Jiang Chen's expression was quite serious. He was very troubled by the three interlopers before him. The matter of the demon lord was already frustrating him quite a bit. The destruction of Agarwood's Boundary Stele was a doubling of difficulty.
The future of the human domain was destined to be turbulent.
Originally, he and the divine bird had planned to go take a closer look when the shaking had begun. Given the present situation though, he lacked sufficient ability to defend against these three unwelcome guests. After all, the trio appeared somewhere in the vicinity of empyrean realm.
At its peak, The Vermilion Bird wouldn't have feared them at all. Unfortunately, now was not a good time.
The bird didn't feel too great about what was happening either. In the ancient era, it had promised to stay here and protect the seal after owing the Primosanct Sect a great favor. It had been loyal to that duty and promise, but it also desperately wanted to be free from the shackles that bound it here.
"They don't look like demons, senior." That was Jiang Chen's preliminary conclusion after a few moments of observation. The trio wasn't acting in a way that demons typically did.
"I agree," the bird nodded. "Still, they were the ones that broke the Boundary Stele here. That means they don't mean well either. From what we're seeing, they're going to destroy the outer restriction, which will take the sect's foundations with it. The seal on the celestial demon lord will be gone. Calamity is upon humanity, Jiang Chen!"
The bird wasn't exaggerating one bit. Current circumstances were nothing less than a deluge of misfortune.
Just then, the eldest of the stone golems woke from his meditation with a languid stretch. As soon as he did, he noticed the shaking around him.
"Savior, what's happening?" Big Stone was completely confused, his mind not quite quick enough to catch up.
"There are intruders. They broke the Boundary Stele," replied Jiang Chen solemnly.
"Oh?" Big Stone was neither surprised nor downcast. Instead, his eyes lit up. "Are they demons? Where? We brothers will take them on!"
Big Stone quickly noticed what was happening at the palace. The golem's battle instincts compelled him to say, "Savior, those three are very strong. We'll go stop them!"
Jiang Chen didn't have time to agree when a resounding boom came from the other side.
Blinding rays burst forth from the palace, followed by the destabilization of space around the complex. The air crackled with sounds of spatial displacement.
Terrible scars and fissures appeared in the fabric of space, intensifying as the restriction disintegrated. The barrier around the palace was finally no more.
"Hahaha, it's done!"
The fastest among the three was the bald giant. His shattering of the wall in front of him contributed directly to the destruction of the other two a moment later.
The entirety of the Primosanct Sect palace was completely exposed before the three aliens.
The bald giant was exceedingly pleased with himself. "Young master Zhong Liyan, Old Redcloud, it turns out that I, Thunderroar, am the fastest! Hahahaha!" He laughed proudly.
According to their bet earlier, he now had the right to divide the spoils.
The violet-robed youth was the young master; his proper name was Zhong Liyan, and a scowl formed at the corner of his mouth. "What's there to be proud of?" muttered the younger man. "Dumb luck is all that was."
Clearly, he was a bit downcast after the loss.
The red-robed Redcloud remained seemingly impassive, not at all displeased by his temporary failure. The older man was evidently much better at keeping his cool.
"Haha, dumb luck or not, you're not planning on going back on your word, are you?" Thunderroar cackled.
Zhong Liyan harrumphed but said nothing.
Redcloud glanced in Jiang Chen's direction thoughtfully. "Baldy Lei, don't hold your head high just yet. There's someone over on that mountain looking at us!"
Thunderroar shrugged, completely uncaring. "What's there to be worried about? Our information tells us that the humans have fallen quite far. They don't have any empyrean experts whatsoever. It is the hour of glory for the Southern Celestial Tribe. Greatness awaits!"
Thunderroar sounded quite arrogant.
Redcloud smiled faintly, glancing toward Zhong Liyan. "Young master Zhongli, shall we enter the palace or arrest those guys first for interrogation?"
"Humans are very weak in general," the young master mused. "It's a sign of how cowardly they are that they don't dare investigate despite our huge ruckus. We can ignore them for now and see what's inside the palace. Given the restriction's strength, this place must be a sacred place of a great ancient sect. In ancient times, the humans surpassed our race in both foundations and resources. Come! Let's go."
