As time went by, the forces of the Barren State were twisted into a group. They were all cultivating in the palace, and so they all advanced rapidly.
Hua Jieyu was the first to make a breakthrough, catching up with Ye Futian and stepping up to the level of mid-level sages. In that battle she and Ye Futian had joined forces. Her understanding had become the deepest it had ever been, and she was able to use the power of a saint within her. After the battle she had once again collapsed. Fortune and misfortune depended on one another, and she made her breakthrough less than a year later.
Of course, Ye Futian himself also advanced quite a lot, and his understanding of rule power grew a bit deeper. He felt that he was not far away from the upper-sage level.
During this time, Yang Xiao and the people in the Matrix Palace devoted all their energy to arranging the palace's matrices. Over the past several months they had formed a large matrix in the Holy Zhi Palace. Although they did not threaten the existence of the Saint Plane, if the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty's army of sages descended upon them, they could directly use the matrix to destroy their cultivators and gain the upper hand.
A matrix was a little different than a battle matrix. A truly powerful matrix, when combined with cultivators, would only get stronger.
"Senior Yang." Ye Futian came up to Yang Xiao while he was busily bustling about.
"Palace Lord," yelled Yang Xiao.
"You may call me Futian," said Ye Futian. Yang Xiao nodded gently. "I'm planning to ask Qin Zhuang to go to Xihua Sacred Mountain and have him ask the guardian teacher there to go with us to the Summer State." He looked straight forward as he said this.
Yang Xiao naturally understood what he meant. He hated Liu Zong for everything that had happened at Nether Sword Mound, and all of it might have to do with that figure from Xihua Sacred Mountain.
"I understand," said Yang Xiao. "If you send someone to Xihua Sacred Mountain, it will seem like we are joining forces with them, but in fact it will leave Saint Xihua dissatisfied."
Ye Futian smiled. Of course he knew.
"When Liu Zong and Xihua Sacred Mountain did things, they never thought about whether I would be satisfied or not," laughed Ye Futian. In the beginning he had not accepted Saint Xihua's divine implement. Saint Xihua had promised if he got into trouble he could go to Xihua Holy Mountain.
He could have never gone, as if nothing had happened. If he went it would be to make sure Xihua Holy Mountain paid their debt to protect them as they resisted the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty, and to find out if they had been allied with the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty that time at Nether Sword Mound.
Thus, once he made this request it would be like he was offending Saint Xihua.
"Be careful," said Yang Xiao.
"Mhm," Ye Futian smiled and nodded. It was good that Yang Xiao understood and he did not have to say it directly. The two of them had a tacit understanding.
A while later, in Huatian City in the Eastern State, a top swordsman wearing robes appeared at the bottom of the stairs to the Sacred Mountain. It was difficult to tell if he was really there or not, giving everyone a terrible feeling.
This was the swordsman from the Holy Zhi Palace, Qin Zhuang.
Qin Zhuang was now the top swordsman from the Barren State. He was good at Spatial Swordsmanship and arrogant in his might. Sword Demon and Xu Shang had resigned themselves to never being his equal. If the Barren Sky Ranking was based on actual power, he would be near the top.
After the Infinite Palace was destroyed it was even said that the first swordsman under the Village Chief of Tombkeeper Village, the swordsman of the Holy Zhi Palace Qin Zhuang, was powerful enough to be entered into the Sage and Saint Ranking of the Nine States.
Now he had come as a messenger from the Barren State. No one below the Sage Plane could kill him, so he was the most appropriate choice.
In the area surrounding the steps of Xihua Sacred Mountain many people looked at him and after learning his identity they began talking.
Now that war had broken out between the Holy Zhi Palace and the Great Zhou Sacred State, why was Qin Zhuang not at the palace? Why had he come to Xihua Sacred Mountain?
Qin Zhuang looked up the stairs and called out in a loud, clear voice, "Qin Zhuang of the Holy Zhi Palace, under orders from the Palace Lord, has come to pay a call to Saint Xihua on his behalf."
His voice rolled all around him, and many people looked shocked.
He had said that he had come on behalf of Ye Futian.
Someone from Xihua Sacred Mountain appeared on the steps. He looked at Qin Zhuang and said, "Why has Lord Ye ordered you to come?"
As Ye Futian's representative, Qin Zhuang should have been invited into Xihua Sacred Mountain, but he was not. It was very subtle, but everyone knew why this was.
It was rumored that Xihua Sacred Mountain and the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty intended to form a marriage alliance.
And since the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty and the Holy Zhi Palace were at war, things were sensitive.
"Lord Ye said that he should have come himself, but it is difficult for him to get away due to the sacred war, so he ordered me to come in his place," continued Qin Zhuang. "Lord Ye is preparing to go to Nine State College in the Summer State to meet with Saint Jiang. He has some misgivings about the road, and so he would like to request an escort from Saint Xihua."
The cultivator on the steps gazed at him for a moment, then he immediately understood what Qin Zhuang meant. He had come seeking a fulfillment of Saint Xihua's promise.
He wanted Xihua Sacred Mountain to guard him on the way to Nine State College.
And the reason he was going to visit Saint Jiang was obviously to heal a wound. Whose injury needed Saint Jiang's help?
