Qin Wushuang walked out and stood among the crowd. He did not keep a high profile nor did he try to hide himself. Among the sea of people, each of them was talking to people they knew and not many people paid particular attention to Qin Wushuang’s unfamiliar face. From time to time, a few glances swept across him. However, they only looked at him quickly without their gazes lingering.
Apparently, the thousands of people from the Second Palace Master’s line did not know each other either. Most of them stayed within their little circle of the few colleagues they had become acquainted with.
Thus, Qin Wushuang’s unfamiliar face did not seem conspicuous.
As soon as Qin Wushuang stepped out, Tan Zhongchi soon followed after him. Naturally, as he stood there before the Palace, his temperament flowed out naturally and induced the crowd into silence.
The disciples to the Green Cloud Palace who were chatting amongst themselves all became quiet. They stood there seriously in an organized fashion and not a sound or cough could be heard.
Only, after the appearance of Tan Zhongchi, the eyes of all people were filled with admiration. Those Core disciples were on the rather calm side. Only, those Advanced, and even the Initial disciples’ eyes were filled with a fanatical light as they looked at Tan Zhongchi.
He was their god in their hearts and the pride to the disciples of the Green Cloud Palace.
On the outside, almost everyone became respectful when they learned that they were from the faction of the Green Cloud Palace. Regardless of the little conflicts, everyone laughed it away when they knew they were Tan Zhongchi’s disciples. None of them dared to attack them excessively.
That was because all the other factions in the Stargaze Palace knew that among all the seniors, the Second Palace Master of the Green Cloud Palace was the most overprotective and the person that you would not want to provoke.
In many situations, even the lines of the Head Palace Master would not dare to get involved in an internal strife with people of the Second Palace Master.
Tan Zhongchi glanced around and a satisfied smile emerged on his face.
"A year of time has passed in a snap. The Laba festival from last year seemed like yesterday. This is good. The year-end exam is a good chance and a challenge to each one of you."
"The result from the year-end exam would be an examination of your hard work from the past year. At the same time, it will be the determining factor of your future for the next year."
Tan Zhongchi did not speak anymore as he waved his hand: "I will not speak anymore extra words. As per tradition, the twelve Core disciples will come see me in the Palace."
Those twelve Core disciples did not feel surprised. It was an annual process. The teacher would speak to them alone and test their progress for the year. Then, he would give some suggestions on the year-end exam.
Under the leadership of Zhou Fu and under the thousands of jealous eyes, the twelve Core disciples walked into the Green Cloud Palace.
All those disciples let out waves of shouts.
Qin Wushuang laughed leisurely because he had already received the hint from his teacher’s glances. He meant to let him wait for a moment. Qin Wushuang knew that his teacher wanted to give the other Core disciples some time to digest.
At the same time, it was a chance for him to stand out.
It was a good opportunity to build his reputation and to manufacture public opinions in the Palace. Of course, Tan Zhongchi would not miss this opportunity. After the observation from this time, he had indeed treated Qin Wushuang as the future heir to the Stargaze Palace. Vividly, he had a bigger ambition. However, this ambition was for the future.
Everyone knew that after the older generation of Palace Masters retired, the new heir would inherit their positions. For sure, there would be a new ranking competition among the five Palaces.
Of course, his ambition was pointed towards that future Head Palace Master position.
Only, he was suppressing this ambition inside his heart and did not tell it to anyone. Even to these disciples in whom he had placed high expectation…
Qin Wushuang stood among the crowd and heard the discussions of these disciples.
"When can we enter the rank of the Core…"
"Ha, to become a Core, we must become an Upper Sky first. Do you think you are qualified?"
"Right now, I am not qualified. However, for you, you would not have any hope in this lifetime."
The Stargaze Palace imposed a strict system in the selection and cultivation of the Core disciples. Not all Upper Sky disciples were qualified to enter the rank of the Core.
To enter the Core, you must be an Upper Sky.
However, an Upper Sky might not enter the rank of the Core.
First, you could not have become an Upper Sky through consuming ordinary Upper Sky Initial Pills. If it was an Upper Sky at this level, they would not have much potential in their whole life. Of course, they were not eligible to enter the rank of a Core disciple.
Of course, you would be most welcomed if you had consumed the outrageous quality Upper Sky Initial Stage Pills. That was because the Upper Sky cultivated from these quality pills was much rarer than people who had become an Upper Sky through their own efforts. They would have even more potential in the future.
Even though one had met all these conditions, it was not a guarantee that the position of the Core was stabilized forever.
If you did not pass the year-end exam during each year, you would also lose your Core position.
The loss of the Core position was not only the loss of status, but a tremendous decrease of all benefits. Everyone knew that only the Core disciples had the eligibility to enter the core training ground in the Stargaze Palace—the Virtuous Cloud Mountain Summit.
This Virtuous Cloud Mountain Summit had the richest Qi in the entire Virtuous Cloud Mountain Range. It was the place with the most fortuitous opportunities, resources and unexpected gains.
