To Qin Wushuang, such a preliminary round was not challenging. He was more curious about what Senior Brother Wei Yi had mentioned, the secrets of the Endless Eastern Sea.
If the Endless Eastern Sea was so mysterious, it would be worth exploring.
Regardless, since everyone from the Stargaze Palace viewed this competition with great importance, the exploration of the Endless Eastern Sea would be important.
Qin Wushuang decided to give it everything he had.
Among the young generation of the Three Eastern Empires, Qin Wushuang was definitely one of the most elite figures. Thus, to him, this preliminary round did not pose much difficulty.
On the first day, Qin Wushuang found seven jade plates with success.
With his success on the first day, he would have no problem entering the semi-final. Qin Wushuang did not show off unintentionally. On the first night, he did not make a move. Instead, he found a rather remote corner to rest up.
Thinking back, he felt fortunate. When he was absorbing Devil Boy’s Spiritual Qi, he had intentionally found a remote corner to assimilate the Spiritual Qi. Otherwise, when he was pouring his Spiritual Qi into these jade plates, it would be troublesome if Gao Yue, the head of the Archaic Mysteries Sect, were to feel any sense of familiarity with the Qi.
After a night, Qin Wushuang made a move again. He decided to finish the task a day ahead.
In total, they had three days. If he were to finish it a day earlier, not only would he not be in the limelight, he could also save a day of time.
Thus, on the second day, Qin Wushuang sped up. He wandered around searching for the remaining three jade plates that had his Spiritual Qi.
Soon, at a little stream below the mountain stream, he found the eighth jade plate that belonged to him after digging through layers of stone.
"The last two should be hidden in a much more concealed place and not as easy to discover. The difficulty of the eighth one had already reached such a difficult level. I feel that most people would not be able to find their own jade plates." Qin Wushuang thought about it. However, he did not stop his footsteps and kept searching.
It was noon when Qin Wushuang finally found his ninth jade plate below a grassland close to a cave.
Just as he was about to turn around, a figure flashed before him. He saw Zhao Muzhi had just turned around from the other hill. When he saw Qin Wushuang, Zhao Muzhi said happily: "Junior Brother Qin, what a coincidence."
Within three hundred miles, it was still possible for the forty-eight people to meet with each other. However, it was the first time Qin Wushuang met a disciple from his own sect.
It was not because of the others, but because Qin Wushuang had kept a low profile. He rarely went to places with more people.
"Senior Brother Zhao, how is it going?"
"Ha ha, I am just searching for the seventh one. Earlier, I thought such an exam was garbage. Now, it seems it’s not as easy as I thought."
Zhao Muzhi sighed: "However, I was lucky. I happened to find the ten-pointer, the most difficult one. Ha ha. Now, I have six jade plates. By the way, Junior Brother Qin, how are you doing?"
"I am almost the same as you, I am searching for the eighth one." Qin Wushuang told a harmless lie. He did not want his own colleague to feel embarrassed before his power.
Stunned, Zhao Muzhi nodded: "Yes, then in three days, you could find all of them? I would finish when I find eight or nine jade plates."
"I wonder how the others are doing?" Qin Wushuang asked curiously.
Zhao Muzhi said: "I saw Zhou Fu. Like me, she is also looking for the seventh one. Senior Brother Wei is looking for the ninth one. It’s no wonder that you guys are the most exceptional in the Stargaze Palace."
Qin Wushuang smiled lightly: "Although the grades of the preliminary round would not count toward the semi-final, it would decide the number of spots. I only hope we can advance without accident. This way, we would have much more opportunities in the semi-final. By the way, Senior Brother Zhao, I made a summary. Usually, there is a higher chance the jade plates might be hiding around mountain stream or caves. When you meet with our other fellow disciples, you should share that with them."
"Ok!" Zhao Muzhi kept nodding, "Time is limited, I won’t drag out the conversation with you. Let’s keep working hard."
These two nodded and left after giving each other a smile.
Naturally, Qin Wushuang was under no pressure since he found the ninth jade plate. Even if he did not find the tenth one, he would advance for sure.
Finally, around dusk, before the sun had went down, Qin Wushuang found his tenth jade plate in a crack in some sheer cliff.
Just as he was about to pull himself up from that sheer cliff, he suddenly felt his handhold give way as the stone he was holding onto loosened from the wall. Qin Wushuang’s body also followed the stone in its descent.
Next, Qin Wushuang felt that a large swathe of the mountain was falling with him. This situation seemed to be the rumored landslide.
The abyss below Qin Wushuang seemed bottomless. Unless he could turn into a bird, once he fell down there, his entire body would shatter into bloody pieces. Even elite warriors at the Perfect Stage would have no way to prevent it!
In the heat of the moment, Qin Wushuang felt a wave of Spiritual Qi movement at the top of the sheer cliff. Behind this movement, there was a cold snicker that passed into his ears.
Qin Wushuang realized that it was not a natural landslide, but a man-made one!
