Chapter 105: The 4th Round
The third of the core protégé martial tournament was over quickly.
A relatively quiet core protégé name Kang Xian from the White Spirit Hall had emerged victorious at the end of the third round.
Elder Ouyang declared promptly, “Senior Brother Lu Qingyun, Leng Qiuyue and Kang Xian will be in the fourth round. Now for the comeback ballot…”
“Hope Nangong Yu will be the lucky one…I’ve betted everything on him…”
“If it is Zhang Gang again then I will cut my throat in anger…”
“I will spurt blood if it is that Zhang Gang again…”
“It is impossible to be Zhang Gang again. No one is going to be lucky four times over. He has probably used up all his lucky from the last life to the next life by now…”
Elder Ouyang cleared his throat and he was looking at little sheepish as he picked the ballot of the defeated candidates that were from the third round, “Zhang Gang…”
He gave a feign smile, “Alas, it is our lucky Zhang Gang again…”
All the common protégés, elders and grand elders were staring with disbelief that Zhang Gang was picked again.
“This…is totally a rig! I tell you!”
“This Zhang Gang must be a cheater…”
“He must have used some sorcery….”
Even Nangong Yu was raising his voice with total disbelief, “This is impossible! I have one in three chance of getting pick but why it is Zhang Gang again?! I don’t believe. I totally don’t believe this at all…”
Zhang Gang was also startled, “I am four times lucky? I can go to the fourth round? This is wonderful…”
Lu Qingyun jaws dropped when he had heard that Zhang Gang was picked again as he muttered, “His luck is totally unbelievable…”
Elder Ouyang managed a weak smile as he tried to manage the crowd, “In a fight, skills do matter but lucky also plays a huge part. Therefore we really have to hand it over to Zhang Gang’s luck. Sometimes your opponent can make many wrong decisions due to your luck and give rise to your opportunity. Even our cultivation breakthrough has to depend on our lucky encounters and this ‘chance’ depends on your lucky stars…”
But the common protégés were not listening and they were shouting angrily, “Down with Zhang Gang…”
“This ballot doesn’t count…”
“This is pure bullshit…”
“I am beginning to think that Zhang Gang is the star of this martial tournament…”
“He is a truly dark horse…”
“I got a nagging feeling that Zhang Gang may end up as the ultimate victor in this competition…”
“I am beginning very sorry for our Senior Brother Lu Qingyun who has to keep fighting this hard to die cockroach…”
“Yes, poor Senior Brother Lu…”
“Senior Brother Lu is so dashing. He has managed to reach round four with barely a sweat…”
“That is because his opponent is Zhang Gang…”
“I have made so much money on Senior Brother Lu Qingyun already. If he can reach the final, my winnings will be doubled again…”
“I think that this time round Senior Sister Leng Qiuyue will really be the dark horse that wins this martial competition…”
“The other three candidates can’t be compared to Leng Qiuyue…”
“She is the only fourth realm expert out of the four and the other two candidates are extremely weak…”
“I have lost all my money on Nangong Yu…alas…”
Above the stage, all the grand elders were rendered speechless and they could even almost predict who Lu Qingyun’s next opponent would be.
Even the most unconvinced grand elders like Kong Guxin and Wang Ming were beginning to think that this martial competition was secretly rigged by Qin Keqin…
Even Ouyang Xue was totally stunned at how shameless Qin Keqin could be.
But the most stunned was Lie Xingyuan who was staring with disbelief at Qin Keqin, “She is the Great Saintess Fan Yuqing, one of the two number one heroines in the Nine Celestial Fraternity who shared the same fame as the Nine Celestial Goddess Ye Jing. How can she be so shameless? No, she is the Devil Goddess…”
Even Feng Minyue had sent a secret transmission to Qin Keqin, “Sister Saintess Yuqing, aren’t you overdoing this show?”
But Xuan Danfeng was laughing out loud, “I am thoroughly enjoying this show…”
Qin Keqin moved her lips silently to reply to Feng Minyue, “Heh! Isn’t this fun? I have bet that you have never seen or met anything like this before.”
