Chapter 581: Making Through The Competition
The few of them even set up several platforms on purposes so that they would be able to display their products to the long line of potential buyers. Lonemoon and the others sat behind while all of this was happening. They relaxed and ate. The time that Chef took to go out and look for ingredients was forcefully increased by Father Niu, from an hour to two hours.
At the start, Yi Qing was unwilling. Although he was used to going out to look for ingredients, he was only used to doing this for Master. On what basis should he be made to sell them? They might be a chef and a foodie, but they had their own pride as well.
"Take it as your salary - I will increase your allowance by three times!" Lonemoon held up three fingers.
"Alright!" The two of them exclaimed in unison.
A certain master and disciple thought, mm, our prides just aren't as important as food. Thus, the beasts that covered the mystic realm disappeared at a rapid pace. Everyone who entered the mystic realm went away with at least one beast, half a beast, either by using currencies or by investing in the business.
This bustling scene carried on all the way until the eighth day. There were less than half of the people left in the mystic realm by now - of course, less than half of the beasts remaining as well! Now, everybody was getting news of the huge sale through their tokens.
[Attention, attention! We're selling array flags as well! Do you want to make it to the next round? We're selling qualifying array flags for just 1,000,000 void currencies each! We have 30 flags on sale! We'll sell them on a first-come-first-served basis!]
Everybody who heard the message paused for awhile before they realized what was happening.
Holy shit! They were competing! They had completely forgotten that they were competing! All they had been concerned with for the past few days was queueing up. Some even queued up overnight. They had forgotten all about collecting array flags!
The crowd was quite open-minded, however. Now that they had the rare beasts in their hands, they were not too worried about collecting the array flags. After all, not everybody could make it to become first. They had already made a windfall out of the competition! In fact, a significant number of people were so worried that others would still the beasts that they bought, that they went out of the mystic realm of their own accord. Of course, the disciples from the huge academies remained behind. They did have to protect the reputation of the elite academies. There were also other responsible disciples who remained behind. These people stepped forward to purchase more array flags.
Although the array flag business was not as profitable as the beast business, they still managed to sell about 60 array flags.
People outside the mystic realm watched as Immortal Academy Group Three 23 dropped from the top, down to the middle of the board. From 68 flags, they dropped right down to 4. All the teachers who were crowding around were absolutely confused by now. No matter how hard they tried, they could not figure out why this was happening. The people who had exited the competition early did not spill the beans about what took place inside the mystic realm, for fear that they would have to hand over the rare beasts they bought. They did represent their respective academies after all. As for the people who remained inside until the very end, there was no need to spell it out. Rubbish! All their array flags were bought over. Could they really go out and tell others that this was how they won the competition?
Even Ling Hong and the three others sealed their lips shut when they were questioned outside. All they told others was that they were lucky to have found the array flags at the last minute. At the end of it all, the immortal Academy had no choice but to say that the stone board was faulty, and the numbers displayed on it throughout the competition were misleading. That settled things once and for all.
The first round of the competition came to an end just like that. It went differently from how everyone expected. Only 75 people made it to the second round. That's right! There were over a thousand disciples who entered the competition, but over 20 array flags had not been found. Shen Ying, who had remained at the side of the river for ten days straight, advanced to the next round. Needless to say, Ling Hong and his three companions, and even Buggy - who did not get a single bite of food - advanced as well.
They all thought it ridiculous that they had advanced to the next round. The ten days passed like a dream. By the time they regained consciousness, they found that they were already in the second round of the competition. In their hands, they were holding bags which contained a frightening amount of void currencies. That was the bonus that Lonemoon had distributed to them earlier.
Lonemoon was probably the biggest winner of the entire competition. In his hands, he was holding void currencies that would be sufficient to feed several people for a long, long time. That was not even including the 60 over I.O.U.s that he had! Overjoyed, he distributed more allowance to Shen Ying and Yi Qing.
He read the I.O.U.s in his hand and thought about the second round of competitions that was coming up in just a few days. Suddenly, he felt 90% confident that they would emerge victorious once again. ————
The second round of competitions was scheduled to take place three days later.
There was nothing else Lonemoon could do to prepare for it. He was planning on bringing Shen Ying, Yi Qing and Buggy somewhere nice to have a good meal. He had not expected to bump into the first person they met in the void - a familiar face.
"It's been a long time, Fellow Daoists!" The man walked over briskly toward them. "Do the three of you still want to go out?"
"Ling Hong, what are you doing here?" Lonemoon scanned the person in front of him from head to toe. In those ten days, Ling Hong was the best salesman among his peers. "What's the matter?"
"I came especially to thank you." Once he finished speaking, he bowed respectfully toward the group of them. When he stood back upright, he said in a low voice, "I have to thank you for dealing with that problem involving the Red Scented Fish Monster earlier."
"Don't stand on ceremony!" Lonemoon smiled. "I said before, you spent good money to buy that before. It has nothing to do with us."
"That might be the case, but if not for your good heart, we would not have been able to buy that." Ling Hong still looked at them gratefully. After pondering for a moment, he said, "Oh right, I came this time to give you news about the next round."
"Oh? Are the instructions out already?" Lonemoon paused. He stepped aside. "Come in and we'll talk!"
He started to lead Ling Hong into the house, but Chef and Shen Ying remained at the doorstep. They both turned to Father Niu with grievance in their eyes.
Shen Ying: Didn't we say we're going to eat?
Yi QIng: Didn't we say we're going for a huge meal? Lonemoon: "…" Don't forget what we're here for!
Only Buggy looked confused at the way the three of them were behaving. What was going on? Why was nobody moving? He was hungry! He had only eaten white rice for ten whole days.
"Alright!" Lonemoon glared at the two wastrels. "You can go out and eat. Come back and report the amount you spent, alright?"
"Yes, Father Niu! No problem, Father Niu!" The two of them replied obediently.
They cheered and walked out of the room joyfully, pulling Buggy along with them.
Ling Hong: "…" Why did he feel like Lonemoon was the parent in a family?
"Fellow Daoist Ling, please come in!" Lonemoon led Ling Hong into the house. "Thank you for making the trip down here."
"Fellow Daoist Lonemoon, don't stand on ceremony. They're going to announce this tomorrow. I'm just giving the news to you several hours earlier," Ling Hong said.
"May I know how we're going to be competing in the next round then?"
Ling Hong frowned and said in a low voice, "This round is going to be much tougher than the previous mystic realm. We have to break through the academy's Thousand-Image Array."
"Thousand-Image Array?" Lonemoon paused. "Is that an array?"
"Fellow Daoist, you do know your stuff. The Thousand-Image Array is an array set up by an exalted immortal from the Immortal Academy many years ago." Ling Hong frowned. "Over tens of thousands of years, the array has gone through many changes. It is said that there are over ten thousand more arrays inside that one array. It won't be easy to escape it." "Oh." If it really was an array, things would be much simpler.
Both Lonemoon and Yi Qing were experts at arrays.
Chapter 582: Fish Bones Are Difficult to Digest
"Fellow Daoist, please be careful. Not only contestants are going to be in the array this time." Ling Hong's expression changed as he looked up at Lonemoon in a guilty manner. "I don't know if it's because of what happened in the mystic realm either. The academies' teachers are beginning to get suspicious. That's why the Thousand-Image Array will contain not just contestants but also the teachers. Given the teachers' powers, whoever meets with them in the Thousand-Image Array will definitely be eliminated immediately."
"You mean your own teachers will enter the array and take part in the battle?" Lonemoon exclaimed. This was good news. For all they knew, they would have the opportunity to find out where the spirit seed was.
"That's right!" Ling Hong answered. Thinking that Lonemoon was worried, he explained, "The teachers who will be entering the array are teachers who are extremely proficient. I've heard that even Teacher Yan will enter the array. He's the teacher with the highest cultivation in all the academies I don't think it'll be easy to pass this round of the competition." Lonemoon nodded. He already knew what to do. "Alright, thank you for telling me all of this."
"No problem!" Ling Hong shook his head and answered. "Fellow Daoist, you have helped me so much. I don't know much else - all I can do is help you in these little ways."
Lonemoon smiled. He was going to answer something courteous, but suddenly recalled another matter. "Oh, that's right. You said the last time that you wanted to rescue a friend. How's that now? Has it been settled?"
