That person smiled and humbly bowed. "You flatter me, I dare not hold that title…" he said to the people around him.
Yun Hen smirked, but Meng Fuyao pulled him away and headed towards the exit. The person who was socializing suddenly turned around and a curious gaze landed on her figure.
Meng Fuyao had already walked out of the door in big strides, far away from the "virtuous couple".
When they ate dinner, Meng Fuyao bit on her chopsticks and was deeply absorbed in thought. She asked Zong Yue, "What now? How did I not know that my reputation has spread to Heaven Demon? Now there's a bit of difficulty if I want to stir some trouble in this place. Zhan Nancheng will never want a General of another nation to enter his court."
Zong Yue focused on eating - he ate only the food in front of him and refused to let other chopsticks enter his territory. He was all the more against the idea of someone talking to him while he was eating.
However, Meng Fuyao had always been thick-skinned, and she never cared about what Zong Yue's expression was whenever she wanted to say something. Seeing that his food was under the risk of being contaminated by her saliva, he promptly shifted his bowl away and answered, "That's easy, just cut your ties with Wuji."
Meng Fuyao uttered dumbfoundedly, "How?"
"Leave it to Zhangsun Wuji. He has a thousand ways to make Zhan Nancheng believe that you're a materialistic villain who is physically strong but simple-minded, and who despises the poor treatment of Wuji Nation and wishes to change allegiance to Heaven Demon," replied Zong Yue, in a rare occasion that he did not talk in circles. "But the pre-condition is you have to be the champion. Only then will the talent-scarce Heaven Demon try to rope you in."
"Oh," Meng Fuyao responded as she searched for pen and paper with her chicken wing still in her mouth. As she wrote, she read it aloud. "Dear Crown Prince, please think of a way to let Zhan Nancheng have the impression that I am a materialistic villain who is physically strong but simple-minded, and who despises the poor treatment of Wuji Nation and wishes to change allegiance to Heaven Demon…"
If he choked to death while reading it, that would be perfect.
"I think that it's a bit hard to be Number One this year," said Yun Hen, who only ate vegetables and picked out all of the scallions and garlic. "Fuyao, not sure if you noticed, but the Yan couple seems weird."
Meng Fuyao fell silent - of course, she noticed it. Just one look was enough to make her realize that Yan Jingchen's martial arts skills improved at the speed of light. Even his inner energy felt slightly different. That change did not seem to be because of the Stirring Thunder Technique but some eccentric skills, as a green fog seemed to circulate below his eyes. As for Pei Yuan, though her face had not yet been seen, Meng Fuyao remembered that her martial arts skills were disabled by Zhan Beiye. Recalling how she walked in the day, she had obviously recovered. What was going on?
Furthermore, during the Taiyuan incident, Yan Jingchen chose to save her instead of Pei Yuan, and the latter was so angry that she even vomited blood. After such drama, why was she still willing to marry him? Did she really love him so much that she could forgive everything he did?
Or did she feel that the only man in the world was Yan Jingchen?
Meng Fuyao's brain was in a tangled mess. Thinking that the Yan couple had always been weird people, and not humans that a normal person like her could understand, she decided to give up. She laughed and asked Yun Hen, "You're Scarless Sword, aren't you? This name sounds so much more pro than that "Flying Double Sword". Zhan Beiye said that you had a fortuitous encounter, what was it?"
"After Taiyuan split, I once led the army to battle with Shangyuan," Yun Hen explained simply. "When my subordinate and I were too worn out from chasing an enemy, we accidentally walked into the depths of a mountain and met an old Taoist that had rotten skin on the bottom of his foot. I piggie-backed him out of a cave, and before I left, he patted my back and told me 'Good personality, good physique, I will give you a gift to express my gratitude'. I didn't think too much about it then, but when I went back, I realized that someone had written an entire set of sword skills and inner energy pointers. There were only 3 stances for the sword skills, but there could be countless transformations. Up until now, I have not fully discovered all of them."
Meng Fuyao choked and spat out the chicken wing that she was chewing on, causing the guinea pig to stare at her defiantly. Meanwhile, Zong Yue had already flashed away with his bowl in his arms. He instructed the housekeeper, "Next time, I'll trouble you to bring my food to the room. I'm not able to eat properly in such a situation."
Meng Fuyao could not be bothered with him. She grabbed onto Yun Hen's sleeve and questioned, "A very ragged old Taoist? One that looked perverted at first sight? With rotten skin on his head and pus on his feet? Body filled with scrambling fleas?"
Recalling for a moment, Yun Hen answered, "I didn't notice the fleas." It was basically admitting that the Taoist was indeed very perverted.
Meng Fuyao let out a long sigh and threw the chicken wing to one side. As her eyes stared lifelessly at the ceiling, she muttered, "Out to bring misfortune to people again…"
Yun Hen turned towards her and asked, "You know him?"
"I know him, and very well too," said Meng Fuyao through her gritted teeth. She patted Yun Hen and added, "Your luck could have been good or bad. Anyways, the next time you see that old guy, be sure to avoid him. When he's free, he likes to act like a disabled or a lunatic to talk to people on the streets. If he likes you, good for you. If he doesn't, you're bound to be in trouble. You can't possibly have such great luck every time so stay away from him."
Yun Hen looked at her, a stroke of starry light flashing by in his eyes. He said, "I feel that he's my benefactor. Otherwise, how would I be able to chase you… your level?"
