Immortal of the Ages-Chapter 274: The Villain Enters the Stage! (1)

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Chapter 274: The Villain Enters the Stage! (1)

In the shadow of the Sword Ruins, Zhang Mu knelt before the Sword Warden, his face a canvas of shame and sorrow. "Sword Warden," he lamented, "my boy was led astray, and in my folly, I failed to guide him. My disturbance of the Exiled Sword Immortal is an unforgivable sin!"

The Sword Warden, standing with his hands behind his back, his face as cold as frost, asked in a deep voice, "Do you know who Zhang Yang has been in contact with lately?"

"I'm ashamed to say, I do not know," Zhang Mu replied, his voice dripping with shame.

"Then, it seems his fate is sealed," the Sword Warden declared solemnly.

Zhang Mu let out a heavy sigh, the weight of the world seemingly on his shoulders.

"You may leave. Continue to oversee the Immortal Sword Rankings," the Sword Warden instructed.

"Yes," Zhang Mu said, rising to his feet. He cast a guilt-ridden glance at the Sword Warden, looking suddenly years older, his spirit wilted like a flower in drought.

After Zhang Mu departed, the Sword Warden turned to Mu Dalong and asked, "Since losing his wife, hasn't Zhang Mu treated you well these past years?"

"Do you want an honest answer?" Mu Dalong inquired.

"Of course."

"He harbored feelings for me long ago, which I rejected. It wouldn't have been appropriate back then, nor would it be now," Mu Dalong said, pursing her lips. "Besides, he always seemed too obsessive for my liking." f(r)

"Hmm." The Sword Warden nodded thoughtfully.

"Do you suspect something amiss with him?" Mu Dalong asked keenly.

"It doesn't matter," the Sword Warden said, looking back at the Valley of Ruins, "In the Sword Ruins, with the emergence of the twin Exiled Sword Immortals, all sorts of unscrupulous and power hungry characters eagerly seek their moment in the limelight. But the ultimate fate rests in the hands of those two. On the day the victor is decided, everyone must face the consequences of their choices."

"Us too, right?" Mu Dalong asked, her voice soft.

The Sword Warden smiled, but said nothing.

BOOM! Above the Exile Palace, a dark violet cloud of sword energy swirled, the fabric of space quivering around it, hinting at the profound mysteries of creation and destruction. With a resounding bang, the grand doors of the palace swung open!

A young man in a dark violet robe stepped out, his aura brimming with sword energy, warping the space around him. Swords of spatial energy encircled him, and even the cobblestones beneath his feet crumbled into dust, torn asunder by the force of his presence.

"Congratulations to Exile Ling, on achieving greatness in your divine art!" Ku Xuan, accompanied by Overseers Feng, Yun, and Shuang bowed deeply, their eyes brimming with admiration and respect.

"Exile Ling, how many stages have you broken through in a day?" Ku Xuan asked, his narrow eyes shining with curiosity.

"Why don't you guess?" Ling Chen replied, stretching his muscles, which crackled satisfyingly.

"The mysteries of true immortality are beyond us mere mortals." Ku Xuan chuckled lightly.

Ling Chen also smiled, then added, "I must say, the Grove Essence Pills you provided were quite effective. A few more, and I could speed through the Eight Mortal Realms, saving a lot of trouble."

"More?" Ku Xuan looked down. "The Grove Essence Pill is a Silva grade medicine. We've already given you all the stock we had in the Sword Ruins."

"Oh? Yun Xiao didn't manage to get any?" Ling Chen asked nonchalantly.

"We acted faster than the Sword Warden," Ku Xuan replied with a smile.

"Oh? Then Yun Xiao might not be too pleased." A hint of mischief played at the corners of Ling Chen's mouth, as if he'd just found a delightful new toy, making his journey ahead seem a bit more challenging.

Everyone chuckled at his words.

Once the laughter subsided, Ku Xuan added, "Exile Ling, our top alchemist in the Eternal Sword Prison, Du Zhongyuan, can make more Grove Essence Pills. I'll send him a message to hasten his work so that we can deliver new pills during the Immortal Sword Rankings."

"Du Zhongyuan, he's one of yours?" Exile Ling inquired.

"He's a reclusive, socially awkward man, quirky in nature. Despite having the strength of a Sword Ruins Overseer, he remains a Supreme Adjudicator. Not exactly one of ours. But, my granddaughter is his disciple, learning the art of alchemy from him," Ku Xuan explained.

"Go ahead," Ling Chen said.

"Yes!" Ku Xuan turned to Overseers Feng, Yun, and Shuang. "The Immortal Sword Rankings is about to start. You three will accompany Exile Ling."

