Several saints were fighting intensely above the Holy Zhi Palace. The Black Wind Condor descended to the battlefield where Douzhan was. Despite having yet to become a saint, the bird was only but a step away into Saint Plane, so it was still able to help out nonetheless.
Seeing how the attacks were not getting effective and how Xia Qingyuan appeared right before them, Saint Xihua came to realize something.
Xia Qingyuan would have probably not given him any chance.
He came to resent the state of affairs at the moment. Xia Qingyuan was the daughter of Emperor Xia and if even her had already picked a girl, there was no way he would have been able to go against Ye Futian.
The balance of the sacred war had became skewed. When he chose to bail when he lost the battle back then, they were destined to stay as losers of the war.
He had initially intended to just continue to train while staying hidden. But given how there were others who insisted on forcing him to act, he saw no choice but to comply.
"If the princess is already here, then Yaya and the Glass Saint wouldn't be far behind." Saint Xihua mumbled to himself and then said, "Retreat."
He flashed and retreated right away. All the others retreated from the battlefield one after another, distancing themselves from the ones they were attacking. Saint Jiang and the others from the Holy Zhi Palace did not pursue to assailants, as their current lineup was not really all that powerful.
"Let's go." Saint Xihua and the others left right away.
The Black Wind Condor's eyes were cold and pointed, flashing with a hint of puzzlement as it saw the figures leaving.
They're going to leave just like that?
Is it because of Xia Qingyuan?
It seemed that Saint Xihua was not hell bent on getting his revenge and appeared rather cowardly.
In actual fact, Saint Xihua never wanted revenge, but there was someone who forced him to act. Although he had no idea what the other party was trying to do, but he did what he promised to do. With Xia Qingyuan showing up personally, he simply bailed right away, as he deemed it enough to fulfill his promise.
The Black Wind Condor's cold eyes swept around the battlefield. There were quite a number of people injured. However, to saints, injuries would have been inconsequential so long as they were not grievous.
The bird flapped and came to Xia Qingyuan's side, saying to her telepathically, "Princess, do you mind doing me a favor?"
"You want to know the whereabouts of Saint Xihua and the others?" Xia Qingyuan replied telepathically. She naturally knew what Ye Futian was up to.
The bird nodded.
"Father was sending men to look into it. What you're doing now is asking me to violate the rules of the sacred war." Xia Qingyuan then added, "Furthermore, Saint Xihua and the others still serve my father after all."
Ye Futian naturally did not buy any of Xia Qingyuan's bullsh**.
Saint Xihua probably harbored only resentment for Emperor Xia at that moment. If there was a choice to be had, he would have left Emperor Xia's Realm instead.
As for Xia Qingyuan, he found it baffling that the woman was talking to him about rules.
"I need only news. His majesty and you, princess, wouldn't need to lift a finger, so you would not be violating his majesty's decree," the Black Wind Condor said telepathically.
"You'll talk when you get back." Xia Qingyuan glanced at the Black Wind Condor plainly.
The bird glared at Xia Qingyuan, feeling an urge to do something right there and then.
"Boss, no." The Black Wind Condor sensed Ye Futian's intentions and became scared. The Blue Phoenix Sacred Beast was right beside Xia Qingyuan after all.
If Ye Futian were to actually do something right there and then, it would have been the bird to suffer the consequences instead.
As for the matter of getting back at the Blue Phoenix, that would be something saved for a later date.
"I'd like to request that you notify the Moon Saint and have him be on guard. I'd leave the matters on this side in your hands, princess." The Black Wind Condor said. Since he was still faraway in Dali, the matters right there and then naturally fell into Xia Qingyuan's hands. They needed to be on guard since Saint Xihua had actually made a move.
As for him, it was naturally impossible for him to just return right away.
All of his previous efforts would have been wasted otherwise.
"Alright." Xia Qingyuan nodded. So this guy finally learned some manners huh?
Ye Futian, who was training in Dali Imperial City, opened his eyes, which flashed with a hint of coldness.
He never expected Saint Xihua to actually appear out of nowhere after all that time. It was fortunate that the Holy Zhi Palace had became extremely powerful at the moment, and they were not all that easily shaken. Even if Saint Xihua was able to actually hire a Saint of True Self from the Upper Worlds to aid him, it did not actually work as planned. Nonetheless, it would have been better if he were to be on guard from then on out. As such, he was ready to invite saints from the Yue clan to train in the Holy Zhi Palace.
By doing so, it would have allowed them to aid each other, before eventually taking out Saint Xihua altogether.
Yaya, the Glass Saint and the others ventured down to the Lower Worlds, staying behind to guard the Holy Zhi Palace. Saint Xihua and his men retreated yet again.
The scuffle seemed to have been a minor one, as the Holy Zhi Palace remained unharmed at all.
The Moon Saint actually came to train at the Holy Zhi Palace after that, while Yaya, the Glass Saint and the others returned to the Upper Worlds.
All of it looked as if things had reached their conclusion right there and then. It all seemed to be an attempt of Saint Xihua at revenge, and nobody bothered to find out about the story behind his actions.
Saint Xihua had a massive score to settle with the Holy Zhi Palace to begin with after all.
The scuffle was quickly forgotten by everyone else. It was something hardly even worth mentioning in the Upper Worlds.
Xiao Sheng continued to train as he did in the Xiao clan's manor, leaving the place only in rare occasions. In truth, most of his clansman hardly bothered about him anyway.
After that incident, he came to understand his fate from then on out, that he had became someone irrelevant and dispensable, so much so that even the ones from the Divine Cloud Valley came all the way to the Xiao clan to null the marriage arrangement. It was all a grave insult to him.
