Chapter 171: Alteration of the List of Contestants

Demoness's Art of Vengeance

Jun Xiaomo’s impression of Dai Yue was faint, to say the least. If not for the fact that she had encountered Dai Yue two years ago, she might very well have forgotten her existence completely by now.

Back then, her cultivation level had just fallen back to the first level of Qi Mastery, while Dai Yue and her mother had visited Dawn Sect as guests and encountered Jun Xiaomo.

Dai Yue was fond of Qin Lingyu. Thus, she had always seen the existence of the marriage arrangement between Jun Xiaomo and Qin Lingyu as a thorn in her side. She had even beaten up Jun Xiaomo as a result of this. The Dawn Sect’s Seventh Elder, Yu Zhuolian, was the friend of Dai Yue’s mother, Qiu Laifeng. After some rounds of mediation, Jun Xiaomo and Dai Yue agreed to resolve this issue with a bet – they would compete with each other in the upcoming Secondary Inter-Sect Competition, and whoever loses would unconditionally agree to a request set by the winner.

Jun Xiaomo squinted her eyes. Their time for interaction had been too short, and she had been unable to identify the cultivation level of her opponent, Dai Yue. Regardless, she knew that her cultivation could not be lower than the eighth level of Qi Mastery.

Seems like it’s not going to be an easy fight. Jun Xiaomo chuckled bitterly in her heart. However, since she had already agreed to the bet, she would never go down without a fight. After all, conceding defeat without having given her best was not one of the values that the Heavenly Peak disciples lived by.

In any event, what she was more concerned about right now was why Rong Ruihan would be travelling together with the disciples of the Eternal Summit Sect. Shouldn’t he be at the clan residence of her little packrat, training and learning from old man Chi? Things were going to be much more complicated if Rong Ruihan and Dai Yue were on good terms with each other.

Jun Xiaomo had always treated Rong Ruihan as a bosom friend of hers, and she naturally did not want to make things difficult for him as a result of a silly bet of hers.

Forget it, I’ll just look for brother Rong and clarify things with him after the end of the competition today. Jun Xiaomo thought to herself.

Jun Xiaomo had been so immersed in her own thoughts that had she completely failed to realize how Rong Ruihan’s gaze had been transfixed on her ever since he had taken his seat. Rong Ruihan’s gaze was even filled with complicated emotions right now.

The Secondary Inter-Sect Competition was a massive quinquennial event. Whenever this event occurred, not only would the various Secondary Sects congregate in the same location to participate in or watch the competition, there were even several Greater Sects who would send their sect elders to observe the proceedings.

The main reason why these sect elders from Greater Sects took interest in this competition was primarily because they had hoped to pick out and earmark a few promising young sprouts for their respective sects so as to prevent them from being snatched away by the other sects when these young sprouts realized their potentials.

Qin Lingyu and Ye Xiuwen had in the previous iteration of the Secondary Inter-Sect Competition produced stellar results, and thus been selected and earmarked by the elders of the Limitless Sect and the Frozen Sword Sect respectively.

The Secondary Inter-Sect Competition was essentially the culmination of every five years of each participant’s efforts. Each and every single one of the participants in the Secondary Inter-Sect Competition would display the fullest extent of their abilities on the arena with the hope of being spotted by the sect elders and offered a place in Greater Sect as a Chosen Disciple. It was no wonder that there were also several participants who would suffer serious injuries and even deaths in each and every iteration of this competition.

But whether grievous injuries or death, this was entirely permissible on the arena. As a result, the quinquennial Secondary Inter-Sect Competition had also become a platform where some cultivators would mercilessly murder their rivals.

After all, there were always some cultivators who felt that every single rival they killed meant one less worry for themselves. Thus, these cultivators had never been prepared to hold back their vicious and merciless attacks to begin with.

“Martial sister Xiaomo, the competition is going to begin soon. How come master isn’t back yet?” Wei Gaolang slipped over to Jun Xiaomo’s side and pointed his chin towards the panel of judges as he murmured.

Because Wei Gaolang was young and slightly hyperactive, he hardly had anything in common with the rest of his martial brothers and sisters in the sect. Thus, he always preferred to stick to his martial sister Xiaomo who was only older than her by two years of age.

