The rules of the contest were similar to a point scoring system. A round won was counted as three points while a tie counted as one point, and a loss was zero points. Each division would play in a round-robin manner and the cultivator with the highest number of points would enter the final stage.
Generally speaking, Sect Masters like Liu Han Zhou would not appear at the preliminary rounds in the early stages of the competition. They would only show up for the finals. In other words, only disciples who could enter the final stage would have a chance to appear in front of the elders and Sect Masters and become their direct disciples. Of course, someone like Liu Meng’er who relied on nepotism was a different story.
Although Xiang Han didn’t need to personally head over, this matter… concerned Chen Shu Ze, thus he decided to go over and spectate. However, Chen Shu Ze’s eyes were truly poisonous to be able to see through his disguise at a glance. This time, he decided to conceal himself through his equipment.
However, he was instantly stupefied when he opened his inventory. The next moment, he cursed a ‘f*ck’ in his heart.
[Why are all the clothes so seductive?] Xiang Han felt his head spin.
[Didn’t you say you liked the Ten Thousand Demons Sect? We specifically reminded the gaming department and got these beautiful yet cool animal-inspired equipment with cats, dogs, foxes, rabbits, etc.] Big A replied seriously.
[Do you think cats and dogs are cool?] Xiang Han asked equally seriously.
[Uh… Isn’t there a phoenix too?]
Xiang Han ignored him and casually selected a white-coloured robe that wouldn’t hurt his eye. As a result, the moment he equipped it, there was a ‘woosh’ as a huge pair of silver wings nearly destroyed the room. On his wrists was a cool stream of light.
Xiang Han felt incredible pain in his gut. Once he changed into a different set, nine fluffy tails immediately sprung out from behind him and swayed while a pair of adorable ears appeared on his head. Worst yet, his limbs were exposed, immediately rendering his cold and aloof persona ineffective.
[This must be some f*cking women’s wear, right?] Instead of gut-wrenching pain, Xiang Han felt his whole body hurt.
[Ahem, there are more female players in the Ten Thousand Demon Sect, that’s why they probably misunderstood.] Big A felt extremely awkward.
[Forget it, I’ll keep looking to see if there’s anything I can at least use.] Xiang Han took half a day before he found a relatively normal disguise and went out with an extremely adorable face.
However, in less than three seconds, he sprinted back into his residence as someone chased after him from behind, shouting, “What a daring cat demon! To trespass into our Qing Xuan Sect!”
Xiang Han, drenched in cold sweat, slammed the door shut and hurriedly changed his clothes before he went out once more with a cold face. “What are you making a commotion for?”
The disciple who ran over while brandishing a sword was dumbstruck. He didn’t expect to barge into Elder Liu’s residence and only managed to stammer out a single sentence after a long time. “E-Elder Liu, there was a c-cat demon who barged into your residence…”
The corners of Xiang Han’s lips twitched and he could only give a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “Oh, that cat demon has already been beaten to death. You’ve worked hard, go back.”
“Y-Yes, Elder Liu.” The inner sect disciple swiftly sheathed his sword, but in his panic, did not succeed even after two tries. He simply held his sword and left in embarrassment.
After he left, Xiang Han complained inwardly. [Why does the equipment even have demonic auras?]
[Ah… this…] Big A also didn’t expect this to happen. After thinking about it for a while, he said, [The equipment of “The Immortal Way” can change one’s appearance, increase skills and attributes, and naturally it can also change one’s aura. And… since spirit demon equipment usually has demonic attributes, this situation would inevitably occur. It’s completely normal…]
Normal my ass! Xiang Han’s face was dark. He gave up on disguising himself and headed straight for the competition grounds.
Chen Shu Ze’s cultivation level was only at the fifth rank of the Qi Refining stage, which was a little lacking when placed in a group of cultivators above the sixth rank of the Qi Refining stage. However, he had previously battled with Chu Ming and faced many dangers; he alone fought death no less than ten times. Therefore, he was quite skillful in this aspect of practical combat.
If there was a big gap in cultivation level, the advantage of actual combat skills might not make an obvious difference. However, if the difference in cultivation level was small, it would certainly have an impact. For example, right now, the person competing against Chen Shu Ze was an inner disciple at the seventh rank of the Qi Refining stage. When he first entered the ring, he was obviously a bit careless. After Chen Shu Ze easily avoided several of his attacks, he gradually became anxious.
Chen Shu Ze had been carefully observing his opponent. When he saw the latter reveal his weakness, he immediately seized the moment to execute a sword move and defeated him with one stroke.
Only after falling from the stage did the seventh rank Qi Refining disciple realise that he had lost to a fifth rank Qi Refining disciple. Moreover, this person was also a five- element spirit root trash tier cultivator.
Chen Shu Ze was also somewhat in disbelief as he looked down at the right hand that gripped his sword, his heart growing excited. He had just… defeated a cultivator at the seventh rank of the Qi Refining stage? It was rumoured that Liu Meng’er was also at the seventh rank of the Qi Refining stage. Did this mean that there was a high chance of him succeeding in becoming a direct disciple?
There weren’t many spectators on the first day of the competition. As a result, when Chen Shu Ze looked up, he immediately spotted a familiar figure.
It was Senior Liu!
Joy instantly filled his eyes. When he saw the other turn to leave, he instinctively gave chase.