Xiao Sheng sent men to head to the Divine Cloud Valley that day, inviting Gongsun Ni to a restaurant.
Gongsun Ni came to a prestigious corner of the restaurant regardless, as both of them almost ended up together after all. She was still willing to give him that much face, since he was the one extending the invitation.
"I have heard that you've spent your time training in isolation as of late to break into Saint Plane. How is your training going?" Gongsun Ni asked. Her sister, Gongsun Xuan was right beside her, and a saint was standing not far away.
"Not bad, but I seem to be in a bad state of mind, so it's only natural that I have difficulties breaking through." Xiao Sheng said, "How about you, Miss. Gongsun? We haven't meet for quite a while. How are you doing as of late?"
"Hardly any different from how I used to spend my days." Gongsun Ni answered, "You have excellent talents, Mr. Xiao. I'm sure that you'd be able to make it out of your current predicament, making a breakthrough and becoming a saint."
"I sure hope so." Xiao Sheng smiled and said, looking serene.
A man was drinking alone not far away from their seats, which was hardly more than a table away from them.
"Xiao Sheng." A voice was heard in Xiao Sheng's ears when he lowered his head.
Xiao Sheng remained calm and unmoved when he heard that voice, continuing to chat with Gongsun Ni.
"Your speculations are on point. He didn't show up. If he were to be training in the royal palace, he would have ventured down to the Lower Worlds with Xia Qingyuan. Yet, only the princess appeared down there. Even when the ones from the Nine States showed up later, he was still nowhere to be found." The other party continued to elaborate telepathically.
"Any useful news you were able to acquire? Like where he went to?" Xiao Sheng asked telepathically. It was the day where they were set to meet. They set the time and date of the next meeting, after every meeting they had.
But then again, while Xiao Sheng would have been there every single time, the other party who showed up would have almost never been the same.
"If he were to have left from the royal palace directly, then it was probably done through the teleportation grand matrix. You should know of the places that the grand matrix was connected with. It's always been those several places." The other party continued, "Xiao Sheng, where do you think he would have ended up?"
"Is there anyone in the Nine States dead this time?" Xiao Sheng asked.
"No one died," the other party replied.
"Are all the saints of the Barren State present?" Xiao Sheng asked again.
"They're all accounted for," the other party answered.
"Then test things out again." Xiao Sheng said, "At least make the ones at the Nine States pay somehow. If he were to still not appear, then we could be sure that he is no longer in Emperor Xia's Realm. I guess he's most likely in Emperor Li's Realm if that turns out to be the case."
"How so?" The other party asked.
"He left alone without the princess at his side. It was not that the saints were not allowed to be around due to him having gone to some secret, powerful places in Emperor Xia's Realm, but due to him being wary of exposing his identity. If that was the case, then the chances of him being in Emperor Li's Realm would have been extremely high. There was no reason not to take the saints from the Nine States with him otherwise."
"He's bold enough to venture into Emperor Li's Realm to train?" The voice of the other party sounded rather funny.
"If you bothered to know about him, you'd realize that he might be even bolder than that. Furthermore, the reason the princess left his steed in her place was so to know of his whereabouts at all times. You all could ponder on the implications of such an action." Xiao Sheng said, "At the very least, I've yet to find out what is it that he is trying to accomplish in Emperor Li's Realm. What is it that would have caused the princess so much concern, that she needed to know of his whereabouts at all times."
The other party was silent for a while, before replying, "I've recorded every word you've said."
The other party put down the cup on his hand after that reply and left the restaurant.
Xiao Sheng continued to chat with Gongsun Ni, looking polite and amicable. One was unable to sense any hint of sadness and anger from him. All of that surprised Gongsun Ni somewhat, and she felt rather guilty for it.
Xiao Sheng left the restaurant a while later. He and Gongsun Ni went their separate ways and returned to their own residences.
It had been a month since Saint Xihua attacked the Holy Zhi Palace. Long Ling'er and Phoenix were poisoned by someone in a restaurant at the Upper Worlds of Emperor Xia's Realm. Furthermore, the poison used was extremely potent, hitting the internal organs and almost killed them.
It was worth noting that Phoenix was versed in the art of healing, and yet even she ended up poisoned. It was a testament of the poison's potency and how well hidden it was. One could have even said that it was a poison at saint level.
However, since everyone in the Holy Zhi Palace was in high alert due to the incident with Saint Xihua, the village chief was tagging along when Long Ling'er and Phoenix ventured outside. The village chief did not return to the Cottage when the two were poisoned, and had instead sent them into Emperor Xia's Palace as fast as he had been able to.
The news was hardly of any importance to Emperor Xia's Realm as a whole, yet it was no doubt an extremely heavy blow on Ye Futian.
What the hell is happening as of late?
Is it Saint Xihua again?
However, according to Xia Qingyuan, Saint Xihua was not even around when they were poisoned.
Ye Futian it all to be an attempt at revenge when Saint Xihua attacked back then. But when Ling'er and Phoenix ended up being poisoned, he came to feel that someone was trying to do them no good, and that someone was trying to kill those from the Nine States.
Ye Futian still remained himself shivering all over despite being at Dali Dynasty, as if he was shrouded by someone's schemes.
The most important thing to be done in Emperor Xia's Palace at that moment was naturally to keep Phoenix and Ling'er alive. Xia Qingyuan even brought the two of them to the bedchambers of Emperor Xia, to ask directly for help from the emperor himself.
Both of them were at the brink of death when the village chief brought them in, especially Ling'er, who was quite literally having one foot in the coffin and her life hanging by a thread, giving how the poison was all over her systems.
Xia Qingyuan, too, felt someone was trying to harm those from the Nine States!
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