Feng Minyue replied weakly, “This is too…dramatic…” she had wanted to say it was too shameless and more like the style of Ye Jing but at the last moment, she changed the word to dramatic.
“On the other hand,” Xuan Danfeng laughed jovially. “I wonder who will be Lu Qingyun’s opponent in the next round? Surely you won’t make it so plain obvious, am I right? This isn’t your style. You are the most intelligent person in the Nine Celestial Fraternity. Surely you won’t leave behind any traces, am I right?”
Qin Keqin returned a faint smile through her reflection in the crystal ball that she was holding but she was not revealing anything. It was because she did not want to spoil the fun by revealing her hands too early.
But the Xuan Danfeng was right in her praise. It was because the Golden Mask Devil Goddess was renowned for her super intelligence and covered her tracks extremely well. Or else she would be able to reign supreme for a few years in the past.
When it came to planning and execution, Fan Yuqing was really an expert.
They were beginning to think that it was as though she was afraid that her plan was too flawless and that no one could know that she kept adding more complexities to it. In this case, it was as though she was purposely letting the others suspect that she had a hand in it.
Even though they were her sister saintesses but it was extremely difficult to predict what she would do. When they were only fifth realm golden celestials, Fan Yuqing was actually a seventh realm great saintess and they did not start off as sisters. Rather, she had played them on the tips of her fingers. It was only because of Ye Jing whose intellect had matched Fan Yuqing that the four of them had become closer after they had adventured together in the mysterious Empyrean Warrior Labyrinth.
Usually her plan was flawless and the only Achilles’ heel was usually her own personality weakness and not because of the weakness of her plans. It was because Fan Yuqing tended to look for troubles herself and needlessly provoked countless people in the past.
That was how her first reign as Devil Goddess had ended after she was involved in a petty squabble with the Celestial Yuehua who was attracting too much attraction because of her alluring beauty and that almost got her killed for good.
Elder Ouyang was now announcing the next fighters for the fourth round.
“Leng Qiuyue is the first one to be picked…” he read out the ballot aloud.
“Haha, I’ve thought that it is going to be Zhang Gang and Senior Brother Lu again…”
“Same here! What a relief…”
“This is totally unexpected…”
“Finally things are back to normal again…”
“The martial competition isn’t rigged. Zhang Gang is just lucky, that’s all.”
“I wonder who is Senior Sister Qiuyue going to up against?”
Elder Ouyang sheepishly picked up the next ballet as he read aloud, “Kang Xian. Leng Qiuyue versus Kang Xian.”
The delightful crowd was soon gasping with shock. It was not because there was anything wrong with Leng Qiuyue fighting Kang Xian but…
“Does it mean that Zhang Gang is going to fight against Senior Brother Lu Qingyun again?!”
“Is it for real?”
“It is Zhang Gang and Senior Brother Lu all the way…”
“Is the luck of this Zhang Gang really so good? I really can’t believe it…”
“The next round won’t have a comeback ballot anymore…”
“Maybe Zhang Gang will win this martial competition after all…”
“What is his background?”
“This martial competition must be rigged by Zhang Gang!”
“I am so lucky. Heavens must be blessing me. This time round I won’t lose to Lu Qingyun…” Zhang Gang was silently saying. “It must be my destiny to defeat Lu Qingyun and that is why Heavens must be so kind to me…”
Lu Qingyun was shaking his head. He had wanted to fight a strong opponent and not Zhang Gang over and over again. He was thinking bitterly, “Against such a weak opponent like Zhang Gang, how can I show off my sword skills to Keqin and show everyone that I am no longer a good-for-nothing cultivator?”
“Please give me your instructions!” Leng Qiuyue and Kang Xian greeted and exchanged their formalities.
However when the duel started, Kang Xian totally did not have a retaliation chance. He was only a middle-tier third realm expert and he had struggled to reach the fourth round. Moreover his opponents were all weaker than him.
