Nanhuang Chanyi’s words caused a stir in Yun Che’s heart. He asked, “You’ve never seen my strength before. Why do you think that my strength is lacking?”
Nanhuang Chanyi’s profound aura marked her as a middle stage Divine Spirit profound pract.i.tioner, and Yun Che thought that her darkness energy felt almost familiar. Her cultivation level was impressive for her age, but it was still impossible for her to see through his aura.
Nanhuang Chanyi replied, “You wouldn’t be bullied by the East Ruins Crown Prince if you were strong, would you?”
Her answer was perfectly reasonable, but the sudden strange feeling didn’t leave Yun Che.
“Is that so?” Yun Che said. Instead of unleas.h.i.+ng his profound energy and proving his power, he said indifferently, “It’s never a bad thing to have to have extra reinforcement, don’t you agree?”
“Historically speaking, the Southern Phoenix Divine Country has always been weak. You were always stomped at the Central Ruins Battle, and you’ve never won more than a tenth of the huge land that is the Central Ruins Realm.”
Nanhuang Chanyi, “...”
“Dong Xueci’s earlier words were painful to hear, sure,” Yun Che said with a half-smile, “but he’s right. The Southern Phoenix Divine Country’s fate is going to repeat itself during this Central Ruins Battle. There is no way you can overturn your fate since your foundation and the amount of resources you have collected are the weakest of all four sects.”
“So what?” Nanhuang Chanyi’s reaction was minimal.
Yun Che said, “If you’re going to end up in the worst case scenario one way or another, why not take a gamble and see if a miracle will happen?”
The eyes behind the jeweled ta.s.sels stared straight at Yun Che’s. A moment of silence later, Nanhuang Chanyi nodded and replied, “Alright.”
Yun Che narrowed his eyes slightly. “That’s a surprisingly quick reply.”
Nanhuang Chanyi said, “A person who would dare ridicule the East Ruins Crown Prince without a thought or get within three feet of me is either completely ignorant, or confident in his own safety. Your eyes are telling me that you are the latter.”
Yun Che, “...”
“But before that, please tell me your name and origin.” She continued to stare at Yun Che while she was speaking.
Right now, Yun Che was surrounded by a strange air that drew in a woman’s curiosity like bees to honey. Nanhuang Chanyi was aware of this sudden attraction, but she continued to stare at him as if the act would help her see through him entirely.
“My name is Yun Che. As for my origin… no comment.”
“You gave me only half of the basic information I ask of you, and it doesn’t look like you’re going to show me your power and prove your worth, but you want me to hire you as a foreign representative of the Southern Phoenix Divine Country? Don’t you find this ridiculous?” Nanhuang Chanyi asked. Her voice was like a gentle breeze, and no emotion could be detected from it.
“It’s up to you whether you want to take this gamble despite everything,” Yun Che replied.
“...” There was a short pause before a small smile appeared on Nanhuang Chanyi’s face for an instant. No one saw it because it was completely concealed by the jeweled ta.s.sels of her headdress. “You are very right about one thing. If it’s already the worst case scenario, then what wouldn’t I gamble?”
She extended a hand that was paler than even jade itself and created a dark gold color profound jade right in front of Yun Che. The latter grabbed it and gave it a look. His name was engraved on it.
“This is your temporary Southern Phoenix Token. You’ll be able to enter our battle formation with this. I… look forward to the pleasant surprise you’ll bring to this Central Ruins Battle.”
Yun Che flipped his palm around and put away the Southern Phoenix Token. He asked, “Aren’t you going to ask about my goals and my desired reward?”
“You’ll tell me your goals after the Central Ruins Battle is over,” Nanhuang Chanyi said. “As for your reward, that depends entirely on your performance.”
After that, Nanhuang Chanyi turned around and left.
The four realm king sects always sought out outsiders to bolster their forces during the Central Ruins Battle, but these people normally had to be strong, capable of pa.s.sing through a series of stringent trials, and completely transparent in terms of origin. After all, the Central Ruins Battle was related to one’s fame and the next fifty years of resources!
From the start to the end, Yun Che’s recruitment had been so easy and simple that it was almost unbelievable.
Nanhuang Chanyi knew nothing about Yun Che except his name. However, she still recruited him and gave him his Southern Phoenix Token personally.
Was she really just taking a gamble because things couldn’t possibly get any worse?
“This woman is a little unusual,” said Qianye Ying’er in a low tone after staring in the direction Nanhuang Chanyi had left for a while. The comment sounded casual and indifferent, but the number of times she had actually praised someone could be counted on one hand.
“She’s definitely interesting.” Yun Che’s eyes flashed a little. “I hope she’ll pleasantly surprise me.”
He already noticed that she was unusual from the moment they met. However, he still couldn’t say what it was exactly.
“There’s no changing the fact that this newly crowned princess is about to become that Beihan Chu’s lap girl though. Even a princess must submit to such a fate when she’s a weakling. How ironic,” Qianye Ying’er said with a mocking smile on her face… It was impossible to tell if she was mocking Nanhuan Chanyi or herself.
