Seeing that Chu Ming hadn’t eaten or drank anything for many days, Chen Shu Ze hesitated for a moment and finally gave him two pills, though he was extremely unwilling. If it were anything else, he would still bear to give it away no matter how rare and precious it was. But these were the pills he had gotten from Senior Liu which he didn’t even dare consume.
Chu Ming was astonished. “Where did you get this from?”
“Just eat it, why are you asking so many questions?” Chen Shu Ze turned back around and resolutely closed his eyes, as if he would regret it if he looked for another second.
Chu Ming quickly swallowed the pills while thinking: Chen Shu Ze is truly the protagonist’s good friend and golden finger, to have pills even under such circumstances.
As time ticked, it was eventually Chen Shu Ze’s seventh competition. He had more losses than wins – if he lost the next round, he would be completely eliminated without a chance to face Liu Meng’er.
At this point, he couldn’t help thinking how great it would be if Liu Meng’er lost. If she did, he would be able to compete with her in the next round. But just as this thought surfaced, he was immediately overwhelmed by guilt.
The competition was a test of one’s cultivation, abilities, and natural attributes. If he allowed his own success to depend on the failure of others, he would have already lost in terms of mentality. If Senior Liu knew what he was thinking, he would definitely be upset.
At present, in Chen Shu Ze’s mind, Xiang Han appeared to be an admirable senior with a good character and high cultivation.
In the final competition, two battles were carried out simultaneously. Just as Chen Shu Ze was immersed in his own thoughts, Liu Meng’er had already won and her next opponent was Chu Ming.
As for Chen Shu Ze, it was also his turn. His opponent was a tenth-ranked cultivator at the Qi Refining stage.
“Brother Zhao, please take care of me,” Chen Shu Ze said seriously and respectfully.
Zhao Jiuyang actually admired him a little, and couldn’t help but sigh in his heart. After all, Chen Shu Ze had a pseudo-spiritual root and could not build a foundation. It would be useless even if he reached the finals.
However, even though he felt admiration, Zhao Jiuyang didn’t show any mercy when it came to the real match. The two people exchanged blows and their swords met with a flash.
Zhao Jiuyang’s admiration grew and he simply withdrew his aura, only challenging him with purely sword moves. Chen Shu Ze didn’t want to take advantage of this, so he also withdrew his aura and battled the other physically.
The two exchanged moves and after hundreds of tricks, there was still no distinction between the winner and the loser.
He and Liu Meng’er competed at the same time, so Xiang Han didn’t know which side to look at for a while. After seeing that the two of them couldn’t wouldn’t produce any outcome for a while, he decided to watch Liu Meng’er’s match. If there were no accidents, Liu Meng’er’s match would end sooner.
Sure enough, Chu Ming wanted to defeat Liu Meng’er with three moves and was extremely ruthless. Liu Meng’er’s cultivation level wasn’t as good as him and her combat experience was lacking compared to him. Naturally, she was not his opponent. Fortunately, she had studied Chu Ming’s moves recently and was able to hold on with great difficulty.
However, Chu Ming refused to allow her to catch her breath. Raising his sword, another extreme move came once more. Liu Meng’er couldn’t react and stood frozen on the spot. Fortunately, Xiang Han used a technique to activate the talisman on her in time.
This talisman was called the golden light talisman, which belonged to the defensive category of talismans and did not have any offensive ability. But when it was used, it would emit ten thousand golden rays in all directions; it was extremely dazzling. It was also used to create an opportunity to escape amidst its defense. However, Xiang Han had made some changes so when he activated it, it released a huge power which shocked the audience.
Suddenly, Chu Ming felt a burst of pressure equivalent to a Golden Core cultivator and his heart froze. He mistakenly thought that Liu Meng’er had used a spiritual artifact. Without thinking, he released all his spiritual force but it was only afterwards did he realise he had used a move that can only be utilised by cultivators in the Foundation Building period.
However, once this move was executed, it was too late to withdraw it. He stood in a daze for an instant before he suddenly shouted and began to make accusations. “You used a Golden Core stage artifact.”
Liu Meng’er was also taken aback. She immediately shook her head, “I did not…”
But the steward next to her interrupted her and asked in a deep voice, “Liu Meng’er, is there any spiritual artifact or talisman on you?”