Ling Hong's face drained of color and he frowned. "Not… yet!"
"Why not?" Lonemoon stared blankly at him. "Are there not enough fish bones? Chef has more. Why not-"
"No! That's not it." Ling Hong shook his head and said awkwardly, "It's not a problem with the fish bones. The Fish King has enough fish already. What's more, they're the most effective fish bones. It's just that… the Red Scented Fish Monster's bones are extremely hard. We can't find something that can refine it just yet So… There's no way we can turn it into medicine to help my friend."
Medicine? Was it not supposed to be refined into a pill?
"But it doesn't matter. I've already told asked our Academy if I can use their Earth Core Fire. If we're fortunate, we should be able to get everything done in half a month." Ling Hong's smile widened. "With the Earth Core Fire, we will be able to refine the fish bone! My friend will finally recover then." Ling Hong was smiling, but it was obvious that he was still worried. He did not look like he believe everything would go that smoothly.
"All you need to do is to refine the fish bones?"
"That's right!" Ling Hong nodded. "The Red Scented Fish Monster's bones has toxins in it. That's why we need a deviant fire to destroy the toxins before they can be turned into medicine."
"If that's the case…" Lonemoon sighed. On account of the fact that Ling Hong had been of much help over the past few days, he decided to lend a hand. "Perhaps Chef can help with that. I think he'll be able to refine those fish bones for you." What deviant fire could beat the True Phoenix Fire? He was sure that Chef would be able to burn the toxins in those bones thoroughly.
"Are you for real!" Ling Hong's face brightened up as he jumped to his feet.
"Well… Well, how about we go and look for Fellow Daoist Yi now then?" After thinking for awhile, Ling Hong added, "I don't know what he likes. Should I… Should I prepare something for him?"
"Er…" Lonemoon pondered for a moment and said, "You should prepare some top-grade… oil, salt, soy sauce and vinegar!"
Ling Hong: "…" What the hell?
Ling Hong had always thought that Fellow Daoist Yi was not easy to talk to. In the ten days since they arrived at the mystic realm, he had not spoken a single word to the four of them. Even to Buggy, who was in the same group as them, Yi Qing was cold. He spoke very little and maintained an unapproachable demeanor.
That was why when Lonemoon said to bring oil, salt, soy sauce and vinegar, Ling Hong wondered if those things were sufficient to break the ice. Ling Hong was so worried that he bought more delicacies. With the entire carton, he approached Yi Qing.
The amazing thing was the moment Ling Hong explained the reason for his visit, Yi Qing accepted the carton. He turned around and stuffed the delicacies in Lady Shen Ying's bag. Then, he turned around and said in a serious tone, "Alright." Ling Hong was a little shocked that he agreed so quickly. By the time it sank in, they were already at Ling Hong's house.
Inside the house, a warm male voice sounded. "Ling Hong, you're here so quickly. Are you sure you thanked them properly…" He stopped mid-sentence when he looked up and saw the group at the door. "You are…?"
It was then that Lonemoon saw the teenager seated on the chair inside the house. He looked about 20 years old, and he was quite pale. Yet, his features were soft. There was a blanket laid out above his foot. It looked like movement was inconvenient for this young man. Very quickly, Lonemoon realized that the nerves in his leg were broken. There were traces of demonic Qi in his dantian.
"Older Brother!" Ling Hong stepped forward and joyfully introduced, "These friends are the fellow Daoists who sold us that Red Scented Fish Monster back in the mystic realm."
Ling Wen Xuan's eyes brightened. He quickly cupped his fists toward Lonemoon and the others. "So you are the fellow Daoists who took care of my brother in the mystic realm. I am very grateful." "Fellow Daoist, you are too courteous. He has helped us a lot as well. We're just returning the favor." Lonemoon smiled warmly.
"Older Brother, this Fellow Daoist Yi Qing can help us to refine the fish bones," Ling Hong said excitedly. "That's why I brought them home with me."
"Really!" Ling Wen Xuan's eyes widened. A moment later, they dimmed down considerably out of guilt. "Brother Hong, they were already so kind as to sell you the fish. Why are you still bothering them? And with such a simple thing like refining the fish bones, at that!"
"It's no trouble at all," Lonemoon responded. "We're fated to meet and become friends. Things like refining fish bones don't cost us much as well.
Ling Wen Xuan looked up at them. Seeing that they were genuinely willing to help them, he said, "Well, in that case… thank you, Fellow Daoists. Once I recover, if I am of any use to you, I will repay you!" Lonemoon smiled politely, then turned back to Ling Hong. "Where are the fish bones? Bring us there!"
"Now? Alright, alright…" Ling Hong had not thought that they would want to get started immediately. He quickly said to his brother, "Well, Older Brother, I'm going to bring them to the medicinal room now." He turned around and led the group to the room.
Once the few of them entered the room, they found that there were all sorts of medicines lined up around it. The room also smelled strongly of medicine. In the middle of the room was a long table, on which several plates and bottles stood. Lonemoon scanned the entire room. The strange thing was, although there were many different medicines, there was not a single spirit herb. All of them were ordinary plants.
Ling Hong headed for the cabinet right inside and undid several arrays and talismans. He opened a chest gingerly. Inside was the remaining fish bones from their meal the other day.
"The fish bones are here." Ling Hong picked up the bones and handed it over very carefully. He said to Yi Qing, "These bones are hard to refine. I've already done my calculations. Even with deviant fire, the least time it would take is seven days and seven nights. That's why I'm grateful for… Eh? Eh!"
Chapter 583: Summoned by a Teacher
Before Ling Hong could finish speaking, he watched Yi Qing summon flames in his hands The fish bones turned into a transparent liquid before his eyes, which floating within the fire.
He wasn't dreaming, was he? This was… too quick, right?
"A container!" Yi Qing reminded Ling Hong.
Ling Hong hesitated for a moment before he finally responded. "Oh? Oh!" He hurriedly searched for something that could store the liquid. After a few seconds, he picked up an empty bottle from the table and handed it over.
Yi Qing took the empty bottle and poured the translucent liquid into it before immediately handing it back to Ling Hong. Then, he turned to study the other fish bones. In a low voice, he asked, "Do you need all of these refined?" He would do it on account of the container of ingredients that Ling Hong had brought him. "Huh?" Ling Hong stared blankly at Yi QIng. He nodded instinctively, "I do."
"Mm," Yi Qing responded. Then, the deviant flames appeared in his hands again. He threw the fireball toward the container. Immediately, the container caught fire. The fish bones inside it became refined within three seconds. A translucent ball of liquid floated up out of the container. The container below, however, remained completely intact.
Yi Qing did not bother to ask this time. He raised his hand and caused the ball of liquid to split into 10 different streams, which each ended in a different empty table on the bottle.
"Thank… Thank you!" Ling Hong stuttered his thanks. The thought of helping his brother fully recover filled his mind so that he did not even bother to ask what kind of deviant fire Yi Qing was using. He picked up the essence of fish bones from the table and said excitedly, "My older brother has a cure now! I'm going to brew the medicine immediately!"
Once he finished speaking, he turned and picked out herbs from all around the room. Lonemoon watched and realized that all the herbs Ling Hong was picking were slow-working medicines that could help one to replenish Qi and nurture their cores. Perhaps he had been well prepared for this very moment. After gathering the herbs he needed, he quickly smashed them into powders and juices before mixing them together. He added the essence of fish bones last.
Lonemoon frowned as he watched from the sidelines. He could not help but ask, "Fellow Daoist Ling, why aren't you refining pills directly?" Although he was using ordinary plants, Ling Hong would still be able to refine pills that would be more effective than this joke of a medicine.
Ling Hong stared blankly back at him and asked in a confused manner, "What do you mean… refine pills?"
"…" Lonemoon could not believe his ears. Ling Hong had not even heard of refining pills. Was he really a cultivator? Suddenly, Lonemoon understood something. Could it be that there were no pill cultivators here? "Do you all use this method to produce medicine over here?"
"That's right!" Ling Hong nodded. Seeing that Lonemoon was at a loss for words, he said apologetically, "Fellow Daoist Lonemoon, are you a teacher of medicine? Could there be… something wrong with the method I used to produce the medicine?" He began to panic.
"That's not it." Lonemoon shook his head. "I'm just quite curious. Can I study medicine a bit more closely?"