Jiang Chen was still in the throes of shock from seeing the palatial restriction destroyed just like that. It had only taken a few seconds for such radical change to take place. Even the Vermilion Bird was surprised by the development.
"The Southern Celestial Tribe, huh…" The Vermilion Bird murmured. "Jiang Chen, the Southern Celestial Tribe was the mortal enemy of humanity in ancient times! It seems that their fortunes were much, much greater than your race's."
The bird's words was the back-breaking straw, sending Jiang Chen into the pit of depression. Though the experts who had broken the Boundary Stele weren't demons, he was nevertheless none too pleased.
At this time, the seven pillars outside the palace shook vehemently. In the next moment, radiance flared, revealing cracks on the pillars themselves.
The Vermilion Bird was in a real panic now. "This is the worst thing that can happened. The foundations are shaken and the seal is about to be broken! The celestial demon lord will be freed into the world once more!"
Jiang Chen was gravely aghast at hearing this. This was a real flood of misfortune.
The three Southern Celestial tribesmen had come at a terrible time. The most infuriating part of all this was that they had attacked and destroyed the restriction on the palace, shattering the spirit vein beneath the Primosanct Sect's sacred ground!
At its peak in the ancient era, the Primosanct sacred place would have remained inviolate in spite of an attack from thirty such experts.
Alas, time was a cruel grindstone. The restrictions and foundations of this place had been eaten by time's relentless sands almost two hundred thousand years.
There was no fortress in the world that was truly impregnable. The inexorable blade of the seasons could defeat almost anything, regardless of how invincible something might seem at first sight. Only someone freed from the binds of mortality could truly exist as long as the heavens and the stars.
"Hahahaha!" The demon lord's laughter echoed madly between the spheres. The atmosphere itself seemed to dim, darkened by the demonic sound. "Heaven and fate themselves have assisted me!"
The demon lord's physical body hadn't been able to escape because of the formation trapping it. He could only use a sliver of demonic consciousness to control as much as he was able. He'd felt rather stuck because of Jiang Chen's previous obstruction, but the Southern Celestial Tribe's three unwelcome guests had unknowingly attacked the palace's restriction, destroying the spirit vein's roots.
This was wonderful news!
In the ancient era, it had been an extremely powerful existence. The entire Primosanct Sect had relied on its sacred land, restriction formation, and various other traps and snares to barely lock him in place.
Now that the restriction was broken, his body was free of its shackles. He was let loose back in the world again and free to do as he wished!
The demon lord swept aside his dejection, roaring into the wind. His entire body glimmered with demonic radiance and aura. It was an aura intense enough to steal the show from the celestial bodies themselves.
The Vermilion Bird's mood took a sharp nosedive. "This is terrible, truly terrible. Now that the celestial demon lord is free, Divine Abyss will see another calamity upon it!"
Jiang Chen could feel the sheer power of the demon lord. He was as troubled as the bird. "Senior," he asked, "is there a way to save this situation? Can those three bastards of the Southern Celestial Tribe seal him away?"
The bird shook its head. "Hard, very hard!"
"He's freshly freed into the world. Surely not much of his strength has returned?"
"That's exactly why I'm still here. Otherwise, I would have told you to flee long ago. The demon lord's strength isn't something you can possibly imagine." The Vermilion Bird's tone was quite sternly grave. It stared at the space above the palace, now occupied by the demon lord. He was absorbing energy from the air itself.
Thankfully, the spirit energy of this time couldn't remotely compare to that of ancient times. It wasn't going to be easy for the demon lord to return to top form. Even so, his aura was growing stronger and stronger.
The three Southern Celestial experts tensed when they detected the demon lord. They formed a triangular formation, warily looking at the airborne sunburst. Their expressions emphasized an understanding that they had made an appalling error.
"You three, are you of the Southern Celestial Tribe?" The demon lord's authoritarian voice blasted down from an elevated position.
"And who're you?" The bald giant retorted haughtily. "What were you playing at, hiding inside the palace?"
The demon lord burst out into laughter rather than rage. "Hahaha, you're asking who I am? Very good, very good. The ancient war was truly too long ago. Divine Abyss's various races have forgotten their past scars. Perhaps demonkind's fortunes are about to turn for the better! Hahahaha!"
The Southern Celestial trio all colored at the mention of this. They'd never expected the palace to hold an expert of this caliber from the demon race!