078 - Cloud Stage Heavenly Door
Nine Jade Mountain’s tallest White Magnificent Peak had an arduous and steep topography, a dense forest filled with vines and fog, as well as numerous trails that interweaved each other constantly, making it a confusing and difficult mountain to scale. However, the cloud stage on its peak was level enough, that horses could run on it. It was truly peculiar.
The cloud stage was situated on a peak which was taller than others and was considered a majestic and beautiful spot in Xichuan as well as in the whole Nine Jade. Overall, it was considerably spacious.
Thus, Nine Jade Palace always held large banquets on this peak.
The arch gateway at the cloud stage’s entrance gave the arena an immortal-like atmosphere when coupled with the sea of clouds and old pine trees. Hence, the arch was named ‘Heavenly Door’.
The so-called Heavenly Door competition was to let the disciples enter the White Magnificent Peak and scale the mountain from the bottom on routes they chose themselves, all the way until they entered the Heavenly Door and stepped onto the cloud stage.
Not only did the White Magnificent Peak in itself already possess a complex terrain, but the sect would also set up stages at crucial points. Not only had the participants to compete with each other, but they also had to fight ferocious beasts.
Early that morning, numerous disciples gathered at the base of the White Magnificent Peak.
Among the various peaks of Nine Jade Mountain, White Magnificent Peak was the only one that hadn’t been developed. Besides the summit, there were no buildings whatsoever on the mountain. It was a peak filled with nature.
Also, it was not open to the public on ordinary days due to the danger arising from the layers upon layers of stages on it and the ferocious beasts that roamed all over.
Thus, the Heavenly Door competition could be said to be the only time which the public could access the White Magnificent Peak Even if they weren’t attending, the disciples would come over to take a look.
Moreover, this was ‘the’ Heavenly Door competition we are talking about — Nine Jade Palace’s highest level competition. The ordinary days’ examinations and small competitions were incomparable to this. Who would miss out watching the genuine successor disciples that were normally? Also, it was a grand occasion to be able to personally witness the birth of a new genuine successor disciple!
The latter reason was still the more crucial one. Throughout the successive generations of Heavenly Door competition, there were always dark horses that were previously a nobody and became famous in one go. Although such a situation was gradually getting rarer in recent years, it was still a great motivation to disciple that lacked in their family background.
Shao Zhengyang had arrived at White Magnificent Peak early in the morning, yet he did not walk to the entrance but instead stood on a small hillside not far away.
He sneered coldly as he gazed at the bustling scene of disciples who were animatedly gesturing.
Hoping to become famous in one go? The Heavenly Door competition has long since become but a shadow of its past. The so-called genuine successor disciples places are mostly handed out to a selected few.
Before every Heavenly Door competition, the various factions would have already made a gamble on the placings for genuine successor disciples so by the time the competition started, about seventy to eighty percent of the points to decide placings would have been determined. Only the remaining twenty to thirty percent would be a contest of one’s own strength.
Those who had no background whatsoever would be in for a tough time if they wanted to snatch a placing from those that already had an advantage in terms of background. However, even if one had a good background, they would have to be careful not to fall into others’ schemes and risk making a futile effort.
For example, the Shao Zhengyang three years ago. His partner, who he had allied with before the competition, ditched him at the last moment, causing him to fall out of the top ten and miss the placing of genuine successor disciple by a hair’s breadth.
Thus, he would make sure nothing unplanned happens for today’s Heavenly Door competition. He may have missed the placing by a hair’s breadth the first time, but he sure did not want to do so two consecutive times, otherwise, how was he to have anymore face to continue staying in Nine Jade Palace? These few years, the Jade Terrace line had been constantly suppressed by the Zhou family and they did not have an easy time. If he were to let the genuine successor placing slip out of his fingers again, even if his master wouldn’t make him, he would leave the mountain on his own accord.
Shao Zhengyang made a plan in his mind. On the Willow Woods line side, all parties agreed tacitly to give Gao Xiang a place based on the fact that Zhuo Jiangui was the number one expert in the sect. Furthermore, he did not lack in strength, so he should be able to grasp a placing.
If possible, allying himself with Gao Xiang was a pretty good option. However, the Willow Woods did not answer the letter his master had sent over beforehand. This was expected, as it would go against their principle of not choosing a side if they were to answer the letter. But with all that, it would not be considered going against their principle if they lent a helping hand to Shao Zhengyang if they came across each other mid-competition by coincidence.
