Sorry for the lack of update Friday, my internet was down, and since I write everything online, I couldn't finish the chapter. Had to schedule a technician to come and fix the router and other machines.
Most demons exuded a ferocious aura, be it subtle or overt. Even if they transformed into a humanoid, the fact would never change. Their deep-seated and instinctual nature would never fade away. The same applied to Demon Emperor Redraco. When he entered battle or received a certain stimulus, his ferocious nature would surface.
However, Ao Yujiao felt different. He exuded a calm and peaceful aura, almost like still water. There were no undercurrents or volcanoes simmering underneath, ready to explode.
Their gazes lingered for a second longer. Ao Yujiao gave a smile like warm jade before looking away.
Donghai Longzi couldn’t help but hold his chin with his fingers. ‘Something about him rubs me the wrong way.’
Honglin slid up next to him and stared at Ao Yujiao’s back. “So, what do you think?”
“About Ao Yujiao? He reminds me more of a human.”
“Just because he seems weak doesn’t mean he is,” Honglin said.
“What?” Donghai Longzi asked. “That’s not what I meant. He feels too peaceful and not confrontational like the other dragons.”
“Oh, so that’s what you meant.” Honglin nodded. “I can see what you mean. He’s like those weak humans, always cowering at the sight of us. But don’t mistake his cowardice for weakness. The last time I forced him to fight me, he won.”
‘I feel like you really don’t understand humans. And if you think humans are weaker than dragons, why is it that you guys are hiding in the Divine Beast Pseudo System and not them?’ Donghai Longzi thought. Of course, he didn’t speak those thoughts out. And he definitely should have chosen his next words more wisely. “I heard that you challenged him over a hundred times but never won, even once.”
“What?! Who spouted those lies?! I only lost seventy-nine times!”
‘That’s not much of a difference between that and one hundred.’ Donghai Longzi thought. “Isn’t it a hundred if you include your losses to me?”
“That’s only ninety-seven!”
Donghai Longzi’s comment caused Honglin to start a rant that lasted far too long. She didn’t even stop as Demon Empress Bluefeather controlled the Sacred Fire Grotto, a realm artifact in the form of a miniature realm primarily composed of fire energy, to leave the Divine Beast Pseudo System.
Unfortunately, the conduit on his body couldn’t sense much of the Nine Heavens Universe. The connection was murky at best, but Donghai Longzi did learn about the general area they appeared in. He didn’t show any of this, of course. While the conduit attempted to contact his main body, he resumed his conversation with Honglin after she finally finished venting.
“Like you, Ao Yujiao was discovered outside of the Divine Beast Pseudo System shortly after the end of the last Divine Beast-Human War,” Honglin said, explaining what she knew of Ao Yujiao. “He wasn’t even a true demon when he arrived in the True Dragon Realm. Were it not for the powerful dragon aura hidden in his bloodline, a dragon lord wouldn’t have discovered him and brought him back.”
“The dragon lords and kings were worried at first. Ao Yujiao didn’t show any of the characteristics of a normal dragon. Were it not for their protection, he might have been bullied to death by the other dragons,” Honglin said. “He was passive, and would accept the bullying. The dragon lords and kings, even my grandfather, thought about giving up on him. Rather than let him drag down the name of the Dragon Clan, it would be better if he remained unknown forever.”
“But then he awakened the power in his blood. He grew four more claws on each paw, and his scales changed from white to a jade green. The only thing that remained white was his horns, and even they became crystal-like, almost translucent.” Honglin shook her head. “Because of his transformation, his talent increased and Yujiao became known as the most beautiful dragon.”
“The most important thing was his talent,” Honglin said, a hint of envy in her voice. “Not only did the power of his flesh increase to an absurd degree, the speed of his comprehension of the worldly laws increased. He entered the Demon Lord Realm within a hundred years, and the Demon King Realm within a thousand years. Those dragons that once targeted him were no longer his match.”
“The dragon king and even my grandfather all saw his potential. Ao Yujiao is the most likely candidate to become the next Azure Dragon,” Honglin said. “Were it not for his passive personality, he might have already been announced as the official candidate.”
“Interesting,” Donghai Longzi said. “I wonder how he compares to me.”
“Who knows? Even if you fight him, Yujiao will most likely attempt to deflect and neutralize your attacks, staying on the defensive. He always won his spars and duels by outlasting or immobilizing his opponents. Unless you become a dragon king, it’s unlikely for you to break his defenses,” Honglin said.
“We’ll only know if we fought. However, it doesn’t seem likely. I don’t think Empress Bluefeather will allow us to fight each other during this mission,” Donghai Longzi said. In his heart, he didn’t see Ao Yujiao as his rival, or even an opponent. He could enter the Demon Emperor Realm at any time. The question was whether he wanted to or not.
Although displaying peerless talent would make the higher echelons of the Dragon Clan place more attention on him, it would put him under more scrutiny. Sure, he might know more, but the chances of exposure were also higher. It would be better to become a dragon king after gaining more trust.
The first place the Sacred Fire Grotto arrived at was a middle-rank realm known as the Tieniu Realm. Originally, they wanted to travel to the Xunshou Realm, but it had been absorbed by the Primordial Realm. The Demon Clan just didn’t know whether it was on purpose or not.
