The Holy Sage Pavilion threw a banquet to welcome Ye Futian and the others ending their training in isolation. Many in the Holy Zhi Palace attended the banquet.
"Why does it look so much like a celebration for a victory?" Ye Futian smiled, feeling rather speechless. It was not like they had actually fought a war somewhere else.
"The bell of the Sage Hall rang often for the past year. To the Holy Zhi Palace, the meaning behind this is far greater than winning a war somewhere. Furthermore, you all have grown considerably in the past year. Aren't any of you going to share your training experiences with the students of the Holy Zhi Palace?" Sage Daozang then added with a smile, "You all missed last year's sparring session, after all."
"Alright, have it your way, Uncle Daozang," Ye Futian smiled and said.
The group took their seats and Ye Futian went to take the master's seat. Yuan Hong and the other five lords sat beside him. The Holy Zhi Palace students who attended the banquet felt things were weird. The Holy Zhi Palace had never been so relaxed in the past, but ever since Ye Futian took over as Palace Lord, the entire atmosphere of the Holy Zhi Palace seemed to have changed somehow, little by little.
"Palace Lord, how does it feel breaking into Sage Plane?" the Sword Demon asked, smiling.
Ye Futian turned his eyes at everyone present and said, "The will of a sage reaches out to their surroundings. I feel as if I have developed a deeper comprehension of the heavens and the earth, as well as nature. I have heard that it was needed for sages to have an indomitable will and an open state of mind to be able to encompass everything around them and break into the plane. While none of that seems relevant to training, but if one trains with a closed mind, one's will will not be able to reach out. When that happens, it will be impossible for one's will to completely meld with one's surroundings and touch another level of power. 'One who trains will first be required to train one's mind.' I find that expression to be very apt.
"The Holy Zhi Palace might have many students, but even those who possess exceptional talents often find themselves trapped at the threshold at the pinnacle of the Noble Plane, incapable of taking any step further. At times, that actually has little to do with one's talents and capacity for comprehension; the key lies within reaching the required state of mind. I hope my explanation helps," Ye Futian said.
Many nodded. Everything in the world followed certain patterns, and it was a very curious and mystical thing. Some seemingly unrelated matters were actually connected at very deep levels. Yet, one would not have been able to develop such comprehension unless one reached the level required to do so.
The students of the Holy Zhi Palace felt increasingly impressed with Ye Futian. The genius who had beaten Bai Luli had broken into the Sage Plane before he had even turned 30. Furthermore, his actual combat capacity was probably even greater. The scale of things was terrifying with Ye Futian, and he was an extremely rare case in the entire history of the Holy Zhi Palace. They were vaguely able to understand why the previous Palace Lord had been willing to give up his life to pass on the seat of Palace Lord to Ye Futian. But then again, it was a given that there were still some who found that decision disagreeable. They either found his plane or his agenda to be an issue.
For example, the former number one in Law Rank, Ximen Hanjiang. He was not chosen to be allowed entry to the Sage Hall. He was not nominated by the Holy Sage Pavilion.
While he felt the extremely high requirement for entering the Sage Hall to be rather irksome, he blamed most of his failure on him not being good enough. When Ye Futian was chosen over him, he battled with Ye Futian, angered at such a decision. He lost and he had no choice but to admit defeat. However, at the moment, all who were able to enter the Sage Hall were those who shared amicable relations with Ye Futian, yet he was still left out. He was unable to fathom why it had been so.
Ximen Hanjiang asked after drinking a cup of wine, "I have something that I'm unable to comprehend and I'd like to ask the Palace Lord."
Ye Futian heard Ximen Hanjiang's words and turned his eyes to the man. Ye Futian was calm and composed, yet he sighed deeply in his mind as he exchanged looks with the Sword Demon, Daozang, and the rest. He had considered letting Ximen Hanjiang in before and had discussed the matter with the Sword Demon, Daozang, and the others, before finally settling on testing Ximen Hanjiang's worthiness.