Without a doubt it was Sage Douzhan.
He wanted to bring Sage Douzhan to the Summer State to seek Saint Jiang's help in letting Sage Douzhan once again pass through the Divine Catastrophe.
"I will go ask the Saint," said the Xihua Holy Mountain cultivator. He turned to leave, ignoring Qin Zhuang as he stood there.
Qin Zhuang didn't care. He just stood there straight as a sword.
Behind him people started to talk. They were all shocked to the core. Although he had said he came to request aid, in reality he had come to collect a debt that Xihua Holy Mountain owed as recorded in the Nine State Forum.
Ye Futian really dared to do this?
In Xihua Holy Mountain, after hearing the report, a touch of coldness flashed in Saint Xihua's eyes. "Qin Zhuang has done this deliberately in front of others," he said. "He wants the whole world to see."
"How do we handle this, Saint?" someone asked.
"All that is promised in the Nine States is in the Nine State Forum. Since they ask us for help, I will naturally keep my promise. Go and tell him that whenever he is ready we will send someone to the Barren State to act as an escort." Saint Xihua spoke coldy. Although it was something he had promised, he was clearly unhappy about it.
"Of course," came the reply, and the cultivator stepped back.
"This Ye Futian is really arrogant," someone next to Saint Xihua said.
"The young man's talent has truly come to light." Saint Xihua looked at the Rain Saint. "As you said, we must act decisively."
The cultivator returned to Qin Zhuang. All along he had not invited Qin Zhuang into Xihua Sacred Mountain. Qin Zhuang did not care. Upon hearing the reply he immediately left to return to the palace.
The news quickly spread throughout the Eastern State, causing large repercussions.
Soon everyone in the Eastern State knew that they wanted to ask Saint Jiang, number twelve on the Saint Ranking, to help them cross through the Divine Catastrophe.
Once they were successful, a second Saint would appear in the Barren State.
Under these circumstances, how could the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty agree?
If they did something to counter the Holy Zhi Palace, what would the Xihua Sacred Mountain do?
It was all very interesting.
Ye Futian did not care what Saint Xihua thought. His position was determined by what was of the greatest benefit. Since some things were unavoidable, then, to put it simply, he would fight for the things that he had to.
The Master would have to go to the Summer State. Even though the Holy Zhi Palace had great matrices defending it, they still needed cultivators stationed there, otherwise the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty would invade and destroy the palace, and it would all be his fault.
Therefore, this time not many people would be going to the Summer State.
In that way they would rely on the power of Xihua Sacred Mountain.
On this day some cultivators from Xihua Sacred Mountain descended upon the Holy Zhi Palace.
Ye Futian went out to meet them himself. More than a hundred cultivators had come, and all were top-class. Two of them were extremely famous, the only two sages amongst Xihua Sacred Mountain's cultivators. There was also one more person who had come to escort that Ye Futian was familiar with: Liu Zong.
Seeing this battle array, Ye Futian realized that Saint Xihua was really trying to save face.
As for whether they would overtly agree but covertly oppose him, Ye Futian was not worried. This time the Village Chief would accompany them. If Sage Xihua broke his promise then the old Village Chief would naturally see no more need to be polite.
"Go on," said Ye Futian. This time the Barren State had a full battle array as they proceeded.
The Village Chief, Qin Zhuang and the rest of the Nine Swordsmen, Yuan Hong, the Undying Old Man, and Sage Douzhan.
There were only two in the rearguard: Ye Futian and Yu Sheng.
This time Ye Futian just brought Yu Sheng along beside him.
The rest of the cultivators stayed to guard the palace against the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty.
The Village Chief waved his hand and suddenly the Divine Sword screamed and turned into a huge sword in the sky. "Let's go," he said.
Ye Futian stepped out, and the cultivators of the Barren State set foot on the sword. The cultivators from Xihua Sacred Mountain followed them, and the sword suddenly whistled and pierced through the sky.
Many people watched from below and silently said a blessing.
They hoped that Sage Douzhan would come back as a Saint.
In the Summer State, the strongest of the Nine States, Nine State College, known as the premier school in the Nine States, was a fair place that produced outstanding people.
Many people powerful enough to command the winds and the clouds had come out of there.
And nowadays it was still the same. Many of its disciples were talented, and some of them were even extremely famous.
Its participation in the Nine States Forum every three years was only a small part of what they did. Qia Feng was one of the people at the peak of the nobility because besides the monsters Yu Sheng and Yaya there were not that many dazzling people.
But in fact, among the forces with the highest average strength among the Nine States they were definitely able to rank in the top three.
At this time Nine States College was quite lively as many people were all talking about one thing.
It was rumored that the Lord of the Holy Zhi Palace, Ye Futian, was coming to visit.
Ye Futian's name had spread throughout the Summer State. His was no small name. Countless people passed on the things that he had done that those characters from the older generation could not do.
This young leader of the holy land, had cut a Saint, had the Holy Zhi Palace and had repelled the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty. He was so famous that for the past decade none of the youths of the Nine Kingdoms had been able to steal his thunder, and even the seniors had difficulty comparing to him.
Many of the younger generation were curious about Ye Futian and wanted to see this legendary figure.
Soon they would have a chance to see him.
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