"Of course you can!" He handed the bottle of medicine to Lonemoon without hesitation. "My brother will have to consume three bottles of this medicine each time for it to be effective. I have to produce two more bottles." He turned around and gathered more herbs.
Lonemoon studied the bottle and saw that the fish bone essence had become green, and it carried with it the fragrance of herbs. After studying the medicine with his divine perception, Lonemoon frowned. He turned to Yi Qing and asked, "Chef, do you think this medicine is going to be effective?"
"No!" Chef answered immediately. "The fish bone essence can fix his meridians, but there will still be demonic Qi in his dantian." Lonemoon had the same thoughts. Drinking this medicine will allow Ling Wen Xuan to stand up again, but he would still be unable to cultivate. What's more his own cultivation may be weakened by the demonic Qi in his dantian. It looked like the standard of medicine in the Void Land was unsatisfactory.
Once again, he scanned the herbs all around the room. After pondering for several minutes, he finally understood why there were no pill cultivators here. There were no spirit herbs at all! Pill cultivators used spirit herbs and immortal herbs to refine pills, but there was too much chaos in the Void Land that resulting in no spirit Qi at all in the plane. Instead, there was a clutter of waste all around the plane. That was why spirit herbs could not be grown in a place like that. Naturally, there were no pill cultivators in the plane.
Lonemoon turned to look at Ling Hong, who was still excitedly producing the medicines in the hope that his brother would recover fully. He pondered for a moment, then retrieved a pill that could remove demonic Qi from one's body. Lonemoon slipped the pill into the bottle, then used his immortal energy to mix the pill into the liquid. He took it as Ling Hong's reward for working for them earlier.
Ling Hong finished producing the medicine very quickly. The remaining two bottles of medicine were done in no time. He greeted the three of them, took one bottle of medicine and walked out.
"Older Brother, the medicine is done!"
"So quickly?" Ling Wen Xuan, who had been reading, stared up at his brother in disbelief. The few of them had only gone up for several minutes. "Didn't you say that the bones would take-"
"Fellow Daoist Yi Qing had a special method of refining the fish bones speedily. That was how I managed to produce the medicine so quickly!" Ling Hong explained. He quickly handed the bottle of medicine over. "Older Brother, please have it!"
Ling Wen Xuan nodded. Just as he was about to open the bottle, Lonemoon handed the bottle in his hands to Ling Wen Xuan instead. "Have this bottle first, so that I don't have to keep holding onto it."
The two brothers paused. An apologetic look flashed across Ling Hong's face as Ling Wen Xuan quickly reached out for the bottle, opened it, and drank the medicine. it was not a big bottle
- Ling Wen Xuan finished it in a couple of gulps. A few moments later, he felt a warmth rise up, from his dantian. It was almost as if the icy aura that had remained there for a long time had dissipated.
He became overcome with excitement as he took the next bottle and gulped it down. He looked up and stared at Lonemoon in confusion. Then, he continued drinking the medicine until he finished the third bottle.
"Older Brother, the medicine will take about three days to fully kick in," Ling Hong said excitedly. "You will be better in just a few days."
"Mm," Ling Wen Xuan responded. He turned to look at Lonemoon, cupped his fists and said sincerely, "Thank you so much for all of your help this time. I, Ling Wen Xuan, will keep this in my heart forever."
"Don't stand on ceremony," Lonemoon replied. He lowered his gaze and an odd look flashed across his eyes.
He hesitated and said, "Can I ask, earlier-"
Before he could finish speaking, the sound of a bell ringing came from outside. Suddenly, something red and white burst into the room and charged straight at Lonemoon. It took with it a faint but sharp sword Qi.
"Be careful!" Ling Hong shouted.
Lonemoon raised his fan to fend it off and the light immediately fell to the ground with a ring. They all looked down and saw a golden little dagger on the floor, broken in two.
"This is…" Ling Hong's eyes widened in shock. "Teacher Yan's golden dagger! Why is it here? Could it be…"
His expression darkened as he turned to face Ling Wen Xuan, whose face reflected his own.
Chapter 584: Mouth Shut Till Death
"The two of you recognize this object?" Lonemoon asked.
"Of course we do," Ling Wen Xuan answered. He looked up at the group, overwhelmed with guilt. "This is the golden dagger of the academy's law enforcement teacher. He uses it to summon people who have broken the law for a hearing."
The moment he finished speaking, a similar looking white light shot into the room. This time, it stopped right in front of Ling Hong. It did not make any move to attack him, like the previous one did to Lonemoon. The previous one probably tried to attack Lonemoon because of the sword Qi surrounding his body.
"You mean to say that the Immortal Academy is sending for me?" He stared blankly at them. He wasn't even a disciple of the Immortal Academy. What was he sending him for?
"It looks like we've gotten our fellow Daoist in trouble," Ling Wen Xuan said in a guilty manner. "If I'm not wrong, the academy is now sending for you and Ling Hong because of what happened in the first round of the competition." "The first round?" Lonemoon hesitated.
Ling Hong also reacted immediately, "Isn't the first round already over?"
"But what you did in that mystic realm…" He looked over at Lonemoon and the others and said gingerly, "The competition was too… surprising. It caused the academics to suspect something was amiss, especially because you and Ling Fei were in the third group, yet you managed to obtain over 60 array flags. Of course the academy would look into it."
"Didn't we come to a conclusion on that already?" Nobody in the mystic realm on that day would have told the truth behind what happened, right?
"Most of the disciples who were in the mystic realm that day obviously didn't tell the academy," Ling Wen Xuan said as he frowned. "But someone definitely would!"
Ling Hong started, as if suddenly realising something. His eyes widened. "Ren Qing!" His expression darkened as he cursed under his breath, "This bastard again!"
"Fellow Daoist Lonemoon…" He turned to Lonemoon, wrecked with worry. "The few of you got into trouble this time because you came to help my brother. That Ren Qing and I have an ongoing feud. That's why he told on you on purpose. If the academy decides to pursue this matter… Please just tell them that we are the masterminds behind this entire thing."
"That's right," Ling Wen Xuan added. "It's us Ren Qing wants to go up against. This has nothing to do with you all."
"You're taking this too seriously!" Lonemoon smiled. There was not even a hint of worry on his face. "We conducted the sale in the mystic realm with our own interests at heart. How can we say it had nothing to do with us? What's more… Is there a rule that states we are not allowed to conduct sales during the competition?"
"…" The two brothers stared blankly back at him. Indeed, there was not. "So don't worry," Lonemoon said. "The teacher of your academy wants to see me, so I'll go and see him."
"But…" Ling Hong hesitated to say something else.
However, Lonemoon had already turned around to address his two other companions. "Chef, bring Shen Ying back to the inn. Make sure she doesn't get lost! Also… No wandering outside!" With that, he turned back to Ling Hong and Ling Wen Xuan. "We've bothered you today. We'll take our leave now! Fellow Daoist Ling Hong, let's go." They had had no opportunities to investigate the matter regarding the spirit seed thus far. Now that the opportunity had arisen, of course Lonemoon could not let it go to waste.
Thus, the group of them walked up and left Ling Wen Xuan behind, still wrecked with worry.
On the way back to the academy, Lonemoon clarified what happened between this Ren Qing and the siblings from the Ling family. It was all born from jealousy and striking a man when he was down. It was much like how the disciples from the sects back home were always split between those from the inner yard and those from the outer yard. Since the Immortal Academy was so huge, it was only natural that they would be split into different cliques. Those of better quality were in the Heaven group - that was Ren Qing. The Ling siblings' bodies were not of such good quality. Even Ling Wen Xuan's body was considered just average. That was why they were all put into the third group in the beginning. But Ren Qing could not stop the siblings from working hard anyway.
Ling Wen Xuan was a prime example of how hard work pays off. He studied all the different cultivations very closely. Since he was also naturally intelligent, after he entered the Immortal Academy, he grew rapidly. He even surpassed people from the Heaven group. The first one to be displaced by Ling Wen Xuan was Ren Qing.
Of course, he was indignant. But in all of the rounds where they competed, he could not defeat Ling Wen Xuan. Instead, he was always defeated terribly. Later, Ling Wen Xuan even made it into the Heaven group. In the Immortal Academy, the groups all had fixed numbers. This was to facilitate logistical and administrative tasks. Adding Ling Wen Xuan into the Heaven group naturally meant that someone had to be pushed down. And unfortunately, that one person was Ren Qing.
