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Some of the people present, saw Tang Thirty-Six hand over a piece of paper to Zhe Xiu, but no one imagined that it would be a banknote, this was because the impression that wolf-tribe youth left on others, could in no way be associated with something like money; just as with Luo Luo and Xuan Yuan Po, even having witnessed this with their own eyes, it was hard to believe.
Zhe Xiu entered the Tower of Purging Dust.
Zhe Xiu exited the Tower of Purging Dust.
His opponent didn’t leave the tower. In the same way as Gou Han Shi had, he obtained an uncontested victory, but this similarity was only in terms of its results, its process was a lot more contentious than Gou Han Shi’s, because his opponent, once again, had been sent out of the Education Palace after being heavily injured.
The examinees gazes followed him as he walked down the steps and arrived at the woodlands where the group from Orthodox Academy were.
Tang Thirty-Six was a little speechless, saying: “You’re using the status of a student from Star Seizer Academy to participate, and even now, you’re using the false name of Zhang Ting Tao; that gentleman can be considered your fellow-student, did you have to fight so mercilessly?”
Zhe Xiu remained quiet for a while, it seemed he couldn’t really understand why Tang Thirty-Six was so concerned about this, he then said: “I said I will fight well.”
Tang Thirty-Six’s banknote made him very satisfied, thus, he did a rare nod in conveyance and promised that he would fight well.
For the wolf-tribe youth who couldn’t understand, neither cared to understand about human relations, fighting well means exerting his full strength in fighting, the outcome for his opponent was only to be expected.
“What are you here for?”
The gazes of all the examinees congregated upon the woodlands, this made Tang Thirty-Six feel a degree of pressure, he didn’t want to let others know of the deal made between Orthodox Academy and Zhe Xiu. It didn’t have anything to do with reputation or such, but was simply because he wanted to preserve this secret, the secret that Zhe Xiu could be bought out with money.
Zhe Xiu was currently the equivalent of a mercenary for Orthodox Academy, for such a powerful mercenary, it was naturally best to ensure no one knew of this.
“To discuss the price,” said Zhe Xiu.
Tang Thirty-Six understood that he meant the next match.
Without any surprises, Zhe Xiu was matched against Gou Han Shi.
Luo Luo and Xuan Yuan Po were inspecting the grass on the ground with their heads hanging, without saying anything, they were using this action to hide their embarrassment.
Chen Chang Sheng didn’t join them, that’s because this was his own affair, if it was to bring about derision afterwards, then he believed the target of that derision should be himself and not Tang Thirty-Six.
“The thing that you want, I can’t guarantee if… if I have it or not, but I will do my best to obtain it for you,” he looked at Zhe Xiu while saying this.
Zhe Xiu stared at him straight in the eyes and said, in a detached tone: “You must have it.”
Chen Chang Sheng replied: “If I do, I’ll give it to you.”
Zhe Xiu remained quiet for a long while before saying: “I accept.”
He then looked towards Tang Thirty-Six, remaining quiet again for a long time, then said: “Three times?”
Tang Thirty-Six was startled, before finally regaining his senses, strongly suppressing his glee and calmly said: “No problem.”
Zhe Xiu once again nodded his head towards him in conveyance, he then turned around and headed beyond the crowd.
“It seems that fellow only knows how to kill and doesn’t know how to bargain,” said Tang Thirty-Six emotionally as he watched Zhe Xiu’s back.
The price for battling Gou Han Shi was only three times the price for battling that Star Seizer Academy student, Zhe Xiu’s asking price really did make him feel rather surprised.
He then thought of something, turning to look at Chen Chang Sheng, frowning as he asked: “Do you know what he wants?”
It was obvious that being very short on money was only partially the reason why the wolf-tribe youth was willing to help Orthodox Academy, the most important reason was that he wanted something from Chen Chang Sheng.
Chen Chang Sheng gave Luo Luo a glance and said: “I can more or less guess what he wants, I just can’t be sure if I can help him or not.”
