The rebel leaders seemed to absolutely hate the Martial Sacred Land. There was no hint of fear or respect in their words. Forefather Goldenbell was all the more exasperated for it, however.
His sources had informed him over the past few days that the Martial Sacred Land had already sent out various requests for help.
Though the ten divine nations’ sacred lands openly competed with each other in various ways, they were also intimately interconnected in some ways. The Martial Sacred Land, for example, was on very good terms with several other sacred lands: one of them the Eternal Sacred Land.
“If this is how all of you think,” the forefather intoned in a low voice, “you’ll be in for a big surprise.”
“Come on, Forefather. I think we shouldn’t worry so much about such unlikely events. Our army is obviously at an advantage, and the spirit herb fields will be ours before long. I don’t believe a few formations will be enough to stop our iron march!”
“There haven’t been any factions blind enough to oppose us from the outside, have there, Forefather?”
Forefather Goldenbell sighed. “Do you know that the Martial and Eternal Sacred Lands have an vow of brotherhood? If one is attacked, the other is obligated to help.”
“A vow of brotherhood? Is something like that even reliable? It’s been quite a while since we rebelled. I don’t see any help from Eternal.”
“That’s because they had to fight their own rebels. The rebellions started at almost the same time. How could anyone have come from there? It had its own trouble to contend with.”
“And what about now? The Eternal Sacred Land seems to have resolved its little situation, though everyone says it was lucky to do so. I don’t believe that it would dare meddle in Martial Divine Nation’s affairs after suffering such a serious injury.”
“You’re right. Eternal won’t be able to interfere. They can’t even fully mind their own business.”
“Here’s something you don’t know. The quelling of the rebellion in Eternal Divine Nation didn’t involve a significant loss in the sacred land’s main force. Moreover, the sacred land commands much more authority than before as a result.”
“So what? The fact stands that they need to get their own house in order. Are they brave enough to intrude on us?”
“I doubt the Eternal Sacred Land thinks the same. If its venerated forefather comes in person, he can dictate the tide of battle.”
“Exactly. That’s why we need to finish this quickly. We can’t waste our strength here for no reason.” Everyone was itching for a fight.
Forefather Goldenbell grew pensive. His ears suddenly twitched; he turned his eye towards the distant part of the valley. Terrifying energy signatures emanated from there. Everyone could sense the drastic change.
“What’s happening?” It was a common observation now that ripples of natural energy had reached the earth underfoot. The assembled rebels could feel the trembling of the ground. Everyone looked in that direction together.
Ripple after fluid ripple disturbed the integrity of space, breathtaking in their spurring grandeur.
In the next moment, the surrounding wildlife fled as one. Birds, beasts, and all manner of other living things departed the area with panicked rapidity.
“What’s this now?” Everyone was very confused.
Forefather Goldenbell was the only one who stayed calm. “Stay where you are, don’t be alarmed. There must be a powerful spirit beast who’s either wandered nearby or recently awakened. There’s no cause for concern.”
His consciousness was stronger than everyone else’s, which allowed him to pick up just a little more information than the rest.
Amid the chaos, a shape rose out of the ripples and soared into the sky like a crowning halo.
A dragon in flight!
No one could believe their eyes. There was a wave of confused blinking and squinting. All attention was on the airborne creature. It had twin horns, limbs, talons, and scales…
These characteristics matched up exactly to the dragons of legend.
Forefather Goldenbell’s breathing grew ragged. The appearance of a true dragon here was beyond his wildest dreams.
“This… is this a true dragon from the myths?” someone asked weakly.
“Definitely! Look, it has five talons on each of its four limbs. Only the purest of dragons, the true dragons, sport that unique identifier.”
“Yes. The scales are pure as well. This is no cross-breed!”
Everyone knew how miraculous dragon blood was. A single drop could transform a cultivator’s fate.
As long as a cultivator could assimilate a drop of dragon blood, he would be destined for eventual greatness. His fighting prowess and potential would both be improved beyond his natural peers’ capabilities.
True dragon blood was extremely rare.
