HSSB1167: The battle that shook the World beyond Worlds
"I will be making a trip to Kunlun Mountain next to return the Origin Opening Sword," Yan Zhaoge smiled, "I must also settle some affairs at the Heavenly Mysteries Pavilion. When I see Xiao Ai and mention this to her later on, she will definitely gallop over here at once without a second thought."
Xue Chuqing smiled too, "That child…"
"Right, mother, do you want to meet junior apprentice-sister Sikong?" Yan Zhaoge asked, "Right, and some people who are similar to her too. I inadvertently found them and brought them back to Broad Creed Mountain."
Xue Chuqing shook her head, "Frankly speaking, I have done them wrong. It was I who changed their lives."
Yan Zhaoge suddenly thought of something as he asked, "Mother, did you scatter those fragments of the Heavenly Essence Stone around totally randomly or was there a certain pattern to it?"
"If there was, were they split evenly amongst the worlds or according to population size?"
"From things back then, it seems that the larger a world's population, the more of such people there should be," Xue Chuqing was rather taken aback, "I definitely would have preferred spreading it evenly across the worlds. Otherwise, the number of them in the World beyond Worlds would probably surpass the sum total in all the lower worlds, being overly conspicuous. Sadly, this was out of my control."
She acutely detected something, "In order to avoid anyone realising anything and finding them because of me, I have always avoided meeting with any such people. How do they look like?"
Yan Zhaoge and Yan Di exchanged looks. Yan Di raised a palm, an image of light appearing.
On seeing the completely identical facial features of Sikong Qing, He Ying, Yue Baoqi and the rest, Xue Chuqing was rendered at a loss for words.
"Their looks are all so exquisite and outstanding…"
Yan Zhaoge and Yan Di both looked like they knew not whether to laugh or to cy.
"Not only are their appearances outstanding, their martial talents are extraordinary too. Still, this only manifests after they have refined their qi into aurqi and attained the Martial Scholar realm," Yan Di said.
Xue Chuqing had a despondent look on her face, "…Only today do I realise what a dumb thing I did."
People like Sikong Qing who all had such outstanding appearances and were all talented in the martial dao yet all looked the same-it would really be difficult for people not to notice then.
Even if many of them never developed their talents, with their quantity being great, it was still possible that someone looking would notice something.
It would still be fine if they had ordinary faces and were more on the average side.
They were so outstanding, and generally the first to be noticed in a group of people-how might it be possible to keep this under wraps?
Especially in the World beyond Worlds, where there were probably hundreds, even thousands of such people considering its population base.
"From what you were saying earlier, it seems that they are rare in the World beyond Worlds?" Xue Chuqing now asked.
"It is much fewer than I expected, at least. I have only seen two so far," Yan Zhaoge said solemnly, "If it is really as you say and there are even more of these people who resemble junior apprentice-sister Sikong in the World beyond Worlds than the sum total in the various lower worlds, someone should have noticed this long ago."
Thereby leading to a mass, large scale search for people like Sikong Qing in the various lower worlds.
Things would not still be calm and peaceful as they were now.
"Either my initial judgment was wrong and it was not spilt evenly according to population but evenly amongst the various worlds," Xue Chuqing's expression turned extremely serious, "The possibility of this is very low, though. I should not have seen wrongly back then."
"Or, someone long since discovered this and has been capturing these people who resemble junior apprentice-niece Sikong in secret. Also, this person has found many, only not having broadcast this," Yan Di finished.
"This is something we should pay some real attention to," Yan Zhaoge smacked his lips.
Yan Di and Xue Chuqing nodded in agreement.
The three discussed this for a while longer before splitting up as per their original plan.
Yan Zhaoge took his leave of Yan Di and Xue Chuqing, next returning to the Heavenly Mysteries Pavilion.
Due to his earlier battle with the black-clothed Brocade Emperor, the ongoing auction over at the Heavenly Mysteries Pavilion had been stopped midway.
