The Ancient Barren World: a land of fate, the road to become a Noble Plane cultivator, the link to the Eastern Barren Territory. For countless years, the Ancient Barren World had no relations with the Hundred Lands. There weren't many here in the Hundred Lands that knew of the Ancient Barren World's Existence. Despite how much the Hundred Lands grew, the distance between it and the center of the Eastern Barren Territory was still enormous.
The Hundred Lands were the areas forgotten by the Eastern Barren Territory. But now, the Ancient Barren World was to be forever open to the Hundred Lands. This meant that from now on, the genius cultivators of the Hundred Lands had a chance to prove their worth in the Eastern Barren Territory. There probably wouldn't be any immediate effect, but through the hard work of generations of people, the Hundred Lands would surely flourish. This voice marked a revolutionary moment for the Hundred Lands.
Emperor Luo's excitement dissipated in the blink of eye, replacing it was a darkened expression. Why had he invited the emperors of other nations to the banquet? Why had other emperors come forth to congratulate him? It was all because his son, Luo Junlin, acquired the noble fate from the Ancient Barren World and was viewed highly by the Royal Xuan Temple. These accomplishments required not only strong talent but also a chance of luck. The other emperors probably wouldn't have been willing to pass the chance to enter the Ancient Barren World to the younger generation.
But now, the Ancient Barren World was going to be open to the Hundred Lands forever. This meant that all the powerful cultivators of Hundred Lands would flood to the Ancient Barren World. There was bound to be some of them who would acquire the noble fate and be deemed a valuable asset. All this meant that Luo Junlin no longer had an advantage over others. What's more, based on how gifted Ye Futian and Yu Sheng were, what on earth would happen once they reached the highest level of the Dharma Plane and stepped into the Ancient Barren World? It was all so unpredictable.
And so, to Emperor Luo, it was good news that he and the prodigies of his nation could enter the Ancient Barren World freely, but now he no longer had an advantage over the other nations. Now, others would have the same chances as Luo Junlin. However, this was such exciting news to the other seven emperors. One by one, they rose from their seats, their eyes sparkling.
Those who had already heard of the Ancient Barren World were all incredibly excited. Their chances for entering the Noble Plane had greatly increased. Also, it was going to be extremely interesting to be in the same world as genius cultivators from the Eastern Barren Territory. Their stage was no longer limited to a nation or to the Hundred Lands.
"We still have to notify other nations. Please excuse us," the figure continued without pause. Then, it morphed into rays of bright light and disappeared.
Emperor Ye's eyes swept over the ill-looking Emperor Luo and mounted the dragon. Rising into the skies, they headed far away.
"Goodbye, Emperor Luo."
"Since the Tingfeng Banquet has ended, we will also take our leave now." The emperors took turns saying their goodbyes to Emperor Luo. The Ancient Barren World would open forever in three months. They had to return to their own kingdoms to make preparations. Although there was still plenty of time, the emperors could not wait any longer. Very quickly, all seven emperors had left with their people.
Emperor Luo stood there with a dark expression on his face. The Tingfeng Banquet had ended and the crowd was still present, but all the banquet left behind was a mess. The "geniuses" picked out from the Tingfeng Banquet were all defeated in three rounds of battle. Someone was even murdered at the event.
The Tingfeng Banquet was the Nandou Nation's imperial event, but there was nothing to be proud of anymore. There were only reminders of their failure. It seemed that their proud nation fell in just the span of a day,
Emperor Luo did not speak. The vast space was filled with many people, but it was also filled with silence. The atmosphere was suffocating.
Minister Zuo took in everything calmly. Seeing the reminders of their failure today was like a sneak peek into the Nandou Nation's future.
"Minister Hua," Emperor Luo called out suddenly.
"I'm here," Minister Hua stood up to reply.
"Prepare for war with the Cangye Kingdom," ordered Emperor Luo.
