Chapter 118 – Gathering of Talents
“If Ye Wei can defeat Qi Xiu then that basically means we can contest for one of the top three spots! You are our team’s trump card. Whether we can rank high, all depends on how and when you take the stage. Suffice it to say, the later the better!” Xu He looked at Ye Wei and said.
‘What an interesting kid…’ Xu He mumbled quietly to himself. He wasn’t able to get an accurate impression of Ye Wei because one cannot simply read the Qi attribute of a Supernova users stance, but from the fighting he saw, he knew that Ye Wei was no weaker than Qi Xiu to say the least.
“This tournament is a big event in our province as you all know… Not only will Ning City’s own City Lord be in attendance, but other powers and influential martial families will be there too.”
“If you display enough strength, there is a chance you will be taken in by one of these powers which have influence throughout the whole Qing state! If you are lucky, even the City Lord might recruit you.”
“It’s no exaggeration to say that this tournament will affect your future long after you graduate!” Xu He kept eye contact with everyone and said solemnly. As the vice-principal, there was nothing he could be more proud of than knowing his students would do well when they leave school.
“That’s enough talk for now rest your bodies, and do your best tomorrow!” Xu He waved his hand to dismiss the young cultivators.
“Okay!” Every one of them sounded motivated, and they nodded as they left the hall heading back to their own rooms. They were full of hopes and expectations, and they felt pressured as they knew what happens tomorrow on the martial stage would shape their future.
“Ye Wei. Stay behind!”
The vice-principal caught Ye Wei just before he left. “Ye Wei, judging from that duel what do you think your chances are if you fight Qi Xiu again?” He whispered feeling reluctant and frustrated. Being the eight-star condensed prime Warrior he was, he was used to knowing people’s cultivation level when he saw them. He was embarrassed that he struggled to judge how strong a kid from his school was. Furthermore, the vice-principal was planning to rank the school in top ten; therefore, in order to strategize properly, he would have to know how strong Ye Wei was.
“About that… I am actually not sure. I don’t know how much he was holding back, but I will do my best in any case.” Ye Wei paused then spoke after thinking about it. He didn’t know exactly how strong Qi Xiu was, but at the same time, he didn’t know how powerful he would be under Supernova stance.
“Okay then. When he gets on the platform, you will be up!” Xu He nodded, “Very well. You should go rest. In the earlier match-ups, it would be best for you to hide as much as possible. As our ace, you can not let others know exactly how strong you are if you want us to go far! I would like us to aim for third place!”
Because of obstacles like Galaxy Academy and Zhoutian Sword School, Xu He did not expect South Star to get first or second place.
“Understood!” Ye Wei nodded and went back to his room. His target was not the top three, he wanted to go higher and further, and even his personal tutor, Master Yi, didn’t know how strong Ye Wei actually was.
Whenever Master Yi gave Ye Wei time to rest, he would go to the Glacial Temple and learn what the Glacial Emperor had left behind. Apart from Ye Wei himself, the only being who knew how strong Ye Wei was would be Pu Yuan, the Glacial Emperor’s old disciple.
On a pathway not far away, the Polaris cultivators were on their way back to their palace, and none of them looked pleased.
“Brother Qi Xiu, how strong was Ye Wei?” Ning Yang couldn’t help but ask. In the past Qi Xiu always dealt with his opponents casually and effortlessly. He only ever had to pay more attention to the God’s Seven Children when he fought, but this time, he used two Myst stances in a row and both of them had been countered. This shook the Polaris cultivators’ confidence.
“I really don’t know!” There was a deep glow in Qi Xiu’s eyes, “That kid has hidden his cultivation very well, but I will make sure he is the one who falls tomorrow! I’ll let him see the result of all my hard work!”
Ning Yang could sense that Ye Wei was much more powerful than when he saw him at South Star’s front gate. He was under the impression that Ye Wei was not so far ahead of himself. He was still shocked to find out that even the Warrior he admired since he started school was not able to take Ye Wei down. ‘Even Qi Xiu is concerned about fighting him… But that kid was no older than sixteen!’
At sunset, Cao Ning walked on the floor decorated by orange sunlight and followed Ye Wei’s instruction to meet at the courtyard.
“You’re here?” Ye Wei was seated in the lotus position in the middle of the yard. He nodded smilingly at Cao Ning.
“Wei, why did you want us to meet?”
“Just use the Rolling Stone Punch. Write out the runes, but do not activate the stance!” Ye Wei said forwardly. He did nothing to expel the confusion on Cao Ning’s face.
