Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Despite not having been at Dali for long, he had still developed some thoughts about the place. Dali was not like what he had imagined it to be. Under the dynasty’s rule, everything was orderly and had a neat hierarchy. Furthermore, it had a higher inclination towards martial arts than the Nine States.
Currently, people from the Upper Worlds of Dali Dynasty came to the Lower Worlds to select worthy candidates, and the event was supervised personally by King Li, gathering mighty ones from all over the Lower Worlds. All of that spoke volumes about how much importance Dali Dynasty placed in honoring martial culture.
At that moment, the crowd outside King Li’s Palace was massive, and mighty ones were found everywhere. King Li turned his eyes to the enormous crowd from his throne and said, “Today, people have gathered at King Li’s Palace from all over the Nine Counties to witness what the cultivators from all Nine Counties are capable of. The imperial advisor from the Upper Worlds ordered many top forces to come down here and select worthy geniuses to further their training in the Upper Worlds. It is a rare opportunity for the Nine Counties of Dali, and I hope that there will be more extraordinary people emerging within the Lower Worlds of Dali, who will become pillars of Dali Dynasty in the Upper Worlds.” His booming voice was heard all over in and out of the palace. The messy chatter was quickly suppressed, and everyone quieted down soon enough.
Countless looked up at the steps at King Li, who was sitting at his throne. It was said that King Li was already at the third step of Sainthood, and he was the most powerful man in all of Lower Worlds of Dali Dynasty. His powers were unfathomable, and he was a flawless saint. The people of the Nine Counties of Dali were filled with reverence for King Li.
“I shall introduce you all to one person,” King Li continued. He extended his right hand and pointed to where Lu Chuan was. “Lu Chuan, student of the imperial advisor. Ten years ago, Lu Chuan led the cultivators of Dali in the Battle of Empty Realm. He fought between three imperial realms of the Upper Worlds, besting foes that had been superior to ours and cut down over half of the mighty ones from Emperor Xia’s Realm, thereby attaining a glorious victory in the Battle of Empty Realm. Lu Chuan quickly rose to Saint Plane after the Battle of Empty Realm. He is now at the pinnacle of the first level of Saint Plane. He is here today being sent to the Lower Worlds by the imperial advisor personally, to witness this grand event of Dali.”
Many turned their eyes towards Lu Chuan. A student of the imperial student and one who was introduced personally by King Li was someone extraordinary.
Ye Futian only came to learn who he was by then. Being a student of the imperial advisor of Dali meant that he was Yuan Jin’s elder brother-in-training, which in turn made him the extraordinary figure who brought about the glorious victory to Dali in the Battle of the Empty Realm ten years ago.
Lu Chuan stood after hearing King Li’s introduction of him. He cupped his hands at the crowd, looking polite and well-mannered as he said, “You’re too kind, King Li. I, Lu Chuan, am but only a witness to the grand event sent here on my teacher’s orders. The geniuses of Dali are the true main characters of the event, which both I and my teacher, look forward to very much.” He cupped his hands again after he was done and returned to his seat. Many gasped and were impressed by his bearing.
That is the student nurtured by the imperial advisor of Dali for you. It is indeed rare to find someone of such status to possess such bearing, many thought. As someone of such status and introduced personally by King Li, it sufficed for him to nod to the crowd, enjoying the prestige afforded to him.
The County King of Yan, at the County of Yan’s corner, rose and spoke, “The imperial advisor is indeed the pillar of Dali Dynasty. All students that he nurtures are exceptional people without doubt. You all should learn from him.”
The people from the holy lands of the County of Yan all nodded in agreement. Huanxue cast a glance at Ye Futian, who was beside the Sword Saint of Fierce Wind, but she said nothing. Despite both the Seventh Swordsman and Lu Chuan were geniuses, that bearing alone said that Lu Chuan was far more superior than the Seventh Swordsman. The difference was glaringly obvious, and Lu Chuan was indeed the dragon among people.
