At this moment, An Yaluoshan was already plotting rebellion, and he had the Yeluohe under his command, soldiers who shared some traits with the otherworldly invaders.
Wang Chong was keenly aware that ordinary soldiers would find it very hard to kill Yeluohe, unless they were experts of the Imperial Martial realm or above. Even an army of hundreds of thousands would eventually be scattered and slaughtered by the Yeluohe.
More importantly, the omens of the calamity were already evident. Wang Chong needed to be ready, as it would be too late to prepare when it was already upon him.
With these thoughts in mind, the giant ape bellowed and swung down its cudgel. With one strike of the cudgel, the mountain peak was obliterated. The cudgel swung down again, slamming into the mountain with all of its hundreds of thousands of jin of weight. Groaning and cracking could be heard as the tough body of the mountain began to break apart.
The Behemoth bared its teeth as it plunged its hands into the crack, and with a strong tug, it pulled apart the peak. The Behemoth then placed the sharp tip of the cudgel into the crack and began to dig down…
He recalled that the treasure was buried very deeply and had been surrounded by steely rock. Human strength would be extremely inefficient for digging in these circumstances.
Using the giant ape to dig might still take a few months, but that would be much faster than using human strength.
Time slowly passed, and all was quiet. There was no sound except digging and the panting of the Behemoth, and no spectators to this sight.
As Wang Chong controlled the King Ape to dig out one of the Divine Land Cauldrons, far away in the capital, a lean figure wearing a Daoist robe suddenly appeared at the western gate of the capital.
"I've finally arrived!" the man muttered, a joyful look in his eyes.
The vast capital was thronging with people and carriages, but the Daoist's sharp gaze flitted past all of them, piercing through the air and locking onto the resplendent and hallowed Imperial Palace, the center of power in the Great Tang.
"The true dragon has opened its eyes, and the stars have gathered. This is the only chance for the lineage of sorcerers to rise," the man muttered in the middle of the crowd.
This man was none other than the Kunlun sorcerer Third Son Xuan had seen through the dragon pearl!
The Kunlun sorcerer waved his horsetail whisk and vanished into the crowd as he made his way toward the Imperial City.
A few moments later, that man knocked on the gates and entered the Imperial Palace.
"You are Kunlun sorcerer Master Xuan Ming?"
Third Son Xuan was seated on the dragon throne, his body leaned forward as he looked in surprise at the Kunlun sorcerer. At his sides were his trusted eunuchs, servitors, and Zhao Changfu.
All of them were astonished by this sorcerer with this transcendent air.
"This lowly one is!"
Master Xuan Ming brought his hands together and bowed.
The hall was silent.
They had heard the Sage Emperor bring up the matter of seeing the sorcerer in the dragon pearl, but none of them had expected the man to be real and to mystically appear in the Imperial Palace.
"For what reason do you seek an audience with Us? And with what capabilities?" Third Son Xuan said after a few moments of silence.
This sorcerer had come very mysteriously and abruptly. Not even he dared to act recklessly until he had been properly investigated.
"Your Majesty! This lowly one has appeared here because he sensed the Dragon Qi of the world and calculated that Your Divine Majesty, the master of all peoples, faces an inexorable doom!"
Master Xuan Ming bowed and spoke in a tone that was neither meek nor proud.
"Doom? What doom?"
Third Son Xuan frowned.
"Far in Kunlun, this lowly one sensed that the destiny of the True Dragon, Son of Heaven, was in distress, showing signs of imprisonment. If this lowly one is correct, Your Majesty suffers from possession by an evil spirit!" Master Xuan Ming respectfully said.
The old eunuchs and Zhao Changfu were flabbergasted.
What nonsense was this Daoist saying? What possession? What doom?
His Majesty was the True Dragon, Son of Heaven, the master of the realm! An evil spirit attaching itself to the Son of Heaven? Absurd!
Zhao Changfu was himself an eloquent speaker, so how could he ever be taken in by this Daoist's words!?
"Do not speak nonsense before the Sage Emperor! Where did this unruly Daoist come from…" Zhao Changfu harshly said, preparing to drive the Daoist out. But at this moment, a voice thundered into his ear.
It was a roar that left Zhao Changfu's ears buzzing. His body trembled in shock and terror, and when he turned to the voice, he instantly grimaced.
The one who had spoken was none other than the man who had always trusted Zhao Changfu, Third Son Xuan.
