“How do you know about the soul energy?” questioned Mu Yu, still doubtful.
“We only realised Third Heaven Palace’s scheme after Sword Shadow Dust Gale sent us into the cycle of reincarnation. While we were in the passageway, we saw them stealing the soul energy. Don’t ask me what the cycle of reincarnation is as I don’t know. You need to ask Sword Shadow Dust Gale about that. His power exceeds our boundary of comprehension, but we can’t comprehend why he opted to sacrifice his cultivation.”
Mu Yu was sure his shifu wasn’t aware of Third Heaven Palace’s plot. He was convinced once he pieced it all together. Still, he queried, “How do I know if you’re telling the truth or not? Ghost Gate also controls souls.”
Ju Man condescendingly answered, “Ghost Gate are amateurs at using souls. They don’t deserve to be compared to Third Heaven Palace. How do you think we managed to escape Celestial Prison? You think we could escape from Sword Shadow Dust Gale?”
Mu Yu’s brain stuttered. “You mean… Third Heaven Palace aided you?”
“Bingo. When you used the teleportation formation at Crouching Dragon Mountain, I noticed something amiss. See, teleportation formations’ locations are supposed to be in fixed location, so that didn’t make sense. You should be able to follow since you went to Second Heaven. Destroy one and the other one will teleport you to random locations. In contrast, you reached Mist City on both occasions you used the teleportation formation at Crouching Dragon Mountain. That can’t be random. In other words, Third Heaven Palace helped us sneak out,” Ju Mang elucidated, corner of his lips pulled up.
“How? You humans kill each other daily for your avaricious desires, but that’s not enough soul energy to sustain Third Heaven Palace’s needs. The only way they can obtain adequate soul energy is in war. As the primary hostile, who would you fight if we were trapped at Moyun Mountains?”
“The fiend race? Why not the fiend race?”
“Tsk, tsk, the fiend race? Riddle me this: despite all the flak you copped for letting the white ape fiend king abscond, what did Third Heaven Palace do? If humanity’s wellbeing mattered, they should’ve labelled you a traitor and executed you, yet they didn’t. Your accidental interference created a chance for them to wage a war and include the fiend race. They wouldn’t turn down more soul energy.”
Mu Yu’s mouth hung open.
“Ghost Gate and Life and Death Sect are banned from killing indiscriminately, yet how many have they killed in secret? If Third Heaven Palace cares about humanity, explain why they haven’t shut down the two sects? Nothing you say will convince me Third Heaven Palace lacks the power to eliminate them. Again, they turn a blind eye to it all as there’s soul energy to be collected.
“While I’m at it, let me share another piece of information. The greater one’s aptitude is, the more potent the soul energy they leave behind will be. Cultivators under forty years old possess particularly potent soul energy. The rest should be self-explanatory, haha.”
Mu Yu formed white-knuckled weapons with his hands. “Ultimate Immortals Ranking.”
Ultimate Immortals Ranking always was suspicious. As aforementioned, it made zero sense in the context of improving humanity’s chances at war or nurturing talent. Turned out it was but a hoax for encouraging cultivators to farm potent souls for Third Heaven Palace. Ju Mang was right: Third Heaven Palace’s brainwashing was resoundingly successful.
“Is Third Heaven Palace worth your effort protecting?”
Speaking through gritted teeth, Mu Yu demanded, “Resuscitate my dad.”
“I can’t. I can’t defuse a formation Sword Shadow Dust Gale set.”
“How do I defuse Nine Heavens Demon Sealing Formation, then?”
“You’ll need either Ku Mu, Sword Shadow Dust Gale, Evil Shadow Eternally Youthful or someone of their calibre in terms of formation. Your shifu was right to not teach you about formations, no?” Ju Mang’s cunning surfaced.
“Is there any alternative?” Mu Yu questioned, dejected. Feng Haochen was gone. Xie Bulao wouldn’t help. Ku Mu was out of commission.
A grin came to Ju Mang’s lips. “I don’t see a reason for you to fret. Third Heaven Palace would love for me to take over your body and trigger another war. If my guess is correct, they’ll find a way to help you undo the formation soon enough. They’re keeping you five alive in spite of Sword Shadow Dust Gale because you five are keys to another war.”
“I don’t want those scums’ help. I’m sure you have another method.”
“I do…” Ju Mang ran his gaze up and down Mu Yu. “But you won’t like it.”
“Murder. Once one’s bloodlust is strong enough, the five elements within their body will be imbalanced, thereby defusing the formation. If your bloodlust goes out of control, so will your mind. The mind is weakest when one is committing murder. In the same vain, I’ll be able to wake up and seize control of your body.”
“I won’t let you seize control of my body.”