Yao Jun stood at the centre of what used to be a lake and its surroundings, everything had been turned into a shallow crater thanks to the attack he launched the moment the separate space finished crumbling around them. And just like that separate space had crumbled, so too was the space in his vicinity falling apart.
It looked grand and intimidating, but it actually wasn't on purpose. Yao Jun had never held or controlled energy of this magnitude before, it was a completely unknown realm to him. As a result, he didn't have perfect control over it so more than just a bit leaked out at all time.
He didn't turn his head, but he could feel that Sirius and Zhuan Yi were behind him, already hidden by the domain created by the Thousand Arms Masters armguard. That domain was their ticket to escape, Yao Jun just had to make a sufficiently big ruckus to ensure that they weren't discovered.
He felt a slight prickling sensation on his neck so he turned his head, his gaze locking with the distant Lang Kong. Lang Kong's eyes changed colour as the two looked at each other, a few tufts of silver fur poking out from the scruff of his robe. His mouth moved so he seemed to be saying something, but the subdued whispering buzzing in Yao Jun's ears had exploded in intensity after they left the separate space. It was still obscured by something, but it was now so loud that he could barely even hear the sounds of the attacks that had just come his way.
"It's time for you lot to open a path."
Yao Jun's voice rippled out, carried on waves of energy that caused the crater around him to crack. At this moment he could no longer be considered a man, he was a living natural disaster. And he proved that status immediately, the sky above the entire area rippling like a disturbed lake.
More and more ripples spread across the sky, a rain of attacks pouring down upon the entire area. Several hundreds of kilometres of land were laid to waste as all the attacks that had been launched at Yao Jun earlier rained down, their positions forcibly switched by the law of space.
Yao Jun's feet lightly kicked off the earth, his body blurring and vanishing amidst the rain of attacks. He didn't charge at Lang Kong, despite the fact that he was the only person present that Yao Jun had a grudge with. The reason was simple, the woman standing next to Lang Kong felt dangerous.
He didn't know the depth of their relationship so it would be best to not prod that beast for the moment, it might heavily impact their chances to escape. He appeared directly in front of the remaining members of Basilisk's Tail, whose only surviving members were its four leaders.
It truly was an unfortunate group, they had spent several years stalking out this lake in hopes of finding a way to break the array. And when they finally found a way that they felt was promising, the end result was that they had their reward snatched right in front of their eyes. Just about every member of their group had died during the earlier battle and Yao Jun's sneak attack, and now he had even appeared directly in front of them.
His hand reached behind his back and grabbed the pole of his pure white glaive, the weapon instantly snapping together as he swept it out. The tip of the blade left a thin black line in the air, the edges constantly expanding as space was dissolved into energy that merged with the attack.
The amber eyes of Mao Tangye, the leader of Basilisk's Tail, narrowed sharply as the glaive approached her. Every fibre of her being warned her of the danger she was in, so she didn't hesitate to step back while waving her hand. The air in front of her turned into stone, but it was a liquid type of stone that was constantly rolling about like a tossing sea.
But before Yao Jun's glaive could even reach that liquid stone, it had to go through her three aides. The first two of her aides tried to raise a defence, but the glaive simply cut right through them and dissolved both their bodies and their defence. The law of dissolving was a very peculiar one, Yao Jun had a hard time grasping it even with Jun Tuan teaching him in the past.
The two Basilisks were dissolved, turning into particles that were drawn into the glaive to further enhance the attack. And it was in this state that the third aide had to take on the attack, but he instantly put himself in a different league from the two other aides. He was a human so his laws weren't as linear and limited as the two other aides, both his arms raising as he used his forearms to protect his chest.
A three-fold layer of defence appeared in front of him practically instantly, focused entirely on his arms so that he could strengthen it as much as possible. A black shell-like material grew on his skin, its markings rendering it similar to a turtle's shell. The air just above this shell started to waver heavily, forming two layers that moved at a different pace.
