Everyone was here exclusively for the Extreme King Pills. Jing Mingfeng estimated that already ten families of major importance were already gathered here. None of the families were getting along unfavorably with another it seemed, but that wasn't the case for the schools that were here. The schools were eyeing each other with a mean glare and kept to themselves. They were all competitors for the Extreme King Pills, so it wasn't strange for the schools to have such an unfriendly and competitive air to them.
It also wasn't strange that confrontations would break out, but those were generally silenced and put under control before an actual fight could. If not for the objective here today, everyone would've devolved into fighting a long time ago.
Together with Jing Mingfeng, Bai Yunfei flew down the road near Crushed Stone River. It didn't take long for them to reach a small mountain where the river seemed to flow into, and at the top of the mountain were two sparks of red and gold as the figures within the sparks fought one another.
Bai Yunfei and Jing Mingfeng came to a stop a good kilometer away from the battlefield to watch. When he saw just who were fighting, Jing Mingfeng quirked his lips in dissatisfaction, "Pft, it's just two Soul Exalts. And here I thought we'd be able to see a Soul King fight!"
The fighters were Soul Exalts like Jing Mingfeng said. The fire-type one was a Late-stage Soul Exalt, and the metal-type soul cultivator was a Peak Late-stage Soul Exalt. Their fight was loud and vigorous, but neither were aiming to kill. They were fighting, as it would seem, to just see who would be the victor and who would be the loser.
About a hundred meters away on both sides stood even more people. They were sprinkled about with some standing together in groups and others standing by themselves to watch the fight take place.
"Do you know the two?" Bai Yunfei asked as they watched the spectacle.
"I do." Jing Mingfeng nodded. "I've been here a while so I know a good bit about the people here already. The fire-type guy is from the Hengyang School and the metal-type one is from the Huayue School. Both schools are from the Southward River Province and are considerably strong—they both have three Soul Kings. I saw both schools bring one Soul King and three of their Soul Exalts when I came and they didn't look very happy with one another. I had a feeling they'd fight each other sooner or later."
Bai Yunfei glanced over to Jing Mingfeng. His notes on the people already gathered here was a little more detailed than he thought. Not bad. As someone once said, 'if you know yourself and know your enemy, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles'. Knowledge was a great boon to have in a competition like this.
His eyes swept around the entire vicinity to look at each spectator. "Do you know how many people there are here then?"
"From my count up to yesterday, at least eighteen factions have gathered here. Most of them are watching this fight"
Jing Mingfeng pointed to a group of five standing on a mountain far to the right of the fight. "The ones there are from the Flying Snow School, the strongest school in the Southward River Province. They specialize mainly in elemental ice. That white-haired guy over there is Bai Han, someone who became a Peak Late-stage Soul Exalt three years ago. He's known as the number one prodigy in his province. The old guy behind him is one of his school's elders, a Mid-stage Soul King."
Bai Yunfei followed his gaze to look at the young man named Bai Han. Sure enough, the guy had white hair to match his white robes and trousers as if he was some sort of person made from snow. His face was clear and smooth, his body tall and straight, and both hands clasped behind his back. He watched the battle in front of him with a look of disdain on his face—the sight of which made Bai Yunfei frown.
Bai Han was decked completely in white, including his hair. Bai Yunfei shared the exact same surname as he did, but his hair was a completely natural color of black….
TL Note: Both Bai Han and Bai Yunfei share the same surname of 白, which means White.
Jing Mingfeng's finger moved away from the Flying Snow School to several hundred meters away. "Those are from the house of Ji in Rang City, one of the top-ranking factions in the Southward River Province. The two young ones are the heirs to the house of Ji, Ji Wushang and Ji Wubing. They're twins, as you can see, and both are fire-type Peak Late-stage Soul Exalt. Rumors has it that they both have an extremely strong unison soul attack that can beat anyone in their level of strength. The old man behind them is the head of the Ji, a Late-stage Soul King."
Again, Bai Yunfei followed to where Jing Mingfeng was pointing at to the three people standing in the skies. The two younger looking men were identical looking in appearance. Both were rather frail, had long hair, and eyes that had a piercing glance. They didn't look at all like morally upright citizens.