More and more profound pract.i.tioners poured into the Central Ruins Northern Area as time pa.s.sed. Divine Sovereigns seldom fought each other in the norm, so the semi-centennial Central Ruins Battle was the biggest profound gathering in the entire Five Nether Ruins. Those who pursued the Divine King Realm especially wouldn’t want to miss even a single term—this was a true battle between peak Divine Kings, and even the tiniest hint could prove to be infinitely useful.
The sky above the Central Ruins Battlefield was calm, and there were no storms in sight in any direction. However, the ground was completely packed with people. Tens of millions of profound pract.i.tioners were spread out across the battlefield in a spiral pattern, but everyone’s eyes were centered on the middle of the Central Ruins Battlefield.
One of the reasons the Central Ruins Realm was opened to all profound pract.i.tioners was to create a grandiose moment like this.
Moreover, this year’s Central Ruins Battle was slightly different from the previous. It was rumored that Venerable Hidden Sword of the Nine Lights Heavenly Palace would be the supervisor this time.
Nine Lights Heavenly Palace was the sect of an upper star realm. Although it was no realm king sect, it enjoyed outstanding fame.
The Northern Divine Region’s laws of survival were cruel, so there existed a lot tributary relations.h.i.+ps. Nine Lights Heavenly Palace was the higher force all four realms paid tribute to for protection. Every time the Central Ruins Battle happened, a Venerable One from the Nine Lights Heavenly Palace would also be invited as the supervisor and witness.
Once in a while, some geniuses would be brought back to the Nine Lights Heavenly Palace and nurtured. Beihan Chu was one of them. But unlike the previous geniuses, he was taken in as a direct disciple by one of the palace masters of Nine Lights Heavenly Palace, Venerable Hidden Sword himself. There were even rumors that Beihan Chu had become his chief disciple.
This was definitely unprecedented across the four realms.
Venerable Hidden Sword had even made one such declaration, “Beihan Chu is talented beyond measure, and he’ll definitely succeed me in the future.”
The praise naturally caused huge stirs and elevated Beihan Chu’s status to miraculous and legendary levels. Northern Chill City was already the strongest realm king sect to begin with, but Beihan Chu’s success boosted them even higher and made them look like the sun of the Five Nether Ruins.
The supervisor and the witness of the Central Ruins Battle this time was Venerable Hidden Sword instead of the usual Venerable Hidden Mirror. The rumor that Beihan Chu was planning to propose to Nanhuang Chanyi again had also spread like wild fire, especially considering that the Southern Phoenix Divine Country had replaced their Crown Prince with a new Crown Princess. Everyone could predict what was going to happen in today’s Central Ruins Battle.
The only thing they weren’t sure about was when the proposal would happen; before or after the battle.
The promised time grew closer and closer, and the crowd wasn’t left hanging for too long. Four invisible but irresistible forces suddenly parted the crowd, and an oppressive silence immediately replaced the clamor.
The pressures that dropped from the sky without warning were those of Divine Sovereigns! They were so terrifying that many people felt like dropping to their knees. At the same time, the four realm king sects—Northern Chill City, East Ruins Sect, West Ruins Sect, and Southern Phoenix Divine Country—appeared and moved to the north, east, west, and south corners of the battlefield respectively.
Four barriers of differing colors also spread out and enveloped an area each at the same time.
Four figures dropped down from the sky when the barriers were formed. They embraced the reverent, zealous, and admiring looks the crowd showered them with like G.o.ds.
“Welcome, sect master!”
“Welcome, my king!”
“Welcome, sect master!”
All four people carried themselves with an air and pressure that imposed on both heaven and earth, and there was no one in the Five Nether Ruins who was ignorant of their fame. It was because they were the strongest profound pract.i.tioners of the four realms and the unparalleled great realm kings of the Nether Ruins!
From Northern Chill City, the Northern Chill Divine Sovereign!
From the East Ruins Sect, the East Ruins Divine Sovereign!
From the West Ruins Sect, the West Ruins Divine Sovereign!
And lastly, from the Southern Phoenix Divine Country, the Southern Phoenix Divine Sovereign!
The four Divine Sovereigns slowly took their seats at the center of their respective domains. They were used to this level of attention and spectacle since a long time ago.
Silence reigned over the Central Ruins Battlefield once more after the four realm kings had taken their seats. The four Divine Sovereigns met each other’s eyes briefly before checking out their opponents’ battle formations.
Every realm was required to send ten partic.i.p.ants in the Central Ruins Battle, and they all must be Divine Kings below three thousand years old.
The number of Divine Sovereigns in any middle star realm could be counted on two hands, and level ten Divine Kings were practically the king of all beings if the Divine Sovereigns were excluded from the equation. What this meant was that there weren’t many level ten Divine Kings, and the number went down even further with the age restriction.
