Zhuan Yi had spent a bit of time with Yao Jun thanks to their agreement, but she couldn't think of a single time where she had seen him show this level of emotion. He hadn't even shown this level of anger when he stood in front of his enemy, but the current him was like an explosive barrel on the verge of bursting. She obviously realized that she had just spotted one of his reverse scales, so she made sure to memorize it so that she didn't make the same mistake as the people around them.
Yao Jun still held Zhao Shen aloft by the throat, not looking like he was planning on letting him go despite the fact that he wanted to have a chat. As for Zhao Shen's two beasts, they both had their heads pressed so hard against the earth that they almost buried themselves, neither of them even dared to breathe too loudly in the presence of Yao Jun and Sirius, they were existences that were on a completely different level.
Saryn quickly fumbled with her interspatial ring to bring out the communication item that the clan had provided her with. News about the Nine Heavens Demon God was of the highest importance to the clan so she would have to report post-haste, that would be the case even if it hadn't been for Yao Jun making such a direct threat.
Yao Jun didn't stop her from contacting the World Tree clan, he even ignored the Final Fire clan people all around him, not batting an eye as the city lord did his best to stealthily send out a message. His gaze was firmly locked on Zhao Shen and Jue Langye, practically nailing their souls down.
"The one you called matriarch, it's Wan Yi, isn't it?"
He wasn't so much asking for it to be cleared up as he was asking for confirmation, what he had seen and heard so far already made him about 90% certain that it was Wan Yi who was behind all this. And sure enough, Zhao Shen did his best to nod his head, his throat already aching from Yao Jun's grasp.
"Yes, the Matriarch's name is indeed Wan Yi, she's the one who handles the matters of Titan's Gate and offers the various missions to people."
Zhao Shen elaborated a bit beyond what Yao Jun's question entailed, if saying a bit more now would get Yao Jun to let go of his throat quicker then it would definitely be worth it. But sadly for him, one of the particular words he used caught Yao Jun's attention.
"Offer? So you have a choice when it comes to accepting them?"
There was quite a difference between willingly accepting something and being forced to do it. At least it was like that in his eyes, because one of them put a lot more of the responsibility on the person themselves. Zhao Shen quickly nodded his head, Yao Jun's cold pupils drifting over to Jue Langye.
"I see. You there, are you the only one who has assumed the Dread Dreamer persona or are there others?"
Yao Jun wouldn't put it past Wan Yi to create multiple impersonators, especially if she had more of these appearance altering masks, they were just perfect for her type of plans. Jue Langye had hoped to avoid becoming the centre of Yao Jun's attention, but now it seemed like that was just a pipedream.
"I... I'm one of three, the two others are a bit weaker so they're mainly only used for smaller missions."
Wan Yi wasn't an idiot after all, there was no way she could pay an Earthly deity to deal with Immortal Rebirth or below cultivators. Not only would it dent the pride of the cultivator, but it would also be a great waste of money and resources, so having some weaker impersonators was good for situations like this. But in this situation, perhaps Jue Langye should have prayed to be one of the weaker impersonators.
"Tell me, how many missions have you accepted, and how many people have you killed while donning that persona?"
Yao Jun's eyes narrowed faintly as he directed the question at Jue Langye, her soul trembling as if it was about to collapse. This was a landmine, a lie here would end up costing her dearly. So, she had no choice but to divulge the truth.
"How... How many? About 13 missions, it shouldn't be more than 10 to 20 thousand people in total."
Fear and terror, that was the modus operandi of Wan Yi. Revolution and change came with a tide of blood, and only when there was sufficient fear towards something would the people be willing to make a change, that was how she thought, how she lived. And thanks to that, the missions she handed out would almost always involve combat and killing, a great deal of it.
Jue Langye had felt that lying in this situation would have brought about a terrible end, but what she didn't know was that she was already caught in a dead-end. And admitting the truth only brought in the walls of said dead-end to truly seal her fate.
