Time passed, and all of the theNine States were observing the Sacred War happening at this time.
The war would most probably result in the utter destruction of the Holy Zhi Palace, and that holy land of the Barren State would forfeit. However, if the Holy Zhi Palace of the Barren State was somehow able to repel the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty, the rise of the Barren State would then be deemed unstoppable.
That very Sacred War would have probably ended up taking the history of the Nine States to a new level. It would have served as a turning point with an incredibly significant meaning to it.
As such, everyone from all over the States was watching the war unfold in silence. All holy lands had dispatched powerful ones to Zhongzhou City.
But then again, it was also a given that some forces from the Barren State paid more attention to the outcome of the Sacred War than others. That Sacred War would have a direct influence on how the future of the Barren State was to be shaped.
For instance, the Ximen clan and the Lightning Court of Zhongzhou City, Mortal World of the eastern regions, Taixuan Mountain of the northern regions, and many others; none of them had participated in the Sacred War.
They had not been a part of that scuffle back then, after all, and they knew that from a certain perspective, the reason why Ye Futian was able to become a leader of the Barren State was that he had the backings of many top-notch forces. Those forces consisted of Alchemy City, Tingxue House, the Sovereign Family, and others. All of those forces had a very close and friendly relationship with Ye Futian, and all of them shared his glory.
However, the Ximen clan had little relations with Ye Futian. They saw no need to be a part of a battle that hung the lives of its participants on a thread; they saw no need to risk their lives for Ye Futian.
Regardless of how exceptional Ye Futian was and the heights of his achievements in the Nine State Forum, it had nothing to do with them.
But then again, while they were unwilling to participate in that war, they had nonetheless paid close attention to it, as it was a war that would determine the future of the Barren State.
At the moment, there was a group of people discussing some matters in the compound of the Ximen clan in Zhongzhou City.
"I heard rumors from outside that the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty has amassed an army of tens of thousands and that they are heading for the Barren State. I'm afraid that the Holy Zhi Palace is done for in this Sacred War. What do you think?" the chief of the Ximen clan asked.
"Hanjiang trained in the Holy Zhi Palace before. Ask him." Someone looked at Ximen Hanjiang, on the side. He had chosen to leave the Holy Zhi Palace before. Ximen Hanjiang, one who had once been the champion of the Law Rank for a brief period of time, had not only failed to become the pride of the Holy Zhi Palace, he had also clashed with Ye Futian before as well.
It was only natural that he was unwilling to fight for Ye Futian.
"31 cultivators have left the Holy Zhi Palace, unwilling to be a part of the war. I'm afraid that even Ye Futian himself is not sure about how to win this war," Ximen Hanjiang said.
Everyone present nodded in agreement. "The Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty ruled over vast lands. Every single force found within the sacred realm was under the Sacred Dynasty's rule. There would definitely be some among these forces that are more powerful than the top-notch forces in the Barren State. There is no way the Holy Zhi Palace would come out on top in this one."
"Shouldn't we do something for ourselves then?" someone asked. They meant drafting out contingency plans for themselves. If the Holy Zhi Palace was to be destroyed, it was anyone's guess what future would await the Barren State.
Would the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty set their sights on us next?
"Let's just sit around and watch how everything unfolds. We've no say in the matter and our choices are limited. If we were to get ourselves involved in anything and we ended up on the losing side, things would be very precarious for us all." The chief of the Ximen clan said plainly, "Furthermore, even if the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty were to take the Holy Zhi Palace apart, we would still be the top force in Zhongzhou City. We'd just submit to the Sacred Dynasty and we would do just fine."
Everyone nodded without saying much.
The Ximen clan was not the only one that had thought about the problem. Every single force that stayed out of the war was thinking about the same problem.
"Report!" someone shouted loudly, heading towards them at great speed. The Ximen clan chief then asked, "What's the matter?"
"Sir, there is news saying that the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty's army has arrived at Zhongzhou City," the one who came to deliver the news said. Everyone in the Ximen clan looked sharp immediately.
The Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty was at their doorstep.
The Ximen clan was not the only one who had caught wind of the news; every single top-notch force within the city knew about it as well. Furthermore, the news was spreading like wildfire to all corners of the city. Every single restaurant and inn within the city was raving.
The Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty's army had arrived at Zhongzhou City.
The Sacred War was just around the corner.
There was a very renowned restaurant not that far away from the Holy Zhi Palace. If the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty were to head for the Holy Zhi Palace, their army would definitely pass by that restaurant.
There were many people in that restaurant, and Liu Zong of Xihua Sacred Mountain was among them. Furthermore, the ones of Xihua Sacred Mountain happened to come across the ones from Zhisheng Cliffs. People from both sides were found in that same restaurant.
They knew of the Sacred Dynasty's army's arrival as well. The army would pass by the restaurant soon enough.
The vast, tens of thousands-strong army of the Sacred Dynasty was commanded by none other than the Sacred King himself. The Sacred King had led the expedition and waged the war personally.
"They're here!" someone on the topmost floor of the restaurant yelled in awe.
"The army is here." Shocked voices were heard everywhere. A figure after another took to the skies. Countless came outside and looked up.
An earth-shaking scene was seen. Golden lights scattered about the sky. Golden colors streaked the air wherever the lights passed.
The army came in three layers. The bottommost layer had the greatest amount of people. Squadrons rode on the backs of huge monsters and took to the air. That army consisted of nobles, yet their steeds were that of sages. Nobles traveled too slowly by themselves.
The middle layer consisted of an army of sages. Their overbearing might was felt all over the place.
The topmost layer consisted of the royal army of the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty. It was none other than the Golden Phoenix Army renowned all over the Eastern State.
