Chapter 502: Final Rankings, Assignment of Residences
After handing in his formation etching, Jiang Chen left the pill refinement room and walked into the seed cultivation area, checking and fertilizing his seeds. From his understanding of the seed’s growth, he had a ninety percent guarantee of making it sprout before three days. This was also the only topic he was left waiting on.
Jiang Chen’s seed successfully sprouted after two days, and after handing in the seed, he was completely done. He didn’t leave though, choosing to wait in Shen Li Palace to see the final results. Only when everyone finished would they begin the scoring of the fourth category and present the final rankings.
When the elders who suspected he was cheating saw Jiang Chen the first to emerge, they couldn’t help but feel a slight sense of shock. In their eyes, Jiang Chen had previously demonstrated such an unstoppable momentum only because Palace Head Dan Chi and Elder Yun Nie were helping him. Following that train of thought, he wouldn’t be able to stop himself from faltering in the last segment. All they had to do was wait and watch him make a fool out of himself.
However, they’d never imagined that Jiang Chen’s speed and momentum would only maintain its ferociousness in the final category! If he was cheating, would he have been able to complete the fourth category so quickly and easily? At that moment, a trace of surprise grew into a seed of suspicion in the hearts of all the elders. Ouyang De in particular was absolutely mystified by this turn of events.
“Does Jiang Chen really possess such perverse potential?” Ouyang De really didn’t want to believe it. He was sure that the sixteen kingdoms did not have the resources or foundation to raise such an unbelievable pill dao genius. But regardless of his suspicions, he could only silently wait for the final results.
Ouyang De didn’t have much effort to spare on Jiang Chen at the moment, he was more concerned about Ouyang Chao. “Chao’er, if Jiang Chen takes a slot, you have no path of retreat. You must take the remaining slot! Otherwise, our Ouyang clan will lose immense face!” He was inwardly greatly conflicted.
Apart from Jiang Chen, Mu Gaoqi had the easiest time in the fourth category. The innate constitution that had been the result of the spirit spring baptism showed its true colors now. He breezed right through the topic of spirit herb cultivation and Origin Fostering Pill refinement. He was intimately familiar with the third topic too. He knew he had no patron, so he had spent a great deal of time and effort to study pill formations. Therefore, none of these were difficult for him, particularly pill refinement. With his enhanced innate constitution, he was more familiar than ever with the properties of the Origin Fostering Pill. With some care in refining, he too refined a supreme rank pill. Drawing the formation was also no problem either.
His advantages from the baptism in the spring had come fully through in this topic, as he only took two days to make his seed sprout. All in all, he actually became the second person to walk out of the fourth category. When the elders saw him emerge, they were all greatly astonished.
In their eyes, the Ouyang Chao praised for his solid foundations should’ve been the favorite of the fourth category. The self taught Mu Gaoqi had actually possessed such speed as well? This really was outside of everyone’s expectations!
Ouyang De’s heart spasmed without warning when he saw Mu Gaoqi walk out with such confidence. Although it wasn’t an ominous premonition, he still felt disgusted, like he’d eaten a fly.
Half a day later, Ouyang Chao completed the fourth category, becoming the third to walk out. When he saw that Jiang Chen and Mu Gaoqi were already waiting in Shen Li Palace, he started slightly. A slightly complicated look appeared in his eyes.
“Chao’er, how do you think you did?” Ouyang De hastened to ask. It was over anyways, so he didn’t need to remain silent.
Ouyang De responded honestly. “Apart from the Origin Fostering Pill being of upper rank, I think the others were fine.”
Ouyang De nodded. “Good, good.” If his grandson only lost ten points with the pill, there was no problem there. Ouyang De didn’t even consider for a second the possibility that Mu Gaoqi could obtain full marks in the fourth category!
Mu Gaoqi stood there, expressionless as he heard this. This was because Jiang Chen had already silently told him not to say anything, and just silently wait for the results.
The fourth to emerge was actually Ling Hui’er! After her, the other contestants slowly started filtering out one by one, with all thirty of them having completed the fourth category after a few hours.
The judges immediately started checking on the results. Most completed the first topic of cultivating the spirit seed in the time allotted, with very few exceptions. A vast majority had solidly obtained that topic’s 20 points. The distinguishing line would come in the second and third topics.
Thirty pills were placed in thirty spirit boxes, each with their own number.
“Number one, Jiang Chen, supreme rank!”
“Number two, Ouyang Chao, upper rank!”
“Number three, Ling Hui’er, upper rank!”
“Number four, Mu Gaoqi, supreme rank!”
Shen Li Palace fell silent when Mu Gaoqi’s result came out. If it was said that Jiang Chen’s supreme rank results were within expectations due to his perverse potential, Mu Gaoqi’s results were absolutely frightful! He certainly had potential, but under normal conditions he didn’t even refine an upper rank Origin Fostering Pill. How had he performed so much above par and refined a supreme rank today?
