There were a few clouds occasionally floating in the blue sky.
More than 10 kilometers away from Qinlingjun City, there was a manor with a large field. Different from an ordinary manor, this manor had several buildings. Moreover, the layout and design of the manor were similar to the parade's drill ground, with several hundred stone stoves displayed in the vast open space.
Indeed, there were several hundred stone stoves. Standing amid the thick crowds, Junior Leopard saw the present situation through the narrow space, reminding him of the scene when he viewed the Olympics opening ceremony in modern society.
Even though the multitude of stone stoves was numerous, they were composed into a square matrix, arranged in order. At the side of every stove, there was a stone table offering a piece of raw material, a hammer and other tools for forging and smelting. This was the first arena of the Selection Contest.
At the north of the square matrix was a stone table, like the platform of the drill ground, on which was placed a row of 19 red chairs. Junior Leopard knew that the 19 chairs had been prepared for the Wu's patriarch, 17 Elders and a remaining seat for the guest of Tian Long Mystic Mountain.
The Wu's had an inextricable relationship with the Tian Long Mystic Mountain. Therefore, the Wu's would invite the expert of the Tian Long Taoism to view the Selection Contest. To outsiders, the Wu's was wealthy and powerful. However, to Tian Long Taoism, it was just one of their peripheral influence affiliates. It meant nothing to them that the Wu's only had an Elder with Level Seven cultivation. But for their satisfaction with the tribute that Wu Family paid each year, they would not condescend to attend the contest.
Yet even so, in the past the Wu's only invited some leisurely Elders at most. Much to everybody's surprise, the Wang She, one of the Tian Long Taoism's three Chiefs, attended the Selection Contest. This caused all the Wu family members to be overjoyed.
Of course, beyond that, there was a rumor that the Chief, Wang She would receive Wu Yunlong, the Wu's Second Young Master, as a disciple, due to his inherent intelligence and imposing appearance.
This news made an even bigger stir than the Wang She coming to observe the competition.
Who was Wang She?
He was one of three Chiefs of Tian Long Taoism and one of the most superior of the young generation in Great Jin's pugilist world. He was as young as the White Blademaster, Lu Shaoyou. Although they had never fought with each other, they had both achieved the mark of their own sect over the past decade, so they had equivalent fame, strength and status.
He was only thirty years old, and a Level Eight expert.
This was an exciting fact indeed.
When combined with the recent rumor that the White Blademaster, Lu Shaoyou had made a proposal to Ma Tianchang, Yunzhou's Governor, the true purpose, that the Mingyi School wanted to expand their influence to Yunzhou, was set to be unveiled. Wang She had gone down the mountain and to attend this insignificant Selection Contest in Yunzhou's Qinlingjun City. Weren't these two things likely to be connected?
Could it be that the Wang She was there because of the Wu's Second Young Master?
These were the questions people had. Guesses varied tremendously. Therefore, the influence of the Wu's Selection Contest far exceeded previous contests.
Yunzhou's Qinlingjun City was packed with people. Not only were all the inns full, but also civil houses were not available to be offered.
Originally, the Selection Contest and the Ma's marriage had been totally unrelated. Now they were connected because of Jianghu's rumors.
Of course, none of this mattered to Junior Leopard. He was just a nobody taking part in the Selection Contest. His first goal was to be the Wu's disciple and his final goal was to gain the Elders' recognition and be received as an apprentice. As for everything else, he did not care.
DONG! DONG! DONG!
Two bass drums were played loudly in the surrounding arena. On the stage, a dozen Elders dressed in black robes with golden rims stepped up slowly and orderly and stood next to their chairs. Later on, Wu Yansheng, the Wu's present patriarch, and Lu Yiyue, the Wu's First Elder with Level Seven cultivation, escorted a young man dressed in cyan towards the stage.
Is that Wang She?
Junior Leopard did not know Wang She. However, from looking at the Wang She's appearance, he seemed to be too young.
He was a youth, about 17 or 18 years old, with an evil smile, which made people feel at ease.
"He's also a Level Eight expert?!" Junior Leopard thought of Xue Wuya who was killed by him. For some reason, a smile crept onto his face. Just when he was feeling smug with himself, he suddenly felt a chill. A streak of substantial line of sight was glued on his face.
Under the escort of the Wu's patriarch and the First Elder, Wang She turned and fixed his eyes on Junior Leopard. Junior Leopard happened to meet his sight.
Now, Junior Leopard had excellent eyesight. Although he did not open the Fiery Eyes, on this sunny day, full of flowers and grass, anything within a hundred meters away from him was unlikely to escape his eyes.
Huge as the arena was, it felt like only a few dozen feet. Junior Leopard could see Wang She's actions clearly. The sudden attention from Wang She was so weird. He smiled towards Junior Leopard and even gave a negligible nod, as if he had recognized Junior Leopard before this.
Junior Leopard was suddenly frozen. A stream of gloomy Qi rushed into his brain from his Dantian. Fixing his eyes, he found that Wang She and the two escorts had stepped onto the high stage and sat down.
After a series of rituals, the Selection Contest formally began.
The first step of the Selection Contest was the Wu's root: Weapon forgery.
A total of 572 of the Wu's disciples, from various regions of Great Jin, participated in the Selection Contest. In the arena there were 900 stone stoves.
Those who came for the Selection Contest included youth who were over 10 years old and seniors who were already 30 something. There were the tall and the short contestants. However, seniors formed the majority, those who were 17-18 years old had already grown up. There were only two people who looked like Junior Leopard, only 10 years old.
Those two people, should be the youngest in this year's Selection Contest!
On the platform, Wu Yansheng pointed at Junior Leopard and the other young contestant and said, "It's so unexpected that such young disciples should attend the Selection Contest this year. I wonder how their abilities are!"
"I'm afraid they're just here to please the crowd!" The Elder beside Wu Yansheng said sarcastically, "It's difficult for a ten-year-old child to forge a good weapon, talented as they are. In regards to refining a weapon, talent alone is also unlikely to refine a decent weapon anyhow!"
"Right, right, these guys are just eager for quick success and instant benefits!" other Elders echoed. They clearly knew what Wu Yansheng was thinking about.
For the Wu's, the Selection Contest was not the most important. The most important thing to them was that their second son would become Wang She's apprentice. The Selection Contest was held once every few years while the opportunity to become Wang She's apprentice was rare. Although Wu Yansheng was very confident that Wang She would receive his second son as an apprentice, he still feared that there would appear to be a talent more potent than his son. Then, he would be embarrassed.
Hence, the sight of the two children in the arena was irritating for Wu Yansheng.
At this, Wang She only smiled. He clearly knew what the Elders on the stage were thinking about, but he didn't care. He was thinking about how he could receive Junior Leopard as a disciple. As for the Wu's Second Young Master, he was just part of the trading price indeed. Even if he really was a talent, did it matter?
There were many talents, one more or one less wouldn't make any difference to him. However, talent endowed with the magic bloodline, such as Junior Leopard, was nearly extinct. He would seldom encounter a talent like this in the future.
However, was the present a good opportunity?
While Wang She pondered, the Selection Contest began, with 572 stone stoves firing. The test of the Selection Contest was very simple. It ruled that, within six hours, you needed to forge a weapon that you were satisfied with. Everybody had the same materials and conditions to work with. Therefore, everybody would show their full strength.