Everyone’s breathing shortened. Their minds wandered through a variety of possibilities. Even Forefather Goldenbell couldn’t control his unbridled joy.
He was observing the true dragon in question. It was clear that the dragon was of some ability; sixth or seventh level empyrean, to be exact. As a demigod himself, he could definitely tame such a creature.
The thought of taming a dragon and receiving its allegiance was a thought that couldn’t be repressed. A rebellion and authority were much less worthwhile compared to getting his hands on a true dragon for the long term!
True dragon blood could very well propel him into divine realm straightaway, and would enhance his potential by leaps and bounds besides. If he could control this true dragon, he could even become the strongest cultivator in all Myriad Abyss.
What authority or position would be closed off to him then? What would the Martial Sacred Land mean in comparison?
He didn’t stand to gain very much even if the sacred land were entirely crushed. After all, there was a divine forefather above him. Regardless of his own contributions, he would be forever second place. The opportunity before him was one that he could very well never see again in this lifetime.
Forefather Goldenbell waved a hand. “Don’t go anywhere,” he commanded, “Make sure to stop the people inside from trying to break through the encirclement. I’ll go take a closer look!”
He didn’t want to be accompanied by the others. His own abilities were more than sufficient for taming a sixth or seventh level empyrean true dragon. The additional people might’ve been able to help, but they would also make things more complicated, without question.
Most importantly, they would potentially want something for themselves out of the deal.
The various factions’ leaders traded strange looks with each other as they watched the forefather disappear into the distance as a golden streak. What was going on here?
Before the true dragon had appeared, Forefather Goldenbell had instructed everyone to stay put and not overreact. Why had the forefather now ditched the rest of them and gone to investigate all on his own?
They were no fools. The old man’s motives were sure to be selfish!
No one wanted to point that out outright, however.
There was a moment of awkwardness before someone couldn’t resist breaking the silence. “This is unfair,” he muttered. “Forefather Goldenbell is the commander. He should’ve stayed put here, but he’s gone off on his own. What if there’s an emergency? Who’ll be responsible?”
“You’re right. We shouldn’t be without our leader for long.”
“Forefather Goldenbell wants to go provoke that true dragon, eh? If he can’t take it down shortly, he might just cause a lot of trouble for us in the future. I think we should go and help him.”
“Yes, yes, we should help. The quicker it’s dealt with, the better! Plus, we witnessed it too. We deserve a share! We won’t get a share if we don’t follow the forefather.”
“Come on, let’s go take a look.”
“Hold on, if we go over there, what are we going to do about things here? What if…”
“The army is stationed here. We’re only leaving for a short while. Nothing bad will happen. If you want to stay behind though, we don’t mind.”
“Absurd! I don’t want to stay. I need a share of the spoils, too. If we’re going, we’re all going together!”
“Well, let’s go then. Let’s make this clear: one person from each faction should go, and the rest will stay behind to hold down the fort. Every faction has more than one leader here anyway. We’ll decide who goes according to relative importance.”
“It’s decided, then!”
These people lusted after the true dragon bloodline with great keenness. Everyone knew a true dragon was a treasure, and no one wanted it to be an exclusive one.
They couldn’t take on Forefather Goldenbell one on one, but six or seven ninth level empyrean experts added together would give them a good fighting chance, even if the forefather turned on them.
After all, Goldenbell was only a demigod, not a full-fledged one!
A demigod could take on three or four ninth level empyrean experts no problem, but six or seven required much more wariness and caution.
Forefather Goldenbell hadn’t expected the others to be just as selfish as he. Moments after his departure, the others caught up. He was furious when he noticed the unwanted, surreptitious sidekicks at his back.
“What are you all doing here? Are you shirking your duties?” he reprimanded sullenly.
One of them chuckled. “We just wanted to see if we could help.”
“I don’t need your help. I can deal with it myself. Go back quickly!” the forefather bristled with anger.
“Heheh, Forefather, there’s strength in numbers.”
“Exactly. Forefather, did you take an interest in the true dragon? We’re not as strong as you, but we can help block its path, can’t we?”
“Shouldn’t we be entitled to a finder’s portion as well, Forefather?”