His expression was grave, and his eyes were constantly shifting. It was impossible to tell what he was thinking.
"All of you, get out!"
Third Son Xuan waved his sleeve and spoke in a cold voice that brooked no objection.
Everyone was taken aback, even those old, white-haired eunuchs. However, the decrees of the sovereign were like mountains, and no one would dare to defy them.
"Yes! This lowly subject will withdraw!"
Not daring to say more, they swiftly withdrew.
Boom! The doors of Taiji Palace slammed shut, leaving only the Sage Emperor and the Kunlun sorcerer.
"You say that We are possessed? What form does this possession take?" Third Son Xuan leaned forward and coldly said, "If you speak nonsense, We… will have your body pulled apart by five horses and then your head cut off!"
The temperature plunged, and the hall instantly became brimming with danger.
But the sorcerer was fearless in front of Third Son Xuan, and his fingers twitched as he rapidly calculated.
"If this one's predictions are correct, your possession took place before the age of twenty, and it was accompanied by a severe cold. Alas, Your Majesty's Imperial Father and Imperial Mother did not notice. For the next thirty-some years, the evil spirit seized Your Majesty's body. Moreover, that evil spirit came from another world and possesses powerful mental strength and many tricks. It is far beyond Your Majesty's abilities to oppose, and everyone within and without the court was deceived."
Master Xuan Ming stood tall and sternly said, "It is only recently, when that evil spirit made a mistake, that Your Majesty was able to regain what you had lost. This is also why this lowly one, upon sensing Your Majesty's Dragon Qi, chose this moment to appear."
Master Xuan Ming's words had Third Son Xuan's eyes flying open in shock, great waves ranging in his mind.
Third Son Xuan's attitude toward Master Xuan Ming instantly changed, his eyes growing warmer.
This was the first time anyone had ever spoken about that incident from thirty-some years ago and had noticed the evil spirit possessing him!
Yes, he was the real Sage Emperor!
For so many years, the common people had been fooled by a fake, regarding that evil spirit from another world as him, calling him Sage Emperor and revering him!
He was no wise sovereign, no sovereign to be hailed for the ages. He was an evil spirit, a despicable and shameless man!
This mysterious Kunlun sorcerer had, for the first time, spoken what he had always wanted to say, seen that truth from several decades ago.
Third Son Xuan was overcome with excitement, even considering the sorcerer a bosom friend.
"Good! Good words!"
The Sage Emperor's voice grew louder.
"We ask you: how can you help Us?"
"This lowly one knows a variety of techniques: astrology, divination, alchemy, and medicine. This lowly one also knows the arts of immortality and restoring life!"
As Master Xuan Ming spoke, he waved his whisk and pointed one of his fingers at the coiling dragon pillar closest to Third Son Xuan.
As Third Son Xuan watched, that coiling dragon pillar which had stood for several hundred years bloomed with green, creaking and groaning as buds and branches began to burst out of its surface and spread across the hall.
The branches swiftly began to sprout flowers and leaves.
In the blink of an eye, the coiling dragon pillar was gone, replaced by a jade-green tree that was brimming with life, its many flowers filling the hall with their fragrance.
Third Son Xuan blinked in shock.
In the martial arts world, there were special arts that were imbued with vitality and could be used to grow plants, increase blood flow, boost cell division, and treat wounds. An example of this was Song Yuanyi's Eternal Spring Mantra.
But Master Xuan Ming's art was different. Third Son Xuan had not sensed any life energy within his Stellar Energy. His Stellar Energy was of a completely different nature, and it was better to say that he used 'magic' or 'sorcery'.
Moreover, the Eternal Spring Mantra could only stimulate life, and it was much less effective on unliving objects. From this perspective, Master Xuan Ming's abilities were stronger.
"Of course, these are only minor magics. What is most important is that this lowly one knows exorcism arts!"
As Master Xuan Ming spoke, he waved his horsetail whisk, upon which a faint puff of smoke issued from the whisk and shot toward Third Son Xuan.
Third Son Xuan frowned a little at first, instinctively wanting to stop this, but after some thought, he undid his barrier and allowed the smoke into his body.
This tiny wisp of smoke suddenly exploded with power upon contact with Third Son Xuan's body, transforming into mysterious symbols that surged into his body.
As if some shackles deep within his body had been broken, Third Son Xuan suddenly felt his body become much lighter. His control had increased, and he could more freely use his Stellar Energy.