Chapter 691 - Meeting Zi Ji Once Again
The main branch of Divine Phoenix Sect was slightly west of the center of Divine Phoenix City, and the Black Moon Merchant Guild was at the very center.
The size of the Black Moon Merchant Guild was more than several dozen kilometers and could be comparable to a small town. Anyone would find it hard to believe that it was actually just a merchant guild’s station if they didn’t see it with their own eyes.
The Black Moon Merchant Guild had a total of eight floors. Although they were only eight floors, the height of each floor was incomparably shocking. Adding them together, the building actually shot through the blue skies. At the very top, a gigantic black-colored crescent moon exalted itself among the clouds. Seemingly, at any corner of this humongous Divine Phoenix City, it was clearly visible if one were to raise his head to take a look. The gigantic plaza at the front of the merchant guild was still filled with people like before, and every day, there would be countless profound practitioners trying to enter the place. However, not even one out of ten of them would turn out successful. And out of those who could enter, about eighty to ninety percent of them would only be able to enter the first two floors.
A youth in a long black robe with a solemn-looking and inconspicuous face, arrived at the center of the Black Moon Plaza where the seven-colored jade stage was. Raising his head, he looked at the large, cloud-piercing structure which was reflecting a pure jade luster. Although this was a merchant guild, every single one of its individual bricks and tiles was much extravagant than the ones used by the Blue Wind Imperial Family. Above the gigantic black moon at the top and under the shroud of extremely grand, imposing atmosphere, anyone who looked up towards it would seemingly have the impulse to worship it.
“Carrying a history even longer than Divine Phoenix Sect and possessing a tremendous to indiscernible background… Hopefully, it won’t disappoint me.” The youth softly muttered to himself, walking towards one of the profound arrays at the jade stage. As he approached it, a purple glow rose from his body, and then, under the attention of the incomparably surprised crowd around him, he immediately entered the profound array.
For the first six floors of the Black Moon Merchant Guild, whenever one wished to enter, he or she would have to always strike the jade stage once to obtain the qualifications to enter. However, the seventh floor was different from the first six. The moment one obtained the qualifications to enter it, the teleportation array would memorize the target’s essence, and the person could then enter it directly in the future… unless the Black Moon Merchant Guild decided to erase the target’s essence.
Because, compared to the first six floors, the seventh floor was a completely different world. To the Black Moon Merchant Guild, people who could enter the seventh floor and those who couldn’t were people of two different worlds.
When the profound light dispersed, Yun Che opened his eyes. What was revealed in front of him was what seemed to be a boundless garden at first glance. Adorned within the lush jade greens were various gorgeous, exotic flowers and herbs. Every single large tree was tall and erect, and within every single vertical stream, the endless trickling of flowing water could be heard. Such a sight would cause people to believe that they had suddenly walked into a divine realm instead of entering the interior of a merchant guild.
In front of him, three beautiful young girls wearing different dresses gracefully arrived and lightly bowed. “Welcome to Black Moon Merchant Guild Young Master Yun. Mister Zi is personally waiting for you, please follow this lowly one.”
Yun Che was currently in a disguise, yet when he heard how these three young girls addressed him, Yun Che was not fazed in the slightest. After all, that teleportation array had clearly memorized the entrant’s essence. Rubbing his face, he revealed his true look and smiled. “Then I will have to trouble you three little sisters.”
The three young girls gracefully smiled as they brought Yun Che through the jade-green garden and even through a small hill. Arriving at the same extravagant courtyard as before, seated under the same long pavilion was a purple-colored elder wearing a warm smile.
“You’re here.” Zi Ji slowly rose. His clearwater eyes sized up the youth before him, and gently nodded. His face revealed a meaningful smile. “It’s been three years since we last met, and your demeanor has surpassed your former by at least ten times… Haah, the younger generation will surpass the older as they say.”
“Junior Yun Che greets Senior Zi. Senior, you give me too much praise.” Yun Che took a step forward and bowed with cupped hands.
