1448 Return To First City
On the same day that everyone in the Abyss Brink returned to their respective organizations, news that the war had been won quickly spread throughout the cultivation world.
There were a handful of Virtual Gods who uploaded videos to the Heart Network that they had secretly recorded. Although the videos were deleted by the Emperor's Heart within seconds, some cultivators still managed to view them. A few people quickly took screenshots and shared them continuously on different social media platforms. By the time the Emperor's Heart had managed to eliminate all the screenshots from all these social media platforms, almost half of the cultivators who were following this incident had seen at least some of the screenshots.
In less than half a day, hundreds of versions of various stories were fabricated based on these screenshots. However, the main focus in almost every version was Dynasty's Emperor, who had returned six months ago.
This was because most of the videos that were posted on the Heart Network were of Lin Huang and a few of the True God battlefields.
That was also why many of the screenshots posted had Lin Huang in them.
One of the clearest screenshots taken showed the scene where Lin Huang had just cut off Teng Ran's snakehead, holding it up in front of him to read his memory.
This scene was interpreted in several versions of the story as Lin Huang's act of declaring his victory after he had slaughtered his opponent.
Fortunately, there were multiple versions of the story and most of the details would not stand up to scrutiny, but in general, they were not far from the actual facts themselves—under the Emperor of Dynasty's leadership, the people in the gravel world had defeated the invaders and resolved the crisis.
Many people who did not like Dynasty and Lin Huang immediately criticized these stories for being untrue. They intimated that these stories were compiled by the people of Dynasty, or by fans of Dynasty, to promote Dynasty and Lin Huang. Some people even deliberately made accusations, trying to provoke conflict between Dynasty and the Union Government and stir everyone up to attack Dynasty and Lin Huang.
Fans of Dynasty retaliated furiously online, flaming those who spread such rumors.
In no time at all, an online war of words was raging. In the space of less than a day, it engulfed almost all the social media platforms commonly used by cultivators.
Even the Union Government and the internal forums of the Hunter Association were spammed by flame wars from both sides.
However, even though the online war went on for one full day, except for the Emperor's Heart continuously deleting posts, none of the participating organizations' official accounts put forward their opinions.
The Union Government did not make an appearance to clarify the situation for the entire day, which caused everyone to vaguely speculate about whether or not the rumors were true.
So the dominant force in the battle was not the Union Government or the Hunter Association, but Dynasty?!
Just as a big storm was being stirred up on the Internet, Lin Huang quietly brought along a few members of Dynasty's upper-tier personnel and arrived at the No. 1A1 foothold in No. 1 Zone—First City.
This was where the Union Government's headquarters was located.
In the conference room, Lin Huang, Mr. Fu, Lin Xuan, Huang Tianfu, and Huang Tufu were all present. Two Sword Servants were sitting as observers by the wall behind Lin Huang's chair; they were Sword101 and Sword 102. Their actual combat strength had been re-sealed; what was displayed in public was their previous combat strength of Virtual God rank-9.
No one in the entire room one dared to look down on them.
On the Union Government's side, the Union Government Chief Jiang Shan, vice chief Dongfang Bai, the head of the agency for Agency EA Guan Zhong, the Union Government committee chairman Zhao Lingming, committee vice-chairman Ran Ning, and Qiu Xu, press representative Han Yao, and almost all upper-tier personnel were present.
In addition to the Union Government and Dynasty, the Hunter Association—led by vice president Wu Xing—had also brought three elders along.
Lin Huang was not surprised by the appearance of the Hunter Association.
The group of people exchanged brief greetings before Jiang Shan went straight to the point.
"Emperor Lin, everyone is here now, so let's start first with what you're able to share."
Lin Huang nodded. "Let me think about where I should start..."
After a while, he spoke again.
"The Thousand Snake Sect is a grade-4 organization in the God Territory of the great world. As for what's considered a grade-4 organization, it's one that is protected by top True Gods. Not only that, the number of True Gods will be no less than one hundred, and the number of Virtual Gods in the organization will be over ten thousand. The Thousand Snake Sect is considered relatively powerful among grade-4 organizations.
"Here in the gravel world, if you exclude me as an anomaly, the highest level an organization can reach is only grade-2. The Thousand Snake Sect can easily slaughter thousands of grade-2 organizations under normal circumstances.
"However, behind this mighty Thousand Snake Sect is another extremely powerful backstage player. This backstage player is Myriad Tribe Palace, which is one of the top grade-6 organizations in the God Territory."
Upon hearing this, the expressions of almost everyone present changed drastically. They were not even very clear what a grade-6 organization was, but they had already realized that it was a behemoth that would have no rival in any gravel world.
"Emperor Lin, with your current ability, what sort of a chance do you stand against Myriad Tribe Palace?" Dongfang Bai could not help asking.
Lin Huang glanced at Dongfang Bai, shook his head, and smiled bitterly. "Let's not talk about what I am currently; even if you give me a year, I have no chance of winning if it comes to a head-on clash.
"The grade-5 organizations above the grade-4 organizations are always protected by Heavenly Gods. As for the grade-6 organizations above the grade-5 organizations, they are all protected by top-tier Heavenly Gods, and the guardians are practically all powerhouses at ninth-rank heavenly god-level. Not only that, the number of Heavenly Gods exceeds one hundred.
