Chapter 148: Prelude to the Clans’ Tournament (1)
Lu Qingyun and Qin Keqin were now walking along the street.
The streets were unusually crowded. That was because in recent days, hundreds of celestial clans from the region had all come to New Empyrean City for the upcoming celestial clans’ competition.
There were cultivators in their sect’s attires everywhere and they were mostly moving in their groups.
The buzz of the city was all about the upcoming competition and almost everyone was talking about it, from the young to the old.
“Who do you think will win?”
“Will our city win?”
“New Empyrean City has never won before…”
“The Divine Fragrance Tournament is an important event that is held every thirty years. The female cultivators will have a chance to join the Heavenly Fragrance Villa as a core protégé and at the same time, wondrous cultivation resources will be given out to the competitors at every stage…”
“There are eight major regions in the Heavenly Fragrance Divine Realm and each major region is furthered partitioned into eight counties. New Empyrean City belongs to one of the counties in the northern region…”
“Every region has at least a 1-2 celestial clans that can be considered close to a first tier celestial clan and the number of second tier celestial clans numbered at least a hundred. Our New Empyrean City is represented by the four major powerhouses, the Solitary Manor, the Flying Armament Sect and the Heavens Ridge Villa. At the same time, more than two dozen third tier celestial clans from New Empyrean City will also be participating…”
“The Heavy Moon Sect is the past winner of the Divine Fragrance Tournament. They are probably the most powerful celestial clan in our region…”
“We also have the Alluring Blossoms Palace as a top contester. One of their protégés was picked as a core protégé of the Heavenly Fragrance Villa in the last tournament…”
“There are still the Spirit Sword Manor and the Divine Nine Sect among the top contesters…”
“There are so many cultivators here and many strong opponents. Alas, I should be practicing my skills now instead of roaming the streets.” Lu Qingyun was suddenly lamenting.
“Yun’Er, you are wrong on that.” Qin Keqin chuckled.
“Oh? I am wrong?”
“That’s right. Right now, we aren’t just roaming the streets but we are actually picking up useful information about our opponents on the street. Look at these cultivators over there. Do you know their sects’ secret techniques and profound arts?” Qin Keqin rolled her eyes with a sheepish smile.
“Keqin, you are right. I didn’t think of that.” Lu Qingyun gasped as he started to eavesdrop on the sects’ gossips.
There were plenty of such gossips because everyone was talking about this skill or that.
“The Flying Dragon Claw…”
“The Dancing Legion Sword…”
“The Soul Stealing Fingers…”
“How about the profound arts of the Heavens Ridge Villa? They are currently the top sect in New Empyrean City now.”
“Haha, the Heavens Ridge Villa has no particular strong profound skills. They are a pile of loose sands with no real unique skills…”
Lu Qingyun almost coughed aloud when he had heard that.
After some time he said sheepishly to Qin Keqin, “I think that we are not a popular choice in this Divine Fragrance Tournament.”
Qin Keqin nodded with a smile, “Indeed. So Yun’Er, just do your best and give up when you are unable to defeat your opponent. It isn’t a life and death battle so don’t push yourself so hard.”
Lu Qingyun smiled, “I will…” But he was actually thinking of doing his very best and was eager to show Qin Keqin that he was actually a strong cultivator now.
“Keqin, I will want to be a strong cultivator in the future. I want to be strong enough to protect you. I feel so useless when that old man had hurt Xingyuan and she is still in bed now.” He said woefully.
Qin Keqin nodded lightly when she saw his solemn and woeful expression.
“I am really afraid that the old man will return.” He added. “I am at a loss what to do if he shows up again.”
“Don’t worry. That old man won’t come again. At least not for a while.” Qin Keqin smiled.
Lu Qingyun looked at her curiously, “You have met him already?”
Qin Keqin chuckled, “Indeed and I promise you that you won’t see him for some time.”
“Erm, what did you say to him so that he won’t come anymore?” He asked curiously.
“Oh? I just beat him up. That’s all.” Qin Keqin chuckled.
Lu Qingyun was startled. “That old man is quite formidable…”
Qin Keqin smiled, “But I’m even more formidable. Do you not agree? He is probably lying somewhere and crying in a corner.”
Lu Qingyun slowly nodded. She was a peaked seventh realm expert so naturally the Three-Destinies Old Man may not be her match.
She looked at him with a shy look, “So other than becoming strong enough to protect me in the future, do you have any other ambitions?”
Lu Qingyun laughed heartily, “Yes, I do have one. Don’t laugh at me if I tell you, alright?”
Qin Keqin laughed as she rolled her eyes, “Alright. I’ll promise you.”
“I have a lofty dream of ridding the Nine Celestial Fraternity of the Golden Mask Devil Goddess. As long as she is in control of the three divine realms, the Nine Celestial Fraternity will never be at peace…”
All of a sudden Qin Keqin hummed coldly as she walked away hastily.
“Keqin, wait for me! Did I say anything wrong?”
Lu Qingyun quickly caught hold of her wrist as he said tenderly, “Keqin, I’ll promise you I won’t recklessly lose my life, alright? This is just a lofty ambition and I have not yet reached that stage of challenging the all-powerful Devil Goddess yet.”
Qin Keqin frowned lightly, “You have better forgot about this lofty ambition of yours. Many heroes had tried and failed. Did the Devil Goddess kill your family or something?”