This was why Ren Qing hated the Ling siblings. The two of them had not gotten along since then.
A month ago, when the Immortal Academy went out on a mission and met with a deviant beast, Ling Wen Xuan broke all the meridians in his two legs so that he could not walk ever again. Since there was no hope for a cure, the academy had no choice but to transfer him back down to the third group. Ren Qing naturally was promoted to the Heaven group once again. Since then, Ren Qing had become even meaner toward the Ling siblings. He consistently tried to get in their way of finding a cure for Ling Wen Xuan. This caused conflicts between the two of them to escalate.
After Lonemoon heard all of this, he pursed his lips. He began to imagine the classic scenario of the main lead, the underdog, defeating his bully in the end. He just could not figure out what Ren Qing's motive was. Why did he refuse to let the Ling family off?
Both Ling Hong and Lonemoon chatted all the way back as Ling Hong led Lonemoon to a building. Inside sat a middle-aged man dressed in blue robes. He stared at the two incoming people with a somber expression on his face. Indeed, next to him sat Ren Qing, looking especially pleased with himself.
"Your disciple greets Teacher Yan." Ling Hong bowed respectfully, but Lonemoon remained standing upright. Lonemoon cupped his fists to greet the teacher. He was not a disciple of the Immortal Academy. Of course there was no need for him to bow.
Yan Luo, seeing that Lonemoon had come alone without a teacher, frowned. He recalled what Ren Qing had told him earlier and heaved a sigh before saying in a low voice, "Do the two of you know your mistake?"
Ling Hong's expression changed. He was just about to speak up, but Lonemoon beat him to it. "Teacher, may I ask what exactly our mistake was?"
"You still want to talk your wait out of it!" Yan Luo's expression darkened. He pointed to the man next to him and said, "Ren Qing has already told me all that happened during the first round of the competition. The two of you worked together to disrupt the competition. You even held a sale for the array flags within the mystic realm. You've severely undermined the fairness of this competition."
"Teacher Yan, we don't understand this." Lonemoon smiled even wider. "Since when did we do something like this? How come I don't even know about it?"
"You're not admitting it now?" Ren Qing interrupted. "I saw it all. You sold each array flag for 1,000,000 void currencies to all of the teams."
"Hey, so it's you!" Lonemoon finally turned to Ren Qing and seemed to recognize him for the first time. Grinning, he said, "That's right. I forgot to ask - you didn't manage to steal Ling Hong's flags in the mystic realm. Did you manage to snatch anyone else's?"
"Since when did I snatch his flags?" Ren Qing stared blankly at Lonemoon.
"Did you not do that right at the beginning?" Lonemoon continued. "Didn't you chase Ling Hong and the others right from the beginning, I thought fighting within the sect was characteristic of the Immortal Academy? Otherwise, Ling Hong would not have joined forces with me either."
Chapter 585: Tit for Tat
"You…" Ren Qing was enraged, even Yan Luo's expression had changed as he turned and gave Ren Qing a glare. Though there were many people from their academy participating in this competition and it would be hard to avoid going up against one another sometimes, but it was between academies after all, they usually wouldn't pick on one of their own. Besides, when they first entered the mystic realm, the array flags belonged to no one, to first pick on people on their own side, wasn't this hindering themselves?
"Oh… I've figured it out!" Without waiting for the two of them to react, Lonemoon said, looking enlightened, "Were you unwilling to accept being eliminated, so you came up with some absurd reasons like what selling array flags to frame us, so that you can advance and take our spot?"
"You're spouting nonsense!" Ren Qing panicked. "Everything I said was true, you guys not only sold array flags but also the demon monsters inside the mystic realm."
"Then do you have any evidence?" Lonemoon looked right at him and said, "You want to disqualify us from the competition just based on your one-sided accusations? Then can I tell others that the entire league is manipulated by Immortal Spirit Academy and a total lie!"
"You…" Ren Qing was speechless with fury. He could only look to Yan Luo with cupped fists. "Teacher, all that I said was true."
"Then find a witness." Lonemoon replied forthrightly. "Up to a thousand people participated in the preliminaries and a good number had seen us, can you find a witness to prove that everything you said was true?"
"This…" He looked rattled. "They… They've all been bribed by you!"
"Everyone has been bribed?"
"That's right, it's all of them!" Including his former teammates, no one was willing to come forward with him to expose this person. "Oh…" Lonemoon nodded, intentionally dragging his voice, looking towards Yan Luo with a shadow of a smile.
Yan Luo's expression darkened. "That's enough Ren Qing!"
"Shut up!" Yan Luo had a slight headache, his face alternating between a furious purple and pale white, he had naturally figured out the intended sarcastic retort in Lonemoon's words. He had checked on this person called Lonemoon, a disciple from the unknown Invincible Academy, there were totally no big influences behind him to be found. No matter how powerful he was, it was impossible to bribe every single person in the mystic realm, after all, there were thousand students from more than a hundred academies in there. If he was really so capable, why was he still here to participate in a competition.
Actually, when Ren Qing first brought up this matter, he had been suspicious too. After all, openly selling array flags was rather impossible in the first place, this matter affected the fairness of the competition. Firstly, they needed to have extra flags to be able to sell it, it was either they were selling fake flags but every flag had been checked, there were no fake ones. But if they were to say that just a few of them were able to obtain so many array flags, he did not believe it too. The others did not know about the position of the arrays but as teachers who set the test, they knew. Those array flags were all guarded by monsters, to get it, one would first have to defeat the monster. Even if Ling Hong teamed up with this Lonemoon's team, the most they had was eight people. He recalled the record of more than 60 flags that had appeared on the stone tablet, somehow he just did not think it was possible for them to defeat so many monsters.
However, they could not find the reason this whole time and the other disciples who left the mystic realm all seemed to be intentionally hiding something, so when Ren Qing came to him with his matter, though he knew it was slightly absurd, he still took his words for it.
"Teacher Yan…" Ling Hong had also returned to his senses and quickly stepped forward, saying, "Ren Qing has always been in disagreement with my big brother, after entering the mystic realm, he kept targeting us all the time. His words cannot be trusted at all. This time he did not advance to the second round of the competition, but we did. I think this is him intentionally slandering us, I ask that Teacher Yan investigate the whole matter." Yan Luo looked even more upset as he grew more suspicious of his previous judgment and turned back to glance at Ren Qing with a stern look.
"I… I did not!" Ren Qing paled, completely flustered. "Teacher, trust me, it's really them…"
"Enough!" Yan Luo cut him off, as if he did not want to listen on anymore. Turning towards Lonemoon, he said, "Young friend, the league is something of great importance, we were worried about the fairness of the competition, that's why we invited you both to make a trip here. Though everything has been cleared up now, I still seek your understanding."
"Teacher Yan, you're overstating things." Lonemoon smiled, but the words he spoke had no intention of letting him off easily. "It's just that your academy's style of handling things has truly amazed me. With just random claims of a disciple, you don't even verify it and the accused culprit is convicted directly. Fortunately, I am not a disciple of your academy! Otherwise, this matter wouldn't have been appropriately settled today."
Yan Luo's already long face was covered with more unhappiness, this time, it wasn't just him, even the academy was completely disgraced. While he continued to blame Ren Qing deep down, he was even more offended that this person did not give him any face at all.
And Lonemoon continued, "Let's not mention that I've never done this, even if I did sell array flags, which rule in the rules and regulations of this competition states that array flags could not be transferred in possession?"
"It's my oversight." Yan Luo could only grit his teeth and apologize. "I ask that you do not take offense!"
"That's simple." Lonemoon quit while he was ahead. "I wonder if Teacher still has any more doubts? Why don't we trash it all out once and for all."
"Of course not." Yan Luo smiled politely. "You have been troubled to make this trip today, both of you may leave."
"In that case, we'll take our leave first." Then he turned and looked towards Ren Qing by the side and said, his words full of meaning, "I believe that Teacher is a fair person, so I trust that the person who had lodged a false accusation will punished impartially."
Yan Luo faltered, only nodding a moment later. "… Of course."
Ren Qing's face turned ghastly pale instantly.
Ling Hong then walked out with Ling Hong.
