First Pavilion in the Sky.
When Xu Xiaoshou led his subordinates back to his base and safely released everyone from Yuan Mansion, he heaved a sigh of relief.
It meant the crisis posed by Bazhunan had come to an end.
Over at the Yunlun Mountain Range…
Bazhunan single-handedly attracted the hatred of all the Red Coats and the White-clothed.
Outsiders did not know what the outcome would be.
At the Eighth Sword Deity level, the things that he wanted to do and the results of his actions were not something that Xu Xiaoshou could guess.
That aside, Xu Xiaoshou dared to bring his people back to the First Pavilion in the Sky.
It meant that he felt that he had separated the identity of Saint Servant Xu Xiaoshou and Demi-saints descendant Xu Deye quite well during the night battle at the imperial city.
Too many things had happened all at once, and some items may not have been handled well.
Not everyone in the Holy Divine Palace was dumb.
He believed that he would catch some strange things after careful consideration.
The devil lay in the details, after all.
When the army came, the general would block it.
When the water came, the Earth would cover it.
As long as there were no serious problems, all was well.
Many believed that even if the Holy Divine Palace found circumstantial evidence, it would not be enough to slap a serious charge on the First Pavilion in the Sky.
The imperial city was a place of hidden dragons and crouching tigers.
The number of factions in the same boat as the First Pavilion in the Sky was far too many.
The Holy Divine Palace may be strong, but they could not contend with so many factions at once.
The Eight Sages summoned Abyss Island in the Yunlun Mountain Range at a critical juncture during the Imperial City Trial.
Bazhunan was at the centre of these events.
The Holy Divine Palace had more pressing matters to worry about at the moment.
If the Palace through caution to the wind and chose to interrogate them…
They would have to do it after the Imperial City Trial.
The First Pavilion in the Sky probably would not be a part of the first factions questioned.
The ones who should be panicking were the old factions in the imperial city.
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And as one of the parties involved in the night battle in the imperial city…
Xu Xiaoshou did feel a sliver of panic, but it was only natural.
“The world does not revolve around individuals.”
Even ants can bring down an elephant when in large numbers, and in that same vein, the pressure the Holy Divine Palace could exert, with their resources spread thin, was limited.
The first to come under fire would not be the small organisations like the First Pavilion in the Sky.
Hence, if the enemy had no intention of moving, neither would he.
There was nothing wrong with taking things one step at a time.
Step by step, the next step would be fine.
The door of the cultivation room was pushed open.
After chasing away the exhausted Xiao Wanfeng, Xu Xiaoshou entered the cultivation room alone and noticed the Elder sitting within.
“Elder, what are you doing here”
Cen Qiaofu waved the young man over and poured him a cup of tea, indicating for him to sit down.
As soon as Xu Xiaoshou took his seat, he asked, “Protecting me at the trade fair wasnt your chiefs main objective, was it”
Cen Qiaofu had appeared the instant Mei Siren received the Night Guardians sword with his two fingers, following him to the First Pavilion in the Sky afterwards.
“Im here to protect you,” He said.
Xu Xiaoshou knew that with Master Siren around, no one would dare hurt him.
Cen Qiaofu must have shadowed him, having received instructions from the Saint Servants Chief.
Bazhunan had set off as soon as he cut off communications with Xu Xiaoshou.
It was more than likely for Bazhunan to have given Cen Qiaofu instructions long before the events occurred.
Xu Xiaoshou really wanted to know.
What was the masked mans purpose, and why would he go to such lengths to arrange Xu Siaoshous Path.
“Youre really smart…” Cen Qiaofu was not stingy with his praise.
“Youre much better than your bald master.”
Xu Xiaoshou: “…”
“Lets get down to business!” He rolled his eyes but did not continue.
Cen Qiaofu put down the teacup and said with a smile, “The Chief instructed me to ask you a question.
Are you curious why wanted you to stir up up trouble in the imperial city”
“Im not curious.” Xu Xiaoshou shook his head.
“Isnt it because of the Imperial City Trial and Abyss Island”
Cen Qiaofus smile did not waver.