"Yes, Your Majesty." Minister Hua bowed in acknowledgment of the order.
"The nine victors of the Tingfeng Banquet will enter the imperial palace for their rewards," Emperor Luo announced to the crowd. Although the "geniuses" completely embarrassed him today, he could not ignore his promise. An emperor must never go back on his words. He could not lose the support of his people. Now that the Ancient Barren World was about to open, Emperor Luo needed to strengthen his relationship with all types of powerful cultivators in the Nandou Nation. Perhaps there would be another person who would be able to a lucky break like Luo Junlin did. However, the chances were very slim.
"Since prodigies from all over Nandou Nation have gathered here in the imperial city, I will hold another event sometime in the following days. There, I will pick out the best of Dharma Plane cultivators," announced Emperor Luo. "And this event will be held once a year from now on. The time will be set for the beginning of the Tingfeng Banquet." It was obvious, Emperor Luo was already preparing for the opening of the Ancient Barren World. The Ancient Barren World was divided into an upper and lower world. Only those in the Dharma Plane and below could enter the lower Ancient Barren World.
"This year's Tingfeng Banquet is now officially over," said Emperor Luo. The countless figures below had lost their excitement long before. The final battle of the Tingfeng Banquet just a while ago had been so spectacular. However, three battles were all it took to completely ruin the Tingfeng Banquet.
In the first battle, the disciple of Donghai Academy's Yi Xiang from the Nandou Nation's Donghai City, Yu Sheng, imprinted the image of his large figure and his name into the brains of everyone in the audience with his roaring outburst.
In the second battle, the peerless Ye Wuchen defeated Yan Qi and held a sword at Xi Lou.
In the third battle, Ye Futian defeated realizations of Dharma with a single swing of his rod and killed Zong Yan on the battle platform.
It was almost as if the Tingfeng Banquet was held for the Cangye Kingdom.
The ironic part was that now everyone knew that Ye Futian and Yu Sheng were from the Nandou Nation. They had once studied in the Donghai Academy's School of the Finance Star. Emperor Luo's imperial order drove them away from their homes and into the Cangye Kingdom. It was there that they received high praise from the Cangye Kingdom's emperor. This was the reason why the Tingfeng Banquet ended the way it did. Everything thought, Would Ye Futian and Yu Sheng have been the ones standing victoriously on the Tingfeng Banquet's battle platforms had they not left the Nandou Nation? But there were no "what ifs".
What the people didn't know was that right before the imperial order arrived in Donghai City, Ye Futian had just begun to prepare to set off for the imperial city to attend the Tingfeng Banquet.
Among the crowd, those from Donghai City felt the most unsettled. They were the people from Donghai Academy and members of the Nandou Clan. Presently seated with the others from Donghai Academy, Yun Tianhao had lost his prideful expression. He looked so dispirited. The devil-like figure that descended from the skies had scarred him, probably for life. He had thought that his gifts were unbeatable and that there was no one else like him present at the Tingfeng Banquet. Yun Tianhao thought he had what it took to challenge Ye Futian. But that single ruthless stomp from Yu Sheng took away his honor and his pride. After that, seeing Ye Futian defeat the Dharma Plane cultivators made Yun Tianhao understand that Ye Futian would never bother to fight him.
The crowd began to disperse. After a little while, the area around Tingfeng Banquet's nine battle platforms were completely empty. The area looked extra bleak. People who had traveled for afar began their journey back home, but there were also many high-leveled Dharma Plane cultivators who stayed in the imperial city. They were prepared to attend this other event Emperor Luo spoke of. However, there was no way this event would be as extravagant as the Tingfeng Banquet.
As everyone traveled in all different directions, the happenings of the Tingfeng Banquet spread quickly through the nation. The names of Ye Futian and Yu Sheng traveled quickly to places all over the Nandou Nation. Not only because of their eye-catching appearances but also because of their history in the Nandou Nation. The news spread most wildly in Donghai City because that was where Ye Futian and Yu Sheng had started.