She suddenly retched violently, Yao Jun's cold and sharp gaze piercing straight through her. She retched a few more times, blood and what looked like melting chunks of flesh and bone spewing out from her mouth. A soft sizzling sound could be heard from her chest, a slowly-expanding hole opening in her robe and revealing the fact that her chest already had a fist-sized hole in it. The hole grew rapidly, the edges dissolving in front of the eyes of everyone present. And before long, her entire body had dissolved away, not even a scrap of bone or blood left behind.
"My Luo'er isn't a Dread Dreamer, nor is she a slaughterer like that. None of you have the right to defile that name."
Guo Luo wasn't above killing others, she would do so without hesitation if she felt the need. But there was only one person in this vast multiverse that had the right to smear Guo Luo's name with blood, and that was Guo Luo herself. No one else had the right to kill and pin the deed on her name, especially not in such great numbers.
The tense standstill that Yao Jun's overpowering presence had brought with it burst like a bubble as Jue Langye's body dissolved away. Some of the people that Zhao Shen had brought along sprung up, city lord Gandu and some of his more level-headed guards also bursting forth with energy.
Yao Jun had just launched an attack to kill Jue Langye, it would take him a split-second to muster up more Qi to launch another attack, especially since his attention was focused on the spot where Jue Langye had just been. At least, that is what these people told themselves to force themselves to move. Well, that and the fact that they felt like they were guaranteed to die if they remained passive.
But what a shame, Yao Jun was not someone who bothered with subscribing to the same logic as Gandu and the others. The earth beneath them rose up the moment they all sprung into action, and it was as merciless as he was. The earth turned into a spear that pierced through the chests of those that took the initiative, and the tip bloomed open into eight sharp nails after it pierced through them.
The eight new tips bent backwards and stabbed themselves into the backs of the impaled people, slamming them into the ground. They were instantly pinned down, the eight tips resembling spider legs that held them down. But of course, it only looked like that to the onlookers, the people in question were already dead, the law of death making sure that there was only one fate awaiting those pierced by the earthen spear.
"I don't care if you send out messages or cries for help, it really doesn't matter. But my patience is already running thin as it is, so don't expect me to keep you alive if you try to make a move."
Yao Jun hadn't even bothered turning to look at the freshly made corpses, as if the deaths of around 100 people simply didn't matter to him at all. And indeed, what did a drop matter to the ocean? His gaze slid away from the already empty spot where Jue Langye had previously been kneeling, once again settling on Zhao Shen.
"Tell me, the Sword Apocalypse, is that the moniker Wan Yi gave to the Yun Yantian impersonators?"
He didn't ask about the two other Guo Luo impersonators, he would get to hear about them directly from Wan Yi herself, whether she wanted to answer him or not. Zhao Shen had already been scared earlier, but the effortless decimation he had just seen frightened him so much that his muscles simply refused to move, just speaking took his all.
"Y...Yes, but there's only one impersonator, the matriarch said that she was lucky and found someone that was a very good match."
Yao Jun had guessed this to be the case, Sword Apocalypse was simply far too fitting of a title for Yun Yantian. But his gaze still sharpened once he got the confirmation he sought, everything concerning Yun Yantian was an extremely sore topic to him. But he didn't take it out on Zhao Shen, seemingly changing the topic at random.
"The headquarter, is it still located in Violet Sky Town?"
Yao Jun didn't have many memories of it, he couldn't even remember actually visiting the headquarters of Titan's Gate once. But he still remembered the place where it was founded, he was still technically one of the founding members after all. Zhao Shen was slightly caught off guard by the name Yao Jun used for it, but he quickly answered and clarified the situation.
"I've heard that the place was once known as Violet Sky Town yes, but it's already been renamed Titan's Nest, the entire planet has as a sign of loyalty."
Yao Jun's eyes narrowed slightly, it seemed like Wan Yi had been quite busy in the time after he left. But looking at the fact that she was able to ally with the World Tree clan, bringing a single small planet under her control shouldn't be too difficult. Yao Jun nodded his head softly after organizing his thoughts, casually tossing Zhao Shen aside.
