Kong Yao's aura was a cold, stern one as he glared at Zhuge Qingfeng and said, "We at Zhisheng Cliffs will the one deciding who is right or wrong here. I'll say this one more time, hand Gu Dongliu over to us."
Zhuge Qingfeng looked at him and he naturally knew who Kong Yao was—the figure ranked ninth on the Sage Ranking of the Sage and Saint Ranking of the Nine States.
He knew the weight of a sacred relic. There was no need for right or wrong to be determined when such items were concerned. The innocent would be made guilty if it served their interests. Furthermore, the sacred relic was something that Gu Dongliu had taken from Zhan Xiao. Even someone like Kong Yao would not have a sacred relic with him, as he was not the lineage of a saint. There was no way for him to acquire one in conventional ways either, due to Zhisheng Cliffs having saints among their ranks.
When it came to acquiring a sacred relic, it was entirely within reason for Zhan Xiao to kill everyone around him to get it. Even Kong Yao himself would not have spared anyone mercy if he was in Zhan Xiao's shoes. As such, it was deemed adequate to simply make one's stance clear. There was simply no need for further explanations.
"I'm afraid I can't comply with that," Zhuge Qingfeng answered in a straightforward manner. An oppressive air permeated the sky above Crouching Dragon Mountain for a time. Many looked in their direction from outside the estate, and they were able to sense that stifling aura. Are the super powerful ones from Zhisheng Cliffs about to fight Zhuge Qingfeng, who ranks sixth on the Barren Sky Ranking, right inside the Zhuge family estate?
Might emanated from Kong Yao's body. In that very instant, everyone in the Zhuge family on Crouching Dragon Mountain felt as if a mountain had fallen on their heads.
Kong Yao took one step forward, and that one step showered the power of rules down below. A thunderous rumble was soon heard after. Crouching Dragon Mountain was shaking.
Pfftt. Many within the Zhuge family of weaker training went pale and spouted blood. They lifted their heads to look at the figure standing tall in the sky, their bodies wobbling. Is that something even doable for a human? One step and terror of this scale follows.
"Are you sure?" Kong Yao's eyes were sharp as he glared at Zhuge Qingfeng. A terrifying pressure swept over him, leaning hard on his spiritual willpower.
Zhuge Qingfeng had never fought someone of such caliber, who ranked ninth on Sage Ranking. Kong Yao's combat capacity probably belonged on the top three of the Barren Sky Ranking. It would not be a surprise even if his powers were comparable to the champion of the Barren Sky Ranking. The Sage Ranking was filled with the most powerful 81 sages found in all nine states. Even if every state were to have only one on the rank, there would still be nine in total. Even as the number one sage in the Barren State, there was no certainty he would have been ranked among the top nine on the Sage Ranking. In the case of the Barren State, Kong Yao's combat capacity was definitely among the absolute top.
Zhuge Qingfeng's expression was incredibly severe. His body was dazzling with incredible brilliance, and it brought unparalleled brightness to all of Crouching Mountain Dragon instantly. Deep within the mountain, there was a mysterious power being unleashed. Sky blue brilliance encompassed Zhuge Qingfeng, and the entire Crouching Dragon Mountain was thrown into very bright daylight. Endless runes shone throughout the mountain, and an incredibly huge matrix appeared—Eight Trigrams Matrix.
Afterimages glittered around Zhuge Qingfeng, turning into silhouettes of lightning. They took their places in different corners of the Eight Trigrams Matrix. They multiplied rapidly and soon, the entire matrixes were filled with shadows of Zhuge Qingfeng.
"I'm certain," Zhuge Qingfeng replied with a steely, adamant voice. As a top-notch sage, he had no intentions of backing down easily from what he had determined to accomplish. There was simply no way for Zhisheng Cliffs to throw their weight around in the Zhuge family so easily.
