Early dawn the next day.
When the sun broke through the clouds and shone its light on the Tian Nan City’s general assembly, the entire scene came alive.
The end of the year banquet, was finally about to begin!
This was the brilliant celebration collaboration of the army, the government, and the commercial world. It was a time where the big families competed over natural resources, a press conference for business people announcing new products or business strategies, a platform for the government announcing achievements and new policies, and most of all, it was a dance floor when the youths could display their abilities.
All in all, it was entertaining and lively. For the citizens, not a single one could turn their attention away from the festivities.
The drums and cries filled the air.
Fresh flowers filled the sky.
Countless people began cheering and shouting and whooping as one by one, the big named families began appearing on stage.
A group of mercenaries wearing shiny new gray armor were the most eye-grabbing, with the long swords hanging by their sides. They were each seated on top of their own cyan wolf, each wolf as big and uniform as they were intimidating. The wolf flag flapped in the air, filling the atmosphere with a chill.
“Wolf Fang Mercenary!”
“The Ye clan is here!”
As the person leading the troop was a forty or fifty year old broadly muscled man, clad in a black brocade gown, and hanging on his shoulders, a dark gold cloak. His two eyebrows were bushy and thick, giving people a sense that he seemed angry and intimidating all the time. This person was Ye Xiong, the master of Tian Nan’s Ye clan.
“The Du clan is here as well!”
“Master Du Zhen Tian!”
A few hundred warriors clad in red entered the scene. Du clan was also one of the big name families in Tian Nan City, theirs was the domain of manufacturing army weapons. They had the power and the riches. The younger generations were talented and came in hordes. They were not one to be belittled.
The clan master Du Zhen Tian was a fifty or sixty year old man. He had been navigating Tian Nan City for decades, cultivating the Du clan from a tiny family into a first-rate clan. This was no small matter!
“General Xiong Bing!”
“Nan Guan Yi City Mayor!”
“Alchemist Guild’s Li Chang Yun!”
“Talisman Guild’s Zhang Li Qing!”
Each person who appeared seemed more powerful than the next!
The cheers of thousands of people didn’t seem to stop, and to say the atmosphere was lively was an understatement.
Suddenly, Meng Qing Wu brought the people from the trading company on stage. Other than Meng Qing Wu, there were only two or three people. They looked positively shabby next to the vigorous clans. The juxtaposition was so ludicrously obvious that people began to snidely comment.
“Hahaha, South Cloud Commerce also attended the Summit Meeting?”
“The trading company isn’t even sure about its future, did she come to the summit meeting to embarrass herself?”
“Yeah, the South Cloud Pharmacy is about to go under, South Cloud talismans are about to stop production… it’s a miracle that she was allowed to join the trading company itself!”
A business center that was already unsustainable, that had already descended the ranks of second or third-rate products, that was so poor it almost had to start selling themselves… it was only a matter of time before they had to close up shop.
And they dared attend this grand meeting? It was practically asking to be humiliated!
After the various activities and ceremonies...
The summit meeting was officially about to begin!
As in previous years, the first activity was the Summit Meeting Big Competition!
In a world where instability and violence were the norm, strength was always the most valued asset.
The only factor of whether a clan could survive and thrive, was based entirely on its sufficient and independent ability to take challenges in stride. This kind of competition was to excite the young ones, and acted as a stage for those with abilities raring to be discovered.
Of course, it wasn’t as if one could make a living on reputation. Talent didn’t always have to be put on such prominent display. Every clan rushed to join each year, as if it were their lifeline in the ocean. This was definitely not for the entertainment of the citizens of Tian Nan City. This had a special meaning, and of course, it was the re-partitioning of natural resources.
Tian Nan City was surrounded by an abundance of ownerless forests, ore mines, and efficacious fields.
That which no one claims, is sure to attract the competing ownership of people.
Around a decade ago, in the competition for land, Tian Nan City had been thrown into anarchy. Each big clan participated in open clash and conflict, while smaller families backstabbed and connived. No one was willing to back off, and they didn’t want others to profit. Tens of wars of small and grand scales ensued, resulting in many dead and injured. As the dead bodies piled up, no one benefitted, since the natural resources remained untouched and uncultivated.