Liu Meng’er instantly remembered the talisman that Xiang Han had given her and couldn’t help being stunned, but she quickly defended it. “I only have this talisman on me, but I haven’t used it…”
Seeing her confess, Chu Ming heaved a sigh of relief and couldn’t help but feel proud. The steward had an expression of understanding what was going on and he turned around before she was finished, intending to report it to the higher-ups
However, before he could speak, Xiang Han was a step ahead. “The talisman she has on her is the golden light talisman I had given to her. It only has defensive capabilities that would activate when there is a threat to her life.”
His implication was that Chu Ming wanted to kill Liu Meng’er, which was against the rules. As for Liu Meng’er, the talisman auto activating to save her life wasn’t overboard.
A top-grade golden light talisman could be auto activated and from the way it reacted, it certainly was a golden light talisman. The steward was immediately at a loss for words, unsure of what to say.
Chu Ming saw the situation change and returned with a question, “It’s natural to protect one another as people from the same family. But if it were just a defensive talisman, why did this disciple feel a strong pressure?”
Xiang Han glanced at him in amusement. “I poured some of my power into the talisman for the sake of intimidation. However, little friend, your moves earlier… seem to be something only a Foundation Building stage cultivator can use.”
After saying this, he used his peripheral vision to pay attention to Chen Shu Ze’s situation. The match between Chen Shu Ze and Zhao Jiuyang was also coming to an end at this point in time, but no one paid any attention because everyone’s eyes were focused on Liu Meng’er’s situation.
In the end, Chen Shu Ze tried his best, but the result was still a tragedy. It was not a surprise as Zhao Jiuyang was only one step away from the Foundation Building stage. Regardless of technique and skill, he was much better than Chen Shu Ze.
Although Chen Shu Ze was depressed, he couldn’t help but cheer up when he thought that he still had another chance to compete. If Liu Meng’er could beat Chu Ming, she would be able to enter the top ten ranks smoothly. According to the rules, the top 20 ranking cultivators of the final competition could challenge the top ten ranking cultivators once to obtain the qualifications needed to continue the competition.
Thus, when the steward asked Chen Shu Ze who he wanted to challenge, he didn’t hesitate to say, “Senior Sister Liu.”
Chu Ming was startled by Xiang Han’s words and broke out in cold sweat. Once he heard his good friend’s words, his nose almost turned crooked from anger. What did Chen Shu Ze mean? Did he think he had lost? Whose side was he on?
Liu Meng’er was also surprised. She was about to be eliminated, why was there still someone wanting to challenge her?
Chen Shu Ze had just competed with Zhao Jiuyang without restraint. Except for the oppressive aura earlier, he didn’t notice anything else. Seeing that Chu Ming and Liu Meng’er were in a deadlock, he couldn’t help but ask the steward, “What’s the matter? Who won?”
The steward didn’t know what to do with the matter and just said: “Liu Meng’er’s situation is uncertain. If you want to challenge someone, you should choose another person.”
Unexpectedly, Chen Shu Ze shook his head resolutely. “No, I only want to challenge Senior Sister Liu.”
Liu Meng’er had a bitter expression while Chu Ming’s face was green, feeling that Chen Shu Ze was implying he would certainly lose. No, this wasn’t a problem with winning or losing any more, rather… who would be eliminated.
Chu Ming didn’t want to be eliminated. Despite having a good understanding of the plot and knowing that Qing Xuan Sect had some standing in the lower realm, it was actually completely negligible in the higher realm. Thus, although he despised the Qing Xuan Sect, this body still resided in the lower realm and needed to face the messy spiritual energy and scarce resources.
With Chen Shu Ze’s help, he had already found the legendary Immortal Abode written in the book and obtained the ancient sword cultivator’s inheritance, reshaped his spiritual root and refined his sword body. However, among the rare and exotic treasures left by the ancient sword cultivator, too few were suitable for use during the Foundation Building stage. The resources that the Chu family could provide was also limited, so to become a direct disciple of the Qing Xuan Sect’s elders or Sect Master and obtain resources would still be a great help. No matter how tiny a mosquito is, meat is still meat.
Upon seeing that Chen Shu Ze’s side was done, Xiang Han retracted his gaze and continued to ask Chu Ming, “What’s wrong? You have nothing to say?”