Those who had been attending it and the local inhabitants of Yuanzhou City had retreated from the city together to avoid being affected by the aftershocks of the battle.
After Yan Zhaoge and the black-clothed Brocade Emperor had left, they had still not returned to Yuanzhou City as they had simply stayed where they were and waited in silence.
No one knew how the battle would end or whether the two might return to Yuanzhou City in continuation of that earlier conflict.
Before things were conclusively settled for good, it was really better to be safe than sorry.
If they died from the aftershocks of an Immortal-level battle, they could only suck it up.
Still, those scenes from before the combatants had left Yuanzhou City had already broadened everyone's horizons.
Despite only being at the ninth level of the Martial Saint realm, Yan Zhaoge had actually suppressed the black-clothed Brocade Emperor head-on!
This was unprecedented and also totally unheard of for anyone at all.
Even if Yan Zhaoge did not obtain victory in the end, how he had continuously beat the black-clothed Brocade Emperor into retreat as they departed from Yuanzhou City was itself already sufficient to be recorded in the historical annals of the World beyond Worlds, becoming an undying legend.
Everyone yearned desperately to know the conclusion of that battle.
The news that was intermittently transmitted back afterwards, both brief and detailed, revised their worldviews time and time again.
Not only had Yan Zhaoge unexpectedly risen from the eighth to the ninth level of the Martial Saint realm within a short amount of time, Yan Di had also risen from the ninth to the tenth level of the Martial Saint realm, accomplishing the Human Exalt stage!
There were numerous hidden and obscure acupoints within the human body as it was extremely difficult to get them to resonate with the starry sky. Thus, cultivation was a progressively harder thing as some late Immortal Bridge Martial Saints would only have a few acupoints still yet to be refined but faced a challenge as difficult as ascending to the heavens despite this paper-thin difference.
In the World beyond Worlds where there were as many experts as there were clouds, while the number of ninth level Martial Saints was not high, it still amounted to quite a bit.
Some of them, like the Southeastern Swordsmistress Zhang Yunying, the Star Plucking Practitioner Guan Lide and the Grand Plainness Origin Lady Tao Yu etcetera were longtime experts who had been stuck in the ninth level of the Martial Saint realm for many years.
Yet, they could just never succeed in this final step. The difficulty of attaining the Human Exalt stage could be seen therein.
After many years of development, numerous geniuses had appeared in the World beyond Worlds, successfully converting their potential to strength.
Many had surpassed their predecessors as the Human Exalt stage was within sight for they who were lower in seniority.
Yet, all these years, there was only Nie Jingsheng who had successfully managed to achieve it.
Everyone else, considering those with more potential like Qilin Cliff's Li Junxin and Ingenious Flying Peak's He Xixing while ignoring the deceased Qing Shuzi, were still late Immortal Bridge Martial Saints.
And now, following Nie Jingshen, yet another newly arisen Human Exalt had manifested.
This person was Yan Di who had still been unheard of over a decade ago, only having risen to prominence in recent years!
Li Junxin, He Xixing and the others had surpassed many predecessors as their fame overshadowed those of earlier generations like Tao Yu.
Having arisen like a shooting star, having once been noted as not having any Immortal Bridge Martial Saints just some years back, Broad Creed Mountain had now already produced an Exalt!
The news that arrived next left them even more amazed.
"Just having attained the Human Exalt stage, Broad Creed Mountain's Chief Yan successively defeated both the Upper and Lower Exalts?!" Everyone who heard it was left dumbfounded, "Immortal Artifact in hand, the Earth Exalt was still defeated?"
HSSB1168: Central Kunlun, East Broad Creed
The newly ascended Yan Di had successively defeated the Earth Exalt Wang Zhengcheng and the Upper Exalt Chen Qianhua.
Everyone was shocked upon learning of this.
Still, thinking about it again, while it was unexpected, it actually seemed reasonable.
