Chapter 543 - Forfeit
While the duo was discussing sword art, everyone outside was panicking.
"Pavilion Master Kang, Zhang shi has already been inside for two hours now. Do you think it is possible that... Elder Hong killed him due to a moment of rage?" Su shi asked anxiously.
It had been two hours since Zhang Xuan entered the chamber, but not only was there no result, there didn't seem to be any movement within as well. No one knew what was going on inside, and a tense atmosphere seemed to fill the room.
"There's no need to worry. Even if they were to quarrel, as long as one side makes a move, the number of blows should appear on the screen... Given that no number has appeared yet, it could only mean that they haven't come to blows yet..." While consoling Su shi, Pavilion Master Kang also frowned in confusion.
Even if Zhang Xuan were to fool about, Elder Hong should possess some self-restraint! After all, how could a person who has already lived for a century possibly lay his hands on a junior in front of so many master teachers?
Besides, as long as one side made a move, a number would surely appear on the screen. Currently, there was no movement whatsoever, as though the duo had fallen into a deep sleep inside the chamber. What was going on?
"Pavilion master, why don't you... go in to take a look?" Ling shi turned to look at him and asked.
It wasn't a solution to be waiting out here for them. If the pavilion master were to take a look, they would at least know what was going on inside.
"Alright!" After a moment of hesitation, Pavilion Master Kang thought that it was reasonable and nodded his head. "You all remain here, I'll go in alone. This way, it'll be easier for me to deal with anything that occurs!"
Su shi and Ling shi nodded their heads. Pavilion Master Kang took in a deep breath, and just as he was about to push the door open and enter, 'jiya!', the door opened, and Zhang Xuan and Elder Hong walked out side by side.
The attire of the both were still tidy and the both of them had a smile on their faces. There didn't seem to be the slightest hostility between them.
Dumbfounded, everyone stared at one another blankly.
In the end, after an entire two hours, the two of you didn't fight at all! If you two aren't going to fight, why don't you all just come out? Aren't you two just wasting our time?
Elder Wu, Elder Bai, and Elder Yun also stared at one another in bewilderment.
Given their experience, they felt that even if the both of them didn't fight, Elder Hong would still be left in an unseemly state. They had never expected the both of them to leave from chamber together with a bright smile on their face.
Did Zhang shi accidentally knock his head on something?
After leaving them in such a tragic state, he actually spared Elder Hong... The trio felt a little doubtful at this situation.
"Elder Hong, this..." Pavilion Master Kang started to ask with a doubtful expression.
"Oh, it's nothing!"
Elder Hong shook his head. He turned to glance at the young man before him, and even until now, the shock and admiration he felt for the latter hadn't faded yet.
He thought that deciphering the flaws of two of his moves would be the limit of this fellow, but after a comprehensive discussion did he realize that the other party's comprehension of cultivation had already reached an unbelievable level. Just a casual pointer from him could induce a qualitative leap in one's strength. The Nine Swords of Scarlet Lotus which he had prided himself on turned out to be full of flaws!
It was a decent technique against ordinary cultivators of his level, but against true experts, it would surely crumble swiftly!
If he were to use this technique to challenge others, he would probably die from the backlash of his own sword art before injuring his opponent.
To die from the backlash of a battle technique he created himself... If word were to spread out, he would become a laughingstock for innumerable years to come. His reputation that he had built up for himself with great difficulty would fall apart immediately.
Knowing this, Elder Hong humbly sought the other party's guidance for two hours, and under the other party's pointers, his comprehension of the sword art improved greatly. If he were given some more time, he was confident he could create an even more perfect and powerful ultimate technique.
"Nothing? Then... what is the result of the selection round?"
Seeing that the other party wasn't willing to speak any further, Pavilion Master Kang could only turn the topic back to the selection round.
"I'll announce the results now!"
