Once news of Tombkeeper Village's recent allegiance spread, shock filled the Eastern State and continued to spread throughout the entirety of the Nine States.
Palace Lord Ye Futian of the Holy Zhi Palace in the Barren State had activated the Nether Sword Matrix within the Nether Sword Mound and slaughtered the Chess Saint. In doing so he had gained the inheritance of the Sword Saint of the Void.
From then on, Tombkeeper Village would be subordinate to the Barren State. The Village Chief of Tombkeeper Village was a saint and entered the Holy Zhi Palace as a Holy Elder so that the Barren State could now possess saints.
Ye Futian, the young leader of Barren State, left the Barren State, and in a year's time had left his name in the memories of the Nine States while also recruiting saints for the Barren State. It was no wonder that the previous palace lord had not hesitated to sacrifice himself and protect Ye Futian in that battle so that he could inherit the position of palace lord.
There was further news that shocked Nine State. Ye Futian had openly insulted the Great Zhou Sacred King and had executed the King's deputies in front of him for the sake of two commoners.
For this, Great Zhou Sacred King would launch the Sacred War.
According to some, after Great Zhou Sacred King returned, he sent an envoy to the Xia State, where the people of Emperor Xia dwelled. To start a real Sacred War between two holy lands, he would need to inform Emperor Xia. After all, Emperor Xia was the ruler of the Nine States, and all holy lands within the Nine State were under his dominion.
Now that the Barren State had saints and caused such great turmoil, it was no longer the Barren State of before. Even the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty could not have its army directly advance on the Holy Zhi Palace and eradicate it.
Despite that fact, the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty had begun to organize its army; an invisible storm was brewing.
The Nine States had not had a Sacred War for many years. Just how devastating could this one be?
After everyone had left Tombkeeper Village, there were some who tried to enter the Nether Sword Mound but discovered that the matrix of the Nether Sword Mound had altered to such a degree of extreme danger that they were unable to enter. Tombkeeper Village's migration to the Barren State seemed to indicate that the Nether Sword Mound had now lost its significance. Under such circumstances, people naturally left it alone, as there was no incentive for them to risk their lives.
Qi State and Jixia Holy Palace had gotten wind of the upcoming war. The battles at the Nine State Forum has already shocked them. Jixia Holy Palace had produced a once-in-a-century genius, Zhuge Yi, who was naturally endowed with the five elements of the saint body.
But even so, Zhuge Yi was ranked behind two people from the Nine State Forum, one of whom had already been confirmed as a spirit body. Yu Sheng was this person, and it was no wonder that at the age of 15 he was already so ingenious that he could even conquer spiritual bodies, which indicated the immensity of his power.
At this time, in a manor not far from Jixia Holy Palace, a young man in white sat quietly drinking tea, surrounded by some friends who were also discussing this matter.
"Ye Futian and Yu Sheng from the Holy Zhi Palace in the Barren State are truly rare geniuses, hard to find in a hundred years, and well known in the Nine State at such a young age. Perhaps, when Ye Futian inherited the title of palace lord, there were many who were waiting to see him make a mistake, but in just two years' time, the Barren State has absorbed saints and cultivators of the sage ranking. If it were not for Ye Futian's notorious challenge against the Great Zhou Sacred King, the rise of the Barren State would be unstoppable."
"Indeed, Zhou Ya was known to be the heir to the Sacred King of the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty and challenged Ye Futian after the Nine State Forum. Ye Futian leveraged his position as a palace lord in their exchanges with great arrogance, but in the end, Zhou Ya was at a disadvantage and had nothing to fight back with. If he was not of the sage plane and had had to participate in the Nine State Forum, then he probably would have had to fight Yu Sheng. Between the two it's hard to tell who's more exceptional."
Many people praised and acknowledged that the reputation of Ye Futian and Yu Sheng were now beginning to spread to every corner of the Nine States.
"Brother Bai, it was said that you came from the Barren State and traveled in the Nine States. Did you know Ye Futian and Yu Sheng?" someone looked at the youth in white and asked. This young man was extraordinary in his stature, sitting quietly with refinement and gentility.
"I know them." The young man nodded.
"Oh?" Everyone showed some interest and asked, "What does Brother Bai think of their talents?"
"The Nine State Forum has already proved that they are rare finds in the Nine States." The youth appeared calm, but his heart palpitated.
In just two short years, had he already grown to this degree? It seemed that the decision made by the palace lord and the master before their deaths was the correct one.
He thought that once upon a time, he was hailed as the first genius of Barren State, the future saint of Barren State, and the succeeding palace lord of the Holy Zhi Palace.
"That's right." Everyone smiled. On the side of the youth, a beautiful woman leaned over and poured tea for him. This woman was extremely attractive and known for her looks in the area. She smiled lightly. "You are equally talented. In time, people in the Nine States will also know your name."
"Yes, Brother Bai is the most talented person that we have ever seen." The person next to him smiled and continued, "What are your plans? Will you continue to stay in the Nine States?"
The young man shook his head gently and said, "I plan to cultivate at Jixia Holy Palace."
Having traveled throughout the land of the Nine State and reflected on all matters in the world, his perception was different from before.
