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In this year’s Grand Examination, the martial phase was used to decrease the amount of examinees; the Dallying Forest and River Qu were an insurmountable obstacle for a lot of people.
The Education Board had secretly leaked information on this phase to Orthodox Academy. Tang Thirty-Six and Xuan Yuan Po made preparations for this in advance, in order to ensure Chen Chang Sheng will enter the final duelling phase, though they knew that his chances of placing first upon the First Banner were near non-existent, they were still willing to do this, to offer their support. But they, like everyone else, at the time of planning this, had assumed that Luo Luo would not be participating in the Grand Examination.
Therefore, they never anticipated that Luo Luo would shove in her hand, gripping onto Xuan Yuan Po’s.
“Did the two of you not think about why I decided to participate in the Grand Examination? I am also a student of Orthodox Academy, for you not to think that I can do something makes me feel rather disappointed.”
Luo Luo looked at Xuan Yuan Po and Tang Thirty-Six while she spoke, as she said she was disappointed, her eyes were bright like stars, with traces of disappointment evident upon her face.
Upon finishing her words, her sleeve lightly shook, the small hands that were gripping onto Xuan Yuan Po suddenly exerted force.
With a sudden whooshing sound, Xuan Yuan Po disappeared from the ground and became a streaking shadow across the air.
Due to how sudden this was, he hadn’t managed to mentally prepare himself for it, he screamed as he streaked through the air, attracting the attention of examinees from both sides of the river.
The River Qu was at its widest within the Garden of Dawn, the distance between the sea of trees and the meadow opposite was separated by at least a hundred metres.
Under the gaze of countless eyes, Xuan Yuan Po pierced through the air, his arms and legs flailing as he sailed across, marking out a singular line across the air, plummeting towards the Southern shore’s grasslands.
Silence blanketed both sides of the river and all that could be heard were his wild cries; faintly, it seemed as if it could be heard that he was crying for his mother.
A loud crash resonated.
The grasslands of the Southern shore shuddered for an instant, dust scattering everywhere and brown grass roiled out; dark soil, akin to some blossoming growth in water, billowed out in all directions.
Xuan Yuan Po dropped down heavily like a boulder.
After a while, the dust slowly settled and Xuan Yuan Po got up onto his feet, he patted himself free of dirt and grass, vacantly looking around himself; though he seemed to be dazed from the experience, it hadn’t caused any injury.
Seeing this scene, the clergy of Li Palace and the examinees that were situated on both sides of the river were dumbfounded and speechless, they wondered what this yao youth’s body was made of, how could it be so tough?
Gou Han Shi, Zhuang Huan Yu and the others had already switched their gaze towards the opposite shore, towards the forest edge; looking at the petite figure there, their faces showed complicated expressions.
She lived up to the position of being second on the Proclamation of Azure Clouds, Luo Luo’s casual throw and the amount of strength it displayed was simply bewildering.
At the Northern shore, Luo Luo turned her gaze towards Tang Thirty-Six; her small brow twitched, an indication of her intent.
Tang Thirty-Six quickly distanced himself from Chen Chang Sheng, hastily saying: “I don’t need any assistance.”
He didn’t want to be thrown across the river like Xuan Yuan Po; the problem created from landing aside, the most important issue was how unsightly it would look.
“I’m going ahead,” he said to Chen Chang Sheng.
He had only just gathered his wits; in his preparations with Xuan Yuan Po, he had overlooked Luo Luo, but since she had intervened, there was no longer any need for him to worry, the only fear he had was that Luo Luo might have gotten addicted to throwing people and would ignore his protests to forcibly help him anyway.
He hurriedly dashed towards the river, as if he was escaping from something.
Though he looked a little pathetic in his escape and his figure a little comical, upon his stepping onto the river, he once again resumed his refined look.
Night Clouds End.
The Sword of Wen Shui remained in its scabbard upon his waist; he used the Three Forms of Wen Shui unarmed.