People finally realized that competing as such was no less dignifying as eunuchs competing for top place in a brothel. Even if they managed to snatch it, there was no meaning to it, and that only peace begat wealth.
So, what then?
The Summit Meeting’s Big Competition!
Was this not a fair way to re-partition natural resources?
Once a year, everyone had a chance, whether a big clan or a small family. Whoever failed this year, could look forward to the next. It didn’t matter how small the family was, as long as there were one or two youths who had the lucky fortune to become one of those who possessed admirable strength.
Even though the youth being constantly injured during the race was normal, it was better than all-out war raging among all the clans.
In order to circumvent bloodshed, for the youth to have a platform, and for everyone to recognize the latest talents, why not? And so, with the government’s personal notarized acknowledgment, the clans signed a secret deal, making the Summit Meeting’s Big Competition as the platform for re-partitioning of natural resources.
This tradition had been upheld for ten or so years.
Chu Tian was completely oblivious to the secret deals being had.
For Chu Tian, the Summit Meeting was an adrenaline rush, an experience of life… as well as a revenge upon Xue Hen!
Under the guidance of a white haired little old man, Chu Tian and 200 other youth came to a little wooden hut.
Chu Tian had just retrieved his own nameplate when a nettlesome voice drifted into his ear. “Ha, even the lowest of lowlifes are joining the Big Competition... this is really bringing down the quality of it.”
Chu Tian didn’t have to look to see who had spoken. “Well, if some cuckolds from the Ye clan can join, the quality must not be very high to begin with.”
“I know… how can you pretend to be so secure and comfortable?” Ye Han’s eyes flashed with a glimmer of a threat. “You should know your place. Ye clan can kill you without even batting an eyelash.”
Actually, what I want to know is, why are you acting so stuck up?
Chu Tian shrugged his shoulders. “Rotten life, if you want it, take it.”
“Huh, I changed my mind.” Ye Han put on a cruel smile. “I will do it in front of all of the citizens of the Tian Nan. I will tear your bones from your body one by one. It is only through this way that I will let everyone understand, this is the price to pay for offending the Ye clan. I will let everyone understand, that this is the conclusion of you, Chu Tian.”
Chu Tian laughed. “Is that so?”
Ye Han swivelled around to announce to a group of youths behind him. “Listen up! This guy is mine. Anyone who dares beat him in the elimination round, I will personally make sure he’ll regret it.”
Two hundred or so youths received this news with alarm.
He actually announced to all present that others couldn’t beat Chu Tian.
“Don’t worry, I’ll give you a chance,” Chu Tian said, as if he was disengaged from the entire matter. “If you’re done, shoo.”
There was no one present who didn’t have an expression of shock splashed across his face.
There was actually someone in Tian Nan City who could dare to speak to Ye Han like that?
Chu Tian grabbed his own nameplate, striding past Ye Han without paying so much as a glance to Ye Han’s face, which was an ugly shade of ruddy red.
The Big Competition was beginning!
East, west, south, north, central: the five arena stages were all in use at the same time, signifying the beginning of the elimination round.
“There are too many people here!”
“That Chu Tian fellow, which arena is he competing in?”
Meng Ying Ying was like an ant treading in a hot pot, weaving through the crowds in a search for Chu Tian.
Meng Qing Wu was beside her sister, also busy looking for Chu Tian. The two of them were renowned throughout the nation as being outstanding beauties. No matter where they went, they were followed by oily, lust-filled gazes, filling Meng Qing Wu with extreme discomfort.
At this moment...
A judge from the arena closest to them announced into the air: “Center arena, first round, first stage: Ye Han versus Lu Fei!”
Everyone perked up immediately.
“It’s Ye Han!”
“Isn’t that the Young Master Ye?”
“Lu Fei is one of the young talents from a poor and humble family. Looks like this will be an entertaining match!”
“They’re both qualified for the top ranks, and they actually met during the first match. Let’s go watch!”
The two walked up the arena stage.
Ye Han’s face was gleaming with arrogance. “You’re the recently acclaimed Tian Nan City’s Poor Talent?”
Lu Fei was a plain and simple boy, with a straightforward and honest appearance. He politely cupped his hands. “It’s an honor to greet you, Young Master Ye. Not a talent, this is merely the kindness of everyone.”
