Chapter 33: Graduation Ceremony
Xu Yangyi was sleeping. During Qi Condensation, one still couldn't disregard food and sleep like in Foundation Establishment. He had to rest, as well. In his slumber, he fell into a deep sleep.
On the morning of the next day, his cell phone summoned him to get up. It was the cell phone's preloaded alarm. He hadn't chosen any ringtone since it was rather troublesome.
He whistled as he finished washing up. He wouldn't whistle any other songs, even though during his execution of Sanshui City's graduation exam assignment, he had unconsciously saw saw an auntie dancing in a plaza and had learned Little Apple. Currently, this was what he was whistling.
He used his comb to brush his hair and took out a cigarette. He didn't leave to eat as well, taking several buns and milk, even if it was breakfast. Observing his actions, his mood seemed extremely well. However, if someone was in front of him, they would discover that his smile wasn't a cheery morning spiritedness, a brimming enthusiasm to tackle the dawn of the new day. Rather, it was a kind of indifferent, serene, blood-thirsty smile. It was the kind of smile that would leave others trembling in fear.
Yes, he was very understanding of his own standards. Chu Zhaonan hadn't guessed incorrectly yesterday. He was planning on fighting it out the entire journey!
You enjoy fevered affairs?
A baseless rumor, words like the passing wind?
It doesn't matter. I will make you forever remember this instance!
Since others were being unreasonable to him, then he didn't want to be sensible. He wouldn't stop searching until he found that person. Since they were scared of the lion, then they would clearly have to remember what a lion looked like!
"Creak…" The stone door slowly pulled open. A clamoring raucous suddenly burst in.
"Grandpa, it's so spectacular here!" At the same time, a young girl wearing a T-shirt and jeans pulled on an old man with liver spots covering his face. He was wearing a pair of glasses, and his voice and expression were extremely hearty even though he was an old man. Carrying an excitement as he looked at the already roaring crowd of the Unrivaled Beneath the Heavens Arena, his eyes were nearly set aflame.
The characters of unrivaled beneath the heavens at the top made the people below appear just like ants and crickets. However, these ants and crickets on the contrary had a majesty that lined the arena. It was the kind grandeur like the flourishing of the sky and the boundless borders of open fields, making the crowds of people below even more insignificant.
It wasn't the same as the past several days. Today, in the seating behind this gigantic arena, there were 121 immense stone steles erected!
They were covered in moss and there were some stone steles that even had cracks on them. However, each stone stele had a name written on it, like hooking silver and streaking iron! Among them, half had already turned black, yet the other half was bright red like blood. *
The stone steles were five meters wide and fifteen meters tall. They were set off by the three-meter-tall names on them. Unexpectedly, they exhibited a kind of brilliant prestige. The stone steles were like swords without edge, yet despite their clumsiness, they held an immaculate might.**
"2348th graduation, champion: "Yuyang City's Song Ziwen."
"2393rd graduation, champion: Tianfeng City's Zhao Chun."
"2387th graduation, champion: "Zhaoping City's Wu Chunlai."
"2412th graduation, champion: Fengyi City's Yu Ling'er."
These words seemed to be sections of history, each stele to remind everyone where they were!
The gigantic stone stele were like raised pillars supporting the heavens, silently standing tall beneath the four characters of Unrivaled Beneath the Heavens. At this moment, there were already over ten thousand people seated in the arena stands before the stone steles!
A great majority were dressed in western-style clothing. 80% of people had a computer placed on top of their knees, carrying an extremely expectant expression as they looked at the arena. It appeared to be a chaotic mess, but they were autonomously divided into small groups of several tens to over a hundred people. Everyone held a stack of resources in hand and were in the middle of softly talking with each other.
Although it was quite soft, the sound of over ten thousand people converged together. Already, it shaped a stream of people that immediately had their blood set ablaze as they entered the venue!
Standing on the center of the stage, beneath the immense characters of unrivaled beneath the heavens, was what the crowd of ten thousand were truly focused on!
"What is this? A grave stone?" Sitting on the corner of a flight of steps, in a place where ten-odd people were assembled, it was evident that this was the first time a youth had come. His excited face was flushed red, and he excitedly pointed at the hundred-plus, ten-odd-meter-tall gigantic steles and said.
