Tianyi made his first appearance on the third day of the Heavenly Connection Meeting. He could have arrived midway during the second day, but the disturbance he would have caused would have been greater than if he simply waited for the third day.
"Are you alright?" Su Wanyu asked. She was someone who had seen Tianyi on the immortal boat, so she could naturally detect the drop in Tianyi's cultivation base.
"Nothing major. It was a deliberate action on my end." Tianyi smiled and cupped his hands. He explained that he had been struck by inspiration and thus called upon tribulation lightning when creating his new Artifact.
"That's good. As long as your immortal path is not severed, everything is well." Su Wanyu said. "My apologies, it seemed that my junior brother had some urgent business to take care of. The Tribulation Clouds fellow Daoists saw is due to Junior Brother Xi."
Su Wanyu introduced Tianyi to Hun Jusang, Ji Muyang, He Luoli, and San Jiuling.
When Tianyi heard San Jiuling, he couldn't help but take a few more looks at the master of nine Lifebound Artifacts. San Jiuling had a passive expression that paired exceptionally well with his noble looks. It wouldn't surprise Tianyi if someone told him that San Jiuling was a prince.
At the same time that Tianyi was observing them, they were also observing Tianyi.
Despite being the legendary Sword Empress's son, it was surprisingly hard for them to acquire information on Tianyi. If he weren't the son of the publically acclaimed number one expert of the Huang Realm, then Tianyi's name would have long faded into obscurity with how lowkey he had been.
But he didn't and instead became shrouded in a veil of mystery.
Once news traveled that the Sword Empress's mysterious son would arrive at the Heavenly Connection Gathering, the members of Leakless, Nihility, Bright Ascension, Monolith Sword Sect had their curiosity piqued, especially with the recent news.
The news of the legendary battle between numerous Immortal Monarchs and Emperors for the Sovereign Nine Yin Lotus had long become common news to the higher-ups of various sects, including the news of a new Immortal Emperor. Although it wasn't as prevalent, news of Tianyi also spread, just that the amount of importance placed upon it wasn't as significant. But for the young members of the sects who couldn't even touch the robes of Immortals, Tianyi's information was more approachable and grounded for them. He was still someone in reach within the realm of mortals, after all.
"Greetings to fellow Daoists," Tianyi said. Since Su Wanyu had introduced them and prepared a seat for him among them, then he wouldn't shy away and join.
The four felt as if the image of Tianyi they constructed in their mind had crumbled. Indeed, there was pride within Tianyi's eyes, but he wasn't anywhere near the arrogant cultivator they thought he was.
"Junior Brother, no need to be so formal. Although we are from different sects, our relationship is quite close, unlike those on the Earth Continent. You can address them as senior brothers and sisters." Su Wanyu said.
Tianyi nodded and repeated. "Greetings, senior brothers and sister."
"Greetings to you as well, Junior Brother Xi. Tsk, tsk, what a beautiful pair of eyes." Ji Muyang said as she gave Tianyi an appreciative look, but closer inspection would reveal that she was observing Tianyi's full face and not his eyes.
"Greetings as well. I had heard of you from my younger brother. He's quite jealous of your new title after all." He Luoli said.
"Your younger brother?" Tianyi said, confusion evident.
"Haha, you've met him during the Three Heavens Connection Meeting. His name is He Yongli. I believe he tried to challenge you before." He Luoli said.
"Ah," Tianyi exclaimed as if remembering that person. But in truth, he had long forgotten who that person was and only acted as if he remembered. "I see, we didn't talk much, so I'm surprised he still remembers me."
"Think nothing of it, you underestimate the impression you leave others. My younger brother might request a sword duel tomorrow." He Luoli said, a straight smile on his face.
"Don't even mention your brother. Many of my junior brothers and sister are jealous of brother Xi's title. Young Tribulation Lord, how awe-inspiring." San Jiuling said with a chuckle.
"Ah?" Tianyi said, genuinely confused.
"Could it be that Junior Brother is unaware?" Su Wanyu added. "Many of us have already received reports of you were able to summon the Heavenly Tribulation of your enemies."
"Indeed, your enemies will quake in fear under your demonic powers. They shall never dare to even slight you the slightest lest you bring down the wrath of the Heavenly Tribulation!" Hun Jusang said ominously with a cackle. "There is no greater deterrent than holding a cultivator's future as a hostage, truly the greatest and wickedest of minds. I applaud you, great tormenter."
"Hah?" Tianyi said, unsure of what to make of his words.
"You can ignore this fool. Sometimes we don't even know if we speak the same language or not." Ji Muyang interjected upon seeing Tianyi's visible confusion.
"Who are you calling a fool! You're lucky my dark self, the Master of Slaughter, has been sealed away, or else you would rue your words, fool!" Hun Jusang as he dramatically clutched his left hand with his right as if to prevent it from lashing out.
Tianyi desperately controlled himself from commenting and adding unnecessary words to that sentence. San Jiuling looked like he wanted to say something but held himself back. Su Wanyu and the other two just ignored Hu Jusang as if his threats were merely air.
Su Wanyu didn't hint for Tianyi to leave, so Tianyi stayed up with the five leaders in their private area. Tianyi had a distinct impression as if he was a rare animal being shown off to others.
But it wasn't something Tianyi would argue with others over. It wasn't as if any of them had offended him in any way, so he directed his attention towards the arena at the center where two loose cultivators were duking it out.
As the two battle, Tianyi heard Su Wanyu converse with others and appraised the battle from a subjective standout, even pointing out the mistakes and strong points like a good senior! Tianyi took mentals notes; with these examples, he could act more like an unfathomable senior even more!
