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Chapter 713: Village of Rest

 Chapter 713: Village of Rest

Translator: YHHH Editor: X, YHHH

Master Shao strolled down the street with his hands behind his back. A middle-aged man in white garb walked half a step behind, following his movements.

The buildings around the area were newly built.

With all the signs of construction lying in plain sight, it was not quite yet a city. It looked more like a huge construction site.

The entire area was well lit and bustling with activity despite it being deep into the night. Surrounding the city were mountains with peaks that pierced into the night sky. Master Shao noted that they had to be in the middle of some hidden valley. He looked around, trying to identify the mountain range that surrounded this city. Despite his best efforts, he was unable to find a match in his memory.

Master Shao asked, "What is the name of this place?"

The man following him promptly replied, "The Village of Rest."

The Village of Rest?

His interest piqued, Master Shao asked, "Is there a story behind its name?"

The man explained, "Our master commented that souls who come to this blessed land to rest would surely find eternal peace."

Master Shao chuckled. "That's nice."

Looking up, Master Shao saw that there was a thin layer, much like a water screen, blurring the night sky as well as the stars embedded within. His sharp vision allowed him to immediately notice that this was no ordinary barrier.

"What's that up in the sky?"

"That's an ancient seal," the man said with a tinge pride. "This is the only ancient seal we've found that can still be operated. Once activated, it creates a barrier that completely separates things within it from those outside. Not even a grandmaster can find us here."

"So none of you can leave?"

"Nobody can leave this place," the man as he smiled. "It's probably for the best since there might be spies mixed in with the rest of us. It's safer to keep everyone in."

Master Shao's heart sank. He pretended to casually mention, "Finding an ancient blessed land and an ancient seal requires quite a bit of luck."

The man passionately responded, "Fortune clearly favors the Assembly."

He snickered and asked, "How else do you think Chi Tong landed in our hands? Don't you agree, Master Shao?"

Master Shao replied with composure, "The Assembly has yet to gain access to this key."

"It's only a matter of time before we do." The man continued with confidence, "With regards to forging [Heart of God], Master Shao is peerless. On matters regarding Chi Tong, however, nobody has acquired more knowledge than the Assembly of Patriarchs or the Beast Venom Temple."

"To each his own," agreed Master Shao as he nodded. "Although, using the Demon-subduing Well to neutralize the Banner of God might prove an uphill task."

The man exclaimed in admiration, "Master Shao is sharp indeed."

Master Shao was taken aback, "Oh, does the Assembly have other alternatives? There's no need to reveal more if it's top secret."

The man smiled. "You're one of us, Master Shao, so there's no harm in telling you more. Besides, not even a grandmaster can escape from this place."

He paused for a moment, pleased to see Master Shao's curiosity. The man continued, "The Banner of God is truly formidable, but can physical protection shield the soul?"

"Soul?" Master Shao was stunned. "You guys are going for the soul?"

The man laughed in reply.

Master Shao's brows were deeply furrowed as misgivings flooded his mind. "Beginning with the soul! How though?"

The man posed a familiar question, "Master Shao, what's the name of this place again?"

"Village of Rest, where souls would find eternal peace. Didn't you just..."

Master Shao's eyes widened in shock.

The man grinned like the Cheshire cat.

At this point, the two of them had reached the end of the street. A huge, lumbering tree stood in front of Master Shao, completely blocking his line of sight. Light rays filtered through its dense canopy, creating a tranquil scenery.

Master Shao muttered subconsciously, "This is..."

The man looked at it and answered, "The Tree of Rest."

Tree of Rest?

Master Shao wondered if this tree was somehow inextricably linked to this place.

Right then, the previously enthusiastic man flatly said, "The area beyond this tree is forbidden to all but members of the Assembly of Patriarchs. You'll be free to roam the area after you've joined the Assembly, but only if Master Shao is interested in doing so, of course."

Master Shao regained his composure and responded, "Let's go back then."