"Good, now fuck off."
Zhao Shen instinctively rubbed his throat, which now had a quickly darkening handprint on it. But Yao Jun's words left him utterly dumbfounded, especially when he looked at the corpses that were nailed to the earth around him.
"You...You'll spare me?"
Nine Heavens Demon God, Reaper of Godpiercer planet, these weren't titles that you got from being kind and merciful. Zhao Shen knew well what sort of things Yao Jun had done to earn that name, and he had even gotten to see them first-hand just now, so he had already accepted his early demise. But Yao Jun barely even bothered paying attention to his dumbfoundedness, only glancing at him from the corner of his eye.
"You're lucky, you only abused my name. I couldn't care less about anyone throwing mud on my name, it's when you touch those close to me that I take offence. But to be fair, I'm only sparing you temporarily. If I learn that you've committed deeds I would find distasteful to have pinned on my name, do you think you'll be able to hide from me?"
Zhao Shen almost felt like he wanted to say something about it, but he knew perfectly well that Yao Jun definitely wasn't boasting. If the true Nine Heavens Demon God wanted to find and kill him, where could he possibly hide? He quickly stood up on unsteady legs, taking a few seconds to regulate his breathing.
But before he got the chance to leave, space above the city split open as a large spatial tunnel appeared. A sail-less galleon flew out of the spatial tunnel, an emblem shaped like a tree with roots that covered an entire planet emblazoned on the side of the vessel. This was the mark of the World Tree clan, and Yao Jun didn't even have to guess to know who was riding it.
"Faster than I expected, let's see if he's got a satisfactory reason."
Zhao Shen wanted to curse despairingly when Yao Jun's soft mutter reached his ears, he could feel an overpoweringly strong aura on the ship so he knew that he had missed his best chance to leave. The array around the city had already been broken by Zhao Shen earlier so the ship didn't even need to launch any attacks, it could simply start its descent straight away.
The buildings were in the way so it couldn't get all the way to the ground, it was at least a few hundred metres long after all. But it got close enough that the people below could see someone jumping off of the front of the ship, whizzing to the ground like a meteor and smashing into the street.
Arthurius walked out from the cloud of dust that his descent had caused, his green hair having grown long enough to hang down over his pitch-black eyes. He was a pure-blooded World Tree clan member so he was quite a bit taller than Yao Jun, almost twice as tall in fact, and his features had only gotten more elongated with time, as if someone was pulling on the sides of his face. He greeted Yao Jun with a refreshing smile, raising his hand cheerfully.
"We meet again, Brother Jun! Please forgive my entourage, they didn't dare let me move about alone! I'm amazed you managed to return without anyone of us noticing, I thought the various clans kept a close eye on all th...!"
His joyful words of reunion were forcefully cut short by Yao Jun, who swept out his hand. A strong pressure bore down on Arthurius the moment Yao Jun's hand moved, his knees bending slightly so that the side of Yao Jun's fist could reach his chin. The world in front of Arthurius immediately started to blur as his body was jettisoned to the side, smashing through several buildings before it finally slowed down.
"Arthurius, don't think that I won't do anything just because we were on good terms in the past. My patience is paper-thin, don't test your luck."
Yao Jun's voice was ice-cold as he spoke, even Sirius' gaze was chilly as he looked at the trail left by Arthurius' body. That jovial attitude was not the right choice for a situation like this, it was far too naive.
Arthurius sat up when he finally stopped sliding along the earth, rubbing his chin a few times before he spat out a few bloody teeth. His jaw felt as if it had been about to be torn straight off, he even had the feeling that Yao Jun could have separated his lower jaw from his head if he had chosen to during that attack.
Arthurius had made great strides in his cultivation over the years, he had even secretly reached the late-stage of the Heavenly Deity realm just half a year ago. But even so, he hadn't been able to react to Yao Jun's attack, it was as if there was simply no way for him to avoid it. He stood up and walked over to Yao Jun, his refreshing smile giving way to a more solemn and apologetic expression.
