Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
All of the students of the Holy Zhi Palace stepped outside and came to the entrance of the Holy Zhi Palace.
Everyone took their positions and was looking far away. The Thousand Holy Islands looked as they always did—archipelagos consisting of islands hanging midair, making them look like somewhere in the heavens. Soon, that heaven-like place would become the battlefield of the Sacred War, and the place might end up being taken over by the invaders from the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty.
That Sacred War was fought for the Holy Zhi Palace and, in extension, for the Barren State.
The air was dead silent and the mood was incredibly solemn. However, what was seen in the eyes of everyone present was indomitable resolve and nothing else.
The upcoming war would serve as a test of sorts.
Dazzling golden lights shimmered faraway, turning the sky golden. The eyes of the people of the Barren State never looked sharper.
The army of the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty was finally upon them.
Stifling might was sensed coming from far away. It was so powerful that even though the source of that might was extremely far from where the students of the Holy Zhi Palace stood, they were still able to sense how terrifying it was.
Dazzling shadows of golden phoenixes spread their wings high above the sky. The Golden Phoenix Army, clad in golden phoenix robes, looked just as brilliant. The phoenix carriage was high up in the sky, looking down like a god.
“The Great Zhou Sacred King.” Many clenched their fists. They were about to go up against the Sacred King of the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty, the king who had absolute say within the Sacred Dynasty.
The army came increasingly close. The army from the Sacred Dynasty scanned all of the mighty ones standing before the Holy Zhi Palace as well with cold expressions. There was nothing but bone-chillingly cold murderous intent seen in their eyes.
“Halt.” A leader of the Golden Phoenix Army, standing next to the carriage that carried the Sacred King, signaled. The army halted immediately. Both sides were very far away from each other, but it was nonetheless a distance that any powerful cultivators were able to cross within mere moments.
A young mighty one who was dressed in elegant, lavish garb of high ranking officers of the Golden Phoenix Army walked out. He held a halberd with golden phoenix symbol on it and pointed it at the army of the Barren State and shouted coldly, “The Sacred King is before you. All of you from the Barren State shall bow down.” His voice was loud and bright, reverberating throughout the air. He was throwing the might of the Great Zhou Sacred King about, using it to diminish the morale of the opposing army.
“I have heard that the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty was once the supreme force that ruled all of the Eastern State.” A voice was heard from the Barren State’s side. The one who spoke was none other than Gu Dongliu.
The ones from the Sacred Dynasty showed prideful looks at those words. The Golden Phoenix Army had swept all over the Eastern State like a tidal wave. It had once been the holy army of the Eastern State.
“It’s a pity that today, the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty was reduced to something that bullies villagers, a force that asks for Emperor Xia’s permission just to wage war against the Barren State, the state that endured hard times for a while now. You all take such actions with pride instead of shame. How pathetic indeed.” Gu Dongliu continued, “I’m afraid that in the near future, the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty will be less than what it is today.”
At that moment, the Sacred King was seen walking out of the carriage, standing in the air like a god, looking down on everyone below him. He took a look at Gu Dongliu and did not bother with him. His temperament was such that he would never be angered by Gu Dongliu’s words alone. Furthermore, he deemed all who were against him to be people who were about to die soon anyway.
He took a look at the one beside Ye Futian. It was none other than the old Village Chief. He then said, “Zhou Mian.”
“My King.” The supreme general of the Golden Phoenix Army, Zhou Mian, bowed.
“You will be in charge of this battle,” The Sacred King said and then looked at the Village Chief. “Let’s have a game of chess elsewhere.”
“Sure.” The Village Chief nodded. The rules of the Sacred War were dictated by Emperor Xia, and those rules were ones that even someone like the Sacred King dared not disobey. Even though he was the supreme ruler of the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty, Emperor Xia was the ruler of all Nine States, and the status of the Sacred King paled in comparison. If he were to get on Emperor Xia’s bad side, there would be nowhere for him to run to in all of the Nine States.
The rules set by Emperor Xia were a decree from the heavens, and no one was deemed qualified enough to defy them.
As such, the Great Zhou Sacred King was actually allowed to take on one opponent—the old Village Chief. But then again, the Sacred King had no intentions of fighting the Village Chief outright. He wanted to see the Holy Zhi Palace being razed by his army before that.
The Sacred King took to the sky and came high above. He waved, and golden clouds gathered around him in the air. He sat on the clouds and a chessboard appeared before him.
The Village Chief came to sit across the Sacred King, as if he cared for no one.
Many looked up. Those who came to witness the battle shuddered at that scene far away. Those two saints were about to play a game of chess with the ground below at stake, while their forces fought on the battlefield below.
Ye Futian took a look above, before turning his eyes forward again. Zhou Mian, the supreme general of the Golden Phoenix Army, was the younger brother of the Sacred King. He was a figure who ranked 16th on the Sage and Saint Ranking, which meant that he was indeed among the top figures.