A fiery aura immediately enveloped the Northern shore, though it was still early in the day, it seemed as if the dim glow of sunset had suddenly descended.
His figure was within this sunset, it transformed into a strip of golden light on the river’s surface, bounding across its entire expanse, taking but a moment to reach the Southern shore.
Today, apart from the four disciples of Li Shan Sword Sect, he was the only examinee to use his blade’s momentum to traverse the river.
Seeing this scene, Zhuang Huan Yu’s expression became rather grave; Guan Fei Bai and Liang Ban Hu were also rather surprised.
Since the last night of the Ivy League gathering, only a short amount of time had passed; Tang Thirty-Six’s ability had risen once again, beyond the expectations of many.
Thinking back upon the update to the Proclamation of Azure Clouds and the evaluation of this youth from Wen Shui by the Council of Divine Ordinance, the examinees who were standing upon the Southern shore had complicated feelings, they silently thought to themselves: did this mean he really would be able to enter the top 10 if he was to apply himself more diligently in training?
“Sir, please forgive my impropriety,” said Luo Luo, as she walked up to Chen Chang Sheng’s side and did a formal gesture.
She wasn’t clear on how tough Chen Chang Sheng’s body was after his Purification, but believed it would be far weaker than Xuan Yuan Po.
At this moment however, apart from throwing him across, she couldn’t think of any other method; Tang Thirty-Six had already crossed over, so he should be able to think of some way to receive him, the only problem was, her status was that of a student, for a student to hurl their tutor across like a child, she couldn’t stop herself worrying over if he would be displeased.
Chen Chang Sheng didn’t have a chance to reply; an examiner had quickly made their way over, stopping Luo Luo’s actions.
The examiner nervously said to Luo Luo: “Your Highness, your actions are in violation of the rules for the Grand Examination…”
Luo Luo noticed that the scholars from Scholartree Manor who were currently on the Southern shore, had begun conversing with the invigilator, this gave her an inkling of what was happening and her brow lightly twitched.
She said, in a rather unhappy tone: “From the rules I had previously heard for the Martial Trial, there wasn’t anything regarding this, not to mention I’ve already thrown one person across, don’t tell me it won’t be approved?”
During the planning stages of the Grand Examination, they didn’t think of the method used by Orthodox Academy, the examiners didn’t dare offend Luo Luo, but they felt that this was a clear violation of the long-held rule forbidding students from the same academy or sect from helping each other. Not to mention, like the scholars from Scholartree Manor, a lot of examinees were raising complaints, putting the examiners in a difficult position.
It didn’t take for long for a final verdict to come from the Hall of Zhao Wen: as Xuan Yuan Po had already been thrown across the river and the examiners had been lacking in making the rules clear, the result will be accepted, but for subsequent cases, they strictly prohibit any examinees from helping each other; an examinee can only rely upon their own ability in crossing the river; they also reiterated that the usage of any tools was strictly prohibited.
It was evident that those in the Hall of Zhao Wen, such as Mo Yu and the principal of Li Palace College had considered the fact that Luo Luo usually carried countless items on her. If she was to give Chen Chang Sheng another Thousand Mile Button, then, not just crossing the River Qu, even appearing at River Wang instantly wouldn’t be a problem.
Luo Luo was fuming, she said: “I’ll like to see who would dare to stop me.”
Finishing those words, she moved to take hold of Chen Chang Sheng’s hand.
When Tang Thirty-Six had used Night Clouds End to gallantly cross the river, the sound of a bell resonated from the direction of the forest, this indicated that time was up and that those remaining within the sea of trees were now disqualified. Following this, examinees that were still on the Northern shore made their last efforts to cross; all fell prey to the murky green waters of the river.
Currently, the riverside only had Chen Chang Sheng and Luo Luo remaining.
Apart from them, there were dozens of clergy from Li Palace, these clergy members didn’t dare to forcibly stop her and could only try earnestly persuading her from the side.