For their whole lives, many ordinary disciples fought the spot of one Core position as they wanted to train at that Virtuous Cloud Mountain Summit.
That was only the basic benefit of the Core disciples.
The other benefits of the Core were also incomparable to normal disciples. For example, they could go pay a visit to their teacher at any time, ask any questions, have their own independent secret chamber and many more. These were all special benefits belonged to the Core disciples.
For example, right now, the ones that received the most attention from the Palace Master were the Core disciples. Receiving private instructions and inspections were all special benefits for the Core disciples.
For these, even the Advanced disciples could not experience it.
This was the difference and the biggest reason why all the disciples wanted to enter the rank of the Core disciples.
Being a Core disciple meant superior status. It meant that within the Great Luo Empire, regardless of they went, people would treat them with extreme respect. When they return in glory, they would receive the spotlight and people would line the streets to welcome them.
Inside the great Palace, twelve Core disciples stood on the two sides. They waited for their teacher’s instructions with their heads bowed.
"Fu’Er, you are the Senior Sister, you speak first. What are you goals for this year’s year-end exam?"
Zhou Fu thought for a moment and said lightly with her thin lips: "This year, my goal is to stabilize my top three ranking among the Core disciples."
"Yes, this goal is realistic. Besides Wei Yi from the Head Palace Master line, the other Core disciples from the other lines did not have the power to make you powerless. You still have much hope to aim for the top three."
After Tan Zhongchi finished speaking, he glanced around at the other eleven people: "How are your preparations, are you guys aiming for top six?"
His look stopped on the Second Junior Brother.
Lv Teng, the Second Junior Brother had a slim body and a quiet personality. However, his strength was known to be just less than Zhou Fu in the line of Tan Zhongchi.
There was an unspoken rule in the ranking of the Stargaze disciples. It would all depend on strength and exam results. Thus, although Zhou Fu was the youngest, she had the highest potential and highest skill. It was why she had become the Big Senior Sister.
Hearing the question from his teacher, Lv Teng spoke briefly: "I will use all my efforts."
Although he did not speak with heroic words from his tone, from the stubborn vigor of his eyes, he also looked forward to the spot in the top six.
He knew that this was a great difficulty.
The most intense ranking competition between the Core disciples in the Stargaze Palace would happen in the top ten.
Each year, people would fight till their heads were broken and blood flowed for a spot in the top ten. It was also equivalent to a competition among the disciples from the Five Palace Masters.
Although those Elders and Shakyamuni had Core disciples, they had almost no chance to compete for the top ten. They were existence similar to study buddy accompany the crown prince.
The true competition for the top ten happened among the disciples of the Five Palace Masters.
In the past years, the line of the Head Palace Master would monopolize four spots. At most, they would take five spots. For the other four Palace Masters, they would basically have one. At most, they would have two spots.
Never once had the four lines outside the Head Palace taken three spots in the top ten.
However, this time, Tan Zhongchi had this wave of ambition. He wanted to break this record.
He predicted that for sure, Zhou Fu would get a spot in the top ten. The only suspense was whether she would be able to keep the spot in the top three.
And for Lv Teng, the Second Junior Brother would depend on his performance on site. If he performed well along with some good luck, he would have hope of entering the top six. If he did not and lacked luck, then he would get pushed out of the top ten.
It was because among the disciples from the Five Palace Masters, there were many people close to Lv Teng’s level and stage. The competition on this stage would be extremely fierce.
For the other nine Core disciples, Tan Zhongchi knew that he would not expect them to get into the top ten. He also did not plan to issue harsh demands.
This time, he entrusted his hope to Qin Wushuang as a surprise.
"Fu’Er and Lv Teng, for you two, I hope you can keep the ranking you got from last year. For the others, I hope you can try with all your strength to aim for a good spot."
"Ha ha, this time, my goal is to take three spots from the top ten!" Tan Zhongchi revealed a trace of a mocking smile, "Fu’Er and Lv Teng, last time, you were both in the top ten. This time, you must make sure to keep your spots. For the rest of you, the top ten is too difficult to you guys. However, for top twenty or top thirty, you must all know which one to aim for."
These disciples looked at each other in dismay. Since the teacher said to let everyone maintain their spots, why did he speak about going for three spots in the top ten? Besides Zhou Fu and Lv Teng, the others obviously had no strength to aim for the top ten.
Tan Zhongchi laughed: "I know you all have doubts on your mind. Today, I will introduce to you guys a new Junior Brother. Three or four months ago, I have taken in a new disciple. I believe that most of you have heard the news. He will be the most important chess piece in my plan to take three spots in the top ten!"
All of the Core disciples revealed doubts and looked around. Apparently, they did not understand. How could a new disciple aim for a spot in the top ten among the Core?
For your information, among them, Zhou Fu had entered their ranking the latest. However, she had been with them for a dozen years.
Could it be that this new Junior Brother was more enchanting than Senior Sister Zhou Fu?