Chapter 198: The List of Group Battle Participants Revealed; Jun Linxuan’s Fury

Demoness's Art of Vengeance

After the conclusion of the Open Category battles, everyone began to consolidate their numbers and enter the preparatory phase for the group battles component. The organizers had instituted a five-days buffer period for the participants who had just fought in the Open Category battles to have time to rest, freshen up and revitalize their spirits. This also acted as a lull period when the individual sects could let loose slightly from the tension of the competition so far.

At the same time, the rules for this iteration of the group battles were also distributed to each and every sect’s sect leader, sect elders and peakmasters.

The rules of the group battles were the same as previous years. Teams competed through the accumulation of points, and the sect that was able to accumulate the most points throughout the course of the group battles would be able take the title of champions.

Every past iteration of these group battles lasted for three full days, and this iteration was no exception either. This year, the organizing committee had picked the marshlands on the Heavenly Crane Mountain as the location where the group battles would take place. These marshlands were often enshrouded in a poisonous fog and miasma, while spiritual beasts and poisonous creatures were often sighted and reported in these areas. It was an incredibly dangerous place.

There were three main ways for teams to earn points during these group battles. The first way was to snatch and obtain the identity tokens of other participants. Each identity token obtained earned the team five points, while the participant who has had their identity token removed or snatched would immediately be disqualified from the competition. The second way was to kill the spiritual beasts or monsters within the marshlands. The teams would be accorded a wide range of points commensurate with the type and the strength of the spirit beast or monster defeated. The third and final way to obtain points was to locate and obtain the treasures in the marshlands previously hidden by the organizing committee. Similarly, the type and strength of these treasures obtained would earn the teams a commensurate amount of points.

As the Heavenly Peak’s Peakmaster, Jun Linxuan had obtained a set of the competition rules as well. He made several copies of these competition rules and distributed them to his disciples so that each and every one of them would have a copy.

“My goodness! This year’s competition is going to take place in the Heavenly Crane Mountain’s marshlands?!” Wei Gaolang stared in astonishment at the competition rules as he remarked with slightly trembling hands, “I hear that the marshlands are an inauspicious place – many who enter the place come out either insane or dead. Those who are able to return safely can practically be counted on one hand. Isn’t it too much that the organizing committee has decided to make the marshlands this year’s competition location? They must have overestimated the abilities of us Qi Mastery cultivators! They need to know that we’ve basically only just stepped into the realms of cultivation!”

Another Heavenly Peak disciple standing beside Wei Gaolang, Chen Feiyu, rapped him on the head as he retorted, “This is the result of your unwillingness to learn basic, common knowledge. Good thing there’s no one else around. Otherwise, you’re going to make a laughingstock of yourself. Those marshlands were indeed considered a deadly place about thirty years ago, but the dangers have already subsided in recent years.”

Wei Gaolang clutched at his head in humiliation as he remarked, “Eh? Is that right? …Martial brother Chen, you’re still as harsh as ever. Why do you always hit my head with such force…?”

Chen Feiyu glanced lightly over at him as he responded, “How will your memory improve otherwise?”

Unable to retort any further, Wei Gaolang chuckled bitterly before he puffed up his cheeks and retreated to a corner in exasperation. Chen Feiyu’s eyes were filled with a trace of bemusement.

On the other hand, Jun Xiaomo furrowed her brows. She felt that they would have to strategize properly if her martial brothers were to return from these group battles safely.

“Even though these marshlands are no longer as deadly as they have been thirty years ago, I still think that it would be wise to be cautious. There are still innumerable poisonous creatures and waves of poisonous miasma floating around the area, not to mention the fact that some parts of the marshlands are even in and of itself poisonous. One misstep and you could find yourself in a dangerous predicament. I think that this year’s group battles are going to be incredibly challenging.” Jun Xiaomo broke down the situation for everyone.

“Martial sister Xiaomo is right. However, you don’t have to be too worried either. After all, the sect is sure to send its strongest disciples for the group battles. If we find the group battles difficult, I’m sure the other sects would find the battles difficult as well.” Chen Feiyu offered a different perspective.

