Chapter 225 – Start of the Qualifiers
Qin Ziya sighed, “This time we really are short on personnel. The last time, Mu Yin was able to enter the top 100, but now he has already passed 22 years of age, and was accepted into the Total Faction. Qin Xingxuan is still too young; she won’t achieve good results. From here on we can only rely on Ling Sen to fill the gap….”
“Mm. What a pity. If Lin Ming were here, then his current strength might have even surpassed Ta Ku.” The man who spoke to Qin Ziya wore blue-clothes, his white-hair tied up in a bun. He looked like a priest, and he was one of the two Deputy House Masters of the Seven Profound Martial House, Sun Youdao.
Sun Youdao was 45 years old when he stepped into the Houtian realm. Presently, he had already been stuck at the Houtian realm for 70 years. Although his cultivation had reached the peak of Houtian realm, Sun Youdao knew that with his talent, there was no way the Total Faction would bestow upon him a Heaven Opening Pill. In any case, the truth was that giving a Heaven Opening Pill to him would simply be a waste. A Heaven Opening Pill wouldn’t even be enough for him to reach the Xiantian realm.
Because he had already accepted the reality of his life, Sun Youdao had always maintained an upbeat and good mentality of things. He was proper, safe, and after becoming Deputy House Master, never engaged in any needless battles. He also maintained a good relationship with Qin Ziya.
Qin Ziya nodded and said, “It’s likely, but unfortunately, Lin Ming is still missing at this time.”
“If he had really gone out adventuring, then I fear that….” Sun Youdao trailed off. He wasn’t really convinced that Lin Ming had gone out adventuring; it simply made no sense. Not to mention all the enemies that he had managed to make, but even if he had no enemies, the experience of being out adventuring in the world wasn’t necessarily that much better than being in the Seven Profound Martial House, where he could have unlimited use of the seven major killing arrays.
Qin Ziya remained silent.
Sun Youdao sighed and said, “Lin Ming was indeed a good seed. If he had continued to grow, then even though he might not achieve outstanding results at this Total Faction Martial Meeting, he definitely would have been able to get good results. He might not be able to reach the top ten, but he could still have his hopeful aspirations!”
Sun Youdao had just finished speaking, when a sound transmitting talisman burst into flames in the room. Qin Ziya heard the message in the sound transmitting talisman, and instantly shot up.
“What’s going on?” Sun Youdao rarely saw Qin Ziya lose his composure.
“The Martial House Registration Office just sent some news; Lin Ming has come back.”
“Mm?” Sun Youdao was shocked. “This boy, did he really go out adventuring?”
Sun Youdao had just voiced this out when Lin Ming called out from outside the Profound Martial Palace: “Disciple Lin Ming seeks an audience with Martial House Master Qin.”
The doors of the palace were shoved open, and Lin Ming walked forward, bowing. “Martial House Master Qin, Martial House Master Sun.”
This was the blue-clothed old man that Lin Ming had met several months ago; he was the one that had given him the Heavy Profound Soft Spear.
Qin Ziya began giving Lin Ming a once over, examining him from head to toe. His facial expression even changed a few times, eyes widening and blinking, mouth closing and opening. Qin Ziya was usually calm, but this time he was stunned out of his indifferent and tranquil appearance. “Lin Ming, you reached the peak Bone Forging stage!?”
“Yes, a few days ago I encountered a lucky opportunity and made a breakthrough.
Lin Ming said this lightly, but Qin Ziya’s heart was surging with marvel and wonder. When a martial artist found a fortuitous encounter, it was usually followed by danger. The greater the opportunity, the greater the danger. Just what had Lin Ming experienced in his two months outside? Every martial artist had their own secrets, so Qin Ziya didn’t press this issue.
The blue-clothed old man was also stunned, almost to the point of his beard popping up. When Lin Ming was at the Altering Muscle stage, he was able to defeat the Bone Forging stage Zhang Guanyu. Now he was at the Bone Forging stage, a truly terrifying state! He might even reach the top 50 of the Total Faction Assembly Tournament, or if he did well, even the top 30!
Qin Ziya asked, “Lin Ming, did you really go out adventuring these past two months?”
