Chapter 224 – Lin Ming’s Return
Lin Ming’s plan proceeded as he thought. After Ouyang Dihua died, Ouyang Boyan arrived, and the entire Sky Fortune City was overturned, every nook and cranny searched. However, everyone already had a preconceived idea that the one who killed Ouyang Dihua was a Xiantian realm master; Lin Ming was never considered as a suspect.
Even Bi Luo, who knew that there was hostility between Lin Ming and Ouyang Dihua, had never suspected him in the least. After all, Bi Luo knew that even if it were himself who had set up countless various illusions, he would never be able to silently kill Ouyang Dihua.
Thus, Ouyang Dihua’s death became a lingering mystery. Ouyang Boyan searched day and night, but no matter what he did he wasn’t able to find a single clue.
After ten days passed, the Seven Profound Martial House’s Total Faction Assembly Tournament had already begun….
Heavy snow had been falling on and off in Sky Fortune City for more these last ten days. The large fluffy snowflakes were just like tufts of cotton, thickly sprinkling down and layering upon the floor.
The entire city was blanketed in endless white. Every morning, the government laborers would take to the streets and sweep them clear of snow, but the next day, they would have to begin again, perpetually sweeping.
At the Seven Profound Martial House, the Registration Office deacon, Sun Liang, was buckled down as he fixated on reading a novel. Although it was freezing outside, the room was lit brightly with a brass basin fire. Thick cotton curtains hung on the front door, and the windows were pasted with heavy paper. The entire room was comfortable and warm.
Outside was snow and ice, but inside was just like a warm spring evening. This great atmosphere and comfy feeling was the best environment to read in.
But at this moment, the front door suddenly opened, and a cold wind blew inside. Sun Liang’s interest was disturbed. He looked up, unhappy, and was immediately shocked by what he saw.
This person who came was Lin Ming!
“Junior-apprentice brother Lin? You came back?” Sun Liang quickly placed down his novel, and greeted him with a smile. Sun Liang knew that everyone had a heart, and liked to be flattered.
“Mm. I just finished my adventuring. It’s been almost two months now, so I specifically came to the Registration Office to cancel my record.”
“Junior-apprentice brother Lin is too kind, there was no need to be so polite and especially visit; you could have found someone to pass on a message to me. Junior-apprentice brother Lin came back just in time. You may not know, but the Seven Profound Valley’s Total Faction Assembly Tournament has already begun. These past days, Martial House Master Qin has already begun to select candidates to participate.” As Sun Liang quickly spoke these words, he warmly greeted Lin Ming and graciously poured him a cup of hot tea.
“Mm?” Lin Ming was slightly surprised. As a quasi-core disciple of the Seven Profound Martial House, he naturally knew about the Total Faction Assembly Tournament.
The Seven Profound Valleys set up Seven Profound Martial Houses in the various countries under their control. The first reason was to better control these countries, and the second was to develop talents, and thus increase the overall strength of the Seven Profound Valleys. Every three years, the Total Faction would send out for the most talented Martial House disciples and hold a Martial Meeting.
The Martial Meeting was for all the core disciples of the Martial Houses. Of course, non-core disciples could also participate, as long as they were outstanding talents.
During the Martial Meeting, the core disciples of all the Martial Houses, the talented disciples of the various martial cultivation families, and the geniuses of Seven Profound Valley’s Total Faction would gather to test their mettle in combat.
If they achieved good results, not only would those core disciples be rewarded, but the Martial House Master as well.
The Heaven Opening Pill was an absolute treasure for those peak Houtian realm masters who were trying to attack the Xiantian bottleneck. The materials for the Heaven Opening Pill were difficult to find; the Seven Profound Valleys could only refine a batch every 3 years, and they would only end up with 20 or 30 pills.
Qin Ziya, who had amazing talent and had been with the Seven Profound Martial House for so long, had only obtained one Heaven Opening Pill so far. However, after he took the Heaven Opening Pill, he found that his Zither Heart hadn’t yet reached an exquisite state, so he had failed to make the Xiantian breakthrough.