The last match of the top 8, happened between Luo Luo and that young scholar from Scholartree Manor, Zhong Hui.
Living up to his rank of being ninth upon the Proclamation of Azure Clouds; while inside the tower, Zhong Hui displayed an extremely formidable True Essence cultivation and sword ability, he successfully persevered… for about the time it took for half a stick of incense to burn.
The Li Palace clergyman announced the result, Zhong Hui silently left the tower.
Staring at that young scholar’s slightly forlorn looking back, Luo Luo didn’t feel anything in particular, quietly watching the entrance, awaiting the next opponent’s arrival.
She didn’t leave the tower, she had requested to fight the top 4’s first match, the personages up on the second floor had to at least give her some face.
The door to the tower closed and after a short period, once again opened.
Hearing that creak, Luo Luo ran over, then carefully locked her arms around her opponent’s arm.
Her opponent for this round is Chen Chang Sheng.
The floor that had been washed out by the rainwater, had remnants of wet sand left behind, the stone steps near the perimeter wall in comparison, were relatively clean and much drier.
Luo Luo supported Chen Chang Sheng as they went over to sit upon the stone steps, she then passed over some clean water and had him drink a mouthful, before saying: “How much longer till the medicine starts to show its effect?”
Chen Chang Sheng looked at the gold wire that that was wrapped around his left ring finger and said: “It’s already slightly better, you don’t have to worry, if it’s still not enough later on, I’ll think of something else.”
Luo Luo said: “Then you should rest a little more, Sir.”
Chen Chang Sheng looked at the second floor, wondering if this was appropriate.
The Tower of Purging Dust is the arena for duels in the Grand Examination, examinees that entered the tower had their concentration focused upon battling, rarely having the opportunity to observe the tower’s appearance.
At this time, he could have a good look.
Yet in the end, he still felt a little uneasy.
“Someone will say something won’t they?” he asked, while looking at Luo Luo.
Luo Luo wanted to say that she didn’t care what others said, but thinking of his cautious personality, she lightly rolled her eyes and then said: “Then let’s just talk to each other.”
What should they talk about? Has the great banyan tree at the academy become even larger? Can you still see the convenience store at the entrance to the Hundred Blossom Lane when standing atop the tree’s branches? How thick was the snow at the academy last winter?
“Sir, how did you win against Zhuang Huan Yu?” Luo Luo asked a question everyone was interested on.
Chen Chang Sheng gave it a thought, recounting to her in detail as to what happened in the previous match, without missing anything significant.
Luo Luo was naturally taken aback, saying, as if she was still fearful: “Luckily there was that spell of rain…”
Chen Chang Sheng nodded, thinking back on it, if it wasn’t for that cold, icy rain from the heavens, even if he hadn’t burned to death from the Star Brilliance, he would have been heavily injured by the high temperatures.
That spell of rain, where did it come from?
“The Education Palace is within His Holiness’ Green Leaf World, only His Holiness can make it rain here.”
It was unknown as to what Luo Luo had thought of, she remained quiet for a long time, then said: “Sir, this seems to be getting more and more complicated.”
Chen Chang Sheng remained silent, if the person that instigated that spell of rain really was His Holiness, what was the explanation for it?
Chen Chang Sheng and Orthodox Academy are targets of nurture for the tradition faction of the Orthodoxy.
Everyone knew that the Orthodoxy’s tradition faction, or more specifically, those figures that supported the Imperial Chen Clan, were opposed to Her Divine Majesty and His Holiness.
Why would His Holiness help him? Or more accurately speaking, save him?
Everyone upon the continent knew that both, the academy’s new students, and His Eminence’s declaration, concealed a lot of problems.
As one of the involved parties, Chen Chang Sheng was obviously aware of this, but he had never deliberated over this before.
Firstly, he didn’t want to concern himself with it; his aim in the end, is first place in the Grand Examination, the aims of those personages within the Capital were unrelated to him.
