Chapter 101: Core Protégé Tournament (2)
At this moment, Elder Ouyang was now picking the ballots for the core protégés to compete against each other.
The excitements were deafening and everyone was discussing enthusiastically on who would be fighting against who.
“Whoever is going up against Nangong Yu and Cheng Wuzi will be the most unlucky…”
“Who is the lucky one that will fight against Senior Brother Lu?”
“Haha, Senior Brother Lu Qingyun is the weakest among the core protégés…”
“But he is also the most good looking…”
“What is the use of good looks when your cultivation is low?”
A number of female protégés were urging with the male protégés because they had placed their bets on Lu Qingyun…
“This isn’t rational at all. This isn’t a beauty contest and is a cultivation contest. You should place your bets on the stronger cultivation…”
“Usually the handsome ones have more luck…”
Elder Ouyang took the ballot from a bronze tri-pod cauldron as he read loudly, “Cheng Wuzi versus Li Chen!”
Li Chen was the third core protégé of Shi Guanyin. When he had heard that he was going to fight against Cheng Wuzi who was an initial fourth realm expert, his heart sunk immediately. He had not expected his luck to be so down as to be eliminated in the first round!
He gritted his teeth and put on a brave front as he raised his sword to contest against Cheng Wuzi.
Celestial Kong Guxin was laughing. Cheng Wuzi was his prized senior core protégé and he knew that he was going to win.
“Celestial Shi, I guess that you’re going to have the honor of the first defeat. Hohoho.”
Celestial Shi Guanyin: …
The battle between Cheng Wuzi and Li Chen was over in less than thirty strokes. The disparity between them were simply too great!
Elder Ouyang proclaimed loudly, “Cheng Wuzi of the Green Fields Martial Hall has won!”
There were thunderous applauds from the thousands of protégés.
“Senior Brother Cheng Wuzi is so dashing!”
“Who says that only the Red Heaven Sword Hall is the only martial hall that is exceled in swordplay? Look at the Green Fields Martial Hall!”
Lu Qingyun was quietly observing Cheng Wuzi as he thought, “His Thirty-Six Revolution Sword is indeed formidable. Not only is his sword fast, each revolution of his sword has an increased martial power imbued into it. It is no wonder that Li Chen is defeated in no time. Cheng Wuzi is a fourth realm expert but it doesn’t look like he is a sword energy wielder. Therefore he must have used his martial power to empower his sword strength at his fourth realm level.”
“No,” he muttered quietly. “His profound senses must be really extraordinary in order to gain sensory mastery over his surroundings, especially for such a difficult swordplay as the Thirty-Six Revolution Sword. Therefore his real strength lies in his profound aura instead…”
Elder Ouyang had picked the second round of ballot as he proclaimed aloud, “The next contesters are Lu Qingyun…”
Many of the female protégés were screaming wildly even though his competitor had not been announced, “Senior Brother Lu will be the next one to fight on stage!…”
“He is going to be kicked soon…”
“I wonder who will be the lucky core protégé that is going to fight him?”
“He can’t compare to Senior Brother Cheng Wuzi! Senior Brother Cheng Wuzi is my idol!”
“Senior Brother Lu Qingyun is the senior brother of the Heavens Ridge Villa while Senior Brother Cheng Wuzi is only the senior brother of the common protégés. Just their statuses alone speak of their disparities…”
“Why is that I’ve got the feeling that all these female protégés are all trying to get into Senior Brother Lu Qingyun’s good books and trying to be his personal attendant?”
“He has already got Lie Xingyuan…she is such a great beauty…”
“Why didn’t I notice her when she is just a common protégé…alas…”
Elder Ouyang cleared his throat to shout even louder but no voice could be heard. There were simply too many protégés today and they were all drowning his voice, especially the female protégés.
He mustered all his profound strength and this time his voice thundered above all, “Zhang Gang will fight against Lu Qingyun!”
The protégés were startled.
“Isn’t this Zhang Gang just a second realm expert?”
“He has joined the same time as Senior Brother Lu Qingyun…”
“Two lowly cultivators fighting against each other?”
“Still, Zhang Gang is a realm higher than Senior Brother Lu Qingyun so he will probably win…”
“It seems that any of the core protégés will be able to thrash Senior Brother Lu…”
“Is this ballot rigged? What is the possibility of two of the lowest cultivators engaging with each other?!”
“Rubbish! It is impossible for the ballots to be rigged!”
Although many of the common protégés had a low opinion of Lu Qingyun, they still had to address him by his ‘Senior Brother’ title. It was because unlike the senior brother titles of the core protégés, he was the most senior of all the senior protégé brothers and sisters. They could call the other core protégés by their names directly but not Lu Qingyun without adding the ‘Senior Brother’ title.
Even the grand elders had to address Lu Qingyun as Senior Brother because he was ranked more senior than them!
Lie Xingyuan was muttering, “It is senior brother turn…”
Qin Keqin laughed softly as she rolled her eyes sheepishly, “Yun’Er will surely be able to win.”