"As a top grade-6 organization in the God Territory, Myriad Tribe Palace's overall ability is second only to the five major grade-7 organizations protected by Lords. There are rumors in the God Territory that their palace masters and deputy palace masters are half-step Lord peak powerhouses. There are thousands of Heavenly Gods under their command, and there is a multitude of True Gods..."
When they heard that, the expressions of Jiang Shan and the others present—including Mr. Fu and Lin Xuan—became increasingly despondent. They finally understood why Lin Huang had said that even after a year, his ability would not be sufficient to go up against Myriad Tribe Palace.
Having heard Lin Huang's description of Myriad Tribe Palace's might, Jiang Shan could not help speaking up again.
"Would a lofty organization giant like Myriad Tribe Palace interfere in this conflict between ourselves and the Thousand Snake Sect?"
Lin Huang's expression revealed a degree of helplessness as he continued, "This is what I want to talk about next.
"The reason why the Thousand Snake Sect attacked our gravel world was because they were following Myriad Tribe Palace's orders!"
As soon as the words were out of Lin Huang's mouth, the atmosphere in the entire meeting room dropped to freezing point.
"Why? We're just a gravel world with incomplete rules. Why are we being targeted by one of the top grade-6 organization in the God Territory?" It was Mr. Fu who posed the question this time.
"I don't know the specific reason. There's nothing specific about it in Teng Ran's memories either." Lin Huang shook his head. "However, from Teng Ran's memories, I know that every time the gravel world's cultivation epochs have been destroyed, it was directed by Myriad Tribe Palace with the Thousand Snake Sect as the instrument.
"In other words, from the very beginning, the conflict between ourselves and the Thousand Snake Sect has essentially been a conflict between us and Myriad Tribe Palace!"
In the conference room, everyone's hearts gradually sank completely.
"Since the Thousand Snake Sect's invasion has failed now, that means Myriad Tribe Palace will send someone here in person?" Lin Xuan asked, turning his head toward Lin Huang.
"Yes." Lin Huang nodded helplessly. "Every time the Thousand Snake Sect eliminates a subordinate mini world, it takes about a year at most—no more than one year and three months. It's been two months now since Teng Ran and the others set off. That is to say, in a year and a month at the very latest, Myriad Tribe Palace will receive news that Teng Ran's invasion has failed."
At Lin Huang's words, almost everyone present fell into despair.
This was completely different from the previous invasion of the Thousand Snake Sect. If Myriad Tribe Palace really showed up, even Lin Huang would not be able to turn the tide. The fate of the gravel world could only be imagined then.
"Lin Huang, is there really nothing that can be done?" Mr. Fu even forgot the nickname that he used to call Lin Huang when he was being a "good apprentice" and used his name instead.
"The only thing I can think of is to destroy the thirty-three space tunnels in the Abyss Brink. I'm not talking about sealing them, but completely annihilating them to the point where nothing is left! Although this is not a solution to the fundamental problem, at least it can buy us some time.
"However, there is a caveat to this delay—which is, if Myriad Tribe Palace does not have the specific dimensional coordinates of our gravel world. This way, it will be extremely difficult for them to re-establish the space tunnels.
"If they do have our dimensional coordinates though, it doesn't make much sense to destroy the space tunnels. At a rough estimate, it can delay them for a few months at most, and they will soon be able to rebuild the space tunnels."
"Let's set aside the question of whether or not they have our dimensional coordinates first. The internal Space Rules for these space tunnels have long since stabilized since they've existed for several eras. If they could be destroyed, our predecessors would have destroyed them long ago." Jiang Shan exhaled in a long sigh.
"Can you do it?" Mr. Fu asked Lin Huang with a glimmer of hope.
"I've tried, but it doesn't work." Lin Huang shook his head, "If I could do it, I would have destroyed all these tunnels long ago and directly cut off the path for the Thousand Snake Sect's invasion.
"I've asked you to this meeting to discuss whether there might be a way to solve this problem of Myriad Tribe Palace. It doesn't matter if it's destroying the space tunnels or some other way. Everyone brainstorm and share what you think—even if there's only a hint of possibility, share it!"
In the conference room, everyone fell silent, as if they were thinking about whether or not there might be a possible solution.
Suddenly, Jiang Shan's Emperor's Heart Ring began vibrating.
He looked down in surprise. He clearly remembered turning off his communication signal before the meeting started.
However, when he saw the number that popped up on the communication page, his expression suddenly changed.
"My apologies; I have something that I need to deal with."
As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Jiang Shan got up and left the conference room.
He closed the door to the conference room and surrounded himself with a barrier screen. Then, he clicked on the message that had just been sent through to the communication page.
After he read it, his expression became even more puzzled.
Jiang Shan turned off the communication page and stood still, considering things for a while. Only then did he turned around and open the door of the conference room again.
His gaze traveled through the assembled individuals and settled directly on Lin Huang.
"Emperor Lin, there's a matter on my side that requires you to come with me."
When he saw that two Sword Servants were preparing to stand up, Jiang Shan immediately added, "The rest of you can wait in here in the conference room; we should be back soon."
Lin Huang nodded at the Sword Servants, signaling for them to sit down and be at ease. He then nodded at Mr. Fu, who looked at him, then stood up and walked toward Jiang Shan alone.