Against Leng Qiuyue who used to be a peaked third realm expert for a long time, her foundation was more solid than him. Moreover, she was now a fourth realm expert now. Their disparities were simply too vast.
Within ten strokes, Leng Qiuyue had thoroughly defeated Kang Xian.
Elder Ouyang promptly announced, “Leng Qiuyue has won!”
“Now for the fight between Senior Brother Lu Qingyun and Zhang Gang…”
Unlike the match that was between Leng Qiuyue and Kang Xian, there were few thunderous claps and instead there were more incessant mutterings.
“Is Zhang Gang going to win Senior Brother Lu this time round?…”
“There is no more comeback ballot…”
“I wonder what will be the outcome this time now?”
“I hope that Senior Brother Qingyun will be able to win…”
“Because he is so handsome and dashing…”
“Please give me your instructions!” Lu Qingyun and Zhang Gang exchanged the usual formalities before they started to brandish their swords.
Zhang Gang said coldly, “This time you’re not to going to win. I’m after all a second realm expert…”
But before he could finish, Lu Qingyun had leapt forward and sent him flying off stage with the same exact sword stroke as the earlier match that they had.
“Senior Brother Lu has won? Just like this?”
“Isn’t this first realm cultivator a little too good?”
“Ahhh! Senior Brother Qingyun is so dashing…the money that I’ve won via him is even more dashing…”
“Senior Brother Qingyun, we love you…you are the best…”
“Why are the female protégés behaving as though he has won the finals?”
“That is because he has reached the finals…win or lose, some of them are going to win a lot of money…”
“And some of us are going to lose a lot of money…”
“You can see some of the elders over there are tearing their hair out…they must have lost quite heavily…”
Elder Ouyang announced weakly, “Senior Brother Lu Qingyun has won the duel…”
Qin Keqin was laughing jovially, “Did you all see that? My Yun’Er is going to the finals now…”
Mu Han was muttering almost incoherently, “In all my years of my life, I have never seen or heard anything like this before…”
Wang Ming was shaking his head, “Me either…”
Yin Shisi had stood up as she said with great delight, “Senior Brother Qingyun is entering the finals now…”
Shi Guanyin was looking at Qin Keqin, Yin Shisi and the others while saying weakly, “What? How come no one seems to be willing to bet on my disciple Qiuyue? She is pretty good.”
Kong Guxin replied weakly, “I am actually with you here. I don’t think Senior Brother Lu will be able to best Leng Qiuyue but…”
He was secretly looking at Qin Keqin, Yin Shisi, Leng Qiuyue, Ouyang Xue and Yun Xing as he thought, “It seems that the ladies do not seem to want Leng Qiuyue to win at all. So I have better kept my mouth shut. The public opinion seems heavily stacked for Lu Qingyun…”
Just as Qin Keqin was laughing jovially, a protégé had hurriedly come to the leadership stand and was breathlessly saying, “Sect leader! Grand Elders! It is really urgent! Something urgent has cropped up at the Heavens Gate…”
Qin Keqin smiled, “Let’s wait until the martial competition is over, alright? Nothing can be more urgent than this.”
But the protégé blurted out, “Our patriarch clan has sent their Heavenly Fragrance Heralds here! We are told that they are to see you now.”
The grand elders had all turned ashen, “What?! The patriarch clan is here?”
Mu Han was muttering, “We are in deep trouble. The patriarch clan must be here to question us about the attack that is on the Solitary Manor…”
Shi Guanyin waved her hand, “What are you waiting for? Quickly invite the Heavenly Fragrance Heralds in. Immediately. Right now!”
“Yes, yes.” The protégé replied as he quickly disappeared from view.
Yun Xing was trembling as she looked at Qin Keqin, “Sect leader, what should we do now?”
Qin Keqin smiled, “There is nothing to worry about. At most, we can simply massacre them when they are here. After all, we have the superior numbers.”
Wang Ming was trembling, “I have heard that the Heavenly Fragrance Heralds are all high level cultivators and they are the core protégés of the Heavenly Fragrance Villa…we will be the one that will be getting massacred instead…”