Translator: Silavin & Tia
Translation Checker: PewPewLazerGun
Editor and Proofreader: Leo of Zion Mountain & Dhael Ligerkeys
“Why do you feel the need to insult him?” Yang Kai looked at Wu Chang calmly.
Wu Chang sneered, “He doesn’t even have the courage to face me, how is he not a coward?”
Murong Xiao Xiao angrily snapped, “Senior Brother Xia has responsibilities he must attend to! It’s not because he doesn’t dare to meet you!”
Wu Chang put his hands behind his back, “Anybody can make excuses. He is probably scared of the embarrassment he will face if he loses to me again.”
“That’s not true!” She wanted to continue arguing with Wu Chang, but Yang Kai raised his hand to stop her and spoke ambiguously, “I’ve heard about the last Martial Gathering. Momentary gains and losses are truly nothing special. Before coming here, Senior Brother Xia told me Brother Wu Chang was an enthusiastic and active man, so he asked me to keep you company.”
Yang Kai had not even seen Xia Sheng’s face recently, so his words were naturally a lie; however, he was now representing Azure Sun Temple so how could he willingly let somebody else humiliate them? It was only expected that Yang Kai would retaliate when attacked. Yang Kai first had to balance out the aggression before they could talk about anything else.
“You?” Wu Chang swept his eyes over Yang Kai and nodded lightly, “You just barely qualify, I guess. I hope I won’t be too disappointed.”
“Who knows? You might be in for a pleasant surprise!” Yang Kai raised his brow in response. [You rabid dog! You better not end up in my hands, or I’ll make you regret it!]
“Shameless boasting!” Wu Chang sneered.
Then, Chen Wen Hao turned around and shouted, “Wu Chang, enough! This is Orthodoxy Temple, stop acting so presumptuously!”
Gao Xue Ting also spoke up, “That’s enough, both of you.”
Wu Chang looked sullen but he could not refute his Elder in front of outsiders, lest he embarrass his Sect. With a flick of his sleeves, Wu Chang turned away and looked elsewhere. Yang Kai and the others couldn’t be bothered to continue pestering him either; hence, the commotion passed without incident. They all knew that nobody could make a move under these circumstances, so if they continued arguing with each other, they would only embarrass themselves instead.
Wen Zi Shan laughed, “The younger generation are truly vigorous. Good! Good!”
Feng Ming did not comment on that statement, instead just cupping his fists and commenting, “Most of our fellow cultivators from the Southern Territory have arrived, and the Temple Master is entertaining them right now. Gentlemen, please come this way.” Turning to look at Zhuang Bu Fan, he instructed, “Xiao Fan, bring these two Seniors to the guest hall.”
“Yes!” Zhuang Bu Fan replied. Stretching out his hand, he beckoned, “This way, please.”
Feng Ming followed up, “Temple Master Wen, Holy Master Ma, please forgive me as I still have a duty to carry out and cannot accompany you further.”
“Don’t worry about it, Elder Feng. Let’s talk again later.” Wen Zi Shan smiled lightly and followed after Zhuang Bu Fan with his hands behind his back, heading towards the top of a nearby mountain.
Similarly, Ma Qing nodded at Feng Ming in acknowledgement before leading the people from Heavenly Martial Holy Land and following closely behind the rest. Surprisingly, they didn’t quarrel over who took priority.
As the group of people slowly drifted into the distance, Feng Ming suddenly looked back, fixed his gaze on Yang Kai, and slightly furrowed his brow. When there was nobody else around him, he took out a communication artifact, poured his Divine Sense into it, and delivered a message to an unknown person.
Halfway up the mountain, the group came across a three-way fork in the road. There were Orthodoxy Temple’s disciples waiting both on the left and right paths of the fork who bowed when the group approached and stretched out their hands in a welcoming gesture.
Zhuang Bu Fan turned around and said, “Seniors, please arrange for the disciples participating in the Martial Gathering to go either left or right.”
Only Emperor Realm Masters were qualified to ascend to the top of the mountain, so the disciples behind them could not follow along. That was something everybody had known since the beginning.
