Chapter 412: Grand Martial Exchange
The passage of time flowed quickly.
Five days had passed since the battle on the Asura Square. In these five days, Huang Xiaolong healed all the injuries which could be healed on the Asura's Gate Elders.
In the great Asura Hall.
Huang Xiaolong sat in the throne seat at the center of the great hall while the Domain Leaders and Elders stood in two rows before him, whereas Zhao Shu and Zhang Fu stood beside the throne on the left and right side.
"Greet the Sovereign!" Zhao Shu's sonorous voice rang clear in the great hall.
Subsequently, the Asura's Gate Domain Leaders and Elders knelt down, performing a ceremonious salutation toward Huang Xiaolong: "Greeting the Sovereign, Sovereign is invincible throughout!"
Both Zhao Shu and Zhang Fu performed the same salute with utmost respect, however, they bowed deeply instead of kneeling.
Huang Xiaolong looked at them for a brief second and then signaled everyone to rise.
When everyone was on their feet, Huang Xiaolong scanned the group of Domain Leaders assembled before him, "All of you, lower the barrier to your consciousness, I will brand a spiritual mark in your soul sea."
All the Domain Leaders' faces ashen instantly.
Naturally, these Domain Leaders had heard of spiritual marks, but they did not expect Huang Xiaolong to have learned the method of spiritual branding.
Each of the Domain Leaders' expressions entered Huang Xiaolong's eyes, a cold sneer sounded inwardly; no doubt, he wouldn't believe that these Domain Leaders were able to be absolutely loyal to him in such a short time, however, once a spiritual mark was branded in their soul sea, things would a different turn altogether.
These Domain Leaders would not dare to have any treacherous intentions. This was a must, for Huang Xiaolong had to have the Asura's Gate fully under his control.
Huang Xiaolong watched the Domain Leaders coldly, as long as one of them dared to speak up in objection, he would execute that person on the spot without hesitation.
A heavy silence enveloped the great hall to the point that each of them could hear their own breathing drawing loudly in their own ears.
"I'm willing to open my soul sea for Sovereign to brand a spiritual mark!" After struggling and contemplating the matter internally, finally one of the Domain Leaders knelt down once again in submission.
Seeing that there was a first person, one by one, the other Domain Leaders knelt down, showing their willingness to let Huang Xiaolong brand their soul seas. It goes without saying that every one of the Domain Leaders was aware of the fact that resistance would only lead to death, just like Gu Wen.
Whether they were truly willing or otherwise, all the Domain Leaders opened their soul seas and Huang Xiaolong proceeded to brand a spiritual mark in each of them easily; when all was done, Huang Xiaolong finally felt relief.
Needless to say, Zhao Shu, Zhang Fu, and the Asura's Gate Elders were not subjected to the same requirement of having a soul mark branded in their soul seas. Huang Xiaolong was well aware of Zhao Shu and Zhang Fu's absolute loyalty, and despite the cruel torture that these Asura's Gate Elders were subjected to by Chen Tianqi and Deities Templar, none of them turned to the other side, their loyalty toward Asura's Gate was clear for all to see.
Next, Huang Xiaolong requested Zhao Shu and Zhang Fu to announce some of the changes to the sect rules he had made. Some of the rules were abolished by Huang Xiaolong, for example; the hailing of 'Sovereign is invincible throughout' every time the disciples greeted him.
Huang Xiaolong also made some new rules, one of them being, upper authorities or disciples that betrayed the Asura's Gate would end up as Poison Corpse Scarabs' food.
After Zhao Shu and Zhang Fu read out Huang Xiaolong's new edict, Huang Xiaolong inquired about the Asura's Gate overall situation, and also had the Domain Leaders and Elders report the events happening in the territories and branches under their jurisdiction. When all Domain Leaders and Elders were finished with their reports, Huang Xiaolong gained a better understanding the distribution of the Asura's Gate forces and territories.
Currently, the territories under the Asura's Gate's governance numbered at thirty-six oblasts, including the Central Oblast. There were seven branch divisions in the Central Oblast, while the thirty-five branches in the outer oblasts were each governed by a Domain Leader.
The Asura's Gate's great hall was built on the peak of the Heavenly Sky Phoenix Mountain. Around the other peaks, there were thirty side halls, such as the Medicine Pellet Hall, Punishment Hall, Technique Inheritance Hall, Martial Sparring Hall, and so on. These thirty-two halls were under the Elders' supervision.