“S-Senior.” He didn’t think about it when giving chase, but once he caught up, he was instantly filled with shame, not knowing what to say.
Xiang Han slowly turned around and asked loftily, “What’s the matter?”
Chen Shu Ze nervously racked his brains. “Senior, I just won two rounds.”
This caused Xiang Han to freeze for a second before he held back a laugh until his face ached. In this world, the general was really silly and adorable.
He endured for a long time before he squeezed out an ‘oh’ and calmly stated, “Not bad.”
Chen Shu Ze’s expression immediately grew joyful and he couldn’t help asking, “Senior, did you come to watch me compete?”
“That’s right, so you must work hard.” Since he had already been exposed, Xiang Han had no intentions of continuing to conceal himself and thus easily admitted it.
“T-Truly?” Hearing his words, Chen Shu Ze nearly lost his grip on his sword from agitation. Even his speech had become distorted.
Xiang Han nodded in amusement, causing Chen Shu Ze, who was already flushed with excitement, to immediately promise, “Don’t worry, senior, I will definitely work hard.”
“Alright.” Xiang Han left with satisfaction. After returning to his residence, he immediately rolled twice on his bed without a care for his image, then smiled and thought: Chen Shu Ze was really well-behaved and obedient. If only he could always be so obedient.
With Xiang Han’s encouragement, Chen Shu Ze became increasingly courageous in his battles. Apart from the times he encountered cultivators of the 9th and 10th rank of the Qi Refining stage, he didn’t lose much and smoothly entered the final stage.
Chu Ming’s mood was a little complicated. It was clear that he was the protagonist in the book, but Chen Shu Ze… with a tragic life experience + a buried superb aptitude + bypassing ranks and winning against others stronger than himself… Isn’t this clearly the protagonist’s life?
But he quickly comforted himself. It’s okay, things like one’s family background or resources in a cultivation novel were useless. Instead, it was luck and opportunities that mattered more. He was the man who received the ancient inheritance; his accomplishments in the future would be no less than Chen Shu Ze’s.
After the preliminary round of the competition, there was a three day rest period before the next competition. During this time, Chen Shu Ze was shut in his room, researching combat tactics.
The preliminary round was basically a big wave to wash people out. If lucky, you were able to meet some pill-reliant cultivators, people with a high cultivation base but lacking in actual combat. However, in the finals, there were almost no such opportunities, and everyone relied on their own strength.
When Chen Shu Ze wasn’t competing, he would observe other people’s competitions and then replay it in his head over and over again, figuring out ways to deal with them by inserting himself as the one fighting against the enemy. After all, it was hard to improve one’s cultivation base in a short period of time; all he could rely on right now was experience and skills.
Xiang Han couldn’t be of much help either and could only send him some pills. At the same time, he recorded clips of the competition with the system and a technique and gave them to Chen Shu Ze.
After receiving them, Chen Shu Ze was naturally very excited, feeling that Xiang Han was really too kind to him. According to the so-called ‘a teacher for one day is a father for life’, he must be filial in the future.
Ahem, although he hasn’t formally recognised this master yet, Chen Shu Ze had already began to quietly call him so in his heart.
Apart from Chen Shu Ze, Xiang Han also gave Liu Meng’er a clip for her to study, in particular, Chu Ming’s competition. Although he didn’t expect her to win, it would ensure she didn’t lose too badly like she did in the original novel; she would instead violate the regulations of the competition by utilising talismans, which led to elimination.
On the day of the final competition, everyone gathered in the square early, making it very lively.
In a flash, swords flew in from all eight directions and stood in two parallel lines. Immediately afterwards, several elders came in one after another and Xiang Han was naturally the last one.
When Elder Gu saw this, his tone was antagonising as he asked, “Why is Elder Liu late today? I heard that you came to watch the competition as early as a few days ago. Could it be that you were giving preferential treatment to a certain disciple and was held up?”
“Elder Gu must be joking.” Xiang Han didn’t bother about him. After all, this fool was just a stepping stone for the male lead and ended up being not much better than himself.
Elder Gu snorted and no longer spoke.
Chen Shu Ze only saw Xiang Han speaking to Elder Gu with a smile and suddenly felt dazed. This was the first time he saw the other person smile and it was so pretty; like a cloud that had dispersed to reveal the moon, lighting up his whole heart.
But soon, he couldn’t help but be at a loss. He couldn’t help himself from thinking enviously: If only there was a day he could stand side by side with this person.
Like Chen Shu Ze, Chu Ming was also looking at Xiang Han, but his mood was the complete opposite. In his eyes, the Liu family were a bunch of snobs and Liu Han Zhou was a villain. Today, he had to expose the true face of all the people in this family.
As the elders took their place, the Sect Masters soon came. They simply said a few words, then signaled them to begin.
The disciple selection competition wasn’t a life or death match; it stopped once there was a clear winner. If there was too great of a difference in strength, it would usually end within the time it took for a stick of incense to burn1 About 45 minutes. But if their strengths were similar and they were both strong opponents, battles that spanned three days and two nights were commonplace.
The elders had long practised inedia, so it wasn’t a problem for them to sit for two or three years. But the disciples were more troublesome; they could only rely on inedia and qi pills to support themselves.
With the red pills Xiang Han had given him, Chen Shu Ze was full of energy. Unfortunately, Chu Ming was frankly hard-pressed.
- 1About 45 minutes