Chapter 16: A Conspiracy Appears!
Wu Mingliang was not around. Furthermore, practically nobody knew of Xiang Shaoyun challenging him. Not bothering to press the issue further, Xiang Shaoyun invited Xia Liuhui to eat at the restaurant.
Although Xia Liuhui was a slightly unloyal chap, Xiang Shaoyun thought that he had some points that made him good to be around. At the same time, he also wished to understand more about the situation of the outer court.
“Boss, the Purple Lightning Marquis really treats you well! He’s even given you a jade plate to dine here, how truly enviable!” Xia Liuhui spoke enthusiastically. This was the first time he’d set foot into the restaurant, and he felt like he’d truly chosen to follow the correct person. From now on, with such a boss as his backer, he would have very little to fear.
Thinking about all that, Xia Liuhui’s heart was filled with utmost joy. After ordering various dishes, Xiang Shaoyun asked the most pressing question in his heart, “What kind of people are the top 10 outer court disciples? How is the top 10 decided?”
“Boss, you might be unaware of a few things since you have just arrived at the Martial Hall Palace a few days ago. Let me give you a rough rundown of things,” Xia Liuhui replied before he continued, “All of us outer court disciples went through an aptitude test before we were allowed into Martial Hall Palace as disciples. Those who pass the test would then participate in a martial competition with each other. This is also how the top 10 will be decided. Wu Mingliang is ranked fourth, behind Eldest Brother Leng Han, Second Brother Mo Buhui, and Third Sister Mei Lianhua. Speaking of which, Senior Sister Lu Xiaoqing is ranked sixth. Furthermore, she’s also one of our top 10 outer court beauties. Numerous disciples are trying to court her.”
Hearing Xia Liuhui’s careful explanation of the outer court, Xiang Shaoyun gained a general understanding of the situation. Only the top 10 outer court disciples were entitled to hold a jade plate. If others wanted to get ahold of a jade plate, they would have to get a place in the top 10. With a jade plate, they would be able to earn points. Only with said points would they be able to dine anytime they wanted at the restaurant.
Apart from that, Xiang Shaoyun now knew more about the usefulness of the jade plate. Points could also be exchanged for weapons at the Weapon Hall as well as herbs at the Medicine Hall. Basically, so long as one had enough points, one could get almost everything they needed within Martial Hall Palace with the jade plate.
Furthermore, as part of the top 10 outer court disciples, they would have the freedom to go out of Martial Hall Palace. This was the highlight for most outer court disciples. They were all restless youths whose mindsets had yet to mature. Nobody wished to be perpetually stuck cultivating. What a joy it would be if they were able to freely enter and leave Martial Hall Palace as they liked!
“How does one become one of the top 10 outer court disciples?” Xiang Shaoyun asked Xia Liuhui.
“Simple. If you challenge and successfully beat any one of the top 10 disciples, you’ll take over their previous ranking,” Xia Liuhui replied.
“Heh heh, not bad. That top 10 spot is going to be mine soon!” Xiang Shaoyun confidently chuckled.
“Boss, do you not understand even after I’ve repeated myself so many times? All the top 10 outer court disciples are at ninth-stage Basic Realm. You…you’re only at the third stage! Even if you are a heavenly genius, you still wouldn’t be able to beat any of them! Boss, one needs to be realistic when doing things,” Xia Liuhui seriously warned Xiang Shaoyun.
“It’s fine, I know what to do. You just wait to be the glorious sidekick of one of the outer court’s top 10 disciples.” Xiang Shaoyun did not bother explaining himself to Xia Liuhui. Right now, he was not merely at the third stage, but rather at the peak of the sixth stage, with the capability to break through to the seventh stage at any given time. Most importantly, his combat prowess was equal to that of a ninth-stage Basic Realm cultivator.
Outside Martial Hall Palace, at a luxurious mansion where the head of Wu Town resided:
“Greetings, father.” A youth bowed and greeted a middle-aged man.
If Xiang Shaoyun was around, he would’ve definitely noticed that the youth was Wu Mingliang. The middle-aged man was thus naturally his father, Wu Hongxi.