Jun Xiaomo furrowed her brows as she looked worriedly at the panel of judges.

Just a little while ago, her father Jun Linxuan and several other sect elders had walked over towards the panel of judges to submit the list of contestants on their end. Logically speaking, this was an extremely simple process, and it should have been done in the blink of an eye. But they were taking much longer than expected, and there was no sign that they were coming back anytime soon.

There were a lot of people crowding around the panel of judges, and Jun Xiaomo had been unable to locate Jun Linxuan’s figure for the moment.

“Not good! Master seems to be arguing with someone!” Wei Gaolang cried out in dismay.

Jun Xiaomo finally noticed the commotion. Just as she stood up fiercely, intending to run over to figure out what was going on, Liu Qingmei grabbed hold of her and motioned for her to sit back down.

“Mum~!” Jun Xiaomo didn’t know what her mother meant by this.

“I’ll go over instead. Mo-Mo, stay here.”

“But mum…”

“The competition is just about to begin. Contestants who clash with others outside of the arena would immediately be disqualified. Have you forgotten this?” Liu Qingmei harshly reprimanded. Jun Xiaomo bit down on her lower lips and finally backed down. Seeing this, Liu Qingmei heaved a sigh of relief, nodded to herself and then quickly made her way over to the panel of judges as well.

“Mar-…martial sister, are you going to compete as well?” Wei Gaolang was stunned when he finally learnt of her intentions to compete.

Jun Xiaomo raised an eyebrow quizzically, “What’s the matter? Can’t I?”

“Can…Of course you can…But martial sister’s cultivation is only at the fifth level of Qi Mastery…” Wei Gaolang increasingly realized that his words could be interpreted to be disdainful of Jun Xiaomo’s abilities, and his voice grew increasingly timid as he shrunk his head back into his neck.

It suddenly dawned on Jun Xiaomo that this tender-faced little martial brother of his possessed a very bulliable disposition. Thus, she stretched out her hand and pinched his cheeks as she retorted, “Then tell me, is your cultivation level higher, or is your martial sister’s cultivation level higher.”

“Mine is higher than martial sister’s by one level.” Wei Gaolang made a “one” gesture with his hand.

Jun Xiaomo chuckled, before she lackadaisically continued, “But from what I recall, little martial brother seems to have lost to me every single time during our spars, huh…?”

Wei Gaolang: …… It’s not just ‘seems’…it is a fact…

Wei Gaolang was dismayed by the fact that his actual combat prowess was the lowest among all the martial brothers and sisters within Heavenly Peak. But he knew that he could only blame himself for being lazy and always being distracted by “fun” things.

On the other side, Jun Linxuan’s argument with the Dawn Sect’s Sect Elders had just escalated to a whole new level, and everyone else present had crowded around to watch the commotion.

“That list of contestants isn’t the same one that we had previously agreed upon. Why?!” Jun Linxuan furiously demanded an explanation as his body’s oppressive aura burst out uncontrollably from within.

But the few Sect Elders standing before him possessed a fairly decent cultivation level, and they were completely unfazed by Jun Linxuan’s aura.

The Second Elder looked up as he languidly responded, “After our discussions yesterday, we all felt that the previous list of contestants wasn’t satisfactory, so we decided to make some last-minute changes to it. Everyone finds that the present list of contestants is much more reasonable.”

“Your so-called ‘unsatisfactory’ and ‘changes’ are no more than excuses to curtail the participation rights of my disciples from Heavenly Peak, huh?!” Jun Linxuan fervently suppressed the swelling desires to wage war against these elders as he gnashed his teeth. His eyes were filled with a raging inferno as he stared daggers at the Sect Elders.

“The list of contestants isn’t fixed, and there’s no regulation which says that the Heavenly Peak should be entitled to that many participants in these competitions. We can naturally make any changes we think fit.” The Second Elder calmly refuted, “Even though previous iterations of this competition had seen many disciples from Heavenly Peak participating, we were all of the view that the opportunity to participate should be afforded to the disciples of other Peaks in this present competition.”