Until they were out of sight, did Yan Luo drop back into his seat with a frown.
"Teacher, believe me…" Ren Qing hurriedly went forward with a flustered look on his face. "I really did not lie, they…"
"Alright, you don't need to say anything more." Yan Luo glanced at him crankily. All because of this fool, that caused us to be shamed so badly. "Whether they cheated or not, it will all be told in the second round of the competition." He was also foolish with fury that he believed this Ren Qing, whether they were for real or not, wouldn't it all be clear when they test their cultivation during the second round of the competition?
And earlier that Lonemoon, appeared to be a mere Foundation Establishment level cultivator, but his words and actions were flawless, even before the suppression of him, a Stygian Immortal, he did not bat an eyelid. Such a person made him even more suspicious of his background.
Ling Hong had followed Lonemoon out with a dumbfounded expression, he did not even realize that they had intentionally circled the academy. Initially, he was already prepared to be punished, even to be kicked out from the academy. In the end, with just a few words from Lonemoon, not to mention nothing happened to them, he even managed to push the blame all back to Ren Qing.
Chapter 586: Second round: Quarterfinals
All at once, Ling Hong's gaze as he looked at Ling Hong was glowing, he kept feeling that Lonemoon could always, from time to time, reveal some unbelievable ability.
On the other hand, Lonemoon looked slightly upset, he had specially circled the entire academy, wanting to find the location of that spirit seed, unfortunately he still came back empty-handed. He could not help but suspect the authenticity of the prize, was the spirit seed really in the academy?
"Ling Hong!" He spoke up for confirmation, no longer able to hold back.
"Ah! Ah?" Ling Hong faltered for a moment before reacting. "Please speak."
"I heard that the prize for this competition is a rainbow- colored egg?" "Mm." He recalled for a moment then nodded and said. "Seems so. It is said that this egg is full of Immortal Qi, if one can get it, it might boost one's cultivation greatly."
"Oh, such a magical egg exists? Have you seen it before?"
"I haven't." He shook his head honestly. "But this egg was something that Teacher got by chance when he went to the Flame Mountain in the North on a mission." His expression darkened at the thought of something. "My big brother, also injured his legs then."
"I see. Sorry that I brought it up."
"No no no." He shook his head, not minding at all. "Thanks to you, my brother has already drank the medication and will recover soon, we no longer have to worry. By the way, if you are curious about that rainbow colored egg, three days later, during the second round of the competition, the teachers will officially announce the prize, by then you will be able to get a look at it."
"Oh." Lonemoon paused for a moment, concealing the brightness in his eyes, he nodded. Feeling assured, he immediately changed the topic of conversation, bringing up something else. As long as they would get to see the spirit seed, seems they would be able to confirm three days later, whether that was what they were searching for.
Three days later.
The second round of the league.
Early morning, all the participants who passed the first round were already at Immortal Spirit Academy, compared to the huge crowds the previous time, the amount of people here were more than 10 times less. In total, there were only 75 participants who had passed the first round, together with the teachers from the various academies, there were still less than 200 people present, it seemed slightly desolate.
This time, the arena was no longer outdoors but inside the Immortal Spirit Academy. Lonemoon and gang went with Ling Hong and the others, compared to being ignored previous time, once they stepped in this time, a good number of people enthusiastically came over to greet them, they were obviously the customers from the previous time. Lonemoon responded to everyone with a smile, with occasional short conversations, in a short while, the voice that announced the rules of the competition sounded from above.
The few teachers from Immortal Spirit Academy appeared on the podium, Lonemoon swept his gaze across, he did not see the Teacher Yan from the previously time. Ling Hong was right, they were indeed starting to announce the prize of the competition. For the top three places, the prizes for the second and third place was a superior-grade artifact, and first place indeed gets the rainbow colored egg. Almost in the same moment when the colored egg was revealed, Ling Hong sensed a faintly discernible trace of the aura of the original source on it.
"Shen Ying." Lonemoon nudged the person beside him. "Is this it?"
"Mm, yes… I guess?" Shen Ying lifted her head for a glance and cocked her head to a side. "Do we act now?" Yi Qing spoke through the voice transmission.
Light frowned, turning to look at Ling Hong and the others beside them, he shook his head after a second. "Forget it, since we've confirmed that it's the spirit seed and we've also made it into the second round, why don't we win this prize fairly and squarely, it's just having to waste some time, no need to implicate other people."
The master and disciple also exchanged a look, then glanced at Ling Hong and the rest and nodded. Indeed, if her were to act now, Ling Hong and gang would definitely be taken to be their accomplices, it'd be better to win the competition and obtain the prize openly.
The start was announced after a short briefing of rules, the second round was very simple. Everyone will enter the maze before them, those who were able to find the exit in six hours will advance.
Lonemoon used his divine perception to examine the maze and realized that it was a maze formed up of various array formations, the deeper inside, the more complicated it was. He brought out several communication talismans after some thought and handed it out. "The moment we step in, we will definitely be transported to different locations on the edges. Use this to communicate then, we will gather before anything else, don't act rashly." With that said, he turned back and emphasized while looking at Shen Ying, "Especially you!"
"Huh?" Shen Ying looked very innocent.
"Huh what huh!" Do you have no f*cking idea how much dark history you have?" The eye of this maze array formation should be right in the middle. After we enter, don't move blindly, just stay in your spot and wait, after we have gathered, we will then move to the eye of the array formation together, never ever act rashly!"
"Okay." Alright, you're the daddy, we'll listen to you, she then took the talisman.
At this time, the gates of the maze were already open, the four of them inhaled deeply and walked in. Almost in an instant, they saw a white light flash before their eyes and in the next moment, they'd arrived in a completely different scenery. Lonemoon looked around, both Chef and Shen Ying had disappeared, they'd indeed been transported to different locations. After checking his surroundings with his divine perception, he then activated the communication talisman in his hand.
"I'm on the border of the entrance on the west side, where are all of you, state your locations."
"I'm on the border on the east side." Chef's voice came through.
"I… I should be on the southern side." Buggy also replied.
"How about Shen Ying?" Not hearing her reply for a long time, Lonemoon called out directly, "Where are you?"
A voice came through the communication talisman moments later. "I…" Shen Ying looked around, totally don't know, hence she turned towards the person beside her. "Big brother, where is this?" The man opposite her replied with slightly complicated feelings. "The eye of the array."
"Oh, thank you!" Shen Ying nodded before answering, "Father Niu, I'm at the eye of the array."
Yi Qing: "…"
How exactly did she do it, get transported to the end point right away!
"Wait there, don't go anywhere!" Father Niu instructed before ending the communication.
"Okay." Shen Ying then calmly put away the talisman and calmly found a rock to sit down, calmly brought out her melon seeds and started nibbling on them, then even handed some to the person beside her. "Want some?"
Yan Luo who was guarding the array: "…"
With Yan Luo's cultivation, he actually need not come personally to guard the array. But the incident from the qualifiers a few days ago still left him a little confused. Though Ren Qing's words should be taken with a grain of salt, but deep down, he'd still had some doubts with regards to that Invincible Academy. So with the thought of investigating thorough, he swapped with the teacher who was supposed to guard the array at the very last minute to come in.
He'd come in with the thought of wanting to test the capabilities of Lonemoon and the others and even specially chose the eye of the array. His thinking was that if they were truly capable, they would definitely charged through and make their way here, by then he will act and change up the array formations, then whether they had cheated in the previous round, he would be able to know once he tested their capabilities. Of course, if they didn't even have the ability to make it to the center of the array, then all the more nothing else needs to be said
Chapter 587: Capability in Breaking The Array
Yan Luo had been waiting in the center of the array formation from the start, thinking that the earliest he would see anyone come in would be at least two hours later. He did not expect to see another person appear instantly beside him when he was transported to the center of the array. And she looked slightly familiar, a vague recollection told him that she looked like one of the four from the Invincible Academy, seems like she'd been sent here by the transportation array at the entrance.
The target location at the entrance was random, he knew that too. But the locations were mostly out the borders of the maze, the luckier ones will be in the middle, there has never been anyone directly transported to the end point! If everyone could arrive at the end point the moment they step in, then what was the competition for.
