After a few days, news of what happened at Crouching Dragon Mountain had spread across the Barren State, causing a great furor.
Bai Luli and Zhuge Mingyue's engagement had been the talk of all of the Barren State, and over half of the top powers in the land had come to wish them well. However, someone had tried to steal the bride on the day itself, and in the end, the engagement ceremony had become Zhuge Mingyue and Gu Dongliu's. For Gu Dongliu to have replaced Bai Luli as the groom was shocking beyond measure. Furthermore, it seemed that when the two clashed that day, in a battle between the Barren State's two most monstrously talented individuals, Gu Dongliu had actually been able to injure Bai Luli despite being just a mid-level sage. And it was even said that if the two had been of the same plane, then Gu Dongliu would have been even more powerful. This seemed ridiculous to many.
In the past, Bai Luli had stood alone at the top of his generation, with no one within his generation who was good enough to challenge him. Anyone who did had been defeated. But now, it seemed like there was finally someone who was good enough to challenge Bai Luli at the top. Furthermore, following after these two monstrous talents was Ye Futian. His future was bright, and perhaps he too would be able to contest Bai Luli after some time. Looks like there were many talents within this generation in the Barren State.
There was one more thing that made people shudder to hear. Gu Dongliu, who has now the son-in-law of the Zhuge Family, had offended the cultivators of Zhisheng Cliffs, which was in the Yu State. It seemed like those cultivators weren't planning to let Gu Dongliu off. They had probably gone back to mobilize more people.
It was unknown whether this would lead to conflict between the Yu State and the Barren State.
While the powers of the nine states would have some interaction with each other, it took too long for normal cultivators to traverse such vast distances of land. It took a person of at least the Sage Plane to head over and explore a different state.
As such, for the average person, the Barren State was vast enough a territory to explore. Within their lifetime, they did not necessarily get the opportunity to venture out to the other states, which made these states absolutely foreign to most people. Any knowledge of sacred places within the other states, like the Zhisheng Cliffs, probably only existed in ancient texts and rumors.
In the Mingyue quarters on Crouching Dragon Mountain, the training grounds glowed with a dazzling light. Ye Futian stood on a building, watching the training grounds. He could vaguely make out the outline of a Celestial Shadow, which was incredibly radiant.
Zhuge Mingyue and Hua Jieyu were there as well. Zhuge Mingyue was even prettier than before now. With a smile on her face, she watched the Celestial Shadow.
"Is Third Older Brother still training?" Ye Futian asked.
"Yeah," Zhuge Mingyue nodded, and continued, "he seemed to have some sort of realization during that battle. Since he didn't get the opportunity to train during the fight itself, he went straight into training that very night."
"But that…" Ye Futian blinked in surprise, "that was the best time." Every moment in a night of passion was priceless, but his Third Older Brother had shut himself off to go and train instead.
"What are you thinking about, Youngest Brother?" Zhuge Mingyue looked over at him smiling. Ye Futian shuddered before answering, "N-Nothing. I just feel it's a bit of a pity. Fourth Older Brother and Fifth Older Brother went to such trouble to come visit, but Third Older Brother has shut himself away like this. He's really missed out on this reunion."
Xue Ye and Luo Fan had already returned to Alchemy City with You Chi.
Zhuge Mingyue looked at him with a half-smile. This rascal dared to make fun of his Second Older Sister and his Third Older Brother, he was really getting bolder nowadays.
"Older Sister, do you think Third Older Brother will break through to the next plane?" Ye Futian asked. He was excited about the prospects of that happening. If his Third Older Brother were to break through to the next plane, he would be at the same level as Bai Luli. If they were to battle again then, who knew how things could turn out this time.
"Maybe. But according to him, something has changed in his Life Spirit," Zhuge Mingyue replied.
"Right," Ye Futian nodded, "looks like Third Older Brother is going to be training on his own for a while. I won't wait for him then, I'm planning to make a trip back to the Holy Zhi Palace."
