Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The return of the geniuses to their respective holy lands kicked up quite a ruckus throughout the Nine States.
The news of what happened in the Xia clan back then made it public knowledge that the Supervising Inspector of the Nine States had brought the geniuses out for pilgrimages. Furthermore, it was said that they were able to earn eligibility for training in Upper Worlds. While many were puzzled by what that actually meant, it was said throughout the Nine States that it had been a privilege reserved only for saints. As such, the return of the geniuses naturally attracted the attention of the masses.
On the contrary, no one cared about the news regarding Ye Futian’s return to the Holy Zhi Palace, as no one knew what he had been up to for the past several years, and there was no way that they knew that a great incident that shook all three holy lands of the Ocean State had taken place there. After all, the Endless Ocean had been the place with the least contact with other states, not taking into account the Barren State of old. Right now, the attention that the Barren State had attracted far exceeded that of the Endless Ocean. The Endless Ocean was impossibly huge and it was a huge body of water after all.
Douzhan took Yu Sheng, who was training in the Vajra Region, home, several days after Ye Futian returned to the Holy Zhi Palace. There were quite a number of people gathering at the Holy Sage Pavilion at that moment. Yu Sheng was the most renowned figure after Ye Futian in the Holy Zhi Palace. Everyone knew that the one who was said to have grown up with Ye Futian would one day become the most powerful figure, second only to Ye Futian, throughout the Barren State. He had been like a devil back in the Nine State Forum. Even the rumored sword spirit, Yaya, of the Tombkeeper Village, lost to him.
At that moment, Ye Futian and many others in the Holy Zhi Palace were gauging Yu Sheng from head to toe. He seemed to have changed little over the years. His stout frame continued to exude a faint pressure to those around him. He was still the guy who clearly oozed with brimming power.
“How was training in the Vajra Region?” Ye Futian asked with a smile.
“Great, the Vajra Region Lord instructed me personally,” Yu Sheng answered. Ye Futian nodded with a smile. It was the Vajra Region Lord himself who extended a personal invitation to Yu Sheng, asking him to train in the Vajra Region. It was obvious that the lord saw something in Yu Sheng.
“What about the students of the Vajra Region then? Do they not envy you?” Ye Futian asked.
“Why would they? They were all so reluctant to see me off and many of them actually came to send me off,” Yu Sheng shook his head and answered.
“…” Ye Futian’s expression looked rather peculiar and asked, “You sure they were reluctant?”
“Sure seems so.” Yu Sheng nodded. “The people who train in Buddhism look real sincere.”
“They sure were sincere, alright. There were actually students who were saying their goodbyes in tears when I was bringing Yu Sheng home,” Douzhan added with a sheepish smile. Ye Futian imagined the scene and struggled to keep himself from laughing and then asked, “Any progress with your level?”
“Currently at Magi level, will be reaching middle-level soon.” Yu Sheng then asked, “Care to see for yourself?”
“No need for that. I’m almost an upper-level myself. No way you can beat me,” Ye Futian answered rather nonchalantly.
Everyone laughed while Yu Sheng shot a despised look at him.
“Futian,” Douzhan called and Ye Futian turned his eyes to Douzhan. “Teacher, are the students who went to study at the Vajra back too?”
“Yeah.” Douzhan nodded and added, “I’ve asked them about that as well.”
“Any news then?” Ye Futian’s chest tightened somewhat. The others rescinded their mood for jokes as they turned to look at Douzhan.
“According to the returning students of the Vajra Region, Xia Qingyuan had brought them to many places to train for the past several years. Furthermore, there were not only people of the Nine States around. There were also some supremely talented people from the Upper Worlds, and they were more numerous than those from the Nine States,” Douzhan elaborated.
Ye Futian’s expression looked somber. The Nine States were all of Emperor Xia’s Orthodoxy. But Emperor Xia seemed to have control over the Upper Worlds as well instead of just the Nine States alone. The Nine States simply served as the foundation of the Lower Worlds. It was also an enigma as to why Xia Qingyuan brought so many mighty ones for training.
“According to the people of the Vajra Region, our people seemed to have offended someone during the process and there were scuffles. They should be in the Upper Worlds right now.” Douzhan continued, “As for specific news, even the Vajra Region ones know little. They suggested for me to go ask about the Xia clan, as they would probably know more.”
Ye Futian’s frown tightened listening to Douzhan’s words. He knew that those from the Holy Zhi Palace who went out would have been very united. If one were to run into any trouble, the others would have helped settle it. That was probably the reason why none of their people had returned. As for specific details regarding what took place, there was no way he could have known anything from where he was.
“But then again, if the ones from the Vajra Region did not say much about specifics, then there shouldn’t be any huge problems. So, the news wasn’t all that bad and we don’t have to worry too much,” Douzhan added. The news at least proved that those from the Holy Zhi Palace were safe.
“Yeah.” Ye Futian nodded. But then again, how could we not worry?
“I’ll venture outside with the Village Chief a little,” Douzhan continued. Saints were allowed free passage to the Upper Worlds after all.