As he thought of Gao Xiang, Shao Zhengyang remembered Lu Mingshu. He could still not believe the fact that she had already entered the Harmonization Realm!
It will be bad if they go together, as they will definitely bear the brunt of the Zhou family’s obstruction. But, even without her, the Zhou family will not allow me to reach the top easily. In this case, it’s not a bad option to go together with them, plus it will also signify Gao Xiang being roped into our faction ...
“Isn’t this Senior Brother Shao? Why are you here alone?” A voice traveled over from the side as its owner approached grinning widely.
Shao Zhengyang remained expressionless as he glanced at this person. “So it’s Junior Brother Weng. How can I help you?”
This person was a young master of similar age to Shao Zhengyang. He had a coquettish appearance and sleek hair, coupled with the fan he held in his hand, it gave him a playboy demeanor.
With a wide grin on his face, he swaggered over. “Aye, Senior Shao there’s no need to regard me so formally, there’s nothing wrong with greeting each other with our many years of friendship and all.”
Shao Zhengyang only harrumphed and remained silent.
This Weng Yufan was from the line of Sunset and had entered the sect around the time he did. In the previous Heavenly Door competition, Shao Zhengyang was kicked out of the top ten position because of this line of Sunset, which was a cornerstone of the Zhou family’s faction. Although his competitor from the Sunset line wasn’t Weng Yufan himself, he was one of the competitors Shao Zhengyang had to face.
Shao Zhengyang did not have any intention of chatting with Wen Yufan, for he didn’t think that anything good would come out of having a chat with that fellow. It was impossible for the two to turn hostility into friendship. Does he think two juniors like us can change anything about the factions’ hostility in the sect?
“Ai!” Weng Yufan sighed, “Senior Brother Shao, we are considered fellow sufferers that empathize with each other! In the previous Heavenly Door competition, we went through great trouble only to let others obtain the fruit we so painstakingly tried to obtain.”
Shao Zhengyang remained expressionless. “Isn’t Junior Brother Weng afraid of your line seniors hearing what you’ve just said?”
Weng Yufan only continued fanning the fan in his hands.”So what if they’ve heard? Would they give me the position of the genuine successor disciple if they haven’t heard what I just said?”
Shao Zhengyang squinted his eyes but remained silent.
“Senior Brother Shao.” Weng Yufan leaned a little closer and his eyes shifted towards the disciples that came to watch the competition. “Why don’t we form an alliance?”
When he saw his unchanging, expressionless face, Weng Yufan laughed out loud. “Why? You don’t believe in me?”
“Why should I?”
“Because we share the desire to become a genuine successor disciple.” Weng Yufan fanned himself. “The line of Jade Terrace didn’t have it easy these few years, right?”
Weng Yufan sighed, “To be frank, I haven’t had it easy these few years either! Our Sunset line may be pretty well-off these days, but none of the benefits go to me! There are senior brothers before me and junior sisters after me, so I whois stuck in between isn’t showed care by my father nor love by my mother.”
His ridiculing gaze shifted over to Weng Yufan. “Aren’t you afraid that even if you become a genuine successor disciple through our alliance, you will still be looked down upon by your elders?” No elders would like a disciple that doesn’t listen to orders.
Weng Yufan only rolled his eyeballs. “If I obtain the position it would still be better than letting someone else obtain it.”
“Oh? I wonder who is this someone else Junior Brother Weng is talking about?”
Weng Yufan snapped his fan close and pointed forward. “Aren’t they here now?”
Shao Zhengyang followed the direction of his fan and saw a pair of a boy and a girl walking over side-by-side. The two looked to be about fifteen to sixteen years old. One was mounted on a wolf while the other had a horse mount. They were chatting while galloping over.
Gao Xiang and Lu Mingshu...
Shao Zhengyang’s eyes turned into slits the moment he recognized the two figures.
What is this Weng Yufan trying to imply? It’s impossible to snatch Gao Xiang’s position, for who on earth will want to offend the Willow Woods line. Is he referring to Lu Mingshu? Isn’t this overestimating her ability too much? How can someone that hasn’t left the valley even once for four years and has only broken through to the Harmonize Realm be his opponent? Or, is he trying to sound me out?
Shao Zhengyang could not make out the reason why.
Sorry for the long wait. We will resume posting from today! The release schedule will change to a chapter in 2 days though -- that is 15 chapters a month. Thanks a lot for reading!