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Chapter 139 – The Finals

Refining the Mountains and Rivers
    

    Half a month later, the intermediate stage finished. 170 sea spirit teachers were chosen from the 17 great competition zones. They all obtained the qualifications to enter the capital city and participate in the finals. Out of these 170 people, almost every single one was a high level sea spirit teacher possessing formidable strength, and even before they had stepped into the capital city they had already drawn a great deal of attention to themselves.

    As they rode great seabed whales that had been especially arranged for this competition towards the capital city, Chief Manager Wu was currently knocking on the door to a workroom on the seventh floor. He smiled and informed Qin Yu that the competition would soon begin.

    “Mister Ning, please follow me, there is an honored guest that has already been waiting for you for a long time.” Chief Manger Wu waved his hand.

    Entering a studio within Nine Layer Building, Qin Yu could clearly see the purple robes that this person wore as well as the purple card hanging from their waist. He instantly understood their status. This was the highest and strongest existence amongst sea spirit teachers – a Purple Card sea spirit teacher! He had neatly combed silver-like hair and his warm eyes were deep and profound. Although this person was looking Qin Yu up and down, he didn’t feel annoyed at all.

    Chief Manager Wu bowed, “Old Sea, this is Mister Ning.” He turned and said, “Mister Ning, Old Sea is ranked seventh amongst the ten great Purple Cards. He is the Exalted of my Sea Spirit Pavilion. He came especially to explain to you the specific process and details of the competition.”

    This was obviously an excuse.

    Qin Yu sensed that Old Sea’s inquisitive eyes looking over him seemed to hide a bit of excitement. He maintained his composure and cupped his hands together. “Greetings, Old Sea.”

    Old Sea waved his hand. “Although I haven’t seen your strength, I have handled the small-leaf wisteria from the chief guard captain’s manor before. At the time the costs were too high and I had other important matters to handle, so I declined to treat it. Since you cured it, that proves you and I can treat each other as those from the same generation.” He switched the topic, his eyes suddenly lighting up. “I’ve heard that Mister Ning’s background is that of the Skyspirit Sage lineage. I’m wondering if there is any veracity to those claims?”

    Qin Yu’s thoughts raced. He calmly said, “What if it is? And what if it isn’t? In the end aren’t we all sea spirit teachers, and isn’t our goal to treat and cure all sea spirit lives?”

    Old Sea suddenly hopped up in excitement. “Yes, yes, it is exactly like this. You still uphold the most traditional beliefs.” His expression suddenly became much warmer and intimate. He laughed, “Mister Ning might not know, but the reason I can have my current achievements all originates from the Skyspirit Sage lineage.”

    Qin Yu didn’t know what else to say. He had casually made up some stories, but he never thought that there would be such a situation. He decided to not say anything further at all. Since this old man had already decided on his status, then he would simply push him along the way.

    And as Qin Yu thought, Old Sea suddenly slapped his forehead. “I forgot that you can never reveal your status in the outside world. Don’t worry, I vow that I won’t reveal anything about you at all.” He swept his eyes around.

    Chief Manager Wu hurriedly bowed. “Old Sea, don’t worry, I am a very reliable person.”

    Old Sea waved his hand. “It’s fine as long as you understand. Don’t continue being an eyesore and deal with your own business. I will personally entertain Mister Ning myself.” With these words, Qin Yu was thoroughly placed as his equal.

    In the eyes of the common sea race citizens, the ten great Purple Cards were the most powerful existences amongst sea spirit teachers. But, these powerful figures were well aware that there were always lineage inheritances much stronger than themselves. For instance, the Skyspirit Sages. These were legendary fables passed down amongst all sea spirit teachers!

    They sat down in their seats and Old Sea began to jovially speak. “With Mister Ning’s strength, I won’t say too much. I will only caution you about some matters of the competition.”

    Loud and open, Old Sea continued speaking. The originally confusing sea spirit teacher competition began to turn crystal clear in Qin Yu’s mind. The conversation continued for two hours. Qin Yu gained a favorable impression towards this gentle and smiling old man. He could only apologize inwardly for having to deceive him.

