Chapter 824: Unexpected News
All those who could take the top among great clans were people of great ambitions. None of them was willing to admit they were second fiddle. This was especially true when they all decided to participate in the competition set up by Emperor Peafowl. Everyone wanted to show their best side, come out on top and suppress all other opponents. They all wanted to become unparalleled amongst all others. Therefore, it was impossible even for disciples within the same clan to concede their position to others.
For example, the Coiling Dragon Clan had fielded three participants. Young master Ji San, young master Liu Xiang and Ji Zhongtang, although they had differing personalities, were in direct competition against each other right now. They didn't give each other an easy time just because they came from the same clan. If even scions within the same clan acted this way to each other, one could imagine just how hostile the relationship between those of different clans were. However, when the disciples made their way one after another up to the tall cliff that housed the Thousand Peafowl Mural, they heard a devastating piece of news that nearly made them spit blood on the spot.
"You are too late. The opportunity left behind by the emperor has already been received by its destined person." The Cloud Monarch's indifferent words felt like a bucket of icy water drenching these scions from head to toe. They felt chilled all the way down to their very hearts.
"How is that possible?"
"Yeah, we showed up so early to the cliff. How could it possibly be claimed by someone else?"
"This isn't right, we're all reputable geniuses within our clans, and there are only so many of us. If we're all here, then who on earth is the person who claimed that opportunity?"
"Honored Cloud Monarch, it's not that we are sore losers, but at the very least, we would like to know why we lost. We all know who the geniuses of each clan are, and every reputable person is standing here right now. This means that no one has gotten that opportunity."
"Yeah, Cloud Monarch, there's no way that some unknown small fry had gotten ahead of us, right?'
"There's no way, unless… did the emperor's direct scions participate in the match as well?"
These scions of great clans were all completely confused. It was obvious that they couldn't accept this result calmly. How could they call this a test? This is practically cheating! They would've rioted already if this wasn't an exam set up by Emperor Peafowl himself.
Thankfully, Emperor Peafowl's dignity wouldn't be denied. Moreover, the Cloud Monarch was a senior at the level of their clan lords. In fact, he might be even higher placed than their clan lords. Therefore, they didn't dare act too brazenly despite harboring many doubts in their minds. But just because they didn't dare to start a riot didn't mean that they could accept this outcome with equanimity.
After all, this outcome was plainly preposterous to them. It was obvious that not a single one of the geniuses here had obtained the fortune. But the Cloud Monarch had informed all of them that they were late. If this wasn't a lie, that what was? The only other possibility they could think of was that Emperor Peafowl's own geniuses had participated in the exam as well.
However, they hadn't heard that the emperor's scions would be participating in this exam. If they did, they wouldn't have been so optimistic and hopeful about their chances, and thus wouldn't experience such a rollercoaster of emotions. The Cloud Monarch didn't get angry despite facing these youngsters' accusations. Instead, he smiled faintly, "It is good that you all possess an inquisitive spirit. However, an emperor's opportunity is not child's play, so go back to your original positions and wait. You will know the answer eventually."
He didn't give them a clear answer, but there was no doubt that it was a declaration that his words were the undeniable truth. They could question all they wanted, but it wouldn't change no matter what. At this point, those scions who were slightly smarter than others understood that this outcome was an unchangeable fact already. Therefore, they gave up and went away with sighs of defeat. However, most of the genius scions still couldn't find it in themselves to accept this outcome. They continued to hang around the Thousand Peafowl Mural.
"Could this be a test the emperor has set up for us?"
"You're right! Maybe it's a test to see if our dao heart is firm!"
"That makes a lot of sense."
"Hehe, we were nearly fooled, weren't we? It may actually be a test after all." One had to admit that these great clan scions were quick to regain their calm from their previous fury and wonder if this was just another test. Their ability to adjust their emotions were definitely extraordinary.
However, the Cloud Monarch could do nothing but shake his head wryly]. He himself knew that these youths would probably find his words hard to accept no matter what he said. To be honest, even he didn't feel like he could accept this outcome. It was an unsolvable puzzle. Just where on earth had this monstrous Pill King Zhen come from? Even if the Cloud Monarch were to overlook the fact that the pill king had cleanly passed through three stages in a row, the latter had still seen through and obtained the opportunity concealed by the emperor himself inside the Thousand Peafowl Mural in less than fifteen minutes' time.
Even the Cloud Monarch himself had to admit in shame that he couldn't match Pill King Zhen's speed. "It's no wonder why these youngsters couldn't accept this outcome. If I haven't seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it either. I wouldn't have believed it no matter who told me."
Even now the Cloud Monarch was still stunned beyond belief at the rate in which Pill King Zhen had passed through the three stages and meditated on the Peafowl Mural. "Where on earth did the Coiling Dragon Clan find such a strange pill king? It's one thing to have godly pill dao talent, but now he seems to possess a martial dao talent that's just as outstanding. Could he be the heir the emperor has been searching for a thousand years?"
