At the source of Surging River was an incomparably ancient peach tree.
This peach tree was strange. Even though it was incomparably ancient, it was still alive. It was as if time couldn't leave any traces on its body.
What was even stranger was that when one looked at it, it would exist and stand there.
When you don't look at it, it disappears as if it doesn't exist.
It was in between existence and non-existence at the same time. The only way to determine whether it existed was by observing it.
It was Celestial Venerable Ling's hairpin.
Celestial Venerable Ling's peachwood hairpin was planted here. It had already been forty thousand years since it had taken root and sprouted. Winter had passed, and spring had come. The peach tree had revived, growing leaves and peach blossoms. When summer came, peaches would be hung, and when summer came, the peaches would be ripe, giving off a fragrance.
A woman in green would come to the bottom of the tree and pluck a peach to taste.
In the past, Founding Emperor had cleared Surging River Dao here and went to pluck a few peaches to quench his thirst. He had stopped here a few times as though he was looking for someone. However, it was impossible for outsiders to know if he had found them or not.
Celestial Venerable Ling was like her hairpin, existing between non-existence.
Her situation with the hairpin was even more complicated.
At the same time, she was in the unchanging substance that was transformed by the unchanging divine art into the surface of the celestial river. At the same time, she was in reality.
In the unchanging substance, she was in a state of life and death, waiting for forty thousand years before Qin Mu would come to contact the unchanging divine art and save her.
After saving her, she would return to forty thousand years ago when the High Emperor Era had ended and Founding Emperor Era had yet to begin. She would then experience the battle of Dao.
At that time, she would send Qin Mu, Founding Emperor, Celestial Venerable Xiao, Celestial Venerable Hao, and Goddess Tai Su to 40,000 years later. After that, she would experience 40,000 years alone and wait for the future.
At the same time, she also existed in unchanging substance, thus forming two strange phenomena.
At this moment, she was still alive in the outside world, but the prerequisite for her to be alive was that someone had to observe her. If they couldn't observe her, she would be in the unknown whether she was alive or dead.
Only when Qin Mu came to solve the unchanging divine art would she be able to get rid of this marvelous state.
All these years, Celestial Venerable Ling had been researching the two sets of Dry Kun Mirror that Qin Mu had given her, studying the Dao markings of Miluo Palace.
She was a quiet woman who could calm down and do research, ignoring the changes in the outside world.
However, she would still come out occasionally, but the range of her movements wasn't wide. She only moved around the source of Surging River.
Even though the distance was short, the time she had passed through was very long.
She had executed unchanging divine art more than once at the source of the Surging River and traveled back to the past. She saw Founding Emperor Qin Ye when he was young, turning into a fog and bringing the young Founding Emperor back to the first year of Dragon Han.
Founding Emperor met Qin Mu and Niu Sanduo there, and he also became Celestial Venerable Qin there. After that, Founding Emperor had a few miraculous experiences of returning to the past, but Founding Emperor didn't mention it to anyone. Even when his best friend, Woodcutter Wen Tiange, asked about these experiences, Founding Emperor didn't say what he had experienced.
Celestial Venerable Ling stayed at the source of the Surging River, and she was still waiting for someone. The arrival of this person would undo the state of her life or death, the state of her observation.
This person had handed her the primordial runes and the Dao markings of the Miluo Palace, waiting for her to go forth and settle everything in one fell swoop. He needed her help.
She waited, and the substances in the surroundings were constantly changing. She sat and watched the rise and fall of the Founding Emperor Era, the rise and fall of the dynasty, the joys and sorrows of the human world, and the changing of the king's flag on the top of the city of gods and devils.
The Primordial Realm that was flourishing back then had transformed into Great Ruins.
She never saw Qin Mu. When she waited bitterly, she went to find traces of Qin Mu in history and came to High Emperor Era. She had waited for close to forty thousand years, but Qin Mu never came. She thought that Qin Mu might be even older than Founding Emperor. He might be someone from High Emperor Era, or he might be tens of thousands of years old during the Great Overarching Heaven.
On this day, when she was searching, she suddenly felt her peachwood hairpin disappear. Someone had used her hairpin.
