He had crossed blows with those from the Hall of Gods twice and even slain a couple of their Heavenly High Immortal realm cultivators. As such, he already had a deep understanding of them.

The five fellows in front of him emanated a unique aura that felt both sharp and disconcerting. With just a glance, there was no doubt that they were from the Hall of Gods.

"A Semi-Divinity realm cultivator accompanied by four Heavenly High Immortals... What a line-up!" Zhang Xuan's eyes narrowed into slits.

The cultivators from the Hall of Gods possessed extraordinary strength, such that even their Heavenly High Immortal realm cultivators wielded strength that allowed them to withstand the might of Semi-Divinity realm experts!

As such, it did not take too much imagination to fathom just how formidable a force this group of people was.

Even if Palace Master Du was there, she would probably have had difficulties dealing with them. Of course, that was not to say that she would not be able to win the battle—they were in the heart of Starchaser Palace after all, her territory.

It was just a matter of how high a price she would have to pay for victory.

The accumulation of the Six Sects over their thousands of years of existence was not to be underestimated.

The Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion, for example, only had one Semi-Divinity realm expert, Han Jianqiu, so it might seem like the current force that Zhang Xuan commanded could easily overwhelm them. However, if he really dared invade the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion, the one who would end up dead in the very end would be him.

Just the countless Sword Intents stored in the Compendium of Sword Wisdom would be more than enough to overwhelm his four Semi-Divinity realm beasts! Not to mention, the sect was protected by the founder's Gods' Sword Intent as well.

This was why the Hall of Gods dared not cross the Six Sects easily. While its strength was a notch higher than that of the Six Sects, it was not so absolute as to be able to destroy the Six Sects with ease.

Of course, the Six Sects would not use these trump cards easily too, especially since most of them were only one-time use. If the Ascendant Cloud Sword Pavilion tapped into the prowess of the Compendium of Sword Wisdom, it would effectively be destroying their own heritage, preventing the knowledge of the predecessors from being passed down to the later generations.

For this reason, unless it was in a time of crisis, no one would think of utilizing these trump cards.

For Starchaser Palace to be able to survive despite not being on friendly terms with the other five sects, there was no doubt that they had such trump cards as well. Just their ability to communicate with the gods was one perfect example. While it would be far too arrogant to expect the gods to fight for them, the gods might have granted them powerful artifacts in return for their offerings.


"I have already thought it through, and it'll be difficult for Starchaser Palace to accede to your request," replied the voice beyond the veil.

Her voice was much more stable than before, carrying the weight that a sect leader should have.

"Difficult?" The middle-aged man from the Hall of Gods chuckled lightly to himself. "You should be aware that there's a limit to the patience of the Hall of Gods. If you don't grasp this opportunity now, you will have to face the consequences in the future."

"Is that so? There's one thing that I am very curious about that I hope you can enlighten me on. The Hall of Gods has always been a lofty existence, never interfering in the secular affairs of the Forsaken Continent. Why are you seeking out our Starchaser Palace at this juncture?"

"There's no need for you to ask any questions. You'll know what you need to know. We are just carrying out the orders of our master," the middle-aged man from the Hall of Gods replied without the slightest change in his expression.

"Don't delude yourself. The Hall of Gods always gets what it wants. Even if you turn us down, we have plenty of means to achieve our goals. The only reason we gave you a day to consider the matter is because we don't wish to dye your beautiful island crimson. I advise you not to test us."

There was a brief moment of silence in the air before the voice beyond the veil sounded once more. "I don't deny it. We won't stand a chance against the powerful Hall of Gods. However, if you make such a big move, the lofty reputation of the Hall of Gods will be tarnished."

"Are you worrying about us?" The middle-aged man from the Hall of Gods burst into laughter. "Reputation means nothing to existences like us. Even without it, who would dare question our authority? Starchaser Palace might have its trump cards, but make no mistake, it wouldn't take us too much effort to crush you beneath our feet!"

Reputation was only important between equal existences. To behemoths whose every footstep quaked the world, what did the mere opinions of ants count for?

Before absolute strength, those doubtful voices meant nothing at all.

What airs the Hall of Gods is putting on! Zhang Xuan clenched his fists tightly as he gazed upon the happenings from above.

Those words sounded very jarring to his ears, but he knew that there was a sliver of truth in them.

It reminded him of the Manchu[l] in his previous life. Those who dared keep their hair would not be able to keep their heads. Through absolute force, they forced the territories that they annexed to bow to their culture.

It was clear that this was the stance that the Hall of Gods was going with.

This was a world where the strongest fist reigned mighty!

"Do you really intend to make a move against Starchaser Palace?" The person beyond the veil clearly did not expect to hear such words, and her voice began to quaver a little.

"We don't need to make a move personally. All we have to do is kill you, the backbone of Starchaser Palace, and I believe that there will be many sects who will be more than willing to deal the finishing blow so that they can replace you," the middle-aged man from the Hall of Gods pointed out coldly.

If Starchaser Palace lost its Semi-Divinity realm expert, it would gradually lose its say in the matters of the world, and it would be forced to compromise again and again. Eventually, it would come to a point where it fell out of the top echelon.

This was simply reality.

"You..."

The person beyond the veil fell silent. A moment later, she said, "I'm willing to make compromises but the item you requested is the foundation of our Starchaser Palace. Even I don't have the right to make such a decision individually."

"What Palace Master Du means to say is..."

"Give me another day. I'll discuss the matter with the elders of the sect and give you a satisfactory answer tomorrow," the person beyond the veil said.

"You want another day?" The middle-aged man from the Hall of Gods sneered coldly. "Even if I give you another day, I doubt that a fake like you will gain the authority to make the call. Isn't that so?"

Hula!

Right after those words were spoken, a surge of sword qi burst forth and sliced the veil in two, revealing Chu Yin's silhouette.

You..."

Seeing that she had been exposed, Chu Yin's body trembled in fear.

She had thought that her impersonation was close enough to fool the other party, but it seemed like the other party did not fall for it at all.

"Are you wondering how I knew that you were a fake?" The middle-aged man from the Hall of Gods harrumphed coldly.

Chu Yin could not help but clench her fists tightly as she stared anxiously at the person before her, and First Elder Zhao Yue's body stiffened in horror as well.

"Yesterday, when Palace Master Du said that she would give me an answer a day later, I knew what you lot were up to. Did you really take us, the warriors of the Hall of Gods, for fools?" the middle-aged man scoffed.

"I was just playing along with you to see how far you'd go! That being said, I must admit that I am impressed. Despite your young age, you can impersonate Du Qingyuan rather well. I can tell that you have put quite a bit of effort into it!"

"If you knew from the start, then..." Chu Yin was taken aback.

Since they had known right from the start, why did they still agree to give them an additional day to discuss the matter? Why did they choose to reside in Starchaser Palace for another day instead of forcing them to hand over the artifact?

"It's very simple. I wanted you to hand the item over yourselves. We already knew of Du Qingyuan's departure, and we have dispatched our men to deal with her. Most likely, that palace master of yours has either been captured or killed," the middle-aged man replied.

"The reason we chose to stay here is just to numb you all. Did you really think that such cheap ploys would work on us?"

Chu Yin and First Elder Zhao Yue's faces turned utterly pale as they subconsciously retreated several steps.

If that was the case... did it not mean that their palace master was in danger?

[1] The Manchu, who ruled over China during the Qing Dynasty, had a unique hairstyle for males where they would shave the front and leave a ponytail at the back. Those who have watched Return of the Pearl Princess, Empresses in the Palace, or Story of Yanxi Palace might find them familiar.

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