Great phoenixes were seen all over the skies. The generals of the Golden Phoenix Army were all the most powerful figures, at the pinnacle of Sage Plane, and they rode on phoenixes as they came.
There was a golden phoenix with a crown at the very center of the Golden Phoenix Army. The phoenix radiated might like bolts of lightning. Its eyes gleamed with sharpness as if it was the king of all birds and the leader of the phoenixes.
An indescribably luxurious carriage was seen on its back. Members of the royal family were seen on both sides of the carriage. Zhou Ya, Zhou You, Zhou Ziyi, and the others were all there.
The Sacred King had many concubines, and through them, he came to have many children.
The one who sat on the carriage was none other than the Sacred King himself. He carried himself as if he stood on top of all living beings. The scene was so extravagant that they were hardly anyone capable of bringing about such an entourage in all of the theNine States, let alone the ones from the Barren State.
The Sacred King was the supreme ruler of the Sacred Dynasty instead of being just the head of a renowned clan.
None from the Barren State had seen anything like that. When the army approached and passed by above their heads, a powerful aura swept the place around them. The imposing bearing was one that even those far away were able to clearly sense it.
The Holy Zhi Palace is done for. Such thoughts welled up in the minds of many. The scene was all too shocking for them.
The grand army zipped past them in mere moments, leaving behind many awestruck people.
The people of Xihua Sacred Mountain and Zhisheng Cliffs watched silently. Liu Zong grinned and said, "The Sacred King is indeed a supreme ruler. What imposing air indeed. Let's go and have a better look." His group all took to the air and followed the army, getting ready to see the battle up close.
They were not the only ones to do so. Many mighty ones from Zhisheng Cliffs and elsewhere all followed the army. As such, the rear of the army looked incredibly dazzling. The ones who were tailing the army came to have enough numbers to form something like a tidal wave, which ironically, looked even grander than the army they were following.
However, those people were a scattered bunch, instead of moving in a perfectly neat order, like the army of the Sacred Dynasty.
At that moment, everyone in the Holy Zhi Palace was still being busy training. Ye Futian was training the Holy Sage Pavilion as well.
He looked up far away in the sky and took to the air, coming right above the Holy Sage Pavilion. Many below turned to look at him. Ye Futian went higher and higher. He then stood in the air and gave a clear order, "Gather the students of the Holy Zhi Palace immediately and prepare for war."
Many were stunned hearing his words. They all knew what he meant.
One figure after another streaked through the air in mere moments. The lords of all palaces and pavilions had given their orders, telling their students to gather.
One figure after another took to the skies shortly after, forming a tidal wave gushing at the Holy Sage Pavilion.
All mighty ones from many top-notch forces, as well as the Holy Zhi Palace itself, gathered quickly. Their eyes were all set on Ye Futian in the air.
"The tens of thousands-strong army of the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty has arrived at Zhongzhou City. They're now heading towards the Holy Zhi Palace," Ye Futian said. While everyone had guessed that was the case, they still shuddered.
Their enemy was finally upon them.
Many students, while sages and nobles, felt rather anxious. That was a Sacred War that they had never anticipated facing.
Ye Futian's eyes scanned below with an incredible sharpness as he said, "Today's battle will determine the fate of the Holy Zhi Palace, and in extension, the fates of all of you, as well as all in the Barren State. We all from the Barren State have been shunned by all of the other states for many years. When Zhisheng Cliffs arrived back then, they came throwing their weight around, and thought lowly of the Holy Zhi Palace. I felt such discrimination even more strongly after I ventured outside of the Barren State. As such, this battle at the Holy Zhi Palace is one o destiny. We shall defeat the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty, and the Barren State shall never be looked down on ever again.
"Of course, I'm not speaking out of blind faith and baseless confidence. The Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty is a holy land in the Eastern State. Their prowess is indeed unparalleled. What I can promise you all is that if we were to end up being defeated in this battle, I shall live if the Holy Zhi Palace stays intact, and I shall die if the Holy Zhi Palace is no more," Ye Futian continued.
Many shuddered at his words. It was indeed a last stand with their backs against the wall. If they were unable to repel the enemy, then they would die trying.
"But then again, I still hope that all of you come out alive from this battle with me. It's, of course, important to kill your enemies on the battlefield, but surviving is just as important. No matter how dire things become, please keep a strong resolve and live on." Ye Futian then added, "We shall have hope, so long as we're still alive."
Ye Futian's voice resounded in the silent space. Many even came to think that despite being in his twenties, Ye Futian had indeed come to bear a lot on his shoulders. The Sacred War would be upon them soon, and yet he was able to stay composed. It was a feat that many sages, who had far higher training, found difficult.
Ye Futian looked up far away and grinned. He then said, "That battle outside the Holy Zhi Palace all those years ago had the entire Barren State thinking that I was done for. But, I lived, and I even became the Palace Lord of the Holy Zhi Palace. No one thought the Barren State would have achieved much in the Nine State Forum, yet we bagged the most brilliant of results. Our student became a champion of the event. The saint inside the Nether Sword Mound of Eastern State wanted to kill me, yet I activated the Sword Matrix of the Void and cut down the Chess Saint."
"Nothing in this world is impossible. We all go through all manners of hardships in our lives, and one day, when you look back, you'll find that all the suffering you've been through has all become stepping stones on your path to achieve greater strength."
Ye Futian's voice reverberated in the minds of all within earshot, as if his voice itself possessed some kind of mystical power. Countless looked at that handsome figure. At the moment, Ye Futian looked incredibly dashing and exceptional.
It was as if he had been born for such grand scenes.
"Onward, to battle!" Ye Futian stepped out as soon as he gave the order!
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