As Heaven appeared, that calm and vast seal above was set off and once more grew restless. This time, it was even more active than when Wang Chong's group had activated it.
Furious roars resounded through the air as giant dragons emerged and blotted out the sky. Not only that, the scales of the dragons were all erupting with white flames. And those sealing characters infused with the Great Dao unleashed even more power, instantly reaching a terrifying level.
The power of the seal soared as if it had sensed Heaven's presence. It wasn't long before the power of the seal had grown to several times what it was before.
Even a Supreme would be forced to stop out of fear!
The lightning and enormous dragons were reflected in Heaven's golden eyes, and his expression turned grim.
Heaven coldly grunted as he looked up, and then he swiftly disappeared.
"This time, everything will come to an end…"
The atmosphere in the passage had changed. It was brimming with natural energy, making one feel like they were outside in the wild.
And as they looked up, they could finally see a circle of light, the exit.
And when they saw what was beyond the passage, all three of them were stunned.
In front of them were row after row of grandiose and resplendent palaces, a majesty and splendor that could leave anyone moved.
The Celestial Palace!
They finally understood why Heaven's ritual tool had this name.
The enormous complex before them completely fulfilled whatever fantasies they might have had about the Celestial Palace.
These palaces were entirely made of jade, jewels, and the most valuable materials imaginable. Auspicious clouds lingered around the buildings, and every inch of this space glistened with starry light.
Even though they knew that all this was a lie, a scheme constructed by Heaven, the three of them still couldn't help but be stunned.
With a soft sigh, the three of them flew upward.
After some time, they finally reached the edge of the Celestial Palace.
At that moment, they felt a smooth and cool sensation at their feet. Li Xuantu looked at the pure white paving stones and sighed in praise.
"Like fresh snow, untouched by impurity. This is the highest class of white jade, without the slightest impurity. You would find it difficult to find this kind of material even in the palace.
"Let alone the palace, you couldn't find such material in all of the Central Plains!"
Nothing was perfect, both with gold and with men, and the same was true for precious stones. There would always be blemishes that made them seem less than pure.
There were different levels of blemishes, but in the Celestial Palace, everything was made of the highest class of jade, all of it incomparably pure.
These were incredibly valuable, and just one piece would be priceless anywhere else. But here, they were just ordinary paving stones.
And this was far from the only astonishing sight.
"Master, this place is huge. It seems even larger than it looked from the outside!" Little Nightmare said.
While the Celestial Palace had appeared large from the Western Mausoleum, it had a limit. But inside the Celestial Palace, it did not appear that this was a ritual tool, but an enormous and boundless world.
This was even beyond the concept of a city.
"The universe within a mustard seed. Heaven has used top-class spacetime energy to achieve this effect."
Wang Chong was rather calm.
Heaven was a Divine Martial realm expert, and his mastery of space was unsurpassed.
He had clearly used spatial energy to build the Celestial Palace, making it seem larger inside than it did outside.
Wang Chong examined the Celestial Palace. The resplendent palaces differed from human ones. Each one was several hundred feet tall, making it seem like they were humans who had stepped into a kingdom of giants.
Wang Chong also began to understand why this place was also sometimes called the Celestial Domain!
The Celestial Palace was Heaven's personal ritual tool, and Heaven had clearly poured a lot of effort into it.
Wang Chong sensed that Heaven, as an existence who had lived through numerous epochs, had probably used this place to shelter from all those apocalypses.
Master Guangcheng had said that Heaven would not let anyone pollute his Celestial Palace, not even the Supremes. But this palace complex was so vast that it could fit an entire world inside. Wang Chong was almost sure that in some past era, numerous people had come into this place and lived within it.
Heaven regarded himself as the Celestial Emperor, and many ancient texts had legends about the Celestial Domain. There might have been a certain epoch where Heaven really had set up a complete 'Celestial Court' here.
As these thoughts passed through his mind, Wang Chong took in a deep breath and focused.
The more gorgeous and majestic this place was, the greater the disgust and revulsion he felt.
In order to maintain the operation of this enormous ritual tool, Heaven had sacrificed the lives of countless innocent humans.
