Chapter 1, Nine Serenities Secret Records
On the highest platform on Devil Peak stood a black-garbed man with rapt attention.
High above the clouds, the sun and moon hung side by side, flooding the land below in their warm glow and sharp coldness. The man took deep breaths as he spread his arms toward the sky, and the lights gathered in his palms. And the world dimmed.
A foul wind stirred, wreathing with endless howls of agony from untold ghosts.
The wind picked up the man's elegant hair, revealing a demonic face behind.
The sun and the moon dimmed while the man grew in power from the rays. Soon, even dark energy began to rise from him.
With his face battered by the freezing winds, the dark energy grew thicker until it covered him whole. He released a breath and an evil smile adorned his face.
With a loud sound as the trigger, the four mountains in vicinity erupted while Devil Peak itself was wracked by terrible tremors. The man absorbing the essences of the sun and moon opened his eyes.
With a space rending sound, seven flashes of light appeared. As the light scattered, there stood seven figures radiating ruthless power.
His eyebrows shook but a fraction as the man spoke in an eerie voice, “How are the seven of you here? Didn't you all despise us demonic cultivators to no end?”
“Humph, Demonic Emperor, Zhuo Yifan, isn't it obvious why we're here?” An old man stroked his white beard as he gave a look of disdain.
His heart skipped a beat and Zhuo Yifan sounded out, “Geezer Sword Emperor, I do not know what you mean.”
“Humph, stop faking it and take out the Nine Serenities Secret Records.” A female Daoist stepped arrogantly as she threw her chin forward.
Zhuo Yifan paled.
It had been only a month since he found the legendary Nine Serenities Emperor's dwelling. After brushing death countless times in the process, he finally obtained the written accounts he wished to study for all his life. How was it that they caught wind of this?
He suddenly recalled something and his face grew darker by the second.
“Zhao Chen, come out.” shouted Zhuo Yifan.
A cheery voice rang through the empty forest on the mountain. Immediately, a handsome youngster in white robes walked from behind the seven, smiling; all the while as he made a curt bow to Zhuo Yifan, “Hhha, Master, did you ask for me?”
Zhuo Yifan glared with hatred at the hypocrite and said, “Is this your doing?”
“Yes!” nodded Zhao Chen with a smile.
“Did you also cancel the guarding array?”
“Why? I never slight you in the least.” Zhuo Yifan clenched his fist as murderous intent flared out from his eyes.
Despite being a demonic cultivator, he normally did not kill without reason. If he did, he was just acting out on his nature. Else, those righteous cultivators would've come to end him much sooner. Zhao Chen, for that matter, was an orphan that Zhuo Yifan took in when he saw his talent. Yet, who'd have thought the day would come when Zhao Chen would betray him.
Despite putting a front with his calm demour, before Zhuo Yifan's increasing killing intent, Zhao Chen's feet betrayed him as he took two steps back, moving closer to the seven beings behind him.
“Master, I understand your kindness is as heavy as a mountain. But that doesn't give you the right to steal the Eight Emperor seat and cast me in your shadow for all eternity. Even more so, regarding the Nine Serenities Secret Records. Ever since you've obtained it, you've trained alone, even afraid of me catching a glimpse of it.”
Zhuo Yifan's heart clenched when he heard this.
Zhao Chen would never know he did it for his sake. Having low cultivation and going head first into studying the Nine Serenities Secret Records would deviate one's cultivation. He had opted to understand it in its entirety and only then impart it to him.
Yet all his plans were ruined in just a short month.
“Hhha, well said. Zhao Chen, you're a true disciple!”
Zhuo Yifan's roaring laughter reached the heavens and so did his rage, “Since it is so, Master will give you a taste of the Nine Serenities Secret Records.”
“Zhuo Yifan, it is not your place for such unbridled words in the presence of us seven.” The white-bearded old man stepped before Zhao Chen.
“Humph, everyone in the Sacred Domain knows me as the Eight Emperor. I could care less if all seven of you Emperors come at me together!”