These past years, Qin Ziya had been roaming the valleys and undergoing deep introspection. Because of this, his Zither Heart had reached the large success stage. Now, he urgently needed a Heaven Opening Pill in order to attempt to break through the Xiantian realm bottleneck.
But the Heaven Opening Pill was only awarded to the first place winner of the Martial Meeting!
Taking first place was easier said than done. The Seven Profound Valleys ruled over 36 countries. In addition to these 36 countries, there were also ancient martial cultivation families, as well as the gifted geniuses of the Total Factions.
However, even if one could not obtain first place, as long as they achieved a good ranking, they would be able to raise their status and gain face; their merits would also be recorded for posterity. Therefore, all the countries’ Martial House Masters would also attend this Martial Meeting, as they all attached a great importance to it.
“I didn’t think the Total Faction Assembly Tournament would begin so soon….”
Lin Ming was thinking about this, when Sun Liang suddenly cried out in surprise, “Junior-apprentice brother Lin…you…your cultivation has already reached the peak of Bone Forging?”
As soon as Sun Liang discovered Lin Ming’s cultivation, his hands trembled and he nearly dropped his teacup. He remembered that the last time Lin Ming had walked in here, he was only at the Altering Muscle stage. Now, after coming back so soon, he had unexpectedly already reached the peak of Bone Forging! This cultivation speed was simply too terrifyingly fast!
Originally, Sun Liang wasn’t very optimistic about Lin Ming going out for an adventure. In his opinion, the experiences he could gain from going adventuring could not compare to the resources that the Seven Profound Martial House provided. But, he had never imagined that after Lin Ming came back, his cultivation had actually increased by a realm and a half!
“Mm. I broke through by luck.” Lin Ming was reluctant to speak more about this issue. He knew that in front of Qin Ziya, he would not be able to conceal his cultivation. Also, it was best not to reveal the fact that he had reached the realm of returning to his origin, otherwise he would find it difficult to explain.
Lucky? How come I don’t have this kind of luck?”
Sun Liang listened to Lin Ming casually toss out an answer, and he had a sudden urge to strangle him. From Altering Muscle to Bone Forging, he had passed a realm and half in less than two months. This luck was really abnormal; it really made one irritated.
“That’s right, when the Seven Profound Decree was handed down, didn’t it state that as long as Junior-apprentice Brother Lin reached the peak of Altering Muscle before 16 years of age, then you will be able to become a core disciple? Won’t Junior-apprentice Brother Lin already be regarded as a core disciple right now? Sun Liang remembered the uproar that the Seven Profound Decree had caused, and his two eyes began to shine.
“Mm. I should be.”
Sun Liang froze for a moment, not knowing how to respond. Although he knew that it was only a matter of time before Lin Ming became a core disciple, he had actually done so today. To Sun Liang, it felt a bit like being in a dream. Lin Ming was so young and he already achieved such incredible results. Before, he thought it was a bit of an exaggeration when others said Lin Ming would become a Seven Profound Envoy. But now it seemed that this was more than likely!
If he broke through to the Xiantian realm, then he would become a Seven Profound Valley Elder.
Sun Liang took a deep breath. He didn’t dare to imagine any further. His respect towards Lin Ming only increased, and he handed Lin Ming a teacup with both hands stretched. “Junior-apprentice Brother Lin’s cultivation speed is beyond amazing. Maybe this time in the Total Faction Martial Meeting, you will be able to enter the top 50.”
Sun Liang wasn’t underestimating Lin Ming when he mentioned the top 50. The truth was, most of the disciples that participated in the Total Faction Martial Meeting were in their late teens or even 20 years old. Their cultivation levels were almost all at the Pulse Condensation period or above. For the 15 year old Lin Ming, this was just too great a deficit. Facing against martial artists like them, he really suffered a loss.
Moreover, there were simply too many disciples participating in the Total Faction Martial Meeting. The Seven Profound Valleys ruled over 36 countries, and there were also over a dozen ancient martial cultivation families, as well as the most gifted disciples of the Total Factions. Altogether, there were around 5 or 6 hundred people. To stand out within such a crowd of genius talents was not easy.
Lin Ming smiled, not denying anything. He took a sip of hot tea and asked, “You said that Martial House Master Qin had begun selecting people, who has he chosen so far?”
