Yao Jun's head was raised slightly as he gazed at the dragon-shaped ship, his pitch-black eyes reflecting the dark crimson flames that danced around the ship. He could sense the master of the ship, and the master could sense him too, the two had already locked on to each other. The belly of the ship opened, the dancing flames gathering around the person that descended from the opening. Yao Jun hadn't seen a spectacle like this with any of the Sovereign Gods he had encountered in the past so he guessed that Wyrmheart was probably putting on the show as a deliberate act of superiority.
The person that descended from the ship was a woman, but rather than having charcoal-like skin, her skin was more akin to charred leather. The veins that ran across her entire body were the same dark crimson as her flames, nearing the same shade of red as blood. Her eyes were the same dark shade of brown as her skin, and her short cyan har fluttered like candlelight that flickered in the wind. She was definitely someone who would be regarded as a great beauty wherever she went, but her gaze was so chilly that it almost froze the blood of those who met it.
"A debt of blood? You say that as if you have some great history with our clan, but we've checked time and time again, we've barely had any interactions. In fact, from what we've discovered, you were actually the first one to attack us. You were searching for Peyton Eluard, were you not?"
If she were to be completely frank then the first interaction between the two would have been during the first battle Yao Jun took part in after temporarily joining the World Tree clan army. But that had been nothing but a big skirmish, the particular division Yao Jun had been part of hadn't even lost a single member so it couldn't really be called an interaction. Yao Jun hadn't expected the Final Fire clan to make such thorough investigations, but in the long term, it wasn't really something that mattered.
"Correct, we have in fact barely ever encountered each other. But do you remember the seal you and the other clans placed on Godpiercer planet to end the war? I lost an extremely dear friend because of that seal, so can you still say that there is no debt of blood?"
Yao Jun wasn't some grand saint or hero, he was just a simple man with a small heart. He cared about that which he treasured, and the moment you touched those things he would fly into an inconsolable rage, no matter how petty or illogical it was.
So even though the Final Fire clan had just helped set up and maintain the array that prevented him from reaching Little Thunder in time, he was still furious at them and would get his revenge. Of course, looking at the actual chain of events would lead you to a simple conclusion, one that Wyrmheart had seen for herself, so it was inevitable that she almost burst a blood vessel out of anger.
"An extremely dear friend? A FRIEND?! I lost three sons and eight daughters on Godpiercer planet! I lost 32 hand-picked disciples and over 2000 close friends due to your actions! And that's just me, the Final Fire clan alone lost a bit over 5 million people during that catastrophe, it's the greatest loss we've experienced since our founding! You lost one friend so you massacre several million, and you're still not pleased, you still want more blood?!"
Yes, the events of Godpiercer planet could only be described as disastrous, so many great clans and sects had lost so many members that they were on the verge of collapsing. Had it not been for the fact that they were in an alliance, the World Tree sect would have been able to take them down one by one and secure itself as the undisputed top dog. But even with all that bloodshed, it was still not enough?
"Tell me, the death of Little Thunder, does it mean anything to you?"
Yao Jun didn't wince in the face of Wyrmheart's loud outburst, the flames that washed towards him had simply split harmlessly around him. Sirius and Zhuan Yi could protect themselves, and Arthurius had his own ways to defend himself. As for the others, Yao Jun didn't care too much if the flames washed over them, his head slightly tilted as he looked at Wyrmheart. As for Wyrmheart, she was honestly a bit taken aback by his question. What was the point in asking such an obvious question?
"No, no it doesn't."
Wyrmheart was after all an exalted Godking, it would tarnish her pride if she were to just attack Yao Jun without any warning or the like. So she didn't shy away from conversing with him, her enemies were worth at least this amount of respect. But after she gave her answer, Yao Jun simply nodded once before tilting his head again.
"Exactly. You don't know him, so why should you care about his death? So why should I?"
A life that had no connection to you, a life you didn't even know about, what sort of worth did it have to you? Why should you care about such a thing? Wyrmheart's pupils narrowed almost instantly as she understood what Yao Jun was implying, and it was only now that she realized exactly what she was dealing with.
"You'd really put those two numbers on the same scale... You're dangerous, Yao Jun, that way of thinking is way too dangerous. I really wonder how you managed to survive for this long and get this far with a heart that small."
There were two reasons why Wyrmheart reacted this strongly to Yao Jun's thoughts. The first was obviously the fact that he put the lives of several million people on the same level as a single life. Such a way of thinking was incredibly dangerous because everyone who thought like that could easily act extremely recklessly and violently should that single life be touched.
The second reason was much more pressing, and perhaps relevant. Wyrmheart didn't consider herself a virtuous person, she had killed many people in the past, and she would kill many more people in the future. But every time she killed, it was for a purpose, every life reaped furthered some goal.
