Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Another 20 days passed with the blink of an eye. A storm seemed to be brewing throughout the Barren State. News from Crouching Dragon Mountain said that Ye Futian would be entering the Holy See Palace in seven days. It was news that shocked Barren State somewhat and caught the attention of many.
Zhuge Qingfeng looked at Ye Futian. The young man was sitting there training in silence. Everything seemed peaceful. He had made it through the Grade One Noble Plane. With him at the pinnacle of the Noble Plane and having developed mature comprehension of rules, the Sage Plane seemed to no longer be some faraway goal. It would have been something worth celebrating about, but be it Ye Futian himself or everyone around him, no one was in the mood for celebrating anything.
“What do you plan to do at the Holy Zhi Palace?” Zhuge Qingfeng asked the young man. Ye Futian had, no doubt, been seeing if he was able to advance further. He would not have waited another month to go to the Holy Zhi Palace otherwise.
“To prove one thing,” Ye Futian answered.
“And what would that be?” Zhuge Qingfeng asked.
“The big shots at the Holy Zhi Palace always thought themselves to be right about everything. Liu Chan had always been reluctant to admit when he was wrong about anything, holding the extreme belief that nothing he did had ever been wrong. I’m here to prove otherwise,” Ye Futian said. “Of course, there is a chance that the place simply won’t bother giving me such a chance.”
There was a self-dismissive smirk on his face when he said so. He had been weaker than others, which meant he had little means of negotiating terms with anyone. Still, he deemed that he owed it to himself to try. Even if his attempts were to end in failure, it would have still been better than how things were at the moment.
“There’s also a chance that you’re actually able to prove something, yet the Holy Zhi Palace still won’t admit anything,” Zhuge Qingfeng added.
“Of course. But still, having tried is better than having done nothing,” Ye Futian said.
“I’ll go with you,” Zhuge Qingfeng said.
Ye Futian turned around to look at the clan leader behind him. Zhuge Qingfeng said, “Just like you said yourself. Even if you’re not going, there is no certainty to say that Zhisheng Cliffs will let the Zhuge family and Taihang Mountain off. Do you think they would let us go if I didn’t show up? I also hope that you’re able to prove something, even if things do turn out for the worse in the end. If things do turn out that way, I still hope that I’ll be able to keep the Zhuge family in one piece, for I was once a student of the Holy Zhi Palace.” It was his personal decision to get involved with the matter involving Gu Dongliu and Ye Futian. Many in the Zhuge family did not agree with what he did, and so, it was natural for him as the one to suffer the eventual consequences. It was, after all, his responsibility as the head of the clan.
“Alright,” Ye Futian smiled and said, while still feeling rather guilty inside. He was the one who had gotten Zhuge Qingfeng into this in the first place, and he never thought things would turn out as they had.
“There are seven more days. I’ll head out for a bit,” Zhuge Qingfeng said. He knew more or less what Ye Futian was trying to do. If Ye Futian wanted to try, then he saw fit to try himself as well, just so that they have a better chance at it.
A woman was wearing plain clothes and reading a sutra quietly, with a lamp and a statue of Buddha by her side in Qingdeng Temple. The abbot, Monk Qingdeng, added a bit of oil in the lamp by her side. The woman put down her sutra after a while and asked, “Teacher, I’ve turned to the Buddhist way and I should have let go of my longing for the mortal world. Yet, why am I unable to do so?”
“Everyone in the mortal world has their own beginning and ending. One could not be on one’s path of return with unfinished business in their mind,” Monk Qingdeng said.
“Where does such a path lie?” the woman asked.
“The path of return lies where one’s heart lies,” Monk Qingdeng explained plainly.
“I understand.” The woman nodded.
Book Mountain, Eastern Barren Territory, Barren State.
It was a peaceful, tranquil place for training. While the access restriction to Eastern Barren Territory lifted, the spread of news and information was slow. As such, few knew about the major events taking place in the Barren State.
A figure was seen sitting cross-legged and training at the peak of Book Mountain. That figure was none other than the Sword Saint. There was little for him to attend to in the college for the past few years, enabling him to pour his energy into his own training. As such, his level of cultivation had reached Magi Plane. Such a state would have naturally enabled him to become an invincible being in the Eastern Barren Territory. However, he was not all that worth mentioning when he was compared to the people in the Barren State. Nonetheless, he had been progressed very quickly in his training, far quicker than he had been, being able to bring his cultivation to such a height within the span of several years. Without the events in the Barren State interfering with his training, he would have become even stronger. However, what was happening in Barren State was beyond him.
A breeze blew by and the Sword Saint opened his eyes and said, “You are here.” He turned around and saw a figure dressed in grey standing before him, emanating no aura. The Sword Saint was not surprised at all. It was as if he had known all along that the figure would show up.
“You’re going to the Barren State?” the figure dressed in grey asked.
“Indeed.” The Sword Saint nodded. Regardless if he was actually able to do anything, he deemed it necessary to go. It was his juniors who were in trouble, after all.
“While you’ve improved greatly for the past few years, you’re far from ready,” the figure in grey said.
“I know that, which is why I’m waiting for you,” the Sword Saint said.
The figure in grey glanced at the Sword Saint with cold eyes. That very instant had the Sword Saint feeling as if he had been thrust into purgatory.
“Stop guessing my thoughts from here on out,” the figure in grey said and unleashed a broadsword in their hand. Countless runes flowed about the broadsword as if its powers were unsealed.
