Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The chaotic Nine States returned to the quiet state of the past after the Nine States Forum was over. The Barren State was, however, incredibly busy. Five palaces—the Alchemy Palace, The Zhuge Academic Palace, the Tingxue Palace, the Starry Palace and the Ice Palace—appeared in five regions of the Barren State, built i where Alchemy City and Crouching Dragon Mountain had been. They came to look even grander and magnificent than they had once been. The Holy Zhi Palace distributed resources, and every single palace had their own divine implements and methods of attaining sainthood to train with.
The Holy Zhi Palace had also borrowed and copied the training methods from the three holy lands of the Endless Ocean before distributing them to the Holy Zhi Palace and the five palaces. The same went with sage ritual implements as well. Every single palace had grown far more powerful than they had once been. Many of the figures ranked in the Barren Sky Ranking had joined the ranks of the five palaces, willing to teach in the five palaces. Doing so would have served to further their training as well. The Battle of Proving Holiness of the Nine States would soon be upon them, and all of them wanted a chance at that.
In the past, most of the participants from the Holy Zhi Palace would be reduced to cannon fodder in the Battle of Proving Holiness, as there was no way that they would have been able to fight the cultivators from the other eight states. However, things were different now. The sages of the Holy Zhi Palace of the Barren State possessed the power to shake seven holy lands before. If Ye Futian were to participate in the event, few would have been able to match him in the Battle of Proving Holiness. But then again, it remained to be seen if Ye Futian would have participated at all. Some speculated that he would, while there were others who thought that Ye Futian wouldn’t bother. He would have definitely attain sainthood someday with his own power, and there was no reason for him to borrow external forces to do so.
Time passed and Year 10020 of Divine Prefecture Calendar was upon them. It was the year of the Battle of Proving Holiness. Countless people at the pinnacle of the sage plane throughout the Nine States emerged from training in isolation. To most of them, they had been waiting for that day for a very long time.
Many elderly cultivators who had secluded themselves from the world throughout the Nine States emerged, as well as top-notch figures of the younger generation from the past 20 years. They were the new powers and the geniuses who had rocked the Nine States. They were probably armed with powers comparable to that of their elders. No one had certainty of anything.
Mighty ones gathered at the Holy Sage Pavilion of the Holy Zhi Palace. You Chi, Zhuge Qingfeng, Yun Shang, Xu Shang, and many others came. They were all about to participate in the upcoming Battle of Proving Holiness. They were of inadequate powers 20 years ago, so much so that even the previous Palace Lord of the Holy Zhi Palace sustained severe injuries from that event. 20 years later, all of the cultivators of the Barren State were more than capable of competing in the Battle of Proving Holiness and showing what they were made of.
Yu Sheng walked up. Yu Sheng’s current bearing looked completely different from how it was when he had first joined the Holy Zhi Palace. He had once exuded wild, unrestrained power with just one look. While he still exuded power with his large, stout frame, his bearing had gotten more composed and internalized. His eyes were deep and emanated powerful pressure. Even sages at the pinnacle of their training would have felt vague pressure just by standing before him. Yu Sheng had broken into the mid-level archmage plane and was simply one step away from the final plane of the Sage Planes.
The Sword Saint, Gu Dongliu, Zhuge Mingyue, and the others came from different directions and gathered around.
“Where is the Palace Lord?” Sage Daozang asked.
“He is not participating in the Battle of Proving Holiness. Let’s go.” Everyone nodded and none of them found his decision to be peculiar. Ye Futian’s talents were such that he truly did not need to become a saint through the event. Furthermore, Ye Futian deemed his current plane inadequate, requiring years to temper his mind before he was ready. As such, the event was of little meaning to Ye Futian himself. As for the safety of the ones from the Holy Zhi Palace, their current lineup, with Yu Sheng, the Sword Saint, Gu Dongliu, and the others going with them, none of the holy lands would be much of a match for them. There was no doubt that the current powers of Yu Sheng, the Sword Saint, and the others stood at the pinnacle of the Sage Plane.
“That guy is slacking off again,” Zhuge Mingyue mumbled. Ye Futian had been gone for a long time. When the Nine States Forum was over, he went on a pilgrimage on his own. Or perhaps, he simply wanted to travel the Nine States.
The massive lineup from the Holy Zhi Palace was frightening. Top figures gathered from throughout the Nine States and that time, it was a Battle of Proving Holiness hosted by Emperor Xia himself. Many wondered how many saints would emerge. However, none of that seemed to have anything to do with Ye Futian. He was at the vast Endless Ocean, which was located at the Ocean State, the furthest state away from the Barren State.
A lone boat was floating on the vast, unending seas. There was a figure lying down quietly on the boat, swaying with the waves, thinking the sky to be his bed and the sea as his blanket. A dark golden huge bird circled above him in the blue skies. The bird was having a good time as well.
There were powerful sea monsters emerging from the seas every now and then, The dark golden huge bird would then dive and tear them to shreds with its claws. None of the powerful sea monsters thought that a mutated Black Wind Condor possessed such terrifying powers. A king of a certain region of the seas went up to them the monsters were easily killed.