Master Shao felt as though the core member of the Assembly of Patriarchs beside him had relaxed greatly when he asked to turn back. It seemed as though the Tree of Rest had an important role in breaking Chi Tong.

The Assembly of Patriarchs' latest advancement?

What made him think twice was the feeling of familiarity that the tree gave him.

As though... he had seen it before?

##############

This was a strange room.

The walls, floor, and ceiling were the same drab gray. The room was completely bare, save for the door.

Inside the room, Hong Rongyan carefully read the letter in his hands.

"We found some leads while investigating Master Shao's defection from the Beast Venom Venom..."

A moment after, the letter disintegrated into ashes.

He looked up at the ceiling and whispered to himself, "I see."

After pausing for a while to think, Hong Rongyan came back to his senses. He gave his cheek a light smack and transformed into a cold and aloof lady.

He opened the door and was immediately greeted with a loud burst of noise.

Walking out of the room, he found himself standing in front of a large plaza that was bustling with activity. The door behind him vanished in an instant.

Hong Rongyan frowned slightly. Since it had been built, the Grass Hall had never been this crowded before.

Amid the large number of people, two people who were chatting caught his attention.

"Any clues?"

"Nope, you?"

"None either. Is the Assembly of Patriarchs an assembly of rats? Just which hole have they disappeared into! My precious reward, oh!"

"Do you think they would have been capable of standing against Skyheart City if they were so easily found and taken down?"

"Let's search somewhere else. I don't think there's anything here in the Grass Hall. This place was constructed by the Assembly of Patriarchs-surely they wouldn't leave any clues behind?"

"That's not necessarily true. Look around, more and more people are piling in."

"That's true, but it's also because information spreads really easily."

"There're so many people around, yet the Assembly has done nothing. Furthermore, admission into the Grass Hall is open to all. If it were you, wouldn't you have sealed off the place long ago?"

"Maybe they don't care."

"There's another possibility."

"What's that?"

"The Assembly of Patriarchs has no way of sealing off the Grass Hall and preventing others from entering. Their control over the Grass Hall may not be as strong as we think."

"When you put it that way, perhaps..."

As Hong Rongyan turned to leave the Grass Hall, the discussion faded into the distance.

##############

Gentle beams of light hung from the large tree like countless jellyfish tentacles.

A number of people were meditating beneath the tree. A single, unbroken wisp of light threaded through the center of their brows, linking them together.

The member watching over the main hall hurriedly bowed to Hong Rongyan as he walked in.

Hong Rongyan quietly nodded in acknowledgment, "Is Chi Tong here yet?"

"Not yet."

"Continue to keep watch."

"Yes!"

As he was about to leave, Hong Rongyan suddenly asked, "Can the Grass Hall be closed?"

"Ah, close off the Grass Hall? Sir, the Grass Hall cannot be closed."

Hong Rongyan nodded. "Oh yes, I've forgotten about that."

Someone raced in right at that instant. He excitedly announced, "Sir, something is happening with the well!"

##############

A pulsating blood-red glow was spilling out of the well, illuminating the words "subdue demons."

The five elemental energy stupas whirred loudly as they operated at full capacity. Large amounts of each type of elemental energy were resonating with each other. Weaker individuals who stepped near the formation would lose control of the energy in their bodies, sustaining cultivation-related internal injuries or dying.

Hong Rongyan and Autumn Water were the only two people standing beside the well. The others stood a good distance away to observe. In contrast with the throngs of eager individuals around him, Master Shao's expression was solemn and unsmiling.

The Banner of God was finally showing signs of being worn down after so many days.

Hong Rongyan and the others were using a simple, yet effective, method. They had bombarded the Banner of God with a large, constant stream of elemental energy.

Countless amounts of precious materials were used in the process. These were the Assembly of Patriarch's precious resources that had been passed down from generation to generation, yet they were nothing more than fuel for the elemental energy stupas at this point in time.