After all, he was someone who had slain the former Southern Exalt Zhuang Shen at the eighth level of the Martial Saint realm…
"I heard that when Chief Yan was in that lower world, others dared not refer to him directly as they added a character to his name and called him Yan Wudi, meaning Yan Invincible. It denoted how he was invincible amongst Martial Scholars, invincible amongst Martial Grandmasters."
Manor Lord Heng Xianda of Wind Thunder Manor sighed emotionally, "Many thought this title to be a joke at first in the World beyond Worlds. It was only after Chief Yan slew the former Southern Exalt that no one mentioned it any longer."
"After today, however, it will probably revive once again…"
Also, it would be no joke at all.
Everyone in the World beyond Worlds would have to seriously keep an eye out as this figure who had suddenly risen to prominence like a shooting star, son of the deceased Exalted Gold Luminary, was almost surely all but invincible amongst Martial Saints now.
He was already one of those closest to this glorious accolade, at least.
The news that was successively transmitted back was increasingly shocking.
The Eastern Exalt Daoist Oneheaven had been slain by Yan Di in the eastern Vast Heaven Territory!
Yet another Human Exalt had been killed by Yan Di, following the footsteps of the former Southern Exalt Zhuang Shen.
Next, Jade Capital Crag's Origin Opening Sword had been taken out and delivered to Fallen Deity Yan Zhaoge, with the black-clothed Brocade Emperor having then been soundly sent packing.
And finally, most shocking of all was that the Earth Exalt Wang Zhengcheng had been rampantly slain by Yan Zhaoge!
As soon as the news spread, the entire World beyond Worlds was rendered speechless.
It was not shock that everyone first felt as they instead felt somewhat lost.
Even if the Upper Exalt Chen Qianhua had died, it would not have affected the World beyond Worlds as immensely as this.
On one hand, Chen Qianhua was a solitary person who seldom interacted with others.
On the other, he had only accomplished his fame over a century ago at the end of the day.
In contrast, the Earth Exalt Wang Zhengcheng was virtually from the founding era of the World beyond Worlds, having weathered many storms with the World beyond Worlds over the years.
With the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors reigning high above, it was Wang Zhengcheng who interacted with the various powers of the World beyond Worlds most of the time.
His authority did not just originate from the Earthly Sovereign alone.
Wang Zhengcheng had played a significant role throughout the entire history of the World beyond Worlds as his influence was something that could not be understated.
While he was a Martial Saint, the effects of his death were comparable to if it was an Emperor who had died.
Such an existence had actually been slain in battle today?
Countless people of the World beyond Worlds were rendered dazed on the spot, finding it hard to come to terms with it.
In the southwestern Vermillion Heaven Territory, close to where the central Jun Heaven Territory and the western Turtle Heaven Territory met, a white-clothed man stood amidst space as he was silent for a long time.
The disciples beside him were also all gaping and speechless at this moment.
A long while passed before they finally snapped out of it and turned to look at that white-clothed man, "Master…sen…senior apprentice-uncle Yan killed the Earth Exalt. This…this is really…"
The white-clothed man was the Southwestern Exalt Bai Tao.
He had left after receiving Wang Pu's message to reinforce the central Jun Heaven Territory while keeping an eye on the Western Exalt Lang Qing from the western Turtle Heaven Territory's Nongli Mountain as well.
It was just that the sudden news still left him at a loss.
"The Earth Exalt is a descendant of the Earthly Sovereign at the end of the day," Bai Tao resumed his footsteps in striding towards the central Jun Heaven Territory, "Things will not end easy here…"
As the martial practitioners who were congregated in the vicinity of Yuanzhou City in having originally come to attend the auction heard about this, a deathly silence descended at once.
When everyone had finally finished digesting the news, they all felt it to be inexplicable as they were shocked.
Those who had the qualifications to attend the auction were all not simple as they were heroes of a region themselves.
They all acutely realised that today's matter was probably merely the beginning!