“You all have personally witnessed the incontrovertible abilities and prowess of the Heavenly Peak disciples.” Jun Linxuan snapped back, “It’s not that the Heavenly Peak disciples are snatching away the participation rights of the other Peaks’ disciples. This is just the result of arranging the disciples in descending order of their abilities and prowess. Rather than ask why the Heavenly Peak disciples are dominating all the rights to participate, perhaps you should ask yourselves why the other Peaks’ disciples are simply so weak!”

“Jun Linxuan, you…!” The Peakmasters of other Peaks were all present as well, and they couldn’t help but grow indignant at Jun Linxuan’s words right now.

“Huh, so if we base it solely on the descending order of their abilities and prowess, why is it that your daughter’s name is part of this list? Aren’t you also pursuing your personal agenda on the pretext of fairness?” The Pill Cauldron Peak’s Peakmaster coldly retorted as he cast a hostile gaze back at Jun Linxuan.

“This isn’t something out of my own personal agenda. You’ll know once Xiaomo enters the arena.” Jun Linxuan replied curtly.

“Hmph. We know, we know. But swords have no eyes. Just be careful that your precious daughter doesn’t lose her life up on the arena!” The Pill Cauldron Peak’s Peakmaster sarcastically remarked.

Pak! A clear slap rang out. The Pill Cauldron Peak’s Peakmaster found that a tight slap had just connected with his face.

“You!!!” The Pill Cauldron Peak’s Peakmaster stared furiously at the person who had just arrived, but his eyes were immediately met by an even more ashen gaze –

“Yu Zhiyong, I think you ought to wash your vulgar mouth. My daughter is your martial niece no matter how you look at it. But look at how you’re cursing her! Do you even consider yourself a human being?!” Liu Qingmei roared with such intense fury as though she were prepared to duke it out if the Pill Cauldron Peak’s Peakmaster Yu Zhiyong said anything else.

“Alright, enough!” The Dawn Sect’s Grand Elder finally spoke, “Stop all this at once. Do you want others to make the Dawn Sect a laughingstock?! Linxuan, it was indeed improper on our part to have made last-minute changes to the list of contestants without informing you. But what’s happened, has happened. There’s no meaning in pursuing this line of argument. Let’s all take a step back, finish the competition, and then we’ll address any issues when we’re back, alright?”

On the surface, the Grand Elder seemed as though he was being the wise and responsible one, but he was in actual fact discreetly castigating Jun Linxuan and Liu Qingmei for causing a scene and making them a public laughingstock.

In fact, the truth of the matter was that Jun Linxuan had never made a big fuss about this entire issue. He had throughout the entire course of events been fervently repressing the roaring inferno of rage within his heart. Yet despite that, the Grand Elder had essentially blamed him for the entire sequence of events that had transpired.

“Everything that needs to be said has already been said. There’s nothing else to add anyway.” Liu Qingmei coldly remarked before she tugged gently at her husband’s arm, “Linxuan, let’s go. The kids are still waiting for our instructions.”

After deliberating for a moment, Jun Linxuan swept a threatening gaze one final time across all the Sect Elders and Peakmasters, before he turned around and headed back to his disciples.

“Tch. Does he think that he’s so great now that he’s in the secondary-tier Immortal Ascension stage of cultivation? With his temperament, he might not even realize it when he draws his final breath.” The Pill Cauldron Peak’s Peakmaster Yu Zhiyong muttered under his breath.

The Grand Elder heard his remarks but did not rebuke him.

“Let’s go.” After the Grand Elder submitted the list of contestants to the panel of judges, he led the rest of the Sect Elders and Peakmasters back to the Dawn Sect’s designated seating area.

Jun Linxuan and Liu Qingmei had returned to their disciples before the rest of the Sect Elders and Peakmasters. Together, they informed the Heavenly Peak disciples about this matter, before Jun Linxuan sincerely apologized to the disciples.

He personally did not feel that there were any issues with apologizing to his disciples. From his perspective, it was his failure as their master to ensure the participation rights of his disciples.

“Master, you don’t have to apologize to us. It’s those Sect Elders that are too much!” Wei Gaolang cried out with indignation.

“That’s right! What basis do they have to make us give up our participation rights? Our abilities are far stronger than all of the other disciples!” Another Heavenly Peak disciple echoed in agreement.