Lin Ming nodded. Naturally, he did not mention the issue of Ouyang Dihua.
Qin Ziya hesitated, and didn’t ask again. He always thought that something seemed off about this. Lin Ming had suddenly gone out adventuring, and then there was the death of Ouyang Dihua….if Lin Ming’s cultivation weren’t so low where it would be impossible to kill Ouyang Dihua, then Qin Ziya might even suspect that he was related to the incident.
“I may have over thought some things.” Since Lin Ming had answered, Qin Ziya didn’t question him any further. What he wanted to know now was the extent of Lin Ming’s strength.
“Lin Ming, according to the Seven Profound Decree, you are now officially a core disciple of my Seven Profound Martial House. Do you know about this Total Faction Martial Meeting?”
Lin Ming nodded in affirmation, “This disciple knows.”
“Good. For this Total Faction Martial Meeting, we are actually short of two people. We originally decided to select from Ling Sen, Ta Ku, Zhao Jifeng, and Jiang Bin. Now, with you, that makes five people from which we can choose two! You rest well tonight. Tomorrow in the morning, the qualifying martial arts contest will begin. This is a good time for you to duel with Ling Sen and Ta Ku, we’ll have you match against those two. If you win, then the Blue Miracle Pill and Body Spiritual Ichor that was promised previously will also be given to you. Incidentally, Ling Sen had also broken through to the Bone Forging stage half a month ago; you should come prepared.”
Although he knew that Lin Ming would definitely take one of the two spots, Qin Ziya still wanted him to participate in the matches. The first reason was to convince the public, and the second reason was because he wanted to know just how strong Lin Ming had become.
“Oh, I know.” Lin Ming knew that this was no accident. Ling Sen had already paused at the peak Altering Muscle stage for a very long time; it was about time that he made a breakthrough.
Lin Ming was looking forward to this match against Ling Sen. Originally Ling Sen was the goal which Lin Ming had been whole-heartedly pursuing with all his passion. But now, that was all in the past.
When news of Lin Ming’s return spread, it was as if it had grown wings, steadily spreading throughout the entire Sky Fortune City.
Most people didn’t have an inkling about anything untoward that happened. They only thought that Lin Ming had really gone out adventuring. There were only a few influential individuals who felt that this was unusual.
Of course, the most shocked one of all had been Bi Luo; Lin Ming was actually still alive!
“This little beast really has the best luck ever!” Bi Luo’s face sank. Because his lasting impression so far was that Ouyang Dihua had died in the hands of a Xiantian master, he did not suspect Lin Ming at all.
“Would he know that other than Ouyang Dihua trying to kill him, there was also me?” As Bi Luo thought this, he became very uneasy. Lin Ming’s rate of growth was simply too quick. In a few years, he might even be able to threaten him.
Bi Luo had thought of telling Ouyang Boyan of the hostility between Ouyang Dihua and Lin Ming, and how they had tried to murder him, but he feared that Ouyang Boyan would fly into a rage and take out his anger on him. As it was, Bi Luo was placed in a dilemma, as if he were walking on eggshells.
The Total Faction Martial Meeting’s qualifying contest was a grand occasion that occurred every three years at the Seven Profound Martial House. The qualifying contest was open to some of the public. As long as one was an aristocrat, had status, or was a disciple of the Seven Profound Martial House, then they could come to observe.
When the first round of core disciples had been chosen, because of the cold weather, the audience was younger and smaller than it was in the past. But this time was different. Now, the entire field was packed with people. Out of them, 90% had come because they heard Lin Ming had returned, and wanted to watch the decisive showdown between Lin Ming and Ling Sen.
In Sky Fortune Kingdom, the two most well-known individuals of the younger generation were Ling Sen and Lin Ming. As for Zhou Yu and Liang Long, they were core disciples of the Martial House, and not many people knew of them. These two originated from the four great martial cultivation families that lived at the edge of Sky Fortune Kingdom. Because they were not people of Sky Fortune Kingdom, most people didn’t care whether they were strong or weak.