Many years ago, a drop of blood from the demon sovereign of the Qilin Clan had dropped into the middle-rank realm. Years later, when the Demon Clan’s spies discovered this, they planned to nurture the Xunshou Realm into a suitable chess piece. Only, before it could be used, all the preparation was for naught.
The Demon Clan didn’t know if the Immortal Court had chosen the Xunshou Realm because they knew of the Demon Clan’s plan or by pure luck, but it contributed to part of the reason why they wanted to relocate the Divine Beast Pseudo System ahead of schedule.
When entering the Tieniu Realm, Demon Empress Bluefeather didn’t allow the other demons to exit before entering. Instead, she drove the Sacred Fire Grotto directly into the Tieniu Realm. Strangely, the dimensional boundary showed no fluctuation at all. Even if a true immortal or immortal monarch were in the Tieniu Realm, they would not discover the intrusion by the demons.
Like the Xunshou Realm, the Tieniu Realm was also one of the Demon Clan’s outposts in the Three Thousand Immortal Realms System. The Tieniu Realm was in a constant state of war between two forces: the bull demons and the Iron Robe Alliance. Although the humans were the absolute rulers of the Three Thousand Immortal Realms System, it didn’t mean that some loose demons, affiliated with the Divine Beast Pseudo System, didn’t exist. At least on the surface.
Although the Demon Clan had the power to help the bull demons claim hegemony of the Tieniu Realm, they didn’t do so. It was fine if demons existed, but it was absolutely impossible for the humans to allow any demon to rule a realm, be it a low-rank realm or even an unranked-realm.
Only after entering the core territory of the bull demons did Demon Empress Bluefeather allow the demons she carried to exit her realm artifact. As part of the preparation, the Demon Clan had established a concealment formation in the core of the bull demons’ territory. It didn’t have any amazing offense or defensive function, but it would help hide the aura of demons above a certain realm.
As seventy-seven demons exited the Sacred Fire Grotto, over a thousand bull demons greeted them. The bull demons had the general form of a humanoid, but fur still sprouted from their skin. Although they had hands, their feet were hooves. And most strikingly were their heads. It was completely that of a bull or cow.
“The Bull Clan greets the exalted true demons!” all of the bull demons bowed, their bodies shivered with excitement and fear. The first one to catch their eyes was naturally the colossal avian, Demon Empress Bluefeather. Then the dragons with majestic auras cowed them. Forget Demon Empress Bluefeather or the dragons, any one of the true demons was enough to wipe out the bull demons. They might not possess the most pure bloodlines of the Dragon, Phoenix, or Qilin Clan, but they still reached the Demon Lord Realm.
Donghai Longzi spared the kneeling bull demons a glance. As expected of a middle-rank realm, the strongest bull demon was only at the grandmaster level. He lost interest. He planned on spending the remaining time cultivating until the mission started, but Honglin dragged him to visit the Iron Robe Alliance.
Demon Empress Bluefeather didn’t have any special instructions for the two. They just needed to pay special attention to be low key. Aside from them, Ao Yujiao also left. Some demon lords also left, but they left to perform their duties, and the majority remained in the bull demons’ territory.
The Iron Robe Alliance, as the name suggested, was an alliance composed of different forces. The top force that dominated this alliance was the Iron Robe Monastery, of which the alliance was named after. And the most prosperous human city in the Tieniu Realm is undoubtedly Karmlight City. It wasn’t because the Iron Monastery was based in Karmlight City, but because it was next to Mount Ironwill, where the monastery was located at.
“Longzi, why do people like to call monks bald donkeys?” Honglin asked. Gone was her scaled body, and in its place was a woman wearing red armor. She wasn’t the most beautiful, but coupled with her valiant aura, she exuded a unique charm.
Donghai Longzi scanned the streets of Karmlight City. His appearance had also undergone some changes, but minor. The two horns growing out of his head had disappeared. “How should I know?”
The streets of Karmlight City were filled to the brim. In addition to ordinary mortals, there were also many cultivators mingling with the mortals. Of course, most of them were only at the pupil or disciple level. What attracted him was that almost ten percent of the people that filled Karmlight City were Buddhist monks.
‘Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the bull demons were able to last so long. The Immortal Court and Numinous Sword Sect probably don’t value the Tieniu Realm much, but part of the reason they haven’t interfered was because of the Buddhist influence entrenched here.’ Donghai Longzi thought. “I’m more curious about how Buddhists fight compared to daoists.”
Strictly speaking, the current overlords of the Three Thousand Immortal Realms System descended from the lineage of the Three Pure Ones. The Three Pure Ones created Daoism, so those who practice the spiritual, martial, and soul path are all considered daoists. It’s the reason why many cultivators address each other as fellow daoists.
While Donghai Longzi and Honglin strolled through the streets, a few people blocked their way. The person in front appeared to be the scion of some noble family. He had a decently handsome face and waved a paper fan in front of himself. He was only a mortal, but the men behind him were cultivators. They were four disciple-level cultivators and one master-level cultivator.
As soon as he appeared, the pedestrians backed away, fear apparent on their faces. The young master continued to wave his hand, as if unaware of the reaction he had brought. Instead, he leveled a lecherous gaze on Honglin. “Hey, pretty lady. How about you ditch that loser and let me show you a good time?”