Yan Luo must admit that he was dumbfounded, what was even more surprising was that she could have left the array if she just turned and walked, then she would become the first person to pass the second round of the competition. Though he was the teacher guarding the array formation, but according to the rules, he could only adjust the array formations around him and cannot strike directly. And she was standing right in the center of the array formation, which means he wasn't able to stop her at all.
But the odd thing was that, not only did she not leave, she even very calmly sat down… down…! And looked like she was intending to stay here for a long time, not in the least anxious. By the time he came back to his senses, he was already seated on the Heart Array Stone and chewing on melon seeds with her.
He'd even unconsciously brought out some treasured, good tea that he had kept in his storage for many years and some snacks. "This is superior good tea, want a cup?"
"Sure!" Shen Ying calmly took a cup and also pulled out a few plates of pastries at the same time. "Want some pastries? My chef made them, they're very delicious."
"Mm, smells sweet and fragrance, not bad indeed."
"You can have some." "Thank you."
Wait a moment!
What was he doing? Why was he eating without knowing it! Should he take this chance to sound out the exact details about this Invincible Academy? But… this pastry tastes really good! He totally couldn't hold back, what to do?
Yan Luo inhaled deeply several times, before he found his willpower that had almost left home. He could not help but ask, "Miss, why aren't you leaving the array?" Get out and you win! Getting the first place kind of winning.
"Waiting for Father Niu and Chef to come pick me up." Shen Ying replied like it was only natural and right.
"What?" He was confused for a moment, who was Father Niu?
Wasn't she in a team with the person known as Lonemoon? Just as he was about to question further, she suddenly stopped moving and put down the teacup in her hand. "Here."
What? What was here?
Yan Luo was stupefied, before he could react, the array formation before him shook and multiple array formations lit up all around. In the next second several figures were before him, it was Lonemoon whom he had seem a few days before, and another man, he remembered that he seemed to be called Yi Qing, he was even carrying an insect in his hand.
This… this speed in breaking the array was way too fast! He hadn't even finished his two pieces of pastries!
Hold on, it's not the time to think about the pastries now.
"Master…" Yi Qing caught sight of the person on the Heart Array Stone at once, feeling instantly relieved.
"Hey, Chef!" Shen Ying chewed on the pastry while greeting him with a wave.
"Teacher Yan…" Lonemoon instantly recognized the person beside Shen Ying, no wonder he didn't see him outside earlier, turns out he was the one guarding the array.
"Lonemoon, we meet again." Yan Luo had finally came back to his sense, putting the pastry in his hand away, he barely managed to resume his grace as a teacher with a cough. "Seems like you both are indeed advanced in Dharmic Dao that you managed to find the center of the array formation so quickly, but it's not that easy to pass this point." With that said, he conjured seals with both ends and activated the multiple levels of array formations in the middle of the big array. All at once the surrounding array formations lit up brightly as layers upon layers of array formations appeared around them.
Lonemoon did not say anything, directly summoning a spirit sword, he turned and instructed, "Chef you're responsible for the array formations on the left side, I'll go for the right, Buggy… you squat down where you are and don't move."
"Alright." Buggy squatted down obediently. In the next moment, the two people flew out at the same time and began to break through the surrounding layers of array formations with the fastest speed. The middle of the array formation was the area with the most array formations in the maze, adding to that the few more that Yan Luo had specially set up earlier, there were a few dozen tiers of array formations around them right not, the effect and attributes of every one was different.
Yet for the two, it was as if they had entered an with no resistance, with just one look, they could spot the weakness of the array formation, then stuck right away to break it. Taking less than a breath's time to do so, their speed so fast that even Yan Luo was dazed. Only with absolute understanding of the array formation, would one be able to break through it so easily. On top of that, not one of those attacks from the array formations hit them, their figures moved fast like shadows.
Even Yan Luo could not help but want to let a praise, nice! All at once, his suspicions towards them were completely washed away, he even felt slightly regretful, such great talents, why weren't they disciples of their Immortal Spirit Academy? He was an array cultivator himself, seeing them break through the arrays so skilfully, the thought of wanting to spar with them and test their limits bubbled up. Watching as the two were about to break in, Yan Luo was no longer able to hold back and activated the array-guarding beasts, at once, fire walls more than ten feet tall lit up and turned the surroundings into a blazing sea of red alongside scorching temperatures.
Shen Ying who was seated suddenly felt the stone beneath her move and she started to float upwards. Whereas everything under her feet began to collapse in inch by inch, revealing a huge hole, the raging flames inside was even more fiery, following that a long caw sounded.
A three-legged fire bird flew up from the hole, its entire body alight with flames. It rushed up and circled the air, creating a visual that seemed like the entire sky was burning at once. That giant bird made a circle, then went in Yan Luo and Shen Ying's direction and the Heart Array Stone under their feet also landed lightly on the back of the bird.
That three-legged bird let out another call, for a moment the fire raged even higher, as if it was going to swallow up everything.
Both Lonemoon and Yi Qing were stunned for a moment, they did not expect there to be such a array-guarding beast in here. Their expressions darkened as they unlocked the very last array formation. At this point, the surrounding array formations had all disappeared, leaving the few beside Yan Luo.
"Master…" Yi Qing looked towards the person on the Heart Array Stone with slight worry.
Shen Ying had yet to reply, instead Yan Luo was surprised, looking down at the girl who still had a pile of food beside her, Master? This girl was actually the Master of that person, why did this academy even send their teachers in to compete?
He could naturally tell that these two people below had still held back with regards to their speed in breaking the array, even he had been stirred to spar with them, that's why he summoned the array-guarding beasts that weren't part of the competition at first. Initially, he was worried that wouldn't give their all, now…
His eyes narrowed, an idea instantly popped up in his mind. He spoke up directly, "Both of you are indeed extraordinary talents and are well-versed in array formations. But to pass my stage, you still have to bring out your true capabilities, otherwise…" He intentionally glanced at Shen Ying. "I won't guarantee that nothing will happen to this lady?" The threat in his words was evident.
Chapter 588: Do Not Provoke Chef
"What did you say!" Chef's face darkened at once, his entire being seeming like something was about to explode out of it.
Yet Yan Luo did not notice that and instead turned back and sent a voice transmission to Shen Ying beside him. "Little girl, cooperate with me for a while."
"Hmm?" Shen Ying was baffled and suddenly lifted her head to give him an unusual look. "Big brother, you are playing with fire, do you know that?"
"…" What the heck is with this tone and lines specially meant for a tyrant CEO?
Yan Luo faltered for a moment but still reached out and pulled Shen Ying up then turned around and continued saying with some excitement, "If you both want to save this girl then do your best, otherwise… huh? Huh!"
Before he could finish, he suddenly felt a massive Sword Qi come weighing from above him. A great golden sword instantly appeared above his heard and was about to strike down. For a moment, he felt his Qi surging within, the array formations beside him were in instant pieces, a sky full of killing intent rushed over, even the three-legged below could not bear it and fell out of the air.
Yan Luo's entire being was appalled. Don't mention resisting this sudden Sword Qi and killing intent, he couldn't even open his eyes, boundless fear spread throughout his body and only one word filled his mind: death. He could only open his eyes wide and watch as the huge sword above his head come swinging right towards himself, it was about to strike him.
"Chef!" A voice suddenly sounded beside him.
The blade paused instantly and stopped at a position less than half an inch above his head and slowly dissolved into lighted dots before disappearing. In the next second, the other party's icy cold voice appeared beside him.
"Do not touch my Master!" Yi Qing had unsure when, appeared on the array stone and turned to put an arm around the person beside him while staring murderously at him. Shen Ying also reached out and patted his shoulder. "That's why I told you to not play with fire!"
Yan Luo: "…"
His legs turned to jelly in the next second and he slumped onto the ground, cold sweat flowed down from his forehead as he belatedly understood something.
"Foodie, are you okay?" Lonemoon had also flown over.
"Mm." Shen Ying nodded and turned to look at the three- legged bird under her feet. "Do you think, this can… be eaten?"
The corner of Lonemoon's mouth twitched, indeed, it'd been unnecessary to worry about her, she was still thinking about eating at this time.
Beside her, Chef habitually pulled out a dagger. "Try and we'll know." With that said, a dagger in one hand and his other wrapped around Shen Ying, he jumped down, heading towards the guard beasts array. As if sensing its own fate, the bird started to caw madly, yet it was suppressed by a Sword Qi and could not move at all, it was about to give its life to the dagger.
