Chapter 164 - A War
Six-colored streamers containing healing substances provided nourishment to damaged meridians. After a day of hard battling, the body finally got some rest and was recovering.
The Heavenly Wheel was such a treasure. It had these six-colored streamers that allowed medicines to be fully effective even if they weren't in the real world. In addition, time in the Heavenly Wheel passed slowly, giving her enough time to recuperate from her injuries.
That was how Lu Mingshu had been coping with the constant and difficult matches these days.
After the essence of the medicine had been fully absorbed, Lu Mingshu opened her eyes and exited the Heavenly Wheel.
The new name-list had been placed on her table. Not even a day had passed, and the layout had been totally changed. Almost all the names in the top ten yesterday were replaced by elites, with only a few left hanging on near the last few positions of the top ten.
Because of that, her name, which was still currently in first place, was especially eye-catching.
Fifty-eight points, forty-two points, forty points - Lu Mingshu, Wei Chunqiu, Kou Wei.
Neither of them had challenged her, letting her hold first place.
That was because Wei Chunqiu had promised to go easy on her, and Kou Wei looked after her like she was his junior sister. Because of their courtesy, she was still able to stay at the top.
But Lu Mingshu was clearly aware that this was temporary. No matter how much courtesy they showed, they wouldn't just give up first place. Sooner or later, when they had challenged everyone else, they would come for her… unless she was no longer in first place by then.
She was also clearly aware that she wasn't a match for either of them. The chance of her winning over them was almost zero.
However, she wasn't going to give up even though she was almost guaranteed to lose.
She sat down and cleared her thoughts. Lu Mingshu then started studying the name list, crossing out the ones she had already fought and comparing the rest with the book Xie Lianzhen gave her to make a smart decision. She then drew a star beside each competitor that she wanted to go against.
Today, she gained twenty-two points, while Wei Chunqiu and Kou Wei gained thirty-two and thirty respectively. Even just looking at their ability to gain points, she still lost to them.
Tomorrow was the day where she should start challenging the higher-ranked competitors. Lu Mingshu needed to fight at least five matches to ensure that she gained more than fifteen points.
In addition, she would have to be careful about getting challenged by others. Other than Wei Chunqiu and Kou Wei, there were still competitors much stronger than her out there. It was hard to say if anyone else was eyeing her points, and if they succeeded, they would get close to twelve points. That was enough to tempt anyone.
Lu Mingshu closed the name list and went to bed.
The following competition schedule was going to get harder as days passed. She had to ensure that she had the energy to fight.
Day five of the challenger's fight, and it had developed into a worrying phase.
Competitors who had a lot of points were becoming fewer, so the chance of gaining points today was lower.
Tan Yubing lost two matches continuously, so she decided to withdraw from the competition. Her name was then crossed out from the name list.
It was also tough for Shao Zhengyang. He was in a good state and rather lucky yesterday. He managed to clinch the sixteenth position. He continued to win two matches today and moved to the twelfth position. Unfortunately, due to being injured, he lost the subsequent match and dropped to the fifteenth rank.
Shao Zhengyang went back to the tent drenched in sweat and exhausted. Seeing him so wrecked, Lu Mingshu commented, "Senior Brother Shao, try to rest more. It would be better if you fight less rather than lose."
Shao Zhengyang nodded while wiping his sweat with the towel that the servant passed him. He then gulped down a big bottle of water before answering, "Yeah, you're right. I was too anxious. Thank you, Junior Sister Lu, for your concern."
After the Heavenly Door competition, no matter how hard he tried to be friendly, she treated him with a tepid attitude. Shao Zhengyang clearly knew that it was because of what he did, and that's the reason why he started treating her nicely; he felt guilty.
Lu Mingshu didn't respond.
Shao Zhengyang then went to recuperate before coming back to the tent.
In this period of time, Lu Mingshu fought again, and her points increased to sixty-five.
At the same time, Wei Chunqiu points increased to fifty-three and Kou Wei to fifty-two. They were in hot pursuit.
Shao Zhengyang took a look at the name list, then turned toward Lu Mingshu. "Junior Sister Lu, your points now are enough to secure you a top ten spot."
Before Lu Mingshu could reply, Tan Yubing commented, "Yes, that is the case, but Junior Niece Lu has finally come this far after so much hard work. It would be a pity if she stops competing now."