No one was in the mood to pay attention to the scores after that. Those left obviously had no hope in overtaking these two. As the results of the second topic came out, the final rankings were adjusted to reflect their scores. Jiang Chen was still far in the lead, but now Mu Gaoqi had tied with Ouyang Chao, with Ling Hui’er ten points behind them.
Jiang Chen had full marks from the first three categories, whereas Ouyang Chao had 280 points, Mu Gaoqi and Ling Hui’er were tied at 270. With the first two topics of the fourth category, everyone had firmly obtained the first 20 points. Mu Gaoqi had been awarded 40 points for his supreme rank pill, whereas Ouyang Chao and Ling Hui’er had been awarded 30 points. But now, Mu Gaoqi had naturally caught up to Ouyang Chao. Both were at 330 points, and Ling Hui’er at 320. Only Jiang Chen was still far ahead at 360 points. He hadn’t lost a single point up to now. It was up to the final topic.
When Ouyang Chao saw that Mu Gaoqi had beaten him in pill refining, he too was greatly taken aback. He hadn’t expected this at all. Mu Gaoqi, on the other hand, was suffused with contentment as great waves of emotion rocked his heart. This was because he knew that he had the residence firmly in hand! He was absolutely sure that he’d committed no flaws in the third topic and wouldn’t lose any points. Then with his current ranking ahead of Ouyang Chao and his faster speed, then according to the rules, he would firmly beat Ouyang Chao on the basis of his faster time.
It was obvious that at this time, whether it was Ouyang De or Ouyang Chao, both felt a keen sense of danger.
The results of the third topic were quickly tallied up. As they were revealed, it fell solidly within everyone’s expectations. Jiang Chen, Mu Gaoqi, Ouyang Chao and Ling Hui’er hadn’t lost a single point in this topic and had received full marks.
This way, the final scores stood at:
Jiang Chen, 400 points, full marks!
Mu Gaoqi and Ouyang Chao, 370 points, tied for second.
Ling Hui’er, 360 points, ranked behind Mu Gaoqi and Ouyang Chao.
Of the rest, the highest had 340 points, and the rest were even further away from the upper circle. The days of tough competition had finally generated the final rankings.
Elder Yun Nie and several judges double checked the score, making sure that there was no error before making their formal announcement. “Champion Jiang Chen receives one residence in the Sovereign Area, and runner up Mu Gaoqi receives one as well! The rest who weren’t originally in the Sky Pillar Area will receive a residence in this area. Elder Yun Nie and the various elders of the Herbal Hall can attest that this was a fair competition with no objections.”
This proclamation was the final nail in the coffin. It would be officially announced when Palace Head Dan Chi casted a final eye over things and went through the final ceremony.
Ouyang De’s gaze was lowered as he suddenly shouted, “I have a question!”
The Ouyang clan were the losers in this. There were those who sympathized with them, and others who delighted in their misfortune and cheered on the circumstances.
Elder Yun Nie was rather calm. “Elder Ouyang, please share your questions.”
Ouyang De yelled out, “I just find it strange that Jiang Chen comes from the sixteen kingdoms. We all know what kind of place it is, and I will never believe that the sixteen kingdoms can raise a pill genius superior to the best we have to offer! Do you believe it?! Leaving Jiang Chen aside for now, Mu Gaoqi is one of ours. Everyone should be quite familiar with him. Although he has potential, do you think his scores this time reflects his usual ability? Has he ever refined a supreme rank pill before today?”
Ouyang De had lost his composure. Many elders shook their heads inwardly, musing that Ouyang De was really demonstrating how he couldn’t handle a loss this time. With so many pairs of eyes staring at the competition, it was practically impossible to get away with cheating.
Elder Yun Nie smiled faintly. “If Elder Ouyang has questions, you can participate in a recount and re-examination of the results. I for one, am completely willing to accompany you on this endeavor. It’s good to have questions. Our sect’s mandate is to be fair and just. It’s because that we adhere to this principle that Jiang Chen and Mu Gaoqi can rise from the roots.”
To put it in other words, if they didn’t firmly uphold impartiality, then there was no need in competing over the residences. They could be handed out to the scions of the Herbal Hall.
Ouyang De had hardened his heart to make a scene and leapt up. “Good! I want to request an investigation into their scores. I just don’t believe that an outside monk is more skilled at chanting scripture, and that a self-taught rogue can defeat the scion of the Herbal Hall!” The outside monk was naturally pointing fingers at Jiang Chen, and the self-taught rogue was Mu Gaoqi. That left his grandson Ouyang Chao as the scion of the Herbal Hall.