The same was true for just about everyone else, whenever they killed it was for a reason, because they wanted to accomplish something. To some, that goal may just be to have some fun or to get some enjoyment, but at least it was a reason, it gave that life a purpose and made the killer feel something.
But Yao Jun showed nothing like that, the killing, the lives stolen, none of it meant anything to him. He could have killed none and felt the same, and he could have killed billions more and still felt the same, it was all nothing to him. He had created a small circle for himself, and everything beyond that circle had been blotted out and erased from his mind, that was the sensation Wyrmheart got from him.
"Fear, Wyrmheart. Fear and desperation."
It sounded like he gave her a mocking answer, but it was in fact the most fundamental truth behind Yao Jun. Fear had always been right by his side, its claws just a tiny bit away from his throat. So he moved forward, running with all his might every time it looked like that fear was about to finally touch him. It was only recently that he acquired the thing that was so vital to all other cultivators, ambition.
Wyrmheart didn't show any signs as to whether or not she actually believed his statement, her eyes narrowing to match her already shrunken pupils. She didn't spare any of the people that remained around them a glance, she sensed a tinge of danger from Zhuan Yi, but that was something that could be dealt with after the main target was removed.
She had shown Yao Jun sufficient respect and consideration by talking for so long, and he didn't seem like he intended to speak further after revealing how dangerous his train of thought actually was. As such, there was only one thing left for the two of them to do now, and that was to find out who would leave this place alive.
Perhaps it was because her pride wouldn't allow her, or maybe because her subconsciousness sensed a sliver of danger, but Wyrmheart didn't allow herself to make the first move. As such, Yao Jun was the one who kicked off this battle, marking the start of his first actual fight against a Godking, a Sovereign God.
His feet lightly kicked off the ground and his body shot forward, his pure white glaive snapping into place in his grasp. The blade of the weapon gouged out the earth as he swung it upwards, the sheer speed at which he moved catching Wyrmheart off-guard. But even so, she still managed to quickly react by placing her hands on top of each other and pushing them down.
Dark brown scales grew to cover both her arms, the dancing flames around her gathering in her palms. The edge of Yao Jun's glaive collided with her lowered palms, an unearthly chill radiating from the blade and pushing back the flames. But before the sharp edge could come in contact with the scales on her hand, a strong pushing force worked against his glaive, halting it just a single centimetre away from her palm.
But Yao Jun was far from that easy to stop, loosening his grip on the glaive so that he could slide his hand forward as he stepped in. A strong wind appeared between him and Wyrmheart, forming a tornado that was so warm that the stone beneath their feet started to melt.
But new earth appeared beneath Yao Jun's feet so that he could walk on the molten stone, his Qi forming a new tornado that moved in the opposite direction of Wyrmheart's wind to counteract it. Her tornado stopped for a short second thanks to the counterforce, but that one second was all it took for Yao Jun to finish his step forward.
His left hand shot forward, glacial spikes extending from his glaive's head and nailing down Wyrmheart's hands. As such, his hand pushed through the repulsing wind and wave of flames that her body radiated, his palm landing on her chest.
He slid his foot forward the moment his palm touched her chest, giving his arm a slight twist while leaning all his weight into it. Wyrmheart felt her entire chest tremble, a violent burst of fourfold elements erupting from Yao Jun's palm. Fire and lightning gushed forth and washed over her body, wind lifting her off the ground while a spike of ice extended from his palm and scattered sparks as it collided with the scales that had instantly grown on her chest.
The sheer force of the attack launched Wyrmheart through the air, the forceful blast of wind that accompanied Yao Jun's palm causing her to spin uncontrollably as she flew backwards. The fire and lightning also raged around her as she flew backwards, tearing a small gorge into the earth as she flew backwards.
She crossed nearly ten kilometres before she finally righted herself, her eyes somewhat narrowed as she looked at the gash she had left in the city. Not even the buildings had been able to slow her speed, she had just crashed right through them and created a perfectly straight path.
She waved her hand once, dark crimson flames welling forth from her body and swallowing up the orange flames and violet lightning that still raged across her body. She brushed her hand against her chest, but the spike of ice had only left a crack in one of her scales, the corners of her lips turning up into a dangerous sneer.
"Strong, much stronger than I expected. But I used wind and fire in my unique law so I've already transcended them, you can forget about using them to harm me."
There were several kilometres between her and Yao Jun, but her words were easily carried with the wind, and her Qi, to reach Yao Jun without delay. Brass knuckles rose up from her scales and formed on her fist, their tips looking like small horns that gleamed with a sharp light, she had already judged that Yao Jun was not an enemy she could face without her weapons. As for Yao Jun, he didn't even furrow his brows at her words, he simply raised his glaive and pointed the tip at her, the air around it distorting due to the intense heat.
"Can't harm you? If I say so, then all things will burn to ash, even you."