Two voices sounded at the same time!
"Spare the bird!" Yan Luo reacted belatedly.
Below, Buggy also grabbed onto Yi Qing's leg. "Great Immortal, you can't kill this!"
"Why?" Master and disciple questioned in unison.
"Ah?" Yan Luo paused. "Because… because this is the array guarding beast!" Shen Ying frowned. "Is it poisonous?"
"…" It's not, but you guys are! Who would want to kill an array guarding beast?
Whereas Buggy was hit with an idea and quickly spoke up, "Great Immortal, the three-legged fire bird is a protector beast of Yang City, there's only this one, it cannot be killed!"
"Oh." Shen Ying then called Chef back, turns out it's to protect animals, nothing could be done then. She turned and looked a the bird on the ground in disappointment.
The entire fire bird immediately quivered under her gaze. When the Sword Qi on it was lifted, it squawked at once and turned to crawl back into the fire hole on the ground, trembling. Before it entered, one of it's claw even grabbed onto the Heart Array Stone and placed it firmly back in it's original spot, pretending like it had never came out.
Yan Luo: "…" Lonemoon: "…"
Even the birds will probably become scheming now.
"All of you…" Yan Luo then swept his gaze across the few people present, recalling that terrifying Sword Qi earlier, his body shivered. He suddenly understood why they wanted to hide their capabilities when breaking through the arrays earlier. With such strength, don't mention him, it would be difficult to find a match in the entire end of the void. For a moment, he became even more confused. "Seniors, all of you are this capable… why do you still choose to participate in the league?"
"Why, are we not allowed to participate?" Lonemoon questioned back.
Yan Luo froze. "Well, it's not that you can't, just… this competition is meant for disciples from the various academies." "We're disciples too?"
"…" Who are you lying to? Did there exist disciples with cultivation at your levels?
"Teacher Yan, who stipulated that disciples cannot have high cultivation levels?" You and your organizing team did not restrict the cultivation levels of participation, is it my fault?
"…" Sounds very reasonable. Yan Luo frowned, so there still existed such taunting manipulations. Though it was stated at the start that this was a competition between academies, they indeed did not restrict cultivation levels, the more they didn't mention whether it was for disciples or teachers, everyone simply took it that it was meant for disciples only.
Lonemoon decided to admit it, seeing that he'd been exposed. "We were passing by this place and found that this competition was rather interesting, so we signed up to have some fun."
"…" Is bullying a bunch of kids really so interesting? He really wanted to say, so shameless! But he wasn't their match so he really didn't dare to!
Now that he thought back, everything that Ren Qing said previously could all be true. These people entered their mystic realm, captured the monsters kept by them and even sold them away to their disciples participating in the competition… earlier, they even almost captured their array guarding beast.
Don't all of your consciences hurt?
Yan Luo's heart ached.
When they hold such competitions in the future, they absolutely must restrict the cultivation of participants.
Shen Ying and gang became the first people to pass the second round of the competition. On top of that, all four came out at once. Since the time they entered the maze, it took less than an hour, there'd never been a faster record than this. Yet what was even more shocking than this was that, following them, more and more people began to walk out of the maze and everyone was unscathed, as if they'd never encountered any array formations.
The originally estimated competing duration was six hours, yet in less than four hours, almost everyone was out. By the time the competition ended, of the 75 participants who entered, 70 had passed, leaving a mere five who did not make it or had already been transported out earlier due to injuries.
Everyone from Immortal Spirit Academy was dumbfounded, this seemed to be different from what they had imagined. At any rate it was a quarterfinals and should naturally be more difficult than the qualifiers. According to the original plan, it would be great if 15 people managed to passed, but it ended up that 90% of the participants all made it to the semifinals, what kind of situation was this.
Only the crowd in the know, Yan Luo knew about the situation. It was all because of those two people who pretended to be disciple with low levels of cultivation, even the array guarding beasts was terrified and was left with severe post trauma. It downright refused to come out even after they'd left, causing the array formations in the maze to become ineffective, so the subsequent so-called maze was really left with the maze, would anyone not be able to walk out of it?
Yan Luo's heart ached but Yan Luo couldn't vocalize it.
Chapter 589: The Contest of Admitting Defeat
It was a fact that 70 disciples walked out of the array formation, no matter how much suspicion Immortal Spirit Academy had, they could only grit their teeth and let the competition go on. Everyone somehow felt that this league was rather odd, too little people passed the qualifiers and too many passed the quarterfinals, anyway everything ended in a inexplicable manner.
The mechanism of the semifinal was very simple, it was nothing but battling in pairs, the winner advances, until the top three participants emerge. On top of that, the competition was to be conducted before an entire crowd, if anything happens, anyone would be able to spot it at once, there will be absolutely no more problem. Everyone thought so, at the start, the competition was indeed very normal too, until the one called Lonemoon went up…
"Aiya! Elder brother has great cultivation, I am crude and untalented, indeed not your opponent, I admit defeat!" Everyone: "…"
They had barely exchanged any blows? You admitted defeat way too quickly!
"Aiya! Elder brother has superb sword techniques, I'm so ashamed that I am inferior, I have lost."
Hold on, he didn't even used a sword? Where exactly did you make out that his sword techniques were superb?
"Aiya! Elder brother's Spirit Qi is so powerful, I can barely hold on, ah! I've lost!" Everyone: "…"
Spirit Qi your ass, there was nothing on him at all alright?
"Aiya! I see that elder brother has an imposing appearance, with advanced cultivation. You're an exceptional man, rarely seen in this world, I am no match for you, I forfeit!"
Did you come to compete or get your fortune told?
Opponent five said, "Aiya! My stomach suddenly hurts, I can't compete anymore, just take it that I lost."
Opponent six said, "Aiya, my chest suddenly hurts…" Opponent seven: "Aiya, my head suddenly hurts…"
There was no exception, as long as they met the man called Lonemoon, his opponent will hurt somewhere for no rhyme or reason and automatically admitted defeat. Hence everyone could only watch on, dumbfounded as he advanced all the way and topped the league. An originally estimated three days of competition duration ended in a day with everyone continuously surrendering without battling. Lonemoon also became the first person to win the champion title without striking at all.
Immortal Spirit Academy: "…"
All the teachers: "…"
What the heck? This was way too casual! What kind of league was this, might as well call it the contest of admitting defeat!
"There is definitely something fishy about this!" A teacher really could not hold back anymore. "I absolutely will not acknowledge this champion, his sword did not even leave his sheath at all. It is virtually absurd that this person become the champion."
"That's right!" Another person also added. "What's with all the disciples from these academies? Are they taking this league as child's play? It must be redone! Otherwise, how could such a champion convince the public."
"I also think so too, and we ought to investigate this matter thoroughly too. I don;t believe this person could become first place just based on luck." Another teacher also said and even turned to look towards the person beside him. "Teacher Yan, you are the Head of Discipline, what do think should be done about this?"
The corner of Yan Luo's mouth twitched before he stood up, inhaled deeply and said, "There's no need, let's directly announce the outcome of the competition."
"What?!" Three people were stupefied at once, wearing faces of disbelief, such words actually came from him. "But… but this person was obviously problematic, if we really let him become the champion, I'm afraid majority will not be convinced."
Yan Luo glanced at him from the corner of his eyes. "Take a look around, can you find anymore who's not convinced?"
The other party faltered and turned his head to survey the disciples around and realized… it seems there was really none! Not only that, without even waiting for his announcement of the end of the competition, those participants were already crowding around to congratulate him, no signs of unhappiness on their faces at all, even some teachers had made their way there.
What was going on?
"This… how?" He was dumbfounded but still said rather indignantly, "But this is too exaggerated, no matter what… we ought to test his capability before…"
"Junior Brother!" Yan Luo suddenly stepped forward, patted his shoulder with a solemn expression and said slowly, emphasizing each word, "Trust me, you definitely will not wish to witness his capability!"
Even I was crushed, what do you all, who are even weaker than me, expect?
"Quickly, announce it!" He waved his hand, feeling mentally tired.
Everyone was still slightly lost. yet seeing that even Yan Luo, who had the highest cultivation had acknowledge it, they couldn't say anything more and directly announced the outcome of the competition. Hence Lonemoon gloriously became the champion of the first academy league.