“No, get to the Xia clan and ask about specifics. We’ll decide from there,” Ye Futian said.
“I’ve something to report, Palace Lord.” Someone came at that moment. Ye Futian turned around at them and asked, “What is it?”
“News from the Summer State said that those who passed the training were known as the Heavenly Chosen Ones, and the list of those who made it was announced.” The messenger bowed and added, “The list was, of course, about those who passed the training.”
“Heavenly Chosen Ones.” Ye Futian’s eyes turned sharp. Heavenly Chosen Ones, eh? So Xia Qingyuan is saying that the Upper Worlds are heaven then?
“Any specifics?” Ye Futian asked.
“There were many from holy lands who made it, and the Holy Zhi Palace was the only holy land without any qualifying candidate,” the messenger continued, but they sounded somewhat unnatural.
All the eyes around were on the messenger in an instant.
No one from the Holy Zhi Palace of the Barren State made the cut?
Among those who ventured outside, there was Ye Futian’s Third Brother, Jieyu, Huang Jiuge, and the others. All of them were exceptionally talented people.
None of them made it?
The matter apparently seemed very off.
Did the people of the Holy Zhi Palace happen to offend Xia Qingyuan then?
“There is another piece of news,” the messenger continued.
“Carry on,” Ye Futian said.
“News from the Eastern State said that Liu Zong was on the list of the Heavenly Chosen Ones. Xihua Sacred Mountain made the announcement in the Eastern State. Furthermore, there is news about a marriage alliance about to take place between Xihua Sacred Mountain and the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty. The two who are scheduled to be married are Liu Zong and Zhou Ziyi of the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty,” the messenger continued.
The eyes of everyone turned sharp in mere moments.
The Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty is at war with the Holy Zhi Palace and Xihua Sacred Mountain is planning a wedding with the Sacred Dynasty? What is the meaning of this?
Yang Xiao’s expression turned sharp instantly and he said, “Xihua Sacred Mountain has been staying behind the scenes with everything. Their shadows were actually in just about everything. With Liu Zong being made a Heavenly Chosen One and the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty suffering heavy casualties, it seems that it is the Sacred Dynasty benefitting from this marriage alliance at first glance, but Xihua Sacred Mountain probably has their own ideas about things.”
Ye Futian nodded. While he did not like Liu Zong, he at least acknowledged that Zhou Ziyi was not a good fit for him. Back in the Chess Saint Villa, Liu Zong seemed to have been plotting something like that. He had great ambitions, wanting to unify the Eastern State and all.
“Futian, I will go to the Upper Worlds with the Village Chief and see what is actually happening,” Douzhan said.
Ye Futian shook his head. “No, stay here in the palace, teacher. I’ll have the Village Chief take me up there instead.”
“You going to the Upper Worlds?” Douzhan looked at Ye Futian and continued, “According to what I know, non-saints are not able to have free passage in the Upper Worlds, unless…”
“The Sky Stairwell and the Decree of Ascension,” Ye Futian said. The eyes of Douzhan and the others flashed. It was apparent that Ye Futian had deliberately looked into how to get to the Upper Worlds.
Ye Futian had indeed done his homework. With Jieyu and his brothers and sisters off on their pilgrimages, it was only natural that he felt the need to learn more. As such, he went to learn more about the Upper Worlds when he was training in the Nine State College.
“Getting up the Sky Stairwell exists only in the legends of the Nine States. It was said that there had been people who tried it before. You might be the most exceptional figure there is, but if you fail to make it, the price might be death. The difficulty of obtaining the Decree of Ascension through the Sky Stairwell is said to be far higher than becoming a saint. It has been almost forgotten throughout the Nine States and you don’t see anything about it other than in old texts.” Many looked severely worried as Sage Wanxiang elaborated. It seemed that core figures of the Holy Zhi Palace knew quite a lot.
“The world is a big place and there is no saying that there are places you can’t go,” Ye Futian said casually.
The Heavenly Chosen Ones are allowed to train in the Upper Worlds yet none of the students of the Holy Zhi Palace made it. If that is the case, we’ll just do it the hard way, he thought.
“Count me in,” Yu Sheng said as well.
Ye Futian took a look at him and did not refuse. He nodded and said, “Alright.”
“Fine then. When shall we depart?” Douzhan asked. The Village Chief’s speed greatly surpassed his, making him a better choice to take Ye Futian.
“Right now. We’ll make a trip to the Xia clan before that,” Ye Futian said.
A figure was seen walking from afar as soon as he finished. Ye Futian turned around and saw the Village Chief, who said, “If that’s the case, let’s go then.” Sword will was invoked as soon as he finished and a huge sword appeared beneath his feet.
Ye Futian and Yu Sheng stepped onto it and looked at everyone else. Ye Futian then said, “I’ll be off then.”
“Be careful.” Everyone looked at him.
He really thinks he can get to the Upper Worlds just like that? Well, only Ye Futian would be capable of something like that, it seems.