"I'll be blunt, and please don't get angry, Junior Sister Lu." Shao Zhengyang pointed at the name list. "Even though Wei Chunqiu and Senior Brother Kou have not challenged you, it's inevitable if they want to clinch first place, and your chance of winning against them…"
Lu Mingshu shook her head. "Senior Brother Shao is just stating the facts, why would I be angry? I'm indeed no match for them both."
"So why don't you just stop fighting now? If you stop now and let both of them overtake you, then they won't have to challenge you. As for the others, you still stand a chance against them."
Shao Zhengyang made a valid point. He always looked at things from a general perspective and considered things in a tactful way that allowed him to always find the best way out.
If she continued to accumulate points, Wei Chunqiu and Kou Wei would have no choice but to challenge her, and as soon as one of them challenged her, the other would as well. Where else would they find so many points? Losing two rounds would cost Lu Mingshu thirty points in total.
It was easy to lose points but hard to gain back. At this point, the competitors who possessed a lot of points were all elites that she didn't have much chance of defeating.
However, if she stopped challenging people now and allowed Kou Wei and Wei Chunqiu to overtake her, then there wouldn't be a need for them to fight her, and they could just fight for first place among themselves.
In that case, given her points now, there was no doubt she would be in third place. Even if there were others who wanted to challenge her and she lost, she would still be able to sustain fifty points and get into the top five.
Furthermore, she reached the Harmonization Realm only a year ago, this was her first time participating in the Qilin Festival, and she was only sixteen. There's no doubt she would become well-known if she was in the top five.
It was the same situation that Yue Lingyin was in back then. However, Lu Mingshu fought way more than Yue Lingyin just to get a similar result.
Shao Zhengyang was saying this all for her own good. It was a competition, so who would teach someone else how to benefit? Everyone wanted to place in the New Generation Ranking after all.
Lu Mingshu understood that, but she shook her head anyway.
Seeing her response, Shao Zhengyang furrowed his eyebrows. "Junior Sister Lu, I'm telling the truth. This method can help you get what you want, so why bother…?"
"Junior Nephew Shao, let her be." Tan Yubing smiled at him. "I told her all that before, but she has her thoughts, so just let her be."
Shao Zhengyang nodded and sighed. "Okay."
"Thank you for your advice." Lu Mingshu smiled at him. "I know that you are worried for me, but this isn't a competition to me - it's a war."
Chapter 165 - Moving Forward
As the competition went on, the ranking didn't stop changing.
Lu Mingshu, sixty-eight points; Wei Chunqiu, fifty-eight points; Kou Wei, fifty-eight points.
Lu Mingshu, seventy points; Kou Wei, sixty-one points; Wei Chunqiu, sixty points.
Lu Mingshu; seventy-three points; Wei Chunqiu, sixty-four points; Kou Wei, sixty-three points.
Day five ended, and the elites still in the top ten were drained of energy from the tiring day.
Shao Zhengyang took a look at his ranking on the name list and sighed - fourteen. Two wins and one loss today.
His ranking fluctuated throughout the day, and his flesh was becoming weaker than his willing spirit. Shao Zhengyang knew that his ability wasn't there, and his chance of getting into the top ten was small.
Even though he was unwilling to give up, he knew he should if the same situation persisted tomorrow.
Lu Mingshu went into the Heavenly Wheel as soon as she got back to her room. The matches had drained almost all her energy, so she was dead-tired. All she wanted to do now was have a good sleep and recharge.
However, her desire wouldn't be fulfilled; she received a message from Kou Wei to meet, so Lu Mingshu dragged her tired body and went along with Shao Zhengyang to the Heavenly Sea Pavilion's courtyard.
There weren't many present today; only Yue Lingyin, Lan Ruoyun, and a few more who were closer to Kou Wei.
All of them looked exhausted. Seeing each other's dead-tired face, they burst out laughing. This made the atmosphere livelier.
"Everyone's tired, so let's just not care about manners." Kou Wei laughed and pointed to the couch nearby. "Lie however you want there. Let's talk in a comfortable position."
Yue Lingyin was the first one to rush over. "Yay! Come along girls, this couch is now ours." She then pulled Lu Mingshu and Lan Ruoyun over.
"Haish, I'm so tired." Qi Sheng allowed himself to sink into a chair and rest.
Kou Wei looked at him ridiculously. "We are tired because we have been working hard for an entire day. How much have you fought today, huh?"
