Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Among the top 24, Yu Sheng, Ye Wuchen and Hua Jieyu came from the Barren State. While Yaya came from the Eastern State, she was not a member of a sacred ground.
There was one participant remaining from the 20 sacred grounds from the other eight states beside the Barren State. They were:
Eastern State: Hua Yunshu of the Xihua Sacred Mountain, and Zhou You of the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty.
Summer State: Xia Yi of the Xia clan, Ye Guhong of the Nine State College, Yi Jiuyang of the Yi clan, and Yue Mengqi of the Yue clan.
Qi State: Qi Haoran of the Qi clan, Zhuge Yi of the Jixia Holy Palace, Ji Hua of the Hall of Holy Light, and Yue Yang of Yue House.
Cloud State: Chu Xiang of the Great Chu clan, Su Tu of the Li Palace, Tantai Bashan of the Hundred Thousand Great Mountain, and Bai Yu of Yunmeng City.
War State: Wubei of Vajra Region, Moluo of Luohou Palace, and Shi Yan of Holy Temple of Ten Corners.
Feng State: Song Chi of Fengdu House, and Tai Guang of Daluo Sacred Mountain.
Ocean State: Mo Li of Celestial Cliffs.
Yu State: none
All 24 were top-class geniuses, the best of the best to be found among those at the pinnacle of the Noble plane.
The Eastern State, which was the host of that year’s event, only had three participants left, even with Yaya included. The Summer State, Qi State, and Cloud State all had four participants remaining, respectively. The overall powers of the nine states were vaguely reflected on the number of remaining participants of each state. But then again, the Barren State was an exception. There were actually three who made it to the top 24. If Xu Que had not been injured, it would have been four participants from the Barren State in the top 25.
The crowd in the grandstands behind Ye Futian was all quiet and tense. Every single battle that would follow was to be a clash of the mightiest titans.
The top ten would be out soon. What rules will await the participants in the upcoming battles?
At that moment, the elder on the edge of the forum stage hosting the event said, “There are 24 remaining participants in the Nine State Forum. The top ten in this year’s event will be determined in the upcoming battles. The rules are as follows: every participant is free to choose who to challenge until there are ten left on the forum stage. For the purpose of fairness, a participant who already makes a challenge will allow others the opportunity to issue challenges. If no one emerges with three seconds, the one who issued a challenge before will be free to continue issuing challenges. There is no limit to the number of challenges to be made.”
Many gasped after the elder finished. There were no more rules limiting the number of times one would be able to issue challenges. The one who won in a challenge was free to continue challenging others to kick them out. Such rules were set in place to allow the strongest to eliminate the relatively weaker ones. Of course, they were also allowed to challenge the ones who looked to be the strongest.
“You may begin,” the elder added. The air on the forum stage became heavy and solemn.
It would be a battle determining the top ten.
Several participants wanted to make a move before, suddenly, a silhouette stepped out right after the elder finished. The others halted their steps after seeing the person step out, not proceeding to fight for the chance to make the first challenge.
The spectators on the grandstands were all shaken. Under such rules of issuing challenges, the place would be dead silent if no dared to challenge anyone. Furthermore, even if one were to issue a challenge and came out victorious, the others were to challenge said one.
As such, wouldn’t it be more prudent to refrain from making challenges? It is obviously more risky to issue a challenge, some thought.
However, when the elder finished elaborating, many became eager to make the first move instead. It was an intriguing scene to behold.
The eyes of everyone present were on the figure who stepped out.
It was none other than Yu Sheng of the Holy Zhi Palace of the Barren State.
“The hell…” Ye Futian knew right away what Yu Sheng intended to do when he saw Yu Sheng make the first move. Someone is going to get hurt real bad here.
“Zhou You of the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty.” Yu Sheng’s eyes were incredibly sharp as he looked at the Eastern State’s corner, locking onto Zhou You. A golden sheen of incredible sharpness was seen in the eyes of Zhou You, who was wearing an extravagant golden phoenix robe, as he looked at Yu Sheng.
You challenge him in the very first battle? Do you have a death wish or what?
Boom! A golden bolt of lightning flashed in the air, and Zhou You came to stand right before Yu Sheng. He was emanating incredibly sharp aura all over him. He had been injured by Phoenix in his last battle and it was a mistake he would never make again.
Yu Sheng of the Barren State would be the first true stepping stone on his path to becoming the champion of the Nine State Forum. That battle was the only true battle that posed a threat to him.