This was the rough map of Asura's Gate authority distribution.
But, from the Domain Leaders' reports, Huang Xiaolong realized that within the thirty-six oblasts under Asura's Gate control, there were numerous big and small family and sect forces, and not all of their hearts were absolutely sincere and loyal towards the Asura's Gate.
There was a complex web of connections tying the bigger family forces with the Cosmos God Cult, Distinct Void Door, and White Phoenix House amongst the other twelve super forces on Starcloud Continent, which in a way encouraged the attitude of not placing much importance on the Asura's Gate.
Some of those big families even cooperated with the Cosmos God Cult, Distinct Void Door, and White Phoenix House to suppress the Asura's Gate branch authority, especially in these few decades of Huang Xiaolong's Master, Ren Wokuang's disappearance. Lately, there were even signs of rebelling against the Asura's Gate branch from those big families.
A total of fifteen big families spearheaded this resistance.
By the time the Domain Leaders finished their reports, a frosty expression hung on Huang Xiaolong's face.
Zhao Shu spoke at this point, "Sovereign, the Cosmos God Cult's Sovereign, and the Old Sovereign always bore an old grudge and the relationship between us has never been good. Ever since the news of Old Sovereign's disappearance spread out, the Cosmos God Cult has been suppressing our Asura's Gate more and more over the years. This is the main reason why these big families dare to act so blatantly. In fact, our Asura's Gate used to rule over fifty-two oblasts, but ever since the Old Sovereign went missing..." Zhao Shu's voice trailed off at this point.
The unspoken meaning hung clear in the air.
The Asura's Gate initially had fifty-two oblasts on Starcloud Continent, but now only thirty-six oblasts remained under their governance! These 'missing' sixteen oblasts without exception all fell into Cosmos God Cult's hands.
A sharp gleam flickered across Huang Xiaolong's eyes.
Zhang Fu added, "Sovereign, there is another matter this subordinate wishes to report to Sovereign."
"Speak." Huang Xiaolong stated.
Zhang Fu continued respectfully, "On our Starcloud Continent, every hundredth year, there is a Grand Martial Exchange. So far, this Grand Martial Exchange has taken place thirteen times. This is an event held together by the twelve super forces of Starcloud Continent."
"Oh, Grand Martial Exchange?" Huang Xiaolong's interest was stoked as he looked at Zhang Fu.
"Yes, it is so, Sovereign. Every year of the Grand Martial Exchange, all the twelve super forces' Sovereigns, Patriarchs, and Cult Leaders would reshuffle the ranking within the twelve forces, this subordinate is worried that this time around, the Cosmos God Cult Leader would take this opportunity to harm Sovereign." Zhang Fu said full of worry.
Zhao Shu's expression mirrored Zhang Fu, "The participation of all twelve forces is compulsory. Moreover, in the Grand Martial Exchange, the participants are not allowed to use outside aid." This was Zhao Shu's main concern.
Not permitted to use outside aid meant that Huang Xiaolong's wouldn't be able to use the Poison Corpse Scarabs. Only relying on his own strength, he wasn't the Cosmos God Cult Leader's opponent.
Not to mention, apart from the Cosmos God Cult's Leader, if the Distinct Void Door Sovereign or the White Phoenix House Lord wanted to kill Huang Xiaolong, it would as easy as snapping their fingers.
Huang Xiaolong frowned, "How long till the coming Grand Martial Exchange?"
"It has been eighty-seven years from the last Grand Martial Exchange." Zhao Shu answered.
Meaning there were still thirteen years until the next Grand Martial Exchange!
Thirteen years! The frown on Huang Xiaolong's forehead grew deeper.
This Grand Martial Exchange really jumped out of nowhere. Thirteen years, the time was too tight!
For Saint realm experts, thirteen years was nothing but the blink of an eye.
At the moment, Huang Xiaolong was merely a Fourth Order Saint realm, wanting to step into Tenth Order and above Saint realm in a short thirteen years was nothing more than a fool's daydream.
Huang Xiaolong waved his hand, dismissing the people from the great hall.
The night descended quietly.
Standing underneath the silvery moonlight, Huang Xiaolong was pondering a way to reach beyond the Tenth Order Saint realm within thirteen years' time. In the end, he could only place his hopes on the twelve primordial divine dragon bodies.
If he could refine those twelve primordial divine dragons, perhaps he would have a good chance at success in advancing beyond Tenth Order Saint realm.