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Ao Jiao lasted for only a moment before vomiting blood and getting hit into the air. Fortunately, the saber light, together with the Divine Lightning, weakened most of the Profound Martial Techniques’ might; they were no longer as powerful as they were earlier.
Ao Jiao, who was flying back, clenched her teeth and launched herself over again. Her figure flickered endlessly in the air, blocking all the remnant attacks with the saber.
When it became apparent that she could no longer hold on to the saber, she used her own body to receive the attacks. In mere moments, wounds riddled her body, a cruel sight to behold.
However, in the end, she managed to block the entire first wave of killing moves for Xiao Chen.
When the eight half-step Martial Emperors saw that, they cursed. Then, they started preparing a second wave of attacks. This time, they planned to kill both Ao Jiao and Xiao Chen at the same time.
However, a clump of light even more dazzling than the sun suddenly burned in the sky. It was so piercing that no one dared to look directly at it.
A golden plume feather tore through the air and quickly flew downwards.
It was Little Yellow Feather. At this crucial moment, it activated its two remaining Solar Plume Feathers.
The Solar Plume Feather had beaten this group of half-step Martial Emperors into a miserable state previously. Now that they saw it again, it alarmed them. How could they dare to face it a second time?
These half-step Martial Emperors immediately protected their entire bodies and quickly retreated.
Clearly, the same move was not very effective on these half-step Martial Emperors, who already experienced it before. It did not succeed in harming them.
The Solar Plume Feathers exploded on the ground, blasting a horrifying, dark hole there, looking very scary. A golden pillar of light spanning more than three hundred meters in diameter soared up from the sands.
“Slaughter this beast!”
The two masked half-step Martial Emperors from the Three Holy Lands charged over with a frenzied bloodthirst in their eyes when they saw Little Yellow Feather.
Little Yellow Feather proudly spread its wings in the air, showing no fear for the eight half-step Martial Emperors. As it flew, it chose to take the initiative to charge over.
Ao Jiao stood guard beside Xiao Chen. Her eyes turned wet. To her, Little Yellow Feather was just like a little child.
Unexpectedly, at this crucial moment, Little Yellow Feather shouldered such tremendous pressure, delaying eight half-step Martial Emperors alone.
Anguished cries rang out continuously. Little Yellow Feather’s feathers fell nonstop; it was simply not a match for the encirclement of eight half-step Martial Emperors.
The agonized screeches were like the cries of a baby to Ao Jiao, making her extremely sorrowful.
However, she could not leave. At this moment, Xiao Chen already reached the critical point in his breakthrough. She needed to conserve some strength to stand guard by him, in case someone tried to interrupt him.
The half-step Martial Emperors bullied Little Yellow Feather, causing its feathers to fall without pause. Blood stained its glistening golden feathers as they fell to the ground.
It looked like the blood was burning. The sight of the feathers falling to the ground was especially mournful.
“Damn it! The little beast’s flames are really painful.”
A human half-step Martial Emperor whose arm was burned by the flames cursed. Clearly, the Solar True Flame inflicted a lot of pain.
Ao Jiao could no longer resist. She rushed forward and took Little Yellow Feather into her embrace. At this point, Little Yellow Feather’s light had dimmed, and it had shrunk significantly.
Little Yellow Feather cried out hoarsely. No longer possessing any hint of the grace of a Holy Beast, it looked extremely miserable, just like a featherless sparrow.
After spending a lot of time, the eight half-step Martial Emperors finally dealt with the two hindrances.
The eight half-step Martial Emperors soared into the air and looked coldly at Xiao Chen, who sat on top of the stone stele and materialized the mysterious phenomenon of life and death, manifesting six rings of light behind him.
Expressionless, the eight half-step Martial Emperors pressed over step by step, locking down on Xiao Chen with their sinister killing intent.
These half-step Martial Emperors did not want to give Xiao Chen a chance, intending to kill him in one go at the final critical moment of his breakthrough.
However, just then, both sides of the mysterious phenomenon suddenly merged and withdrew into Xiao Chen’s body in an instant.
Scarlet, orange, red, green, azure, blue, and purple. The most crucial seventh ring of light appeared behind Xiao Chen all at once.
Xiao Chen opened his eyes and burst forth with a dazzling golden light. From the cross-legged seated position, he suddenly stood up. The bright light he radiated overwhelmed even the light of the morning sun.
Xiao Chen’s gaze startled the eight half-step Martial Emperors approaching in the air. The moment the bright light shone, they could not help taking a few steps back.
The current Xiao Chen actually gave off a pressure reserved for Martial Emperors.
The golden light in Xiao Chen’s eyes slowly faded. With a thought, the seven layers of light rings returned to his body at the same time.
In that instant, the clump of Mental Energy in Xiao Chen’s sea of consciousness that had taken on a humanoid shape seemed to come to life.
To become a Consummation quasi-Emperor, one needed to merge their soul, which was obtained by condensing one’s Mental Energy, with the Heavenly Seal to form an indistinct Heart of an Emperor.
Xiao Chen now understood why a Consummation quasi-Emperor had only a vague form of a Heart of an Emperor and not a true Heart of an Emperor.
It was because a Consummation quasi-Emperor had not experienced the Great Tribulation of wind and fire. The Mental Energy they possessed did not truly contain their soul; it was not an actual merger.
As for the Life and Death Art, it used the Flower of Life and the Death Fruit to allow a cultivator to undergo seven life-and-death experiences, each experience more dangerous than the one before. Each ring of light that was refined as a result was the soul.