Wu Hongxi seemed no older than forty and was currently at the peak of his life. Not only was he a Transformation Realm expert, he was also the head of Wu Town, holding the topmost position in all of Wu Town.
“Rise.” Upon seeing his beloved son, Wu Hongxi could not help but let out a tender smile. He had seven sons with varying amounts of talent. His seventh son was the one he had the most hopes for. This son, however, was still slightly unruly. This wasn’t a huge matter, though, since it would go away with age.
“Father, why did you call me back here?” Wu Mingliang asked.
“It’s like this. The day before yesterday, I noticed a bright light being emitted from your Martial Hall Palace, one that is similar to the five stars illuminating the sky phenomenon. Do you know who it was that triggered it?” Wu Hongxi asked.
“So father also took notice of that!” Wu Mingliang replied. With a smug expression, he then said, “He’s a new disciple who has just joined Martial Hall Palace, merely at third-stage Basic Realm. I had even thoroughly bullied him yesterday! He’s mere trash.”
“Third-stage Basic Realm? Good, very good!” Wu Hongxi laughed loudly before saying, “Son, do you have any means of luring him out of Martial Hall Palace?”
Wu Mingliang guessed, “Does father wish to make him a servant of our household? Fantastic! He will know what I can do when he becomes our servant.”
Wu Hongxi merely replied, “You do not need to bother about what I intend to do with him. As long as you’re able to lure him out of Martial Hall Palace or get him to leave of his own accord, inform me at once. This matter was ordered by your grandfather; failure will not be tolerated. Do you understand?”
“Grandfather? He actually caught grandfather’s attention? Then I’ll go back to make some arrangements. I hope he isn’t dead yet,” Wu Mingliang said as his tone turned grave.
“What?! He’s going to die?” Wu Hongxi asked, completely shocked.
Wu Mingliang gave a brief recap of what had happened between him and Xiang Shaoyun before proceeding to say, “With his little strength, trying to stay in the first room of the Hall of Limits for even half an hour is difficult, much less a whole hour. I’m afraid he really might have died!”
“He won’t die. How can Martial Hall Palace bear to let a genius of his calibre perish like that?” Wu Hongxi said with certainty after he’d finished listening. Waving his hands, he then said, “You’d best go back quickly. If you’re unable to accomplish it alone, wait for your two elder brothers to come back from their expedition and get them to help.”
“Father can be at ease. Your son will not fail you,” Wu Mingliang replied with absolute confidence.
Three days passed in the blink of an eye. Within those three short days, news of the upcoming match between Xiang Shaoyun and Wu Mingliang at the arena had spread like wildfire throughout Martial Hall Palace.
After another four days, the two would settle their grudges in the sparring arena. Nobody was optimistic for Xiang Shaoyun’s chances, given their preconceived notion of him being a low-leveled Basic Realm cultivator. Everybody thought he was digging his own grave.
In those three days, Xiang Shaoyun constantly cultivated in the Hall of Limits during the day. At night, he would practice his battle techniques in his own courtyard. As such, his cultivation improved by leaps and bounds.
Whenever Xiang Shaoyun meditated, he would circulate his cultivation, causing ripples in the stars within his body. As energy pulsed through him, his 365 acupoints would light up brilliantly like a starry lake, making him seem like a sacred being.
This was something that normally only peak Basic Realm practitioners would be able to achieve. However, Xiang Shaoyun managed to achieve it while he was merely at the peak of the sixth-stage Basic Realm.
Normally, as long as one’s acupoints were full of energy, one would then be able to convert them into astral energy and awaken their natal stars. However, Xiang Shaoyun’s physique was too extraordinary. His natal stars had naturally awakened at birth, so he did not need to take such a step!
This was the benefit of being a monstrous genius. Strength coursed through his meridians like a lake as his acupoints constantly flashed brilliantly. Unable to be suppressed any further, the energy within him burst out.
Seventh-stage Basic Realm! Xiang Shaoyun’s breakthrough took little to no effort at all. With his current strength, breaking through yet another stage would not be an issue at all. However, he chose to yet again suppress the raging energy, choosing to use the remaining time to further consolidate his foundations.