    “Alright, if I speak any more I think you might begin to find me tiresome. I also have some matters I need to deal with, so I won’t bother you much longer.” Old Sea took out a jade box. “I heard Little Wu mention that you were looking for soul strengthening treasures. Some time ago, I obtained a 3000 year old sea blue bellvine flower. Consider this a meeting gift.”

    Qin Yu waved his hand. “This is far too precious. I cannot accept it.”

    Old Sea smiled. “Mister Ning shouldn’t be too old. Even if we can speak like contemporaries, I can still be considered on the level of a big brother. If so, how could you reject my gift? If you feel like you are taking advantage of me, then after you win the competition just make sure you can reserve some time to chat with me. During these past years I’ve gained some new experiences, but I find it difficult to speak to anyone about them.”

    He patted Qin Yu’s shoulder and turned to leave.

    Qin Yu glanced at the jade box on the table and wryly smiled. If Old Sea really wanted to have a long discussion with him, then at that time he really might see through his disguise. However, this 3000 year old sea blue bellvine flower was indeed a rare item. He had previously refined one that was 1300 year old and worth 300,000 spirit stones.

    This one…it was worth over 1 million spirit stones at least!

    It was a generous gift.

    Qin Yu placed it in his storage ring, thinking. He knit his eyebrows together, thinking about how he could dispel Old Sea’s thoughts of looking for him for a talk.

    …

    In order to ensure an equal and fair competition, all of the sea spirit teachers coming from far away were given three full days to rest and recover so that the long trips to the capital city wouldn’t affect their condition.

    Three days passed in the blink of an eye. During this time period, 20 luxurious coral buildings were raised up in the grand Prosperity Square in front of the royal palace, an area normally used to hold ceremonies. Giant opulent pearls lit up the space, shining with brilliant splendor. In the competition, there were 170 people who had been selected from the preliminary and intermediate stage. Besides them there were also ten others recommended from various influences – Qin Yu was one of these individuals. Of course, this didn’t leave others unhappy, because if one had the qualifications to be recommended, that meant they had to be at least a famous sea spirit teacher with absolute strength in their domain.

    On the day of the competition, the entire capital city came out. The incredible number of sea race people gathered into a giant torrent that came from all round. The temporarily created grandstand viewing platforms were covered with people and the light of the array formations constantly twisted. The dozens of sea race people responsible for maintaining the array formations started to sweat as they barely managed to keep them running and avoid the fate of the grandstands coming crashing down.

    And these were only the people that were capable of purchasing an admission ticket. There were far more people that couldn’t find a ticket and could only gather outside the square. Luckily, the organizers were already experienced with these. Massive shells dozens of feet wide floated in the air. When the competition started, these shells would activate and broadcast the competition in real time.

    The business-minded individuals had already taken up spots in advance. Various signs dotted the crowds and the merchants rubbed their hands together, ready to gather a tremendous profit today.

    A long caravan of carriages came strolling out from Sea Spirit Pavilion. A massive amount of guards followed as they passed the empty streets towards Prosperity Square.

    Within a luxuriously decorated carriage, Qin Yu sat down cross-legged. Chief Manager Wu sat across from him, a glum and hesitant expression crossing his face. He opened his mouth again and again, and finally said, “Mister Ning, I know that I shouldn’t say anything to affect your condition right now, but if it is possible, I hope that you can gain the qualifications to obtain the Purple Card status.”

    Qin Yu opened his eyes. “What happened?”

    Chief Manager Wu quietly said, “Old Sea went out for business yesterday, but he was ambushed outside the capital city. His injuries are quite heavy.”

    Qin Yu was startled. At the juncture of the finals, Old Sea suddenly suffered a sneak attack. This was clearly related to the competition and the Purple Card. It was no wonder that Chief Manager Wu was so worried. “With Old Sea’s condition, can’t he ask the organizers to refuse any challengers or at least delay them?”

