Library of Heaven is Path
2049 City of Collapsed Space
"Altar?" Fu Chenzi's eyebrows shot up.
The reason Starchaser Palace was deeply feared by the other sects was due to its ability to communicate with the gods through its rituals.
Such rituals would require not just appropriate offerings but an altar to hold the offerings as well.
To think that the Hall of Gods would attempt to take this away from Starchaser Palace!
The altar is the very foundation of Starchaser Palace, so how could we give it away to others easily? Thus, our palace master tasked us with the responsibility of stalling for time while she finds a suitable place to hold a ritual in order to report this matter to the gods so that they can redress our grievances!" Chu Yin explained.
"I see..." Fu Chenzi nodded in realization.
Hiding on the beams in the ceiling, Zhang Xuan's eyes widened in comprehension as well.
He had been wondering why Starchaser Palace would have a disciple impersonate Du Qingyuan all along, and this turned out to be the real reason.
With the Hall of Gods keeping a close eye on Starchaser Palace, there was no way it would allow Du Qingyuan to hold a ritual to report the incident to the gods. Thus, the latter could only find a remote location to conduct the ritual. In order to buy time for her, they chose to have Chu Yin impersonate her in hopes that the Hall of Gods would not notice anything amiss.
It was just a pity that the Hall of Gods seemed to have seen through them right from the start.
"Elder Fu, it's likely that my teacher is still being pursued by the warriors of the Hall of Gods. I beseech you to save her!" Chu Yin kneeled down and implored.
"I will not hesitate to help her if I am able to," Fu Chenzi replied grimly. "However, you'll have to tell me where she has headed to and where she intends to hold the ritual. Or else, I'm afraid that there's nothing I can do."
Knowing the severity of the matter, Chu Yin looked at First Elder Zhao Yue, and the two of them fell into deep thought.
Their palace master's destination was confidential, and the latter had instructed them not to tell anyone prior to her departure.
"The Hall of Gods has already uncovered your goal, and most likely, they have already dispatched their men to apprehend Palace Master Du. She's likely in deep danger. I won't be able to help her until I know where she currently is," Fu Chenzi said grimly.
"I believe you should know better than anyone the importance of Palace Master Du and the altar to Starchaser Palace. If you lose both of them, there's a good chance that Starchaser Palace will fall to ruin. This is not something that the Ethereal Hall wishes to see."
Chu Yin and First Elder Zhao Yue clenched their fists tightly.
They knew that there was some truth in what Fu Chenzi had said.
Losing their altar would be as good as losing their greatest trump card. That would be equivalent to the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion losing its Gods' Sword Intent.
If something happened to their palace master at such a time, Starchaser Palace would definitely fall into turmoil. The aquatic creatures that it had offended over the years would make use of this opportunity to massacre everyone on Starchaser Island!
Thus, no matter what happened, they had to make sure to protect their palace master and the altar!
First Elder Zhao Yue hesitated for a moment longer before carefully speaking. "Elder Fu, it's not that we don't trust you, but revealing the whereabouts of our palace master can have severe consequences. We have to consider this matter carefully!"
Fu Chenzi looked at the two of them silently for a moment before slowly nodding. "Since this is the will of Starchaser Palace, I'll keep my hands out of this matter and return to the Ethereal Hall."
Following which, he turned around to leave the private chamber.
The abrupt departure of Fu Chenzi caused First Elder Zhao Yue to panic. She hurriedly exclaimed, "Please wait for a moment!"
If something really happened to their palace master, this old man before them was their greatest hope. If he left just like that, there was a good chance that their palace master might really lose her life in the hands of the Hall of Gods!
Fu Chenzi halted his footsteps and looked at the duo.
"Elder Fu, may I see your identity token?" First Elder Zhao Yue asked carefully.
"I understand your apprehension. That isn't a problem at all," Fu Chenzi replied as he whipped out a token.
Inscribed on the back of the token were the characters _通神（Ethereal)’. These characters carried a deep conceptualization behind them, such that even painters at Zhang Xuan's caliber would not be able to imitate the calligraphy.
"It's indeed the Elder Token of the Ethereal Hall!" First Elder Zhao Yue visibly heaved a sigh of relief.
"Thank you, Elder Fu!"
Chu Yin and First Elder Zhao Yue clasped their fists as they voiced their gratitude.
I should follow him to take a look...
With such a thought in mind, Zhang Xuan drifted out of the private chamber like a light gust of wind before quickly heading in the direction that Fu Chenzi disappeared.
