Hearing this name was like hearing a thunder reverberating in one's ears for Wang Lu. In Nine Regions, perhaps there were people who were not aware of the people in Spirit Sword Sect, but people who were ignorant of Qiong Hua was extremely few.
As the lead disciple of Shengjing Sect, since her debut, Qiong Hua has always been radiant. All eyes were focused on her. Her words and deeds, and even her smiles always got people's attention. Not only because she was the last disciple of Daoist He Tu and also a strong contender for the next leader of Shengjing Sect, but also because of her appearance that looked like a fairy, devastatingly beautiful.
In any place, beautiful women were always more likely to catch attention, much less an extremely promising, extraordinarily beautiful, fairy-like woman? Originally, Spirit Sword Sect's Liu Li and Zhu Shiyao, as well as Kunlun Sect's Zhou Mumu, have special characteristics, but each of them has their own shortcomings.
Zhu Shiyao didn't understand human interactions, very cold and indifferent; Liu Li was naive, a child in a grown up's body; Zhou Mumu was frank and outspoken, impetuous. Each of them has their own defects. Compared to them, Qiong Hua was flawless, perfect inside and outside.
At any point, she was not the most prominent. She never had amazing record like when Liu Li, still in Foundation Building Stage, killed the twelve Blood Cloud Demons. She has also never done what Wang Lu did, repeatedly fighting against the more senior cultivators and creating miracles by the clever use of all resources at hand. She also never claimed to be invincible to her peers of the same level like Zhu Shiyao. However, step by step, in nearly twenty years of cultivation, she has already entered the realm of Jindan Stage.
Yes, Qiong Hua was already a real Daoist Master of Jindan Stage, which was something that Wang Lu immediately comprehended in the heart when his and Qiong Hua's eyes met. Jindan and pre-Jindan, this threshold could be shallow but it could also be deep. For many mediocre people, reaching Jindan Stage was nothing more than another level of magical power, nothing to be worried about. However, for a few people, before and after Jindan was entirely different realms. The gap between before and after the threshold was truly large. In Grand Cloud Mountain, Wang Lu, while still in low-level Xudan, actually dared to trade one or two blows against a Yuanying Stage Tiger King. However, this time, even with his peak Xudan Stage power, he didn't dare to say that his Non-Phase Sword Defense would be break-proof in front of Qiong Hua.
Qiong Hua reaching Jindan Stage in twenty years was actually not unprecedented, but her speed was still amazingly fast. The more terrifying thing was that she has a very solid foundation. Once she reached Jindan Stage, it was like she was reborn. In the past, according to Wang Lu's level assessment, Qiong Hua's level was around plus fourteen or fifteen, not that much different from Liu Li. But now, after reaching Jindan Stage, Liu Li no longer even have the qualification to contend against her.
In addition, what caught Wang Lu's attention was that her pair of eyes seemed to be able to speak. When Qiong Hua stood up and withdrew from her spot on the order of her Master, their eyes only met for just a split second, yet it was as if Wang Lu heard Qiong Hua's gentle voice in his ears.
"I have long heard of sire's famous reputation, and today, I know that it is not just an empty reputation. I look forward for your speech."
This courteous attitude greatly improved Wang Lu's impression on Qiong Hua. Before this, he had also heard of her famous name. People said that she was humble and polite, gentle and elegant, just like a flower on a tall mountain. And Wang Lu, according to the usual public opinion of Shengjing Sect, automatically judged that it was just a show off. However, at this time, he found out that his previous assessment of her seemed to be a bit biased. Qiong Hua seemed to be genuine and has her own way, not an exquisitely packaged product by Shengjing Sect publicity agency.
However, Wang Lu didn't have enough time to think about Qiong Hua. At this time, on the Golden Platform, one by one, each of the sect leaders has taken their seat. He Tu, Zhu Ri, Tian Lun, Kuqin, Feng Yin were all located on the center golden platform. On the two sides of golden platform sat the sect leaders of the top rank sects like Million Forms Sect and Flowing Cloud Sect. As for Zhan Ziye, Zhou Mumu, and the other lead disciples, they could only stand behind their sect's elders, without the qualification to sit. In contrast, Wang Lu was guided by Fang He and Wang Wu toward the center golden platform to sit down. Unexpectedly, Wang Lu's position was second only to the sect leaders of the Five Uniques!
As he sat down, his master whispered to him from behind, explaining to him everything that happened before.
That day, the Sect Leader received the key from Wang Lu and returned to Nine Regions. Afterwards, the Excavation Management conducted a very comprehensive inspection of the key together with the Union of Ten Thousand Immortals to ensure its authenticity and to prepare for today's grand ceremony. For this group of immortal tombs, for several years, the excavation management and even the entire Union of Ten Thousand Immortals have spent enormous resources without any income. But now, since they finally saw the dawn of victory, they were overjoyed, so much that the specific of the celebration was even comparable to the once in a decade assembly of Union of Ten Thousand Immortals.