From there, Jing Mingfeng pointed at the third group of people. "They're from the Fire School. That's the second elder, and those three are the strongest students they have. See there….that Zhong Liyan, remember him? We met him five years ago at the auction house with the Tang, he's the guy who bought a dragonfruit. I heard he became a Peak Late-stage Soul Exalt after he ate it. As expected from the top ten schools, the students there defy all logic…."
This time, Bai Yunfei stared at Jing Mingfeng. "Aren't you the same?"
He looked away back to the young man standing there. It really was Zhong Liyan.
Right as he was considering if he should head over and pay his respects, Jing Mingfeng started onto the next round of introductions. "Over there is the Wood School. They're basically the same. One Soul King bringing along three young students."
"Senior You?!" Bai Yunfei's eyes widened, snapping his head towards the people Jing Mingfeng pointed at.
"Eh? You know them?" Jing Mingfeng asked.
Bai Yunfei pointed at the thirty-something year old man wearing green robes off in the distance, "That's senior You Qingfeng of the Wood School. I know him."
"You Qingfeng?" Zheng Kai squinted. "Oh, so he's a friend of yours? He's considered a very outstanding student from what I heard, despite his age. A Late-stage Soul Exalt, but he's not as strong as the other one with him, Lin Zihao.
"Hey hold on….why do you call You Qingfeng 'senior'?" Jing Mingfeng suddenly asked. "As strong as he might be, but in terms of hierarchy, you're a lot higher than he is!
"Actually, no one should even compare to you in hierarchy. Your master is senior Zi Jin, you're on a level of hierarchy far beyond the newest generation of soul cultivators….." Jing Mingfeng shook his head.
Bai Yunfei chuckled. "Let's not….talk about hierarchy when I'm outside the school. It's only fine when I'm in the Crafting School.
"I came to know senior You a little after I started my journey as a soul cultivator. He helped me a long time ago, I never expected to see him here today…."
Bai Yunfei sighed with nostalgia.
He decided then that he'd go meet with You Qingfeng later, it'd be inexcusable otherwise. He heard from Zhao Xiluo say before that his sworn sister Chu Yuhe was taken by You Qingfeng off to the Wood School a long time ago, but it had been a very long time since then. Bai Yunfei wondered just how well the little girl had grown.
Ah. With how long it had been, perhaps calling her a little girl wouldn't be wise….
Memories of the times he last saw You Qingfeng sprung into Bai Yunfei's mind, causing him to feel a little happy over those memories.
By the side, Jing Mingfeng was still giving introductions. "Right besides the Wood School is the the Metal School. The one up front is the strongest student they have, Li Haodong. He's a Peak Late-stage Soul Exalt."
"Of the Five Elemental Schools, they're the first three to come. The Water and the Earth School have yet to arrive, but it won't be long now…."
Jing Mingfeng's finger drifted slightly farther away towards a group of two. "Those two are from one of the Five Families, the House of Wang. The younger one is the sole heir of the Wang, Wang Kunpeng and ranks third on the continent's list of prodigies. He's twenty-eight right now, but he became a Peak Late-stage Soul Exalt five years ago. People say he's about three to five years away from becoming a Soul King and probably doesn't need the Extreme King Pill. The one behind him is his dad, the head of the Wang and Late-stage Soul King."
Jing Mingfeng watched as the shocked settled in on Bai Yunfei's face.
A twenty-three year old becoming a Peak Late-stage Soul Exalt?! That wasn't something the word 'genius' could describe. A 'freak' would probably be a better name, wouldn't it? Though he couldn't sense it accurately, Bai Yunfei could see that the aura of this person was anything but normal. Bai Yunfei didn't even want to look at him for too long just in case there was a misunderstanding and averted his eyes away to look elsewhere.
"Over there is the Wind and Lightning School. That's their strongest student, Lu Chenhong, he's mastered his schools arts I heard….
"And then over there is another one of the Five Families, the house of Li from the Westward River Province. The one on the left is the young heir, Li Yuchun, a Peak Late-stage Soul Exalt with an affinity for space….
Then we've the the Returning Sword School from the Blue Mist Province. They're said to be second-to-none to the Ten Schools and all their students learn the art of the sword with a pure offensive style to it. That young man in purple is the junior headmaster, Liu Zhe….
"Over there is the house of Yue from the Common Ridge Province….
"That's the Pure Melody School….