“I-I…” Beads of sweat formed on Chu Ming’s forehead.
At this time, if he admitted that he was in the Foundation Building stage, he would have to admit that he had violated the rules and would surely be eliminated. However, if he denied it, it was tacitly acquiescing to having used Foundation Building level artifacts and it was still a violation of the rules and he would be eliminated. Even if he could prove that Liu Meng’er’s golden light talisman was not spontaneously activated, the two would merely be eliminated together and he would still be unable to save himself.
No, perhaps there may be a third possibility. To reach the Foundation Building stage in five years, he could be called a ‘genius’ in the lower realm. He didn’t believe those from the Qing Xuan Sect could stay calm.
With this in mind, he gritted his teeth and steeled his heart to come clean. “That’s right, I’m already in the Foundation Building stage.”
Once he spoke these words, the audience were in an uproar. Even Chen Shu Ze was stunned.
Chu Ming was in the Foundation Building stage? Why would he hide it from him? Weren’t they brothers in life and death?
Thinking that his aptitude was lacking and Chu Ming had a greater potential, he had actually given him many precious pills and spiritual herbs. Suddenly, Chen Shu Ze felt unwell.
Of the many things he had given to the other, a great deal was useless to a Foundation Building stage cultivator, but extremely useful for a Qi Refining stage cultivator. It meant that Chu Ming couldn’t use them at all, but for the sake of concealing this matter, he actually accepted it.
Chen Shu Ze’s feelings were extremely complicated. He suddenly felt that this person whom he had always treated as a brother… didn’t seem to treat him the same.
Chu Ming was unaware of Chen Shu Ze’s thoughts and only cared about the reaction of the people in front of him. After admitting to it, he immediately continued, “But when I participated in the Qi Refining division of the competition, I always suppressed my power. I have never used my strength as a Foundation Building cultivator to compete.”
Xiang Han couldn’t help laughing. “How can you prove it?”
Apart from him, none of the elders or the Sect Master had watched the initial competitions. How could they trust Chu Ming’s words?
However, to reach the Foundation Building stage in just five years truly made one’s heart agitated. For example, Elder Gu.
Hearing Xiang Han’s reply, he immediately spoke up in a mild tone, “Must Elder Liu be so aggressive? As for this little friend, since you are willing to suppress your cultivation and hold back from using this to your advantage, why did you not simply compete in the Foundation Building division?”
Chu Ming was waiting for these words. He looked at Liu Meng’er and mocked, “Because I want to use the same level of cultivation to defeat her. I want to prove to myself and the Liu Family, this is the result of bullying a young and poor person.”
Liu Meng’er was speechless and couldn’t help asking, “What does this have to do with my family? May I ask… How have I offended you in the past?”
Chu Ming nearly vomited blood from anger. It was as if the enemy who had humiliated him for many years had long forgotten who he was.
“Young Lady Liu, don’t tell me you don’t even remember your own fiance?” He asked sarcastically.
Liu Meng’er finally reacted, pointing at him in surprise. “It’s you? No wonder I felt your name was quite familiar…”
Once again, Chu Ming nearly vomited blood. But this couldn’t be blamed on Liu Meng’er. Back then, she didn’t know of this engagement and when she finally knew about it, Chu Ming’s spiritual root had already been destroyed. From learning of her engagement to breaking it, there weren’t many issues. It has been five years since… it wasn’t a surprise she’d forgotten all about him.
However, Chu Ming felt utterly humiliated while Elder Gu gave a low chuckle, turning to Xiang Han to say, “It turned out there was such a backstory, that can’t be blamed on Young Chu, then. Elder Liu, if you ask me, it was your Liu family at fault here.”
Chen Shu Ze couldn’t help frowning when he heard this. When he heard Chu Ming speak of this matter in the past, he had also felt indignant for the other party. Yet today, it was unknown whether it was due to the influence of the matter before or because he felt injustice for Xiang Han, he suddenly felt Chu Ming had gone overboard.
In the first place, it was simply a marriage of convenience without any feelings involved. Why did he have to pressure people at every turn? He too had an engagement with Xiao Yue, but once he knew she liked someone else, didn’t he magnanimously let go? Moreover, he heard that when Liu Meng’er annulled their engagement, she had sent many pills and medical herbs as a token of apology. But Chu Ming was greatly humiliated by it instead.