“The superior-three sects stage had ended with Ultimate Clarity Sect coming first, Hellion Flame second, and Universal Righteous Sect third. The superior-three sects challenge stage will take place three days from now. That is all for today!”
The judge looked around the arena and waved the people away before he left. The two gatekeepers closed the dimension door as well.
The people were in high spirits as they chatted over today’s fights on their way back to their lodgings. From time to time, eyes darted at Demon Scheming Sect and Sword God Sect’s teams, excited for what was about to come.
They wanted to see if these underdogs had the gall to challenge the superior-three sects’ might.
Watching from above, Zhuo Fan’s face was heavy. His eyes remained on Ultimate Clarity Sect’s Ye Lin. Ye Lin felt the gaze and looked up with a smile as he worded something.
[See you in three days!]
Then he followed Ultimate Clarity Sect’s team out.
Taking a deep breath, Zhuo Fan pondered. For Demon Scheming Sect to have reached such a rank, it was already a huge success, and there was no real need to keep challenging.
Ye Lin was a freak of nature as well, having the sacred beast Decimating Dragon Ancestor. With him around, of course, Ye Lin’s alchemy and arrays were no less than Zhuo Fan’s.
He’d be a freak even in the Sacred Domain. Not even Zhuo Fan was confident he could win against this freak. The best choice right now was just not to fight.
However, for some odd reason, the sacred beast powers inside of them echoed. His heart even thumped at the prospects of a fight. He had to do it!
Fleeing now would fill him with nothing but regret. As men who inherited the power of sacred beasts, they had to find out who was the one on top!
Squinting, Zhuo Fan’s eyes flashed with battle spirit, so excited his blood was boiling.
It was just as when two beasts met. As if fate itself made them rivals.
“Oh, does brother Zhuo feel fear?” Zhuo Fan was startled by the voice, turning to see Wen Tao standing behind him.
Zhuo Fan raised an eyebrow, “Where do I look scared to you?”
Wen Tao gave him another look and smiled, “Sorry, I just saw brother Zhuo shaking and thought you feared Ultimate Clarity Sect’s little monster. Now I see that brother Zhuo doesn’t feel fear but excitement. Ha-ha-ha, that’s great. Regardless of the outcome, just going all out against a real expert is a man’s fortune. It will be of great help in understanding one’s path. Unlike us, I fear we would have to stop the fighting here. Such a shame…”
Zhuo Fan looked at him oddly and frowned, “You’re middle-three sects’ head. In singles…”
“You already know why. While you went easy that time, our souls are seriously injured. Even with some miracle pills, we’ll still need more than a year to heal…” Wen Tao shook his head with a bitter smile, still somewhat dissatisfied at the result.
Zhuo Fan knew they wanted to challenge the superior-three sects too, but they had given their all in the middle-three sects challenge stage and came up heavily wounded. They had nothing to offer against the superior-three sects.
Seeing their great power, they were ready to challenge the superior-three sects. But before they could, they knew they had to withdraw, thus the disappointment.
Even so, they did not shirk from going all out in the middle-three sects’ challenge stage. Their target and principles clashed, and to hold true to their sword was admirable.
Zhuo Fan sighed, “It’s a real shame for Sword God Sect.”
“Ha-ha-ha, there’s nothing bad about it since we have lost in a straightforward fight. We accept the defeat and know that we aren’t strong enough.” Wen Tao laughed, then looked Zhuo Fan in the eye, “Brother Zhuo, no one has ever climbed to a superior-three sect position in thousands of years. We can no longer shake them. Now it’s up to you guys. Ha-ha-ha, I only came by to encourage you and not falter despite that Ye Lin’s power. By stepping down, you will only make it much harder to reach your goal in the future. Cultivators, on these lands where they pursue Dao, every step must be taken without falter!”
Zhuo Fan smiled and nodded earnestly, “Thank you for the words of wisdom.”
“I’m sure brother Zhuo knows these better than me. I just came for a chat, ha-ha-ha. Maybe there was no need for it.” Wen Tao waved and left with a smile.
Seeing the mannered figure walk away, Zhuo Fan smiled. He knew that Ye Lin challenged Zhuo Fan and came to encourage him.
While unnecessary, Zhuo Fan was still feeling good from it. Though he didn’t have much faith in his success either…
Just then, a black figure flashed in front of him and was taken away without even being able to mount any resistance.
When he got ground under his feet again, he found himself facing the best in western lands, Danqing Shen. Only this time, he had a seriously dark and enraged look.
Zhuo Fan’s heart froze, and sweat poured from his scalp.
[What the hell? There’s no way he found out I was the one who took the sacred weapon. He can’t be here for that!]
Feeling so utterly helpless against Danqing Shen, Zhuo Fan’s heart was filled with unease.
Killing him would be like killing a chicken. A snap was all it took.
Zhuo Fan was becoming anxious, though he managed to keep a straight face as he asked, “Senior, how come it’s you again? Why did you capture me this time?”
Looking around, he found himself surrounded by trees and grass, so peaceful and quiet.
[So perfect for committing murder and theft.]
Zhuo Fan grew tenser as he gave a forced smile. “Uh, senior, why would you suddenly take me away? Did I offend senior in any way?”
“No, it’s those two coots sealing up the realm.” Slapping his leg, Danqing Shen was pissed but ultimately just shook his head.
Zhuo Fan’s eyes lit up, and he eased a breath, regaining his cool.
Zhuo Fan probed with the utmost caution, “Senior, just what happened? What realm got sealed?”
“It’s the one with the sacred mine!”
Danqing Shen shook his head, “In each Double Dragon Gathering, the team battles are held in the same realm the sacred mine is being kept. It’s because of the thick spiritual energy helping disciples recover their strength and go all out. However, to be safe, if the sacred mine was in danger, the two could move it at once. So there are two ways to the mine. The first is through that battlefield, and the second is at the two exalted’s Heaven Reaching Pavilion.
“I planned to sneak in through the Heaven Reaching Pavilion while the two focused on the sects’ fights, then take the Atlas Sword. It just never occurred to me Heaven Reaching Pavilion’s path was sealed as well. This makes it so that my only way of getting in is through the battlefield. But with so many people, I would be instantly found out by the exalted. This will make retrieving Atlas Sword impossible!”
Seeing him sigh, Zhuo Fan understood his plight and grew more relaxed.
[So this guy couldn’t even get in. It has nothing to do with me.]
Zhuo Fan hid a crafty smile as he asked, “Senior, then you should find a way to get in, not come to me. I did not say anything to anyone about you. And with me being so glorious in my display, overshadowing the sun and stars, everyone will be waiting for me to shine brighter three days from now. Doing anything to me will get them alarmed…”
“Fine, fine. I get it, so stop laying it so thick. I’ve not come for you.”
Zhuo Fan’s bragging was far from finished, but Danqing Shen cut him off, “Boy, the realm would be open for the duration of the Double Dragon Gathering. Once it passes, the two coots will seal it back up. They are the only ones who could lift the seal then, preventing anyone from entering. I have to act fast. So I thought of you. You will be taking me inside in front of everyone’s eyes!”
“Me?” Zhuo Fan started and shook his head, “No way, nope. How am I supposed to take you? With your age, you look nothing like our disciples. Even if you change your looks with a pill, you still won’t be able to hide that old, decrepit and foul aura…”
“For god’s sake! You’re the foul one!”
Danqing Shen snapped back, then said, “I already thought about that, and it’s impossible. The two coots’ eyes are sharp. With just a change in looks, it’s impossible to fool them. They can tell who you are by your aura. That’s why I want to get in there through your storage ring…”