“Huh, to be knowledgeable of your shortcomings is good. You can leave now.” Ye Han didn’t waste words in sounding arrogant. “You think trash like you is fit to be my opponent?”
Lu Fei’s face flushed red, but he struggled to control it. He was still polite and respectful. “Young Master Ye’s abilities are profoundly above average. Lu Fei knows he is not of your rank, but I still want to try. I hope that the Young Master will allow it.”
A youth from a poor background… tirelessly training until this day… was that easy?
Lu Fei wanted to use this as an opportunity to garner the interest of important people, so that they might invest in him. Who would have thought that he would meet Ye Han in his very first round?
These opportunities didn’t come by so often. If he gave up now… how could he give up now?
“You just don’t know when to quit.”
Ye Han was already pissed off at Chu Tian. And now, how dare this small character dare challenge him? His temper flared up, forcing an energy out of him… peak of sixth level of Body Refinement! Ye Han had already attained the training to reach the peak of the sixth level! Compared to ten days ago, he had once again improved his strength considerably.
“A firefly dare compete with the light of the sun and moon? You really don’t know when to quit. Die!”
Ye Han’s body abruptly released an overwhelming fighting spirit, as if a volcano had suddenly burst, erupting in all its rage and force, completely surrounding Lu Fei. The strong energy pressed down on Lu Fei making him unable to move. He gathered great energy on his right hand and suddenly swung it towards his opponent.
The Ye Secret Technique: Glorious Sweep!
Even the Ye experts had to train until the ninth level before they could master it, but Ye Han was merely at the peak of the sixth level of Body Refinement when he artfully performed it. This palm technique alone showed that Ye Han was above ordinary.
Lu Fei’s face was drained of color, obviously not anticipating the true strength of Ye Han. He immediately shouted, “Young Master, please stop! I surrender!”
How could Lu Fei’s mere fifth level of Body Refinement possibly defend against this?
Glorious Sweep landed square on his chest. It was enough to shatter iron and stone, much less a being made of flesh and bone. The force ripped away Lu Fei’s clothes into tatters, as if a huge fist had pummelled his body- Lu Fei was sent flying out of the arena, fainting as his body landed like a ragdoll.
This hit was enough to break bones and shatter veins. Even if he was lucky enough to live, he would have become a vegetable anyway.
Ye Han dusted off his shirt. “Poor people should not have ambition. You just didn’t know when to quit. People like you should have this kind of consequence.”
Ye Han turned to the masses. “This competition is mine, I have set my mind to it. Whoever tries to stop me, this is the consequence you’ll be facing.”
Everyone’s faces turned gray with fear.
Ye Han was truly strong!
A frail cry interrupted the stony silence.
A little girl in a ragged patchwork dress around ten years old rushed out, leaping towards Lu Fei’s body. She helped her brother sit up. Her dress was quickly stained with a vermillion shade.
“Don’t leave me!”
Lu Fei heard the tender voice and struggled to peel his eyes open. With a shaking hand, he reached out to gently caress his little sister’s cheek. “I’m sorry… Bro… brother has let you down. I have caused you shame.”
The little girl shouted, “No! No! Let’s not join the tournament. Let’s go home!”
Lu Fei struggled to move his head slightly to the left and then to the right, two lines of tears streaming down his face. “Brother was useless… let you down… you… take care of yourself!”
Saying so, his arm landed with a thud on the floor, his two eyes flashing white. His eyes were open, his brain preoccupied with only one thought. If I die, what will happen to my little sister?
TL: Chinese believe that if a person dies with open eyes, it means he or she has unfinished business / cannot rest in peace
The little girl hugging her brother’s corpse burst into tears.
“Brother is dead!
“Brother is dead!”
“If it weren’t to support me and give me a good life, he wouldn’t have joined this stupid tournament!”
“You monster! Devil! Why did you have to kill him!”
The little girl’s eyes poured forth with pure hatred, leaping towards the arena without further thought.
“How dare you!”
Ye Han’s eyes flashed again with a merciless desire to kill. His left hand rolled, a sphere of pure energy materializing in his palm, aimed directly at the little girl.
Translated by: lxnuy & Fatty_Uncle
Edited by: patrick_the_father_of_dragons