“Who do you all think will emerge victorious in this one?” the Sky Saint looked at the battlefield and asked. The battles from here on out would be ones that even saints would find intriguing, as they looked forward to the performance of the best the younger generations had to offer. Even the Sky Saint, who did not have one of his own on the forum stage, found some in the event to have performed very admirably.
“Zhou You is the strongest of the participants from the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty this time. While Yu Sheng is incredibly powerful, he has too little in the way of offensive tricks. If Zhou You is able to tear down his defense, his defeat will be set. It is very possible that Zhou You’s offensive capacities prove sufficient to tear down Yu Sheng’s defenses,” the Rain Saint of the Xihua Sacred Mountain said. He looked forward to Zhou You’s performance. If Yu Sheng were to win yet again, he would simply be one step away from entering the top ten. If that were to happen, Xihua Sacred Mountain would have to apologize by offering a holy item. These were the words said by Saint Xihua himself, and there was no way he could have backed out.
“From the looks of things, it seems that none are capable of threatening Yu Sheng. Zhou You had been injured by Phoenix, and I think Yu Sheng stands a better chance here instead,” the Glass Saint chuckled and said. She looked at the battlefield instead of the corner where the ones from Xihua Sacred Mountain were seated.
“Zhou You underestimated his opponent, and his body was invaded by the Undying Flames. Zhou You was not able to bring his best in that battle. In this one, it will be impossible for Zhou You of the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty to lose,” Zhou Ya, who was standing behind the sacred king, said plainly. His sharp eyes went all the way to look at Ye Futian. He said, “What do you think, Palace Lord Ye?”
Ye Futian lifted his head to look at Zhou Ya, a young man who had toasted to him in the banquet, and the one who was known to be the sacred king’s heir. His talents were greater than that of Zhou You, but given that he was already a sage, it was only natural that he was not allowed to participate in the event.
Ye Futian grinned and said, “Would you like to hear what I really have in mind?”
“Of course,” Zhou Ya smiled and said.
“From the looks of things so far… ” Ye Futian turned his eyes at Zhou Ya and a proud smirk was seen on his face. He then said, “Zhou You is not good enough.”
Zhou Ya was stunned. The Great Zhou Sacred King, Saint Xihua, the Glass Saint, and many others turned to look at Ye Futian. They saw his plain smile, and he seemed to have absolute faith in Yu Sheng’s powers.
The humble leader of the Barren State finally drops his act and reveals his pride then? Zhou You is not good enough.
The words were so direct that they sounded insolent, as if he did not bother with the upcoming battle at all.
Zhou You will end up losing?
Many at the grandstands behind Ye Futian turned to look at the palace lord of a sacred ground in the Barren State. It was the very first time that Ye Futian spoke with such confidence about a battle on the stage of the Nine State Forum.
As Zhou You was someone from the Eastern State, there were many more who had heard of his name, and many came to name him as one of the top contenders from the top three places.
But as the Nine State Forum went on, and geniuses all over the nine states came to bring their best to the game, they knew that the chances of Zhou You being ranked in the top three would be very slim. Even so, the fact that he was incredibly powerful did not change. Yet, Ye Futian spoke as if he never considered Zhou You to be able to pose any threat at all, as if he was unqualified to even be discussed alongside Yu Sheng. His words seemed to have reversed the impression Ye Futian had left on the minds of all present. He was still the youngest palace lord of a sacred ground in the history of the nine states.
So underneath that humble facade, lies sharpness and pride after all.
Zhou Ya laughed and said to Ye Futian loudly, “You’re indeed confident, Palace Lord Ye. Well, we’ll see.”
It was a given that both Zhou You and Yu Sheng heard the conversation between the ones at the grandstands. Zhou You gradually took to the air, and a shadow of golden phoenix covered his body, bursting with boundless golden light. Zhou You seemed to have taken the form of a divine bird. An extremely terrifying golden storm whipped around him.
Ye Futian, you dare to say that I’m not good enough.
Boom. Dark golden lights coursed throughout Yu Sheng’s body. His Douzhan Body burst in an instant, turning into an impressively stout and golden vague figure, covering his body. Terrifying golden lights coursed all over the Douzhan Body, making him nigh-invincible.
A cry of the phoenix was heard in the air. Zhou You’s body turned into a combat divine bird in an instant. Golden lights shone brilliantly in their surroundings and came before Yu Sheng, descending from above.
Many felt stunned seeing the scene before them. The one that was attacking did not seem to be Zhou You, but an incredibly magnificent divine bird instead. It tore through the space, and golden lights showered everywhere, lashing out like a straight golden blade, flowing through Zhou You’s hand as he attacked. It turned into the sharpest of phoenix claws, coming down hard on the Douzhan Body.