“No…” Lu Qingyun weakly said. “This is for the righteousness of the Nine Celestial Fraternity.”
Qin Keqin smiled coldly, “I don’t want to talk with you anymore!”
“Keqin? What’s wrong?” Lu Qingyun had a perplexed look on his face.
“Alright, I will give up on this lofty ambition?”
“So you are not upset with me?”
Qin Keqin chuckled, “Was I upset earlier?”
Lu Qingyun: …
Soon they had come to a vendor that was selling paintings.
A thin middle-age man was immediately greeting them, “Will you like some paintings? I have the portraits of all the twenty of the city’s top beauties. Will you like to take a look?”
Lu Qingyun frowned, “No thanks…”
But Qin Keqin was smiling behind her curtain veil, “Mm, please show it to me. I have heard that the Sect Leader Qin Keqin of the Heavens Ridge Villa is the top beauty in New Empyrean City. I wonder how she looks like?”
The thin middle-age man was laughing as he took out a scroll, “Look at her portrait! Isn’t she a wondrous beauty? Maiden, I can tell that you are also a beautiful maiden as well. If you hang her portrait on the wall, soon you will become as beautiful as her too!”
Lu Qingyun took a look at the portrait before he growled, “Are you sure this maiden is Qin Keqin? This portrait doesn’t look like her at all. In fact, it is not even one-tenth of her beauty.”
The thin middle-age man calmly smiled, “Of course the real Qin Keqin is much more beautiful. No one can capture her beauty at all.”
Qin Keqin was laughing softly as she said, “Then I want this painting to hang in my hideout. My sisters will be so envious of me when they see this painting every day.”
The thin middle-age man was delighted as he praised her, “Maiden, you really have a good foresight. This portrait happens to be the last and is a hot buy. You are really fortunate to buy the last one.”
Lu Qingyun frowned softly, “Don’t listen to him. He probably has many ‘last one’.”
The thin middle-age man frowned lightly, “It is really the last one.”
Qin Keqin quietly stepped on Lu Qingyun’s foot before she said, “We will have that, don’t worry. Do you have any other paintings?”
The thin middle-age man knew that he had her hooked. Today he was going to earn a huge pile of money and he was not going to let this big spender off.
So he quickly took out more scrolls and cautiously opened up the scrolls with care.
“This is the Great Saintess Xuan Danfeng. She is even prettier than Qin Keqin…”
“This is the Great Saintess Feng Minyue. She is the prettiest…”
Qin Keqin growled softly, “Where is the Great Saintess Fan Yuqin?”
“She isn’t as pretty as these two saintesses. Moreover these two saintesses are the divine rulers of a divine realm. Great Saintess Fan Yuqin isn’t as renowned as them. Moreover, do you not agree that our former divine ruler is actually the prettiest? Hang her on your wall and you will also receive her protection.”
“Oh yes. I have a really rare painting of the Devil Goddess. This is actually her true appearance and you will be surprised…”
The thin middle-age man had proceeded to take out a painting of an old hag with stooped back. “This is the Devil Goddess…”
“No one has ever seen the appearance of the Devil Goddess, how do you know she looks like this?” Qin Keqin interrupted unhappily.
“If she isn’t ugly, why is she wearing a mask?” The thin middle-age man smiled.
Lu Qingyun muttered, “So that is how she looks like. I will buy it then.”
He was suddenly thinking of buying this painting to strengthen his mental resolve to get rid of the Devil Goddess. If he would be known as the hero who would defeat the Devil Goddess then no one would be able to pin-point him as an evil desolate cultivator in the future…
Qin Keqin: …
“I have another one. She is the Nine Celestial Goddess Ye Jing, the most beautiful maiden in the entire Nine Celestial Fraternity…”
Qin Keqin could not bear to listen any longer as she stormed off angrily, “Yun’Er, we are leaving!”
“But…but…I have not brought the painting yet…I really want to buy the painting of the Devil Goddess…” Lu Qingyun stammered after her.
“If you buy anything from him again, I will immediately break off with you!”
Lu Qingyun: ???
“Keqin, what happens?”
“We’re going back to the sect now.”
“Wait for me…”
The thin middle-aged man was stunned. Did he say something wrong?
On the same street, an old man was secretly heaving a soft sigh. He was the Three-Destinies Old Man. This time he was not following Qin Keqin on purpose and he was actually walking in the street when his divine sense had alerted him of her approach.
Therefore he had quickly hid himself from her view and from her divine sense.
It was all too easy for him.
After making sure that it was safe to walk out of his hiding place, he began to walk away. But after a while, he was soon sighing softly to himself with a recent flashback;
After he had taken flight from the tavern, he had suddenly found a scented handkerchief in his robe and was startled.
Judging from the scent and faint aura, he knew that it must have belonged to that Maiden Xuan Xiaofeng. However he was unsure how the handkerchief could have gone inside his robe.
“I must be too drunk and had grabbed her handkerchief by mistake.”
“Since this isn’t mine, I should throw it away.” As he said that the handkerchief was back in his robe again.
“Maybe I should find an opportunity to return it to her…”
“Hmm, she is a seventh realm expert. Interesting. I wonder who she is? I don’t think the name that she gives me is her real name…what an interesting maiden…”