“Hoho, please sit.” Zi Ji stretched his hand forward, and then, sat at the same time as Yun Che. “Qing Chen, boil a new pot of tea. It has to be ‘Drunken Red Earth’ that has been freshly picked out this morning.”
“Yes.” The young girl in an azure dress politely bowed and floated away. The other two young girls split to Yun Che’s two sides beautifully and gracefully. Carrying light smiles on their lips and standing with respectful postures, they looked as though they could be freely dispatched by Yun Che.
“Senior Zi seems to have long predicted that this junior will come for a visit,” Yun Che smiled. Before he came here, he was absolutely sure that the Black Moon Merchant Guild was already aware of the news of him returning alive… If they hadn’t known, then he would have been disappointed.
“This old one has predicted that you would come, but I had never expected that it would be this soon,” Zi Ji lightly smiled. Compared to three years ago, his gaze on Yun Che seemed to have largely changed. “With the information this old one obtained, you were in Floating Cloud City two hours ago. But now, you have actually appeared in front of this old one.”
The information network belonging to the Black Moon Merchant Guild was impressive as expected. To actually have feelers stretching all the way to Floating Cloud City… Of course, the garrison set up by the Divine Phoenix Army over there might be related as well. The distance between Floating Cloud City and Divine Phoenix City was extremely far. Back then, when he set off from Blue Wind Imperial City which was much closer, even when he journeyed throughout day and night, it still took him several days. Yet now, with merely two hours, he had arrived at Divine Phoenix City from Floating Cloud City… This was indeed overly frightening. Even the strongest profound ark on Profound Sky Continent would definitely not be able to accomplish such a feat.
In regards to this point, Yun Che naturally couldn’t possibly not know of it, but he never thought of giving an explanation. Just as he was about to make a pass with a smile, he heard Zi Ji speak, using an admiring tone, “If it was someone else, this old one would have already been shocked beyond belief and would suspect that the person before me was a ghost or god. But your respected master is, after all, Old Man Duotian, who had once shaken the world ten thousand years ago. Crossing through the Primordial Profound Ark’s dimensional space was already a small feat for him, so with your respected master’s godly powers, the distance of a hundreds of kilometers between this place and Floating Cloud City is merely a flick of a finger.”
Old man… Duotian? Respected master?
A hint of astonishment flashed past the depths of Yun Che’s eyes, and to this astonishment, in Zi Ji’s eyes, was naturally misunderstood as something else. He chuckled, “There’s no need to be surprised. It’s not that my Black Moon Merchant Guild is powerful and large enough to know of your respected master’s existence, rather, Sun Moon Divine Hall did not keep the matter of encountering your respected master in Snow Region of Extreme Ice a secret. Currently, Absolute Sword Monarchy, Supreme Ocean Palace, and Mighty Heavenly Sword Region already knows of this matter.
“Although the name of ‘Old Man Duotian’ has long disappeared for ten thousand years, the Four Great Sacred Grounds were all established ten thousand years ago. The memories of their ancestors are inherited through generations and are never lost. This is why there are still people who knows of the name of your respected master. But, never would one expect that the unbeatable supreme being of the profound realm ten thousand years ago did not actually shatter void-space and ascend to a higher realm as the rumors had stated, but instead had been staying on Profound Sky Continent the entire time, overlooking the vast number of lives. I heard from rumors that your respected master had formed his own world and extinguished a Monarch with a speck of fire. I’m afraid that us so-called experts of this realm are merely ants in your respected master’s eyes.”
Zi Ji’s voice and expression did not carry any intentions to probe or falsehood. All they carried were deep respect, fear, and astonishment towards an expert. Yun Che listened with a calm expression, yet, his inner heart was completely stupefied...
What… is this situation?
Could it be… a person called “Duotian” really once existed? And he was even an ultimate boss-level figure in primordial times?
Seeing how Zi Ji looked… Not only did this unexpected “coincidence” not leave any flaws, it instead had cemented the existence of him having a “strong teacher” even further!?