Nodding his head, Elder Hong smiled, "These are the results of all of the candidates after my assessment. Luo Xi and Du Hu, having dealt three blows, are in fifth place; Feng Mosheng and Fu Xiaochen, having dealt five blows, are in third place; Jun Ruohuan, having dealt six blows, is in second place. And in first place is... Zhang shi!"
"Zhang shi is in first place?"
"He's in first place again? I thought that they didn't even exchange blows."
Hearing this conclusion, everyone was taken aback.
The results of Jun Ruohuan and the other candidates were clear to the eye of everyone here. On the other hand, not a single number appeared in the midst of Zhang shi's test. How did he end up being placed first?
"I can't accept this!"
Ruohuan gongzi stepped forward. If the other party had shown a result far above his, he would have conceded. But there was clearly no result at all! To declare the other party to be in first place without even competing at all, wasn't this a breach of fairness?
It was just like he had scored 99 marks in an exam. If his rival had scored 100 marks, he would have conceded defeat. But... the other party didn't even take the test at all! On what rights should he be placed first?
"You cannot accept it?" Elder Hong frowned.
"That's right! I managed to comprehend the Nine Swords of Scarlet Lotus to Initiate mastery and traded six blows with Elder... I would like to ask that given that elder has assessed him as the first place, how far has he reached in the comprehension of Nine Swords of Scarlet Lotus? Has he reached Minor Accomplishment?"
At this point, Ruohuan gongzi looked at the young man in the distance and gritted his teeth. "I refuse to believe that you are able to reach Minor Accomplishment in that battle technique within an incense's time... Unless you fight with me now and defeat me with your sword art!"
"Defeat you?" Zhang Xuan shook his head. "Forget it, I don't have an interest in bullying others!"
"Isn't he being too arrogant?"
Hearing those words, the crowd stared at one another.
No matter what, Ruohuan gongzi was a 4-star master teacher, a Transcendent Mortal 4-dan expert. Not to mention, he specialized in swordsmanship as well. Yet, the other party actually said that... he didn't want to bully him!
As a fellow who specialized in wielding spears, aren't you afraid that your teeth might fall off from all that bragging?
"You..." Ruohuan gongzi's face reddened in anger. "If you don't wish to compete with me, so be it. As long as you declare that you have comprehended the Nine Swords of Scarlet Lotus to Minor Accomplishment within an incense's time, I'll admit defeat immediately!"
Master teachers valued trust and honor a lot. If the other party were to lie in front of such a huge crowd, his reputation would definitely drop to the gutters.
Zhang Xuan shook his head. "I didn't even learn a single move from the Nine Swords of Scarlet Lotus so how could I have possibly reached Minor Accomplishment?"
"You didn't learn a single move?"
Not only was Ruohuan gongzi stunned, the crowd was also dumbfounded.
Didn't even learn a single move? Then on what ground was he declared to be in first place on?
Wasn't this bias a little too extreme and obvious?!
Pavilion Master Kang, Su shi, and the others were completely bewildered as well.
They had known Elder Hong for so many years so they knew very well how upright of a person he was. It was impossible for him to take sides for such a matter. But... since Zhang shi didn't learn the technique at all, what right did he have to be in first place?
This was a test that affected one's candidacy for the Master Teacher Tournament! Wasn't this making the matter too lightly?
"Could it be that.. Elder Hong has accepted Zhang shi as his student? In order to allow the other party to join the tournament, he intentionally went easy on the latter?"
"But Elder Hong isn't such a person!"
"But if that isn't the case, why did the both of them remain in the room for more than two hours, and despite the fact that Zhang shi hasn't even learned a single movement, he was declared first place?"
The crowd fell into an uproar.
Zhang shi and Elder Hong initially didn't know one another, but everyone saw the smile on their faces as they left the chamber side by side. No one would believe it if they were to claim that there was nothing between them.
Pavilion Master Kang turned to Elder Hong and asked, "Elder Hong, what's going on?"
