When the elder walked them to the exit, he had asked Ye Futian and the rest when they would come back for a gamble fight. Ye Futian had declined, stating that they had enough ritual implements already. He then thanked the elder for their generosity. The anguish in the elder's eyes was unforgettable.
The elder was pained to the core. He had thought highly of the disciples from the Holy Zhi Palace, but with Li Futu's party as the opposing side, the elder had underestimated the abilities of Ye Futian and the rest, causing him to make an erroneous judgment. If he had been able to judge that Ye Futian and the rest would win, they would have followed the odds of 1-1. If the elder had done that, they would have made a windfall. It was regrettable.
News of this battle spread through Alchemy City very quickly and attracted much discussion. Li Futu from the Fire Emperor Palace had allied with people like Yu Ming, yet his party had still lost to the group of disciples who entered the Holy Zhi Palace three years ago. The Holy Zhi Palace indeed deserved its reputation as the top sacred grounds for training in the Barren State.
Many people wanted to catch a glimpse of these people. Some of the powerful individuals who had arrived at Alchemy City were also interested to see for themselves these disciples' abilities in a fight. Of course, discussion over this battle was soon overshadowed by far more important news. It would soon be the day when the Alchemy Conference would begin.
Today, the atmosphere in Alchemy City was electrifying. A sea of people moved along the streets, headed in the direction of the City Lord Office. Divine arms whistled through the sky and the roars of demonic beasts could be heard. Many were discussing the Alchemy Conference. It was said that many important people within the southwest region of the Barren State would come to watch the Alchemy Conference, which was held once every decade.
After all, Alchemy City was an important city within the region, and its City Lord was one of the more powerful men in the state. As the eighth in the Barren Sky Ranking, he was equally formidable in both cultivation and ritual implement-crafting. If he were to fight with ritual implements, no one in the top ten of the Ranking would be willing to face him in battle.
You Chi, the City Lord of Alchemy City, was still the most powerful man in the southwest region of the Barren State. As such, even powerful individuals from other parts of the state would show him some degree of respect. Additionally, many regions in the Barren State would send people to the Conference to watch. They were all interested to see how things would unfold there.
A staircase stood outside the entrance to the City Lord Office. Below the stairs was a vast space. Eight Alchemy Pillars standing tall within, with smelting furnaces burning on top of them. The space contained within these eight pillars was where participants of the Alchemy Conference would craft their ritual implements.
The spectator areas were at the top and the two sides of the staircase. Seats were lined along the top of the staircase outside the City Lord Office. Those seats were only for the most important and powerful attendees of the Conference. The areas at the two sides of the staircase were also reserved for invited guests only. Normal attendees, even those of the Sage Plane, could only watch the Conference from the back.
Right now, a huge crowd had gathered in the outer area of the Conference. Many people had come down to Alchemy City to witness this great event that was only held once every decade. Even if they weren't interested in ritual implement-crafting, today was the day where powerful and important individuals they normally would not be able to see would appear in the city. Furthermore, many of these individuals were powerful people within the Barren Sky Ranking.
At the bottom of the staircase, many people from the City Lord Office had arrived to maintain order in the venue. Those who had come to participate in the Alchemy Conference entered as well. Walking into the crafting area, they found a spot for themselves and waited.
Many top armorers from various places would gather here to put their crafting skills against each other. This was their stage, and today, they would be under the scrutiny of the entire Barren State.
"The Lu Family is here, and the head of the family has even come down personally to watch," someone observed, watching the group of people move through the sky towards the place. The Lu Family was a prominent family within Alchemy City. Though they were not as influential as the City Lord Office or the Emperor Family, they still held a significant amount of power nonetheless. The young master of the City Lord Office went to greet them. The head of the family and the more important family members were seated at the top of the staircase, while the younger family members remained at the two sides of the staircase.
"The Zhou Family is here as well," came the cry, heralding the arrival of another important family. Like the Lu Family, the Zhou Family was another prominent family within Alchemy City.
Afterward, many people began to filter into the venue, even including those from Inferno City. Several prominent figures had come out of the City Lord Office to personally welcome guests, though the City Lord himself had not made an appearance yet. With his status, there were few in the Barren State who would merit a personal greeting from him.
"The Sacred Fire Sect has arrived, that's the leader of the sect." Many people turned to look at the group moving through the sky. At the front of the group was an elder with an incredibly commanding aura. The leader himself had personally come to the Conference, and he moved straight to the top of the staircase to take his seat.
Right then, another group of people walked out of the City Lord Office. The man in front was clad in long golden robes. Middle-aged, his features were angular and chiseled, and he moved in great style. The many important guests who had arrived at the event stood up to greet him.
"The City Lord has come out," many people stared at the man who had just walked out. Now that many important people from all over the Barren State was arriving, of course, You Chi had to make an appearance soon, in his capacity as host and the City Lord.
"Good morning, everyone," You Chi greeted the guests who had come, before walking to the main seat in the middle of the area. He stood there, surveying the endless crowd. Everyone in the sea of people clasped their hands and greeted him in a sonorous roar.
You Chi waved a hand and spoke, "Today is the day of the Alchemy Conference, and I'm definitely not the star of this event. Those who intend to participate in the Conference, you can enter now." At his words, more people entered the venue.
"City Lord You, I hope you've been well," a voice called out. Just then, a frightening flaming beast appeared in the sky with a group of people on it. The man at the front of the group had a magnificent demeanor. His eyes seemed to be a fiery red, and his hands were clasped behind his back.