The ceremony has three main agendas. The first was the speech by the leader of Union of Ten Thousand Immortals, Supreme He Tu, and then the Chairperson of the Excavation Management Committee, Daoist Master Feng Yin. Taking into account the identity of these two people, their speech was essential to the program. However, the surprising thing was the third: Union of Ten Thousand Immortals had arranged for Wang Lu, as the one with the most outstanding contribution, for the program to deliver a speech!
"Actually, there's nothing surprising about this."
From behind Wang Lu, Wang Wu mockingly said, "Think carefully about what the Union of Ten Thousand Immortals and Excavation Management team have done for several months on the Western Continent. They have spent a huge amount of resources to travel to the distant land, not for trade or colonization, but just for the key to open the group of immortal tombs. However, except for killing the local people, creating a lose-lose situation, have there been any practical and effective result? You're the one who met with Golden King, and you're the one that obtained the key. And from the beginning to the end, it has no relation whatsoever with them. If later you hadn't spent a month in Western Continent, which gave a time for the Excavation Management and the Union of Ten Thousand Immortals to wash themselves, the whole expedition thing would be a farce. In this opening ceremony, they must sum up their achievements in the past few months, or even years, but without you, what can they summarize? Summarize how bloated their own bureaucracy is?"
"Hahaha, since you say it like that, then indeed, without me, nothing would happen. But strangely speaking, since my importance is so irreplaceable, then how could that Qiong Hua be my substitute?"
"Her? After you, she is the biggest hero for the Excavation Management in this western expedition. Remember that previously I told you that Sect Leader Senior Brother went to the Intellectual City to look for the clues of the key? It was not only to let loose Tian Yue, but Senior Brother also really did need a strong evidence to prove that the key of the group of immortal tombs was in fact in the King's Treasure House. As the head of the Excavation Management, he was actually really restricted by its own bloated bureaucracy. He can't be as arbitrary as you in taking action. Any decision must have sufficient basis. Even if he had sixty to seventy percent confidence that the key was in the King's Treasure House the moment he stepped in the Western Continent, he still has to find clues. However, with his IQ and foreign language ability, searching for clues in the millions of books with completely different language was even more difficult than finding a daughter-in-law. It was Qiong Hua, who at that time helped him by his side, who finally managed to find the clues among thousands of documents."
Wang Lu exclaimed, "Qiong Hua?"
"Yes, Qiong Hua. She had gone on her own before anyone else towards Intellectual City to investigate. Besides locating the key to the group of immortal tombs, she also found and analyzed the weakness of the several Holy Ones, from countless of clues that she combed from the data of the several Holy Ones of Holy Light Religion. The reason why Tian Yue and Sect Leader Senior Brother were able to pressure the legendary Holy Ones was precisely because of the work of Qiong Hua."
Wang Lu sighed with emotion. "Unexpectedly, she is an outstanding academic talent! What a pity, I initially thought that a flower on a tall mountain type of girl like her is really best suited to play the role of meat toilet… Alright, Qiong Hua's problem aside, the key point is, you have arranged for me to make a speech without my consent, and I don't even have…"
Before he could finish, Wang Wu has already handed him a thick stack of text-filled papers.
"No need for you to prepare anything, just read this text, word by word." Wang Wu lightly said, "Rest assured, this is the draft made by the Excavation Management after three days of wholehearted effort. The transcript is especially proofread three times, guaranteed to be carefully worded and well written…"
The more he listened to it, the more Wang Lu actually thought that it was unreliable. However, before he could scrutinize the transcript, a soft but irresistible force spread around. Like a splash of spring breeze, it powerfully attracted his attention.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the opening ceremony of the group of immortal tombs, has finally begun."
The speaker was Feng Yin, who was also the host of the ceremony. The voice of this sect leader of Spirit Sword Sect was not anxious nor slow, flat but also light. However, when he opened his mouth, in a twinkling of an eye, the initially slightly noisy grassland suddenly turned silent. All of the people focused on that voice.
Numerous pairs of eyes were locked at the golden platform, waiting for Feng Yin to continue his words with solemn posture. Of course, behind their solemn posture, no one knew how many people scolded the damned bureaucracy of the Union of Ten Thousand Immortals. This spell which specifically used to catch people's attention was the product of the thousands of years of bureaucratic cultural heritage of Union of Ten Thousand Immortals. When an important leader gave a speech, they would usually use this spell, to force them to focus, even if they were sleepy.
The good news was that, Feng Yin's opening remark was very brief. After a few words, he had presented the first agenda.
"Next, a speech that would be delivered by the leader of Union of Ten Thousand Immortals, Daoist He Tu."
And then, for a short time, the spell was lifted. Wang Lu didn't waste any time as he immediately looked down at the transcript for his speech. However, on the first glance, he was immediately enraged.
Because the title of the speech was: Report pertaining the work circumstances of the search for the key in the Western Continent. And the first few words below the title were: In order to further implement the spirit of the 107th plenary meeting of the Union of Ten Thousand Immortals, and the...
"What the hell is this thing?" Wang Lu really wanted to burn the transcript on the spot. Unfortunately, when he was about to freak out, Daoist He Tu finally opened his mouth.
He could only endure his anger.