However, after that, Gu Dongliu had gone into hiding on Crouching Dragon Mountain in response to the pressure being exerted on him by Zhisheng Cliffs. Now, he had finally made an appearance once more before insulting Zhan Xiao, one of the Nine Warriors of Zhisheng Cliffs, and then disrespecting Zhisheng Cliffs as well. It seemed like Gu Dongliu really had a death wish.
Kong Yao looked up, the look in his eyes sharp as a knife. How dare Gu Dongliu claim that the cultivators at Zhisheng Cliffs were not worthy of its illustrious reputation?
"Gu Dongliu, how dare you insult the holy grounds of the Yu State," Zhan Xiao spat coldly. "Take him down."
Boom! With a loud crash, a giant Golden Ape stepped out from behind Gu Dongliu, and cracks spread throughout the ground. Yuan Hong stood there, his golden eyes surveying the crowd. Many people looked towards Yuan Hong. A couple of days ago, he had defeated the City Lord of White Cloud City, who had been fourth in the Barren Sky Ranking.
"Zhan Xiao, you killed all those sages in order to get to the treasure. If it hadn't chosen me, I would probably have also died right there at the relic," Gu Dongliu said, staring straight at Zhan Xiao, "which is why firstly, I did not steal the treasure; it chose me. Secondly, I did not kill those Yu State sages. You know fully well who that despicable villain really is, though I don't know if everyone else who came from Zhisheng Cliffs knows as well. It's not hard to verify everything I just said as well. If anyone wants to see for themselves, I will project what happened using Spiritual Will. Admit it, you're trying to snatch the treasure for yourself and silence me. Don't bother with all those lofty excuses."
Everyone was in shock at Gu Dongliu's words. The vast space surrounding the Xuanwu Tower was silent. While everyone knew there was a possibility Zhan Xiao had not been speaking the truth, Gu Dongliu had never contradicted his words. As such, there had been the impression that even if Zhan Xiao's words were not completely truthful, they had not deviated greatly from what had actually happened. The fact that Gu Dongliu had presented an account completely contrary to what Zhan Xiao had said was a jaw-dropping twist to this turn of events. Furthermore, the last point Gu Dongliu made had been especially persuasive as well.
Zhan Xiao's expression darkened instantly, and he snorted coldly. "How bold of you to push the blame for what you did onto me. And now that people from Zhisheng Cliffs have come for you, you besmirch the illustrious name of our holy grounds out of your own petty need for revenge. Gu Dongliu, such underhanded means you're resorting to."
"What impudence." Kong Yao stood up, and a terrifying pressure descended upon the vast space. Though he did not completely trust Zhan Xiao's account, he did not want to believe that what Gu Dongliu said could be true. After all, Zhan Xiao was one of the Nine Warriors of Zhisheng Cliffs.
If Gu Dongliu really was speaking the truth, then Zhan Xiao truly was a disappointment. It wasn't so much that he had killed those sages in order to get to the treasure, but that the treasure had chosen Gu Dongliu over him, despite him being one of the Nine Warriors of Zhisheng Cliffs. Gu Dongliu had even managed to get away from him. All this was contrary to what Zhan Xiao had told Kong Yao.
But it didn't matter what the truth was. The moment Gu Dongliu had blurted out everything the way he did, he deserved to die already. The issues with Zhan Xiao would be dealt with once they got back to Zhisheng Cliffs.
"It makes no difference whether or not I was impudent," Gu Dongliu said calmly. "Previously, I was willing to hand over the treasure, even if that meant taking on a bad reputation for being despicable. But since all of you from this supposed holy ground were not willing to let me off, then I no longer had any room to be civil. Zhan Xiao, if you're going to boast about being from holy grounds, then fight me in battle. If I lose, you're free to take me back with you, and I'll hand over the treasure. If you lose or are unwilling to even battle, then you may kill me. But don't think about getting your hands on the treasure so easily when previously you didn't even want it in the first place."
"We'll know everything for sure once we take you back to Zhisheng Cliffs. The treasure will still be ours no matter what," Kong Yao retorted strongly and stepped forward. The terrifying rule power of a divine elephant descended upon the space. The pressure of it was endlessly immense, and many people felt like they were being immobilized.