"It's Yan Jun," someone announced. Everyone stared at the newcomers. Yan Jun was the Palace Lord of the Fire Emperor Palace and ranked amongst the most powerful of the Barren Sky Ranking. Li Futu, who stood next to him, was a prominent young talent whose reputation was second only to Di Gang of the Emperor Family in this region. While there had been news of Li Futu suffering a loss a couple of days ago, it was not his fault. It had been a group battle, after all.
In addition to Li Futu, his wife Xiang Zhiyan and disciple of the Holy Zhi Palace Xiang Zhiqin had come as well, descending from the sky towards the venue.
"Yan Jun, how have you been?" You Chi asked after the newly arrived guest.
"How well could I be on top of those flames! I've come to join the fun." Yan Jun chuckled heartily.
"It's good that you've come, a couple of the old guys are here too. Have a seat," You Chi replied, before turning to Li Futu. "I've heard that the son of Yan Jun is overpoweringly talented. Seeing you now, indeed, you're just like your father. You don't have to go to the side of the staircase, stay and watch the Conference from here."
"Thank you, senior," Li Futu joined his hands and thanked You Chi.
"It's embarrassing to mention, but this fellow has been a good-for-nothing guy, suffering a loss a few days back at Alchemy City and all," Yan Jun commented. Li Futu and Xiang Zhiyan stood behind him, while the others went down to the two sides of the staircase. There were limited seats, so not every one of the younger guests could stay up here to watch.
"But that was a group battle, so it wasn't Young Master Li's fault. Why blame the young one like that, Yan Jun?" a gentle, alluring voice rang out from afar. Just the sound of it alone made one feel as though one could get lost in it. Instantly, many people knew who had arrived. Only one person in the entire southwest region of the Barren State could have this level of charm.
In the sky, a group of women carried a sedan over. Those women were all in white and were as beautiful as fairies. Even the famously gorgeous Su Hongxiu was only standing to the side of the sedan. The chair blind of the sedan was pulled apart, and a woman descended from the sky. Beautiful as a Jiutian Goddess, many people were instantly enamored at the sight of her.
The woman had hair that cascaded down her back like a waterfall, and her bright soulful eyes had an endless charm to them. One couldn't help but be drawn to the delicate curves on that alluring figure. Wearing a long dress, the side of her leg appeared in flashes, and one could not tear their eyes away from those lovely long legs. Her skin was clear and smooth as jade, almost as delicate as a young girl's. However, her most beautiful features were still her eyes and face. They were so perfect there was nothing to pick on, and just a look from her alone could have one utterly smitten.
This woman was Chu Ji, Pavilion Lord of the Goddess Pavilion, and the most beautiful woman in the southwest region of the Barren State. As cultivators grew stronger through training, their lifespans would increase and their features would remain un-aged. But Chu Ji was probably the only woman of her kind in the Barren State. As she trained, she grew even more beautiful. Even Su Hongxiu, a great beauty, paled in comparison standing next to her. The two looked about the same age. It was almost like they were sisters. Furthermore, Chu Ji was frightening not because of her beauty, but because of her charm. Su Hongxiu was already incredibly charming, yet she was still far from Chu Ji's level.
Chu Ji was the kind of woman who could have someone enthralled with her forever with just a glance. Even Yan Jun did not dare to look at her for too long, only giving her a calm glance and grunting coldly, "Chu Ji, don't you flaunt your glamour sorcery before the young ones."
Yan Jun knew just how scary Chu Ji's charm could be. There was no way the younger guests would be able to withstand that. Right now, many people were watching Chu Ji from below, astounded at how such a stunningly gorgeous woman could exist in this world. Was this the Pavilion Lord of the Goddess Pavilion talked about in rumors, the most beautiful woman in the southwest region of the Barren State?
"Sure." Chu Ji smiled, and her aura changed instantly. She had stood there elegant and unattainable as a goddess. But in a flash, she had changed her aura to give off a completely different impression. At the sight of this, many sighed to themselves that a beautiful woman could be trouble, and this woman was definitely a disaster of epic proportions.
In the sky, more people began to arrive, and many eyes were on them.
"It's the Emperor Family," someone announced.
"Di Kai, the head of the Emperor Family is here. Di Gang has come along with him as well," someone else added. Many people gazed towards the descending figures. One of them was Di Kai, another powerful being within the rankings of the Barren Sky Ranking. The other person, Di Gang, was said to be the most talented within the southwest region of the Barren State and was unmatched within his generation.
"A loss is a loss. Since Li Futu was there at the fight, he has no right to distance himself from it," Di Gang said calmly upon arriving, shooting Li Futu a cold glance. It was evident that he was responding to Chu Ji's comment about how Li Futu's loss in that battle was no fault of his.
Li Futu's gaze hardened, and he looked at Di Gang before replying, "Indeed, since I was there, I definitely had a part to play in it. A loss is a loss."
Di Gang looked upon Li Futu with new admiration. Li Futu's humility made him worthy of his reputation.
"What a proud fellow." Chu Ji chuckled lightly. Di Gang did not look at her. He had definitely heard of her, and he did not want to be affected by a woman, especially a woman as insanely powerful as she was.
"I, Bai Luli, hereby pay my respects to you, seniors." A figure appeared from afar, and countless gazes turned in its direction to see a handsome young man stepping through the sky towards them.
It was Bai Luli, who was said to be the most prominent figure in his generation. While he was probably the lowest in plane amongst everyone in the Barren Sky Ranking, he was tenth in the Ranking, unmatched in the entire Barren State!