"Come on; we don't have much time. In three days, we need to find the Celestial Palace's core and destroy it. And everyone, be careful; there's probably many traps and seals within the Celestial Palace. We can't be careless!"
There was a sharp gleam in Wang Chong's eyes as he strode forward.
Li Xuantu nodded and focused his mind as he followed along with Little Nightmare.
The Celestial Palace was as beautiful as a painting. Though they advanced cautiously, knowing that the Celestial Palace had to be fraught with danger, they still couldn't help but be taken by the sights.
After they had traveled several kilometers, white mist began to seep out from the paving stones, and amidst all the pure white jade, it truly made the place seem like an immortal paradise.
Li Xuantu frowned and stopped, his eyes focused on a certain place in the mist.
Wang Chong turned to look at almost the same moment.
The atmosphere tensed.
No one dared to be careless at this moment.
A moment later, Wang Chong shot forward into the sea of mist.
Li Xuantu was shocked. He had not expected Wang Chong to just rush in.
But there was no time to think. After a moment of hesitation, Li Xuantu followed.
The rush of air scattered the surrounding mist, and when Li Xuantu saw what was hidden within, he was rendered speechless.
The Celestial Palace had many seals, and all sensory abilities were weakened. Li Xuantu had only been able to sense that there had been some unfamiliar figures in the mist.
It was not right to call them 'people', because while they wore cloth clothes and had lifelike expressions, their bodies were devoid of even the smallest hint of vitality. They had clearly been dead for some time.
These people sat on jade stools around a stone tray. Black and white stones crisscrossed the tray. Two of these people had been playing chess while a third had been a spectator. They seemed very focused, completely immersed in the match.
But their bodies were cold, and motionless like statues.
Strangely, even though they had been dead for some time, their bodies had not decayed. It was like they had been petrified.
"Master… these people are very strange." Little Nightmare's voice came from the Foundation Dimension as it inspected these figures.
Li Xuantu frowned as he solemnly said, "It truly is very strange. These are ordinary people, so how did they end up here?"
This was not the first ancient person they had seen on their way to the Celestial Palace, but these people weren't of the same sort as the others.
Li Xuantu had long ago comprehended the laws of the Grotto Heaven realm, and even though he was suppressed by the Celestial Palace, he could still tell that none of these three had been able to use martial arts.
There was a fundamental difference between ordinary people and martial artists. Putting aside matters of strength and toughness, the fact that martial artists used Stellar Energy meant that their meridians were much thicker. However, he could not sense any expanded meridians in these people. They were the same as any random person in the capital's marketplace.
Even if these people had known martial arts, they would have been of the extremely weak sort. They should not have even been able to enter the Heaven-Reaching Path, let alone reach the Celestial Palace at its end.
For these people to appear here was truly bizarre.
"It truly is weird, but it's not impossible. Their clothes seem to come from a period even older than the Wei-Jin period, perhaps the Han Dynasty. I recall the ancient texts mentioning something like this."
Wang Chong lowered his head, a pensive look on his face.
Li Xuantu was taken aback, and then he thought of something and opened his mouth to speak.
"Are you talking about the story of the chess match and the rotted axe?"
(TN: The story in question is actually set in the Jin Dynasty. One day, a man goes to chop wood in the mountains when he comes across a boy and an old man playing chess. Thus, the man places his axe down next to a river and goes to watch them play. After some time, the child tells the man that it was about time he went back. When the man goes to pick up his axe, he finds that the handle has rotted away and the blade is rusted and chipped. When he returns home, he finds that his hometown has completely changed, no one recognizes him, and when he talks about current events, the elders say that these were matters that happened hundreds of years ago. It turns out that the man had wandered into an immortal paradise, and a day in paradise was hundreds of years in the mortal realm.)
Li Xuantu was a deposed Crown Prince, but he was very different from Third Son Xuan. While Third Son Xuan was incompetent, Li Xuantu was an erudite scholar, and he had immediately understood what Wang Chong was talking about.
"It shouldn't be. That story was about a woodcutter accidentally wandering into the Celestial… Domain…"
Li Xuantu had wanted to deny it. After all, it was far too absurd. But barely after opening his mouth, Li Xuantu froze.
The Celestial Domain…
The Celestial Palace…
Weren't those stories all about this place right before their eyes?