Heavenly Cloud Mountain, one of the three blessed lands of the Ink Sea:
A blessed land was where the flourishing local sects established themselves. Many sects gathered at the blessed lands; the Purple Flame Sect, which Xiao Chen once stayed at in the past, was a sect in a blessed land.
However, the Ink Sea’s Heavenly Cloud Mountain had only one sect, the Azure Smoke Pavilion.
There was no need to explain the reason. Since a Sovereign Emperor appeared in the Azure Smoke Pavilion, the sect naturally would monopolize all the benefits of such a large blessed land.
What if others refused?
Refusing a Sovereign Emperor would be the same as seeking death.
Hence, the Azure Smoke Pavilion became like its name in the Ink Sea, azure smoke soaring up with no one daring to block it.
The Azure Smoke Pavilion disciples became extremely arrogant; no one in the Ink Sea dared to offend them.
Before a Sovereign Emperor appeared, even their strongest false Emperor could not give them such an advantage. The other Rank 5 sect had a Soul Tool, after all. Even a false Emperor had to fear the consequences.
At that time, everyone lived in peace with no significant issues.
The power a Soul Tool displayed depended on its wielder. A Sovereign Emperor could bring out a completely different level of might than a Sovereign Personage could. Only a Sovereign Emperor could bring out the horrifying might of a Soul Tool.
A Sovereign Emperor was like a supreme god in this Ink Sea.
However, on this night, something seemed different with the Azure Smoke Pavilion. A rumor spread through the entire sect, reaching every disciple and Elder.
“Did you hear? Someone killed the Ten Cauldron Pavilion’s Association Chief and delivered his head to our Sect Master last night.”
“How could I not have heard? That fellow died in such a queer fashion. He was quite strong in the first place, and he also had Martial Grand Uncle Jiang protecting him. However, he still ended up dead.”
“Someone saw Martial Uncle Jiang return yesterday. Rumor said that he was pale and appeared dispirited, like he had been frightened silly.”
“Who could it be? To think that he dared to make a move now. Does he not know that our Azure Smoke Pavilion’s Old Ancestor is now a Sovereign Emperor?”
“That is the most horrifying thing. Despite knowing there is a Sovereign Emperor, he still dared to kill our people.”
The rumors could not be stopped. Someone killed the Ten Cauldron Pavilion’s Association Chief and destroyed its headquarters. This was an earthshaking matter in this Ink Sea. All the various factions received news of this immediately.
Since the other factions already received news of it, the Azure Smoke Pavilion disciples could hardly remain unaware.
At this moment, the Sect Master and all the Elders gathered in the Azure Smoke Pavilion’s ancestral hall on Heavenly Cloud Mountain’s main peak.
Everyone had extremely grave expressions as they looked at the item in the center of the hall in silence.
That item was the head of the Ten Cauldron Pavilion’s Alliance Chief.
After receiving the head, the sect’s leadership discussed all night but could not come up with any ideas.
The Azure Smoke Pavilion’s Sect Master, Luo Yun, did not appear old, looking like a middle-aged man. He wore an azure shirt with elegance. He had a sharp, sword-like aura, showing the accumulations of an overlord.
“Everyone, after discussing all night, are we still unable to come up with a good solution?” Luo Yun asked sullenly as he looked at the Elders gathered in the ancestral hall.
There were not many Elders, but the weakest of them was a Holy Venerate. Four or five were even Sovereign Personages.
All of the Azure Smoke Pavilion’s accumulations were here. Even without Qingyan Shangren, these were still people among the peak in the Rank 5 Azure Smoke Pavilion.
Those that could stand here naturally had some experience and keen judgment. They could tell that this was not just a simple murder.
Everyone knew the strength required to kill a Holy Venerate silently before a heaven-defying Sovereign Personage.
Furthermore, when that Martial Uncle Jiang returned, he looked like he had seen a ghost. Clearly, a dark shadow had been cast in his heart.
Even a false Emperor could not inspire such horror in this Martial Uncle Jiang.
What could be above false Emperor? No one dared to imagine; they were not willing to, either. They could only feign ignorance when faced with Luo Yun’s question.
“It truly has been difficult for everyone.”
Luo Yun sighed while sitting on his throne. He clearly appeared somewhat fatigued.
This matter should have been dealt with by his Martial Uncle Qingyan. Unfortunately, Qingyan Shangren was in closed-door cultivation. Despite several calls, Qingyan Shangren did not respond.
Naturally, this problem could not be solved when placed before everyone.
Luo Yun had already made rough guesses. As a Rank 5 sect’s Sect Master, he naturally knew some of the Central Great Realm’s secrets.
A Sovereign Emperor had appeared in the Ink Sea Cluster several thousand years ago.
However, that Sovereign Emperor did not try to rule the Ink Sea. It was like an invisible hand, from a world they could not see, was controlling the general movements in the Ink Sea.
It maintained a balance between the Ink Sea’s various factions, not letting one side dominate the Ink Sea.
Even though his Martial Uncle Qingyan was now a Sovereign Emperor, Luo Yun did not want to eradicate all the other factions. He feared that something terrible would happen if the balance were broken.
Although Luo Yun did not know what would happen, he always felt worried in his heart.
Unfortunately, his Martial Uncle Qingyan was stubborn, and the other Elders all wanted to try. Even though Luo Yun wanted to stop this, he could not.