The style of sparring was very casual. Anyone could challenge the winner, and the winner could step down to rest after any match to recuperate and challenge the winner of the future spar. The only way to be disqualified from challenging anymore was to be defeated onstage.
Currently, none of the disciples of first-rate sects had gone up, and only the loose cultivators were duking it out. However, Tianyi was surprised at how desperate and how far the loose cultivators were willing to go despite it merely being a spar. He imagined something more relaxed, but it seemed as if they would kill each other if need be.
Tianyi enjoyed the show. It was like watching two prized dogs fighting each other in a ring, not that he would know what it was like as he had never participated in such an event. But the next contestant caught his and the other's eyes.
"Oh, it looks like your blood brother has stepped up." Ji Muyang said, her eyes containing some excitement.
"Among the loose cultivators here, none should be his opponent." San Jiuling said but added a few words after receiving Ji Muyang's pointed look. "...aside from Daoists Lonwei, of course."
"I would expect nothing less of the one you chose, Brother San. But I am surprised that Brother Xi seems to recognize him. Have you met him before?" He Luoli asked Tianyi.
Tianyi nodded. There was nothing to hide after all. He gave a short explanation of how Dong Chifan left an expression on him.
"Haha, I wonder what expression he would make if he knew the person he rejected is the son of the famed Sword Empress." He Luoli chuckled.
"Who knows, although my mother is famous, it's still hard to say if he's ever heard of my mother or me. It's not like everyone will know about the Sword Empress. The distance between mortals and Immortal Emperors is far too distant, nevermind the fact that he is a loose cultivator, lowering the chances even more." Tianyi said and then looked at San Jiuling. "What do you think, Brother San?"
"Hard to say, Brother Dong is relatively informed. So the chances of him knowing the fame of Immortal Empress Xi is high. As for his reaction..." San Jiuling glanced at Tianyi. "He will probably be surprised after learning of Brother Xi's true identity. He had a few run-ins with some descendants of Elders of a few sects, so his view of people like us is rather... poor."
Instantly, Tianyi had thought of numerous encounters between lowly protagonist Dong Chifan and cannon fodder one, which led to stepping stone mini-boss before being sent flying by the Elder boss.
"Haha," Tianyi laughed as his thoughts turned towards Lovespot. No matter how the people Dong Chifan met, they couldn't be worse than Lovespot, could they?
Tianyi looked back at the arena where Dong Chifan had defeated his opponent and waited for the next challenger. Tianyi could tell that he stood at least a step above the rest of the invited cultivators.
Dong Chifan's fighting style was extremely straightforward. He cultivated a mighty martial body that was strong, fast, and durable to the point that he was able to use his bare body against Core Formation Artifacts and spells.
Tianyi and the five others watched as Dong Chifan continued to take on foe after foe. He used the same simple tactics again and again. After repeated battles, not a single one could overcome his brute strength. And it didn't seem that he would tire anytime soon. Other than using his martial body's power, Dong Chifan didn't even expend that much mental or physical energy.
It wasn't long before Dong Chifan defeated all the invited Core Formation loose cultivators. But he still didn't step down and waited for the next challenger. Tianyi had the impression of a single man overcoming all odds to take first place.
"He's taking it too far." Su Wanyu commented.
Tianyi looked over, confused by her comment, and saw that San Jiuling had a hand over his face.
"What does Brother Xi takes this gathering as?" He Luoli said amicably upon seeing Tianyi's confusion
"A place to fight your peers and create a name for yourself," Tianyi said, although there was another reason he didn't explicitly say.
"You're not wrong. But you aren't completely right either. Take a look at the invited Daoists that Dong Chifan defeated."
Tianyi observed the loose cultivators that Dong Chifan had defeated. It was also quite a spectacle; they clearly knew they were not Dong Chifan's match, yet they still challenged him. There were some that had admiration as they gazed upon Dong Chifan, but Tianyi saw more had resentment upon their faces.
"Get it, brother Xi? This is not a tournament but a spar. Both people should show their worth and techniques before one admits his losses or loses. But Dong Chifan brutishly claimed victory for himself without care. For these loose cultivators, a good performance means a chance to enter a first-rate sect, which would give them limitless futures. But now, they had their opportunity to perform destroyed by Dong Chifan. This type of person easily makes enemies. And now, it seems that he wants to trample the disciples of our sects. I admit his strength is above average even among our junior brothers and sisters, but in all things, don't go too far. He's too sharp, but that means he's also brittle. Eventually, it will all come crashing back down onto himself." He Luoli said, giving Tianyi an eye-opener.
"Thank you for senior brother's lesson?" Tianyi said.
"Haha, it's nothing. I admit that some of our junior brothers and sisters are far too much like him. See?" He Luoli said as he pointed to one disciple who had gone with a fiery spirit as if he wanted to crush Dong Chifan.
The end result for that disciple was his loss after five moves. Four of the five people beside Tianyi gave Dong Chifan a higher appraisal after seeing him dispatch a sect disciple in such a manner. But the trampling didn't end there. No matter who came up, Dong Chifan defeated in a tyrannical manner. The end result would always result in his foes being flung out of the arena. As time passed, the tension in the air increased to an unbearable point.
San Jiuling didn't know what Dong Chifan was after. He had already transmitted a message for him to hold back, but Dong Chifan ignored it and even increased his momentum. A dead silence descended onto the pavilion as no Core Formation disciple came up to challenge Dong Chifan. He ignored the glares sent his way and glanced at his surroundings.
"Since no one is willing to challenge me, I want to declare a challenge."
It arrogant, an extremely arrogant tone of voice as if proclaiming that he was the one that everyone considered the strongest and wanted to defeat.
"I heard rumors that the son of the famed Sword Empress Xi is present today. I challenge the son of the Sword Empress to a spar!"