“But what is the Imperial City Trial and Abyss Island for in the end”
Xu Xiaoshou was taken aback by the question.
He would be lying if he said he was not even a little curious.
His original intention of going to Dongtianwang City was not to help the Saint Servant.
“Im not curious about that.
You dont have to say it.
Making trouble is making trouble.
I dont want to go down.”
Xu Xiaoshou waved his hand as he spoke; he had a look of resistance.
“You guys… Well, our Chief also said that he would give me the power.
I have the greatest freedom as long as my ultimate goal is the same as the Saint Servant.
So, if you want to make trouble for me, you dont have to.”
Cen Qiaofu choked on his words.
However, he knew Xu Xiaoshous thought process, so he did not take his words to heart.
“You dont wish to learn the truth”
Xu Xiaoshou stared at Cen Qiaofus withered face bearing a smile, and suddenly felt a chill run down his spine.
Something was not right.
That is right! Was this old fellow not saying others would take advantage of him if he did not understand the situation
Instead of willfully resisting, it might not be so bad to take stock.
At least, he would not need to take as many detours if he understood what was going on behind the scenes.
If he stubbornly pleaded ignorance, it would be no better than rejecting Bazhunans olive branch.
Xu Xiaoshou did not think he could afford such an action in his present circumstances.
He had suffered under Elder Sangs schemes several times already, and he did not wish to fall prey to another.
It was very likely he would end up in a pit dug by Bazhunan if he muddled his way through the murky waters.
Xu Xiaoshou mulled over his options and decided a change in tune was necessary.
If you want to say it, its not like I can stop you from speaking your mind.
At most, Ill just pretend I never heard a thing you said.”
Cen Qiaofu rolled his eyes, a sneer arching his lips.
This tsundere little hedgehog…
Sorting out his thoughts, Cen Qiaofu began, “The Holy Palace Trial and the Four Symbols Secret Realm… Have you heard of them”
“Hmm” Xu Xiaoshous eyebrows shot to his hairline.
“If you get into the top three in the Imperial City Trial, you may enter the Four Symbols Secret Realm.
It is a place you must go,” Cen Qiaofu said concisely.
Xu Xiaoshou smiled.
He knew this was the Path Bazhunan had planned for him after the battle in the Eighth Palace.
It coincided with his original plans.
Unfortunately, his plans could not keep up with the pace of his transformations.
Xu Xiaoshou hung his head helplessly, his arms in the air.
“You were not present during the battle last night, so you probably dont know that I have already broken through to the Master (Stage).”
“Its not that I dont want to suppress my cultivation, but iI cant help it! I was forced to make a breakthrough to the Higher Void (Stage) of cultivation.
Defeating someone at the Master (Stage) is easier than suppressing my cultivation.”
“It must be Sword Immortal Raos technique.
She doesnt want a genius like me to enter the Imperial City Trial and gain the qualifications for the Holy Palace Trial!” Xu Xiaoshou said nonchalantly.
Cen Qiaofu, on the other hand, felt his scalp go numb.
After the previous nights battle, the name of the Saint Servant, Xu Xiaoshou, resounded far and wide.
How could he not have noticed it
Xu Xiaoshou was… Wasnt this kid too good of an actor
Innate (Stage) versus Higher Void (Stage) …
Wasnt it just relying on the Saints blood and the Saint Statue
If anyone else heard what he had said, they would have tortured Xu Xiaoshou to death already.
Whether it was his Cutting Path (Stage) of cultivation or his possession of the Holy Blood, either one would have been enough to bring calamity to his doorstep.
Had it not been for fear of reprisal from those of the imperial city, Xu Xiaoshou could not possibly have lived such a carefree life till now.
Cen Qiaofu indulged in a litany of complaints he kept to himself.
It was not as if Xu Xiaoshou was wholly ignorant of this fact either.
After a moments silence, Cen Qiaofu continued where he left off, but it touched on a topic Xu Xiaoshou least expected to hear.
“What youve said isnt wrong.
Rao Yaoyaos intention was to prevent you from entering the Imperial City Trial and qualifications to enter the Holy Palace Trial, so she used the Red Dust Sword to trigger your breakthrough to the Master (Stage).”