“My mentor hadn’t meddled in mortal matters for many years and has never been willing to be spoken of by others. I hope Senior Zi understands.” Yun Che smiled very calmly, yet, in his heart, he was thinking: I have completely no idea of who this “Old Man Duotian” is. If we were to start conversing about him, I might accidentally reveal some flaws… It seems, there’s a need to find a way to understand this “Old Man Duotian” person of ten thousand years ago.
“This old one only has respect for your respected master and most definitely has no intentions to probe,” Zi Ji sincerely said.
That azure-dressed young girl named “Qing Chen” gently walked over, and held in her hands was a new pot of boiled tea. Before she even approached, a heart-intoxicating fragrance had already suffused into the air. Yun Che could not help but make a light sniff and spoke, “Speaking of which, in the two times this junior has visited, both were times when Senior Zi was fortunately free. With Black Moon Merchant Guild’s grand name, Senior Zi must be especially busy on normal days.”
“Hohoho,” Zi Ji smiled as he shook his head. “That’s not case. This old one has been here for more than a hundred years, but there was never a time I have been busy. There are countless capable people on Profound Sky Continent, but people who have the qualifications to enter the seventh floor are hardly one in a million. To give an estimate, there will be a guest here once every month while I’m free for the rest of the time.”
“A month?” Yun Che revealed a look of surprise, and then, continued, “The depths of Senior Zi’s profound strength cannot be measured. I’m afraid even the broadness of knowledge you possess cannot be compared to anyone else’s. Even in the Four Great Sacred Grounds, you will definitely carry an extremely high position. If it’s really as Senior Zi says… then in regards to Senior Zi’s abilities, isn’t it an extremely huge waste? And this seventh floor is clearly empty lodgings. With its expansiveness and boundlessness, with looks similar to that of a divine realm, with merely its construction costs, it mostly likely far surpasses any imperial city from the six countries with a simple estimate. Yet, it’s only used to receive a guest once every month?”
“That’s not merely the case,” Zi Ji lightly smiled. He received the teapot from the azure-dressed young girl’s hands and personally filled the cup of tea in front of Yun Che. “For the Black Moon Merchant Guild to be able to exist for thousands of years and flourish without end, it naturally stems from a matured survival plan. The number of customers in this seventh floor cannot be compared to even one ten thousandth of the customers in the lower six floors, but the construction costs and yearly maintenance fees of this floor are more than a hundred times of the previous six floors added together. That is because… people who are able to enter the first six floors, are our Black Moon Merchant Guild’s distinguished guests, while people who have the qualifications to enter this place… are my Black Moon Merchant Guild’s lifeline!”
“I believe with your wits, you should definitely understand this old one’s words,” Zi Ji said with calm smile.
Yun Che lightly closed his eyes. After a short moment of silence, he opened them and gently nodded. “I see. This junior has always believed that this junior’s knowledge and experience are considerably broad. But during my two visits here, with such celestial scenery and to have a supreme figure such as Senior Zi personally receive me, even I feel a little flattered. In that case, with every subsequent visit, affection will build. And, to build such close relationships with seemingly all of the experts and formidable powers on Profound Sky Continent, I believe your Black Moon Merchant Guild is the only one.”
“Hoho. Here, drink some tea.” Zi Ji raised his hand with a smile. Raising his teacup, he took a light sip, enjoying the aftertaste.
Yun Che raised his own cup of tea, though he drank it all in an instant. Shaking his teacup, he said with a smile, “Senior Zi’s tea sure is a worldly treasure. It’s just that this junior has always been ignorant in the tastes of tea, so it seems this junior has wasted a heavenly gift.”
“No matter how good tea is, as long as it goes into your hands, even if it’s spilled by you, it would still be a fortunate matter. How can it possibly be called a waste of a heavenly gift?” Zi Ji said with a laugh.
“This junior isn’t worthy of such praise from senior,” Yun Che said with a faint smile. He had initially arrived at Divine Phoenix City with a baleful aura, but, after reaching this place, in less than ten minutes, his inner heart was already clear and serene. The man in front of him, Zi Ji, had a calm, quaint, and encompassing presence… as though he was clear water that went untouched for ten thousand years in an ancient well.