Yao Jun's glaive collided with the first layer, a sensation of slicing through a mire immediately flooding his arm. It felt as if all the energy in his attack was rushing to weaken itself, likely a result of the man's law of extremity. But the difference in power was simply too much, so Yao Jun cut through the first layer and reached the second, colliding with the man's law of repulsion.
His wrist momentarily felt as if it was going to bend under the force, but his law of dissolving quickly swallowed everything up and continued onwards. His glaive crashed into the man's shelled arms, but the man lightly kicked off the ground and launched himself backwards, allowing the force of the glaive to push him to safety.
The law of dissolving still ate through the shell on his left arm as it had suffered the brunt of the attack, but he resolutely cut off the part of his flesh that the law of dissolving had latched onto. With the three aides dealt with, Yao Jun's glaive was free to collide with Mao Tangye's liquid defence.
And if the law of extremity made his attack feel like it entered a mire, then Mao Tangye's defence made him feel as if he was trying to move the entire ocean with his glaive. The constant shifting of the liquid stone ate away at the power of the attack, and yet the stone was also tough enough to absorb most of the force that remained of the attack. Mao Tangye was after all still a peak Sovereign God, she wasn't some helpless lamb.
But even so, the current Yao Jun was still an extremely dangerous existence, so her defence was quickly getting decimated. But she didn't set up a second layer of defence, because unlike Yao Jun, she wasn't alone at the moment. Before Yao Jun's glaive finished cutting through her defence, Lang Kong appeared behind him, his fists clenched and two small throwing knives lodged between his fingers. The land beneath Yao Jun also turned pitch-black at the same time, a corrosive smoke rising from it and evaporating the bottom of his robe.
They may not be on Mao Tangye's side, but Lang Kong wanted to kill Yao Jun and Chengong Ao was very interested in the treasure that he had obtained, so it was obvious that they would make a move when they saw a chance. A massive tree also bloomed in the air above Yao Jun, the roots sucking out all the Qi in the area to fuel the growth of the tree, but this one seemed to be focused more on preventing his escape than on attacking him.
But even with two peak Sovereign Gods and the inscrutable Lang Kong assaulting him, Yao Jun's expression barely wavered. He tightened his grip on the glaive and slid his grasp forward, his hand stopping when it reached the base of the glaive's head. It's sideways momentum was forcibly halted, Yao Jun's muscles tensing as he drew the glaive back with all his might.
The base of the pole rocketed towards Lang Kong, who was already dodging to the side by the time Yao Jun's hand started sliding forward. The bottom of the pole missed him by a bit, a sharp gust of wind erupting from it and piercing deep into the earth behind him. The wind left behind a black hole whose end couldn't be seen, the entire area trembling as an underground explosion launched several tens of kilometres of earth high into the sky in the distance.
The earthquake caused by the explosion slowed Chengong Ao and Lang Kong by a beat, slowing the advent of their attacks. But Mao Tangye had no intention of giving Yao Jun the chance to take advantage of this situation. Her slender arms grew mottled green scales, her fingers turning into sharp claws that rushed towards Yao Jun's throat. Each claw gleamed with a different light, the sweet smell of flowers hanging so thick around them that it was practically suffocating.
It was extremely rare for peak Sovereign Gods to work together like this, especially Sovereign Gods who didn't know each other, they had their pride after all. But right now they had all silently agreed on that it was necessary, either because Yao Jun posed a dangerous threat or because they desired what he had acquired. But what a shame, what Mao Tangye saw as she pushed her claws forward wasn't the sight of a despairing youth, but the slightly raised lips of a victor.
The disintegrating space that surrounded Yao Jun suddenly shimmered softly, Mao Tangye's hands disappearing from their wrists. But even worse than that was the fact that she could feel space around her twist and distort, connecting her with Yao Jun. And thus, before she even had the time to blink, she switched place with him.