"Do you want me to get my father to send some people along with you?" Zhuge Mingyue asked.
"There's no need to. I'm not a child, and in any case, I'm the strongest person under the sage level now," Ye Futian shook his head and chuckled, not being humble at all. The Zhuge Family already had issues with him over things like this. Back then, he had been publicly accused by many of wanting to make use of the Zhuge Family's power. If he were to receive help from the Zhuge Family now, he would definitely be laughed at behind his back. Furthermore, it would only bring trouble to Zhuge Qingfeng.
"Alright then." Zhuge Mingyue smiled and nodded.
"I'll take my leave now then." Ye Futian left to find Yu Sheng, Hua Jieyu and the rest, before leaving the Zhuge household together.
At the Holy Zhi Palace, an equally huge furor had ensued the moment news of what happened at Crouching Dragon Mountain reached their ears. Ye Futian had been implicated in the battle between Bai Luli and Gu Dongliu. As a result, he was expelled from the Palace. Both his and Yu Sheng's names were removed from the Law Rank, and Ximen Hanjiang had become first in the Law Rank again. However, becoming first in the Law Rank this way seemed a little uneventful. It had been a lot more exciting the first time Ximen Hanjiang had reached the top of the Rank before Ye Futian had taken over him.
Many months ago, Ye Futian had faced Ximen Hanjiang and won in a battle they had after he had risen to the top. Many people were anticipating the day where they would be able to compare Ye Futian and Bai Luli. But life was full of surprises, and in just a few months Ye Futian was no longer a disciple of the Holy Zhi Palace. He set a historic precedent for being the first disciple who had been first in both the Law Battle and the Law Rank to be expelled from the Palace.
Right then, Ye Futian was being blocked by a guard outside the Palace.
"I'm here to say goodbye to my teacher and to pick up my family. Please help me report this to them," Ye Futian requested.
"Alright." The guard naturally knew about Ye Futian as well, and he went forth to announce his arrival. Soon he came back, and told Ye Futian, "Go ahead."
"Thank you," Ye Futian thanked the guard before heading straight for the Battle Sage Palace. Hua Jieyu went to visit the Daozang Palace instead. Sage Daozang had been kind to her, and so she wanted to bid him farewell as well.
In the Battle Sage Palace, Ye Futian first returned to his old living quarters. Loulan Xue and Yi Qingxuan had been waiting for them over the past few days. Yuan Zhan had arrived as well, saying, "I'll leave with you as well."
"Alright, you should come and see Teacher with me." Ye Futian nodded at him. This was also something that Senior Yuan Hong had asked of him as well.
"Right." Yuan Zhan nodded, and they set off towards the Battle Sage Hall, where both Sage Douzhan and Sage Jingang were. It was as if they had been waiting for the two.
"Teacher, I've been very unfilial to you," Ye Futian bowed to Sage Douzhan as he spoke.
Sage Douzhan was a large, burly man. He watched Ye Futian very calmly, and replied, "Back then when you asked to go visit the Zhuge Family, your will was unshakeable. I thought about it but concluded you wouldn't regret anything. Since you acted out of your own will, there is no question of you being unfilial."
"Will Yuan Zhan leave with you too?" Sage Jingang asked.
"Yes, Uncle. I'm sorry," Ye Futian replied apologetically.
"Don't worry about it." Sage Jingang shook his head and chuckled.
"You and Yu Sheng were previously first and second in the Law Rank, with few worthy competitors in the Noble Plane," Sage Douzhan mused. "Your next aim should be to reach the Sage Plane. It's just a pity you didn't manage to train inside the Sage Palace. But since this was a choice you made on your own, there isn't much to be sorry or regretful over. The world is vast, there'll be training opportunities everywhere."
"Thank you, Teacher," Ye Futian replied, his heart warm. His three teachers—Hua Fengliu, Mr. Du from the Cottage, and Sage Douzhan—had all been individuals with unique personalities. They all had an important influence on various periods of time in his life, offering him help and advice. They had been very kind to him, and he was extremely grateful for that.
