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“Duankong City is extraordinary even in the Western Realm,” Xue Jinwen spoke again. “Usually, sects are located outside the city, but the Duankong itself is a city, and they also engage in mundane affairs on top of normal cultivation stuff. This time, some disciples of Duankong City participated in the Grand Tournament and were lucky enough to survive to the end…”
Meng Qi was stunned for a moment and asked, “Is the Duankong City known for its powerful sword array?”
“Yes.” It was Pei Mufeng who answered, “Individually, the disciples of Duankong City are not very remarkable, but they specialize in group combat. Their sword array, in particular, can stand at the top of the Three Realms.”
“I see.” Meng Qi nodded. She probably could guess who these people were. During the second stage of the Grand Tournament, a few sword cultivators joined forces to use their sword formation to attack. That thing was indeed quite powerful.
Could it be them?
“In short, Duankong City came up to accuse you of colluding with the Devil Realm.” Xue Jinwen continued. “The Medical Society Alliance went into a heated argument and is now divided into three opinions. One faction believes that since you were able to pass the Grand Tournament tests and gain the recognition of the great predecessor, you couldn’t have betrayed the Three Thousand Worlds.”
“One faction argues that the residual will of Senior Lin Yan has been weakened after tens of thousands of years of existence, so it was possible that you have deceived her. They suggested the alliance take back the benefits you got from Senior Lin Yan and redistribute them to the members.” Xue Jinwen let out a soft sigh, “The rest have chosen to remain neutral. I have never seen the ten major sects and the alliance elders argue so fiercely.”
Meng Qi fell silent. “I see,” she nodded after a while. “Thank you, Sister Xue. But this matter is not urgent; we can talk about it later after we leave this forest.”
“No, Meng Qiqi,” Xue Jinwen shook her head, “this forest is very strange, and no one knows what will happen next. I’ll tell you everything I know first, in case we get separated or encounter something unexpected. You should be prepared in advance before you leave the Starfallen Sea.”
Xue Jinwen took a deep breath and, without waiting for Meng Qi to speak again, continued: “The sects that support you are mostly Canghai Academy and the likes. They are soft-spoken and have little authority. Their opinions are practically useless.”
“When all is said and done, the alliance rescinds their intention to send any Void Comprehending elder to look for you.” Xue Jinwen shrugged her shoulders. “My elder brother had a big argument with my father and the elders because of this. He almost had a falling out with them before my father finally relented and allowed him to enter the Starfallen Sea. Unfortunately, they also didn’t keep the promise of allowing Eldest Brother to bring the clan treasure to help locate you.”
“…” Meng Qi fell silent again, “Then, Sister Xue, why are you here in Starfallen Sea?” She asked.
“I was thrown in.” Xue Jinwen gave Meng Qi a smile, “Don’t worry, your Sister Xue is very clear about her cultivation level. I am aware that I will just become a burden here.”
“Thrown in?” Meng Qi was startled.
“Yes.” Xue Jinwen nodded, “After my brother and Fellow Daoist Su took the rest into the Starfallen Sea, the people from Duankong City remained in Xingluo City and proposed to have a match with the Xingluo Pavilion.”
Hearing this, Meng Qi glanced at Pei Mufeng. Xue Jinwen must have already told him about this matter because the young man nodded slightly at her, indicating he knew.
“Xingluo Pavilion’s Pavilion Master Pei is currently in the Starfallen Sea, fulfilling his ten-year commitment, while his fellow disciple Xu Zijun also went inside to search for you. This leaves Xingluo Pavilion’s current generation without their two strongest fighters. As a result, after two consecutive matches of 5 vs. 5 and 7 vs. 7, Xingluo Pavilion lost on both occasions.”
“Xingluo Pavilion is known as the number one sword sect in the Eastern Realm, and Pavilion Master Pei has been gaining fame in recent years. Now that his sect has lost two consecutive matches on their home turf, the news spread across the Three Thousand Worlds in an instant and is now being the talk of the town even in Beyond The Heaven.”
Meng Qi frowned slightly, feeling that things were not that simple.
As expected, Xue Jinwen continued: “The matter of Duankong City’s visit to Xingluo City has caused quite a stir. Now, practically every sect across the Three Thousand Realm knows that Duankong City came to investigate your suspected collusion with the Devil Realm.”
Meng Qi: “!!!”
“The sword array of the Duankong City has always been famous. Originally, it was commonly thought that the top sword sects in the four realms were equally matched. But now, Duankong City has won two consecutive matches on the territory of the Xingluo Pavilion. Even though Pavilion Master Pei is absent and Xingluo Pavilion is unable to send its strongest disciples, a win is still a win. Rumors are currently spreading in the four realms, and many people believe that Duankong City is the superior one.”
“I see.” Meng Qi gave the nod before reflecting for a moment.”Duankong City’s sword array originated from the ancient array cultivators, so it is indeed quite powerful.” Having witnessed the array firsthand, she turned to Pei Mufeng and added, “In truth, I suppose they won against Xingluo Pavilion not with swordsmanship but by relying on this array.”
“It’s just a superficial reputation. It doesn’t matter.” Pei Mufeng shook his head, expressing that he didn’t care.
Meng Qi nodded and no longer comforted him.
Xue Jinwen looked curiously at Meng Qi, then at Pei Mufeng, feeling something different between them. They were not particularly intimate, nor had they known each other long. But there seemed to be an inexplicable tacit understanding between the two, the kind that is not allowing a third person to get in.
“Sister Xue.” Meng Qi said, “Please continue.”
“Eh? Oh, right.” Xue Jinwen nodded, “Duankong City is currently in the spotlight, and their sword array has gained a lot of fame. The name ‘array cultivator,’ which disappeared tens of thousands of years ago, suddenly resurfaced. I don’t know where the rumors came from, but it’s said that you stole the Duankong City sword array. That’s why they came to the Xingluo City, to retrieve their lost legacy after discovering that you knew their unique sword array during the competition.”
“I didn’t steal it.” Meng Qi shook her head.
“Of course, I know.” Xue Jinwen reached out and pinched Meng Qi’s face, “But all of your friends are in the Starfallen Sea, and there is no one to defend you. In addition, Duan Kongcheng produced evidence accusing Ji Wujiong of being part of the Devil Realm. As a result, rumors intensified, and some people even began accusing you of stealing Duankong City’s sword array in order to show loyalty to Ji Wujiong and the Devil Realm.”
She sighed softly: “Things happen one after another, and even the neutral medical sects have gradually turned against you, supporting the decision of the alliance elders to first take away the benefits you obtained from the Grand Tournament and make a decision after the truth is revealed. After all, the Devil Realm has always been our mortal enemy, especially for the medical sects. Thousands of years ago, they massacred two of the former twelve major sects, leaving no one alive and causing their legacies to be lost forever. This has always been a thorn in the heart of the alliance.”
“I understand.” Meng Qi nodded. She cupped her hands and bowed to Xue Jinwen. “Thank you, sister Xue.”
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