Thanks to the incredibly resource rich Central Ruins Realm, the four realms of the Nether Ruins were much stronger than the average Northern Divine Region middle star realm. Not only could Northern Chill City, East Ruins Sect, and West Ruins Sect gather ten Divine Kings for the Central Ruins Battle, they even had subst.i.tutes that could be used to tweak their battle formation if they so wished.
Northern Chill City especially had over ten subst.i.tutes at the ready during each battle.
The Southern Phoenix Divine Country was the only exception, however. Even with the addition of external reinforcements, they weren’t able to gather ten level ten Divine Kings like all other realms...
It was the same this time.
At Northern Chill City’s corner, twenty proud-looking profound pract.i.tioners stood behind the Northern Chill Divine Sovereign. Only champions were allowed to represent the Northern Chill City, so their quality need not be mentioned. As for quant.i.ty, twenty level ten Divine Kings was more than enough to beat every other realm before the battle had even begun.
To them, the point of the Central Ruins Battle was to show off their might, not compete for resources. There would always be four zones of the Central Ruins Realm allocated to them and them alone.
The East Ruins Sect and the West Ruins Sect had thirteen level ten Divine Kings each. As for the Southern Phoenix Divine Country… there were twelve partic.i.p.ants this time, but only four of them were level ten Divine Kings. The rest were all level nine Divine Kings.
Although the previous battle’s joke of two level eight Divine Kings hadn’t repeated itself, it still didn’t look like the Southern Phoenix Divine Country was going to escape their fate any time soon.
This time though, the result of the battle probably didn’t matter to the Southern Phoenix Divine Country.
Outside the Central Ruins Battlefield, Yun Che and Qianye Ying’er had just arrived.
“The Central Ruins Battle is structured around the simplest ‘King of the Hill’ format,” Qianye Ying’er said. “The champion of the previous battle, Northern Chill City will appear on the battlefield first. They will be challenged by the other three realms one by one until they are defeated!”
“The loser will leave the stage, and the winner will replace him and defend themselves against other challengers. Every realm can send at most ten challengers to the battlefield, and the order of the ranking is decided by whoever loses all their representatives first.”
After that, she added, “The Southern Phoenix Divine Country you’re representing has always scored last in the Central Ruins Battle!”
“This format is acceptable if only two sides are involved, but four? It doesn’t sound fair at all. It’s ridiculously easy for multiple sides to gang up on one side,” Yun Che said in a low tone.
“Hmph. This is a battlefield. There’s no such thing as fairness on a battlefield.” Qianye Ying’er let out a cold hmph. “Northern Chill City is always the starter, and they were always ganged up on by the other three realms. However, no one has ever managed to shake them off their throne.”
“There are no unfair rules that can’t be beaten with absolute power!”
“We’re here.” Yun Che led Qianye Ying’er to the barrier of the Southern Phoenix Divine Country. Then, he took out the Southern Phoenix Token Nanhuang Chanyi gave him and extended it toward the barrier. The barrier parted after a soft buzz, and the duo walked in under a shower of astonished and confused gazes.
“Who are you!” A shout cut through the air, followed by a heavy pressure on Yun Che and Qianye Ying’er. “Why do you have the Southern Phoenix Token?”
The speaker was an old man with white hair. His cry caused every Southern Phoenix denizen to hold their breath in shock… It was because this man was the only other Divine Sovereign in the Southern Phoenix Divine Country besides the Southern Phoenix Divine Sovereign himself. He was the “Guardian Elder” and the only other transcendent existence in the country, Nanhuang Mofeng.
Only the Southern Phoenix Royal Family and their representatives were allowed to enter the barrier with the Southern Phoenix Token. Yun Che and Qianye Ying’er were clearly neither.
“Uncle Feng.” A gentle voice spoke up right after Nanhuang Chanyi. “They are the recruits I invited to aid in the Central Ruins Battle. I am the one who granted them their Southern Phoenix Token.”
The gentle voice chased away the fear incited by the Divine Sovereign’s pressure like magic. The speaker was none other than Nanhuang Chanyi. But not only did she fail to console Nanhuang Mofeng, the old man frowned deeply and said, “Ridiculous! They are just level five Divine Kings! They’re not qualified to partic.i.p.ate in the Central Ruins Battle at all! Absolutely ridiculous!”
Last time, they had no choice but to bring two level eight Divine Kings to the battlefield. As a result, they became the biggest joke of the Central Ruins Battle. To avoid the same humiliation from repeating itself, they’d gouged themselves and hired a bunch of powerful reinforcements. Even the weakest among them was at least a level nine Divine King.
Normally, Yun Che and Qianye Ying’er would be a sight for sore eyes in any realm, but the Central Ruins Battle?
The Southern Phoenix Divine Country might come in last place in every Central Ruins Battle, but not even they could suffer this level of humiliation!
“You’re wrong,” Yun Che said in an indifferent tone, “I’m the only one who’ll be partic.i.p.ating.”