Chapter 630: The Sterling House of Fang
Like most other battlefields, the Deepstar Battlefield had an audience. Just like the Human Branch, the Earth Branch also had its own Dimensional Battlefield. Within it was the Starlord Formation, the Deepstar Formation, and each disciple's personal Astral Formation. Through the Starlord Formation, all the disciples that weren't participating, including the seniors, could see the disciples within the Deepstar Formation.
The Starlord Formation had a few hundred viewpoints, which were basically screens that showed a specific part within the Deepstar Formation to the audience from the outside. For instance, if the Starlord Formation showed the viewpoint of Xuanyuan Muxue, her personal Astral Formation would work with the Deepstar Formation to show a visual projection of her surroundings on the Starlord Formation.
With a few hundred of these viewpoints, the lord of Deepstar Hall, Yi Xingyin, would be able to select the most exciting fights to show to the audience, who could pick from among a few hundred choices. For instance, Fang Jingjing's surroundings were projected on one of the viewpoints, and it happened to show Tianming as well.
Currently, the Deepstar Battle had just begun, so not many were already fighting. All of these formations were actually the creation of Yi Xingyin, who was a third-grade tribulation patternscribe.
"The palace lord's patternscribe abilities are amazing. The scenes are so clear."
"It's only a shame that no voices can be heard, otherwise it’d be perfect."
"It’s already amazing that we get to see something like this. We can even see the number of stars in the lifebound beasts’ eyes."
There were quite a lot of people in the audience, even though it was only the first day. Among them were around four hundred Heaven Branch disciples. Though they were too old to participate, they were actually rather young, being in their twenties.
At the highest point of the Dimensional Battlefield was where the best viewpoint was located. Within that room were two men who stood back to back. One of them was dressed in a long, green robe that had rainbow-colored embroidery of a phoenix on its back. He seemed really refined as he looked below and observed the Deepstar Battle. He was none other than the current house king of the Sterling House of Fang, Fang Taiqing.
"Yuming," he yelled.
"What’s the matter, Brother?" Fang Yuming said, standing beside him respectfully.
"How are the recent movements of the Yinyang Demon Sect and the Hexapath Sword Sect?"
"The demon sect has been a little antsy lately, but the sword sect is laying low. Those two hate us with a passion; we took Taiji Peak Lake from the former and the Sword Insight Rock from the latter. They must’ve been acting behind the scenes for quite some time."
"Be prepared. Once they finish their joint planning, they’ll attack us soon."
"Understood. I’m just worried that Her Eminence's return will be pointless if the Archaion Divine Realm is no more."
"Enough nonsense," Fang Taiqing said.
"Brother, will it be fine if Her Eminence is dead?"
"I told you to cut it with the nonsense!" Fang Taiqing snapped, glaring at him.
"Got it. However, that’s the eminent of the Archaic House of Xuanyuan, not ours. I'm sure you know the price the ancestors of our Sterling House of Fang had to pay by serving the Archaic House of Xuanyuan."
"Fang Yuming, are you an idiot? How could you have these thoughts when Her Eminence just experienced an assassination attempt? Do you know what they’ll do to us if they catch you saying something like that? Our entire house will be implicated!"
"So you weren't the one who did it?"
"I’m not so foolish as to take that kind of risk. Not to mention, Mother is serving Her Eminence constantly."
"I see. Either way, Her Eminence is just a particularly talented girl, isn't she?"
"Yes and no. Let's just observe the battle."
"All right. By the way, lately, the Pentaphase Earth Sect's army has been spotted heading north. The scouts report that the Pentaphase Divine Realm is also plotting something. These three divine realms neighbor ours. If they ever reach an agreement, we might be overwhelmed. Brother, you weren't at the border, so you wouldn't know, but our troops' morale is plummeting."
"Even they can't hold back anymore, eh? The Pentaphase Earth Sect is the cruelest of them all. We’d better make sure our south is well defended."
"I’m not assigned there. I'm dealing with the Yinyang Demon Sect's side."
"I see. What about the Triflair, Quadform, Heptastar, Octagram, and Nonahall Divine Realms?"
"They’re currently observing the situation. To be frank, they’re just opportunists. In times of chaos like this, everyone wants a slice of the pie. At the end of the day, the tenth goddess, Xuanyuan Xi, is the root of the disturbance on the Flameyellow Continent. Too many people want her dead," Fang Yuming said eerily.
"Are you dissatisfied?"
"I just think the good old days weren't so bad. Why should the Sterling House of Fang sacrifice so many for the goddess of the Archaic House of Xuanyuan? Even if we win, the victory belongs to them."