She suddenly found herself right in front of Lang Kong's two daggers, and right above Chengong Ao's corrosive smoke, which had transformed into rising darkness that already swallowed both her legs. And then, as if to hammer the final nails in her coffin, the two hands that had disappeared from her wrists appeared behind her, the claws aiming directly at the back of her head.
She wasn't a lamb that could just be slaughtered, but the attacks she was facing now were simply far too much, especially with how sudden they were. The rising darkness ate away her lower body, her own claws stabbed into her skull and liquefied her bones, and Lang Kong's twin daggers stabbed into her chest.
The area around one of the daggers started to wither away almost instantly, her skin turning wrinkled and pale, before finally falling away as dust. The entire right side of her chest turned to dust and blew away, while the left side of her chest was re-arranged into a twisted mockery of what it should be, her skin, bones, flesh, and organs instantly shifting positions.
She died while barely able to understand what was happening, and since the two aides that were her kin had died earlier, all of Basilisk's Tail had fallen. But more than that, the entire tribe of Basilisks living in this world had died, she had already killed all who refused to join her group and then immediately taken in all the newborns. Just like that, a single risky decision had rendered her entire species extinct, and she didn't even have the life left to curse the man who pushed them into extinction.
Yao Jun didn't know about this extinction, and it was unknown if he would even care if he knew. The only action he took after paving the way for Mao Tangye's death, an act that inevitably spawned traces of fear in the remaining onlookers as they were at best only at her level, was to turn his head slightly to look at Lang Kong out of the corner of his eye.
"That's thrice I've fled from you now. There won't be a fourth."
Yao Jun smashed the base of his glaive into the earth as he spoke, the air instantly bursting to life with electricity. Dark clouds instantly covered the entire sky, the deafening rumbling of thunder rolling out and drowning out everything else. And following that sound was thunder in all the colours of the rainbow, golden lightning that crackled with power, crimson lightning that burned everything it touched, azure lightning that froze everything it touched while also electrifying it, cyan lightning that cut apart everything it touched.
Lightning fused with all of Yao Jun's laws rained down on the surrounding several hundreds of kilometres, almost instantly eradicating everyone below the late-stage Sovereign God realm. Yao Jun pointed his glaive at the sky, a glimmering golden bolt of lightning descending and crashing into his weapon.
Golden arcs danced around him, his black hair fluttering as the arcs jumped between the separated strands of hair. And then, he brought down the glaive in a simple downwards slice.
The descending glaive brought with it all the terror of the natural disaster, the rumbling of thunder resembling the distorted roar of a demon. The golden light blotted out everything else, a single bolt of golden lightning tinged with a faint touch of white spreading out from the tip of Yao Jun's glaive. The arcs multiplied practically instantly, and seemingly endlessly, forming a warped web that spread out to cover everything within five thousand kilometres ahead of Yao Jun. He wasn't sure if that was his current max range in this doped state, but it felt like the range where he could still expect maximum efficiency and power.
The light and rumbling sound slowly faded, revealing the devastation that stretched on for further than the eye could see. Chengong Ao and the other peak stage Sovereign Gods had survived the attack, but lightning-like marks had burned themselves into their bodies so it was clear that it hadn't been easy for them.
And even they felt the urge to swallow their saliva as they looked at the ruined land that stretched on for several thousands of kilometres. This was beyond the level of just a walking natural disaster, this was an extinction event given form, the end of life. But when they quickly turned their heads to where Yao Jun should be, he had already vanished.
They felt some faint fluctuations in space so they guessed that he had already teleported away, using the final attack as a cover. But in fact, Yao Jun was only a few kilometres away from them, breathing heavily within the domain created by the Thousand Arms Masters armguard.
That final attack had unleashed most of the energy that was gathered up so the doping was running out, leaving him feeling somewhat drained. The garbled whispering in his ears was also growing louder all of a sudden so he could feel a headache creeping up on him.