Thump. Kong Yao stepped out again, and an incredibly heavy pressure began to press down on Gu Dongliu. At this point, both Gu Dongliu's body and Spiritual Will felt as though they were being subjet to a stampede of many divine elephants, and he could not help but grunt at the sudden assault. However, his eyes remained lucid, and he stared straight at Kong Yao.
Yuan Hong took a step forward, making the earth shake, and stood before Gu Dongliu. Explosive energy was contained within his golden body. This sheer power was the specialty of the Golden Apes. Even if demonic beasts were at some disadvantage compared to humans, they too had certain abilities they were born with.
Kong Yao snorted coldly at the sight. He had heard of how Yuan Hong had defeated the City Lord of White Cloud City, who was fourth on the Barren Sky Ranking. But it didn't matter to him. Even if the City Lord of White Cloud City was fourth in the Barren Sky Ranking, it still could not compare to his own ranking as ninth on the Sage Ranking.
Each step Kong Yao took had everyone feeling as though divine elephants were stampeding across their bodies, and many of those who were on lower planes stood behind their seniors. This pressure was terrifyingly immense, causing Xuanwu Tower to shake and creak, seemingly at risk of collapsing any moment.
Yuan Hong waved the Divine Destruction Polearm in his hand, and many Golden Ape shadows appeared around him. As the Golden Apes twirled their polearms about at the same time, the surroundings began to change as well. At this, everyone at the banquet began to retreat quickly, finding refuge somewhere far away from there. The range of such a battle would be incredibly vast, and the power involved was immense. Anyone below the Sage Plane would probably be killed in the crossfire.
Kong Yao stepped out towards Yuan Hong and swung a fist towards him. Despite seeming like a casual punch, Kong Yao's fist contained a power that could suppress all under heaven. Endless numbers of divine elephant shadows appeared and charged through the space, emanating overpowering energy that struck fear into everyone's hearts. In an instant, the Golden Apes around Yuan Hong were all reduced to nothing.
Even then, Yuan Hong stood tall and unshakeable still, continuing to twirl the polearm about. As a roar resounded through the sky, he raised the Divine Destruction Polearm and attacked, seeming to split the sky apart with one strike.
Yuan Hong tore through the divine elephant shadows and went straight at Kong Yao's fist. Yet Kong Yao showed no fear at all, instead allowing his bare fist to hit the Divine Destruction Polearm that swung through the sky towards him. The power of his fist will was surprising, and a glow emanated from it that seemed to look just like an enormous divine elephant.
Thump! With a loud sound, the divine elephant was destroyed. However, the might of the staff technique was cut off as well. A frightening hurricane formed around the two and rolled off into the distance. Meanwhile, Xuanwu Tower was completely reduced to rubble. There was no way it was able to withstand the power of such a battle.
Right then, Zhuge Qingfeng walked over to stand before Yuan Hong as well. Since the battle had begun, he too would not back off. Kong Yao looked at the two figures before him. Zhuge Qingfeng was equipped with a holy ritual implement. On the other hand, while Yuan Hong's strike just now had only been a test attack, he was undeniably strong as well. It would be troublesome to have to take down the two of them alone.
Turning his gaze to everyone else, Kong Yao spoke, "Everyone, since the person we are looking for has come down from Crouching Dragon Mountain, this makes things easier then. Whoever is willing to stand on my side will be a friend of Zhisheng Cliffs from now on."
There were many sparkling eyes among the crowd at his words. Some were hesitant, knowing that if they were to participate in this now, then they would have to ensure that Zhuge Qingfeng and Yuan Hong were taken care of on the spot. If not, trouble may ensue in the future.
Both Gu Dongliu's speech and the actions of Yuan Hong and Zhuge Qingfeng were akin to declaring war on Zhisheng Cliffs. As such, Kong Yao would definitely not let them off. Kong Yao would have no problem taking on Zhuge Qingfeng. However, Yuan Hong was powerful enough to defeat the City Lord of White Cloud City, which made him a troublesome figure to deal with. If only one or two of them were to participate in the battle, then it would be a risk to their own lives.