Qi Sheng was a pharmacologist, so he was only in the Qilin Festival to join the fun. He only fought three matches during the whole festival.
"I feel tired from watching you guys!" He huffed. "When each of you goes up, I'm super worried for you all! Worrying is more tiring than competing!"
"Whatever, Little Brother Qi. You're the most tired, okay?" Yue Lingyin did not even have the energy to bicker with him. "Senior Brother Kou, make it fast okay? I'm gonna fall asleep soon."
Kou Wei smiled and shook his head. He coughed and started being serious. "It's the sixth day tomorrow, and if everything goes well, the top ten should be fixed by tomorrow."
All of them nodded. If they had to fight one more day, they would be reaching their limit.
"Me and Wei Chunqiu is a must fight, and both of us know it well in our hearts. It should be the seventh day." Kou Wei pointed out. "So, tomorrow is our warm up, and we must be able to get enough points by then."
Yue Lingyin waved her hand lazily. "Senior Brother Kou, just challenge me if you need points. My points now are enough for me to remain in the top ten even if I lose a match."
Kou Wei shook his head. "Everybody knows how close we are - we're like blood siblings. How much gossip would I stir up if I challenged you?"
"What's there to gossip about?" Yue Lingyin rolled her eyes. "We aren't from the same sect anyway, it's not against the rules."
"Senior Brother Kou make sense," Shao Zhengyang pointed out. "Senior Sister Yue, everyone will only be satisfied when Senior Brother Kou and Wei Chunqiu compete against each other to find out who's better. It's better to be discrete to avoid blemishing Senior Brother Kou's name."
"It's not like I would just give up as soon as we started fighting!" Yue Lingyin was unwilling to give up on the idea.
"It's not about that…."
"Lingyin!" Kou Wei halted her.
Yue Lingyin pouted and sat down. "Fine, you win. Then get to the main point now."
Kou Wei looked at Lu Mingshu. "Miss Lu."
Before he could continue, Lu Mingshu nodded. "Yeah, feel free to challenge me, Senior Brother Kou."
Kou Wei looked at her apologetically. "I'm so sorry."
"Please don't feel sorry, it's not your duty to let me win."
"Senior Brother!" Qi Sheng jumped up in anger. "What do you mean by this? Senior Sister Yue is willing to let you challenge her, but you reject her and go for Miss Lu?"
"How can you be so obviously biased about the one you are closer to!"
"Senior Brother Qi!" Shao Zhengyang stepped out to smooth things over. "There's indeed a difference in affinity, but you can't blame Senior Brother Kou for that."
"Oh my god, do you know what the hell you're even talking about? Isn't Miss Lu your junior sister?"
"Here's the logic." Shao Zhengyang coughed. "Right now, Junior Sister Lu is in first place. Even if Senior Brother Kou doesn't challenge her, Wei Chunqiu will. Or do you wish to give first place to Wei Chunqiu?"
Qi Sheng stammered, being at a loss for words since he hadn't thought of that point. "I didn't say I wanted…"
"Besides, Senior Brother Kou has already taken great care of us, and it's not right to ask him to give up on first place. Moreover, he didn't challenge Junior Sister Lu during the previous days and let her remain in first. We already owe him a big favor."
Having the gift of gab, Shao Zhengyang successfully made Qi Sheng speechless. Qi Sheng didn't know what to do, so he looked toward Yue Lingyin with puppy-dog eyes.
Surprisingly, Yue Lingyin hesitated for a while before agreeing with Shao Zhengyang. "Hmm, makes sense. I still worry for Junior Sister Lu though. What will she do if she loses two rounds?"
"It's okay." Kou Wei shook his head. "Tomorrow, we will be fighting hand-to-hand. Me and Wei Chunqiu will choose other competitors from the top ten to gain points from, so their ranks will drop too."
Yue Lingyin smiled and nodded. "Not bad, Junior Sister Lu has a lot of points. She'll be fine as long as she doesn't lose to the rest."
All of them discussed their plans for tomorrow and gave each other advice.
Especially for Lu Mingshu, Kou Wei felt guilty, so he gave her a clear analysis of who to go up against to secure a spot in the top ten.
Darkness had taken over after the sun set. The moon hung up high in the sky, and the cool breeze made the trees sway.