When the soul and Mental Energy fused, it formed a Primordial Spirit—that small, life-like golden person in Xiao Chen’s sea of consciousness.
Now that all the conditions were right, the golden Primordial Spirit slowly sank towards the dantian.
In the process of the Primordial Spirit’s descent, Xiao Chen felt some green spots from his blood, skin, flesh—every single cell—being absorbed into the golden Primordial Spirit.
These green spots represented all sorts of primitive lifeforce. Even if one’s arm broke off, as long as these green spots were still present, it might not necessarily be difficult for one’s arm to regrow.
Xiao Chen now understood why Martial Emperors were very hard to kill.
The appearance of the Heart of an Emperor would transform the physical body once more. It contained every single cell of the body—like it was a backup copy.
A crisp sound came from Xiao Chen’s body, signifying the golden Primordial Spirit’s merger with the dragon-shaped Heavenly Seal.
In that instant, the various lights that Xiao Chen already withdrew into his body shone uncontrollably. A strong might swept across the desert.
The Heart of an Emperor had successfully condensed!
It was like Xiao Chen gained a new life. He instantly broke through the cultivation bottleneck that had trapped him for so long, silently advancing to Consummation quasi-Emperor.
Xiao Chen’s physical body also experienced a rebirth as well. His physical body, which had already reached peak Rank 4 Sage Body, advanced further.
His originally delicate face changed in temperament, now giving off a strong, explosive, and oppressive feel.
The state of Xiao Chen’s current physical body was unprecedented. It could not be called the Golden Emperor Body, for it lacked a certain maturity. Furthermore, he had not undergone a reconstruction of the body.
However, this physical body was much stronger than a regular Sage Body. Moreover, after condensing the Heart of an Emperor, his body’s recovery ability was in no way inferior to that of the Golden Emperor Body.
It would not be an exaggeration to call it the half-step Golden Body, a unique body that only Xiao Chen possessed.
“Heart of an Emperor!”
The eight half-step Martial Emperors all cried out when they saw the white-robed Xiao Chen stand up proudly, displaying a grace comparable with a Martial Emperor’s.
It was indeed the Heart of an Emperor. At their cultivation realm, they were no stranger to Martial Emperors. They even had dealings with Primes.
They were no stranger to the circle of Martial Emperors, either. When they saw Xiao Chen’s current state, they immediately made out the crucial detail.
One could condense a Heart of an Emperor only after they cleared the Great Tribulation of wind and fire, becoming a Martial Emperor. Yet, such a thing appeared in Xiao Chen.
The Demon mixed-blood cultivators around were all dumbstruck. Fifty thousand years ago, the Blood Sword Sovereign managed to condense a Heart of an Emperor in advance.
Many people thought that this was merely a legend and could not possibly have happened in reality.
However, today, the white-robed youth on the tall stone stele stood as silent proof that this was not just legend but fact.
Just the aura of one person suppressed everyone present.
There was no time to explore the mysteries of the Heart of an Emperor. Xiao Chen swept his gaze around and stared at the eight half-step Martial Emperors in front of him.
Then, Xiao Chen looked at the unconscious Ao Jiao, who was riddled in wounds and still cradling Little Yellow Feather.
These people were all injured because of Xiao Chen. Even now, Dugu Ao might not survive. Xiao Chen could not forget the sight of Dugu Ao blocking twelve half-step Martial Emperors.
For the sake of protecting Xiao Chen from interruption, they ended up gravely wounded.
Xiao Chen only wanted to walk on his Dao. However, these people persistently pressured him, repeatedly chasing him down to kill him, crossing his bottom line.
“Xiao Chen, it was indeed difficult for you to reach this step. You may go. We will not continue to make things difficult for you.” A Deity Race half-step Martial Emperor started seeking peace after experiencing Xiao Chen’s intense pressure.
Xiao Chen had already refined the Flower of Life. There was no more point in continuing to fight a huge battle with him.
The most important detail was that Xiao Chen had condensed a Heart of an Emperor and advanced to Consummation quasi-Emperor. His greatly improved strength shook these half-step Martial Emperors’ confidence of victory.
“That’s right. You can go. We will not make things difficult for you.”
The eight half-step Martial Emperors were all experienced elites. They quickly understood the justification for this, so they spoke up to let Xiao Chen leave and not make things difficult for him.
The half-step Martial Emperors’ purpose was to stop Xiao Chen from obtaining the Flower of Life, to prevent him from advancing to Consummation quasi-Emperor. It was not to kill him.
However, now, Xiao Chen had not only successfully refined the Flower of Life but also advanced to Consummation quasi-Emperor. Furthermore, he also unexpectedly condensed the Heart of an Emperor.
These half-step Martial Emperors had already failed in their mission. There was no meaning to continuing, so they might as well let Xiao Chen go.
Xiao Chen heard the babble of these people and could not help laughing loudly. This group of people truly and perfectly embodied the word “shameless.”
Seeing Xiao Chen laughing loudly instead of replying, the eight half-step Martial Emperors shouted, “What are you laughing at?!”
Xiao Chen withdrew his smile and replied coldly, “Why can’t I laugh? Is there anything funnier than this? You beat my friend up to the point where we do not know if he will survive or not, humiliated us several times, and obstructed my acquisition of the Flower of Life for no reason or enmity.
“All this forced me to undergo seven life-and-death experiences in ten days. Then, when I succeed in my breakthrough, you arrogantly say you will let me go and not make things difficult for me. To think such shameless people like you all exist!”
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