"Zhuge Qingfeng, since Gu Dongliu stole from Zhisheng Cliffs, you should just hand him over," a voice rang out, and Zhuge Qingfeng looked towards its owner. It was the leader of the Sacred Fire Sect, an elder who had lived for many, many years. This person had always gone about his affairs in a rather shady manner. Besides, if he didn't break through to the next plane soon, he would begin to grow frail with age. As such, his desire to break into the Saint Plane was especially strong. In speaking up, the elder had basically made a statement that he was going to side with Zhisheng Cliffs.
"My son has the potential to break into the Saint Plane. Right now, he's working on transcending into the Sage Plane. Brother Kong, would you be able to recommend him to Zhisheng Cliffs so that he could train there?" Di Kai looked towards Kong Yao as he spoke. He had great expectations of his son Di Gang. With his son's talent, he definitely had what it took to enter Zhisheng Cliffs and even become a prominent figure on the level of a Son. However, one needed a recommendation in order to enter Zhisheng Cliffs. Kong Yao was obviously a suitable person to seek a recommendation from then.
While Di Kai could turn his nose up at the Holy Zhi Palace, there were people of the Saint Plane at Zhisheng Cliffs. If Di Gang could be accepted there to train, it would definitely be an added advantage in his journey to enter the Saint Plane. Evidently, Di Kai was intending to pave the way forward for his son Di Gang.
"That will definitely be no problem," Kong Yao agreed breezily. After all, Di Gang was 12th on the Barren Sky Ranking.
"Count me in too," the Wuji Swordsman, head of the Sword Saint Villa, piped up as well. He was not doing this so that his descendants may enter Zhisheng Cliffs, but rather for himself. The Sword Saint Villa had to have an individual of the Saint Plane. As such, it was imperative that he set foot into that plane.
"Yan Wuji has joined in as well." The eyes of many gleamed at this turn of events. Yan Wuji had a holy item in his possession as well. At this point, there was no doubt about how this battle would go.
"Looks like the majority is against you, Zhuge Qingfeng. Why go against the current?" the Nantian Godly Spear of Nantian House spoke up. It was evident he too wanted to join in the fray.
Gu Dongliu's gaze swept across all these people, before he calmly commented, "I've heard from my teacher that the Saint Plane is a state of flawlessness. If your heart is flawless, then you will attain sainthood. Though all of you are ranked within the Barren Sky Ranking, as of today, there are already flaws in your Divine Path. Attaining sainthood is probably an unattainable dream for you now."
"What do you mean by flaws?" Yan Wuji looked towards Gu Dongliu. His conviction was absolute; he would be willing to go all out for even the smallest shred of hope, which meant his state of mind was flawless as well.
"If you don't believe in yourself, your heart in pursuing the Divine Path falters, which becomes a flaw," Ye Futian spoke from where he was behind Gu Dongliu. "Third Older Brother is right, you all are probably not fated to walk the Divine Path in this lifetime."
"A whole load of nonsense." Yan Wuji's expression faltered. Gu Dongliu and Ye Futian's words seemed to have generated some sort of disturbance within his frame of mind, causing him to question himself. However, Yan Wuji was unwilling to suspect his own feelings. This would be playing straight into Ye Futian's hands, proving that he was faltering in his will to pursue the Divine Path and that his frame of mind was flawed.
Ye Futian laughed derisively. Perhaps these people had already understood his words, but it was just that they were still unwilling to accept the truth and wanted another try.
"Whether all of you admit to this fact or not, your actions today prove that you all do want to rely on Zhisheng Cliffs because you don't think much of yourselves. With such a frame of mind, the Barren Sky Ranking will be the highest point you will reach. What's so good about Zhisheng Cliffs anyway? You'll still encounter the same sort of cultivators there," Ye Futian declared. "You will all regret this." He then looked towards Yuan Hong, "Grandfather Ape, Kong Yao from Zhisheng Cliffs is yours."
"Alright," Yuan Hong nodded.