Footsteps broke the silence as someone walked in a certain direction. "Junior Brother Xie, it's late and yet you're still enjoying the scenery. You must be in a great mood today!"
The shadow moved, and Xie Lianzhen turned to make eye contact with him. "Senior Brother Wei is the one in a good mood. The competition must be tough and draining and yet you're still in the mood to come here."
Wei Chunqiu hummed and stood beside him. "I can't be at ease if I don't see you before the match."
Xie Lianzhen grinned, but his expression couldn't be seen in the dark. "Interesting. I'm not your senior, neither are we in the same clan, so why would you need to find me? Or does Senior Brother Wei want me to help him win?"
"You can't help me win, but you could prevent me from winning." Wei Chunqiu looked down at Xie Lianzhen to see him grinning. "Am I right, Junior Brother Xie?"
However, Xie Lianzhen didn't seem to be in the mood to joke since his tone seemed tired. "Why would I do that? Your win would be the glory of the Seventh Truth Platform."
"Do you even care about that?" Wei Chunqiu snickered and look at him coldly. "You're not exactly discreet about that little girl."
Xie Lianzhen sighed and looked down. "I don't plan on doing anything."
"Oh?" Wei Chunqiu raised his eyebrows.
"She's… unwilling." Xie Lianzhen paused for a moment before continuing. "I don't get it. Why does she try so hard when there are people who are willing to give her a helping hand? Even now, her aim is almost definitely achievable. Why…?" he murmured.
"Because there are too many geniuses like you," Wei Chunqiu interrupted coldly. "You all think that you are oh-so mighty, and whenever someone wants to rebel against the world's rules, you come up with your own 'rebel rules' that the rebels have to follow if they want to gain recognition from you geniuses in order to become a genius themselves. But what's the point of that? The world just gains one more genius.
Looking at the river below his feet, Wei Chunqiu lowered his volume and sighed. "Not everyone wants to be a genius. Some people just want to live a simple life and do whatever they want."
Chapter 166 - Anticipated Match
The sixth day - the competition started off heatedly.
Yue Lingyin was the first to throw her hat in the ring, challenging the Harmonization Realm disciple in fourth place. She defeated him and took his place.
The guy in fifth place chose to challenge Shao Zhengyang. Shao Zhengyang lost and dropped to eighteenth place.
He initially wanted to try to work hard for another day, but who would have guessed that he would lose points as soon as the competition started? There was a twenty-point difference between him and tenth place, so it was almost impossible for him to catch up. Deflated, Shao Zhengyang gave up unwillingly.
One by one, the names for each match were announced, and the atmosphere was getting more intense.
The competition first started with some warm ups, followed by snatching points, and then it evolved into the last stage - go for the kill. The ones left were all disciples with the potential to get on the New Generation Ranking, and all of them were well-known.
The name list kept changing - the top ten would drop from their position if they lost a round, and the ones in the top twenty would move up if they won a round.
However, no one dared to challenge the top four. Challenging Wei Chunqiu or Kou Wei was obviously digging one's own grave. Yue Lingyin wasn't as good as them, but how many could be like her and get onto the New Generation Ranking as soon as she entered the Harmonization Realm?
As for Lu Mingshu, Yu Chen was a very good example of what would happen if you fought her. Her skills were all strange, and nobody knew exactly what skills or how many she possessed. Yu Chen himself was in the top ten right now, and yet he lost of Lu Mingshu. Maybe someone could beat Lu Mingshu, but why take the risk?
Lu Mingshu, ninety-five; Wei Chunqiu, eighty-three; Kou Wei, eighty-two.
Lady Luck was on Lu Mingshu's side today; she was still in first place.
However, not many people were able to understand her actions.
"Is Lu Mingshu actually trying to fight for first place?" somebody asked.
If she was smart, she would've stopped competing yesterday. Yeah, she's in first place, but that's only because Wei Chunqiu and Kou Wei haven't challenged her yet. As her points get higher, both of them will have no choice but to challenge her, which may cause her to drop from the top ten.
"Who does she think she is? Yu Chen is nowhere near Wei Chunqiu or Kou Wei. She really does not know where she stands." Somebody sneered.
"She's in the prime of her youth. Even you went through that phase too."
Nobody believed that Lu Mingshu would defeat them both. Those who disliked her took the chance to taunt her, and those who were inclined toward her only sighed.
This was a stupid way of handling it.