His voice not yet fallen, an old woman at his side immediately covered his mouth, so scared that her forehead was dotted with a cold sweat: "Grandson… What the heck are you saying?! These are all the previous champions! In those graduation days, who wasn't a heavenly-endowed hero? Only the names that are black are fallen seniors. Of those that are alive, half of them are at the very least Foundation Establishment seniors!"
Hearing the several words of Foundation Establishment senior, the youth jumped in fright and immediately shut his trap.
It wasn't until a good while passed did he pull on the old woman's sleeve: "Grandma… Is that blank stele for the name of this year's champion? So why are there are two? Can't there only be one champion?"
The old woman looked at the two steles, her expression strikingly grave. She nodded and said softly: "Grandson… Remember this well… One of the steles will certainly be carved with the name of this year's champion. However, the other stele needs not to be engraved."
"Because that is Sunnihiliator's stele!"
These words were said with dignified honor and a decisiveness that could cleave through iron. At the same time, a heat radiated in her eyes like fire.
"Sunnihilator?! That thirty-year-old Foundation Establishment Sunnihilator? Is he from Nantong Province?" The youth gasped coldly upon hearing this name. A wisp of unrestrained zealotry climbed his face.
Foundation Establishment, how difficult was it? Didn't China have twenty thousand Foundation Establishment cultivators?
It was claimed a hundred years for Foundation Establishment, but the average was seventy-somewhat years. Yet among this unbroken tranquility, there was a man from Nantong Province that had soared into the heavens! He had seized the championship and cut down the most talented, dashing through the entire journey. He left others to simply wait in his dust! Ultimately...
He attained Foundation Establishment at thirty years of age!
His Foundation Establishment title was called Sunnihilator!
This stele, where Sunnihilator was to be engraved, didn't require a name. That was because it was thirty meters tall and eight meters wide! It towered over all the other inscribed steles! It was as if it was a god disdaining the struggle of heroes.
The province's cultivators had flocked together to sit here. The inscribed steles were like a forest, as if it was a genius looking around. Behind everyone's backs, it was the hero of the current era! However, Sunnihilator's inscribed stele was like a gigantic hand piercing the heavens! It completely eclipsed the splendor of the other inscribed steles!
With great effort, the youth pulled his line of sight away from nameless stele. His complexion was flushed and he asked: "Grandma, then who have we come to see?"
"What have we come to see!" The old woman glared at him: "One one hand, it's to broaden your horizons and let you see what true cultivators are like. On the other hand, besides the Featherwood Guard, Bountiful Treasures Pavilion, CSIB, and Heavens Law in each province, outside of these four major powers, there are also over several tens to a hundred cultivator clans. Our Yao Family is one of them. Heavens Law's graduation is the time when the seedlings converge to finally come out this year to be picked. Which family team hasn't come? If this isn't the time to recruit people, when is?"
"But… how do you know who is awesome? The champion, no, our Yao Family can't even recruit the top thirty."
The old woman laughed at pointed at the inscribed steles: "Take a good look… There isn't only names on the front… What else is there?"
"There isn't only names on the front… What else is there?" On the other side, an old man wearing glasses was talking in kind with his granddaughter.
They were dressed in monotone western-style attire. On their chests, there was a simple, unadorned dragon claw crest. On top of it was the character Ding (丁), representing the cultivation clan they belonged to. He was accompanied by approximately thirty men. All of their gazes looked forward. Not waiting for them respond, the old man said faintly: "Cracks"
"Although we have brought our own testing tools and computers, we need specific numbers. In general, these inscribed steles that have been maintained with the addition of Core Formation spiritual force must be relied on!"
"In case, whoever's potential is above these inscribed steles, then, as the entirety of their strength erupts, they will completely crack all the steles of champions they surpass! If they surpass it by too much, that stone stele…" He sucked in deeply: "Will collapse into ruin."
"Will they be setup again later?" A young girl asked in shock.
"How could that be possible." The old man laughed: "This is a place established by Core Formation masters! A year later after the graduation, without need of anyone to repair it, new steles will automatically be produced. It is merely the cracks will remain. Isn't that why they're worthy of being Core Formation masters… The Featherwood Guard and the others of the Big Three will have the data on these heroes. However, how could our little family have them? Right now, we are here to find out at the very least who has more potential.