“The blade will only be unsealed when you decide to fight, but it is possible that it will bring you unbearable pain in return. Do you wish to take the blade?” the figure in grey asked while looking at the Sword Saint.
The Sword Saint did not doubt their words at all. If the blade was said to bring him unbearable pain, then it was certain that things would have turned worse than what he anticipated, instead of those words being something said only to scare him. Even so, he took the blade without any hesitation.
The figure dressed in grey looked at him calmly and said, “Remember this. You will remain as long as the blade remains. Your life will be linked with the blade itself, the very moment you unseal it.”
“I will keep this in mind.” The Sword Saint nodded. He dared not forget anything the figure dressed in grey said.
A wind blew and the figure dressed in grey was nowhere to be seen. It was as if they never appeared on Book Mountain in the first place.
The Sword Saint looked at the blade in his hand; the blade that could only be unsealed only in battle. He put the blade away and headed for the bottom of Book Mountain.
Seven days passed like a flying arrow to a cultivator. Since the news spread from Crouching Dragon Mountain, many in the Barren State acted. Countless flooded the Holy Zhi Palace, with many from top forces among them. They had all reached the outskirts of the palace, and it seemed as if they had been anticipating that very day.
The City Lord of White Cloud City and Yan Wuji, head of the Sword Saint Villa, arrived at the Holy Zhi Palace. There were also those from the Emperor family and Sacred Fire Sect. They were all in this and it was only natural that they came to witness the final outcome of it all. None of them could rest easy until they saw the demise of the Zhuge family and Yuan Hong dead.
That day, You Chi saw You Xi and Xue Ye walking about back and forth before him at the City Lord Office. He yielded and said, “Alright, alright, I’ll go have a look at things. You all stay here and take care of the place.”
You Chi walked out of the City Lord Office and gathered some of the mighty ones throughout Alchemy City before taking to the air, heading for the Holy Zhi Palace.
On the very same day, Xu Shang recuperated and broke his isolation in Tingxue House. He too took a group of people with him and headed for the Holy Zhi Palace.
In Sovereign territory, Huang Xi looked at Huang Jiuge and asked, “Are you feeling rather sad about things?”
“Among my peers in the Barren State, he was the one that was truly peerless and the one who served as a beacon for us all. If he were to simply fall, it would be a shame indeed,” Huang Jiuge sighed and said.
“Seems like you appreciate each other.” Huang Xi smiled and continued, “Zhuge Qingfeng came looking for me a few days ago. I guess he had gone to quite a number of places besides here. He wanted to get his chances up as much as he could.”
“While I too wish for the Sovereign family to go do this, we are powerless against both Zhisheng Cliffs and the Holy Zhi Palace. Zhuge Qingfeng should know that much. There is just nothing the forces of the Barren State can do to change how things end,” Huang Jiuge said.
“Zhuge Qingfeng wasn’t asking for us to be in the war. He was only hoping that we give a chance to Ye Futian to prove himself,” Huang Xi said.
“Is there even a need to prove himself further?” Huang Jiuge asked. Ye Futian had already proven that he possessed unequaled talent among his peers. Even Qin Zhong of Zhisheng Cliffs lost at his hands.
“I know not what Ye Futian was trying to prove, but since Zhuge Qingfeng himself went around visiting places, I’m now rather curious about what is that they are trying to do. So, I decided to go to the Holy Zhi Palace myself,” Huang Xi said. Huang Jiuge turned to look at Huang Xi with a smile. However, he still remained unconvinced that they stood a chance to change anything.
Chen Yuan returned to Divine Sky City at the eastern region of the Barren State after visiting West Mountain, the Gu clan and the Zhaixing House, persuading all those forces to go to the Holy Zhi Palace to bear witness instead of to fight.
That day eventually came. The air above Thousand Holy Islands was filled with mighty ones arriving by air. The Holy Zhi Palace personnel did nothing to interfere, allowing the mighty ones to pass the Holy River and the Thousand Holy Islands, arriving before the Holy Zhi Palace.
A massive number of mighty ones gathered at the outskirts of the Holy Zhi Palace on that day. It was a scene eclipsing the Law Battles held once in three years. After all, very few top class figures came to watch the Law Battles, yet all who came that very day consisted of top-class figures from all over the Barren State.
It was said that Ye Futian from Crouching Dragon Mountain had departed with Zhuge Qingfeng and Yuan Hong, serving as his escort, heading for the Holy Zhi Palace.
Liu Chan stood before the ancient hall in Holy Sage Pavilion and asked, “Who is here today?”
“Everyone in the top ten on the Barren Sky Ranking, other than the Lord of Ice Temple, will probably be here today,” Sage Tianxing answered. All of the top ten figures were either already inside the Holy Zhi Palace, or they were to be found among the crowd outside.
“Things are really bustling.” Liu Chan looked up at the sky. The top ten of the Barren Sky Ranking gathering about because Ye Futian was showing up at the Holy Zhi Palace. There was hardly any time in history where one Noble Plane youth had such an influence.
A figure flashed before them and landed right before Liu Chan. “Assistant Palace Lord.” The messenger bowed.
“What is the matter?” Liu Chan asked.
“People from Ice Temple are here,” the messenger said, and Liu Chan became dumbfounded.
“There are also figures from all top forces, including Monk Qingdeng, who does not care for mortal world affairs. It is unknown, however, why they are all here,” the messenger bowed and said.
Liu Chan went silent. So all the top figures will indeed gather here today?