All of a sudden, Tianming heard a thunderous war cry. He felt a little dazzled, and didn't know how long he had been floating through the darkness. He seemed to have arrived at some sort of corridor that had no end. Then, the cry grew louder and louder. He opened his tired eyes and saw a blurry scene around the walls beside him; it depicted a shocking battle. Countless faces of people and beasts streaked past him, and there were gigantic, ugly, hairy humanoid creatures with green faces and tusks. Their countless ear-piercing cries were shaking the entire scene.
"Great Emperor Xuanyuan! Great Emperor Xuanyuan!" countless people passionately cried with a look of worship on their faces. Tianming tried looking closer, but the scene was far too blurry. Even so, he could roughly guess that this had happened more than two hundred thousand years ago during the war between humans and demons.
Tianming's body was floating around out of his control. The scenes before him changed rapidly, but the common things he managed to make out were war, pain, and death. At the end, the enslaved humans broke free of their chains and were no longer livestock. They stood up for real under Great Emperor Xuanyuan's banner and became the unquestionable rulers of the continent.
"This must've been an amazing part of our history. As a human, we should all live with pride."
In this odd star, Tianming saw many scenes that were related to Great Emperor Xuanyuan, so it definitely had something to do with him. He also saw the humans of the primordial age fighting in countless wars, until all of a sudden, light appeared ahead of him.
He rushed toward the light and slowly began regaining consciousness. At the very last moment, a golden word appeared in front of him: 'one'.
One. What did it represent? He couldn't figure it out no matter how hard he thought about it. His body felt light without any warning when he regained proper consciousness. He quickly surveyed his surroundings and noticed that he was now back in the starry domain, but not near the black hole star he had entered. Instead, this was familiar ground—he was near the fiery star he had first set foot on.
"I think I somehow emerged from a pathway of sorts." He turned back as he wondered if there were other similar pathways. "How large is this space, anyway?"
He believed he’d teleported. If he wasn't mistaken, the time it would take to travel from where he was to the black hole star was at least two days. How did he emerge so far away from the odd star he had entered? As far as he was aware, there wasn't anything that could enable teleportation except for Feiling's Millennium Fortress. He remained where he was, lost in deep thought.
"Whatever. All that matters is that I'm safe now." Not only that, he had lots of treasure to show for it, too. "I wonder what that 'one' meant? Does it mean the first time? Or the first thing? If it's the former, does that mean I should go back to the black hole star a second time? If it's the latter, there might be similar stars that'll teleport me to other places."
Tianming had nothing but wild guesses, but he wasn't planning to act rashly. "Either way, doing something like that was too reckless. I'm still not powerful enough to survive as I am now. Now that I've been transferred here, I doubt they'll know where I am. It'd be best to stay around this area instead."
He returned to the flaming star, this time sinking down into the magma much more carefully and stealthily. "There’s still around a hundred cultivators from Nonahall here, but they shouldn't be too powerful. I hope they don't disturb me, or else...."
His eyes glowed coldly. Here, he didn't have the benefit of Astral Will, so he could only cultivate using the Grand-Orient Sword and Prime Tower. He wouldn't be able to grow nearly as quickly as he had before.
He wanted to train without being disturbed, though it wasn't easy because the tribulation elders of Nonahall still appeared around the nearby area. Fortunately, they thought they were absolutely safe, so they were more spread out in groups of three. The moment anyone noticed Tianming, he would lash out. Right now, everyone in Kilostar Domain thought he was easy pickings, but they were killed without exception, as Yin Po had been.
Then, Tianming noticed something odd: the eyes he had inherited from the Primordial God-Emperor could see some really unique things. It was something he had only come to discover lately. Nowadays, he saw some form of aura coming from people, a mixture of grievance and death.
For instance, Yin Po appeared to have quite a dense aura. After Tianming had killed her, he felt the force of good karma flooding into him. Just recently, he also ran into an old cultivator from Nonahall who didn't have eyes; he had probably been blind for a long time. He claimed he wanted to dig Tianming's eyes out, only to be killed himself. After that, Tianming felt the good karma nourishing the growth of his Imperial Will again. It felt just as good as Omnisentient Will.
"I wonder how many eyes this old man took.... He must be some kind of weirdo."