The imperial order given out in the last two days of Divine Prefecture Calendar Year 10000, and the battle the Nandou Clan's palace were still fresh in many people's minds. It was something brought up as small talk after a meal. In just a little over a month, Ye Futian had returned stronger than ever before and ruined the Tingfeng Banquet. Plus, Yu Sheng's outburst, how could this not cause an uproar?
At the moment, many people were discussing the events of the Tingfeng Banquet in one of Donghai City's many restaurants.
"I heard that everything was started by the Crown Prince. Back in Donghai Academy some time ago, he had asked Ye Futian to work under him but was rejected. That was the starting point of everything that followed."
"His Highness was accepted into the Royal Xuan Palace and Ye Futian displayed such extraordinary gifts. They were both shining stars. The Nandou Nation has no space for the both of them. Perhaps they were destined to be rivals."
"Both of them? Aren't you forgetting about Yu Sheng? My teacher witnessed the battle at the Tingfeng Banquet with his own two eyes. He told me that when Yu Sheng stepped up for battle, he was invincible like the devil."
"Is he really that fierce?"
"Of course! Do you guys know of Yun Tianhao? He's the star pupil of Donghai Academy and was deemed the future of the academy. His performance at the Tingfeng Banquet was simply breathtaking. He was unbeatable. Then, he challenged Ye Futian but Yu Sheng stepped up for the battle instead. Yu Sheng descended like a deity from the heavens and had Yun Tianhao under his feet. After being forced to his knees, Yu Sheng picked him up by the neck and tossed him to the side. Yu Sheng didn't even spare him a glance."
"After that, Yu Sheng defeated the star of the Nine-star Glory Plane cultivators with a single punch. Then after that, he released a pair of devil-like wings and fought against a realization of Dharma. He tore apart a dragon with his bare hands and had the audience shaking in their seats after his roaring outburst. Some of them were shaking in excitement. You guys should know what he screamed out, right?"
Everyone grew serious and someone repeated Yu Sheng's words in a deep voice.
"My name is Yu Sheng. Yu Sheng, the disciple of Yi Xiang, headmaster of Donghai Academy's School of the Finance Star located in Donghai City of the Nandou Nation!"
"How domineering! It's just as exciting listening to it now. Headmaster Yi Xiang of the School of the Finance Star should be very happy to have a disciple like him." Everyone in the restaurant agreed.
"That's right! It's said that Yi Xiang left Donghai Academy. I really want to meet him."
"I saw Yi Xiang once at Donghai Academy's Assembly of Seven Schools. It was that very day that he left the academy with Ye Futian and Yu Sheng. He truly was a character," said a young man.
In this moment, seated quietly in a corner of the restaurant, was a figure wearing a wide-brimmed bamboo hat. Hearing what everyone had to say, he eyes watered but a smile spread across his face. "I've been alive for so many years and I'm only now feeling sentimental," said the figure. He removed his hat and continued, "My disciple would have never thought of something like this, this should be one of your many rotten ideas. Isn't that right, you little punk?"
Many people turned to look at the man who was talking to himself. There was a twinkle in the eyes of a young man who had previously spoken. "Senior Yi Xiang?"
Yi Xiang lifted his head to look at him. He smiled freely and replied, "Yes, it's me."
The entire restaurant was thrown into a wild frenzy. Many people stared at him in shock. So, he was Yi Xiang? There were also many people who were feeling very conflicted. He was a wanted man in the Nandou Nation.
"Senior, for you to reveal yourself here, I'm afraid" the young man tried to warn him.
Hearing his words, Yi Xiang laughed out loud. He then turned around to leave the restaurant. Wanted? How many people in Donghai City could hold him down?
"Where are you going, Senior?" the young man asked.
"To the Cangye Kingdom, to find my disciple," Yi Xiang answered loudly as he walked away with his head held high.