Walking this path of cultivation, Ye Futian had encountered many challenges and enemies, but he had also met many elders worth respecting and made friends that stuck through thick and thin with him.
Just like what Sage Douzhan had just said, the world was vast, and there'll be training opportunities everywhere.
"You may have left the Palace, but you'll still be a disciple of mine. The Barren State isn't the limit of your cultivations. Many people struggle to leave this vast land throughout their entire life. Some manage to leave but are forced to come back in the end. But I hope your names will become famous not just in the Barren State, but throughout the nine states," Sage Douzhan told Ye Futian. He had high hopes for the two of them.
"No," Ye Futian shook his head, and Sage Douzhan looked at him, "it'll be the Divine Prefecture and the world beyond."
Sage Douzhan was taken aback slightly before he smiled and nodded. "That's right, the Divine Prefecture and the world beyond it is." Since Ye Futian had such great ambition, the sage would eagerly await the day he realized his dreams. He hoped he would live to see that day.
"Teacher, I'll take my leave now," Ye Futian said.
"Go ahead," Sage Douzhan replied casually. He stood there, his back proudly straight.
Ye Futian turned and walked out of the Battle Sage Hall. He then looked back at the building, before bowing once towards the hall and leaving for good. Yu Sheng too bowed towards the hall, and the group walked out of the Battle Sage Palace.
"Younger Brother, take care of yourself," Qi Jie called out from aside.
"Older Brother, you take care too." Ye Futian waved casually at him.
Many people had gathered outside the Battle Sage Palace. From the Sword Palace, there was Ye Wuchen, Liu Chenyu, Zui Qianchou, and Xu Que. Many people had come from the Daozang Palace as well. There was Hua Jieyu, Yun Shuisheng, and Phoenix. Even Xiang Zhiqin had come as well.
Mu Zhiqiu and Zhong Li were here too, and many people stood watching from afar. There were people who had received guidance from Ye Futian, like Yan Qingwu and many other disciples from the Palace, who had come to say goodbye as well.
"Wuchen," Ye Futian called out to Ye Wuchen, "you got my message from Xu Que, right?"
Ye Wuchen nodded, and asked, "What are your plans from now on?"
"I don't know yet," Ye Futian replied. "You just carry on with your training in the Palace and aim for the Sage Plane. I urgently have to break through to the next plane. I think I'll train on my own for a while. If the time is right, I may go on a trip somewhere far away. When that happens, I'll let you know."
"Alright." Ye Wuchen nodded.
However, everything Ye Futian had said was but plans he had made, and ideas in one's head often don't turn out as one imagines.
"You're going to leave just like this?" Zui Qianchou asked.
"What else can I do?" Ye Futian shrugged. "I'm just training somewhere else. It's not like you'll never see me ever again. Train well, you all, we'll get the chance to take on the world together in future. I'll take my leave now, you don't have to see me off."
Ye Futian and the rest then left the Palace. Though Ye Futian had said not to see him off, Ye Wuchen and everyone else still followed after him anyway. As such, a strange sight could be seen within the Holy Zhi Palace. A talent had been expelled from the Palace and was leaving, yet he was followed by many other talented individuals who were sending him off.
When many influential characters heard about this, they were moved as well. Ye Futian was a leader of his generation at the Holy Zhi Palace, and everyone looked up to him. It was a pity.
In a part of the Wanxiang Pavilion, stars dotted the sky, lighting it up with a soft glow. The constellations seemed to revolve around the world. This was the Wanxiang Hall, and a figure sat amidst the endless starlight. Just when Ye Futian left the Palace, the figure grunted, his face pale. As he opened his eyes, a flash of dazzling light burst across the hall. In the next moment, the glowing stars had disappeared. The man stood up, and instantly he seemed so much more impressive. He then walked out of this place.
Very soon, news spread through the Wanxiang Pavilion that Sage Wanxiang had finally left the hall!
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