“If you aren’t worthy, then I’m afraid there’s no one in this Profound Sky Continent who is.” Zi Ji’s tone was still the same as before, yet, he suddenly made an abrupt change in subject, and asked, “With your arrival here, what are your plans for Divine Phoenix Sect?”
Yun Che’s eyes narrowed, and a baleful aura instantly surged from his entire body. The killing intent gathered in his eyes was also revealed in front of Zi Ji without the slightest concealment. “Senior, what do you think this junior should do?”
The surrounding space instantly turned suffocating without any warning, causing the tender bodies of the three young girls at the sides to shudder at the same time. Zi Ji still carried the same calm and light smile; his expression did not have the slightest even in the face of Yun Che’s aura. “This old one only sees the results.”
“Then senior, what kind of results do you think it will be?”
Zi Ji gently shook his head. “Unpredictable. When this old one first met you three years ago, although I was shocked at your talent and the presence and shrewdness that surpasses your age, when you left, this old one had believed that if you were to head to Divine Phoenix Sect, there was more than a ninety-percent chance that you would have lost your life there, while the other ten percent was, even if you managed to keep your life intact, you wouldn’t have been able to obtain what you wished for. That was because I understood Divine Phoenix Sect more than I understood you.
“Ever since this old one has settled down here, not a single person I have seen in these hundred years weren’t outstanding individuals, and I had believed that my evaluation on people and various affairs would never go wrong. But, only when it comes to you, this old one had never guessed the ending in the slightest. A youth of not even twenty years old with profound strength at the Earth Profound Realm actually dealt a crushing blow to Divine Phoenix Sect, rendering them powerless on their own turf. In these years, you are the only one who has made me miscalculate completely.
“Divine Phoenix Sect had been established for five thousand years, and their roots are immensely deep. Even the Four Great Sacred Grounds find it hard to fathom their depths. Although your strength has greatly surpassed what it was three years ago, if you do not rely on the power of your respected master and head for a direct confrontation with only your own strength… If this was the first time we met, the only thing I can describe this situation as is ‘an egg hitting a stone.’ But now…” Zi Ji gently shook his head, as though he was deprecating himself. “I do not dare to jump to conclusions. Even though you’re only three feet away from me, it feels as though we’re separated by ten thousand miles. Hoho. I can’t see through you at all.”
The tender mouths of the young girls who were standing at Yun Che’s sides widened at the same time. They, who were exerting great effort to maintain their beautiful and tender smiles on their faces, were unable to conceal their deep surprise at all. They were extremely clear of the kind of position Mister Zi had. This was the first time they had heard such words… and it was even towards a person of such a young age.
“Hmph. The mere Divine Phoenix Sect still does not possess the qualifications to have my teacher make a move.” The corner of Yun Che’s brows rose, and a stern killing intent could be felt from his voice. “I won’t do much to them either. I merely want them… to pay at least ten times the debt they owe!”
“Speaking of which…” Yun Che suddenly switched the subject of the conversation. “I heard from rumors that three years ago, after the disappearance of the Primordial Profound Ark, the Divine Phoenix of Divine Phoenix Sect made an appearance?”
The appearance of the Divine Phoenix three years ago appeared in the memories of Sun Moon Divine Hall’s Ye Ziyi, and it similarly appeared in Feng Huwei’s memories as well… and he had even personally saw it! Not only did the Divine Phoenix appear, its overbearing strength and pressure had even coldly silenced the people of the Four Great Sacred Grounds and had even mercilessly punished Ye Xinghan in front of everyone.
But… The Divine Phoenix had clearly already disappeared!
“That’s right,” Zi Ji lightly nodded. “Three years ago, there had long been rumors about the Divine Phoenix’s depleted lifespan and its disappearance. We then found out, because of the Divine Phoenix’s disappearance, it would cause Divine Phoenix Sect to lose their strongest backing, and the moment this was exposed, there was a possibility of facing the crisis of extinction. Because of this, the Great Elder of Divine Phoenix Sect, Feng Feiyan, secretly surrendered to Sun Moon Divine Hall, and had even informed them of the disappearance of the Divine Phoenix. But, the descent of the Divine Phoenix three years ago, was personally witnessed by everyone in Divine Phoenix City, which clearly proved that its ‘disappearance’ was merely a test. What it was testing, was naturally people like Feng Feiyan who carried ulterior motives.”