Ye Futian was somewhat surprised himself as well. He initially thought that someone who had gone about killing over half of participating mighty ones from Emperor Xia’s Realm would have been someone who reeked of killing intent. However, Lu Chuan looked and felt well-mannered and humble to him instead. Despite being an enemy, Ye Futian had to admit that cultivators of Dali were more exceptional than he had imagined them to be.
“Not only Lu Chuan, but the student of the imperial advisor is also here at this time. Even top forces like the Sword Mountain of the Upper Worlds are here en masse as well. Any who can perform with flying colors here will get the chance to train in the Upper Worlds. It is very rare for Dali to see such opportunities in years past. Please seize the moment as best as you can.”
King Li smiled and added, “The event is opened to cultivators at Sage Plane, and holy lands are gathering places for these people. All sages of the holy lands of the Nine Counties, from lower to higher planes, are free to fight at the platform before you to showcase your talents. Please give it your all and wait until the people of holy lands finish showcasing their prowess. Any selected may be challenged by any who think themselves to be at the top of their training. You are free to challenge any selected geniuses of holy lands and show everyone present what you’ve got.”
There were countless cultivators all over the Nine Counties of Dali, even though the event was restricted to sages. Dali Dynasty did not ask for cultivators to get things done quickly. Such showcases would be done in one-on-one duels, just for the holy lands to assess how capable every single contender was. As such, it was naturally impossible for everyone to get a turn on the platform as there was still the matter of time to consider. Cultivators from holy lands were made a priority instead.
This would be carried out until someone from the holy lands got selected by the top forces from the Upper Worlds before being challenged by others in Dali. By doing so, no one who was not of the very top would dare to step onto the platform. Such rules enabled all to see clearly what the top sages of all over Dali were actually like.
“Let’s begin,” King Li said. A mighty one said with a brimming voice below the steps, “Get the wine ready and open up the platform.” The voice was heard throughout the place, and servant girls from the royal palace went on to zip about where the audience was, serving wine. But then again, all who earned the right to sit were cultivators from holy lands all over the Nine Counties. The cultivators who only came to witness the event were only able to watch everything going on from below.
The grand event was to be held over many days. There were people from the holy lands of the Nine Counties getting up one after another, walking up to the platform. They were also several from the County of Yan making a move, with their swords strapped to their backs. When two people stepped onto the middle of the platform, that was when the event truly began. However, those two were sages of the first plane.
Ye Futian turned his eyes at the platform. He had never expected to be able to one day see the cultivators of Dali fight each other while he sat somewhere in King Li’s Palace. There had been a Nine State Forum back in the Nine States all those years ago, and that was already considered the grandest of events to be had. However, with the imperial advisor of Dali giving the order and King Li hosting the battle between the Nine Counties, the scale of the event was evidently far more extensive than the Nine State Forum back then. One could have even said that they were of different orders of magnitude altogether. All top-notch figures from Dali participated in the event. Better still, there were also people coming down from the Upper Worlds to attend the event. It could be said to be the largest sparring event to be had below Saint Plane.
The battles went on and on with the County of Qin, Dongyang, and Yan having the highest level of cultivators on average. Those three counties were the top three strongest counties in Dali, to begin with, and their holy lands were also superior to others.
“What do you think?” the Sword Saint of Fierce Wind asked Ye Futian while they were watching at the corner of the County of Yan. He had bought the idea of Ye Futian training his way of the sword hard at Mountain of Hidden Swords all those years, never having ventured into the world to train. As such, he took to asking Ye Futian what the young man thought about the cultivators of Dali.
“Weaker than I expected them to be. When I was at that plane all those years ago, I wouldn’t even need to draw my sword to fight those on the platform,” Ye Futian said.
“You are something…” The Sword Saint of Fierce Wind shook his head with a smile. He had already gotten used to how Ye Futian talked and continued to ask, “The battle between sages at the pinnacle of their training will probably be at the very end. You can join the fight as a student of the Sword Clan of the Gale.”
“Thank you, senior.” Ye Futian nodded and said, “But I’ll need to see if any in the Nine Counties are worthy of having me draw my sword.”