Dark golden lights coursed all over Yu Sheng’s Douzhan Body in a frenzy, which trembled with a loud boom. However, it remained shinning and unfazed.
Zhou You immersed himself into the phoenix. His eyes turned demonic and he turned incredibly wild as his body moved against the flow. He struck from above yet again, turning into an extremely fast beam of golden light.
“Boom, boom, boom…” One attack after another burst and countless shadows of golden phoenixes appeared in that place, striking down hard at the Douzhan Body, which continuously trembled, and cracks were vaguely seen.
“Some defense indeed.” The minds of many trembled. The scene was too shocking, be it about Zhou You’s attacks or Yu Sheng’s defense. It still stays intact after all that?
At that very moment, even greater beams of light burst from Yu Sheng’s body. His arms trembled violently and sent the beam coursing through the top of his arms. The beams of light penetrated right through his body, opening up his acupoints.
Boom. Yu Sheng stepped forward and saw that golden phoenix’s shadow about to strike again. His golden arm lashed out at the incoming attack. The boundlessly huge battle form moved in synch with his body, lashing out with an incredibly violent golden fist. The golden phoenix clashed with the fist. Zhou You’s body trembled, and the fist shattered and dissipated.
Yu Sheng took to the air in the very next moment, lashing out with both arms. The huge Douzhan Body lashed out with countless golden fists, blocking out the sky as they struck in a particular area.
Zhou You’s eyes focused and a streak of extravagant arc flashed by him. The wings of the phoenix turned into nigh-invincible blades and lashed out at the air before him, cutting at the punches flying at him. The claws kept destroying the fists before him as well.
But at the same time, Yu Sheng’s body took to the air again, and his entire battle form came crashing down. His arm lashed out at the body of that huge phoenix itself.
Zhou You shouted and kept moving forward. The phoenix clashed with the Douzhan body. Claws and fists came into violent contact.
Boom. The air before them rumbled. The phoenix’s shadow was thrown behind and its wings spread open. It remained extremely elegant in its retreat.
Doom! Yu Sheng stepped forward in mid-air, the light on his arms turned even more dazzling as he chased down the phoenix and lashed out with yet another punch.
Everyone saw an incredibly terrifying scene in the next moment. Both men were countering each other’s offense with offense. They clashed hard with each other. The phoenix’s shadow continued to be beaten and thrown backward, rumbling violently all the way.
Boom, boom, boom… Rumbles continued to be heard in the minds of the spectators. Every single clash seemed to make their hearts about to leap out of their chests. The phoenix’s overbearing silhouette was sent all the way from the air down to the ground, being pummeled as it continued to retreat.
Zhou You spat up blood and no longer able to lash out with attacks to defend. It was obvious that he was at his limit.
At that very moment, a huge leg was seen stepping down from the sky onto the phoenix’s shadow.
Boom. Yet another rumble was heard. The leg came crashing down from the sky, and the phoenix’s shadow was seen crashing to the ground, floundering for a bit on the forum stage. The phoenix’s shadow ceased shining and dissipated soon. Zhou You was seen where the phoenix was. His breathing was weak and blood kept spurting out from his mouth. He looked at Yu Sheng, whose body remained hovering in the air above Zhou You like a god of war, incredibly unruly and imposing. The figure above remained strong and completely unfettered, as if it was effortless for it to dish out such attacks.
The place of the event turned silent, dead silent.
Zhou You had been known to have what it took to be ranked among the top ten, and some claimed that he had the opportunity to be among the top three. However, presently, he was completely overwhelmed. He had no way of retaliating when Yu Sheng went offensive and ended up seriously injured, being stepped on by his opponent.
Zhou You’s face was completely ashen, losing all traces of the insolence and pride from before.
Had the stage of the Nine State Forum truly been his?
He had undergone his darkest, most humiliating defeat in his life at the moment.
The saints of the Xihua Sacred Mountain were speechless at the scene.
The Great Zhou Sacred King was not even able to conceal the shock he felt. His eyes were incredibly sharp as he stared at the battlefield.
“Take him away,” the Great Zhou Sacred King said. Some people from the sacred dynasty went to carry the severely injured Zhou You away from the forum stage.
The Sky Saint, the Glass Saint, and many other great figures remained watching Yu Sheng.
That kid has what it takes to be ranked among the top ten. There is no doubt about it, seeing how he just stepped over Zhou You to advance.
No one would have made any challenges if he did not come out to challenge the strongest. He would have made it to top ten if he just stood there and did nothing.
Yu Sheng of the Holy Zhi Palace of the Barren State.
The one who had walked out from the very beginning was a figure that even saints would remember!