She went forward to take a look and realized that it was Wei Suifeng, the disciple of the heavenly master called Wen Tiange.
She didn't ask further.
Another day, she felt someone calling her with a hairpin. She looked at that person across the historical sky and couldn't help but feel excited.
That was Celestial Venerable Mu!
He used the hairpin and executed the unchanging divine art, trying to find himself!
"Celestial Venerable Mu? Is that you? Celestial Venerable Mu!"
She called out in delight, "So you aren't in High Emperor Era. Wait for me to find you—"
She had many things she wanted to say, but Qin Mu's magic power was already exhausted and he had vanished.
She waited for many years.
That year, she saw a dragon lady in white walking past the source of the Surging River, avoiding the pursuit of the celestial heavens. The pursuers of the celestial heavens called her High Emperor Sword God Bai Qu'er.
She saw the shadow of Celestial Venerable Mu's sword skills from High Emperor Sword God Bai Qu'er's sword skills.
Her curiosity was aroused, and she traced back Bai Qu'er's history, returning back to the desert heavens forty thousand years ago.
It was a desert, and the history of High Emperor Era was buried by sandstorms.
Back then, she had executed the unchanging divine art here and sent her Great Overarching Consciousness Heaven forty thousand years later. This heaven was originally destroyed by the battle of the Celestial Venerables, but it was restored by her unchanging divine art and returned to normal.
Her unchanging divine art left a deep mark here. Every time the sun and moon alternated, the unchanging divine art would bring the time and space here back to ancient times.
She saw the young Qin Mu here. He was riding on a chest which was pattering in the desert to avoid being chased by enemies.
She was very excited, but she didn't show herself. At this moment, Qin Mu couldn't see her.
She saw Qin Mu waking up the gods and devils of High Emperor Era that had died in the desert and asking them for directions. He even buried these soldiers that had died in battle.
She watched as Qin Mu walked into the darkness and into the final song of High Emperor Era, Hundred Prosperities City.
Over there, Qin Mu met Bai Qu'er, a lively and adorable young lady from the White Dragon Tribe.
"Mu, you are finally close."
Celestial Venerable Ling revealed a smile and returned to the source of the Surging River. She continued to observe this girl who had fought alongside Qin Mu for a night. At this moment, darkness descended, and the stars in the sky were blocked by huge shadows.
The Surging River was deep, and dense Youdu devil qi rose up. A woman held a bamboo basket and fought her way out of Youdu with all her might. She brought the basket and tried her best to rush out.
She fought a bloody battle and tried her best to protect the basket. The cries of a baby came from the basket, and it was heartbreaking.
It was as if the baby in the basket had also sensed his miserable fate and cried for his future.
Celestial Venerable Ling was stunned. She looked at High Emperor Sword God Bai Qu'er, who was hiding from the pursuit of the celestial heavens, and then at the girl who was carrying a basket and fighting with all her might on the Surging River. For a moment, she was a little dazed.
The devil qi of Surging River surged, and black water overflowed into the sky.
"Tall reed, long reed, playing hide-and-seek in the reed marshes. How many high halls and distinguished guests were cowherds back then?
"Tall reed, long reed, and we can see each other across mountains and rivers. This side of the reed is our hometown, and the other side of the reed is the sea.
"Tall reed, long reed, and the reed marshes are weaved together. After we weave it into my luggage, it will accompany me on my journey.
"Tall reed, long reed, the reed flute's tune is melodious.
"The Shepherd Boy is far away, making people worry about their parents…"
Mist rose from the Surging River, and Ping'er, who was carrying a basket, rushed into the fog. She passed through it, and when the fog dispersed, it was already daytime. Ping'er didn't bother to think about why it was still night just now, and when she passed through the fog, it was daytime. That was because she saw Bai Qu'er, whose black hair was like a waterfall, washing the sword beside the river, washing away the divine blood on the sword.
At this moment, Bai Qu'er saw Ping'er stumbling over while carrying a basket.
That was Celestial Venerable Ling guiding Bai Qu'er to find Ping'er, who was carrying the basket, and also guiding Ping'er to find Bai Qu'er.