Wen Zi Shan turned around and motioned to the rest, after which Gao Xue Ting immediately arranged for the disciples of Azure Sun Temple to follow a servant along the path to the right. On the other hand, Heavenly Martial Holy Land naturally chose the path to the left. The disciples of both Sects did not get along, so if they were housed in the same living quarters, they would probably start fighting each other before the Martial Gathering even began tomorrow. It should also be noted that there would not be an Emperor Realm Master around to suppress their fights.
After that, the remaining group of people followed Zhuang Bu Fan and continued onward. Whilst climbing up the stairs, the people of both Sects were cleanly split into two groups on the left and right sides respectively.
They soon arrived at the summit of the mountain where a magnificent palace entered their vision. It had an extraordinary aura about it and maidservants were already waiting for them outside.
Zhuang Bu Fan led the group of people into the palace and entered a hall, at which point a loud noise came from within, causing Yang Kai, Murong Xiao Xiao, and the others to look at each other in surprise. They had not expected it to be so lively already. Glancing around, they couldn’t help feeling shocked. There were no less than five hundred or six hundred people inside this hall; moreover, most of them were Emperor Realm Masters while the rest were servants who navigated freely among them. The hall was filled with tables, and the tables were covered with various delicacies and fine wine.
The hall was full of guests, and the atmosphere within was extremely lively. People came and went from time to time, lifting their glasses in toast. A group of more than forty young girls were also dancing in the middle of the hall. They were not dressed scantily, but they were all quite beautiful, with slim waists and ample curves. Dancing gracefully, they attracted some people to watch them with enchanting smiles.
Although these dancers had been arranged by Orthodoxy Temple to add to the excitement, the Sect’s reputation was on the line; therefore, they did not create any kind of obscene scene. People might look down on them if these girls were dressed scantily, so the current arrangement was much more suitable to show off the impression Orthodoxy Temple wanted to display.
However, most of the attention was not on the dancers as this was the place where many of the Emperor Realm Masters of the Southern Territory were assembled. The Sect Masters of each Sect and the Patriarchs of various clans had gathered in the same place, so it was a prime time to make connections and form relations. Who would still have the time to pay attention to those dancers under these circumstances? It was not easy for so many Emperor Realm Masters to convene in one place after all.
The moment Wen Zi Shan and Ma Qing walked into the hall with the rest following behind them, somebody immediately put down their wine glass and stood up to greet them, “Temple Master Wen, Holy Master Ma.”
As soon as the voice sounded, the noisy hall went silent. Everyone turned to look at them, and the greetings poured out endlessly. Wen Zi Shan smiled and returned the greetings in all directions while walking all the way to the front of the hall under Zhuang Bu Fan’s guidance. Meanwhile, Ma Qing didn’t even glance to the side, his expression remaining cold and aloof. Fortunately, those who knew him well were aware that he was always like this and that he wasn’t disrespecting them.
A sturdy man in black attire sat at the head of the hall and glanced over with a smile, tilting his head towards an elegantly dressed middle-aged man sitting on his right as he said, “I told you, right? They will surely arrive within a quarter-hour and look; they’re here!”
The elegantly dressed man smiled in response, “You are truly astute, Brother Lei.”
The only person who could sit in the main seat in this place was the Temple Master of Orthodoxy Temple, Lei Gu. No one else had this qualification. It went without saying that the elegantly dressed man was the Sect Master of one of the Sects in the Southern Territory, a Second-Order Emperor. Moreover, his seat was placed quite far to the front.
Wen Zi Shan and Ma Qing stepped forward and cupped their fists.
Lei Gu stood up, “Many thanks for coming all this way. Please, have a seat.”
Although there were many tables in this hall and every seat was occupied, four tables located on the left and right of the main table remained empty. Nobody dared to occupy these seats as these four tables were clearly reserved for the people from Azure Sun Temple and Heavenly Martial Holy Land.
Wen Zi Shan and Ma Qing separated and moved in two different directions, each sitting with their Elders at the left and right tables. Wen Zi Shan and Ma Qing each occupied a table with the Elders from their Sects. Azure Sun Temple had one more person than Heavenly Martial Holy Land, so the seats at their table were just enough to accommodate all of them and a servant immediately came forward to serve wine for everyone.