“That right, martial sister. You can count on martial brother Chen and the rest. We’ll give them our utmost support and cheer for them where we’re seated!” Wei Gaolang clenched his fists, and his eyes appeared to be filled with battle intent.

Those who were unaware of what was going on might even mistake him as one of the participants of this year’s group battles.

“That’s true.” Jun Xiaomo chuckled, yet her heart continued to be fraught with a sense of unease. It was as though her mind was ensnared by a dreadful premonition.

The disciples of several other sects had initially beaten themselves up over the fact that their cultivation level was too low, and they were thus unable to earn themselves a place to participate in the upcoming group battles. However, as soon as they learnt of the competition rules and the location in which the group battles were to take place, they immediately had a change of heart and heaved a sigh of relief as they began to see their non-participation as a blessing in disguise.

After all, everyone had heard about the dangers of the poisonous substances and creatures hiding within the marshlands. Who in the right mind would be happy to throw themselves into these lands and subject themselves to such dangers for three full days and nights?

There was no guarantee that a person would be able to return safe and sound after three days of the group battles. In this regard, it had to be said that it was not uncommon to hear of participants perishing in the competition grounds during the group battles in the past.

Of course, the competition organizers would have taken some preliminary preventive measures before allowing the marshlands to be used as the location of the group battles. But to err is human, and it was practically impossible for the competition organizers to remove all deadly dangers to these participants. Thus, who knows whether one would be so unlucky as to encounter one of these deadly dangers that the competition organizers had missed out on?

The list of participants for the group battles had already been discussed and agreed upon previously. If there were no changes to this list of participants, then the Heavenly Peak would be sending eight disciples to participate in these group battles. The rest of the Heavenly Peak disciples, including Jun Xiaomo, could only sit in the audience and observe the proceedings of the group battles as they unfurled.

On the day of day when the list of participants was published for all to see, Wei Gaolang even joked at the dining hall as he quipped, “I wonder if the old fogeys from our Sect would change the list of participants again? Maybe they’ll cut the number of participants from the Heavenly Peak by half and leave three or four disciples to participate…”

There was no better way to refer to Wei Gaolang’s comments as term “inauspicious remark” – as luck would have it, the list of participants had been changed once again.

And not only had it been amended again, it was even amended in the worst possible manner.

“What the hell is going on?! The group battle allows for twenty participants, yet all of these participants are disciples from the Heavenly Peak?! What the hell are those old fogeys thinking?!” Wei Gaolang leapt up in fury, “Where’s Qin Lingyu? Where’s He Chengye? Where’s Jiang Yuande? These disciples all possess such incredible strength, so why aren’t they included in the list of participants at all?!”

This arrangement was obviously intentional – given the dangers involved in this iteration of the group battles, the Sect had decided to involve practically every single disciple of the Heavenly Peak. This reeked so strongly of evil schemes that even Wei Gaolang was able to recognize their nefarious intentions with his pure and naïve heart.

“I’m afraid that the Sect Elders intend for every single one of us to suffer in the group battles. Or perhaps they can’t afford to lose members of the Sect such as Qin Lingyu, so they’re simply using us as cannon fodder.” Chen Feiyu’s face darkened as he thought aloud. His heart grew increasingly displeased with the Sect.

On the other side, Jun Linxuan had stormed towards the Sect Elders at the very first instance when the list of participants was published. He demanded an explanation for the sudden changes.

“This is the second time! This is the second time you’ve made changes to the list of participants without first consulting me!” Jun Linxuan fervently suppressed the burgeoning fire in his heart as he cut to the chase, “Do you even respect the fact that I’m the Peakmaster of the Heavenly Peak, huh?!”

“Linxuan, please be calm.” The Second Elder stood up with an indifferent expression on his face, “We hadn’t consulted you first before making these changes precisely because we knew there was a good chance that you would object to these changes.”