Sword light rose, and white dragons danced in the air. One sword could topple cities and illuminate the nine prefectures.
Bai Qu'er continued to escort Ping'er and the baby in the basket until Ping'er exhausted all her life force and collapsed, sinking into the water.
She still didn't let go and continued to hold the baby in the basket, insisting on entrusting him to someone worthy.
Celestial Venerable Ling sent Bai Qu'er and Ping'er, who had already turned into corpses, off with the waves. The sky gradually turned dark, and the basket floated along the river until it reached a small mountain village by the river.
There were four stone statues guarding the mountain village. They gave off a faint divine glow in the night sky to protect the peace of the area.
"Listen, there's a child crying outside!"
Celestial Venerable Ling retracted her gaze and revealed a smile.
"I've finally waited for you! Celestial Venerable Mu, you are truly lucky. Not long after you were born, three women risked their lives to protect you," she said softly.
The change in substance created the illusion that time was passing, but in the illusion, the baby grew up with the change in substance.
On this day, the baby in the basket had already grown into a sturdy youth. He was troubled by his birth and wanted to find his parents.
He left the place where he grew up and came to the source of Surging River.
Celestial Venerable Ling watched as this clever and strange youth searched for the source of the Surging River. She used her fog to let him see Founding Emperor of the past era.
Later on, this youth came to the source of Surging River again, avoiding the pursuit of enemies in the darkness.
Celestial Venerable Ling watched as he walked into the heavens of the Celestial Venerable Battle and saw the corpses of the Southern High Emperor Celestial Heavens' Northern Sect Army.
She then watched as Qin Mu transmigrated back to the ancient times and came to the end of the High Emperor Era. He entered Hundred Prosperities City and met Bai Qu'er.
After Qin Mu returned, she waited quietly again.
She was waiting for this youth to grow up to become the person she was familiar with.
Finally, the day came. Qin Mu and Niu Sanduo walked on the river surface of Surging River, preparing to rush to Heavenly Yin World.
Celestial Venerable Ling cast her spell, and the fog on the river flooded over, drowning them.
She sent them back, to the first year of the Dragon Han Era, to the Jade Pool Meeting.
Celestial Venerable Mu should complete his mission!
Over there, he would meet Founding Emperor, Celestial Venerable Yu, Celestial Venerable Hao, Celestial Venerable Huo, and the rest. He would also meet her lost self, who needed someone to encourage her to continue forward.
Over there, Qin Mu would change his name to Mu Qing and become the Celestial Venerable Mu that would influence the future generations for a million years. He would become a monument to the human race and affect countless people in the future generations!
After doing all of this, Celestial Venerable Ling waited quietly. She had witnessed the changes in the Great Ruins, the eruption of the Eternal Peace Calamity, and the painful cries of that youth. There was no way out, and she was still waiting, waiting for Celestial Venerable Mu's return.
During these years, she comprehended the Dao patterns of the Miluo Palace, and her achievements grew higher.
Actually, at this point, she could already rely on her own strength to solve the problem of being affected by the unchanging divine art. She had already solved most of the mysteries of the primordial runes and the Dao patterns of the Miluo Palace.
She started to comprehend the changes in the Dao pattern, and her comprehension of conservation of mass energy became deeper.
On this day, she saw Qin Mu coming to Surging River again. At this moment, Qin Mu was riding on a golden ship. It was the golden ship of Miluo Palace, and it was also the golden ship that had sent her into Great Overarching Heaven Consciousness.
Celestial Venerable Ling stood up. She knew that when Qin Mu activated her hairpin and entered the fog, it would be the day she escaped. It would also be the day Qin Mu, Founding Emperor, and the rest returned from forty thousand years ago.
As Celestial Venerable Hao, Sacred Goddess Tai Su, and Celestial Venerable Xiao entered the fog of the Surging River, their figures vanished. The day had finally arrived!
Celestial Venerable Ling raised her head. The sky split open, and the Great Overarching Consciousness Heaven appeared in the ultimate void!
At the source of Surging River was an incomparably ancient peach tree.