Grand Elder Wang Ming said with a faint smile, “Although Zhang Gang has only been with the Crystal Cloud Spirit Hall for three short months but without a doubt he is really a promising young man…”
Yun Xing chuckled as she interrupted jovially, “Wang Ming, are you getting a little senile nowadays? Are you forgetting that you are leading the White Spirit Hall now and not the Crystal Cloud Spirit Hall? Grand Elder Ouyang Xue is the one that should be commenting and not you.”
Wang Ming smiled weakly, “Yes, yes….”
Shi Guanyin laughed as she turned to ask Ouyang Xue, “Congrats, your core protégé will be next winner.”
Ouyang Xue said nonchalantly, “I still say that Senior Brother Lu will emerge the victor.”
All the grand elders were looking at her now with a weak smile as they all thought at the same time, “She is not supporting her own core protégés?”
Yin Shisi was nodding, “Yes, I believe so as well. He is really looking good today. He will be able to win no doubt…”
Shi Guanyin, Mu Han, Wang Ming, Kong Guxin and Yun Xing were speechless. When did looking good ever made a difference in the duel between the cultivators?! Realm level, potential, cultivation strength and techniques were instead the most important decisive factors in the battle of the cultivators!
Qin Keqin had no doubt that Lu Qingyun was able to win against Zhang Gang. It was because she knew that Lu Qingyun was a fourth realm expert and not a lowly good-for-nothing first realm cultivator.
And of course, she had also rigged the ballots with Elder Ouyang…
She was secretly laughing in her heart, “I will make sure that my Yun’Er gets all the easy opponents…”
It was not hard to bribe Elder Ouyang at all. After all, she was now the one calling the shots in the Heavens Ridge Villa. Even if she was found out, at most she would only get a censor since no one had the moral authority to punish their own sect leader.
If she did not play some trickery in this martial tournament then she would not be the Devil Goddess. Moreover she did not want her Divine Profound Pill to fall into other than her Yun’Er hands.
She was thoroughly enjoying the entire process and watching everyone’s expressions.
With her clever rigging, she had estimated that her Yun’Er had a reasonable chance to emerge as the top winner. Still, that was only her prediction. That Cheng Wuzi did look awfully like a strong opponent.
In her hand was a crystal ball and within this crystal ball contained a powerful celestial scrying array that allowed Feng Minyue and Xuan Danfeng to secretly observe the fight with her.
They had certainly known that she had rigged some of the ballots because she had freely told them.
Feng Minyue had said, “Sister Saintess Yuqing, you should not pamper Lu Qingyun at all. After all, only a strict master teacher will be able to produce a most outstanding student.”
Even Xuan Danfeng had agreed with her, “We know that he is your one and only disciple and you have never taught anyone before. But going to the extent of rigging the ballots does not sound right at all.”
But Qin Keqin had replied, “What if he got some serious injuries from the competition? Then as his master, I would have failed in my duty to protect him.”
Lu Qingyun and Zhang Gang had both walked to the stage now with their tempered wooden swords. The tempered wooden swords that were in their hands were stronger than steel as it was made of the Heart Oak Crystallite Wood. However the sword edges were not sharpened so as not to hurt any of the contesters.
The two of them quickly exchanged a polite hand bow before they brandished out the wooden swords that were in their hands.
The thousands of protégés were all watching in anticipation and eager for the outcome as the thunderous claps and roars increased in activity.
Lu Qingyun was a first realm middle tier cultivator while Zhang Gang was second realm middle tier cultivator. The difference between a first realm practitioner and a second realm master practitioner were not that wide as compared to the third realm and above realms.
It was obvious to the common protégés that Zhang Gang had the superior profound strength as he was a second realm cultivator. But the most decisive factor would be their mastery of their sword arts that would be deemed the most important factor in determining the outcome of their duel.
Lu Qingyun was the direct core protégé of the Sect Leader Qin and their sect leader was a fifth realm later stage golden celestial while Wang Ming was a fourth realm immortal celestial. As for Zhang Gang’s new master Ouyang Xue, she was said to be only a third realm middle enlighten celestial.
Shi Guanyin smiled as she turned to say to Qin Keqin, “I still think that Zhang Gang will emerge the victor. I’ve actually met him a few times in the inner court and he is quite studious. As for Senior Brother Lu Qingyun, I really have no comments…”
Then with another smile, she added. “In most ordinary circumstances, I would bet on Lu Qingyun since he is the sect leader’s core disciple but alas, our sect leader is so busy that I doubt that you have the time to personally instruct him, let alone imparting him a powerful sword stroke or two. Sect leader, am I right?”
The reason why she had dared to say so because she was now on an extremely good terms with Qin Keqin and was even her confidant now.
But when the other grand elders heard her, they had turned a little ashen as they all thought that Shi Guanyin was a little too rude to the sect leader.
But Qin Keqin chuckled as she began to ponder hard. Her expressions had suddenly changed to a panicky look as she gasped softly, “Right…oh no! Does this mean that my Yun’Er is just a white paper?”
