Qin Yu nodded as if it were a matter-of-course. “I only needed a moment to complete the treatment. It was too boring so I decided to take this chance and have a little nap. You should remember that I was ambushed by others just now. I did suffer a minor injury, so I decided I might as well use this time to restore myself.”
Of course, this was all a lie. The reason he hadn’t appeared until now was because he had to wait until night arrived before the little blue lamp was able to be of use. Back at Sea Spirit Pavilion, Leon had once asked him the same question on behalf of customers who urgently needed their sea spirits treated and were left worrying through the day, and Qin Yu had used this response. Now, he was conveniently using it once more.
Leon brightened up as if he knew all this time. He happily said, “I told everyone that teacher must have overslept. I always urge teacher to rest more and earlier so that he doesn’t tire himself out.”
The surrounding Sea Spirit Pavilion cultivators all had strange expressions twisting their faces. Young fellow, is this really the point that you should be focusing on? Why did all of them feel an urge to punch this boy in the face all of a sudden? What, did someone think they were envious? Haha! They weren’t, they weren’t envious at all! Of course they weren’t? Hah, hah…but why did their hearts hurt so much!
Grandmaster Ning, how come you don’t look at us? Whether it is in status or intelligence, we completely crush this boy Leon!
Chief Manager Wu was someone who had survived numerous storms in his life. With his great will and control, he slowly lifted his dropped jaw. After a brief daze, he got back to business. “Ah, that’s right, it’s about time. Mister Ning, how about we hand over the sea spirit first?”
Qin Yu rubbed his forehead. “I’m still a bit groggy from sleeping. How about you ask the committee staff to come over?”
The reality was that they had already arrived, it was just that they were hesitating in approaching. One of these people had crippled two high level sea spirit teachers and the other had beaten up committee member Goodra and cursed him in front of everyone. Both of these fellows were violent and fierce, so who knew whether they would start punching if the result wasn’t good? Approaching too soon was just far too dangerous.
Seeing a smiling Chief Manager Wu beckon him, the staff member whined inwardly. He hurriedly walked over, “Congratulations, it seems that Grandmaster Ning has successfully completed the treatment.”
Chief Manager Wu said with restraint, “The sea spirit is here. I’ll have to trouble you all too inspect it.”
“Of course, of course.” The staff member waved his hand and people immediately received the sea spirit. They placed it on a square jade plate. Countless tiny runes started to shine on its surface, covering the tray and sea spirit in a dim halo of light.
In one of the previous competitions there had been a sea spirit teacher who had used special forbidden medicines to make the sea spirit glow with vitality and cover up any flaws. He had moved onto the next round and achieved decent results. When the truth came out, a storm was set off. Even though the sea spirit teacher involved was heavily punished, he continued proclaiming his innocence and saying he was framed. As a result, the competition committee of that year was only able to passively react and there were even sea spirit teachers who began to call into question the fairness of the competition.
In order to prevent something similar from ever happening again, the competition committee had this custom examination treasure specifically made for this event; it could accurately sense the composition of medicines. While there hadn’t been any sea spirit teachers that had tried to cheat this way in the last few hundred years, it was still preserved as a tradition.
The square jade plate glowed with a gentle light, without any fluctuations. The staff member smiled and said, “There aren’t any problems. Chief manager, you may bring Grandmaster Ning to rest.”
After the staff member left, Chief Manager Wu bitterly smiled. He quietly said, “Mister Ning, you really gave me a fright this time. Please don’t do this to me again in the future.”
Qin Yu nodded, not speaking much. While using the excuse of sleeping was convenient, it seemed to be a bit over-the-line for this situation. And sure enough, as he looked around he could see strange glances directed at him, as well as looks of…awe.
One of the Sea Spirit Pavilion sea spirit teachers that participated in the match suddenly trembled, his beard shaking like a tree in a storm. It looked as if he would fall on his back at any moment. Before this, he had been one of the more obvious and rude people who wouldn’t deign to spare Qin Yu a glance. This old fellow’s strength was decent enough, but his luck was too poor. He ran into a powerful enemy while he competed for a sea spirit and after several back and forths, was severely wounded and had no choice but to withdraw from the competition.
At this time, as he saw Qin Yu walking over, his face paled. He swayed back and forth, pretending as if he had fainted in the chaos. Luckily, someone rushed over and brought him away for treatment. There was just nothing else he could do. He couldn’t afford to offend Qin Yu and he was too ashamed to go over and allow himself to be mocked. He might as well pretend to faint so that he could temporarily avoid the limelight.
Chief Manager Wu walked along, all smiles. His gestures revealed his confidence and joy. But, just after he boarded the carriage with Qin Yu and the door closed behind them, his face darkened and he said, “Grandmaster Ning, are you really not injured?”
Qin Yu shook his head. “I’m fine.” His eyes flashed. “It seems that chief manager already knows what is happening.”
Chief Manager Wu coldly said, “I’m not blind. It looks like someone is eyeing Old Sea’s Purple Card position. What gall!”
Qin Yu remained calm. This wasn’t too hard an assumption to make. He said, “Perhaps you might be able to find something out from those two sea spirit teachers.”
Chief Manager Wu nodded. “I’ve already sent people. There is also the competition committee…hehe, if it weren’t for some deliberate inside arrangement, how could those two people have possibly been lucky enough to be positioned right next to Mister Ning? When I was shouting at them just then, I looked around and locked down a probable target, and I’ve also sent some people to investigate him.”
Qin Yu furrowed his eyebrows together. “Will there be any problems from injuring others? And, what about the sea spirit that was handed back to the staff?”
