"Gu Dongliu became more powerful." Many great figures from Barren State looked at Gu Dongliu in the air. They were present on that day of the banquet when Bai Luli and Gu Dongliu battled. Now they bore witness yet again to Gu Dongliu's battle with Zhan Xiao, and it was apparent that his powers had grown. His Life Spirit seemed to have metamorphosed while the control of his spiritual will had with powers of rules advanced to yet another level.
Due to Zhan Xiao's skills as one of the Nine Warriors of Zhisheng Cliffs, his prowess was such that he would not have been simply taken out by Gu Dongliu with one move. Furthermore, both of them had fought each other before, which meant that Zhan Xiao had not anticipated Gu Dongliu's exponential increase in power, which was why he was injured by the move just then.
Gu Dongliu continued walking forward. Zhan Xiao looked up at Gu Dongliu with a gloomy expression. The clash right there and then made him understand that he was no longer a match for Gu Dongliu. He retreated, choosing not to clash with Gu Dongliu head on.
Gu Dongliu's expression was cold. His body disappeared as soon as he took one step forward. At the very next moment, the Celestial Shadow appeared in Zhan Xiao's mind one more time, and it seemed that Gu Dongliu's shadows were everywhere. He knew the shadows to be little more than illusions, as he was simply under attack from Gu Dongliu's spiritual will.
"How did he grow to be so powerful?" Zhan Xiao's face was ashen as he unleashed his Life Spirit, giving his all to the fight.
On another battlefield elsewhere, the battle between Yuan Hong and Kong Yao raged on, shaking the heavens and the earth. They took their fight up into the clouds, finding divine elephants everywhere. Kong Yao was simply too powerful; however, Yuan Hong was armed with a divine implement and that made him near unbeatable. He was able to simply dissolve any attacks that went at him, as he was, after all, still very powerful physically and possessed defensive capacities second to none.
The stifling noises exploded all over the sky. Zhuge Qingfeng and the others were also fighting heaven-shaking battles. Several top-notch figures on the Barren Sky Ranking surrounded Zhuge Qingfeng, but he was able to materialize countless shadows of his within the Eight Trigrams Matrix, enabling him to change attacks and locations at will, which in turn made him very difficult to tangle with. Even the likes of Yan Wuji and Di Kai, who were very, very powerful people, found it frustratingly hard to injure him.
The fights among the younger generations, however, had been easy ones. The likes of Qin Zhong and Ye Futian simply watched the fights of the titans around, as their planes were such that they were unable to even do anything to help. But then again, none of those top-notch figures went against them. It was, after all, a showdown between the top-notch figures. It was the principle of 'winner takes all' at play, with the nobles at the losing side waiting to be butchered when the dust settled.
Before the victors were determined, it was only natural for them to not waste their energies on some small fries. Furthermore, no one dared move away from the opponents they were fighting respectively. If someone from Zhisheng Cliffs or Sword Saint Villa ended up killing Ye Futian, the likes of Yuan Hong and Zhuge Qingfeng would have gone right after them. As such, there were actually only two battles that truly determined the fates of everyone there—the battle between Kong Yao and Yuan Hong, and that between Zhuge Qingfeng and the rest siding with Yan Wuji. Battles like the one between Gu Dongliu and Zhan Xiao were not of high priority.
Ye Futian felt very tense as well. The battles at Xuanwu Tower that day would end up determining the fates of many. Losing would have dire consequences.
"The Divine Path is one littered with death traps. If one does not have the belief to see it through, one has no business walking the Divine Path," Ye Futian said softly. He looked at Gu Dongliu and added, "Zhan Xiao is one of the nine and hails from the sacred ground of Yu State. So what? He was defeated all the same. Who is to say that my Third Brother can't become a saint one day."
His words were for everyone present. They were some mighty ones on the Barren Sky Ranking that he was unfamiliar with and there were elders whom he knew. However, he did not ask for any of them to interfere. The ones he wanted them to fight were the people of Zhisheng Cliffs, and no one liked messing with the likes of Zhisheng Cliffs. But at the very least, he did not hope to see any of those people against them. Or else...
