Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The people of the Nine States descended in succession upon Qingzhou City. The Thousand Holy Islands around the Holy Zhi Palace were opened to the world, and everyone was allowed to walk freely upon them.
In a short time, the city that surrounded the Holy Zhi Palace had become the most prosperous and lively place in the Nine States. Not only had people come from other states, but cultivators from the Barren State itself had gathered there as well.
Many cultivators had gathered at the foot of the palace, where the disciples of the palace had once been recruited. Some of the top figures from the palace would often come to the stone wall in front of the palace and carve their will into it. One could faintly perceive the rule power in the wall, a rule power that could penetrate into one’s mind.
Most people didn’t dare look at it for too long. They couldn’t handle it. Many of them wondered what the stone wall was used for. Was it supposed to help the cultivators of the Thousand Holy Islands cultivate?
Not only that, but there was a crack split through the middle of the wall, and there seemed to be a sky stairwell in the middle of it that led to the palace. At the end of the stairwell was a brilliantly shining gate that led into the palace. If they kept looking up, they could faintly see the rebuilt Holy Zhi Palace towering into the sky, magnificent beyond words.
The Holy Zhi Palace had summoned skilled laborers, and they had responded from all over the Barren State. Many people who had cultivated to high levels came, including those who were good at forming matrices. Supplemented by cultivators from the palace, they had built this new palace.
“There are many cultivators on both sides of the sky stairwell carving on the stone wall,” said someone looking at the sky stairwell.
“I see Zhuge Qingfeng, the head of the Zhuge clan,” said someone.
“That black-robed swordsman is Qin Zhuang. He definitely has the power to enter the Sage Ranking. He’s using his sword to carve words into the wall. What are they doing?” Some people sighed. So many powerful figures from the palace had shown up.
At that moment, a group of figures came over and stood on the stairwell. They looked out over the vast crowd. Someone saw who was standing at the head of them and his heart trembled. “It’s Sword Demon.” Nowadays, the people who came and went from the palace were all looked up to by the people of the Barren State. Those cultivators of the Barren Sky Ranking who entered the palace must have become much stronger after the chaos of the Sacred War.
“The Palace Lord has decreed that the Nine States Forum will be held on the first day of the 10,019th year of the Divine Prefecture Calendar. Moreover, the Nine States will not be divided during it. Anyone who comes, even common Nobles, can participate in the Law Battles as long as they are able to make it up to the palace on this sky stairwell. The number of people who may participate is not limited,” said Sword Demon as he looked out over the crowd. Everyone’s hearts shook as he announced the rules for this year’s Nine States Forum. All the cultivators from around the Nine States felt this way.
Ye Futian had broken the rules once again. He was holding this Nine States Forum with a new set of regulations. It was not going to be like before when the cultivators had been split up by their respective states. This time they would all be mixed together. And anyone who could make it up the sky stairwell could participate in the Law Battles.
Obviously, no one said anything. They just listened to their Senior talk. It was the Princess’s idea to hold the Nine States Forum at the Holy Zhi Palace this year. No matter what Ye Futian did, the people of the Nine States would not argue.
The people from the core of the Nine States thought that Emperor Xia must place a lot of importance on Ye Futian. From the Sacred War it could be seen that even though Emperor Xia seemed neutral, he had favored Ye Futian slightly ever since the Sacred War.
With the ruler of the Nine States feeling this way, Ye Futian’s future was obvious for everyone to see. The cultivators of the three great holy lands of the Endless Sea were no fools, and they could naturally see this. With that being the way things were, they had no choice but to bow to him.
“Also, any of you may use this stone wall that has been carved here for cultivating. Moreover, anyone who is not participating in the Nine States Forum can go to the palace by other roads to watch. There will be people to lead you to the palace at that time.” After making this announcement, Sword Demon turned to leave. After receiving confirmation, all the people outside were excited. They had not expected that they would be able to witness such a grand occasion as the Nine States Forum in their lifetimes. This was going to be a spectacular event, and in the past, the Barren State did not even have the right to participate.
The 10,018th year of the Divine Prefecture Calendar came to an end under the eager anticipation of many people. Countless people were in Zhongzhou City for the celebrations. The 10,019th year of the Divine Prefecture Calendar had finally arrived as all the Nine States watched.
On that day, a sea of people stood outside the Holy Zhi Palace. There were so many that they could not all be taken in at a glance. Most of them were all the cultivators who had come from around the Barren State, as well as those who had joined other top forces in the Barren State. All of them, even if they had previously had a grudge against Ye Futian, did not dare to not come and support the Forum.
Even though Ye Futian had not given any orders, and had put forth no requirements, they still did not dare to not come. Today, a single word from Ye Futian would move all of the Nine States, especially the Barren State. A single word from him could change the structure of the Barren State, and turn a top force into nothing more than ashes.
Many rumors were circulating throughout the Barren State at that time. For example, after the Nine State Forum, Ye Futian would re-establish the order of the Barren State, and change the existing pattern of the state.
Those forces that did not go to the Holy Zhi Palace to participate in the Law Battles all trembled in fear. Even if Ye Futian did not hold a grudge against them and did not punish them, his will would still determine their future.