“Since you know I would object to these changes, then why did you still go ahead with them in the first place?” Jun Linxuan glared at the Second Elder with a frigid gaze as he pressed the issue.

“Because we all agree unanimously that this list of participants is the most appropriate.” He Zhang took a step forward as he explained, “Martial brother Jun, take a look at this. In the Lower Category, Middle Category and the Open Category battles combined, the Heavenly Peak disciples had the best showing among all the other disciples. Almost forty percent of our total scores are attributable to the Heavenly Peak disciples. Thus, after one night of deliberation and discussions, we agreed that the previous change in the list of participants were unfair to the Heavenly Peak disciples, and several disciples were denied the opportunity to showcase their abilities. Therefore, we’ve unanimously decided to cede this opportunity to showcase their abilities to the Heavenly Peak disciples.”

“Hah, you make yourself sound so noble. You say that the Heavenly Peak disciples ought to take the stage because their overall abilities are strong enough, but then why isn’t Sect Leader’s dear First-Seat Disciple part of the list of participants? Qin Lingyu is the champion of the Open Category battles after all!” A clear, crisp voice resounded clearly. Moments later, the tightly shut room door flung wide open, and Jun Xiaomo entered the room.

“Xiaomo?” Jun Linxuan had not expected his own daughter to show up in anger as well.

“Father, I’m worried about you, so I thought to come over and engage in discourse with these Sect Uncles and Sect Elders here.” Jun Xiaomo wrapped her arm around Jun Linxuan’s arm as she smiled grimly at the others around her.

He Zhang’s eyes darkened. Among all of the Heavenly Peak disciples, the one whom he hated the most was none other than Jun Xiaomo.

Not only was Jun Xiaomo the lovechild of Jun Linxuan and Liu Qingmei, she possessed an incredibly sharp tongue that had the ability to twist facts and corner people with words. Her verbal gymnastics would invariably leave others frustrated at their inability to refute her words at all.

This thorn in his side was something that He Zhang could hardly wait to get rid of.

Unfortunately, the previous two instances of Bedeviled Grass did absolutely nothing to Jun Xiaomo…

He Zhang’s heart swelled with all forms of nefarious thoughts, yet he plastered a warm and harmonious smile on his face as he looked at Jun Xiaomo.

He Zhang chuckled pretentiously as he explained, “Xiaomo words are far too harsh. Your father is in the Secondary-tier Immortal Ascension stage of cultivation, and none of us here are able to bully him at all.”

“Oh? That might not necessarily be the case. Martial uncle Sect Leader, aren’t you precisely bullying my father with the change in the list of participants right now?” Jun Xiaomo chuckled sardonically. The manner in which she addressed He Zhang as “martial uncle Sect Leader” was laced with a contemptuous tone of voice.

“You little brat!” The ill-tempered Fifth Elder slammed on the table as he barked, “Didn’t we already say earlier that this name list is the most suitable one?”

“Since you say it’s the most suitable list, then why can’t you justify why Qin Lingyu’s name isn’t on the list of participants?” Jun Xiaomo was completely unfazed by the Fifth Elder’s oppressive aura, and she pressed the issue with a completely calm tone of voice.

“It’s because Qin Lingyu had intentionally given up his spot in the upcoming group battles. He’s already obtained stellar results in the Open Category battles, and he’s already been conferred the title of Chosen Disciple by the Limitless Sect. Thus, there’s no longer a need for him to display his abilities any further, and he’s graciously decided to give up this opportunity so that other disciples would have the chance to shine.” He Zhang explained.

It must be said that his explanation was rather believable. Unfortunately, Jun Xiaomo did not buy a single bit of his story at all. After all, she had already seen through He Zhang’s farcical display, and that enabled her to find the loopholes in his arguments as well!