Xu Xiaoshous eyes immediately widened.
“What did you say”
“Startled, Passive Points, 1.”
This time, Xu Xiaoshou was really frightened.
He thought that it was a coincidence…
Cen Qiaofu smiled, leaning back in his chair.
Speaking slowly, he asked, “Did you think your heaven-gifted talent and staunch will were the reasons for your breakthrough You think too little of Rao Yaoyaos Red Dust Sword.
An art capable of severing the Sovereign (Stage) and the Cutting Path (Stage) is beyond ordinary!”
Xu Xiaoshou listened, dumbstruck.
“Is what youve said true” He did not bother with niceties.
Modesty may be a virtue in others, but not in Xu Xiaoshou.
Xu Xiaoshou genuinely thought he had broken through the predicament of the secular world because of his previous lifes experience, allowing him to succeed where others failed.
If it were any other Innate (Stage) cultivator, they certainly would not have walked away unscathed.
Such was the might of Rao Yaoyaos Red Dust Sword.
Even Bazhunan in his youth might not be able to do it!
Xu Xiaoshou was certain about this, so he did not need to be modest.
Besides, he did not think Cen Qiaofu was worthy of his great magnificent modesty anyway…
“Youre wrong.” Cen Qiaofu shook his head and said seriously, “The path of Enlightenment in the secular world is the best way for a cultivator of the Red Dust Sword to assist themselves and those of the younger generation to reach Enlightenment.”
“Though it pains me to admit as such, the name of Saint Servant, Xu Xiaoshou, is known far and wide.
Even before the battle that took place last night, your name was famous and rang in every corner of the Holy Divine Palace and the Central Regions headquarters!”
Hearing this, Xu Xiaoshou could not help but smile.
He enjoyed the fame and the prize money that went with it.
Cen Qiaofu noticed Xu Xiaoshous goofy look and his lips twitched uncontrollably.
“Please continue.” Xu Xiaoshou stopped smiling, swapping it for a look of abject seriousness.
He knew that old woodcutter definitely had more important words to say to him.
He could already sense the largebut coming.
He did not have to wait long.
Cen Qiaofu was not here to praise him.
His expression turned cold as he spoke.
“Being famous is indeed cause for celebration, but this also means youve caught the attention of the higher-ups of the Holy Divine Palace, even when you are still so weak.”
Xu Xiaoshous expression froze.
He finally realised the true intention of the other partys words.
Cen Qiaofu sneered, “An Innate (Stage) cultivator has the nerve to play with the Red Coats throne and Cutting Path, and its even in adark organisation involving the Saint Servant.
It can be imagined how big of a deal it would be if someone like that entered the Imperial City Trial and even the Four Symbols Secret Realm of the Holy Palace Trial!”
Xu Xiaoshou realised something was wrong.
The old woodcutter had mentioned the Four Symbols Secret Realm one too many times.
This next step seemed to be… similar to the Holy Palace Trial Bazhunan had planned for him
Xu Xiaoshou still remembered when Bazhunan said it, he was still in the Innate (Stage) and had not even reached the peak of that realm.
Theoretically speaking, if the Holy Divine Palace could see his talent, Bazhunan should be able to see it.
There was no reason for Bazhunan to think that he was still in the Innate (Stage) and could not make a breakthrough so long after the Holy Palace Trial.
Xu Xiaoshou felt his mind go blank.
He seriously considered the implications of his thoughts.
The Eighth Sword Deity had only asked him to participate in the Imperial City Trial and the Holy Palace Trial.
It did not ask him to suppress his cultivation level
Suppress his cultivation level…
It was a necessary step for the geniuses of the continent to enter the Holy Palace.
Yet, it did not seem to matter to Bazhunan whether he suppressed his cultivation level or not.
“It seems like youve figured something out.” Cen Qiaofu picked up his teacup, giving the young man opposite him some time to think.
Xu Xiaoshou frowned.
“If what you said is true, Rao Yaoyao did force me to breakthrough to the Master (Stage)…”
Cen Qiaofu sipped his tea, interrupting, “Theres no need for me to lie to you.