As they looked at the sky stairwell in front of them, many people sighed in their hearts. Not even ten years had passed, but it seemed like a whole new era. Starting from today, the Barren State had entered a new age.
At this time, there was an incomparably strong aura high in the sky. Everyone looked and saw a group of figures riding on dragons. They looked like celestial beings from the Nine Heavens. Especially the old man at their head. His bearing was extraordinary, and he seemed to be supernatural.
“Saint Xia of the Summer State has come to visit the palace, and lead the Xia clan in the Nine State Forum,” said a figure beside the leading old man. His voice spread throughout the palace.
Everyone’s hearts trembled violently. The most powerful force in the Nine States had arrived. Moreover, Saint Xia, the man who was apparently hailed as the leading figure in the Nine States, had come himself to pay his respects. This was a great honor for the palace. Or rather, it was a great honor for Ye Futian.
“Please come in, Saint Xia,” came a voice from far away within the Holy Zhi Palace. Someone came out to welcome them.
“That’s Lord Ye’s voice!” said someone in the crowd. Even though Ye Futian was famous throughout the Nine States, it was still appropriate for him to personally greet Saint Xia.
“You got here so quickly, Saint Xia,” came a laughing voice. A group of figures descended from the sky with the old man still at their head. He seemed like a celestial being in every way. He was accompanied by a couple of young men, heroic figures all of them.
“Nine States College has come to participate in the Nine States Forum,” came another voice.
“Come in, Saint Li,” came Ye Futian’s voice once again. Everyone’s hearts trembled. The head of Nine State College, and number four on the Saint Ranking, Saint Li, had come himself.
At that moment, a holy light burned in the air and a group of Buddhist cultivators descended, solemn and wonderful. The person at their head was like an ancient Buddha. He was number six of the Saint Ranking, the Vajra Region Lord.
“The Vajra Region has come to pay its respects.”
“The Qi clan of Qi State has come to participate in the Nine States Forum.”
“The Jixia Holy Palace has come to pay its respects.”
“The Holy Temple of Ten Corners has come to pay its respects to the palace.”
The voices came one after another, each one making everyone’s hearts shake. As they watched the arrays of cultivators entering the palace, the people of the Barren State felt their hearts gradually grow numb. Some of the old cultivators who had practiced on the Thousand Holy Islands even felt the urge to cry.
One old man already had tears in his eyes. He watched the grand occasion that was taking place at that moment, then looked up to the sky and said, “Master, it would have been so wonderful if you could have seen this day!”
Back then, the Palace Lord Sage Chunyang and Vice Headmaster Liu Chan had originally chosen Bai Luli as their heir. But at the last moment, at the expense of their lives, they had petitioned Emperor Xia to name Ye Futian the new Palace Lord. At that time, Ye Futian was only a Noble. At that time, the palace was under threat from Zhisheng Cliffs and was in danger of being destroyed.
And now where was Zhisheng Cliffs? And where was the Saint of Zhisheng Cliffs? Where was Kong Yao who had so threatened the Holy Zhi Palace? And now the Holy Zhi Palace was hosting such a grand occasion.
In the last hundred years of the Nine States’ history, and in what Nine States Forum, had the Holy Zhi Palace ever held such a grand occasion?
All the top forces and all the Saints had come. However, two Palace Lords were not there. After this, the Holy Zhi Palace would not be oppressed by any holy lands. They would be the ones oppressing other holy lands. It was said that the three great holy lands of the Endless Sea had come to apologize for their crimes and submit to Ye Futian.
“Father, I want to join the Holy Zhi Palace, no matter the cost,” said a young man.
“If you have that ambition, then you must work hard,” said a middle-aged man with a smile. Many juniors watched this scene and promised themselves that they would enter the Holy Zhi Palace. The people of the Barren State would never have dared to imagine a situation like this. But now it was happening before their eyes.
At this year’s Nine States Forum they would not only be able to see the legendary figures of the palace, but they could also see the most powerful figures in the Nine States with their own eyes. Almost all of the cultivators of the Sages and Saints Ranking had come. Some people made promises to themselves, some people’s blood boiled, some sighed to themselves a thousand times. At the same time, some people seemed deeply regretful.
Some examples included the Ximen family of Zhongzhou City, the Thunder Courtyard, and some of the other top forces of the Barren State. They had all had the chance to join the Holy Zhi Palace in their sacred war and become members of the palace. They also could have had the chance to compete with the other forces of the Nine States. But now they could only watch.
After seeing Zhuge Qingfeng, Xu Shang, You Chi, and others who were on the Barren Sky Ranking just like them, they could only bow their heads in respect. Moreover, after the experience of fighting in a Sacred War, those people’s power had far surpassed their own. They might even have a chance in the future to participate in the Battles of Proving Holiness. Was this not what they had dreamed of?
And given the situation, the regretful people had no hope of entering the Battles of Proving Holiness. What right did they have to compete with the most powerful figures of the Holy Zhi Palace?
They had made their mistake, now they had to live with it.
Ximen Hanjiang was also among the crowd. He had once been number one on the Law Rank. Now he could only look up at the Holy Zhi Palace. Going inside had become a vain hope for him!