“Okay!” Cao Ning nodded. Trusting as he was, he immediately started drawing a sequence of runes as he was told to.
The Rolling Stone Punch was an ordinary low-level Spirit stance. For a one-star Warrior like Cao Ning, to only know two stances of this level was something considered an embarrassment; something higher tiered Students would look down on.
That was the pain to be a cultivator from an ordinary background. Even though some of them might be talented and work hard as horses, they would only be as strong as mediocre cultivators from martial families.
“Move that rune three inches to your left!” Ye Wei was focused on the runes in front of Cao Ning, and his smile disappeared as he got in the zone. ‘Precision, efficient… Like Master told me.’
“Yes!” Cao Ning nodded. He was smiling brightly once he realized that Ye Wei seemed to be capable of refining mystic stances. ‘Is he already a Runemaster?! I guess it’s only natural if he is Master Yi’s legacy apprentice…’ Cao Ning wondered what he did in his past life to deserve such a friend.
Cao Ning then moved the rune Ye Wei was pointing at exactly three inches to the side.
All thirty-eight runes shone brighter and vibrated after the one rune was moved. Cao Ning has been practicing this stance for years, and he could clearly feel that the energy flow within was stronger than all the other times he had used this stance. ‘This is peak-level energy! He only moved one rune and made Rolling Stone Punch a peak low-level Spirit stance?’
“Calm your mind; let go of other distractions!” Ye Wei scolded coldly as he could see Cao Ning was not focused from his shaking fingers.
Cao Ning immediately took a deep breath and got rid of the random thoughts as he stabilized his body.
“This rune here. Swap it with the one to its right and move it down four inches!” Ye Wei had a serious look on his face as he pointed at more runes knowing where the flaws were.
Cao Ning carefully moved the runes like he was told, and he could feel the energy flow within the rune sequence was reaching the strength of a forbidden stance.
“And the last one!” Cao Ning was excited and smiling, but Ye Wei’s face remained straight while pointed at the last problematic rune, “Disperse this rune, but be careful. When you do it, all the other runes have to stay exactly how they are!”
To make a rune disappear without affecting the rest of the rune sequence was easier said than done. When Cao Ning made the last rune disappear, all the other runes in the sequence went dim marking the end of a failed attempt.
Cao Ning looked at the dimmed sequence and bit his lips. He was feeling down as he faced the ground. He couldn’t quite believe he failed although he was paying his full attention.
“It’s okay. You did very well; let’s go again!” Ye Wei patted Cao Ning’s shoulder encouraging him.
“Yeah!” Cao Ning rose his head and ground his teeth as he nodded determinedly.
After six more failed attempts and a few more changes, Cao Ning’s Sentient and dantian were exhausted. Finally, he succeeded on his seventh attempt with almost no energy left. With Ye Wei’s help, he was able to make the Rolling Stone Punch a peak mid-level Spirit stance from a simple low-level one.
Because it was a whole level of refinement, this caused cosmic energy to descend from the sky. A milky-white beam of light engulfed Cao Ning nourishing and strengthening his body; it cleansed his Sentient and dantian transforming him at an incredible speed.
When the pillar of light faded, a cracking sound was heard from Cao Ning’s body. He felt the transformation of his body and started laughing hysterically.
“I… I broke through! I just broke through!” Cao Ning said incoherently. His face was as red as a ripe tomato.
With Cao Ning’s level of talent and because he was without any external resources it would have taken him at least one or two years to become a two-star Warrior; therefore, he was extremely grateful for Ye Wei’s help.
“It’s only natural that you get this much cosmic energy. We’ve improved the Rolling Stone Punch to a higher level.” Ye Wei said with a faint smile on his face.
Know that he was running out of time to prepare, Ye Wei started training himself. He channeled his Qi through his meridians while giving tips to Cao Ning regarding the refinement of the Onyx Tortoise stance. The fact that it had greater potential only meant that there was more to be done.
Dawn arrived, and Galaxy Academy’s establishment on the mountain was amongst the first places in the city to see the new day’s sun. Shortly after, drops of golden light eventually illuminated the rest of Ning City.
The flat mountain top became a busy place. The arena was teeming with visitors and groups of different school’s representatives, and all of the passages were stationed with fully armed guards sent by the City Lord. They ensured the safety of the venue during the tournament. Which just confirmed the rumor that the City Lord was going to attend this year’s tournament in person.
Apart from the City Lord, there were other important guests as well, and even someone high up in the Green Army would be here to scout for talent!
After a simple breakfast, Xu He led the fourteen South Star cultivators towards the eighteen martial platforms.