The Cloud Monarch was Emperor Peafowl's loyal supporter. If there was anyone who believed in Emperor Peafowl's so-called destiny theory in the entire world, they had to be the four great monarchs beneath him. Completely loyal to him, they would follow him unconditionally no matter what he said or did. Therefore, they were all very supportive of Emperor Peafowl's talk of destiny. The Cloud Monarch was wondering right now if Pill King Zhen was the person of great destiny the emperor had been searching for.
Emperor Peafowl hadn't revealed Jiang Chen's identity to any of his subordinates due to his calculations of how sensitive it was. The Coiling Dragon clan lord and House Wei father and son already knew this from the beginning, so naturally they were an exception. Therefore, although The Cloud Monarch was shocked by Pill King Zhen's unparalleled talent, he still knew nothing about his true identity. Otherwise, if he knew that Pill King Zhen came from a poor lower region like the Myriad Domain, his shock about this youth would likely skyrocket beyond the limits of belief.
The Cloud Monarch felt amused as he watched the scions of great clan focusing all their attention on the Peafowl Mural. Even now, these youngsters weren't willing to accept reality. Since the opportunity had been taken away by the destined person, this Thousand Peafowl Mural would be fading pretty soon. As expected, someone started to shout a short time later.
"It can't be? Why is the Peafowl Mural fading?"
"Ugh, it disappeared. What's going on?"
"Are they intentionally keeping us from studying it or something?"
"Is this another test? Has the Peafowl Mural gone invisible?" All kinds of heated discussions started once more.
The Cloud Monarch spoke seriously, "The great emperor's opportunity has been taken by its destined person, so it is only natural that the Thousand Peafowl Mural would disappear. I am sure that all of you were prepared to lose when you chose to participate in this contest. If you will not admit defeat even now, it will only reflect badly on you."
When they saw the serious look on the Cloud Monarch's face, these geniuses finally realized that they really might have lost. This wasn't a test at all. This was reality. As a result, the atmosphere of the scene grew even stranger than before.
"Who on earth was it?"
"Did a nameless person seriously get ahead of us geniuses and take the opportunity for themselves?"
"Let's count off. How many people participated in the contest? Who else is missing?" These people began to interrogate the crowd one after another. It was obvious that even now they found it somewhat difficult to accept the reality of their loss. They all wanted to know exactly who had taken Emperor Peafowl's fortune.
Did one of the great clans hide such an unbelievable genius in their midst? Had they kept a profile so low all this time so they could reveal the genius at this exact occasion? That assumption just didn't sound all that believable. The only one who seemed to have figured out something was Ji San. Although he was smiling wryly at his defeat, his expression also looked somewhat joyful. It was obvious that he had his own guesses as to who the winner of the opportunity was.
"What are you laughing at, Ole Third?" Young master Liuxiang was confused by Ji San's smile.
"What do you think I'm laughing at?" The more Ji San thought about it, the more amused he felt. His expression also grew more and more cheerful. Young master Liu Xiang looked confused, "You're not going to tell me that you're the one who got the opportunity, are you?"
The moment he said this, everyone's gazes snapped to Ji San. Envy, jealousy, and even malice was clear in their eyes.
Ji San laughed but didn't reply. But Miao Suo said loudly beside him, "No way! Ji San was only a few steps ahead of me. There's no way he's the one who got the opportunity!"
"Yeah, I almost arrived at the same time as Ji San. How would I not realize it if he's the winner?"
Someone came out to 'clear' his name, and so the suspicion on Ji San was washed away. But Ji San's smile only grew wider and wider. His odd reaction puzzled everyone on the scene.
"Ji San, don't tell me that you've lost your mind because you can't handle the loss?" Miao Suo sneered and taunted him. It was obvious that Miao Suo still thought of Ji San as a love rival.
"Ji San, you haven't actually gone crazy with jealousy, have you?" Young master Liu Xiang rubbed his nose as he asked.
Ji San raised his eyebrows, "You're the one who's gone crazy. In fact, every one of you have. I've already figured out who is the winner is. I can't believe that you're all still completely clueless about it."
"Who is it?" Everyone's curiosity was piqued by his words.
Ji San smiled leisurely, "Like Buddha says, some things cannot be spoken of."
Ji San waved his paper fan and walked away leisurely while purposely concealing the truth from everyone. He looked so happy it was almost as if he himself had gotten the opportunity.
Suddenly, Ji Zhongtang broke his long silence and exclaimed in surprise, "Could it be him?"
When he looked around, Ji Zhongtang didn't find the figure he was looking for. In an instant, Ji Zhongtang turned to look at Ji San's back with an extremely complicated look on his face. Young master Liu Xiang's figure also started a little when a vague figure slowly surfaced in his mind thanks to Ji Zhongtang's reminder. It was him?