Sun Liang said, “Two days ago, Martial House Master Qin and Martial House Master Sun had already convened all the core disciples together to battle in a great qualifying competition. The competition is already more than halfway over, and three people have qualified to enter the Martial Meeting. The last two candidate spots will be decided after the competition’s results are concluded.
“Oh? Which three people were selected?”
“The three disciples that have been chosen are Qin Xingxuan, Zhou Yu, and Liang Long. The other remaining undecideds are Ling Sen, Ta Ku, Zhao Jifeng, and Jiang Bin.”
“Mm? Ling Sen hasn’t been selected in the first group of people?” Lin Ming was somewhat surprised. Although Ling Sen wasn’t a core disciple, his strength had already reached that of Pulse Condensation period martial artists. Even Qin Xingxuan wasn’t necessarily Ling Sen’s match, so how come he wasn’t chosen?
Sun Liang said, “Martial House Master Qin first chose from the five core disciples, and then he began to consider Ling Sen, and Ta Ku.”
So that’s how it was. Lin Ming finally understood. The Seven Profound Valleys Total Faction Assembly Tournament was focused on the core disciples. Normally non-core disciples wouldn’t be allowed to participate. However, these five core disciples probably weren’t up to Qin Ziya’s standards, so he had pulled in Ling Sen and Ta Ku.
Sun Liang proceeded to say, “Junior-apprentice Brother Lin, since you’ve come back you should hurry and see Martial House Mater Qin. He’s currently at the Martial House’s Profound Martial Palace.”
To the Seven Profound Martial House Masters of every country, the Total Faction Martial Meeting that occurred every three years was a very important event. Qin Ziya also took this tournament in complete earnest. He had lent Lin Ming his assistance and helped him so much because he hoped that Lin Ming would be able to shine at the Total Faction Martial Meeting. Of course, now, he didn’t hold much hope this time. After all, Lin Ming was too young, and his cultivation was only at the Altering Muscle stage. No matter how great his talent, it was impossible for him to match against those Pulse Condensation period talents that seemed blessed by the will of the heavens.
The age limit for martial artists to participate in the Total Faction Martial Meeting was 22 years old. Since Lin Ming could participate in two more tournaments, Qin Ziya believed that, with Lin Ming’s talent, he would definitely be able to shine in all his radiant glory at the latter Martial Meetings.
But, before Qin Ziya had the time to carry out his plan, Lin Ming had gone missing.
Qin Ziya suspected the one behind this was Ouyang Dihua, but he had no proof to back his suspicions. However, he had never imagined that Ouyang Dihua would perish half a month ago. Not only did he meet his maker, he had also been killed in a very strange manner; he had actually died within the Headquarters of the Allied Trade association, and the several bodyguards close to him hadn’t even noticed anything strange.
As soon as Ouyang Dihua passed away, Ouyang Boyan had rushed to Sky Fortune City. Now, the whole Sky Fortune City was a complete mess; there was chaos and disorder everywhere, and Qin Ziya was constantly miserable.
At this critical junction, the Total Faction Assembly Tournament was about to begin. Because Sky Fortune Kingdom was a second-grade country, they were able to send out five participants.
The Seven Profound Martial House had altogether 5 core disciples.
However, Qin Ziya was unsatisfied and discontent with the strength of these 5 core disciples. Of those five, only Qin Xingxuan had shown some promise. But, her age was simply too young. He feared that she wouldn’t even reach the top 200.
Therefore, his only option had been to also let Ling Sen and Ta Ku participate. The truth was Qin Ziya did not wish to do this, because if he did, the other countries would laugh at his Sky Fortune Kingdom’s Seven Profound Martial House and say that they didn’t have anyone decent. They would ridicule the fact that outer disciples had been chosen to participate in the Total Faction Martial Meeting and claim that they did so only to fill in numbers.
Although Qin Ziya had an easy going temperament and was usually indifferent, that didn’t mean that he didn’t care about anything. Since he became the Martial House Master, he also shouldered the burden of being a Martial House Master. He didn’t wish to see his Martial House being looked down upon by others.