When they went about choosing those to be allowed to train in the Sage Hall, they deemed one's personality and state of mind to be the most important point to be taken into consideration other than talent. The Sage Hall was an important place in the Holy Zhi Palace. While the Holy Zhi Palace set no limitations on who was allowed to be taught within, the candidates for entering the Sage Hall were naturally people that the Holy Zhi Palace wanted to be able to handle crises with an indomitable mind and stance. At the very least, those who were unable to keep their stance were definitely not to be allowed to train inside.
If one was the kind of person who would turn so easily, just like those who sided with Zhisheng Cliffs after being enticed by Kong Yao, they would turn into something to come back to bite the Holy Zhi Palace.
"Speak," Ye Futian said calmly.
"Palace Lord, you claim that one who trains will first be required to train one's mind. A sage is one needed to have a bearing capable of encompassing all, yet what I find is that all who are allowed to train in the Sage Hall are your friends, Palace Lord," Ximen Hanjiang said. The banquet turned quiet the very second he finished. There was a handful who shared the same sentiment as Ximen Hanjiang and they all turned to look at Ye Futian. There were many students in the Holy Zhi Palace whose talents had been verified, but not their temperament.
"If any of my words sound offensive, I hope you will not take it to heart, Palace Lord," Ximen Hanjiang added. Zhuge Xing had served as an example before, but Ximen Hanjiang did not care. He had reached a stop in his training, but even if he ended up being expelled from the Holy Zhi Palace, he would simply return to his clan to train, which was why he dared ask in the first place.
"That's entirely fine." Ye Futian shook his head and said, "Many who entered the Sage Hall are your juniors, yet their plane is not weaker than yours. If you have any questions about capabilities, feel free to test yourself against anyone of them. If you manage to emerge victorious, I will give you permission to enter the Sage Hall right away."
Many who heard Ye Futian's words froze. Ximen Hanjiang was allowed to pick any one of theml.
While Ximen Hanjiang had often been considered to be the worst number one on the Law Rank in the recent generations, he was still a former number one on the Law Rank.
Am I just going to be looked down on like this? Ximen Hanjiang's expression turned rather ugly. While he was still unable to break through the pinnacle of the Noble Plane and was currently stuck, he had developed increasingly matured rules. So I'm still getting humiliated like this, eh?
"If you say so, Palace Lord, then I see no reason to refuse." Ximen Hanjiang got up and said, "I train in the art of the sword. I shall challenge Ye Wuchen, a student of the Sword Palace."
Ximen Hanjiang naturally would not have picked Ye Futian or Yu Sheng, and it would have looked rather bad for him to pick one of the girls. Xu Que was a successor of Xu Shang and he had no certainty of being able to defeat him. As such, challenging Ye Wuchen seemed to be a guaranteed bet.
"You may." Ye Futian nodded as he took a look at Ximen Hanjiang. The Sword Demon and the others who were sitting beside him looked rather disappointed. The truth was, it was the Sword Demon who denied Ximen Hanjiang's entry into the Sage Hall. He wanted to test the young man since Ximen Hanjiang had already shown his dissatisfaction when Ye Futian was granted permission into the Sage Hall back then and challenged Ye Futian. As such, the Sword Demon decided to observe Ximen Hanjiang further. If the young man was able to endure such denials, they would have decided to nurture him further. However, it was obvious that Ximen Hanjiang turned out to be a let-down, so much so that he even went on to challenge the one who kept the lowest profile among the group, Ye Wuchen.
It was apparent that he had avoided the stronger ones and picked on the one he deemed the weakest to challenge. It spoke volumes of his lack of bearing, and many deemed it normal that he was unable to progress further with his training.
At the moment, Ximen Hanjiang had no idea that his outspokenness at such a place and time had cost him future opportunities.
Ye Wuchen emerged from the corner where the students of the Sword Palace were. He flashed and took to the air. Ximen Hanjiang flashed and leaped into the air as well.
Both were clad in overbearing sword aura, spreading throughout their surroundings. Power of rules of ice burst in an instant and crisp cracking noises were heard as the space where Ye Wuchen was became encased in ice. The icy powers went on to cover his entire body.
