The old man's eyes suddenly became sharp as he stared at Liu Zong, but they quickly turned calm again as he remarked nonchalantly, "You are the one they call Liu Zong."
"Yours truly," Liu Zong nodded. Behind him, the nine disciples of the Chess Saint fixed their attention upon the old man.
"The two people who ever cracked the Celestial Dragon Chess Game at Chess Saint Villa were you and Ye Futian." The old Village Chief cast a glance at Ye Futian again, looking amused. What a coincidence.
Likewise, Ye Futian showed a look of surprise. The old Village Chief appeared to be a hermit. Even the saints did not know where he came from and what village this was.
But how did Liu Zong know about it?
Moreover, the old Village Chief knew of Liu Zong and knew of him.
Could there be a connection with Chess Saint Villa?
"Yes." Liu Zong nodded.
"Chess Saint chose you as his successor and not him." The old Village Chief smiled. "That being the case, if you want to save Chess Saint, you ought to go by yourself; I am an old man and cannot really help."
Liu Zong looked at the old man, as well as the people around him. Some did not understand the meaning of the dialogues between them.
Save the Chess Saint? Wasn't it rumored that because Chess Saint planned to sit for peaceful death , Liu Zong was chosen as the successor?
What exactly was going on? The nine disciples of the Chess Saint were now following Liu Zong, what was the secret behind it?
And where was Tomb Village?
They had never heard of this village.
"Tomb village is isolated from the outside world. Even its existence is unknown. However, these many years, Tomb Village has always existed outside the Forbidden Land of the Nether Sword Mound. Chess Saint went to the Forbidden Land of the Nether Sword Mound and was trapped. How would Liu Zong save Chess Saint? Surely you jest, sir." Just then, Saint Xihua himself stepped forward and addressed the old Village Chief.
As his voice fell, the hearts of the crowd around him trembled, and all eyes were now on the old man.
Nether Sword Mound!
Could this old man and Yaya be from outside of Nether Sword Mound?
The Nether Sword was known as the premier restricted area in the Eastern State. There were countless swords that were hidden within the mound, along with countless bones. For many years, many had ventured to the Nether Sword Mound, but none had returned, losing their lives in the process, hence its notoriety. Gradually, this forbidden land was slowly forgotten and no one dared to approach. It was subsequently rarely mentioned.
There were also many rumors about the Nether Sword Mound. Some said that within the Nether Sword Mound, a matchless, ferocious sword was gestating within, slaughtering all who dared to invade. Some said that there were supreme beings practicing within the mound, murdering many. Some even said that the Nether Sword Mound had buried an extraordinary strongman. But these rumors could not be confirmed nor denied. Perhaps only those who are of the holy land would know the truth.
Could it be that Tomb Village was tasked to guard the Nether Sword Mound?
Rumor had it that the Nether Sword Mound was a place of nothingness, extremely difficult to reach. No one had ever thought that those who guarded the Forbidden Land at Tomb Village would come here.
Ye Futian also showed a look astonishment. He had known about all the holy lands of the Nine States but had never heard of the Tomb Village or the Nether Sword Mound. But if this place would even cause Saint Xihua to pay attention, then, clearly, it was not ordinary.
The old Village Chief looked at Saint Xihua and said, "That is his own business." He then looked at Yaya, "Yaya, let's go."
"Yes." Yaya nodded and once again gave Ye Futian and Yu Sheng a dirty look.
The old Village Chief also turned to look at Yu Sheng and said, "It was an extraordinary feat to defeat Yaya. You are welcome to come to my village as guests when you have time." As soon as he finished, the two figures turned into two swords, broke through the air, and disappeared instantly.
At the same time, a voice secretly transmitted into Ye Futian's ear, which made Ye Futian reveal a look of shock.
Saint Xihua looked at the disappearing shadows of the swords, and his countenance was uncertain. He did not expect that a seemingly worthless Tomb Village outside the forbidden land would turn out to be not so simple.
There would be troubles again in the Nine States, and those who had left would hear about it soon enough.
Of course, there was a purpose for him to deliberately pointed out the origin of the other party. After all, this was the Nether Sword Mound that trapped even the Chess Saint. Xihua Sacred Mountain did not have so many strong cultivators to sacrifice in vain. Naturally, it would be better to have others along to investigate.
News about the Nether Sword Mound was enough to alarm the holy lands of Nine States. Liu Zong, as the successor of Chess Saint, knew a bit more than the others, which was an advantage for Xihua Sacred Mountain.
"I shall bid my farewell as well." Ye Futian put his hands together in respect for Saint Xihua.
Saint Xihua looked a Ye Futian, smiled, and nodded. "This time at the Nine State Forum, Barren State had the most dazzling performance, and I look forward to your future. If you ever want to cultivate in the holy land, Xihua Sacred Mountain welcomes you anytime."
"Thank you, Saint, I will remember that." Ye Futian bowed slightly and then turned away with the rest of the delegates from the Barren State.
After Ye Futian left, Liu Zong stared at his disappearing figure and said, "Master, according to the information Chess Saint passed on to me, and in addition to the fact that the people from Tomb Village have been out and about, perhaps they are looking for successors."
A flash flitted across the eyes of Saint Xihua. Even though the old Village Chief deliberately evaded him, the fact that they had sought out Ye Futian and Yu Sheng prior to that was enough for him to connect the dots. Especially since Yu Sheng had taken first place at this year's Nine State Forum. And in the battle pursuant of the Nine States Forum, Ye Futian had also exhibited exceptional brilliance. Thus, Liu Zong's comment was enough to infer a lot of information.