His goal at Starchaser Palace was to find Du Qingyuan to uncover the truth behind Luo Ruoxin. Since the latter was likely in the City of Collapsed Space, there was a need for him to make his way over there as well.
Otherwise, if the latter was killed before he could even meet her, he would really lose the final clue linking him to Luo Ruoxin.
Fu Chenzi's traveling speed was formidable. By the time Zhang Xuan left Starchaser Palace, the other party had already completely vanished from sight.
Eye of Insight!
The next moment, the slight disturbances in the air that Fu Chenzi left behind as a result of his movements appeared clearly before Zhang Xuan's eyes.
Zhang Xuan hurriedly followed the trail.
It did not take him long before he was out of the perimeters of Starchaser Island. As he proceeded, several more trails appeared before his eyes. It seemed like there were a few others trailing Fu Chenzi as well.
These trails are from those five fellows from the Hall of Gods. Weren't they incapacitated by Fu Chenzi earlier? Zhang Xuan frowned.
Did they use some kind of secret art that allowed them to swiftly recover? In any case, the fact that they were following Fu Chenzi did not bode well.
I have to quicken my pace, Zhang Xuan thought anxiously.
Whether those five had been camping in wait to follow Fu Chenzi to where Du Qingyuan was or something else, one thing was for sure—Du Qingyuan's whereabouts had already been leaked to the Hall of Gods.
Knowing that his speed was severely lacking compared to those Semi-Divinity realm experts, Zhang Xuan quickly brought out Shark One and urged it to rush forward.
Half a day later...
After traveling for over a million li, the trail suddenly vanished.
Zhang Xuan instructed Shark One to come to a halt and return to the tamed beast sack before he began examining the surroundings.
He was in the midst of a barren desert. Yellow sand filled his entire sight, and it seemed as if there was no end to it.
The trail stops here... Could it be that the City of Collapsed Space lies within the yellow sand? Zhang Xuan wondered.
The fact that the trail stopped there likely meant that he was not too far from the City of Collapsed Space anymore. Thus, he tried to recall the details regarding the City of Collapsed Space from the books.
The City of Collapsed Space is an ancient domain that has existed ever since the time where the indigenous population ruled the entire Forsaken Continent. It's hidden amid a vast desert...
Zhang Xuan hurriedly sieved through all the information in his head.
The books in the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion, Myriad Beasts Hall, and Sevenstar Pavilion all had some records regarding that place.
It should be in the vicinity then...
Zhang Xuan surveyed the area around him, and all of a sudden, his eyebrows shot up. He began walking in a certain direction, and before long, he was standing before a sand dune.
To the naked eye, it would seem as if there was nothing peculiar about this place. However, if one perceived the surroundings carefully, one would feel a prehistoric aura hidden beneath the yellow sand. A world that had vanished from the eyes of the world was hidden under his feet.
Zhang Xuan slowly took a walk around the sand dune as he carefully examined it.
Then, he took a step forward toward it and stomped his feet down forcefully.
A powerful suction force appeared, causing him to instantaneously fall through space.
Zhang Xuan quickly steadied his figure before breaking his fall to float in the air. By the time he looked at his surroundings once more, he found that he was no longer in the desert anymore.
Right before his eyes was a massive, dilapidated city suffused with a breath of history. It was almost as if he had stepped into a brand-new world.
The area was completely barren. There were no plants thriving in the area, and beneath him was a murky swamp. It felt as if he would have been swallowed whole if he had fallen in earlier.
This is the City of Collapsed Space? Zhang Xuan's expression turned grave.
He had long heard that this place was fraught with dangers, and from the looks of it, that was indeed the case. What was surprising to him was that he had envisioned the City of Collapsed Space to be an actual place on the Forsaken Continent, but it turned out to be in a folded space in the desert instead.
He quickly took a sweeping gaze around him.
The path that he had entered through had already vanished without a trace. Even with his sensitivity toward space, he was unable to find any traces of it.
In other words, he was trapped in the City of Collapsed Space. He had to find a different exit if he wanted to get out of there.
I'll just have to deal with it when I get to that. For now, I should focus my efforts on finding Du Qingyuan, Zhang Xuan thought as he tossed aside all of his negative emotions.
Looking at the massive city before him, he slowly made his way in.
Before he could even reach the city, he suddenly felt a bone-chilling sensation behind him. The next instant, a surge of sword qi burst out of the marsh toward his chest.
At the same time, another burst of sword qi fell from the ceiling.
It was clear that these two were coordinating with one another to kill him in a single move.
An ambush? Zhang Xuan narrowed his eyes slightly.
He had been so focused on following Fu Chenzi that he did not expect that he would fall into an ambush here!