Snow was still falling from the sky, but it had greatly lessened from before. The entire Seven Profound Martial House martial stage had been swept clean of snow, and a snow cover was put up to prevent snow from falling around.
Those martial artists with cultivation had no need to fear the cold. But as for those physically weak aristocrats, they wore warm mink silk clothing, drank hot tea on one side and had a burning brazier on the other, so they weren’t feeling the chill either.
Liang Long and Zhou Yu, who had passed the qualifying contest early, were also sitting in the audience as they waited for the start of the matches.
“You think Ling Sen will win or will it be Lin Ming?” Liang Long casually mumbled as he ate pine nuts. In his opinion, the main event of the qualifiers was the showdown between Lin Ming and Ling Sen. As for Zhao Jifeng, Jiang Bin, and Ta Ku, they were a bit less exciting.
Zhou Yu laughed and said, “This is hard to say. When Ling Sen was at the peak of Altering Muscle, he was comparable to a Pulse Condensation period martial artist. As for Lin Ming, when he was at the early Altering Muscle stage, he was able to defeat Zhang Guanyu. Now that both their strengths have increased, this will truly be an absolutely savage and fierce struggle between the two.”
The news of Lin Ming reaching the peak Bone Forging stage hadn’t yet spread. But Zhou Yan had already been informed in advance. Lin Ming was now an official core disciple.
“Jiang Bin and Zhao Jifeng are truly much worse. I’d like to go up on stage and test myself against Lin Ming’s ability.” Liang Long said with a confident grin. He didn’t think his strength was any worse than that of Ling Sen and Lin Ming.
“Mm? The Martial House Master has arrived.” Liang Long put down his pine nuts. At the entrance of the martial stage, a line of people filed in. The one at the front wearing white was Qin Ziya. As the snowflakes fluttered down, none of them touched his body; they simply flew away before getting too close.
Behind Qin Ziya was Martial House Master Sun, and behind him was Lin Ming, Ling Sen, and the rest of the five participants.
Seeing Lin Ming appear, the atmosphere of the entire field began to suddenly boil over. A few months ago, Lin Ming had managed to create miracles over and over again. His accumulated popularity even surpassed that of Qin Xingxuan. To martial artists with commoner backgrounds, his male fans, and his female Linmaniacs, Lin Ming was their absolute idol. He was their rising sun, dazzlingly splendid.
There were many young aristocrat girls who dropped all sense of modesty and bawdily waved at Lin Ming with their handkerchiefs. Due to Lin Ming reappearing after two months of silence, this caused a feeling of intense and infinite anticipation among all the Linmaniacs, like a roiling storm beneath a calm sea.
As the hour approached, more and more people began to arrive on the viewing grounds. Among them was even Bai Jingyun, who had recently left the confines of her home. This had even caused Murong Zi to be surprised. “Big Sister Jingyun, you finally came out! If you stayed in your room any longer then you might start molding.”
Bai Jingyun smiled and said nothing. She inadvertently glanced at the audience, her eyes stopping on Lin Ming for a moment before moving past him.
Bai Jingyun naturally knew of the feud between Ouyang Dihua and Lin Ming. But, common logic and reasoning told her that Ouyang Dihua’s death was committed by a mysterious Xiantian realm master, and had nothing at all to do with Lin Ming. However, she didn’t know why, but somehow she had subconsciously associated Lin Ming with her mysterious Xiantian savior.
“Big Sister Jingyun, who are you looking for?” Murong Zi asked on the side with an impish smile.
“Nothing, I’m just looking around.” Bai Jingyun shook her head and lightly smiled. But, the truth was, her heart wasn’t calm at all.
With a quarter of an hour left until the start of the qualifiers, Crown Prince Yang Lin also appeared. Today, Yang Lin had put on a gown emblazoned with a Kirin. He wore snow boots and straddled a Snow Dragon Horse. He could be described as being in very high-spirits.
When the Crown Prince arrived, there wasn’t an announcement. This was because among those present today, there were many important people; too many to count. There were the heads and elders of large and small aristocratic families, the nobility, marquis, counts, and even two of the Ten Great Generals.
With such a scene, his mere status of a Prince wasn’t as high-profile.