There wasn’t even time to for him to tremble. Under the power of the mysterious fourth finger strike, he collapsed into ashen sparks that attempted to flee. The mysterious energy continued to pursue the ash and wipe it away, but it was tenacious, and moments later, formed back into Holy Extermination. This time, his eyes flickered with fear as he once again fled.
However, there was no way for him to escape his fate of death. The mysterious energy smashed at him again, reducing him to ashes yet another time. When the ashes formed back into a human shape again, Holy Extermination was far weaker than before.
This process repeated itself over and over again.
Before long, his legs could not reform, nor his arms or legs. Eventually, the only thing that remained was half of his torso, and his head.
“I refuse to accept this!!” he howled bitterly. Moments before, he had been only a step away from succeeding, and becoming Eternal. But now… it was in completely unexpected fashion that he found himself crushed in defeat.
Then, even as his head was on the verge of fading away, he looked over at Bai Xiaochun in the Eternal Immortal Domains, his eyes shining in profoundly sinister nature!
“If I can’t succeed, then… I’ll just let another Allheaven rise from the Eternal Spirit World….
“Allheaven is supposed to be merciless, but you have too many connections. How could you truly be Allheaven…?
“Well, I guess I’ll provide you with the help you need. Henceforth… you will be merciless and unfeeling. You will have no family or friends. Your past will be buried, and you will be baptized by pitilessness. Then, as Allheaven, you will exterminate the Never-Ending Dao Domain!” As Holy Extermination laughed madly, an unprecedentedly dark beam of light shot out of his eyes.
Instantly, that black light shot toward the Eternal Immortal Domains!
As it neared, it spiraled out to create a massive vortex down below. Intense rumbling sounds mixed with cries of alarm from the people below as the mysterious energy then swept over to wipe it out of existence. But Holy Extermination knew that he couldn’t destroy the Eternal Immortal Domains. After all, resurrecting people of lower cultivation levels than oneself was not an impossibility, so killing the people of the lands would do little to advance his purposes.
Therefore, his goal was not destruction. It was something else….
“By giving my boundless life force as the price, and by using the three great domain treasures of the Vast Expanse Dao Domain, I will open… the River of Time and Space!!” As his voice caused the starry sky to tremble, the vortex spun madly, moving faster and faster until three objects became visible within them. One was a feng shui compass, one was a black pearl, and one was a white pearl!
All three of them radiated a completely ancient air, and caused the vortex around them to whip into a complete frenzy.
“My three domain treasures were sealed for all eternity, and cannot be unleashed in full. But they are definitely enough to cause the River of Time and Space to open!” As Holy Extermination’s voice echoed out, it began to stretch and distort. Simultaneously, the vortex seemed to be opening a way into a strange and indescribable world, causing the starry sky and all the ruins that filled it to be cast into complete chaos.
Beneath the Eternal Immortal Domains, and within the vortex, a huge river could be seen, surging with huge waves. As soon as the river became visible, a massive force of attraction sprang up, grabbing the Eternal Immortal Domains and pulling them down into the river!
The river contained a familiar, mysterious energy, and a sensation of the Eternal. It contained time itself, as well as an infinitude of Essences. It was holy beyond compare, as if it were the most important thing within the entire starry sky!
As Bai Xiaochun realized what was happening, his eyes went wide, and his mind began to reel.
“Noooo!!” he shouted madly, blue veins bulging out on his neck and face, his body shaking. Unfortunately, he was simply too weak to even move, let alone stop what was happening.
“This… is my gift to you, Allheaven. Don’t even think about trying to bring them back. They are now sealed within the River of Time and Space. In all creation, including the nine great Dao Domains, I’ve never heard of a single person who could pull an entire world out of the River of Time and Space!” Chuckling, Holy Extermination faded away….
As for that enormous holy river, and the Eternal Immortal Domains… they also faded away.
Everything went silent.
The River of Time and Space was gone, and Holy Extermination was dead. Everything was over…. The starry sky was quiet now, and the frozen 1,080,000 ruins were unsealed. Light began to shine everywhere….
However, in the spot where the Eternal Immortal Domains had once existed, Bai Xiaochun hovered, looking down blankly at where the river had just been. He couldn’t think. It was almost as if he had become an empty person, technically alive, but essentially dead. Soulless….
After a long moment passed, he coughed up a mouthful of blood, and then collapsed into unconsciousness. If it weren’t for the fact that his lips still quivered a bit, as though he were talking to himself, he would easily be taken for a corpse, drifting forever through the starry sky….