This battle was very likely to have far-reaching effects, even completely shaking the global situation of the World beyond Worlds that had been stable for so long.
Everyone's gazes that were on the Heavenly Mysteries Pavilion turned complex as well.
The Earthly Sovereign's might had been accumulated for many years as he was likely supported by the Concealed Sovereign too.
Behind Broad Creed Mountain and the Heavenly Mysteries Pavilion stood the Sword Sovereign.
With a standoff between the two sides centred about the southern and northern peaks of Kunlun Mountain, the martial practitioners of the World beyond Worlds had vaguely been divided in two.
As Northern High Peak's Jade Capital Crag had arisen relatively later on, it was inferior to Southern High Peak's Qilin Cliff in terms of accumulation as well as reputation.
Still, aside from the ever-elusive Chen Qianhua, the most outstanding newly arisen geniuses of the World beyond Worlds' recent generations virtually all shared a close relationship with Jade Capital Crag.
In contrast, while Qilin Cliff's lineage was not low in quantity, they lacked a famed leading figure of the younger generation who was comparable to Yan Zhaoge and the others.
At the same time, many great powers of the World beyond Worlds had deep ties with the Heavenly Mysteries Pavilion as decisively terminating their relationship was not something that could be done so easily.
Even if they were determined to do so, Qilin Cliff had to believe them and time would be needed to verify this too.
A greater cause for concern was how no one really seemed able to keep Broad Creed Mountain in check at all with the Earthly Sovereign away and the Concealed Sovereign in secluded cultivation.
The only way this might be possible was if the Emperors of the World beyond Worlds all joined forces in suppressing them.
Still, things were such that they should already count their blessings if the Female Emperor did not help Broad Creed Mountain, the Brocade Emperor was in a spot of trouble himself and the Encompassing Emperor was strictly neutral. The Heaven Emperor alone was helpless.
How things would change when the Earthly Sovereign returned and the Concealed Sovereign emerged from seclusion was something for the future.
Before that, Broad Creed Mountain and Jade Capital Crag held a clear, absolute advantage. The current World beyond Worlds was effectively their playground.
If they offended Yan Zhaoge and co now in wishing to stand on the side of Qilin Cliff, they would probably be tragically doomed, only being able to wait for someone to avenge them in the future.
Such a predicament left everyone rather conflicted.
With that, when Yan Zhaoge returned to the Heavenly Mysteries Pavilion, no one knew what to say as they saw him.
Yan Zhaoge was wholly unconcerned with this as he simply smiled and nodded to those acquainted ones before walking towards Xiao Ai and the others.
"Xiao Ai, my mother's fine. Do you want to go see her?"
On hearing his words, Xiao Ai's eyes instantly widened as she nodded enthusiastically like a chicken pecking feed, "Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!"
"Right. Just go to the eastern Vast Heaven Territory's Remote Cloud Mountain. Both my father and mother have headed there," Yan Zhaoge smiled.
The hearts of those in the vicinity all jolted as they heard this.
While they had had a vague feeling that this would be the case after hearing that the Eastern Exalt, Daoist Oneheaven, had been slain by Yan Di, it was still different hearing it from the horse's mouth as they all felt somewhat emotional at this.
Broad Creed Mountain would thereon truly be the East Peak of Daoism.
Also, it was different from Nongli Mountain that occupied the western Turtle Heaven Territory.
Broad Creed Mountain that was soon to become the overlord of the eastern Vast Heaven Territory clearly did not have its influence limited merely to the east.
Rather than that, it was a massive entity which held the entire World beyond Worlds in its sway.
The endless potential of Yan Zhaoge and Yan Di who were Martial Saints but could match True Immortals had only just begun to manifest for real.
Their future accomplishments would only be even more terrifying.
With that, East Broad Creed was vaguely forming in opposition to Central Kunlun.
To everyone, it already seemed almost apparent that Kunlun Mountain was no longer the sole centre of the World beyond Worlds.