Over the past two years, the Azure Smoke Pavilion had continuously grown stronger and flourished, easing Luo Yun’s concerns.
Unexpectedly, what he worried about the most had happened.
As Luo Yun sighed, he felt helpless. Even with his limited ken and experience, he could guess something was going on. However, he did not know what exactly it was. This was where he felt the most helpless.
The five super factions controlled the entire Great Thousand Realms. Until one reached a certain level, one would not know of this.
Most Sovereign Personages in the Central Great Realm did not know of the Heavenly Alliance’s existence.
How much could a Rank 5 sect’s Sect Master like Luo Yun know?
“Martial Nephew, why worry? Your sigh is puzzling. Haha!”
Just at this moment, laughter rang out. A skinny, old man suddenly appeared in the ancestral hall. Although this old man was skinny, he did not appear weak. Instead, he radiated a terrifying and unfathomable power, one that could not be underestimated.
“You finally came out of closed-door cultivation. We spent our night feeling frightened.”
“Indeed. Please quickly think of a solution.”
The person who arrived was the person who had been in the limelight for the past two years in the Ink Sea, the Qingyan Shangren that practically everyone had heard of.
Luo Yun’s eyes lit up when he sensed that his martial uncle’s strength had improved significantly, feeling even more unfathomable. He quickly stood up and said, “Martial Uncle, please take a seat.”
Qingyan Shangren did not stand on ceremony, immediately taking the seat that Luo Yun gave up for him. Then, he looked at the people below and laughed sinisterly, “This fellow is finally dead.”
Qingyan Shangren stretched out his hand and beckoned. Then, the head of the Ten Cauldron Pavilion’s Association Chief entered his hand. “Bang!” Only a skull remained amid azure smoke.
He clenched his fist, and the skull turned into powder trickling to the floor.
Everyone, including Luo Yun, was startled, having received a significant scare.
“Martial Uncle!” Luo Yun called out, feeling slightly anxious.
“This fellow is just a pawn that I placed. He would have died sooner or later. It was already worth it for him to last for two years, suppressing the Nine Cauldron Pavilion.”
Qingyan Shangren waved his hand and said, “Martial Nephew, there is no need to worry about the rest. I made arrangements long ago. Had this person come one and a half years earlier, it would have been slightly problematic. Now, haha! This old man is just waiting for him. If he dares to come, I will make sure that he does not return.”
“As you wish, I am here!”
The old man had just spoken when the doors to the ancestral hall, which were reinforced with formations, exploded.
A strong wind blew through the hole in the doors, and a dazzling sun-like light appeared. The light was so bright that no one could open their eyes.
A figure in white robes slowly emerged from the light, leisurely walking in with large strides.
When everyone saw who it was, the Azure Smoke Pavilion Elders all sighed in their hearts. They felt startled; this was the person their old ancestor was waiting for, the mysterious person who scared their Martial Uncle Jiang silly.
This person appeared to be too young; he did not even seem to be fifty.
Naturally, the person who came was Xiao Chen.
After sending the head to the Azure Smoke Pavilion and waiting for one night, the person Xiao Chen waited for did not show up. Not wanting to waste time, he came.
“I was wondering why no one showed up after one night. It turned out that you were opening a Divine Vein. Admirable! Truly admirable! It is already very difficult for you to become a Sovereign Emperor in this desolate place. It is even more shocking that you can open one Divine Vein.”
Xiao Chen looked around indifferently at the somewhat dazzled group. Then, he said softly, “Do you understand what I said? I am saying that your martial uncle is quite incredible—even in the Central Great Realm.”
These words were true. Even in the Central Great Realm, it was extremely difficult to become a Sovereign Emperor.
“Old Ancestor, you…”
Clearly, the Azure Smoke Pavilion Elders were not familiar with how strong Qingyan Shangren was and what kind of position he could obtain in the Central Great Realm.
Qingyan Shangren showed a cocky look, enjoying Xiao Chen’s praise. Becoming a Sovereign Emperor in the Ink Sea significantly boosted his confidence and pride. As the saying went, pain is forgotten when gain follows.
“However…that is all. The Ink Sea lacks in accumulations, after all. Forcibly snatching the Ink Sea’s resources so you can open a Divine Vein is incredibly silly. You probably do not even have a Cultivation Technique that can open Divine Veins, right? If such a Sovereign Emperor went to the Central Great Realm, you would not make an impact. No wonder you could only remain in this Ink Sea and intimidate others.”
Who knew, Xiao Chen reversed direction and started putting down Qingyan Shangren as worthless.
Qingyan Shangren already felt very proud of his advance to Sovereign Emperor. He even felt that the Central Great Realm’s Sovereign Emperors would not be much stronger than himself.
Previously, he was enjoying Xiao Chen’s words. He had been prepared to act like he was put on the spot and discuss the Nine Cauldron Pavilion’s matter with Xiao Chen.
However, unexpectedly, Xiao Chen’s talk changed, immediately hurting Qingyan Shangren’s pride and angering him.
The atmosphere in the ancestral hall turned strange.
The Azure Smoke Pavilion Elders were frightened into silence. Everyone could tell that this youth had touched the old ancestor’s reverse scale.
An icy chill spread out in the hall. Qingyan Shangren’s expression appeared cold, full of killing intent.
A huge battle could break out at any moment.
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