"The sacred relic." Kong Yao sensed the power and knew there was a sacred relic in the Zhuge family. While Zhuge Qingfeng was unable to wield the true power of the item, he was nonetheless able to borrow its powers to boost his own. That very Eight Trigrams Matrix that covered all of Crouching Dragon Mountain emanated an immovable feeling.
Zhuge Qingfeng extended his hand, and all of his shadows followed suit in an instant. In the very next second, every shadow shone with the frightening power of lightning throughout the sky. His powers encompassed the group of mighty ones from Zhisheng Cliffs. The devastating lightning flashed about like death-bringing bolts. Many mighty ones felt spiritual will rocking about. The light was infused with extremely devastating spiritual attacks, rampaging about in their minds. If Zhuge Qingfeng had gone through with it, the scene would have really turned into a disaster. It was apparent that what he pulled was in retaliation to what Kong Yao did earlier. It would have served at least as a reminder to Kong Yao.
Boom. Kong Yao took another step forward. Godlike statues appeared in the air and brought their might down upon the Eight Trigrams Matrix. It shook violently as a result. However, the matrix burst with tremendous light. The force of the attacks it took was spread throughout the entire matrix, ensuring its integrity.
At the very same time, Kong Yao vanished into thin air. The people below were unable to even track his movements, making it seem as if he disappeared from existence altogether. He then appeared in the air right before Zhuge Qingfeng. He clenched his fist and punched. Godly conjuring appeared around his fist, seemingly capable of moving the heavens and the earth.
Zhuge Qingfeng responded with a punch himself without even flinching.
Boom! The entire mountain shook as the punches connect. As both fists collided, light burst from the matrix on the mountain, shooting heavenward. The entire matrix's light coalesced on Zhuge Qingfeng's body, which had his robe and black hair billowing about.
At the moment, Zhuge Qingfeng felt it was not Kong Yao who punched him, but an incredible huge godlike figure.Kong Yao's arm vibrated. Nine fist will exploded forth instantly. His godlike conjuring went on a stampede, howling in Zhuge Qingfeng's mind as if it was trying to stomp him to death. It was a harrowing sight to behold. At the same time, Kong Yao burst with endless brilliance of devastation, coursing about his body.
Boom. A powerful light exploded, shattering Zhuge Qingfeng's shadows. Kong Yao's body returned to where it had been before as if he never moved in the first place.
Yet another illusory shadow coalesced and manifested into Zhuge Qingfeng. It was as if the person that was destroyed before was a shadow instead of his true body. However, the one who launched the attack was none other than Zhuge Qingfeng himself.
"I have to hand it to the sacred relic. Working under it renders one's defense impenetrable indeed." Kong Yao looked at Zhuge Qingfeng. With protection provided by a sacred relic, one was almost guaranteed victory and total immunity from being killed.
The members of Zhuge family continued watching the battle in the air above Crouching Dragon Mountain and were able to deeply feel the immense power of Kong Yao, as he was capable of holding himself well against the powers bestowed by a sacred relic. That was also the first time most of them came to know the power of the sacred relic. It was said that the relic was precisely what the Holy Zhi Palace and the City Lord of White Cloud City were after from the Zhuge family, which was the very reason the marriage alliance between Bai Luli and Zhuge Mingyue was arranged in the first place.
Bai Luli's talent was that if he were to reach the pinnacle of sages, armed with the sacred relic in the Holy Zhi Palace as well as the one in the Zhuge family to walk on the Divine Path, he might have very well ended up the most powerful, second only to saints. With that said, the probability of him attaining sainthood would be almost absolute. It was no surprise why all the great figures in the Barren State wanted so badly to get the alliance up—they wanted to create a saint.
"You will not be taking Gu Dongliu away. I advise you all to return to where you came from," Zhuge Qingfeng looked at Kong Yao and said. That one strike before was more than enough to have him experience how truly frightening the one ranked ninth on the Sage Ranking was. A simple punch that seemed to have been imbued with the might of major rules capable of wiping everything in its path. If it had not been for the sacred relic boosting Zhuge Qingfeng's defenses earlier, it would have been very difficult for him to fight against Kong Yao.
