"How insolent! Putting on airs!? Luo Qianqiu, don't think we'd be afraid of you just because you've ascended! Fight us if you dare!l" Liu Shiyuan roared, his clothes fluttering in the absence of a gust.
Like swords being unsheathed, his True Yuan formed into countless colorful long swords that surrounded him.
Despite the intimidation, Luo Qianqiu did not react, still having his back facing him.
"Elder Liu, now's not a good time," Yan Wuchen voiced. He then commanded the Hongmeng cultivators, "Those below the Heaven rank, leave Sky Island now!"
His order evoked murmurs among the cultivators, as they could not fathom why he would dismiss those below the Heaven rank. Such a situation was rare.
However, due to the standing of the Great Four Elders, everyone could only leave Sky Island obediently.
Soon, only the Heaven-ranked elders remained.
Yan Wuchen broke the silence by saying, "Are you here to seek our help?"
Ning Zhengfeng smiled. "Elder Yan, it isn't as simple as that. Do you think Hongmeng can handle the Gods when we, the three major clans, had failed to do so? I'm not belittling the Heaven-ranked elders, but Brother Qianqiu and his father were in the Tai Qing Heavenly Lightning stage, and no one in Hongmeng is their match."
Yan Wuchen narrowed his eyes. "I admit that Patriarch Luo's cultivation is superior to ours, but we are protected by the ‘Twelve Divine Gods and Demons Array.' There's nothing they can do to us. If you hadn't attacked the Gods' territory, they wouldn't have fought you. After all, they never dared to enter our lands for the past 20,000 years."
"Elder Yan, just get to the point. Since you've dismissed the minions, drop the act." Ning Zhengfeng sniggered.
"Oh my, it sounds like you know a lot." Yan Xiuming covered his face with his fan and chuckled.
Many of the Heaven-ranked elders had grin expressions on their faces.
Ning Zhengfeng raised his head and said, "Because the Twelve Divine Gods and Demons Array was created by immortals, its power is undeniable. It couldn't have held the demonic beasts in there for years if it didn't. But can you, or should I say, do you understand how to activate the array!? According to what I know, Hongmeng's claim of supplying True Yuan to the array is a ruse... As its fuel, the array has been absorbing spiritual energy from the world on its own. True Yuan... there's no need for others to supply it."
"I don't think it's appropriate for you to make speculations on our affairs," Yan Wuchen said, unfazed.
Ning Zhengfeng mumbled. "Of course, we hope that you can control the array to defend against the Gods, but based on the current situation, you may struggle..."
The Four Great Elders remained silent, as did the other elder's words.
In fact, they were well aware that the Luos defeat demonstrated that the Gods' power had risen to unfathomable heights.
If all eleven Gods attacked them at once, they would be defenseless.
At that moment, Luo Qianqiu rose into the air, standing at the same height as the twelve elders.
"At this point, there's only one path to take. Do you still refuse to swallow your pride?"
The elders' expression seemed tense as if he had spoken of a taboo.
In the end, Master Yanyun was the first to speak.
"Amitabha. At the end of the day, you're looking for the two array guardians, not us."
The atmosphere turned solemn at the mention of the "array guardians".
Luo Qianqiu, Ning Zhengfeng, and the others seemed excited.
"It seems that the array guardians are related to Hongmeng. Well, that makes sense since you proclaimed yourselves to be the guardians of China. That makes you closer to them." Luo Qianqiu's lips quirked into a smile.
Ning Zhengfeng also ascended into the air. "I've only heard about it from my forefathers and never met them. All I know is that the two array guardians are the ones who keep the array safe. Their cultivation bases are extensive, and they will not expand unless China is on the verge of annihilation. The only information we have about the guardians is that they are from the mundane world's Yang and Li clans. That is why forces in the cultivation world are courteous to them. I've never dared to let the branch in the mundane world trouble the Yang and Li clans since I became patriarch of the Ning clan. Even though I don't fully believe in the existence of the guardians, I couldn't ignore my forefathers' warning. Now it appears that I made the correct decision. Fortunately, I've never directly harmed either clan and if the array guardians exist, they should be at least a thousand years old, given their clans' history..."
"The guardians have never revealed their faces, and we've never met them. As for the rumors, they are baseless. Moreover, we don't know how to contact them. If you're here to sick for their help, it's pointless. Go back," Yan Wuchen said coldly.
With a smug expression, Ning Zhengfeng replied, "Elder Yan, you're belittling my clan's network in the mundane world. Do you think we're clueless? Hongmeng established their connections with the mundane world through the general of the Yellow Flame Iron Brigade. Superior to Hongmeng and the general is every First Senior Official. That's because his backing is the array guardians, am I right?"
The expressions of the elders shifted. Astonishment flashed across their faces. They were clearly surprised that Ning Zhengfeng was aware of the secrets.
In truth, China underwent countless dynasties, and the most recent government had been founded for less than a century.
That meant that the array of guardians supported different people in different eras. Being royalty did not guarantee them the protection of the array guardians.
The array guardians were usually fond of capable, humble men.
For instance, if the current First Senior Official was ambitious, aimed for immortality, and was more smart enough to aid in China's development, they would not have sided with him.
"The array of guardians and the person they support would be superior to Hongmeng. If they didn't let you know who they were supporting, you couldn't have willingly handed China to the First Senior Official, instead of letting the general take charge. Therefore, the elders of Hongmeng should be aware of this. Through this, we can deduce that the array guardians are associated with Hongmeng."
Ning Zhengfeng continued, "It has been less than a century since the current government was formed. Since you all are a few hundred years old, I'm sure you won't forget about your interaction with the array guardians in the past years. That won't make sense."
"As expected as the wisest man in the illusionary dimension. Patriarch Ning, you sure are eloquent. We can't deny." Yan Xiuming chuckled and glanced at Yan Wuchen. "Elder Yan, they've come prepared, and I doubt they'll leave unless they hear from the array guardians."
The latter paid no heed to his words, remaining silent.
"You can just meet them as you please! Even if we know their existence, we don't know how to contact them. Since you're aware that they support the First Senior Official, why don't you find him?" Liu Shiyuan snapped.
"I know we won't be able to meet them." Ning Zhengfeng gave a faint smile. "The truth is that if the array guardians exist, they must have known what had happened. We're just checking in to confirm our guess and remind you. If the array guardians refuse to assist us, I doubt they will assist Hongmeng either. After all, the array does not rely on your protection, so we are on equal footing. Yang Chen, on the other hand, is a descendant of the array guardians. Will they allow him to do whatever he wants?"
As he spoke, he looked around his surroundings, as though he was talking to someone.