Chen Chang Sheng tried to persuade her: “I have a method for crossing the river, you don’t have to worry.”
No one noticed that while he was saying these words, he had discreetly tucked away a Thousand Mile Button into his sleeve. However, he hadn’t lied, Minister Xin had leaked the exam topic to them, how could he have made no preparations?
With his current level of ability, he had at least three different methods for crossing the river, but he had to keep certain things hidden for use in the duelling phase.
Luo Luo gave him a wide-eyed stare and asked him earnestly: “Sir, you really have confidence in this?”
Chen Chang Sheng extended his hand and rubbed her head, saying: “Don’t you usually have absolute confidence in me? If I wasn’t able to even cross this river, then how am I supposed to place first upon the First Banner?”
The clergy of Li Palace, upon seeing how close he was with Luo Luo, felt extremely astonished, they were equally speechless upon hearing his words; but seeing that Her Highness appeared to accept his words, they finally settled down and left the riverside, returning to their respective positions, waiting for the end of the Martial Trial.
Luo Luo was usually obedient to Chen Chang Sheng’s instructions, since he had already made a decision, she wasn’t going to say anything else; she got onto a large rock by the riverside, bent her knees and then jumped.
All that could be heard was a thunderous cracking sound, the large rock that was half covered in moss had split into two from its centre.
A piercing sound from something splitting the air resounded above.
Upon the Southern shore, it seemed like as if an invisible bell had been struck, a loud ringing sound could be heard.
This was the sound of space being crushed.
A skirt gently fluttered, then landed.
Luo Luo appeared upon the meadow; two clouds of dust encircled her skirt, akin to blossoming flowers.
The clergy of Li Palace and examinees who saw this scene, had their mouths slightly agape, stunned to the point of being speechless; this was far too strong.
Luo Luo ignored the shocked stares that fell upon her, the first thing she did was to turn around and look towards the other shore, her eyes full of worry.
She had always been confident in Chen Chang Sheng’s ability, possibly to the point of worship. She felt that her tutor had many things hidden, yet, she was still worried, for she couldn’t think of the method her tutor would use to cross over.
Tang Thirty-Six and Xuan Yuan Po went to her side, they then turned their gazes towards the opposite shore.
Gou Han Shi, Tian Hai Sheng Xue, Zhuan Huan Yu, Qi Jian… all the examinees that had completed the Martial Trial appeared by the riverside, turning their gazes towards the Northern shore.
Chen Chang Sheng stood by himself, solitarily, on that shore.
For even Luo Luo to feel this worried, what could the others be thinking?
No one could imagine what method Chen Chang Sheng could use to cross the river.
Even if he had completed his Purification, even if his divine sense was strong, if he didn’t have sufficient levels of True Essence, he wouldn’t be able to break through the natural restrictions placed by Heaven and Earth.
Some of the examinees revealed gloating expressions.
The four scholars from Scholartree Manor had expressions of indifference, but their eyes revealed endless contempt and ridicule.
The young junior from Holy Maiden Peak was smiling elatedly.
The entire continent knew that Chen Chang Sheng needed to place first upon the First Banner, if he couldn’t even pass this obstacle, it really would become a joke.
Guan Fei Bai suddenly said: “I hope he manages to cross.”
Qi Jian and Liang Ban Hu nodded their heads in agreement.
Gou Han Shi replied: “I’ve never doubted that he will make it across.”
The three of them turned around to look at their senior, not quite understanding.
Gou Han Shi continued: “Those who truly have high ambitions will not overlook small details, he wishes to place first upon the First Banner; how could he possibly be unable to cross such a shallow river?”
At this moment, Chen Chang Sheng finally made a move.
Under the observation of countless gazes, he didn’t make a move towards the River Qu, but instead, raised his head to look towards the deep blue sky.
Within the pale clouds of this early Spring, he seemed to be searching for something.
At that moment, the cry of a crane could be heard from far away.