Afterward, Lei Gu got up slowly, held up a wine glass in his hand, and spoke in a loud voice, “The time has once again come for the Southern Territory Martial Gathering! This is a momentous event and I offer my thanks to all the support from the Southern Territory’s Masters. This Lei will be hosting the Martial Gathering at Orthodoxy Temple, and both the Sect and I shall do our best to create a fair environment for everybody in the Southern Territory to compete. I wish your disciples great success and prosperity! May you lead the future hope of the Southern Territory! I offer this toast as a sign of my respect. Cheers!”
“Many thanks, Temple Master Lei!” Everybody in the hall replied in unison, lifting their wine glasses and drinking together. It was an extremely lively scene.
Raising a toast was part of the etiquette Lei Gu had to follow as the host of the Southern Territory Martial Gathering. Following that, everybody was free to do as they pleased. Tomorrow was the day the Martial Gathering began, so it was inevitable for their disciples to suffer injuries and losses once the event began. At the time, they would not be as harmonious anymore.
Many people came to Azure Sun Temple’s table to offer a toast, but most went straight to Gao Xue Ting. Luo Chen rarely interacted with others, so he did not have this honour. On the other hand, Yang Kai, Xiao Bai Yi, and Murong Xiao Xiao were only there to gain some experience and did not know many Emperor Realm Masters. It went without saying that they were ignored, but they were happy to have time to themselves.
Yang Kai took the time to inquire with Murong Xiao Xiao and finally learned why their relationship with Heavenly Martial Holy Land was so tense. It turned out as he expected. It was indeed because of the competition for first place in the individual rankings and group rankings during the last Martial Gathering. Neither Sect was willing to admit defeat, so it was only natural for there to be some friction between them.
One hour later, Lei Gu, Wen Zi Shan, and Ma Qing left the venue early. They had to gather together to discuss matters regarding tomorrow’s Martial Gathering, the arrangement of the name lists, and the planning of the venue. Although everything would be taken care of by Orthodoxy Temple in the end, Wen Zi Shan and Ma Qing had to check just in case Orthodoxy Temple sabotaged anything.
After these three people left, the atmosphere in the hall suddenly became more energetic. It could be seen that the presence of these three people still stressed the others out to a certain extent.
Yang Kai looked around while eating and drinking, looking rather bored. He had been a little interested in the Martial Gathering at the beginning; however, after coming to this place, he realized that it was nothing special. If this matter had not been pushed onto him, he would have gone home by now.
Although nothing major would happen to High Heaven Palace in the Northern Territory, the dust had yet to settle from recent events and it was a little worrying not to be there in person. It was also because his cultivation was higher now. Yang Kai was a Second-Order Emperor Realm Master; hence, the competition between those in the Dao Source Realm, the Origin King Realm, and the Origin Returning Realm no longer raised his interest. He had already killed off numerous Emperor Realm Masters so these little fights no longer excited him. Even so, Azure Sun Temple had assigned this matter to him, so he had no choice but to follow along.
He suddenly recalled something and turned to look at Gao Xue Ting as he asked, “Senior Sister Gao, what did that Wu Chang mean when he said that Senior Brother Xia is afraid of losing to him again? Does this Martial Gathering have a competition between Emperors?”
Gao Xue Ting replied, “No, not during the Martial Gathering, but there will be an exchange of pointers after the Martial Gathering; however, it is entirely voluntary. It doesn’t have any prizes either. It’s purely for improving relations between each other.”
Yang Kai grumbled in a non-committal manner and secretly decided that if Wu Chang came to provoke him again, he would definitely teach the latter a harsh lesson. [Who cares what kind of Special Constitution he has? He can’t be stronger than a Third-Order Emperor, right?]
Yang Kai was certain that he would have no problem dealing with a Third-Order Emperor Realm Master with his current strength, and if he used all his trump cards, a Third-Order Emperor Realm Master could only retreat before him.
[I wonder if Wu Chang will give me the opportunity to go all out.]
Lifting his wine glass to his lips, Yang Kai glanced sideways and saw Wu Chang heading in his direction. Wu Chang’s one blue and one red eye was rather strange. Yang Kai snickered with a scornful expression, which nearly made Wu Chang mad with rage.