“I see.” Yun Che slightly frowned; his heart was still filled with doubts. The Divine Phoenix had already passed on, this was what Feng Xue’er personally told him. With Feng Xue’er’s heart, she definitely couldn’t have lied. And Feng Xue’er had even succeeded all of the Divine Phoenix’s source of power, soul energy, and even memories… If that’s the case, how could the Divine Phoenix possibly still be alive!?
“There’s no need to doubt it, that Divine Phoenix spirit already died long ago,” Jasmine suddenly said with a cold tone.
Yun Che was startled for a moment. “Then the one that appeared three years ago…”
“Hmph. It’s merely a soul fragment which carried a little amount of power source,” Jasmine blandly said. “To leave behind a soul fragment which contains a bit of power is something a mortal isn’t capable of doing and isn’t something one would think of. But, the Divine Phoenix spirit is a cloned entity of the Phoenix’s soul, it’s an easy feat for it if it ever wants to do so! After it passed down all of its soul energy and origin power to Feng Xue’er, most likely, in order to guard against the appearance of people such as Feng Feiyan, it purposefully split a small part of itself and attached it within Feng Xue’er’s body. But, this detached soul fragment wouldn’t be able to exist for a long period of time, and by now, it should have completely dispersed. If it we are talking about it being alive… That’s absolutely impossible!”
“... Is that so.” Yun Che roughly got the gist of it.
“Mister Zi, in these three years, about Princess Snow of Divine Phoenix Sect… Do you have any news on her?” Yun Che asked.
Zi Ji deeply glanced at Yun Che; his eyes carried a certain profound meaning. A short while after, he lightly smiled and said, “Three years ago, after the departure of the Primordial Profound Ark and before the appearance of the Divine Phoenix, Princess Snow had fallen unconscious… Then after, she had been in deep slumber, and for three whole years, no matter what methods were used, she was unable to awaken.”
“What?” Yun Che’s expression greatly shook. “In deep slumber for three years? Three whole years?”
“That’s right. If the information I received was not mistaken, it was only yesterday when Princess Snow finally woke up.”
“...” For a moment, ripples surfaced in Yun Che’s heart. In Feng Huwei’s memories, he did not find any information regarding Feng Xue’er’s situation these three years. In these two days, he had been pondering and suspecting that, with Feng Xue’er’s heart and the pure feelings she had towards him, when the Divine Phoenix Empire invaded Blue Wind Empire, she should have definitely prevented it from happening! And Feng Hengkong had always extremely pampered her as well, complying with all her wishes… Blue Wind Empire shouldn’t have fallen into such dire straits.
So… She had actually been in deep slumber, for a whole three years.
Yun Che took a light breath and asked “Then Mister Zi, do you know why Princess Snow fell into deep slumber for such a long period of time? It shouldn’t be due to injuries, right?”
“In regards to this point, I only have conjectures as well.” Zi Ji slowly said, “After Princess Snow fell into deep slumber, her entire body was enveloped in scarlet flames, burning endlessly. Within three feet, not a single person could approach her. And the place where she had slept for three years, was brought about by the Divine Phoenix which appeared three years ago. Thus, the Divine Phoenix should be refining her physique with phoenix flames, or bestowing her with even stronger phoenix flame abilities, aiding her in stepping into the Sovereign Realm from half-step from the Sovereign Profound… That’s most likely the case. Currently, Princess Snow has already awoken. If you’re concerned, you can try asking her about it directly. Hohoho.”
Zi Ji smiled very meaningfully.
It’s no wonder either. The reason why Yun Che would “lose his life” in the Primordial Profound Ark was known to seemingly everyone in the Profound Sky Continent, so how couldn’t Zi Ji know of it… As the core figure in Black Moon Merchant Guild, he could only know much more than others.