Fortunately, in the midst of the crisis, Qin Wushuang did not panic. He flicked his sleeves and his snake-shaped soft whip wrapped itself on a random tree that grew on the sheer cliff six metres away.
As he used this power, Qin Wushuang’s body swung and shot forward like a pendulum clock. Once again, he moved to the side horizontally.
He knew that he could not jump up immediately. If that person was still waiting for him at the top, wouldn’t he be walking straight into the trap? In a rushed state and in his passive position, as long as the enemy attacked slightly, he would have no way to dodge and would fall into the bottomless cliff.
Within such a short time, Qin Wushuang had considered all the possible situations. He kept moving horizontally.
Instead of going upwards, his body kept going downwards.
He knew that the lower his position beneath the cliff, the less chance the enemy’s attack would hit him.
Qin Wushuang finally stopped after he had dropped about twenty metres away. One should not underestimate these few moves as Qin Wushuang had used all his strength to escape from the life threatening situation.
Indeed, the enemy’s scheme was extremely vicious. It seemed that he had been lying in wait for a while to ambush him around here.
"Who is he?" Qin Wushuang leaned over on the sheer cliff and felt the enemy’s hostile presence. After a moment, he realized that the enemy should have left.
"Could it be that he thought his attack would definitely succeed? He didn’t even have the interest to take a look?" Qin Wushuang continued to analyze the situation inside his brain. He felt that most likely, this incident was related to the disciples of the Archaic Mysteries Sect. Besides, it seemed to be beyond the ability of an Initial Stage warrior as he was able to grasp the timing so precisely and break the stone walls to this extent within such a short time.
"I wonder, has this person already ambushed others?" Vividly, Qin Wushuang felt somewhat worried. If it were some other disciples of the Stargaze Palace that had come here, they would surely have died.
If he did not use that snake-shaped soft whip to jump six metres in an instant, most likely, he would also have fallen into the bottomless cliff and died horribly.
When he thought here, Qin Wushuang felt enraged.
Of course, he would not consider the rules. The rules stated that it was forbidden for participants to attack each other in the preliminary round. However, since this person made a move, he would surely avoid the ears of others. Unknown to others, he only made this one move. Regardless of success or failure, he retreated immediately to avoid leaving a single trace of evidence.
Even if Qin Wushuang were to climb up now, he could not know who had made the move.
"Indeed, it’s a good scheme!" Fury lit up in Qin Wushuang’s heart. This person had made a move instantly to take his life. If Qin Wushuang learned his identity, he would not be willing to let things go.
"Don’t let me find out who you are." Qin Wushuang thought with anger inwardly and climbed up the cliff. When he arrived at the top of the cliff, he saw that a two or three metre wide stone wall had subsided about ten metres deep. Mountain stones kept falling. If a person was there, he would for sure get hit by the stones into the cliff!
With a lingering fear, Qin Wushuang glanced around and left after he made sure that this person had already gone. Although he already gotten ten jade plates, he changed his plan and decided not to leave the examination area.
Currently, with an enemy that staying hidden to ambush the others, the disciples of the Stargaze Palace were at risk.
Thus, Qin Wushuang decided to stay and to protect his fellow disciples.
At the same time, he would also observe and to seek out the identity of this person.
"Since you are not following the rules, then let’s play outside the rules!" Qin Wushuang laughed coldly. Just as he was about to walk away, he saw Miao Zhongxia, the first disciple of the Fifth Palace Master was walking towards that cliff.
Qin Wushuang immediately called out: "Senior Brother Miao, where are you going?"
Miao Zhongxia smiled when he saw Qin Wushuang: "I sensed a jade plate before me, and I am going to take a look. Only, this Spiritual Qi presence is extremely faint and would disappear from time to time. I don’t know if I am right."
However, Qin Wushuang asked: "How many have you found?"
"I am embarrassed to say that I am looking for the seventh one. What about you, Junior Brother Qin? Have you found them all?"
Qin Wushuang nodded: "I’ve already collected everything. Senior Brother Miao, I will go with you. There is a sheer cliff ahead and it’s extremely dangerous. Earlier, I almost suffered a great loss."
Then, he immediately described that he had encountered the ambush at the sheer cliff. Miao Zhongxia’s expression changed slightly: "Do you know who the culprit is?"
"That person is extremely cunning. He had disappeared without any trace after that one attack."
Then, he said to Miao Zhongxia: "I will stay on guard for Senior Brother Miao. This way, we will not need to be afraid of someone ambushing the disciples of the Stargaze Palace."
Miao Zhongxia said gratefully: "Junior Brother Qin is so warm-hearted. When I go back this time, I must talk to Junior Brother Lv and Gu to get them let go of the grudge between the West Chu and yours. They shall not harbor any hostility."
"You are most kin. Right now, we are working hard for the sect, and for the Great Luo. Let’s go!"
The two figures flew toward that sheer cliff.