Back in the day, he was the chosen one and the focus of all in the Barren State. His every move was scrutinized because he was being trained as a saint, and there was no room for any mistakes. On his end, he worked hard to fulfill the hopes of the elders and to be the heir of the holy land. He had perfected himself so that he was worthy of the people's love.
But just as he had said, there was no one perfect in the world. Looking at the world from different angles, there would be discoveries of different landscapes, so he left to experience the world in ways that might appear to be ordinary and insignificant.
Now that he had comprehended certain things, Bai decided he ought to pursue other routes, such as cultivating with those who were the best in their field.
"We will congratulate Brother Bai in advance." Everyone laughed. If an ordinary person had mentioned his intention to go to Jixia Holy Palace to cultivate, he might be ridiculed. But since he was the one who breached the subject first, given his talent, there naturally would be no problem for him to enter Jixia Holy Palace.
"I want to go with you," the beautiful girl next to him said softly, and everyone who saw this smiled and then said their goodbyes.
The young man felt the woman's gaze. His eyes focused somewhere far away, and his thoughts seemed to have been pulled back into the past, to a time when he once had feelings for a woman; a radiant woman whose temperament was different from his and who dared to challenge existing rules.
"I knew a woman who had captured my heart. We were betrothed when we were young, but she reneged. I didn't hold it against her. Later, our elders once again arranged a wedding for us, but on the day of the wedding, the man she loved showed up, and they both came to me, holding hands." The young man recalled the past and smiled.
The woman stared at him with languor. "Have you still not let it go?"
"I have already let it go, but in my heart, there can be no more romantic feelings," the young man said to the woman.
"It doesn't matter, I can always keep you company." The woman smiled gently.
"I will hold you back," said the youth.
"I don't mind." The woman shook her head.
The young man could only smile with resignation.
Summer State, Xia Clan.
The prosperous Xia Clan had been praised by many as the strongest force in the Nine States. Its familial branches meandered through countless regions, standing like the imperial palace within Summer State City.
The Xia Clan itself was like a castle. No one dared to offend this ancient and venerable family. All holy lands of the Nine State had always maintained respect towards the Xia Clan, because the Xia Clan had the surname of Xia.
However, above the sprawling complex of the Xia residence, there was a procession of shadows coming from the air with a carriage amongst them.
Many figures rose up, intending to intercept the procession, but the person in front of the carriage took out a token, and everyone immediately backed away to stand respectfully on either side.
The carriage kept going forward, heading toward the location of the Xia residence.
Right then, at the Xia residence, a line of figures levitated toward the sky in a mighty procession. The man leading exuded an air of superiority, suggesting the status of the saint plane. This was the family head of the Xia Clan, who led everyone to stand quietly, waiting for the arrival of the carriage.
Soon, the carriage landed in front of them, and everyone looked at the figure inside the carriage. No one knew who the supervising inspector making their appearance was.
Emperor Xia had established the Nine State Guards in the land of Summer State to monitor the Nine State. But even if the Commander of the Nine State Guards himself came before Saint Xia, he was the head of the Xia Clan and would not need to pay his respects. So, he just stood there quietly, watching.
At this point, a figure came out of the carriage and stepped forward.
It looked to be a very handsome young man, around 20 or so, dressed in men's clothing, but with skin was so radiant and lovely that it surpassed the luster of a woman's. He certainly appeared more beautiful than any woman. If he were a woman dressed in a woman's clothing, she would have been an exceptional beauty.
"A woman disguised in men's clothing." Saint Xia was uncommon, and as a cultivator of the saint plane, this kind of disguise could not escape his eyes.
Of all the supervising inspectors, there did not seem to be such a person.
Who was she?
"What will be the business for the inspector's visit?" Saint Xia asked, but the woman did not bother to speak. Instead, she took out a token and showed it to him.
When Saint Xia saw the token, his heart jumped violently, and his mind raced quickly. He soon guessed the identity of the person.
"Kneel," Saint Xia commanded to everyone behind him, and then started bowing to greet the guest.
Everyone from Xia Clan who witnessed this scene was extremely shocked inside.
What could command such obeisance from even their master?
What was the meaning of that token?
One after the other, they all knelt on one knee and bowed to the young man.
"No need, as you were," the young man said. "Great Zhou Sacred King has sent words regarding his intention to start a Sacred War, so let the witness explain in detail what happened between the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty and the Holy Zhi Palace."
"Yes." Saint Xia nodded and turned back to look at one person, the cultivator from Xia Clan who had gone through the Nine State Forum and the Nether Sword Mound. He went forward and explained the entire ordeal. After listening, the youth maintained a tranquil demeanor with no outward signs of turmoil, but a decision was made.
"Send words to the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty and the Holy Zhi Palace of the Barren State to announce the rules of the Sacred War," the youth commanded the people behind him.
"Yes." Someone nodded, and suddenly, a party of cultivators levitated and departed.
The youth returned to the carriage without another word, and the group left in the mighty formation just as they had come.
Saint Xia looked at the departing figure, and there was trouble in his heart. Emperor Xia had let her come to the land of Nine State as a precursor What kind of storm would this entail?
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