Chapter 403: Imprisoned
Translator: Subudai11 Editor: Chrissy
Upon hearing the words Junior Brother, Wang Lu finally responded to this person's identity.
"You..." Wang Lu looked at the man in astonishment.
From the familiar magical power fluctuation of thunder body, Wang Lu finally confirmed the other person's identity, which was the lead disciple of Ten Thousand Arts Sect, Zhan Ziye.
Seeing Zhan Ziye here was not a surprise to him. Previously, amongst the five lead disciples of the super sects, the location of the three have already been determined. Wang Lu belonged to earth element Grey Mountain, Zhou Mumu belonged to water element Harmony River, while Qiong Hua had the best luck since she was assigned to gold element Golden City, which completely grasped the most favorable position. Only the locations of the lead disciples of Ten Thousand Arts Sect and Royal Soldier Sect were unknown. Wang Lu was unsure which one of them ended up in Flaming Valley and which one in the Eternal Tree. However, with Wang Lu's understanding of this immortal dream land, Zhan Ziye was clearly more suitable for the Eternal Tree.
It was just that, after not seeing each other for a few years, the change in Zhan Ziye had been so great that Wang Lu, at first glance, was unable to recognize him. In fact, no matter how an-eminent-person-has-short-memory he was, he at least should always remember the lead disciples of the Five Uniques. However, the difference between the current Zhan Ziye and the one that he met at the competition in Spirit Sword Mountain was like day and night.
Back then, in terms of cultivation base, Zhan Ziye was already close to Xudan Stage, but now, he had already reached Peak Xudan Stage, the same level as him. From the point of view of advancement in cultivation base, Zhan Ziye was actually not as good as Wang Lu. However, in terms of general level division of method, it had always been invalid for this lead disciple of Ten Thousand Arts Sect. Zhan Ziye's cultivation base was Peak Xudan Stage, but his thunder body had already reached the twentieth realm, which allowed him to belittle most of the world's Daoist Masters of Jindan Stage. Wang Lu himself, upon witnessing that instantaneous flurry, was also deeply shocked. He was confident that his Non-Phase Sword was the best in the world in terms of defense and could face an abnormally fast opponent, but relying on Non-Phase Sword alone, he only had the power to defend himself.
However, compared to the change in cultivation base, the real change in Zhan Ziye was reflected in his entire person's temperament. After a few years have gone by, it was as if Zhan Ziye had been reborn, from that shy teenager to a youth who could assume sole responsibility for an important task-entirely different from the common haughty attitude of the cultivators of Ten Thousand Arts Sect. After all, other disciples could be secluded from the world, fully concentrating on their own research and cultivation, but Zhan Ziye was the lead disciple of the Ten Thousand Arts Sect, the future leader of the sect. In addition to having high cultivation base and profound knowledge, he must also have the ability to command the whole sect. And after a few years of experience, he had been increasingly similar to his Master, Supreme Tian Lun.
Wang Lu had mixed feelings about this. Being the lead disciple of one of the Five Uniques was really not easy. If he gave even slightly less than maximum effort, he could be overtaken by others-regardless of any aspect. However, as the lead disciple of Spirit Sword Sect, Wang Lu's own progress didn't lose to anyone. Even if Zhan Ziye had a great change, Wang Lu could still talk to him with confidence.
"Senior Brother Ziye, your change in recent years is really not small."
Upon hearing this, Zhan Ziye's eyes lit up as he triumphantly said, "Hahaha, you've noticed it? I have facial hair now!"
Zhan Ziye put on a show to touch the two or three inches of beard on his chin. "According to my research in the sect, facial hair can effectively change a person's external image. More than seventy percent of women surveyed said that they believe men with facial hair are more mature than those without. And in the historical records, before the age of chaos, there were men with unusually beautiful facial hair, like the predecessor who was born with four eyebrows 1 . His affinity with the opposite sex was extremely good. In his entire life, beautiful women threw themselves at him one after another. Apart from his unique outstanding personal charm, his iconic mustache was also an important factor in this. In the past years, I have tried to pursue Junior Sister Liu Li but to no avail. Later on, I tried to pursue other women, but the progress was not smooth either. Then I thought about this growing-a-facial-hair trick, now it seems like it's indeed..."
In the middle of the sentence, Zhan Ziye finally realized that he had run off topic, so he promptly smiled apologetically at Wang Lu and then greeted the Sacred Leaf Shaman by cupping his hands across his chess.
Shaman actually didn't care about the winding dialogue between him and Wang Lu. She just nodded at Zhan Ziye.
Zhan Ziye then said in a sinking voice, "Madame Sacred Leaf, I have completed all the tasks according to the plan. Now the war between Flaming Valley and Golden City has begun, the flaming corps have already set foot in the Golden City territory. Our opportunity to benefit from others' dispute is right in front of our eyes."
Upon hearing this, Wang Lu was surprised. There was a war between Golden City and Flaming Valley? The two most powerful forces in this five-way showdown have actually gone to war with each other?
Shaman, however, acted as if she had already expected this, and said with a great satisfaction, "Very good, you're indeed worthy to be the blood spirit of ten thousand arts."