Meng Fuyao's heart skipped a bit when he was halfway through his sentence, but immediately relaxed when he finished. Heartily patting on his shoulder, she responded, "Hey, it's alright, we are all family, we won't fight each other."
Something darker and more solemn appeared in his expression as he gazed at Meng Fuyao. A while later, he advised, "Ms. Meng, the Yan couple is weird, don't let down your guard."
"Yes," Meng Fuyao agreed as she squatted on the bench and rolled up her sleeves. "If one comes, I'll destroy one. If two comes, I'll destroy a pair!"
The True Martial Arts Meet took place, and the competition was split into four rounds. The preliminary round would decide on 40 people to be sent to the second round, which would then narrow the number of contestants down to 20 for the third round. The last round involved drawing lots to decide on one's opponent until a ranking could be formed.
As there were many people in round one, the competition was held in the Qingyuan Monastery in Shang Mountain, at the western side of Pandu City. The subsequent second and third rounds would be held at the quadrangle in Sky Street. Lastly, the final round would be held at the Heaven Demon Palace.
Only using 1/3 of her abilities, Meng Fuyao successfully passed the first two rounds, similar to the elite wielders sent by various nations. The Yan couple were not in the same group as her, so they did not get to compete, but Meng Fuyao did look at their fight. Indeed, their skills had improved tremendously, and their inner energy was peculiar. When they exhibited their sword stances, there were not only sounds of thunder but also a thin layer of smoke. Yet she did not know what skill that was.
Meanwhile, Meng Fuyao had become very famous in these two rounds. Martial arts wielders used to place their attention on famous people like Gu Lingfeng, Guo Pingrong, Xuanyuan Yun, Ya Lanzhu, Yun Hen and Yan Jingchen, but now they would especially take a look at Meng Fuyao.
But Meng Fuyao intentionally hid her true abilities. In the second round, she did moderately well, ranking 17th or 18th out of everyone. Everyone just felt that this young Wuji General was pretty decent and had relatively great skills at her age. Other than some sharp-eyed ones, most would not have placed her on the same rank as the famous ones, much less associated her with the Champion title.
The third round would commence three days after the second. As Meng Fuyao left the competition area, she heard some noble ladies who were watching the Meet whisper excitedly, "We must see the last round…"
"Yes, but it will be in the palace. How do we get an invitation?"
"Just think of a way, it's such a rare opportunity. Other than this time, when will we ever be able to see him?"
"I heard that he didn't have the time to come over but somehow, he accepted the invitation in the end. The True Martial Arts Meet had invited many royals from various nations to be the referee, such as the past King of Taiyuan and the Head of the Fufeng Clan. But he has never attended…"
"Ah, no way, no way, I need to rush back to think of a way. My relative knows Princess Royal, and I have to pester her to help me plead for an entry…"
"Wait for me, I want to go too…"
As they left, Meng Fuyao shook her head as she tilted her nose towards the sky. Chasing after idols was really a habit that transcended time. She wondered which amazing character could have caused these budding teenage girls to be so infatuated with.
In this round, she was not in the same group as Yun Hen and Ya Lanzhu. As she was about to find them, someone called her from behind. "Fuyao," said the person.
Meng Fuyao stopped in her tracks and sucked in a deep breath.
'Why is it that once you start hating a person, even the person's voice sounds so unbearable?' she thought.
She summoned upon her inner energy as a defense measure before turning back. Twitching an eyebrow, she asked, "Sect Master Yan, your Junior Brother has finally conveyed my message to you?"
Standing before a willow tree, Yan Jingchen was still warm and friendly, and handsome and tall. Only his face looked slightly ashen and thinner than before. There was a slightly refreshing aura, but compared to Yun Hen's innate aura and cool temperament, Yan Jingchen felt less natural. That did not undermine the fact that he was still an outstanding man. The figure underneath the tree had the looks of a charming man who casually leaned on a tree with a horse in hand, prompting girls on the street to look twice.
There was a hidden sense of unbearable pain in his eyes as he stared at Meng Fuyao. Though this girl standing in front of him was dressed as a man, she still stood upright and confident. She had pride but was not prideful, and her aura was extraordinary. If she was a hidden piece of jade when she concealed her true appearance back then, now the dust had been cleared, revealing a magnificent radiance that illuminated the seas and mountains in all directions.
When he breathed, he felt pain in his organs. This was Fuyao, once his Fuyao, but he had wrongly let her go. That mistake hurt him every day like sharp daggers stabbing into him, and time after time he would regret having despised her. Why did he tell her that he was going to marry Pei Yuan? If he had kept mum, maybe things would have turned out differently… He bashed himself the moment he said that line. He still did not fully understand Fuyao and did not understand that in her strong and resilient heart, she had undying pride within her. So, one line meant an eternal mistake.
However… Maybe there would be a chance… If talking could no longer compensate for his misdeed, he was not afraid of trying other methods…
Curling his fingers into his sweaty palms, he smiled warmly and said, "Fuyao, my Junior Brother is young and ignorant, and I have punished him for offending you. As for the competition, let's not talk about it. No matter what, I would not attack you…"
"But I would," replied Meng Fuyao emotionlessly. "Since you're willing to step back and restrain your disciples, then fine, I will not wipe out the Mystical Essence Sect. As for you, I will see you on the battle stage."
She was about to turn and leave. Behind her, Yan Jingchen asked bitterly, "Fuyao, do you really hate me so much that you're not even willing to talk to me in person?"