Peach Blossom City was as bustling as ever. However, Xiao Chen felt that something was different about it.
As Xiao Chen walked and the City Lord’s Residence appeared in the distance, he finally figured out what was different.
There was now a certain purity. Unlike during the Peach Blossom Wine Festival, Peach Blossom City now teemed with people from all walks of life. Previously, people of both the righteous factions and demonic factions had gathered here. Amid the bustle, there had been a sense of chaos.
Now that the ostentatious display and chaos were gone, Peach Blossom City was actually a peaceful and quiet city.
Besides the fine wine, the martial spirit in Peach Blossom City surprised Xiao Chen.
This spirit could be seen everywhere, appearing to be the norm.
Xiao Chen’s eyes even lit up at the sight of several experts exchanging moves with each other, which prompted him to observe for a while.
“These are cultivators under the City Lord. What do you think? Are they up to par?” Senior Cui asked, chuckling as he stood beside Xiao Chen.
Xiao Chen replied softly, “Senior Cui is too humble. I can tell that these disciples’ talent and strength rival that of Rank 7 sect disciples, possibly even surpass those of a Rank 7 sect’s inner sect disciples. Peach Blossom City is really startling. Did the City Lord specially nurture these people?”
Smiling, Senior Cui said, “In order to occupy such a good piece of land in the Desolate Sea, the City Lord alone would not pose a sufficient threat to other factions. After all, the City Lord has his limits. He would need to make plans for Peach Blossom City’s future. However, it was not the City Lord who sought out these people. Most of them came because they admire him. Nonetheless, the City Lord does not take in just anyone.”
The two chatted as they walked. After they entered the City Lord’s Residence, Senior Cui led Xiao Chen to a quiet pavilion there.
“Go in, then. The City Lord has already been waiting for a long time.”
Xiao Chen pushed the door open and entered. There was no one on the first floor or the second floor. He only saw the Peach Blossom Sovereign Emperor eating and drinking alone when he reached the top floor.
“Greetings, Senior.” Xiao Chen bowed while performing a cupped-fist salute.
The Peach Blossom Sovereign Emperor put down his wine cup and looked at Xiao Chen. Then, some doubt flashed in his deep, star-like eyes.
The Peach Blossom Sovereign Emperor seemed to see a vague dragon image behind Xiao Chen. When he tried to get a clearer look, he found this dragon image boundlessly ethereal. He could not capture this image with his eyes.
When the Peach Blossom Sovereign Emperor tried to do so forcefully, a pair of dragon eyes suddenly appeared and glared at him, causing his heart to skip a beat.
What a strong Dragon Might! What bloodline is this? To think that I cannot see it clearly.
However, I can be sure that he has grasped the Heavenly Dragon’s mysteries.
The Dragon Might and aura of the dragon image are significantly stronger than four years ago, nearly substantial.
The Peach Blossom Sovereign Emperor’s expression did not change as he laughed softly, “Little Friend, you truly astonish me. Four years ago, you took out Heart Burn. After not meeting for four years, I am no longer able to look directly at your Dragon Might.”
Xiao Chen had felt a little of what happened earlier. However, he had not been in control of the secret clash between his Dragon Might and the Peach Blossom Sovereign Emperor.
Instead, the Azure Dragon’s Dragon Might had automatically counterattacked when it felt that it was being spied on.
“City Lord is too polite.”
The Peach Blossom Sovereign Emperor did not pursue the matter. He said directly, “Old Cui told me about your purpose here. Your thoughts are pretty good; you did not turn blindly arrogant from obtaining a fortuitous encounter. An independent cultivator is independent, after all; you have no one to guide you. You either take the Demonic Dao path or remain at a standstill, struggling to advance. After advancing to Sovereign Emperor, the amount of resources required is astronomical. Without a super faction’s support, you would not be able to sustain it.”
Xiao Chen prompted after some thought, “So, Senior’s intention is?”
“Join the Heavenly Alliance. You are not a person of my sect, and I am not your master. I do not have an obligation to provide pointers. Actually, I rarely give pointers, even to the people who joined Peach Blossom City. When one reaches the Divine Vein Realm, one will not do anything meaningless.”
The Peach Blossom Sovereign Emperor spoke slowly as he looked at Xiao Chen, giving him an impression of extreme aloofness. While he clearly was before Xiao Chen, it was like an ocean lay between them.
“The Heavenly Alliance?”
Xiao Chen had heard of the Heavenly Alliance before. It was a faction formed by the peak merchant associations in the Great Thousand Realms, one that boasted many Grandmaster Alchemists and blacksmiths. It was strong and mysterious.
Ordinary people would find it extremely hard to come in contact with the Heavenly Alliance’s core members.
“That’s right, the Heavenly Alliance. You should have heard a little about it.”
“Yes, I have. A Heavenly Alliance blacksmith improved the saber in my hand.”
The Peach Blossom Sovereign Emperor let out a soft cry of surprise. “Oh, I did not expect you to have interacted with them before. Don’t ask me anything yet. Let me ask you a question first. What kind of faction do you think counts as a super faction?”
Xiao Chen thought for a while before answering, “In the northern region, the Divine Dragon Empire, the White Marsh Beast Empire, and the Heavenly Lodging Palace should be considered super factions. The six great Demonic Dao sects, the four dynasties, and the Rank 7 sects should be considered super factions too.”