"Please, Exile Ling," the trio said, motioning for him to lead the way.

"Mhm." Ling Chen nodded and approached Bai Wuque.

"Exile Ling..." Bai Wuque bowed deeply.

Ling Chen patted his face, saying cheerfully, "Sword Slave, keep your eyes wide open and savor what they call karma."

The Supreme Adjudicator Peak, a magnificent sword-shaped mountain, stood proudly at the forefront of the Valley of Ruins. This towering peak, exuding dignity and grandeur, served as the heart of the Sword Ruins' heritage and one of the places richest in spiritual energy.

Here, the Supreme Adjudicators imparted their wisdom. Only Supreme Disciples were granted the privilege to ascend the Supreme Adjudicator Peak. These prodigies, soaring above the clouds in the realm of swordsmanship, were often the scions of the sect's upper echelons. Even the lowliest among them, like Bai Wuque, hailed from a lineage boasting a Peak Master as a grandfather.

At the peak's summit was the Prime Pill Pavilion, the abode and teaching ground of Du Zhongyuan, the preeminent alchemist of the Eternal Sword Prison.

On this particular day, marking the Immortal Sword Rankings, Du Zhongyuan's five Supreme Disciples were up at dawn, diligently practicing the art of alchemy under his meticulous and unwavering guidance, a routine he had upheld for a decade.

In the Sword Ruins, a bastion of legacy, only those who attained the status of Overseer were exempt from the duty of taking disciples. Du Zhongyuan himself was relatively young, a middle-aged man of slender build, with long hair and a beard. He was dressed modestly, exuding a serene presence.

"Let's stop here for today and attend the Immortal Sword Rankings," Du Zhongyuan announced as he stood up.

"Thank you, Master!" chorused the five disciples, each a scion of the Sword Ruins' elite, impeccably dressed and radiating confidencea testament to their illustrious backgrounds.

As they prepared to depart, Du Zhongyuan suddenly added, "Recently, there's been many rumors about Exile Yun possessing a Fiendish Sword Soul. Tread carefully; these are murky waters. Do not get involved, lest it brings misfortune."

"Master, what do you mean by that?" asked a young lady in blue amidst the disciples. Her beauty was striking, yet her eyes held a hint of gloom.

"Since ancient times, the limit of a Fiendish Sword Soul has been the Planet Grade. Some are deliberately spreading misinformation to discredit Exile Yun. My disciples should stay clear of this," Du Zhongyuan advised.

Regardless of their origins, as long as they were his students, Du Zhongyuan felt a sense of responsibility for them. In the Sword Ruins, the bond between master and disciple was as sacred as family ties.

Upon hearing Du Zhongyuan's words, the four older disciples lowered their heads, their expressions a mix of confusion and skepticism. However, the young lady in blue, standing in their midst, lifted her gaze defiantly and addressed Du Zhongyuan, "Master, I've always held you in high esteem. But today, for the first time, I must disagree with you."

"Oh?" Du Zhongyuan regarded her calmly.

"Master, is someone forcing you to whitewash Exile Yun's reputation? If so, just blink," asked the girl, named Ku Xue.

Du Zhongyuan shook his head in response. He thought to himself how young people often believed themselves to be shrewd, only to be played like puppets. "Go on, then," he said, dismissing them with a wave of his hand, and then slipped away into the shadows.

The five Supreme disciples pursed their lips and turned to leave. As they walked, Ku Xue let out a cold laugh. "That old dog Du Zhongyuan, I wonder how much he was paid by Exile Yun to say such things."

"The world is indeed cold-hearted." Another disciple sighed.

"It's the ordinary disciples who suffer the most."

"In this world, speaking the truth seems forbidden, it's too dark."

They shook their heads, their eyes filled with anxiety for the future of the Sword Ruins, their hearts brimming with love for this bastion of swordsmanship and sympathy for their fellow, less fortunate Sword Cultivators.

However, this didn't stop them from being unwittingly led by others.

Ku Xue was quite pleased with her influence over her fellow disciples. She said, feigning rationality, "Let's be honest, even judging purely by character, that false Immortal is leagues worse than the true one. Don't argue, because if you do, it means you're on their side."

"Regardless, this Immortal Sword Rankings will reveal the fake," another disciple said.

Five Sovereign Swords took to the sky, soaring towards the heavens. Simultaneously, hundreds of thousands of Sovereign Swords from all corners of the Sword Ruins also ascended, all converging on the same destinationthe Immortal Sword Rankings! π™›π™§π™šπ™šπ™¬π™šπ’ƒπ’π“Έπ’—π™šπ“΅.π™˜π“Έπ’Ž

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