Chief Manager Wu coldly sneered. “It’s been dealt with. No one will bring up this matter again until the competition is over, and by the time the competition is over, the committee will be useless. If they want to continue any investigation then they need to pass through the doors of my Sea Spirit Pavilion first! As for the sea spirit, I have already left behind a mark on it. I believe they won’t do anything to it, otherwise the reputation of the committee will be completely ruined.”
He hesitated for a moment and then said, “Mister Ning, I won’t hide this from you. The one eyeing Old Sea’s position is likely to be a powerful figure. When I mentioned that the matter of injuring those two had been dealt with, that was because my mistress personally called in from Sega City, otherwise this definitely would have become an issue.”
“Is chief manager saying that I am now in a dangerous position?”
“Yes!” Chief Manager Wu stoically said. “In order for this other party to arrange all of this, who knows just how much time and effort they must have spent. Old Sea has fallen for their trap, now you are the only barrier left in their way. If I was in their position, I would not allow my plans to fail like this. I would decide to remove you from the equation.”
Qin Yu lightly said, “Since chief manager is being so open and honest with me, there must be some methods you have so I can feel peace of mind.”
Chief Manager Wu’s eyes brightened. “That’s right. I ask Mister Ning to rest assured. I guarantee upon my name that no matter who this other party is, they can give up any ideas of harming you.” His eyes hardened. “Many people are curious just what background my Sea Spirit Pavilion has that we can develop to this scale in a mere hundred years. But, they will soon find out.”
A day passed. Out of the 20 sea spirits, seven had been cured. Eventually, 13 sea spirit teachers wearily left their coral houses and handed over their sea spirits.
They were placed back on the altar. The second round of fierce competition began.
In this round, six sea spirits were healed.
The third round was incomparably brutal. Nearly every several breaths of time there was a sea spirit teacher that would spit out blood. The air bubble protecting them would retract around them, forcing them out of the battle.
Finally, almost half of the remaining sea spirit teachers were wounded and the seven sea spirits were brought into coral houses.
In normal times, after three rounds of competition, the 20 people headed to the next round should have been decided. But perhaps because some sea spirit teachers were too heavily wounded or perhaps they had used up too much of their soul force – no matter what the reason was – by the time the third day ended, there were still some sea spirits placed back on the altar.
The reason that the success rate was higher in normal times was because normally speaking, after the 20 sea spirits were taken away and treated, the ones that failed would sell the information related to their sea spirits in the upper circles. As long as one was willing to pay a certain price they could obtain information about the sea spirit they wanted to treat, and thus the success rate of treatment was usually higher after every round.
There were still failures in the third round. This might have been because some sea spirit teachers didn’t manage to buy the information they needed, or perhaps it was because of something else.
The fourth round began.
Even with Qin Yu’s standard, he was still shocked by how ruthless this round was. He thought he was lucky to have been brutal enough to obtain a spot in the first round, otherwise if he were to end up in the fourth round, even he didn’t have full faith he could emerge unscathed.
A sea spirit teacher had an overjoyed expression. Just as he was about to obtain the last sea spirit, his body suddenly tensed up and his eyeballs popped out of his head. He spat a mouthful of blood and fainted to the floor. In that instant he had withstood the wild barrage of over a dozen divine senses. In the crazy onslaught, he was already lucky enough to be able to save his own life.
And this was only an ordinary sight in the brutal battlefield.
High level sea spirit teachers were wounded one after another and were forced to leave. The remaining ones had blood red eyes boiling over with rage. Slowly, the scene began to spiral out of control, leaving the committee staff sweating in panic. If there were severe injuries and casualties, then the next great sea spirit teacher competition would be affected; it might even be cancelled by His Majesty.
At this time, the committee staff quickly responded and offered a solution.
The final sea spirit would be obtained by whoever had the strongest and purest soul force. After debating over it for some time, the panting sea spirit teachers accepted this proposal.
The committee staff urgently borrowed a soul testing treasure from the royal palace and brought it to the square. The remaining sea spirit teachers that could still move all struggled back to test their ability. Even the old sea spirit teacher from Sea Spirit Pavilion that had ‘fainted’ upon seeing Qin Yu suddenly rose up and ran over upon hearing the announcement. As he leapt up from his bed, several caretakers couldn’t help but stare at him with disgusted looks.
In the end, the one who won was a cowardly sea spirit teacher who thought he lacked strength and so hadn’t competed in the brutal fourth round. He managed to win by the tiniest sliver, and looking at his smile that reached his eyes, it could be seen that he was shocked senseless by his victory.
The committee staff had already made an emergency change in the rules. If a fifth round were to occur, then the situation would really spin out of control. This was especially true because they had been forced to borrow a special soul testing treasure and had received a harshly worded reprimand from His Majesty.
Thus, the clearly weak and ordinary sea spirit teacher only used half a day to ‘cure’ the last sea spirit. After careful inspection, the committee staff announced that there weren't any problems with it. As for whether or not there really was a problem, only they knew.
There was a sea spirit teacher who was upset enough that he raised an objection. He had been placed in second during the soul test and had just barely been eliminated. However, what happened was that he was pronounced as trying to sabotage the competition by the committee staff and forcefully expelled, and also banned from competing for the next 30 years. After that, everything calmed down.
At this point, the 20 people advancing to the next round were announced.
Chairman Xu spoke up, his voice echoing through the square. “Right now, we will have the altar make a final judgment upon the 20 sea spirits. The top two competitors will face off against each other to determine just who has the qualifications to challenge for the Purple Card.”
The white jade altar erupted with light.
The 20 trays were all summoned forth, instantly flying from the hands of the committee staff and soaring towards the altar.