The boat continued to sway in the waves. The figure dressed in white seemed to have fallen asleep, forgetting everything about the world, and even forgetting what year it was.
Time passed day after day, and the figure dressed in white seemed to be in an eternal slumber where he would never wake. A terrifying storm was upon them. A frightening whirlpool of lightning appeared before them. The light of darkness swallowed everything as towering waves rushed. That boat continued to sway in the storm, tossing about in the huge waves, yet that figure seemed to have felt nothing at all. He remained lying down and his body was tossed around alongside the boat. Terrifying lightning shot for his body and hit it, yet he continued to seem to feel nothing. Not even the boat was destroyed in that terrifying storm. It simply continued to toss in the storm.
The huge bird continued to fly high in the air amidst the dark storm as if it would never tire. The boat was swallowed by the waves, moving alongside them. Everything calmed several days later. The boat finally stopped after some time, blocked by a huge piece of rock. He had arrived at an uninhabited island.
The Black Wind Condor, flying in the air, dropped onto a huge rock and took a look at the young man on the boat. The sun shone on him and it was getting hot. The grey-haired young man finally opened his eyes slowly by then. He got used to the sunlight for a bit before sitting up. His hair was a mess and he had grown a beard. It was obvious that he had not been grooming himself for quite some time.
The young man was none other than Ye Futian. He settled the Holy Zhi Palace’s affairs after the Nine States Forum before venturing out into the three holy lands of the Endless Ocean. He observed the training methods of the Endless Ocean and developed his own understanding, so he brought the Black Wind Condor with him and drifted at sea afterwards. He spent his days either training or simply let himself drift at sea.
“Year 10020 of the Divine Prefecture Calendar,” Ye Futian murmured. He and the Black Wind Condor’s mind was connected, so he was still able to keep track of time nonetheless.
The Battle of Proving Holiness of the Nine States should have begun by now then. However, he was not in the least bit worried. With Yu Sheng, his Eldest Brother, and the others around, it did not matter if he participated in the event or not.
Of all the figures who were at the front of the Barren Sky Ranking all those years ago, only his teacher, Douzhan, had been able to attain sainthood. As the participants from the Holy Zhi Palace had experienced the Sacred War firsthand, he wondered how many among them would be able to break into a new plane.
The state of mind of You Chi, Zhuge Qingfeng, and the others should have all undergone changes after the Sacred War. Their training should have been rock-solid as well. Furthermore, there were several saints in the Holy Zhi Palace whom they would have been able to learn from at any time.
His body slowly rose to the air as he gazed at the island before him. He extended his hand and a halberd materialized. Formless current of rules coursed around Ye Futian, which he felt to be like wind and water, with no still form.
Voom. Wind blew and Ye Futian disappeared from where he stood. The Black Wind Condor’s eyes were incredibly sharp, yet it was incapable of tracking him at all. It turned to look at that island and found a hole on it. Ye Futian’s body had penetrated the island right away, appearing on the other side. The power of space rules vibrated and Ye Futian’s silhouette returned to that spot where he stood before, as if he had appeared out of nowhere.
“The first move, I shall call it the Extreme Shadow,” Ye Futian mumbled to himself. He then owned the divine implement that ranked third on the Divine Implement Ranking—the Halberd of Space and Time—so he naturally had to bring out its greatest power. That was the reason why he had visited the three holy lands of Ocean State. He was combining the methods he learned from the cultivators of the three holy lands, with his own realizations and developments. His time spent adrift at sea allowed him to hone a mature way of the halberd, which belonged to him alone.
The light of calamity shone on his body as soon as he finished speaking. The light of the rules coursed around the halberd in his hand. Devastating force seemed to emanate from his body.
“The second move, Annihilation.” The halberd in his hand was thrust like before at lightning speed as soon as he finished talking. However, the devastating light of calamity went on the shroud the entire island instead. At the very next moment, the entire island began to crumble. It was reduced to countless pieces of rocks.
Ye Futian’s body spun in flight. He gathered devastating force about his body with the help from the speed of Extreme Shadow, as if that terrifying waves were about to bring down the sky. In that moment, space-time seemed to have grinded to a halt. The falling rocks were slowed considerably.
Ye Futian turned his eyes forward and thrust the halberd slowly. “Third move, Unending Void.” The space around them became extremely oppressive, as if the flow of space-time stopped altogether, yet a devastating force remained bearing down on them. The halberd was fully extended, and within just an instant, the rocks were shattered in an instant, reduced to a powdery dust. Ye Futian did not stop with the movements on his hands. The dust was blown away by the wind in that oppressive space. There was no longer an island before him.
Ye Futian looked pleased with himself. His time spent training all that while was not wasted after all. The halberd disappeared and everything was blown away by the wind.
“I have gained the Halberd of Time and Space—Nothingness—and I have created moves based on the movesets of the Ocean King and my own training, so I shall name the art after the weapon—Nothingness.”
The Black Wind Condor swooped down and Ye Futian leapt onto the bird with a single step. A man and a beast were flying high up in the blue skies with the ocean beneath.
The Battle of Proving Holiness ended several months later and 12 saints emerged from the event, breaking the record of the past century. Five saints emerged from the Holy Zhi Palace, shaking the entire Nine States!