Without any sword and martial skills, a cultivator could not be considered to be a fighter. She turned to look panicky at Shi Guanyin, “I have completely forgotten to instruct him…and he didn’t ask…”
Shi Guanyin laughed softly, “Sect leader, don’t you worry. Senior Brother Lu had borrowed three martial manuals from the Red Heaven Sword Library. The three martial arts are the Flaming Crimson Sword, the Phoenix Burst and the Winds Entropy Dance. All three are the superior martial arts of my Red Heaven Sword Library. With his talent, I am sure that he will be able to put it to good use.”
Qin Keqin asked, “Then why don’t you place a bet on my Yun’Er?”
Shi Guanyin laughed, “Not when he has a master that is constantly nowhere to be seen. Superior martial arts need a master to guide or else it will only be a blind art and will be useless.”
Qin Keqin: …
Ouyang Xue had secretly stolen a glance at Lie Xingyuan when she had heard the mention of the Winds Entropy Dance as she thought, “Don’t tell me that Senior Brother Lu had borrowed the Winds Entropy Dance for her sake?”
It was because she had remembered seeing Lie Xingyuan displaying the Winds Entropy Dance during the experiential mission…
In the meantime at the stage;
Zhang Gang said politely, “Senior brother, please pardon me for any slights. I will be doing my best. Just to let you know. For the past three months I have been practicing my sword art for six hours daily. There are many in the clan that has considered me to be a master swordsman. Therefore you ought to be wary.”
Lu Qingyun was grateful that Zhang Gang had been so frank with him. So he politely said, “I am not weak too so please do not withhold your strength against me. I am only asking for a fair fight.”
In the past, he had thought of himself as a weak cultivator because his profound strength would always fail to condense together. Because of this reason he had thought that he was a fail cultivator and had no hope of ever reaching the second realm master practitioner level.
But meeting Qin Keqin seemed to have changed his fate and now he felt that cultivation was now too easy. In fact now, he wondered if there was a limit to his profound strength.
He was actually a genius with the sword arts and he could easily pick any sword art up with ease. However due to the lack of profound strength, the sword arts that he had learnt could not keep up with his body co-ordination and often result in comedy situations.
There was actually a strong reason in it except that he did not know that there was a powerful restraint within his soul that caused his profound strength to be weak and it was placed there by the translucence might of the Great God Pangu that had killed him in his past life.
Once he had succeeded in breaking through to the fourth realm, this powerful restraint had vanished and that was the reason why Lu Qingyun now thought that cultivation was not so hard after all.
Zhang Gang said coolly, “Since Senior Brother Lu is my senior, I shall let you make the first move.”
Lu Qingyun said, “I think this won’t be necessary. I am probably stronger than you.”
Zhang Gang: …
Zhang Gang shouted as he raised his sword to display a beautiful sword stance and charged at Lu Qingyun, “You are only underestimating your opponent! Have you ever heard that there is always a higher peak and a stronger person?”
But Lu Qingyun simply raised his sword and he had sent Zhang Gang to fly out of the stage, stunning all the onlookers!
Even Lu Qingyun was quite startled. He had reacted purely out of reflexes. He thought, “Did I use too much of my profound strength?” The truth was that he had barely exercised his profound strength and it was actually Zhang Gang who was too weak.
After all, Zhang Gang was only second realm middle tier cultivator while Lu Qingyun was a fourth realm late stage cultivator. There was simply no comparison.
Many of the female protégés were all screaming loudly when they saw how effortless Lu Qingyun had defeated Zhang Gang.
Some of them were screaming even more thunderously especially when they had realized the amount of payouts that they had won by betting on Lu Qingyun to survive the first round of the martial competition!
“Senior Brother Lu Qingyun is simply too dashing!”
“Lu Qingyun won…how is it possible?…”
“Is the fight rigged?!”
“A first realm cultivator defeating a second realm cultivator in such an easy manner?!”
“This is impossible…”
“Or this Zhang Gang is really too weak?”
Qin Keqin was flushing with excitement as she lifted up her skirt as she joined in the thunderous applaud, “Did you all see that?! My Yun’Er has won! This is a perfect victory!”
Shi Guanyin was gasping as she quickly pulled the skirt of Qin Keqin, “Sect leader…”
It was because she had accidentally pulled her skirt too high and quite a number of hot blooded male protégés were all staring and admiring her beautiful slender porcelain legs.
Elder Ouyang was blinking his eyes blankly as he muttered with shock, “Senior Brother Lu Qingyun…has won…this round…”
But in the eyes of Lie Xingyuan, Leng Qiuyue, Ouyang Xue and Yin Shisi, the outcome was not at all surprising. It was because everyone in the Heavens Ridge Villa had underestimated Lu Qingyun!
Yin Shisi was smiling quietly in her heart, “If he doesn’t have a strong profound strength in him, will my Depraving Fingers have failed to work against him? Therefore he isn’t any first realm cultivator as rumored…”