The eyes of many sparkled. Yan Wuji and the rest saw that Yuan Hong was armed with a holy ritual implement, and that was totally unanticipated on their part. There was simply no way out for Yan Wuji and those who sided with him. Ye Futian was simply giving them reminders.
Qin Zhong glanced at the battle between Zhan Xiao and Gu Dongliu. His senior, Zhan Xiao, had taken to simply avoiding getting hit, as the odds were stacked heavily against him. Qin Zhong felt rather disappointed. Zhan Xiao was his senior and one of the Nine Warriors of Zhisheng Cliffs. They carried the reputation of Zhisheng Cliffs with them wherever they went. Gu Dongliu had been dissing Zhan Xiao's ineptitude before, and what Qin Zhong saw at the moment said that Gu Dongliu was telling the truth. That battle between Gu Dongliu and Zhan Xiao was a heavy blow to Zhisheng Cliffs' reputation.
"I heard that you were the champion of the Law Rank before Ximen Hanjiang came to claim the title," Qing Zhong turned his eyes at Ye Futian and said.
Whatever Zhan Xiao did, that was saved for later discussions. What mattered to Qin Zhong right then was not to see Zhisheng Cliffs' reputation get damaged any further. The embarrassment that his senior caused, he deemed it necessary to clean it up himself.
Ye Futian turned his eyes at Qin Zhong. The young man before him was also a noble, yet Kong Yao was seen by this young man's side all the time, which spoke volumes of Qin Zhong's status in Zhisheng Cliffs.
"I was indeed," Ye Futian said casually.
"I fought Ximen Hanjiang in the Holy Zhi Palace before and it took me only one move. I asked the Holy Zhi Palace if the students of the Palace represented the best the Barren State had to offer. They did not answer, and then I heard you being called the number one noble in all of the Barren State." Qin Zhong's voice was a calm one when he talked to Ye Futian. It seemed like he did not care for the war going on around him.
"It is a coincidence that I'm also known to be the number one below the sages," Qin Zhong said slowly. His intention was apparent: he wanted to fight Ye Futian.
Countless people of the younger generation turned their eyes at Qin Zhong and Ye Futian in an instant. They heard of what happened back in the Holy Zhi Palace, that Ximen Hanjiang was unable to withstand one finger from Qin Zhong, and it was said that Qin Zhong was the most exceptional among the Nine Warriors of Zhisheng Cliffs.
Ye Futian, on the other hand, also truly deserved being called the number one noble in all of the Barren State. The battle between them would not have been as spectacular as those around them, but many looked forward to it nonetheless.
This was especially so for the youths, as the mighty ones of the previous generation ranked on the Barren Sky Ranking were almost run over by Kong Yao alone. They had no choice but to rely on Saint-level implements to fight him on equal footing.
What about our generation then? they thought.
Gu Dongliu had demonstrated his talents by crushing Zhan Xiao, but Ye Futian and Qin Zhong represented the future of their respective states. Qin Zhong might have been just like Bai Luli, as it was said in the Barren State that he possessed the potential for sainthood. But Ye Futian had made himself a legend by crushing Di Gang and Ximen Hanjiang.
Di Gang, Li Futu, Huang Jiuge, and the others were present, eyeing the two and wishing fervently for the battle.
"You are right to say that you're only the number one below the sages in Zhisheng Cliffs," Ye Futian said while looking at Qin Zhong. He was trying to provoke him.
"After you," Qin Zhong said and gestured. He remained dashing throughout, bringing the might of the Nine Warriors of Zhisheng Cliffs to bear.
"No, after you," Ye Futian said. His planes in both sorcery and martial arts had reached that of a Grade Two Noble and were very steady. He was even able to catch a glimpse of a sage's power. He wanted to see what the number one beneath the sages in Zhisheng Cliffs was capable of.