A stream of powerful sword aura burst on Ye Wuchen, and noises of the ice shattering were heard. Ximen Hanjiang flashed and turned into afterimages as he went for Ye Wuchen. Terrifying sword will rules covered the blade in his hand, tearing at the space before him, as if he was to tear space itself apart.
Ximen Hanjiang had come to develop comprehension of powers enabling his sword to cut rules, bringing frightening damage potential to bear. All defenses were rendered null before the rules of his sword, cut and shattered easily.
Ye Wuchen remained standing where he was. His eyes turned incredibly terrifying in an instant as if they turned into a pair of swords. Ximen Hanjiang was stopped dead in his tracks all of a sudden. His eyes seemed to have been pulled away by something. Illusions filled his mind and he found himself inside a cage made of swords, surrounded by terrifying sword will.
Ye Wuchen's figure looked increasingly huge in Ximen Hanjiang's eyes. A sword lashed out at Ximen Hanjiang, going straight for the middle of his brow.
Ximen Hanjiang's expression turned ice-cold. Powers of rules of ice burst, encasing Ye Wuchen's body, while he went at Ye Wuchen with his sword at breakneck speed.
Many looked on at that moment with peculiar expressions. The ones watching below saw Ye Wuchen lash out at Ximen Hanjiang with an illusory shadow. He himself remained standing where he was. He only moved when Ximen Hanjiang's sword came right before him.
A thrust shining with a blinding light appeared. Ximen Hanjiang was jarred awake in an instant, but it was too late for him to do anything to resist. Terrifying sword aura gushed at him and the tip of his opponent's sword appeared right before his throat. Ximen Hanjiang's face looked completely ashen at that very instant and he looked incredibly awkward.
"Illusive Sword rules, I take it?" The Sword Demon's eyes were fixed on Ye Wuchen. The Illusive Sword rules were a very rare type of power of rules, something activated and used by working spiritual type powers. The rules enabled illusive swords that looked no different from the real thing to manifest.
Ye Wuchen sheathed his sword and dropped to the ground. Ximen Hanjiang was too ashamed to remain in the air. He returned to his seat without lifting his head to look at Ye Futian. He was the former number one on the Law Rank, yet despite him being allowed to pick an opponent of his choosing, he was still unable to end up on top.
Many students of the Holy Zhi Palace were exasperated at the scene. No one had any reason to doubt Ye Futian anymore.
Ye Futian took a look at Ximen Hanjiang calmly and said nothing. While Ximen Hanjiang had a problematic temperament, he was not as bad as Zhuge Xing. If he were to realize that himself and rectified on his own, he would have been a true proud son of the heavens. As such, Ye Futian did not pound on Ximen Hanjiang any further.
"The candidates allowed to enter the Sage Hall this time were closely scrutinized and chosen by the lords themselves, instead of them simply being good friends of mine. If there are any other students of the Holy Zhi Palace who feel slighted by the selection, feel free to dispute the choice with the lords of your respective places of training. I will not hold such disputes against anyone." Ye Futian then added, "However, I hope the students of the Holy Zhi Palace will not limit their visions to just the Sage Hall."
"What do you mean by that, Palace Lord?" someone looked at Ye Futian and asked.
"The time period for training in the Sage Hall is one year. The first batch who was permitted to train within the Sage Hall has emerged. I will not limit these people to move just within the Holy Zhi Palace. By that, I mean I'll take them on pilgrimages throughout the other states to experience firsthand what the geniuses of other states are capable of." Ye Futian turned to everyone present and continued, "There are events held throughout all nine states, and the states interact with each other often. The Barren State is the only one isolated due to us having no saints. But the Barren State can no longer afford to be how it has always been. We cannot limit ourselves within the Barren State simply because the other states do not see us as one of them. In the past, only top-notch, supreme geniuses from the Holy Zhi Palace will have ventured outside. In the future, I wish to see all students of the Holy Zhi Palace venturing to faraway lands."
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