The three slowly walked towards the center of the hall and stood side by side. The large black-robed man with a sinister appearance spoke with a frigid tone, "You should all know who we are. There should be no need for introductions. This meeting will be presided by us three. Are there any objections?"
Once he was finished, his body sudden emitted a huge spiritual pressure, enveloping the entire room. When the cultivators in the room felt these profound spiritual Qi fluctuations, their expressions changed one after another.
Han Li felt a wave of astonishment from this person's amazing power. From his icy, demonic aura, he should be the Old Devil Concord. This old devil's appearance was different from what he had imagined. In fact, his appearance was more in line with a cultivator from the Ghost Spirit Sect.
Unbeknownst to Han Li, each successive generation of the Harmonious Bond Sect grand elder was titled as the Old Devil Concord. Although the large black-robed man cultivated a devilish technique that had little relation to the Harmonious Bond Sect, he had no choice but to adopt the title.
At that moment, the others sensed the fearsomeness of the large man. Although they felt somewhat ill at ease, none of them dared to foolishly challenge the authority of the three great cultivators. For a time, silence reigned in the entire room as if in tacit approval of Old Devil Concord's previous words.
The large black-robed man expressionlessly said, "Good, since there are no objections, there will be no need to speak any rubbish. To tell the truth, we do not have the time. This morning, the Moulan had sent an envoy delivering an official challenge of war. If we do not comply with their conditions, there will be a battle to death in seven days."
An uproar occurred within the hall. "A challenge of war? Seven days? What conditions?"
The sword-bearing Daoist chuckled and calmly said, "Brother Yi's words are correct. Everyone should first look over the Moulan's challenge of war before we discuss a plan with how to deal with them. Although the war is coming earlier than we anticipated, with the abilities of everyone present, do we still have anything to fear from the Moulan?"
Although his voice wasn't very loud, it was clearly heard by everyone in the room, leaving a calming chill on their hearts. The other cultivators felt alarmed by this sensation, but their uproar immediately cased. Rather, there was somewhat who muttered, "Sure enough, Great Truth Sect's Meditative Arts are the way to do it."
The middle-aged Daoist ignored those contemptuous words and took out a glistening red jade slip before casually tossing it to an old man across from him. He smiled and said, "This contains the Moulan's challenge of war. How about Fellow Daoist take a look?"
The old man was startled, but he soon swept his spiritual sense into the jade slip. With a sudden change of expression, he gloomily handed it over to the person at his side. As a result, that person's expression also grew unsightly after curiously reading through it.
As the war challenge was being passed through the various cultivators, Han Li shot an appraising glance at the sword-bearing, middle-aged Daoist and the azure-robed old man. The Daoist appeared to be about forty years of age but his skin was translucent and pure, and he had a face befitting of a scholar. He was the Righteous Dao Alliance's Great Truth Sect's Master Sunreach. As for the old man, he had a very ordinary appearance and plain clothes, revealing nothing particularly of note. But what caught Han Li's attention was the old man's long fingernails. They appeared exceptionally sharp and were a purple-black, occasionally shining with a faint black light. This person should be the Nine Nations Union's Grand Elder Wei Wuya.
When Wei Wuya sensed Han Li's gaze, he turned to look at him with a trace of surprise before smiling at him. Han Li awkwardly returned the smile, and he couldn't help but ponder whether or not he would still smile once he knew of what happened between him and Nangong Wan.
Just as he pondered this, Long Han had already finished looking through the jade slip and he passed it to Han Li with an unsightly expression. He grew quite curious having seen many people react the same way, and promptly delved his spiritual sense into the jade slip. A short moment later, Han Li withdrew his spiritual sense with a frown and silently handed it over to another cultivator.
Not long after, everyone in the room read through the jade slip, each of them wearing an unsightly expression. Some of them even followed with a cold snort once they were done reading.
The Great Truth Sect's Master Sunreach asked with a mysterious smile, "Having read through the war challenge, what does everyone think?"
A green-robed man wearing a sinister expression coldly said, "They are rather arrogant to have us give them half of the Heavenly South Continent. Do they believe victory is already certain?"
