Chapter 955 – Like a Rock
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The Heavenly Selection ceremony truly was a very simple process, and also a fast one. As the matches proceeded, each round would halve the number of participants, causing the ceremony to progress even faster. While still early in the day, over half of the selection process had been completed.
The victors had already been decided in many fighting platforms, and were now engaging in fierce competitions according to the districts they were assigned to. On the other hand, the fighting platforms in the vicinity of the Imperial Palace and Heavensguard Pavilion had long since finished the selections for their final candidates, with no one daring to issue any challenges to them.
Xiaode, the Great Western Continent's Second Prince, and the mysterious young man in the bamboo hat stood on their respective platforms.
The demi-human populace gazed with respect and worship at those figures on the platform that, though seemingly lonely, were actually proud.
The most attention was still focused on Xiaode. As the number one expert of the Demi-human race's middle generation, the strength he had exhibited in his matches had been far too frightening. Not even the Vice Commander of the Red River Beast Guard or several demi-human generals had been able to last more than a few exchanges against him.
His victory was completely within expectations.
With Wang Po's entry to the Divine Domain and Xiao Zhang's being wanted by the Great Zhou Imperial Court, Xiaode was now ranked second on the Proclamation of Liberation.
The continent's experts of the Divine Domain naturally would not participate in the Heavenly Selection. The secluded elders of the sects of humanity's south would also not so shamefully request to marry Princess Luoluo, so unless Liang Wangsun himself came or the several high-ranking Divine Generals of the Great Zhou took part, who could defeat Xiaode?
The vast majority of the ordinary people in White Emperor City thought the same.
The one that would be able to marry the princess, endure the baptism of the Wildfire, and become the next White Emperor naturally had to be Xiaode.
Xiaode knew more secrets than the common herd, but he still thought the same.
An expert of the continent required exactly this sort of self-confidence. More importantly, no matter what the Empress thought, no matter what sort of political battle was taking place behind the Heavenly Selection ceremony, since the ceremony was being conducted according to the traditional rules, he could not lose, because no one could defeat him.
He calmly stood on the fighting platform, feeling the gazes surrounding him. He did not lose himself in them, nor was he annoyed.
The other figures on the fighting platforms were just as calm, whether it was the young man in the bamboo hat, the Second Prince of the Great Western Continent, or the other demi-human experts. They were all truly important individuals, so they were used to being the focus of the crowds.
At this moment, they only needed to quietly wait, wait for the last few candidates to appear.
As for whether those candidates would affect them, they didn't care. Those who could fight their way out of so many battles were assuredly not simple people. What sort of people could those distant and impoverished districts produce that could threaten them?
At this moment, a few commoners looked down with curious gazes.
The Imperial Palace and Heavensguard Pavilion were located at the highest point of the city. If one wanted to walk to them, they would need to take the winding roads up the slopes or walk up the Stairway to Heaven that ran down the center of the city.
A thumping sound came from the bottom of the Stairway to Heaven, like the sound of war drums.
The crowd knew that it probably wasn't war drums, because there was still quite some time until dusk, when the Heavenly Selection ceremony would conclude. So what was the sound? Why was it so heavy, but also so exciting that even the Qi of the Wildfire seemed to grow more powerful?
The water around Heavensguard Pavilion suddenly began to ripple. The young man in the bamboo hat quietly watched, seemingly seeing something in the ripples.
The Second Prince of the Great Western Continent watched the dust rise from the bricks in front of the Imperial City and slightly raised his eyebrows in thought.
Xiaode looked in the direction of the Stairway to Heaven, his expression slightly stern as if he had sensed something.
Experts like them had naturally realized long ago that the sound coming from below was not that of war drums, but footsteps.
The problem was, just how many people needed to be walking that the vibrations they made could make the water around Heavensguard Pavilion ripple, make the dust of the bricks in front of the Imperial City stir?
Just how orderly were these people marching that there was no extraneous noise, that it sounded like the beating of war drums?
More and more people were looking down below.
Gradually, those gazes that had been full of respect or adoration towards Xiaode and the Great Western Continent's Second Prince turned into shock.
Many commoners appeared on the Stairway to Heaven. They wore plain and simple clothes, with some of them wearing rather tattered clothes, and all of them exuded a rather foul stench.
They clearly came from the lower city, perhaps even from the riverside district.
The sumptuously-clothed residences of the upper city would definitely have jeered at the tattered clothes of the impoverished folk on any other occasion. As for those noble young ladies with their spice bags, they would definitely have covered their mouth and nose upon smelling the stench of sweat coming from these poor people and regard them with a contemptuous expression. But today, they did not do this, because there were far too many poor people.
The Stairway to Heaven was so packed that it was impossible to count the number of people in the crowd. This subconsciously made them afraid.
The crowd silently walked upward like an encroaching tide, drowning the Stairway to Heaven and flowing towards the Imperial City.
The officials responsible for maintaining order naturally thought of the term 'mass uprising', and their expressions instantly changed. But they immediately realized that this was not the case. Although the impoverished crowd from the lower city had zealous gazes, there was no madness, only reverence and yearning.
Did these commoners want to use the Heavenly Selection ceremony to come to the area in front of the Imperial City that was normally forbidden to them to see the spectacle?
This was also not right, because there was no cowardice or anxiety on the faces of this crowd. On the contrary, they seemed particularly proud.
Crucially, this impoverished crowd did not even glance at the imposing grandeur of the Imperial City. They only looked forward.
At this sight, many important personages of the Demi-human race creased their brows, including the one seated in front of the stone hall at the highest place, Madam Mu.
A minister of the Demi-human Court asked with a gloomy face, "Just what is going on here?"
An official had already gone to inquire when this crowd left the lower city, so the cause was quickly confirmed.
An official reported, "Apparently, they are following a candidate."
The minister asked in surprise, "What sort of person could the lower city produce? Even if there is someone formidable, why would so many people follow him?"
It was quite normal for the common people to follow a victorious candidate to the Imperial City to see the excitement.
But what was abnormal about today was that too many people from the lower city were following this candidate.
And this crowd had a somewhat different mood from the usual.
The impoverished crowd from the lower city did not look at the Imperial City, did not look at Heavensguard Pavilion. They only looked forward.
In front of them was a person.
This person was a very normal bear youth, so composed that he almost seemed dull-witted.
This bear youth wore a clean and simple set of clothes and had an ordinary face, with no distinctive features.
But many important individuals had already noticed that the crowd from the lower city maintained a deliberate distance from this bear youth.
If one were to call that crowd from the lower city a tide, the bear youth was a rock that all sea water retreated from in fear.
This distance might also be symbolizing respect.
The lower city crowd looked towards this bear youth with eyes brimming with respect.
Besides respect, there was also passion and a smear of confusion.
It was like they had suffered such a shock that they even now had not completely shaken it off.
Just what in the world had happened?