanned the top of the mountain.
"Hmph, a few human ants. Nothing to be concerned over. The palace, on the other hand, looks incredibly grand. Is this the heritage of the ancient Primosanct Sect?"
"One of the humans' strongest sects back then, if I recall correctly. Tsk tsk, is our adventure greeted by the gates of fortune opening wide at first light?"
"Forget all that for now!" the baldy called out. "Do you see the restriction formation outside the palace? We'll be taking some risk in breaking and entering if we don't dismantle it first."
Though they might be empyrean cultivators and possess unsurpassed strength, they still possessed a healthy respect for the ancient legacies of old. That was an era that the three of them couldn't dismiss at all.
They stared at the restriction surrounding the ancient sect, choosing to ignore the one direction that was already standing open due to destruction.
Clearly, these alien experts were being very thoughtful. They were concerned that the palace might be a trap. The open direction allowed them to enter directly, while the other three ways were sealed completely tight. It was impossible for them to enter any other way. It was the spitting image of what a trap would look like.
"I'll take the left!"
"Then I'll go right!"
"Since you have both flanks, I'll take the rear. On your marks!"
The three empyrean aliens looked unstoppable without the Boundary Stele. They transformed into three streaks of light, pressing down upon the Primosanct Sect palace in unison.
None of the three experts wanted to be outdone by his companions. Their haste was perfectly depicted in the rapidity with which they attacked the restriction.
Jiang Chen frowned. He was sure that the three aliens had noticed both him and the Vermilion Bird. As for the eight stone golem brothers, the outside world could barely disturb them during meditation. They looked just like stone statues. Clearly, the three empyrean experts hadn't paid any mind to what they thought were simple statues.
They were entirely lost in their competition.
Jiang Chen's heart was aflame with anxiety when he saw the trio recklessly destroy the formation's three restrictions. He knew better than anyone that it wouldn't take long for empyrean experts to accomplish what they were doing.
"Senior, if the outer restrictions are broken, will the Primosanct sealing formation be endangered?"
This was the biggest question on his mind.
"That's quite possible! Primosanct's restrictions are generally interconnected. The foundations and spirit veins beneath are part of a harmonious whole. Destroying a part may not affect the whole, but once the entire restriction is entirely destroyed, the formation won't be the only thing affected. The demon lord may have a way out of his prison!"
If the foundations were shaken, the sealing formation would be greatly lowered in its effectiveness. Once that happened, an entity as strong as the demon lord would have a much better chance of escaping!