“What happens if there aren’t any?” The sword saint’s face looked peculiar as he asked.
“Then I shall keep my sword sheathed,” Ye Futian said.
The Sword Saint of Fierce Wind was slightly exasperated, but he then said, “In the Nine Counties of Dali, there are also holy lands from the imperial city itself as well. I’m sure you’d find someone worthy of having you draw your sword.”
“That would be best.” Ye Futian nodded.
The two of them did not go out of their way to conceal their voices. Cultivators had very good ears, so many cultivators from holy lands across the County of Yan heard the conversation between both of them. Many even looked in Ye Futian’s direction deliberately, finding his antics baffling.
Does he want to see if anyone throughout the Nine Counties of Dali is worthy of having him draw his sword? they wondered. It seems like his insolence isn’t restricted only to the County of Yan, then…
“If you’re able to make it to the Upper Worlds, then, by all means, get up there to train.” The Sword Saint of Fierce Wind said all of a sudden, “Look at the cultivators from Sword Mountain. That is the most powerful holy land of the sword in both the Upper and Lower Worlds. You may able to find a lot of opponents there. Look at Lu Chuan, the imperial advisor’s student. That is some bearing you’d hardly find in the Lower Worlds.”
Ye Futian took a look at the Sword Saint of Fierce Wind. Regardless of standpoint, he found such bearing truly impressive indeed. Ye Futian came to deem it best to keep a certain distance from him, however.
The fighting on the platform continued. Ye Futian drank and enjoyed himself as he watched the fights going on, amusing himself as time passed.
At the Princess’ residence of Emperor Xia’s Palace of the Upper Worlds of Emperor Xia’s realm, Xia Qingyuan stood quietly, and there was a Black Wind Condor before her.
“Where is he?” Xia Qingyuan asked the Black Wind Condor. She already knew about Ye Futian’s ability to control demonic beasts. The beast before her was Ye Futian’s steed, and they shared a telepathic link.
“King Li’s Palace,” the Black Wind Condor looked at Xia Qingyuan and said.
Xia Qingyuan’s expression changed a bit, and she said coldly, “What is he doing at King Li’s Palace?”
“The imperial advisor of Dali gave the order to select geniuses from the Lower Worlds to train in the Upper Worlds, and they gathered people from all holy lands of the Lower Worlds for sparring. The imperial advisor even sent his student down to the Lower Worlds. Guess what that would be, Princess?” the Black Wind Condor said. However, Xia Qingyuan felt as if she was hearing Ye Futian talking instead. She knew right away that it was a result of Ye Futian and the Black Wind Condor sharing wills, and the bird was speaking with his tone.
“What would that be?” Xia Qingyuan asked.
“Lu Chuan,” the bird answered.
Xia Qingyuan’s eyes sparkled. She naturally knew who Lu Chuan was. “What are you going to do?” Xia Qingyuan’s expression changed again as she stared at the Black Wind Condor and asked.
“Training while I’m on pilgrimage, of course,” the Black Wind Condor answered.
Xia Qingyuan glared at the bird’s eyes and said, “Are you trying to get into the top forces of Dali to train, or are you trying to get near Li Yao?”
“Please excuse me,” the Black Wind Condor said. Ye Futian withdrew his will, and the Black Wind Condor was seen flapping its wings. It said, “Master is gone. Can I go home now, Princess?”
Xia Qingyuan’s expression was a cold one. That b*stard sure is having a good time. He went to the royal palace of the Lower Worlds of Dali Dynasty, she thought.
“No. You are not to step outside the residence for even a single step,” Xia Qingyuan glanced at the bird and said.
The Black Wind Condor blinked his eyes. You are not happy with master, and you’re taking it out on me then? it thought.
“Princess, I still have matters to attend to.” The Black Wind Condor wanted to bail. The palace was too strict and no fun.
“Guards,” Xia Qingyuan said. Someone responded and came.
“If the bird dares to step outside for even a single step, roast it,” Xia Qingyuan said.
Pffff… The bird’s legs gave, and it slumped to the floor. Just what did I do wrong here? it thought.