The Sage Ranking of the Sage and Saint Ranking consisted of the mightiest 81 sages to be found in all of the Nine States. Due to the power difference between the those who ranked at the very top being very small, thus, they were all top-notch figures. While Kong Yao of the Zhisheng Cliffs ranked ninth and Zhou Mian 16th, the truth was that Zhou Mian was not all that much weaker than Kong Yao.
Other than that, there were three other mighty ones from the Sage Ranking amidst the great army gathered by the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty.
All four sages ranked on the Sage Ranking were at the pinnacle of the Sage Plane. Other than that, lords and heads of supreme clans and sects within the borders of the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty were all people at the pinnacle of Sage Plane. There was no way they were weaker than those who ranked on the Barren Sky Ranking. In fact, they were, in general, more powerful.
Furthermore, the invading army had a far larger number than the defending one. There was little left to the imagination regarding the outcome, judging just from the lineup of both sides.
Zhou Mian stepped forward. His air was incredibly sharp, and his eyes glittered with golden light as he looked at the ones at the Holy Zhi Palace and said, “Nobles take the lower ground while sages take the higher ground. Get to your positions.”
Ye Futian looked at the other side and called, “Yu Sheng.”
“Yes,” Yu Sheng shouted.
“Come here,” Ye Futian said.
Yu Sheng stepped out and cast his glance to the other side. The people of the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty glared at him with sharp eyes.
So he is the champion of the Nine State Forum.
“Yu Sheng of the Barren State, first level of Sage Plane, hereby issues a challenge to Zhou Ya, prince of the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty. Would you take the challenge?” Yu Sheng roared as he made his challenge before everyone.
His brimming voice reverberated in the air.
It was a commonly seen sight in wars: issuing challenges before one’s own served to boost morale.
Yu Sheng was the champion of the Nine State Forum and he had broken into the Sage Plane. If Zhou Ya were to take the challenge, there was no doubt that he would lose. But if he were to shirk from the challenge, that would mean that the prince of the Sacred Dynasty was running from a fight before his own people, and that would have been an incredible insult. Furthermore, that was the Sacred War and not the Nine State Forum. If they were to fight, they would go for the killing blows.
Zhou Ya’s face was ashen. He was lauded as the successor of the Sacred King and his talents were extremely exceptional as well. However, the battle between him and not confident of being able to beat Yu Sheng, the champion of the Nine State Forum.
“Will you fight or not?” Yu Sheng shouted, seeing how the one he challenged remain silent. Zhou Ya continued to clench his fists with an ashen face.
“Who are you to challenge the prince of the Sacred Dynasty?” A mighty one from the Golden Phoenix Army stepped out. He was a genius and an upper-level sage. He glared at Yu Sheng and said, “I’m Zhou Yao of the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty. I’m a sage and I will fight you.” He simply said that he was a sage and did not bother to mention anything about his level. Yu Sheng was new to Sage Plane, which would make him a lower-level sage.
Voom. Devilish wings shimmered as they manifested. Yu Sheng channeled power to his legs and stepped out. The air trembled as he leaped forward like a devil.
Dazzling wings of a golden phoenix appeared behind Zhou Yao. The Golden Phoenix Army consisted of members of the royal bloodline, making them extremely powerful.
Two figures shot at each other head-on at breakneck speeds. A golden phoenix halberd appeared in Zhou Yao’s hand and golden lights emanated in the air. The shadow of the golden phoenix blocked out the sky as the halberd went straight for Yu Sheng. A golden flash streaked through the air, looking extremely terrifying.
An ax appeared in Yu Sheng’s hand all of a sudden. Holy will coursed about, and Yu Sheng brought it above his head and then brought it down, wasting no time with flashy moves.
A crisp clear sound was heard, like an ax being brought down on wood. The golden phoenix halberd was split in the middle by the ax. The flash of the ax was seen coming down, and then the body before it was split into two right there and then.
The devilish wings flapped, and Yu Sheng turned around in an arc, heading back towards the Barren State’s side.
It took only one move with the ax to cut down his enemy.
“A holy item.” Cold expressions were seen in the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty’s army.
The move was dealt by none other than Yu Sheng, the champion of the Nine State Forum.
The mighty ones at the side of the Holy Zhi Palace watched with burning eyes and boiling blood. That was Yu Sheng, ending his opponent with one move with his ax.
“Noble army, stand forward and fight,” Zhou Mian said coldly. They had a superior number of mighty ones on their side, and thus had no need to play games of challenges with Ye Futian.
This is the Sacred War. Fair duels have no place in this.
Wars had always been brutal and cold-blooded. There was only one goal for anyone who fought in wars—to kill their enemies.
The great army of the nobles of the Sacred Dynasty moved forward as soon as Zhou Mian was done speaking. Their ordered formations brought about terrifying aura. Every single top-notch force formed into a square formation.
Those outside of the formations scattered throughout the air. Everyone took different positions depending on whether they majored in martial arts or sorcery.
Dazzling Life Spirits of all kinds shimmered in the air within mere moments, making the scene blindingly brilliant.
The rules of the Sacred War stated that sages were not allowed to fight nobles. The Holy Zhi Palace’s side had no choice but to field their nobles, as the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty had brought their nobles into the war.