Secondly, he couldn’t understand; the thoughts of those personages wasn’t something a youth like him could guess.
“At the very least, from the current look of things, it will be of a benefit to me,” replied Chen Chang Sheng in a reassuring tone, while looking at Luo Luo, whom had a stern expression on her face.
Luo Luo said: “I think we might be able to borrow the momentum.”
Chen Chang Sheng couldn’t quite understand, asking: “Borrow what momentum?”
Luo Luo’s gaze fell upon the sword wounds on his chest, she then said: “In the match to come, try your best to take risks.”
Chen Chang Sheng understood her meaning.
With Luo Luo’s original intention, she definitely wouldn’t have suggested this course of action, but since Chen Chang Sheng absolutely had to take first upon the First Banner, this was something that had to be done.
Neither she nor Chen Chang Sheng knew what those personages were thinking, but they knew that those personages had already done something.
A lot of important personages wanted Chen Chang Sheng to fail, but a lot of important personages also didn’t want him to die.
If His Holiness could cause a spell of rain in the Education Palace, then he could bring about even more rain.
Thus, Chen Chang Sheng should take risks, seeking life in the midst of death, only with this, could he borrow those personage’s momentum or perhaps, once again borrow His Holiness’ rain.
The so called “momentum”, meant going with the flow.
Luo Luo felt a little uneasy, saying: “But you absolutely have to pay attention to your own safety.”
Chen Chang Sheng extended his hand and rubbed her head, saying: “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.”
Luo Luo’s mood was a little downcast, saying: “I’m sorry, I haven’t been of much help today.”
She had pleaded before His Holiness, The Pope, for an entire night, in order to participate in the Grand Examination.
Rankings were meaningless for her, what she wanted to do, was to help forge the way forwards for Chen Chang Sheng, it was only because she had defeated Zhong Hui in the previous round, that Chen Chang Sheng could currently sit upon the stone steps and rest, not needing to face against Scholartree Manor’s supreme skills with a heavily injured body.
Yet, in her eyes, this wasn’t of any great significance.
Her aim had been Tian Hai Sheng Xue and Gou Han Shi.
Tian Hai Sheng Xue had withdrawn due to her, but there still remained Gou Han Shi.
It was very peaceful within the Tower of Purging Dust.
But it was very lively outside of the tower, that’s because no one cared about the results to the match that was currently happening inside; everyone knew what Her Highness would do.
The examinees were all in groups of two or three, debating over the previous matches or possible rankings, speculating over Chen Chang Sheng’s actual strength and how many moves could he persevere for against Gou Han Shi.
However, as time passed by, the tower continued to remain peaceful and the door remained closed, the examinees began to feel restless with some of them even starting to get drowsy.
Guan Fei Bai looked towards the tightly shut door of the tower and said, rather angrily: “Where’s the reason in this?”
Liang Ban Hu looked towards the woodlands, shaking his head and sighing: “Even someone like Tang Tang is feeling ashamed, how could Her Highness be like this?”
Gou Han Shi remained silent, upon thinking how Orthodox Academy was willing to use any method to help Chen Chang Sheng obtain first upon the First Banner, it was likely that the final match wasn’t going to be that simple.
At the woodlands, Xuan Yuan Po crouched upon the ground, unknown as to what he was looking at, previously, it was Luo Luo that crouched alongside him, now, it had changed to Tang Thirty-Six.
Countless gazes fell upon them, making them feel rather pressured, they couldn’t bring themselves to raise their heads nor converse with each other, all they could do was to crouch there, mumbling out a song to themselves.
“What is this?”
Within the tower, by the second floor’s window, an Archbishop of the Holy Church stared at the two youngsters that were atop the steps, his expression was unsightly to the extreme.
Chen Chang Sheng and Luo Luo were talking; master and disciple, closely together, conversing private matters, the scene was actually rather pleasant, very innocent and emotive.