No sooner said than done, Zhuo Yifan launched a palm at Zhao Chen.
A black claw flashed in the sky reaching out for him.
His eyes shrunk, face paled, and retreated with haste, fear having taken its grip on the youth.
In the face of that powerful claw, the old man drew a sword. A sword wave flashed and the black claw was turned to nothing.
“Humph, Nine Serenities Secret Records is nothing great.” The old man stood in the wind with his sword ready, disdain all over his face.
Zhuo Yifan smiled and waved his palms, “Geezer, stop being so arrogant.”
As if endless thunders were rumbling, the sky was covered by thousands of black palms, bearing down on the seven. Each palm was twice as big as the claw. Such power reached a new height that even the seven were in shock.
“How can this be? Did he break through to the Sacred Stage?” Sword Emperor sucked in a cold breath at the sight.
As they watched, they could feel bravery leaving them.
Not even seven Emperors together were a match against a Sacred stage expert.
Zhao Chen's face grew paler as regret gnawing his heart. Who'd have thought just a month of practice would elevate Zhuo Yifan to such height in power.
“Humph, damn traitor, this is the end for you.” Sneered Zhuo Yifan.
A light fell from the heavens above, piercing the black hands and went straight for Zhuo Yifan. With no time to react, the light passed right through him.
Scarlet blood spurted from his mouth and the thousands of black hands vanished. Zhuo Yifan looked with his wan face at the sky to see a middle-aged man basked in a holy aura of light.
“Saint!” Zhuo Yifan bit his lips in defiance. He knew in his heart the newcomer's intention.
“Demonic Emperor Zhuo Yifan, this Saint represents the Sacred Domain in retrieving the Demon Emperor's legacy. If you hand it over, your life shall be spared.” The surroundings and people entered his eyes yet none of them were reflected within. He wouldn't even deign to look at Zhuo Yifan, if not for having the Nine Serenities Secret Records.
This was the strongest Saint in the Sacred Domain. Even Emperor stage experts were mere ants before him.
With a miserable chuckle, Zhuo Yifan took out a dazzling multi-colored jade slip from his bosom.
The mere sight of it changed the expressions of everyone present, especially Saint's.
With a look of derision to all around him, Zhuo Yifan jeered, “What righteous cultivators, what Saint? Aren't you all just thieves lusting a poor man's wealth? I won't let any of you get one word from the Nine Serenities Secret Records even if I have to destroy it.”
As if to prove his conviction, a powerful energy rose up from his body.
“Damn! He's gonna self-destruct.”
Sword Emperor's eyes shrank speeding further away, with the other not far behind. Only the Saint exploded in holy wrath and charged for Zhuo Yifan, “Stop!”
With a proud smile, Zhuo Yifan pinched and the jade slip was turned to dust right under the Saint's eyes. The rage and bitterness he saw in the Saint as he gnashed his teeth elicited an unrestrained laughter from Zhuo Yifan.
His laughter was soon accompanied by powerful shock waves leveling the entire Devil Peak.
As the smoke and dust cleared it was soon clear to see the angry face of the Saint, along with his worse for wear clothes.
“Even in the face of such a terrifying explosion, a Saint can come out of it without so much as a scratch.” The Sword Emperor came before the Saint to express his admiration.
The Saint snorted and was about to leave.
It was then Zhao Chen blocked him, “Please wait, Saint. Demonic Emperor Zhuo is cunning and deceitful. If he possesses someone, just from knowing the Nine Serenities Secret Records, he will one day come to exact vengeance upon us all.”
“Humph, his self-destruction was down to his soul. What possession?” He waived his sleeve and vanished.
The hearts of everyone present eased after hearing this.
With a Saint present, an Emperor stage expert would find it impossible to escape with their soul even if they self-destructed. It was a pity for the loss of the ancient Demon Emperor's legacy, Nine Serenities Secret Records.
As people gazed upon the ruins of Devil Peak, they each felt differently. Some were rejoicing, others lamenting, while most were feeling pity…