Tianming felt a little chill in his bones. There were all sorts of people in this world who would use all kinds of methods to strengthen themselves. In this world where the strong dominated the weak, maintaining peace didn't seem to be possible. There would always be those who commit atrocities on those weaker than them.
"The legacy of the Primordial God-Emperor allows me to see and absorb Omnisentient Will, as well as observe the weight of sin on others! The more astray one's path is, the heavier the foul stench they exude. Normal people aren't able to see that foul aura, but I can. It’ll be easy for me to tell what people are sick in the head."
That made it really convenient for him. "Heaven's design is perfect and flawless. No matter what, there will always be consequences. Sinners won't be able to escape heavenly judgment forever. Perhaps the sovereign's role is to rule. He shall climb to prominence atop a mountain made from the corpses of sinners. Now that I'm on the path to sovereignhood, I am no longer a saint, but I’m definitely not an evildoer, either. Sovereigns have standards, principles. Without principles, their reign will be rocky and short. Eventually, they’ll be deposed by someone 'righteous', who’ll then take their place as sovereign."
Tianming had killed many people himself, so he would never consider himself to be a wholly good person. His path was a bloody and uncertain one. He couldn't be the judge of his own actions, but if he did anything wrong, all sentient life would become his judge! Imperial Will was to be used to benefit all sentient life. Only by doing good deeds would he be able to bring prosperity to all life.
"Since the Primordial God-Emperor made it so that I can see their sins directly, I can judge them without any proof. Since I was given this ability, it’s my responsibility to get rid of those pests for the benefit of the greater good. I’ll fight when I have to!" He turned his gaze to the whole fiery star. "Let's see which among you are followers of the righteous heavenly path and which are sick crooks."
If they were right and just, he wouldn't kill them unless they tried their best to kill him. He would never take the initiative to engage them. But if they were sinners with a thick aura of foulness, like the child-eating Yin Po, Tianming would judge them in place of those who couldn't. He could see through everything with the eyes of the Primordial God-Emperor.
It went without saying that people like Yin Po made up quite a large number of Nonahall cultivators. In a way, they had been shaped by the spirit of their divine realm. Tianming picked them out one after another, stealthily reducing their number on the flaming star, but they didn't really seem to notice due to their relaxed attitude.
Five days later, Tianming had dealt with his seventeenth enemy, a sixth-level death samsaran. He was a really handsome and polite-seeming fellow, but Tianming saw that he had the strongest foul aura of them all so far, even stronger than Yin Po’s. One could only imagine the atrocities he had committed. After Tianming killed him, he felt another rush of good karma nourishing his Imperial Will once more. At the same time, his death tribulation force siphoned away his enemy's life tribulation force, causing life samsara rings to form once again.
"I'm at the fourth-level life phase now!" Tianming once more aged in reverse until he looked youthful again. The lifesteal ability of his death tribulation force came from his Aeonic Grandbane, so it wasn't something under his control. However, nobody would care about a dead man's life tribulation force. Now, all he wanted to do was to fight and kill another crook. In fact, he decided he would take the initiative to fight.
"If there were more than ten people like Yin Po on this fiery star alone, I wonder how many there are in total across the thousands of stars? Is everyone in Nonahall insane?"
In Archaion, there were few people that truly made Tianming feel that bad. The same should also be the case in other divine realms.
"I guess I should hurry up and check out the other stars." Even after killing more than ten enemies, it still seemed as peaceful as before. Tianming secretly left for another star, this time a frozen one.
"Is it time to cook? My slasher of the north is ready!" Ying Huo excitedly said.
"It's not cooking. We're the harbingers of heavenly justice, got it? We get rid of the sinners for the world," Tianming said seriously.
"Stop exaggerating things. Even a harbinger of justice like you will still have to go to hell after killing all the sinners."
Even though Ying Huo didn't mean it, Tianming suddenly turned to look at his hands. After dipping them in blood so often, would he one day stray from his righteous path too?
"Having cold feet?" Ying Huo teased.
"No." He grit his teeth tighter. "It's true that I'm also killing to grow stronger. However, my dad said that as long as our minds are in the right place, we won't do anything we regret! Sinners should die, no questions asked. So what if I’m punished for killing them? At the very least, they won't be able to leave the Kilostar Domain alive to continue wreaking havoc on the world."
"That's just sophistry," Ying Huo said, rolling its eyes.