"You're right, I was a bit too hopeful in thinking that it could just be smoothed over like that. My clan and I have made a mistake, please forgive us."
He no longer tried to beat around the bush and straightforwardly admitted that he was at fault, he even bent his waist and lowered his head as much as he could. He was one of the leaders of the World Tree clan, one of the strongest clans in this universe, it was extremely rare for someone like him to lower his head. But even so, Yao Jun simply looked at him with a cold expression.
"A mistake? Arthurius, are you really such a fucking idiot?"
Yao Jun sensed some motion on the ship above them when he spoke out, the guards on the ship probably weren't happy about the fact that their lord was getting cursed at. But Yao Jun didn't care one whit about their thoughts, his gaze piercing into Arthurius as he raised his head again.
"Did I call you out here to admit that you made a mistake, did I call you out here because I wanted you to lower your head? No, I called you out here because I wanted a reason, a satisfactory one that can convince me. If it doesn't, then I hope that your clan is ready to bear the weight of your mistake."
What good did it do to admit your mistake and beg for forgiveness? Neither of them were things that Yao Jun had asked for, because he didn't care if Arthurius and his clan did either. A reason was all he wanted, everything else would depend solely on that reason.
Arthurius nodded his head, but his words caught in his throat when he heard the sound of space tearing above them. A gash-like spatial tunnel appeared in the air above the city, waves of dark crimson fire welling out as a metal ship shaped like a four-winged dragon flew out of the gash. An overpowering presence instantly bore down on the area, the temperature increasing drastically. Even Arthurius' expression sank heavily as he looked at the ship, because he knew what it signified.
"That's the ship of Firesage Wyrmheart, I can't believe the Final Fire clan actually sent one of their Godkings over this quickly... Brother Jun, we need to leave right now! I promise you that I'll give you our reason once we've safely escaped!"
A Godking, the peak of power in this universe. Even his own World Tree clan only had a total of three Godkings, they were the true pillar of every clan, the true strength. Arthurius had reached the late-stage of the Heavenly Deity realm and carried two pieces of the Supreme Law of Destruction, but he didn't even dare to entertain the notion of fighting against a Godking. But while he was eager to leave as quickly as possible, the only response he got was a simple and calm word.
Arthurius wasn't sure if he heard right or not, looking dumbfoundedly at Yao Jun, whose expression had yet to change, even with the appearance of a Godking.
Arthurius did not want to make a guess as to what level of strength Yao Jun had reached, but not in a million years would he believe that Yao Jun could possibly have the strength to contend with a Godking. He was simply too young, had cultivated for far too short a time.
To become a Godking was to transcend the laws and form a brand new unique law for yourself, you would even become immune to any attacks containing the laws that you were cultivating, you had already transcended them after all. This was something that not only required an extreme amount of energy, but it also took time and insight, a flash of inspiration. This was common knowledge, even the dumbest child would know this. But even so, Yao Jun didn't budge, looking up at the ship with icy eyes.
"No, I am not leaving. The first thing I learn upon returning is that someone is using the names of Yun Yantian and Guo Luo to spread fear and terror, just so that she can further her own petty little plans. She'll get her dues, as will you and everyone else who took part in it. But even so, I'm still angry, Arthurius."
That was the tricky part about anger, it wouldn't necessarily subside even if you got to break down the cause of it. It would fester and rot, a stain that couldn't be removed, such was wrath. And right now, Yao Jun was feeling just that, but not only because someone was toying with the names of those dearest to him.
The Final Fire clan had taken part in a certain event in the past, they had helped seal off a certain planet and ensured that Yao Jun ended up being too late. Just like the Primordial Sea clan, the Heavens Gate sect, the Endless Abyss clan, and the Merged Heaven clan, they had all played a part in sealing up that planet, and Yao Jun had been missing something ever since.
"And the Final Fire clan also had a hand in the death of a dear friend of mine, so I still owe them a debt of blood."