But just as he was exhaling a particularly heavy breath, he felt a sting on his torso. His eyes wandered downwards, and to his surprise, a fist-sized section of his abdomen was missing. His finger traced the edges of the missing section, a faint trace of the law of space still lingering there.
His eyes narrowed slightly at the realization, the location of the wound fit almost perfectly with where Lang Kong's dagger had stabbed Mao Tangye. Had it continued straight ahead through Mao Tangye, it would have stabbed him a bit to the left of the missing spot.
"Space... and the other one is...time probably. Dangerous."
That was the conclusion that Yao Jun had come to after dealing with Lang Kong three times. The law of space was evident based on the missing piece of his abdomen, which was almost finished regrowing since it could hardly be called a large wound to the current him.
He was a bit more uncertain on the law of time, but he felt that it made a bit of sense seeing how Lang Kong always dodged or attacked at the best time, as well as the effect his attack had produced on Mao Tangye's chest. But he didn't have the time to think too much about it, a gentle and grieving voice reaching his ears.
"My children...what has become of you?"
Yao Jun's entire body tensed up at once when the voice tickled his ears, he hadn't sensed a single thing. His shrunken pupils immediately swept the area, but neither Sirius nor Zhuan Yi showed any reaction to the voice. The voice repeated the words once more, and this time Yao Jun could make out that it was actually the whispering he had been hearing ever since he first woke up after breaking open and merging with the fragment.
It was no longer garbled or subdued, gently resounding in his ears and filling him with the same sensation he felt whenever he looked at his mother as she worried about it. The whispering quickly got louder and more longing now that it was no longer subdued, as if the voice was locking onto him. And then, after repeating itself a few times, the words it spoke changed.
"Ah, my dear children, there you are. Come, return to me, let mother put you back together."
Yao Jun felt a shiver run down his spine, a premonition that something was about to happen. His hands shot out on instinct, one grabbing onto Sirius while the other grabbed onto Zhuan Yi, this way he could drag them along the moment something happened. But when something finally happened, it had been far from what he was expecting.
He felt something tug on his entire body, and space around him broke apart in resonance with that tugging force. It cracked open, shards of space falling to the ground like shattered glass as a pure white tunnel appeared directly around Yao Jun. He was sucked down the tunnel, and since he was holding onto Sirius and Zhuan Yi, so too were they.
Yao Jun felt himself get tossed around inside the tunnel at a speed so fast he could barely register it, it was faster than any long-distance spatial movement he had ever experienced. But the sensation only lasted for a handful of seconds before the tunnel around him vanished.
And as they finally left the tunnel, the group of three found themselves floating in empty space, a few planets barely visible in the distance. Yao Jun's entire body felt light, as if a constant pressure had been removed from his shoulders, it was almost as if the air here was just lighter.
And as the three floated there and tried to gather their bearings, Yao Jun felt a gentle breeze brush past him. The breeze continued to caress his body a few times, as if it was trying to inspect him. But the touch of the breeze was so soft that it almost made his heart ache, and that only got worse when the whispering voice once more reached his ears, now filled with such sorrow that it sounded like it was crying.
"Ah, my children, so you have already fallen... So nine have become seven... My children, please forgive your mother for not protecting you... forgive me..."
The whispering voice slowly faded from his ears, simply echoing forgive me as it grew lower and lower. And when the voice finally faded, the gentle breeze also left, caressing Yao Jun's body one last time. A cold sensation seeped into his body, as if he had been abandoned or given up on.
But Yao Jun's mind was nothing if not strong so he quickly shook off those emotions. He didn't recognize the voice, so whatever child it was speaking about, it couldn't be him. He only had one mother, and she was currently trapped in one of the eight fragments that revolved around the four planets in his chest.
He felt like he could make some guesses as to the nature of the voice and what it was actually talking about, but that would have to wait. Or rather than say that it had to wait, it was better to say that the guesses relied on him getting an answer to the most pressing question he had at the moment.
"Now, just where is it we've ended up now."