Although the 1,080,000 ruins all shone with bright light, he was the only person left, unconscious, directionless.
Time passed, although it was impossible to determine how much. Eventually, Bai Xiaochun woke up. Before he could open his eyes, he heard voices calling out to him.
“You’re finally awake, daddy! Look, I’m all grown up….”
“Daddy, Xiaoxiao had a cultivation base breakthrough. She’s a celestial now!”
“Father, I… I want to get married.”
As soon as Bai Xiaochun heard the voices of his children, a smile broke out on his face. He also heard warm, tender voices speaking to him that he knew were Song Junwan, Zhou Zimo, Hou Xiaomei and Gongsun Wan’er. There was also another female voice, somewhat unfamiliar.
“Xiaochun, it’s me… Du Lingfei….”
As the voices joined together, Bai Xiaochun felt as though countless eyes were locked onto him, all of them smiling. He could sense Uncle Li, the Grand Heavenmaster, the Giant Ghost King, Big Fatty Zhang, Song Que, Master God-Diviner, and others….
He was content. He felt the sun shining on him, and could smell the fragrant odor of spring. Everyone was healthy and happy.
Although he didn’t want to, he eventually opened his eyes. There he floated in the starry sky, tears streaming down his cheeks.
The voices vanished. The only thing he could see now was the starry sky, which was completely and utterly quiet….
Eventually, he righted himself, looked around, and began to travel through the starry sky, until he was back where the Eternal Immortal Domains had once existed.
He began to weep.
“I defeated the Mortal Renegade, only to lose everything else….” As his tears fell down into the starry sky, he reached out to grasp at something, but there was nothing there. He wanted to take some alcohol out of his bag of holding, but didn’t have any to take out.
He could only hover there in the starry sky, blank, thinking about the past. One day he looked up, madness flickering in his eyes as he performed an incantation gesture. Unleashing the power of the Time Immemorial Codex, he shifted time and vanished.
However, it didn’t take long before he returned. Not even using his time shifting abilities were any help in locating the Eternal Immortal Domains.
Apparently, when something entered the River of Time and Space, all traces of its existence were completely removed.
“The River of Time and Space….” he said gratingly. His voice seemed to contain boundless grief that could not be dispelled, neither with tears nor anything else. And thus, the pain inside of him built up to the point where even his voice changed.
“They’ve been sealed in the River of Time and Space… but they’re not dead! If Holy Extermination can open it… then so can I!” Panting, he unleashed the power of his cultivation base and began to try various methods to access the river. He tried to use the Essence of the Eternal and its mysterious energy, but soon realized that with the departure of the Eternal Flower, that mysterious energy was vastly weaker. It might as well have not been there. Without its original source, the Essence of the Eternal was almost useless.
The starry sky was bright now, but with the Eternal Flower gone, Bai Xiaochun was the only living being in existence. And thus, the Essence of the Eternal had faded.
However, he was not ready to give up. He performed test after test, wearing himself ragged in the process. Nothing worked. In the end, he still had no idea how to open the River of Time and Space.
Although he was in pain, he was not in complete despair. He closed his eyes to think for a while, and when he opened them, they shone with more determination than ever.
“If the Sovereign Realm isn’t strong enough to open it,” he murmured, “then… maybe it means I have to reach the Eternal Realm!”
Supposedly, absorbing the Eternal Flower was the only way to reach the Eternal Realm. But during his fight with the Mortal Renegade, he had controlled the mysterious energy that was the Essence of the Eternal, and had thus come to realize that there were definitely other ways!
“The Essence of the Eternal is contained in all living things. It is in all Essences…. Although it is weak, it is always there…. If hosts of living beings could exist in the starry sky again, and begin to practice cultivation, then cultivators would multiply… and the Essence of the Eternal would appear again!
“If the Eternal doesn’t exist now… then I’ll create it!
“As living beings awaken and life force spreads, Essence will appear. If enlightenment of one Essence isn’t enough, I’ll study ten of them. A hundred. A thousand. Ten thousand! If I have to, I’ll understand the Essence of all living things in all 1,080,000 worlds in the starry sky….
“After combining all of the Essences, I can reach… the Eternal Realm!” Eyes shining with near hysteria, he decided that this was definitely his only option!
Turning to look in the direction of the former Eternal Immortal Domains, he spoke in a voice filled with ultimate focus.
“The Eternal Immortal Domains. My home…. All of you, just wait for me. I promise I’ll find you….”