Zhan Ziye said, "This is not my credit, actually there's already a long hatred between Golden City and Flaming Valley. They regard each other as their own biggest rival, anxious to make the other side die quickly. They can maintain their restraint and not fight each other when the situation forms a delicate balance. However, this equilibrium based on multi-party containment is too fragile. Long term hostility makes the two sides nervous and impulsive. As long as a little change is made, it could cause a chain reaction as powerful as landslides and tsunamis."
But seeing that at the table, Wang Lu seemed to not know much about this and seem to disagree, Zhan Ziye explained on his own initiative, "Indeed, according to research data, in most of similar circumstances, before two mutually antagonistic giants go in direct conflict, they usually choose the third party's forces as the battlefield, so that regardless of victory or defeat, there is a room for negotiation.
"From this theory, when Golden City and Flaming Valley are pinning each other down, the three sides Harmony River, Eternal Tree, and Grey Mountain are in the most dangerous situation instead. This, however, was corrected after many discussions between me and Madame Sacred Leaf, because the Flaming Valley simply can't be judged with common sense. They are a group of madmen who are irrational and warlike, taking pride in challenging the strong. For many years, they have repeatedly provoked the Golden City. Were it not for the establishment of a number of great sages which were composed of a group of elders, the ones who continued to prevent the plan-less behavior of Flaming Valley, they would've died because of their warlike trait thousands of years ago. However, the role of these elders are limited, and it is impossible for anyone to prevent the war if they encounter situations that are intolerable for those at Flaming Valley."
Upon hearing this explanation, Wang Lu has already guessed what Zhan Ziye just did.
"Yes." Zhan Ziye laughed. "I used my Ten Thousand Methods Comprehension to imitate the spell of Golden City's gold-clad celestial spell and slaughter the border outpost of Flaming Valley, which immediately roused the monstrous fury of the Flaming Valley."
Wang Lu could not help but smile. "That's really simple and crude."
"Yes, it is simple and crude and there's a lot of flaws in it, but as long as they couldn't guess that I have Ten Thousands Methods Comprehension, they won't be able to explain what spell I used when I slaughtered the border outpost. The Golden City's gold-clad celestial spell is unique and no one in this entire region other than them can cast it out. So, since the people in the outpost died under that spell, then the murderer is bound to be from Golden City, and thus, sending troops for revenge is imperative. I also took this chance to help them, by imitating them summoning the celestial fire to descend in the periphery of Golden City territory. With this, no one could stop the war between the two sides."
Upon hearing to this, Wang Lu suddenly asked, "How much control does Qiong Hua have towards Golden City?"
Zhan Ziye said, "Junior Brother Wang Lu is really smart, you go straight to the point. According to my observation, Qiong Hua's ability to control Golden City is really poor, close to zero even."
Zhan Ziye said, "This is about the balance in the immortal dream land. In the showdown between the five spirits, we, the five lead disciples, each correspond to one of the forces. Amongst the five forces, Golden City is the strongest, and amongst the five of us, Qiong Hua is the strongest-moreover, unlike us, she brought her whole team into the immortal dream land."
Upon hearing this, Wang Lu interrupted, "How many people are there in Qiong Hua's team anyway? With so many people like that, who is the gold spirit then?"
"Thirty-six people, and each and everyone of them is a gold spirit." Zhan Ziye said, "As for Qiong Hua, she is the king of gold spirit."
"... The king of gold spirit? Does this level even exist? Why do I feel like everyone seems to not play the same game here?"
"Yes, the strongest team meet with the strongest force, leaving everyone else behind. However, how can there be such an unfair thing in this world? Although Qiong Hua possesses great advantages, she also has great hidden trouble. Her team and the master of Golden City not only can't cooperate with each other, they even scheme against each other instead. In this regard, whatever wise method Qiong Hua has, she would not be able to display it. Let alone, as far as I know, she is currently helpless."
"Helpless?" Wang Lu was somewhat curious.
"The Golden City is simply too strong, so strong that they think that even without the help of blood spirit, they could still win this battle. Therefore, Qiong Hua and her team are not important to them. Instead, to them, this Shengjing Sect team is a variable that is difficult to control, therefore..."
Zhan Ziye then shrugged. "Shengjing Sect team finally experienced the trouble with the union of two powerful forces. So, we just need to watch the result of the war between Golden City and Flaming Valley. As for you, me, and Senior Sister Zhou, we will part ways after we eliminate Shengjing Sect and Royal Soldier Sect."
With that, Zhan Ziye revealed a relaxed stance, sat at the dining table, and then drank to his heart's content.
However, Wang Lu actually could not be that optimistic.
"Is this going to be really that simple? The opponent is Qiong Hua. Her endless miracles all these years are not just propaganda alone. If Qiong Hua finds this situation hard, then she's not worthy to be the lead disciple of Shengjing Sect."
Wang Lu closed his eyes, thought for a moment, and then suddenly stood up.
"I'm going out for a walk."
With that, although the banquet wasn't over yet, Wang Lu already left.
At the same time, in a quiet and empty hall in the distant Golden City, a beautiful girl sat in the middle, with eyes closed in rapt attention. Although the hall was bright and spacious, it was isolated like a spacious prison.
Suddenly, the girl seemed to perceive something. She opened her eyes and softly talked to herself in a faraway voice.
"As expected, it's the urging the tiger to swallow the wolf plan."
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