The problem was, this is the Tower of Purging Dust, a stately arena for the Grand Examination’s duels, it wasn’t Orthodox Academy’s lakeside, neither was it the Hundred Herb Garden’s trellis for melons.
Xue Xing Chuan lightly frowned, saying: “This… isn’t appropriate is it?”
Prince Chen Liu felt like laughing, but in consideration of the others that were present, he stifled his laughter.
Mo Yu was expressionless, calmly watching Chen Chang Sheng and Luo Luo, yet her brows revealed a hint of impatience.
Everyone knew what Her Highness’ intention was, she wanted to make this match a period of rest and recovery for Chen Chang Sheng, thus, the longer it was, the better. But the entire continent was nervously awaiting the final rankings for the Grand Examination, was the entire world supposed to wait however long she and Chen Chang Sheng wanted to rest for?
The most troubling thing was that the Grand Examination didn’t have any rules or regulations on this matter. Who said participants had to immediately fight to the death the moment they entered the stage? Who said opponents cannot respect each other’s talents and converse a few words?
Luo Luo and Chen Chang Sheng had countless reasons or perhaps excuses to extend the time, changing the duel into nothing more than a conversation for them.
That Archbishop of the Holy Church angrily said: “Request Her Highness to hasten their match, if they don’t make a move, then judge the both of them negatively, directly eliminating them from the tournament.”
A Li Palace clergyman accurately conveyed the Archbishop’s wishes to the two youths that were currently talking atop the stone steps.
Luo Luo was outraged, saying: “Can’t you see we’re currently accumulating momentum? Who dares to eliminate us?”
That Li Palace clergyman wanted to grimace, wanted to ask Her Highness if she thought the entire world was blind.
What type of accumulation of momentum would accumulate for an hour? Accumulating to the point where two people are shoulder to shoulder? But he didn’t dare to say anything.
A creak resounded, the window to that second floor room opened for the first time.
Xue Xing Chuan arrived at the arena grounds, arrived before Luo Luo and said something in hushed tones with a small smile on his face.
Luo Luo still refused to get up and leave.
Chen Chang Sheng said: “I’ve more or less rested enough, let’s head out together, don’t cause trouble for His Grace.”
Luo Luo was most obedient to his words and also knew that they couldn’t appropriate the tower for too long, she helped Chen Chang Sheng rise, then headed out of the tower together.
Xue Xing Chuan watched the two youths as they left, unable to stop himself shaking his head, evincing his sense of helplessness.
With this, the first match of the Grand Examination’s top 4 came to an end.
Her Highness, in line with what everyone expected, directly conceded, at the same time she had gained an extremely valuable period of recovery for Chen Chang Sheng.
Chen Chang Sheng entered the finals for the Grand Examination.
He was another step closer to that aim which had been ridiculed by the entire continent.
But the entire process was seemingly a little outrageous.
Yet, he didn’t care.
Neither did Luo Luo.
The closer the duelling got to its end, the faster it would proceed. This was because the participants would become increasingly strong; even if their difference in strength was only slight, determining the victor would still be within a few manoeuvres.
After the second round, the time required for each match became extremely short, otherwise, it wouldn’t have been possible to reach the final stage so quickly.
Chen Chang Sheng and Luo Luo’s match, had wasted a full hour, taking longer than the previous ten matches combined, of course, everyone knew this was uncommon, and that only someone like Her Highness, with an uncommon status, could do this.
Yet, while everyone was thinking that this would probably be the longest match in the examination for this year, the second match, between Gou Han Shi and Zhe Xiu, once again brought about an immense surprise for them all.
This was because the match continued for a very long time, and judging by its current state, it seemed it will still continue, quite possibly surpassing an hour in length.
Hearing the horrifying sounds that would occasionally leak out from the tower, Tang Thirty-Six’s expression became ever more sombre, the respect in his eyes became ever stronger.
He turned around and looked at Chen Chang Sheng, gravely saying: “Apart from your life, whatever that wolf-child wants you to give him, you should just give it to him.”