I even dare to confirm that you broke through to Master (Stage) because of Rao Yaoyao!”
“To enter the Imperial City Trial and the Holy Palace Trial, one must possess cultivation below Master (Stage).
If ones cultivation level exceeds this limit, theyll be discovered instantly.”
“Therefore, as long as the Saint Servant, Xu Xiaoshou of the Dao-Cutting Path (Stage) makes a breakthrough to Master (Stage) and still insists on participating in the Imperial City Trial…”
“Itll be like a banner proclaiming his wish for death!”
Xu Xiaoshou paled from fear.
Previously, he thought that if he broke through to Master (Stage), he would, at most, not be able to participate in the Imperial City Trial.
In any case, he had a little sister from the Infernal lineage, and she seemed to be looking for relatives.
As long as she was one of them, there was no chance she would scam him.
Xu Xiaoshou believed he could skip the Holy Palace Trial and enter the famous Greater Goose Lake to watch the fat geese play in the water.
However, hearing what the old woodcutter said…
It was not only the Holy Divine Palace who felt he would participate in the trial after breaking through to Master (Stage).
Bazhunan also felt that he would participate.
At this time, should he, Xu Xiaoshou, participate
Xu Xiaoshou fell into deep thought.
After a long while, he muttered, “What do I understand If the result is not the goal, then is the process what you want”
Cen Qiaofu corrected him, “Its notyou, itsus.”
Xu Xiaoshou tilted his head to one side and asked, “What will happen in the Imperial City Trial and the Holy Palace Trial”
Cen Qiaofu smiled and pointed at the ceiling.
“Look for yourself!”
Xu Xiaoshou raised his eyes and looked at the dark ceiling.
He realised that Cen Qiaofu did not want him to look at the ceiling.
With hisperception, the world outside the First Pavilion in the Sky became even clearer.
Xu Xiaoshou looked up at the towering Sky City, which had become much slower.
For a moment, he was silent.
He could summon Abyss Island before the Imperial City Trial.
Could it be that the Holy Palace Trial was also a big move for the big shots
“Why do I have to participate in the Holy Palace Trial”
Xu Xiaoshou was curious at this moment.
“I dont think there is a need for that, is there TheFour Symbols Secret Realm you mentioned is the location of the Holy Palace Trial this time.
Whats so special about it”
Cen Qiaofu did not reply and only asked, “Why do you want to enter the Holy Palace”
Momentary speechlessness struck Xu Xiaoshou.
He thought of Elder Sangs words.
Elder Sang gave him hope, inspiring him to enter the Holy Palace and see Greater Goose Lake for himself.
Elder Sang left a while after.
Bazhunan accepted this hope and gave him a chance to enter the Holy Palace and cultivate in this place where many a saint had trained.
After that, he would use it as a springboard to jump to the Sacred Mountain Gui Zhe and save Elder Sang.
However, was the Holy Palace the only place to nurture saints
Cen Qiaofu smiled and voiced the question Xu Xiaoshou was nursing in his heart, “Do you really think the Chief wouldnt have the means to nurture you into a Demi-saint”
This question stumped Xu Xiaoshou.
If Bazhunan were not the main point of the question, it would not be just Xu Xiaoshou who laughed at Cen Qiaofus arrogant question.
Anyone else who heard it would do the same or worse.
Now, it was not so great a problem since it involved Bazhunan.
Cen Qiaofu repeated himself, “Do you think becoming a Demi-saint is enough Do you truly believe the Chief only wants to nurture a Demi-saint”
Xu Xiaoshou was not sure how to respond.
Was a Demi-saint not enough
Then, it occurred to him that there could very well be more than one Demi-saint residing on Sacred Mountain Gui Zhe.
If he climbed the mountain, Bazhunan would want to do the same, and no one would have trouble finding a place for themselves there.
How could a Demi-saint be enough
Cen Qiaofu did not wait for an answer since he knew what it would be.
Quietly, he asked, “Then, how far do you think the Chief wants to train you Is it… to the realm of a Holy Emperor”
Xu Xiaoshous mind blanked out.
Xu Xiaoshou had never thought about it before.
Those two words:Holy Emperor, seemed so foreign.