Xihua Sacred Mountain was located in the central western region of the Eastern State and was known as one of the two most powerful forces of the Eastern State together along with the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty. Many of the great figures throughout the Eastern State graduated from Xihua Sacred Mountain.
There were eight saints in all of the Eastern State, with three of them residing in Xihua Sacred Mountain. They were the force with the most number of saints. The Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty ranked right behind Xihua Sacred Mountain and placed more weight in lineage through blood. As such, most proud sons and daughters of the Eastern State were most willing to study at Xihua Sacred Mountain.
Xihua Sacred Mountain was located in Huatian City, which was famous throughout the world for housing the sacred ground. It was also the second largest city in all of the Eastern State, with the largest being the Holy Capital of the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty. The Great Zhou Sacred Capital was, after all, the only hegemony in Eastern State. Even after the Eastern State balkanized, the Holy Capital of the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty remained the largest city in the Eastern State.
Compared to many of the old forces with lineages tracing back to the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty itself, prosperity in Huatian City felt more vibrant and had greater fluidity. After all, the history of the Holy Capital was set in stone. Huatian City differed in that its borders were still expanding, with rumors saying that the city would one day replace the Holy Capital as the largest city in all of the Eastern State.
At the moment, the Nine State Forum to be held in that great city added greater vigor to the place. Many mighty ones from all over the Eastern State were flocking into that very city.
The Nine State Forum was held once in three years, and the event was held in different states each time, which meant that if the event was to be held in the Eastern State again, it would only happen after 24 years, even with the loss of the Barren State's right to hold such an event.
The Nine State Forum allowed for people to meet geniuses from all nine states. It was anyone's guess how many people such a grand event like that would have attracted. Furthermore, the people of other states would also visit Huatian City as well.
Huatian City was, at the moment, filled to the brim with mighty ones. Countless legendary figures gathered from all over the world. Young people of exceptional bearing were found all over the streets.
There were some who joked that with Huatian being such a lively, prosperous place, one could have pointed in any direction and they would end up finding some renowned figure in the Eastern State, or at the very least, their juniors. While the claim was little more than a joke, the truth was not so far off.
The restaurants and inns all over Huatian City were all filled with guests. The subjects they talked about all had to do with the Nine State Forum one way or another. Many were seen drinking and chatting away in one of the luxurious midair towers in Huatian City.
"I wonder what Xihua Sacred Mountain will offer as a prize in the Nine State Forum this time," someone said with a smile.
"Being able to host the Nine State Forum is an incredible honor in itself. While the holy items are precious, the hosts are still sacred grounds and they hate losing face in front of other states more than anything else. As such, the prizes of current forums have been stronger than previous ones, and Xihua Sacred Mountain will definitely not hold back. Furthermore, the Nine State Forum will allow Xihua Sacred Mountain to gain a good number of young geniuses from all over the Eastern State."
Someone replied, "But Xihua Sacred Mountain is still the one hosting the event, so they'll definitely put in a lot of effort to win the prize. They won't have to give it to people from the other states then."
Many laughed. What was said was probably what every single force hosting the event in the past had thought.
"Nine states or whatnot, just the Eastern State itself is vast enough. It's definitely quite an event to look forward to, given how many legendary people are gathered at one place, competing with people of the other states. I wonder who will reign supreme in this Nine State Forum. Where will that person be from?"
"I sure hope it's someone from our own Eastern State," someone said enthusiastically.
"Beating geniuses of other states and enjoying glory like none other, that is probably the dream of every single genius out there. It was said that anyone who reigned supreme in the past forums has become saints, so long as they didn't end up dead during the process. Someone actually looked into the past records of people who reigned supreme in the forums. With the exception of those who died in the process, there have never been any exceptions."
"It's something expected of the one able to stand at the top of the Nine State Forum, after all. Once every three years and those who perished are taken out of the equation. You can easily tell how few and far between these people are."
"I heard that even the Barren State is going to participate in the forum this time. The Barren State has not produced saints for many years and seldom mingled with the other states. It seems like they're somehow being isolated by the others, and this is the first time in many, many years that they are participating in the Nine State Forum. I wonder how far they can go this time," someone said all of a sudden. News from Yujing CIty had reached Huatian City.
"That will sure be difficult." Someone added, "The Barren State is isolated from the other eight states and they don't have saints. One can already tell how difficult it is for them to fight geniuses from other states. Although I've heard that the current palace lord of the Barren State was of exceptional talent and even defeated Qin Zhong of Zhisheng Cliffs, just how many years has it taken the Barren State to produce that one Noble Plane Palace Lord? It's due to his exceptional talents that they made an exception to make him a leader of the Barren State right. Great things are expected of him. This is apparently something that cannot be replicated. Furthermore, even Qin Zhong of Zhisheng Cliffs could hardly be considered top-notch at the stage of the Nine State Forum."
"You're right. While Qin Zhong is indeed known to be the number one noble of Zhisheng Cliffs, the other states are far bigger than Yu State alone. Ye Futian was also said to be the most talented person to have emerged from the Barren State in many years. Even if he was able to defeat Qin Zhong and participate in the forum, there was no guarantee that he will be able to go all the way to the top. Furthermore, it was said that he broke through the Sage Plane and is no longer able to participate in the event. As for the others, it would be considered an incredible feat if they could even show what they're made of at such a huge stage."
Everyone talked about a lot of things and the subject kept going back to Ye Futian one way or another, as many were concerned about what happened in Yujing House. Ye Futian had caused quite a commotion there.