In fact, none of the Heavenly Peak disciples blamed their master because they knew that with their master’s temperament, there was no way he wouldn’t have pressed the issue to the bitter end unless there was truly no way of changing the list of contestants right now.

Jun Linxuan patted Wei Gaolang’s head as he responded sincerely, “Thank you.”

Jun Linxuan generally presented himself as solemn and introverted, and he rarely displayed his emotions outwardly. Evidently, he had been incredibly incensed today.

Wei Gaolang realized that his master had rarely patted his head. Thus, when Jun Linxuan did so, Wei Gaolang thought that he felt traces of a father’s love in his actions. Wei Gaolang was delighted, and he held his head high with a pure and silly delight.

“Father, do you know which martial brothers have had their participation rights taken away?” Jun Xiaomo found the series of events extremely fishy, and she couldn’t help but consider taking further precautions right now.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get a good look at the list of contestants. Back then, I was so mad that I threw the list of contestants to the ground.” Jun Linxuan furrowed his brows as he examined his memories, “I only remember that we have five disciples participating in the Lower Category, and three disciples participating in the Middle Category.”

“Three people in the Middle Category?!” Jun Xiaomo clenched her fists, “We have twelve martial brother who have earned their rights to participate in the Middle Category, and all of our disciples there are among the top thirty within the Sect in terms of their abilities and prowess. What basis do they have for taking all of these away from our martial brothers?!”

The Secondary Inter-Sect Competitions were further sub-divided into three categories, namely the Lower Category, the Middle Category and the Open Category. Only cultivators from the first to the eighth levels of Qi Mastery could participate in the Lower Category; only cultivators from the ninth to the eleventh levels of Qi Mastery could participate in the Middle Category, and the Open Category was open to the rest of the cultivators of at least the twelfth level of Qi Mastery.

In order to limit the number of participants, the Lower and Middle Categories were each limited to thirty participants per sect. On the other hand, there were generally few disciples who qualified to participate in the Open Category to begin with, so there was no limitation on the number there.

Ye Xiuwen’s disappearance had created a rift in the strength of the Heavenly Peak disciples’ abilities, and they had no one qualified to enter the Open Category competition this year. However, this did not mean that the rest of Heavenly Peak had weakened.

The truth of the matter was that the Heavenly Peak disciples had always been incredibly strong. If they competed with their Dawn Sect contemporaries at the same level as them, there was no doubt that the Heavenly Peak would be able to place top five within each category.

Thus, the twelve Heavenly Peak disciples who were at the ninth to eleventh levels of Qi Mastery had all been listed as participants in the previous list of contestants. But just like that, the Sect Elders had surreptitiously kicked out and replaced most of these disciples from the original list of contestants in the eleventh hour.

At this moment, the Heavenly Peak was left with only three disciples participating in the Middle Category.

“I get the feeling that they’re trying to suppress the Heavenly Peak’s growth and progress.” Jun Xiaomo observed, “Martial brother Ye’s performance in the previous iteration of this competition had made them grow wary of the Heavenly Peak, and they don’t want to see another Ye Xiuwen appear within our Peak. Therefore, they decided to transfer our martial brothers and sisters’ participating rights to the disciples from other Peaks.”

“How does this benefit them? Aren’t we representing the Sect here?” Wei Gaolang queried with both indignation and disappointment.

He felt depressed every time he was reminded about the disappearance of his martial brother Ye.

“The Dawn Sect had lost too many disciples since these last travels, and there’s no way that the Sect would be able to get good results in this upcoming competition. Thus, they decided to limit the Heavenly Peak disciples’ opportunities to display their abilities, so that fewer people would compete with their own disciples for the chance to be spotted and chosen by the Greater Sects’ sect elders.”

Jun Xiaomo analyzed the situation with a cold gleam in her eyes as her heart sank.

She had never thought that the situation with Heavenly Peak would continue to worsen notwithstanding the fact that she had kept her identity as a demonic cultivator well concealed.

She was still young, and she still did not possess the abilities to protect her parents and martial brothers and sisters right now.

What’s going to happen to us? Is the Heavenly Peak’s fate from my previous life really inevitable?

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