Even An Tongchen thought the same way. No wonder Grand Elder Yuan Xi said that she would be easily broken; this child was easy to read. She knew clearly where she stood, and yet she was stubborn and didn't leave herself any leeway. This was why he didn't allow Gao Xiang to come. Lu Mingshu wasn't a bad child, but the last thing he wanted was to see his own disciple in the same state.
Lu Mingshu, one hundred and five; Wei Chunqiu, ninety-five; Kou Wei, ninety-one.
The scores were no longer moving.
"It's now!" a spectator shouted in excitement.
"What's 'now'?" His friend looked over at him in doubt.
"Have you even looked at the list? Kou Wei is four points behind Wei Chunqiu."
"Use your brain! He's four points behind, and he's challenged everyone except her."
His friend stared at the list for a few minutes. He then suddenly said, "What about Yue Lingyin?"
"Wei Chunqiu could, but not Kou Wei. The Heavenly Sea Pavilion and the Amethyst Phoenix Pavilion are from the same origin, and their sects are very close. There's no difference in challenging Yue Lingyin or someone from his own sect. Even if he managed to get first with that, the credibility would be low."
"Yue Lingyin's points are too high. Wei Chunqiu would have an advantage… Oh! That means Kou Wei only has one choice…."
"Lu Mingshu!" Both of them exclaimed at the same time.
Everyone would finally get to see Lu Mingshu suffer a setback?
This young lady was too arrogant. A newbie should follow the rules. She only just entered the Harmonization Realm a year ago and yet she thought so highly of herself! She would have to be careful not to go home crying.
In this world, there was a type of person that hoped no one would be able to accomplish something that they couldn't. If there was someone who could accomplish it, they would watch with the hopes that they would end up failing miserably. That way, they could comfort themselves that Wei Chunqiu and Kou Wei were just way too strong while someone like Lu Mingshu was just arrogant.
The current match ended, and Lin Zixin announced the name for the next match. "Kou Wei from the Heavenly Sea Pavilion challenging…"
Everyone looked at him in anticipation, hoping that it would be the person that they were thinking of. "Lu Mingshu from Nine Jade Palace."
Kou Wei leapt onto the stage with applause and cheers.
"Senior Brother Kou, all the best!"
"Senior Brother Kou will surely make it!"
As Lu Mingshu went on stage, Kou Wei bowed and look at her apologetically. "I'm really sorry, Miss Lu."
Lu Mingshu returned the courtesy. "It's a reasonable challenge, Senior Brother Kou. There's no need to apologize."
Kou Wei sighed. He wouldn't have done this if he had any choice, but if he didn't challenge Lu Mingshu, he could wave goodbye to first place.
"Miss Lu, please."
A screech could be heard as sword energy suddenly dashed at Kou Wei fiercely.
Physical Manifestation of Sword Intent!
In the Seventh Truth Platform tent, Wei Chunqiu nudged Yu Kuang. "Junior Brother Yu, you're better than her in sword skills, so what do you think about that?"
"Huh?" Yu Kuang looked at him in surprise as his train of thoughts was suddenly broken.
Seeing his reaction, Wei Chunqiu stared at him coldly. "Do you want to wave goodbye to the top ten?"
Yu Kuang rubbed his eyes, still trying to figure out what was happening.
"Open your eyes and look at this match! Before the Qilin Festival, you were better than her, but now, you're both equal!"
This comment was a bit hurtful, and it pulled down Yu Kuang's confidence slightly.
He looked over to the stage, and what he saw took him aback.
On the stage, Kou Wei swayed his sword as a water dragon dashed at Lu Mingshu. His techniques were all related to water, which is what made the Heavenly Sea Pavilion unique. Kou Wei had practiced for years, and he was extremely skilled. Nobody had managed to receive more than ten attacks from him.
There was another sword energy that was weaker than Kou Wei's, but it was still fast and furious. It managed to rekindle itself whenever it was destroyed by Kou Wei every single time.
Yu Kuang was taken aback.
Senior Brother Wei is right. Within a few months and much practice, Lu Mingshu had indeed improved a lot. Her Physical Manifestation of Sword Intent had already evolved from a baby dragon to a dragon.
As for him, he had known the skill for two years, and yet he still didn't have much improvement after his evolved into a dragon….
Yu Kuang took a deep breath and looked at the seat where State Master Jia Yan was supposed to be sitting, then he went back to focusing on the match.