"Exalted… Exalted Immortal?" Buggy who was watching on the whole time could not help but ask, "Why were they all so willing to admit defeat?" Buggy looked to him blankly, though there was the relation from the sale of monsters, but this was a competition between the academies, regardless of he thought, it was impossible for so many people to admit defeat on their own accord. Lonemoon turned back and glanced at him before replying, "Oh, because I sent a message to them last night, all those who loses to me in the competition today gets a 50% discount on their debt incurred in the mystic realm!"
Yi Qing: "…"
Shen Ying: "…"
So this was the reason why he said they didn't need to participate in the semifinals? He could really do business everywhere, why was he suddenly feeling pity for those who owed him money?
Due to the accelerated progress of the competition, second and third places emerged very quickly too. It was finally time for the rousing presentation ceremony, Lonemoon could not help but sigh in relief deep down, they would be able to get the spirit seed and go home soon Even those teachers who'd been staring at him complexly became eager about it all. Until the other party placed two bags into his hands.
His expression darkened instantly. "What is this?"
"The prize for your championship!" The teacher presenting the prizes answered crankily.
"This is the prize!" Lonemoon looked even more upset as he lifted up the two bags and questioned once more.
"These are immortal stones!" The teacher thought that he'd never seen immortal stones and explained directly. "Immortal stones are rarer than spirit stones."
"I naturally know these are immortal stones!" What the hell, did they think he'd never seen immortal stones? There were a few millions of them lying in his storage bag. Lonemoon's expression turned cold as he inhaled deeply and said, "If I remember correctly, the prize for the champion that you all displayed the other time wasn't this right?" "You… don't be a fool that doesn't know what's good for you!" Figuring the displeasure in his tone, the teacher glared at him. "There are two thousand immortal stones here, the concentration of it can only be thicker than that in the colored egg, after getting this…"
"I don't need immortal stones!" Lonemoon cut him off directly. "Where is the rainbow colored egg?"
"You…" The teacher was also slightly enraged now and retorted, "There are no whatsoever rainbow colored egg, these immortal stones are your prize!"
Chapter 590: Queen of Nesting
Lonemoon's face fell at once, even Yi Qing's followed, a smile appeared on his lips as he said, word by word, "This teacher means to say that you're intending on going back on your word at the last minute?"
Damn it! I busied myself for a good half of the day and you actually dared to swap out my prize at the end! F*ck the damn competition, he ought to have struck right at the start! In that moment, he released all the Sword Qi in his body at once, a boundless suppression was about to sweep across the entire area.
The teacher who was still angry that he was unappreciative earlier paled instantly, his legs trembled as he was about to drop to his knees. At the side, Yan Luo felt his heart sank before he hurriedly rushed over.
"Fellow Daoist, fellow daoist don't be rash! Let's talk things out amicably." Yan Luo quickly pulled the prize presenter behind him. Judging by this person's reaction, he suddenly understood that his motive in participating in the competition these past few days was probably to get that egg. But he wasn't very clear about why the prize was suddenly changed. Hence he hastily turned around and questioned, "Junior Brother, where's the rainbow colored egg? Why was the prize suddenly changed?"
"Senior Brother Yan…" That person fell into a momentary daze, recalling the massive aura from earlier he trembled involuntarily before he replied, still in shock, "That egg is… with the insect race. Yesterday they sent us a message asking for that rainbow colored egg. Their queen has always like such eggs and whatnots… so we just…"
They had thought that the egg just had a slightly more concentrated Spirit Qi, nothing rare about it. That's why the changed the prize to immortal stones, as compensation, they'd even doubled the amount. Regardless of any cultivator, whoever meets such a situation will not have any objections, yet who would've known that the one that came totally didn't have a lack of immortal stones.
"Insect race?" Lonemoon frowned and turned his head to look towards a certain insect beside him.
Buggy shivered instantly, fervently shaking his head. "I… I don't know anything!" He hurriedly pointed to the butterfly knot on top of his head. "All of you know it, Great Immortal had already tied up my feelers the previous time, till now I still have no way of contacting the bugs of my race!"
Lonemoon and Yi Qing exchanged a look, their expressions becoming even graver.
Instead, it was Shen Ying who suddenly spoke up, "Where is the nest of your race?"
"At… at Buggy Hill in the wilderness of the north." Buggy replied honestly.
Their faces fell, without any delay, they picked up Buggy and flew into the air on the swords. "Show the way!" Once the words fell, three humans and a bug vanished.
The Sword Qi then dissipated.
The few teachers fell their legs turn to jelly and sat onto the ground. "Teacher Yan, who… who exactly were those few people?"
"Don't ask me!" Yan Luo looked miserable. "I don't know either." Anyhow they're just not to be trifled with.
The few of them flew very quickly, in a short while, they'd arrived above a land of wilderness. From far, they saw tall, black mountains appear before them. The one right in the middle had its peak in the clouds, the mountains seemed to be a special type of rock,its surfaces were empty, without any kind of vegetation, making it look like several tall and black towers.
And the surfaces of the towers were covered with all sorts of insects, some kept their human form while others appeared as beetles. What was more unique was there were various species on their mountain, they looked similar to those in the mystic realm, these were… monsters?
When did the insect race cohabit with demons and monsters and most of them were the feather tribes. "All of us bugs are birthed by the queen, but ever since we came to this furthest end of the void, her delivery speed dropped steeply, so the queen is often idle, recently she has a new special hobby…" Buggy pointed to all the demons and monsters below and explained, "Not only does she like laying eggs, she even prefers… nesting eggs!" And it's the kind where she doesn't restrict the types of eggs.
Yi Qing: "…"
Shen Ying: "…"
Was this why she suddenly asked for the colored egg? Because she laid less so she wanted to hatch others' for fun?
The trio was speechless. Buggy could not help but begged weakly, "Great Immortal, our queen is actually a very wonderful insect, she definitely did not ask for the egg because she knew it belonged to you. How about… can you give Buggy a chance to go explain the situation to her, can we… not fight?" The few of them exchanged looks before nodding. Alright, on the account that you've been rather diligent in your work these few days.
Buggy then heaved a sigh of relief and hurriedly led the three of them into the main nest, showing them all the way in.
Inside the nests, there were no longer any demon monsters to be seen, it was densely filled with all sorts of insects, most stayed in their original form, looking extremely scary. Perhaps because there was Buggy leading the way, they did not attack the three.
Buggy brought them around and around and finally arrived in the innermost area of the nest, stopping in a circular passageway. A huge space could vaguely bee seen at the end of it and there were even several tall and big insects standing guard along the two sides of the passageway. Buggy went forward and touched feelers with the one right in front, no one knew what was communicated but Buggy turned back after a moment and said, "Please wait here for a moment Great Immortals, the queen will summon me immediately."
With that said, he respectfully knelt down inside the passageway, seeming to be waiting for something, and the insect that had communicated with him was already crawling into the room in front to inform of his coming.
The few of them waited for about 15 minutes before that insect came back out and nodded towards Buggy. Instantly, the tall and big insects in the passageway stepped to the sides and showed a route.
"Great Immortal, the queen wants to see me and you." Buggy turned towards Lonemoon and explained.
"Sure." Lonemoon nodded, then turned back towards Shen Ying and Chef, saying, "Wait here for a moment."
With that said, he followed behind Buggy, a few steps out, a screen appeared before them, they walked right through and the scenery before their eyes changed at once, they arrived in a huge circular cave. It was different from what was imagined, flowers covered the entire floor of the cave, looking like a sea of flowers. And in the middle of that, a large, moth-like insect settled. Its body was extremely massive, almost occupying half of the space in the cave. A pair of compound eyes was staring at the two people who walked in, eight steel like legs curled under it's body while a huge abdomen laid flat on the ground. Occasionally flashes of light flew across its belly and a white egg would bounce out.
Some insects half the height of average humans also surrounded it, it seems like they were insects specializing in transporting the queen's eggs, they were lined up and fetching the eggs laid one by one before carrying them out.
Underneath the queen's belly, there was a circle of different species of eggs with various auras, they looked to be the demon and monsters'. Buggy was right, this queen indeed liked to nest eggs.
"You're the human who won that rainbow colored egg?" The queen suddenly spoke. Her mouth did not move but a sharp female voice sounded in the entire room.