    Chief Manager Wu bitterly smiled. “It’s impossible. The sea spirit baptism ceremony can only be activated at a specific time. After the selection is made, it cannot be changed. In the past, there have also been cases of Purple Card sea spirit teachers being ambushed and then challenged…Old Sea was cautious, but he must have never thought that…” Chief Manager Wu was angry. It was clear that there were more matters related to Old Sea being ambushed.

    Qin Yu fell silent for several breaths of time. He nodded. “I will give my best.”

    Chief Manager Wu cupped his hands together and deeply bowed. “Then, I will have to leave everything to Mister Ning!”

    They drove to the edge of Prosperity Square, and then following a reserved passageway, directly entered within. As a place used to conduct ceremonies, Prosperity Square was incredibly large. The 20 coral buildings only occupied less than half the available area. There were many carriages parked inside, but those that were able to do so were all high ranking people within the capital city.

    For instance, Noble Court Avenue’s Qing Family.

    Three carriages were parked side by side. Although their number was a bit smaller than those around them, the luxuriousness of the carriages was still there, and in the eyes of the onlookers, they exuded a formidable presence. But, only the Qing Family knew that ever since their old ancestor died, their situation had worsened with every year. Those people that used to warmly welcome them now only gave them a light greeting before turning around and doing other things. With the Qing Family members assembled together, they seemed to be gathered by an invisible net of social status, isolated from the circle of top families in the capital city.

    Madame Qing tightly gripped her husband’s hand and maintained her graceful appearance, allowing him to feel a bit better. Even so, he kept his eyes lowered.

    Qingqing stood to the side, seemingly not having yet sensed her family’s troubles. She stood on her tiptoes, aimlessly looking for something.

    Madame Qing’s eyes flashed. She softly said, “Qingqing, is Leon also coming?”

    Qingqing blushed. She looked up at her father and nodded, “Yes, he said that Mister Ning would bring him along today.”

    The Qing Family Patriarch coldly snorted. “Qingqing, you are already a young woman. You should handle your affairs with a bit more discretion. Don’t be so close to those you shouldn’t be near.”

    Madame Qing pulled her husband back. “That’s enough. You know that Qingqing has grown up. She can make her own decisions and it's always good for her to make more friends.” As she spoke, she patted her daughter, “I think I saw the carriages of Sea Spirit Pavilion entering. I know you are bored here, so why don’t you go and look for Leon. Remember to return before the competition ends.”

    Qingqing cheerfully cried out in joy. Then, giving her father a dissatisfied glance, she turned and ran away.

    The Qing Family Patriarch frowned. “Wife, how can you allow your daughter’s temper to continue like this? Not just anyone can be my Qing Family’s son in law.”

    Madame Qing smiled and patted his hand. “You can think of it like this instead. Leon is Mister Ning’s disciple, and if he was brought to this event today, it is clear that he is held in high regard. During this grand competition, there are many people looking forwards to Mister Ning’s performance. If he can pass through the dragon gate then in the future Leon might have a different status from what he is today.”

    The Qing Family Patriarch’s expression changed. “Do you believe that Mister Ning has such a possibility?”

    Madame Qing shook her head. “I’m just a little woman, so how could I understand these things? I just think that Mister Ning has a chance, so why don’t we step back and watch for a while. If he does succeed, then Qingqing being together with Leon will be the same as our Qing Family having a powerful ally outside Noble Court Avenue.”

    Sea Spirit Pavilion’s nine carriages drove into the square and moved into a neat formation. The organizing staff was already respectfully waiting for them and helping them park.

    Leon was the first to leap down from the carriages. He swept his eyes around and was immediately shocked – there were so many people! It was true that there were many people in the capital city but he couldn’t recall a time where so many of them had gathered in the same place. Even though he rode in the very last carriage, those sitting within were also high level sea spirit teachers. As these people stepped down from the carriage they began to identify themselves and chat amongst themselves. Leon scratched his head, a bit awkward and confused for the moment.