Qin Zhong took steps forward without unleashing aura that was too powerful. He walked with grace and composure, not looking one bit like he was about to get into a fight between the pinnacle of nobles. His attitude was a plain one, yet it exuded confidence like none other.
Ye Futian glanced at Qin Zhong as he unleashed his spiritual will. The space where Qin Zhong was in felt like it had frozen over in an instant.
It was the Sky Freezing Technique.
Everything seemed to have ground to a halt and Qin Zhong felt unable to move in that frozen space at all. He was alerted, deeming Ye Futian to indeed be the number one noble in all of the Barren State. Such use of areas of will was indeed terrifying. Conventional nobles would not have been able to withstand even one hit from such a move, as it would have rendered the opponent utterly helpless. It was a pity that the one whom Ye Futian was fighting was him, Qin Zhong of Zhisheng Cliffs.
Brilliant lights burst around him. Qin Zhong's silhouette turned incredibly holy in an instant. The light coursed and circled around him like mystical energies were flowing all over him.
Voom. His body accelerated all of a sudden, making him impossibly fast. The power of the Sky Freezing Technique was utterly useless against him.
His speed was unbelievable. It seemed to have taken only an instant for him to close in on Ye Futian, and then he lashed out with one finger. The seemingly-simple move was the very move he had used against Ximen Hanjiang back in the Holy Zhi Palace. It might have looked impossibly simple, but Ye Futian clearly felt the terrifying powers imbued in it, and he was surprisingly able to feel the powers of saints within. It was the power of rules.
The number one under the sages in Zhisheng Cliffs had learned to use the powers of the sages, developing comprehension of his own rules. It was an utterly terrifying talent. That also meant that Qin Zhong was able to do what Bai Luli did—fight against sages.
Dazzling starlight appeared around Ye Futian. His martial arts will was unleashed as well. The surroundings of his body were turned into an Absolute Territory, bringing tremendous pressure on Qin Zhong. However, Qin Zhong was completely unfazed by the pressure and did not react to it. His finger fell onto the starlight around Ye Futian all the same.
The defensive light screen provided by the stars cracked violently and exploded shortly after. The power of rules was capable of tearing down all defensive capabilities at the noble level. It was further made worse by the fact that Qin Zhong was the one using it, as he was known to be the most exceptional among the Nine Warriors. It was due to such reasons that he was known to be the number one below the sages in Zhisheng Cliffs.
Ye Futian might have been known to be invincible in all of Barren State. Yet, so long as he was not a sage, it would not have made any difference at all.
Boom. The stars crumbled thoroughly and Ye Futian backed away like a bolt of lightning. That finger landed where he had been standing split seconds ago. A whirlpool was seen emanating from the finger; a manifestation of the terrifying power of destruction within. If Ye Futian had been only a split second slower, that finger would have pierced right through his body.
"Power of rules. This Son from Zhisheng Cliffs is someone like Bai Luli." Many great figures turned their eyes to Qin Zhong. Bai Luli had beaten a sage when he was still at the pinnacle of the Noble Plane back in the day, and that battle made him the renowned figure he was today. If one were to defeat sages, one needed to develop comprehension of the power of rules. Qin Zhong was a mighty one of such caliber, but Ye Futian was still just a Grade Two Noble.
Many turned their eyes at Ye Futian who was backing away. The younger generations had come to see Ye Futian as a nigh-undefeatable legend. Many exceptional geniuses present, including the likes of Di Gang and Li Futu, had all been defeated by Ye Futian before. And right there and then, the mighty one from Zhisheng Cliffs demonstrated extremely fearsome combat capacity before all of the mighty ones in the Barren State.
Qin Zhong might have been just like Bai Luli: someone who was capable of defeating sages. Ye Futian was fighting more than just another genius noble right there. If he was able to beat Qin Zhong, it would have proven that he also possessed the power to fight sages. However, at that moment, it was seen to be an impossible feat!
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