"You’d better speak these words to nobody else but me. Not even our mother. She’s been brainwashed by Godservant Hall since her childhood. If you go against her, she’ll even kill you."
"I know. I wouldn't be so hateful if I didn't have to see her being so obedient to the goddess."
"How long will you stay this time?" Fang Taiqing asked.
"I’ll return to the borderlands after seeing Jingjing."
"She just entered the Deepstar Battle."
"I know. I’ll get Yi Xingyin to secretly sneak her out tomorrow. It's been a long time since I’ve seen her." Fang Yuming smiled at the thought of his daughter.
"You’ve been fighting for our divine realm these past few years and haven't paid much attention to her."
"Aren't you the same, Brother? These children were brought up by their mothers. It explains why they’re so spoiled."
"They really should be disciplined. They shouldn't be acting like a bunch of idiots at their age. Would you believe what Yi Xingyin said when I asked him to leave the spot for Xingque?"
"He said no?"
"He said that his creed is to be a fair person, and what I was asking of him would make him break it," Fang Taiqing said with a laugh. His brother also joined in.
"His brain must be rusting from all that research on formations he’s doing. Outsiders usually have to submit to reach their current positions. However, Yi Xingyin has been quite lucky to survive tens of sword strikes from me back when we were in the Heaven Branch. Does he think he can do whatever he pleases now just because he has a little power? Who does he think calls the shots in the Archaion Divine Realm?"
All of a sudden, the audience cried in shock.
"What is the commotion about?" Fang Yuming asked.
The folks outside were discussing it already.
"Four hundred and eighteen stars? Who’s that?"
"I don't recognize him."
"The seventh level Fang Jingjing was actually defeated by two of his two lifebound beasts!"
"The other one has three hundred and ninety-seven stars!"
"Not even disciples from the Heaven Branch have that many, right? I recall that the highest one was three hundred and ninety!"
"Looks like this person is called Li Tianming. He just rose from the Human Branch and even killed Xuanyuan Yufeng, one of the members of the Trioptic True Dragon Branch in the faction battles!"
"What’s his background?"
Fang Taiqing heard it all. He pointed at one of the viewpoints in the Starlord Formation and said, "Jingjing was defeated. Did you see that person?"
"I did. That’s a lot of stars. Whose illegitimate son is that? Xuanyuan Dao's? Jian Wuyi's? He doesn't look like someone from the Trioptic True Dragon Branch, so he must be Jian Wuyi's, right?" Fang Yuming said. He made sure to take a few close looks at the white-haired youth who had defeated his precious daughter. He wouldn’t forgive someone who would harm her lifebound beast so badly.
"Neither. He's someone Her Eminence brought back, allegedly because she wants to take him as a disciple for his amazing talents. Most interestingly, he can already defeat a seventh-level empyrean saint even though he was just a sky saint when he arrived. His speed of improvement is staggering," Fang Taiqing said.
"Her Eminence has only been back for a month. Did he break through eight levels in a month?"
"No, I think he’s just a first or second level empyrean saint. He’s just capable of defeating people above his level. It probably has to do with the two precious artifacts Her Eminence bequeathed him, or perhaps he’s from a strong bloodline."
"A sword and a tower. Nobody knows how many tribulation patterns they have. It seems that Her Eminence favors this young man quite substantially."
"Is that so?"
"Brother, would you dare give him a bit of a hard time?"
"It won't do. Her Eminence ordered Jian Wuyi to protect him. Who would dare?"
"To that extent..."
"Otherwise, she wouldn't have had Xuanyuan Dao personally give him grade three tribulation manna," Fang Taiqing said.
"They’d better watch out. Her Eminence can’t even look out for herself, yet this kid thinks he’s a big shot in the Earth Branch."
"I, however, am more interested in his two artifacts."
"I see. I’ll go escort Jingjing first, now that she's already out."
"Go ahead. Defend the borderlands well. The ones the Yinyang Demon Sect hate the most is our Sterling House of Fang. We definitely can’t lose to them."
"Okay," Fang Yuming said before he left.
Fang Taiqing stood at the window and continued watching the Starlord Formation. "Mother, you hold the goddess in too high a regard. One day, I might just become a god myself."
He zeroed in on someone using the Starlord Formation's viewpoint: Fang Xingque.
"Since when was a sect master of the Heaven Branch like me not even allowed to get a spot for the Deepstar Battle for my own son?"
He proceeded to laugh maniacally alone in the room.