"Send the word," Saint Xihua said lightly, then turned to leave.
The curtain had drawn on the Nine State Forum, and when the news came out, all of Huatian City was shaken. No one ever thought that the Barren State, which had not participated in Nine State Forum for many years, would turn out to be the black horse, showing the most dazzling light on the stage.
Perhaps this was what they meant by heroes came from all places.
As for the news of the Nether Sword Mound and the Tomb Village, the response in Huatian City was not as strong. After all, because of the distance to places such as the Forbidden Land of the Nether Sword Mound was far from them, their knowledge of it was limited.
Just after everyone had left Xihua Sacred Mountain, a carriage of phoenix descended from the sky in the area above Xihua Sacred Mountain. It rained down brilliant rays of incomparable glory, heading directly to the center of the mountain. The one upon the carriage was Great Zhou Sacred King, who had actually left and came back.
Great Zhou Sacred King stepped down from the carriage. Behind him, the strongest of the Golden Phoenix Legion, Zhou Ya and other descendants followed.
"Is there something I can be of service for the Saint to call on me?" Great Zhou Sacred King landed on the ground, where Saint Xihua, Rain Saint, and Liu Zong were.
"Happy news. Please sit down, Sacred King," Saint Xihua said with a smile as he walked over to a seat, a chessboard in front of him. He made a gesture to Great Zhou Sacred King.
Great Zhou Sacred King walked over and sat down. He looked at the chessboard and said, "What kind of happy news would strike such fancy in the Saint today?"
"I assume the name of Nether Swordsman is one that is known by the Sacred King?" Saint Xihua placed a pawn on the chessboard and smiled.
"The champion sword of Nine States," Great Zhou Sacred King replied solemnly as he placed a piece on the board. That was a legendary figure. Just knowing a few of his deeds was enough to make one's blood boil. Even the Great Zhou Sacred King was full of admiration for this forebear.
"Indeed, a legend who, in the lore, slew saints with one sword, and invincible in the holy war, and was named the champion sword of Nine States by Emperor Xia himself. One, who once upon a time, could stand next to Emperor Xia." Saint Xihua looked intense. That legendary figure of Nine States was probably approaching the level of an emperor in status.
"The ancient annals of the Great Zhou Dynasty recorded that the Nether Swordsman created the Nether Sword Matrix as the premier matrix of Nine States, and it was said that it was an emperor slayer." Great Zhou Sacred King looked at the chessboard and dropped a piece. When he looked up again, his eyes suddenly became extremely acute. He focused on Saint Xihua. "Such a legendary figure, how did he die, and why did he create the Nether Sword Mound and chose to be buried within?"
"At our level, we should know that cultivation is the appropriation of the spirit of the world. Even the Saint Plane still has too many unknowns, so who truly knows?" Saint Xihua seemed to want to avoid the subject, so he smiled and answered aimlessly.
Great Zhou Sacred King gazed at him with sharpened intensity. "You haven't said what the happy news is?"
"Where is Chess Saint? You, Sacred King, should know."
"Yes. The Nether Sword Mound." Great Zhou Sacred King lowered his head and placed another piece. Chess Saint was fascinated by chess and incorporating the matrix of the world within it, so he could not possibly pass the opportunity to take on this premier Nether Matrix of Nine States.
"Chess Saint is trapped at Nether Sword Mound, but at the Chess Villa, they were conducting the selection of its successor. You know very well what that means. Now, Liu Zong knows something." Saint Xihua glanced at Liu Zong, who stood behind him. "Presently, even those from Tomb Village are out and about. Isn't it clear to you what this all means?"
"It's been many years. Is it true that the Nether Swords Mound still contains the secret inheritance of the Nether Swordsman? Even if it were true, how much of it is still there now?" asked the Great Zhou Sacred King.
"The people in Tomb Village should be the most knowledgeable," Saint Xihua said. "I think that old Village Chief seems intent on recruiting the top talents. They invited the people from the Barren State for a visit."
Great Zhou Sacred King looked at Saint Xihua. He disliked the people of the Barren State and certainly did not hope that the people of Barren State would be the ones inheriting the champion sword of the Nine States.
"The people of Nine States should hear the news eventually. The Nether Sword Mound will not have peace for long. Among the land of Nine States, the Barren State is the weakest, followed by Yu State and Ocean State. Our Eastern State, though not the weakest, is only below average. On top, there are Summer State, Qi State, War State, and Cloud State, who are all stronger than us. Therefore, if the Nether Sword Mound truly still contains the inheritance of the champion sword of Nine States, I hope that the one who receives it will be from our Eastern State."
Great Zhou Sacred King looked up at Liu Zong and sarcastically said, "The Saint has already chosen a candidate."
"Liu Zong is a talented genius, the most naturally talented of the younger generation of Xihua Sacred Mountain. He is more outstanding than the Sacred King could imagine." Saint Xihua said with a smile, "Does the Great Zhou Dynasty care to consider Liu Zong as consort?"
Next to them, Zhou Ziyi suddenly lifted her head and looked in the direction of Liu Zong, and her heart slightly throbbed!
 Sit for peaceful death is a Buddhist way of passing reserved for high ranking monks who had obtained great understanding. Prior to their passing, they would normally fast for a long while and then while still alive, be sealed into a large urn for a number of days or months before their disciples would open the urn again. The monks would be already mummified and often times yielded relics in the form of beads as an indication that they have indeed obtained nirvana.
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