"I have come all the way here and I will not leave without taking who I came for," Kong Yao said with a forceful tone. He turned around once he was done and told the ones from Zhisheng Cliffs, "Let's go."
Zhan Xiao glared at Zhuge Qingfeng and Gu Dongliu. With Gu Dongliu's item accounted for, there were two sacred relics in the Zhuge family estate.
Qin Zhong was very calm throughout the fight. They might have left Crouching Dragon Mountain, but they did not leave Xuanwu City. They instead took up residence in one of the inns in Xuanwu City, not far away outside Crouching Dragon Mountain. All of the guests checked out without hesitation, as they did not want any trouble with the big shots from Zhisheng City, fearing that they may have ended up offending those visitors somehow.
"So long as the Zhuge family is armed with such a relic, it will be very difficult for us," Qin Zhong said.
"Zhan Xiao, you've been in Barren State for quite a while now. Do you have any ideas on how to go about this?" Kong Yao said to Zhan Xiao. While it was possible for them to fight a war of attrition with the Zhuge family, he thought his energies could be better spent elsewhere. As such, it was still more preferable to get the matter settled as soon as possible.
"The day I found Gu Dongliu was not during his engagement banquet; it was one meant for the proud son of White Cloud City, Bai Luli, and Zhuge Mingyue. The very reason why the Holy Zhi Palace formed an alliance with White Cloud City was due to the sacred relic on Zhuge Qingfeng. But Gu Dongliu went to steal the bride that day and Bai Luli ended up giving up. As such, the City Lord of White Cloud City, who ranks fourth on the Barren Sky Ranking, definitely felt very frustrated. It was said that he held an intense grudge when he left that day," Zhan Xiao elaborated.
"So Bai Luli was that proud student of the Holy Zhi Palace who ranked tenth on the Barren Sky Ranking and possesses huge potential for sainthood." It was obvious that Kong Yao knew a thing or two about the Barren Sky Ranking.
"Indeed." Zhan Xiao nodded.
"It seems that the Holy Zhi Palace is very desperate to nurture a saint. The City Lord of White Cloud City is Bai Luli's father, and it's only natural for him to wish for his son to become a saint." Kong Yao smirked and continued, "Pay a visit to White Cloud City. Tell him that when the deed is done, I will help look after Bai Luli when he goes on his journey to sainthood. If this proves inadequate, tell him that the sacred relic in the Zhuge family will be his if we manage to get our hands on it."
"Will do, Uncle," Zhan Xiao smirked and said. White Cloud City had been going after the Zhuge family's sacred relic all this while, and they would not simply let a chance like this slip through their fingers. Of course, it would have been better if White Cloud City would have simply agreed to their first proposal, as that would have meant them bagging two sacred relics.
Zhan Xiao left Xuanwu City and headed straight for White Cloud City. He went telling everyone of Gu Dongliu's 'crimes' along the way. Since Gu Dongliu had his reservations about telling the truth, he would simply need to claim his side of the story to be the true story, making his lie a complete truth.
The news spread far and wide soon. Bai Gu left White Cloud City and headed for the Zhuge family's Xuanwu City months after he had last been there.
The incident shook the Barren State, and both Xuanwu City and Crouching Mountain Dragon quickly found themselves isolated. Forces gathered right under their noses and they were in a crisis. It seemed as if both places could collapse soon.
Ye Futian remained focused on his training at Taihang Mountain. He wanted to become a saint as soon as possible and had dedicated himself to comprehending the rules of Sage Plane, making good progress for the time being. However, when news from Crouching Dragon Mountain reached him, the tranquility within his mind was shattered in an instant.
The City Lord of White Cloud City had actually wanted in on this and had even allied with Zhisheng Cliffs of Yu State to achieve it.
A rumble was heard on Taihang Mountain. A group of golden great apes took to the air with a man standing on one of them. Yuan Hong descended the mountain once again, and this time, with Ye Futian in tow!
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