All gazes also gathered on Elder Hong, curious to see how he would reply.
"Accept him as my student?"
Hearing everyone's conjecture, Elder Hong's lips twitched.
All of your imaginations sure are wild!
Even if I want to accept him as my student... I need to have the capability to back that up first!
Shaking his head, Elder Hong came clean with everyone. "There's no need for you all to guess any further. I'm the one who wants to acknowledge Zhang shi as my teacher, but he won't agree to it!"
"Acknowledge Zhang shi... as your teacher? And he didn't agree to it?"
"Elder Hong, are you pulling our legs?"
Everyone's mouth was widened large, and a bizarre silence loomed in the hall.
Elder Hong was known to be the number one specialist in terms of battle techniques and cultivation techniques in Myriad Kingdom City. He had created innumerable ultimate techniques that many master teachers cultivate. In fact, it could be said that... at least half of the master teachers at the hall now could be considered as half a student of his.
Yet, such an influential figure actually wished to acknowledge that fellow as his teacher?
If that was the case, then wasn't a half of the people in this hall that fellow's grandstudent?
And... what that shocked them more was that... this fellow actually rejected it...
Are you serious?
"Zhang shi possesses outstanding talent, and his comprehension of cultivation has reached an astounding level that one can do nothing but simply look up to. Even though he didn't learn the Nine Swords of Scarlet Lotus that I created... his understanding of it is so deep that I can't even hope to match up to him. I've sought his guidance for the past two hours and benefited greatly from his teachings!" Elder Hong replied gravely.
"Sought Zhang shi's guidance?"
Everyone stared at one another, and for a moment, their brains were unable to process what was going on.
Didn't you spend ten years creating the Nine Swords of Scarlet Lotus and even reached Major Accomplishment in it? Yet, toward a fellow who only learned it for an incense's time, you sought the other party's guidance... and even benefited greatly from it, wanting to take him as your teacher...
Why does it sound like a huge joke?
Elder Wu, Elder Bai, and the others widened their eyes in shock.
Initially, when they saw the two coming out with smiles, they thought that Zhang Xuan had changed his nature. But from the looks of it now, they were being too naive. It was not that he didn't do anything, but he had captured Elder Hong's heart!
At least they were only injured. On the other hand, Elder Hong... If he were to really acknowledge Zhang shi as his teacher, his reputation and standing would vanish in an instant.
"This test assesses your comprehension of cultivation. Within an incense's time, Ruohuan gongzi managed to trade six blows with me... On the other hand, in the same time period, Zhang shi was able to offer me valuable guidance... Even if he didn't learn the Nine Swords of Scarlet Lotus, my judgement of putting him in first place shouldn't be a problem at all, right?"
Elder Hong stared at Jun Ruohuan coldly.
Ruohuan gongzi's body twitched, and he felt like he would cry at any moment now.
Given Elder Hong's standing, he wouldn't stoop down to the level of lying... In other words, there was a very good chance that what the other party was saying was the truth. He was gleeful at having reached Initiate mastery, thinking that he was a great genius. On the other hand, the other party had managed to understand the technique thoroughly and even became a teacher for the creator of the battle technique...
Where did this monster pop out from?
Could that monster still be considered as a human like that?
It was no wonder the other party said that he didn't want to bully him... For him, who he could only withstand six blows from Elder Hong, to go up against someone who could become a teacher for Elder Hong… that would indeed be a terribly one-sided match!
"Since the results are out, let's proceed on to the next test then!"
Seeing that his student was on the verge of going insane from the mental blows he was suffering, Pavilion Master Kang hurriedly interjected and changed the topic.
"This is the last test for the selection round. It'll be on pointing out flaws in others' cultivation process and offering pointers for improvement..."
But halfway through Pavilion Master Kang's words, a voice suddenly echoed. Turning around, he saw Zhang Xuan looking at him.
"I'll forfeit this round!"