"Indeed, but this Ye Futian is still really something. He actually broke that Celestial Dragon Chess Game left behind by the Chess Saint. I'd like to see him in action. Too bad that the one he had to compete with was Liu Zong. The Chess Saint chose Liu Zong to be his heir, and it was said that all nine students of the Chess Saint followed Liu Zong to Huatian City."
"It was a pity, alright. It was an extremely incredible feat for a guest from the Barren State to be able to break that game. Too bad the one he was competing with was Liu Zong; the same Liu Zong who is tutored by three saints."
The people kept on with their chatter. They did not bother hiding their respect for Liu Zong whenever the name of that young man was brought up. There was hardly anyone else like him in the entire Eastern State. What the people of the Eastern State found truly regrettable was that Liu Zong had never actually participated in the Nine State Forum. He was a Grade Two Noble six years ago. Although he had been very exceptional, even back then, there were plenty of geniuses at the pinnacle of Noble Plane. Regardless of how exceptional he had been, it was still impossible for him to be able to surpass the differences in grade.
When the forum was held three years ago, Liu Zong had already become a sage, and that had always been one of the greatest regrets of the people of the Eastern State. However, they would be able to see some powerful nobles from all over the Eastern State show their abilities in this forum hosted by Xihua Sacred Mountain of the Eastern State.
A group of people sat in a corner of an open-air restaurant, drinking and eating. They looked relaxed, and it was natural for them to have picked up the chatter around them. Such restaurants were the place where news spread at breakneck speed, enabling one to pick up information from all over the place.
A girl within the group smiled and looked at a handsome young man of the same group when she heard all the chatter about Ye Futian and Liu Zong. That group consisted of none other than Ye Futian and his people. The ones around them had no idea that the talk of the town was sitting right beside them. No one actually knew those who were being talked about.
"What do you think?" Huang Jiuge smiled and said to Ye Futian. What he was able to hear from the chatter was that, even if Ye Futian were to participate in the forum, he would not be able to achieve much although he had defeated Qin Zhong of Zhisheng Cliffs before. Furthermore, his achievements at Chess Saint Villa seemed to have been entirely overshadowed by Liu Zong.
The people of the world would have never bothered with finding out details about the process. They cared only about results and outcomes, and it was Liu Zong who ended up getting the lineage of the Chess Saint, and the nine students of the Chess Saint were now his subordinates.
Ye Futian's eyes rolled and looked peculiar. He took a look at Yu Sheng and then went on to look the others.
With the Barren State being isolated from the rest of the world, he had gotten used to being looked down upon by others. He had already become a sage and was now Palace Lord of the Barren State's sacred ground. His task at the moment was to lead the people from the Barren State to participate in the event itself. He cared little about what people of the Eastern State thought about him, and he deemed it meaningless to care.
Those people claimed that the Barren State would not be able to achieve much this time, and it was already an incredible feat if they were even able to show the world what they had. As such, he went on to look at Yu Sheng.
"What are you doing looking at me?" Yu Sheng asked, concerned about the peculiar way Ye Futian was staring at him.
The others looked at Yu Sheng, which frustrated him somewhat. He put down his chopsticks and went on to stare at the others. Can't we just eat normally?
"Nothing. Carry on," Ye Futian smiled and said.
"Right, nothing indeed," Xu Que said as well. "Eat more. You'll need that extra strength."
The others began to keep eating and drinking while the air felt a tad peculiar. Yu Sheng went on to glare at those people. What the hell is with all of your expressions?
Huang Jiuge laughed, recalling the time he had fought against Yu Sheng in the Sage Hall. He was not able to help but feel cold all over. Despite having become a sage, he would have still been very, very reluctant if he was told to fight Yu Sheng right there and then. He began to feel pity for the legendary geniuses of the other states, mourning for those people deep down inside. He hoped that they would be lucky enough to avoid fighting Yu Sheng.
Rawwrr. A cry of the condor was heard in the air. Ye Futian lifted his head and saw a Black Wind Condor coming at him with a figure seen standing on its back.
"Let's go," Ye Futian said. The group then put down their bowls and chopsticks and left. They came to rest beside that Black Wind Condor before leaving by air.
They reached a palace somewhere shortly afterward. The Black Wind Condor dived and landed in the palace. Ye Futian stood on the bird's back while keeping his eyes forward. He found quite a number of familiar faces among the people before him.
For instance, Zhuge Qingfeng, Yan Jun, Palace Lord of Fire Emperor Palace, as well as his son, Li Futu. His wife, Xiang Zhiyan, and a student of the Holy Zhi Palace, Xiang Zhiqin, were there as well. Other than that, there were still many others around. Bing Yi and Chu Shang of Mortal World were familiar faces who came with other mighty ones from Mortal World. The way they looked at Ye Futian was different from how they looked at him all those years ago.
Ye Futian had once been a nobody and now, Ye Futian was a young leader of the Barren State.
"All hail Palace Lord." They all paid their respects. Other than students of the palace, all the others present hailed from notable forces from the Barren State.
Ye Futian smiled and nodded. He then asked Zhuge Qingfeng, "What are you doing here, uncle?"
"I haven't been out of the Barren State for a long time. I figure it'd do me good, coming out for a bit," Zhuge Qingfeng smiled and said. Ye Futian's action of venturing outside the Barren State and participating in the Nine State Forum caused others to venture out as well. They were all pioneers!
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