The members were sad to give up their supply just like that, but they knew there was no other choice. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for the Assembly of Patriarchs. If Hong Rongyan's plan was successful, the Assembly would become the masters of this world.

Nobody could resist such a temptation. They were like a group of high rollers tossing chips onto the table and anxiously waiting for the dice to fall.

A small crack had opened in the dice cup, and they could see a strong possibility of winning.

The Banner of God was peeling away.

The bloody glow that oozed out of the well was brilliant and limpid.

The corners of Hong Rongyan's lips curved into what seemed like the beginning of a smile. Betting all of the Assembly of Patriarch's resources on this had given him a lot of pressure.

Finally seeing results, he heaved a sigh of relief.

The Banner of God's core, the blood eye, had been revealed. A part of it had been eroded already, signifying that it was only a matter of time before it would be destroyed.

The mud puppet sat on Hong Rongyan's shoulder and mumbled, "What a pain! This stupid tattered piece of cloth! How much longer is this going to take."

Hong Rongyan was back to his usual self. A sliver of worry still sat between his brows, but his tone was significantly more relaxed. "Things are already moving as smoothly possible. Ai Hui might be strong, but he's still not as powerful as Chi Tong. This would be impossible if we were up against the banner from before Chi Tong severed his karmic ties. Even a few grandmasters working together would not be able to scratch its surface."

The mud puppet jumped in shock and asked, "Seriously? That powerful?"

"How can mere mortals hope to appraise the power of a demonic god's artifact?" Hong Rongyan scoffed coldly. "Thankfully, even demonic gods are subject to the whims of this world. We would not otherwise have such an opportunity to get a share of the action."

The mud puppet clapped. "So have we caught up to the last good era?"

Hong Rongyan seemed to be lost in a daze. He muttered to himself, "Good or bad?"

"Who knows!"

Stepping away from the well, Hong Rongyan noticed Master Shao's pained look. He walked over and asked softly, "Master Shao, why do you look so worried?"

Master Shao looked up and asked, "May I take a closer look?"

Hong Rongyan shook his head. "I'm sorry, but this concerns the Assembly's secrets."

Master Shao stared right into Hong Rongyan's eyes and said solemnly, "How can I become a part of this scheme?"

Hong Rongyan laughed. "Master Shao's [Heart of God] is unparalleled. Others have tried to copy it, but are only capable of forging laughable rejects. I would like to exchange one drop of Chi Tong's God's Blood and full participation for the [Heart of God] recipe. What do you think, Master Shao?"

Master Shao smiled. "What would a scraggly old man like me do with God's Blood?"

Hong Rongyan replied, "You still have a granddaughter."

Master Shao was momentarily stunned but soon regained his composure. "You've found her?"

Hong Rongyan said, "We have leads."

Master Shao anxiously pressed, "What leads?"

Hong Rongyan squinted at Master Shao, "Whoever possesses the first generation Heart of God is your granddaughter."

Master Shao's body stiffened. "This is the lead you've found?"

Hong Rongyan opened his eyes and laughed. "Yes, fresh from the oven."

Hong Rongyan turned and walked off without looking back at Master Shao again.

"Do think about it."

Master Shao was frozen in place.

The mud puppet on Hong Rongyan's shoulder looked lost. "First generation Heart of God? Master Shao's granddaughter? Where's the link? How did you find out?"

"I guessed."

"Guessed?" The mud puppet's jaw dropped.

"Yup."

The mud puppet prodded, "How did you guess?"

"I just randomly guessed."

"..."

The mud puppet was riled up. "Sir, will Master Shao agree?"

Hong Rongyan replied, "You'll have to ask him that yourself."

The mud puppet flailed its hand about. "Master Shao will definitely agree! This is his granddaughter we're talking about! Sir, will you become unrivaled with the Heart of God? Hahaha, unrivaled, peerless, without equal!

"Unrivaled? Ah..." Hong Rongyan gazed into the distance.

The night was dark and seemingly never-ending. He wondered when they would see the light.