"If…" The young girl looked at the tallest stele, Sunnihilator's: "Someone can crack this stele, then…"
The stone stele was bright and clean without blemish. Like ivory jade, its entire body didn't have a single trace of a crack. It wasn't like some stone steles that were covered in spider-web fractures.
The old man laughed and stroked the young girl's head: "Do you know… what boundary Sunnihilator is at now?"
The young girl shook her head.
"The Great Circle of Foundation Establishment." A wisp of burning envy surfaced on the old man's face, yet he carried an extreme agony in his voice: "He is only a step away from the door… to becoming a Core Formation master… The same as that old fox you saw at the Triumphant Virtue Plaza…"
"However, Vermillion Snow is two hundred and seventy odd years old… Sunnihilator… is only a 120 in age." He didn't continue to speak. The implication was already strikingly evident. How could there a person who could surpass such a man?
The young girl gasped coldly. She pursed her lips and spoke no longer.
"Oh? Old Ding? You're not closed up in death seclusion? Didn't you say you wouldn't come out until you assailed Foundation Establishment, so why have you come out now?" At this time, a youth appearing to be twenty years old cupped his hands and laughed. He was simply without the impulses of a young twenty-year-old youth, but was rather serene like a lake.
On his chest, there was the crest of a petal. On top of it was the character Bai (白), awe-inspiring to the eye. Behind him, there was a squadron of fifty-odd people. It couldn't be called large, but in the same vein, it couldn't be said to be small.
"Foundation Establishment is without hope, hehe." Old Ding laughed and cupped his hands: "Little old decrepit me is already ninety two years old this year. In approximately another five to six years, I'll probably be buried. Heavens Law's graduation is a grand affair that happens once every five years and also a time for the Ding Family to seek some chances. We don't dare to think of the top twenty, but if someone in the thirties fancies the setting sun of our Ding Family, our journey would not have been in vain."
"Wouldn't it be better for us to sit down together?"
"Of course, please."
As Xu Yangyi walked out, there was already a sum of over ten thousand people that were present. The sudden eruption of sound that followed as the stone door opened made his eyes slightly narrow.
"Door number ten, assemble his information." In the wake of his emergence, quite a few people issued these words from the origin of the cacophony of the Unrivaled Beneath the Heavens Arena. It brought a surge of minor tides once again.
Here… Every student were potential prospects!
It was here that prosperity gathered beneath the heavens. All had come for them. It was here that chaos grew beneath the heavens. All had stayed for them!
"Physical strength: A, Spiritual strength: A, Speed: A, Reactions: A, Endurance…" A woman with a crest of a maggot on her chest with the character Li (李) on it immediately aimed the side of her computer webcam towards Xu Yangyi. In less than a second, his file appeared on the computer. She merely glanced at it and her eyes suddenly glimmered. Her voice hitched up by a degree: "Also A!"
"An A5 student!"
She instantly stood up in shock, facing behind her and forced down her excitement and said: "Ancestor… An A5 student! This person is an A5 student! Yuyang City's branch gave a five division assessment of all As!"
There were twenty-odd people in her surroundings. All of them were dressed in western-style attire. Upon hearing these words, they felt their hearts palpitate and all of them looked behind.
"Shadow and investigate him!" Behind, there was an approximately ten-year-old boy. Originally, he was licking a lollipop, but once he heard these words, he promptly chewed down on the sweet with a crack. He said heavily with excitement: "The fluctuations between A and A are extremely great! A fist strength of a peak heavyweight boxer can achieve around 200 kilograms of force! 1600 kilograms of force is A. 2000 kilograms of force is also A! I want his data in detail!"
* 银钩铁划 - hooking silver and streaking iron. Apparently, these words were first used in a Jin Yong novel? It is meant to describe very flourishing, energetic calligraphy.
** 石碑无锋，大巧不工 another Jin Yong reference I believe. I had a little trouble understanding this. From what I think it means, it refers to an idea of a sword that doesn't need a tip. Even if it looks like bad, it in itself contains a powerful essence in the hands of a master.