A plump old man wore a sly expression and said, "That's right. Who was it that said we could end hostilities by merely ceding a few lands? They clearly don't understand that Moulan are merely hungering vultures. Perhaps we do not need to fight a decisive battle. If we stall them, they may slowly submit to attrition."
A large tan man sitting at the plump old man's side angrily said, "Fellow Daoist Lu, what do you mean by that? Is it because your Thousand Illusions Sect is deep within the Heavenly south that you don't care whether the rest of our sects live? A war of attrition might mean little to your sect, but how about ours?"
Without any fear of the large tan man, the pump old man indifferently said, "I was considering others when I said it. Any fallen sects can re-establish themselves, but lives can't be easily replaced."
Anther person coldly said, "Humph! You speak of the matter quite simply. If our countries were abandoned, for what reason would we block the Moulan armies on behalf of your Devil Dao sects? We should simply move all of our sects into your State of Tianluo; that way, nobody will die."
"That's enough. We've already come to a conclusion of the matter of a war of attrition and we won't discuss it further. Now we must discuss how to deal with the armies of the Moulan spell warriors, not fight amongst each other." The black-robed cultivator grew sullen having heard this and rebuked them.
When the three heard Devil Concord, they all wanted object, but they obediently obeyed and kept silent. In the cultivation world, strength spoke the loudest.
Master Sunreach solemnly added, "In truth, it isn't necessary for you three to discuss the matter. We've already come to a decision. With the momentum of the Moulan armies and interference from outsiders, a war of attrition is impossible. If we do not gather together a majority of the Heavenly South's power, we will be incapable of defending against the Moulan's attack. If only a single country's forces were to meet them, it would result in immediate defeat. Then when they are finished, they will most likely move on to the next of us. As a result, we must scatter the ranks of the Moulan in battle. We cannot rely on chance."
A quick series of whispers interrupted the silence, only for it to quickly return.
Soon, the Controlling Spirit Sect's Dongmen Tu shifted his gaze and asked, "Why not have the Moulan to reveal whatever tricks are first up their sleeve? Why must we first risk having a wagered battle, and with such a heavy stake as well? There are materials that even we cannot put up on wager. Isn't there even more to be said about the destitute Moulan?"
Another cultivator then explained, "We know of this well. The Moulan Plains may be truly , impoverished, but what they lack in common resources such as spirit stone mines, they are compensated by the rare materials located there. There are even a few rare materials that they possess in greater quantities than we do."
Wearing a pensive expression, Dongmen Tu slowly said, "So it was like that. However, why is it that they are so confident of victory in this wagered battle. In addition to the late Nascent Soul cultivators, there are other cultivators that may join in this wagered as well. Up to ten wagered battles, all to the death. Could it be that they believe that we will simply abide by these terms?"
Given the cunning of the characters in the room, they all knew the Moulan put forward this risky battle with some scheme or trick in mind. They couldn't help but ponder with unease.
Han Li was also puzzled by this. The war challenge clearly stated that the proposed battle will have both sides send their own forces and make no use of any dirty handed methods. Instead, the cultivators that battle will be able to directly wager their rare materials in battle, and the winner could directly seize the loser's storage pouch.
What was particularly suspicious was that the war challenge also stated that these ten wagered matches must be held simultaneously, and any cultivators that are defeated will be incapable of running; they will die on stage. For this reason, the wagered battles will be held in a sealed spatial barrier. This barrier will be guarded by people on both sides, preventing either side from tampering with the battle.
"However, regardless of any tricks the Moulan may hold, this will prove to be a great opportunity for us. If we are able to kill a few high grade spell warriors before our armies fight, it will be of great benefit to us."
"Humph. I fear the Moulan holds the same intentions as you do." The hesitantly spoken statement was immediately rebuked.
Old Man Kuang of the Sailing Boundaries Study disdainfully said, "What is there to think about. If the Moulan wishes to hold a wagered battle, we don't need to accept. In seven days, we will lay out our own arrangements. As a result, their plans will result in nothing."
Master Sunreach sighed and helplessly said, "Unfortunately, while Brother Kuang's words are reasonable, we are required to participate in this wagered battle, and we must win."
Old Man Kuang frowned and discontentedly said, "What? What does Master Sunreach mean? We cannot allow ourselves to be led by the nose by the Moulan!"
Many of the other eccentrics in the room nodded in agreement.
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