Xiao Chen had experienced the strength of the Divine Dragon Empire before. He deemed even just the Heavenly Dragon Palace—an outer palace—to be a major faction.
Furthermore, there were the six even stronger outer palaces and Ancestor Dragon City, which all had incredibly vast accumulations.
If such a faction could not be called a super faction, there would not be any super factions.
“That’s not wrong. You can consider the Rank 7 sects and the four dynasties super factions. However, for Sovereign Emperors, besides the Heavenly Fragrance, only eight factions in the Great Thousand Realms can be considered true super factions in the Martial Epoch: the Pirate Alliance; the Heavenly Alliance; the Universe Origin Sect, which controls the Tianwu Dynasty; the Hidden Spirit Temple, which controls the Yanwu Dynasty; the Profound Heaven Holy Land, which controls the Shenwu Dynasty; the Martial God Palace, which is behind the eight great empires; the Demonic Dao Hall, which supports the Xuewu Dynasty; and the Underworld God Hall of the Abyssal Underworld.”
[TL Note: In Chapter 1723 (Raw 1734), one of the four dynasties listed was the Leiwu Dynasty, Lei for lightning. That seems to be the only mention of the Leiwu Dynasty in the entire novel, and I now believe it is a mistake by the author. Hence, I have gone back and corrected that to Shenwu Dynasty along with the translation note below it. The Shen in Shenwu means divine.]
The Peach Blossom Sovereign Emperor explained in detail, revealing many secrets that Xiao Chen was unaware of.
“Since the birth of the Martial Epoch, the situations of the factions have changed many times. These super factions changed after practically every great war between the righteous factions and demonic factions. After the previous great war, we now have these eight super factions governing the Martial Epoch together.”
The Peach Blossom Sovereign Emperor looked at Xiao Chen and asked, “Do you know why I am telling you all this?”
Xiao Chen expressed that he did not know.
“I am raising your ken. I once told you that there is an existence behind the Purple Gold Dragon Emperor that you cannot offend. That is actually the Martial God Palace. Of the eight super factions, it is the most ancient and the most mysterious.”
The Peach Blossom Sovereign Emperor deeply shocked Xiao Chen. This revelation somewhat surpassed his expectations.
It was hard for Xiao Chen to imagine that there were even more terrifying factions beyond Rank 7 sects.
What was even more surprising to him was that there was also a Martial God Palace in this world. He wondered if the Kunlun Realm’s Martial God Palace had any relation to the Great Thousand Realms’s Martial God Palace.
“Before these eight super factions, all the Rank 7 sects are not even worth mentioning. In reality, all the Rank 6 and Rank 7 sects that you see have deep connections with these super factions.”
The Peach Blossom Sovereign Emperor paused here for a moment before continuing, “Take me, for example. The Heavenly Alliance is behind Peach Blossom City. Aside from my personal strength, it is the main reason why I can be so free and unfettered while occupying a rare bountiful land in the Desolate Sea.”
Shocking information came one after another. Xiao Chen already felt numb to it. He asked softly, “So, City Lord is suggesting I join the Heavenly Alliance?”
The Peach Blossom Sovereign Emperor poured himself a cup of wine and said with a chuckle, “You shouldn’t speak with such certainty. It is not certain that you can join the Heavenly Alliance. As a super faction, it naturally takes only the most talented and valuable cultivators of the Martial Epoch. You have good talent, bloodline, and comprehension ability. However, do you know how vast the Great Thousand Realms is? Just the Central Great Realm alone already abounds with talents, what more the other clusters. While the outer regions’ Spiritual Energy cannot compare to the Central Great Realm’s, they have vast numbers of cultivators, possibly more than tens of thousands of times more. As far as I know, you climbed to where you are from the outer regions, moving step by step. Can you guarantee that a second you won’t come from the outer regions?
“The answer is another person that can rival you will definitely come from the outer regions. There are simply too many people. Even an isolated and poor astral region can produce an outstanding talent.”
The Peach Blossom Sovereign Emperor’s words plunged Xiao Chen into deep thought. This made sense.
“The reason I advise you to join the Heavenly Alliance is that the Heavenly Alliance is made up of merchant associations, unlike the other super factions. The alliance members are not as constrained as the disciples of the other super factions; they can choose to leave at any time. Take me, for example. Right now, I have very little connection to the Heavenly Alliance. Unless I have some personal needs, I won’t go to the Heavenly Alliance’s headquarters.”
The Peach Blossom Sovereign Emperor took a sip of wine before continuing, “The Heavenly Alliance’s requirement on the cultivator’s identity is also not as strict as the other factions For example, as long as I give you a recommendation, you may participate in the Heavenly Alliance’s recruitment trial. It would not be this easy for the other super factions.
“Of course, the main reason why I am advising you to go to the Heavenly Alliance is that none of my recommendations have entered the Heavenly Alliance for many years already. Although I do not have strong ties to the Heavenly Alliance, this is still something of an embarrassment for me. I hope that you can help me gain glory.”
After so long, it turned out that the final bit was the most important.
Xiao Chen smiled bitterly in his heart. The Peach Blossom Sovereign Emperor really beat about the bush for such a long time.
However, in doing so, he gave me a rough understanding of the super factions, something hard to come by.
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