“Hahahahaha, then this arrangement would be even more peculiar.” Jun Xiaomo laughed loudly, yet there was undeniable disdain that was swelling up from the depths of her eyes, “The idea of ‘group battles’ clearly evinces an intention to compare the overall abilities of the Sect’s disciples. Yet you and Qin Lingyu, as the Sect Leader and the First-Seat Disciple of the Sect Leader respectively, actually view the group battles as nothing more than a platform to display an individual cultivator’s abilities? I truly wonder whether you sometimes treat other people as fellow Sect members and even martial brothers and sisters at all… Or could it be that you see everyone else within the Sect as no more than stepping-stones that can readily be used or sacrificed at point in time…?”

“Outrageous!” The Pill Cauldron Peak’s Peakmaster slammed the table as he yelled in rage, “Who do you think you are to talk to our Sect Leader like that?!”

“Was I wrong?!” Jun Xiaomo no longer suppressed the fury in her heart as she barked back, “Take a look at yourselves. Pour out your hearts and test those ugly and nefarious thoughts hidden within. Don’t make your schemes and ploys sound like such a noble thing. If you’ve ever considered the Heavenly Peak as a part of the Dawn Sect; if you’ve ever placed the glory of the Sect in your hearts, then how could you possibly come up with such a laughable and ridiculous approach to the group battles?”

“You all know full well that the list of participants that we’ve previously agreed upon was the most suitable. That list contained the Dawn Sect’s strongest twenty disciples, and their odds of success were naturally the highest. But what about now? You’ve changed out and replaced the entire list so that it’s only filled by Heavenly Peak disciples. I’m sorry, I’ve never thought that the Heavenly Peak’s abilities were so strong that they’ve become synonymous with the Sect’s overall abilities.” Jun Linxuan coldly added.

The father and daughter duo had thoroughly placed He Zhang and the Sect Elders in a spot.

They were fraught with guilt because they knew full well that this arrangement was none other than a manifestation of their ploys against the Heavenly Peak. Now that Jun Linxuan and Jun Xiaomo had thoroughly exposed this, they could no longer find a foothold of an excuse for themselves to stand upon.

He Zhang’s eyes darkened, and he furiously repressed the surging emotions in his heart as he changed his approach, “Martial brother Jun, I’m sorry. I’d never expected you to be so ardently opposed to this list of participants. However, this list of participants has already been submitted to the panel of referees and it can no longer be changed. That said, I firmly believe that the disciples raised by you won’t be any weaker than the previous list of participants that we had earlier decided upon. Thus…”

“Thus, regardless of the fact that you’ve stabbed us in the back, the Heavenly Peak will still have to grit our teeth and bear with it, am I right?” Jun Xiaomo smiled grimly as she completed the sentence for He Zhang.

“Young lady, do you have to speak with such mockery and ridicule all the time?” The Fifth Elder barked with displeasure.

“Hah, I’ve never seen a need to respect and have consideration for people who scheme against the Heavenly Peak and stabs us in the back.” Jun Xiaomo glared disdainfully at the Fifth Elder as she retorted matter-of-factly.

“You! Good, good, good! In any event, whether you agree or disagree, the dice had already been cast. Do as you see fit.” The Fifth Elder disengaged with Jun Xiaomo in exasperation.

His final statement was even laced with some measure of delight in the Heavenly Peak’s misery.

“Alright. Since that’s the case, then let’s make a deal right now.” Jun Xiaomo squinted her eyes as she remarked.

“What deal?” He Zhang’s eyes gleamed expectantly.

Jun Xiaomo glanced back at He Zhang, before a smile crept up the corner of her lips, “Considering the fact that the Sect’s actions have left the Heavenly Peak utterly disappointed, I wish to make a deal with the Sect – after the conclusion of this competition, the matters of the Dawn Sect will no longer be related to the Heavenly Peak. Whether they bring glory or disgrace to the Sect, none of these matters would be related to the Heavenly Peak anymore. At the same time, the Dawn Sect can no longer also interfere with the matters within the Heavenly Peak, nor give the Heavenly Peak direct orders or tasks. How about it? Can you agree to these terms?”

“Are you trying to decouple the Heavenly Peak from the Dawn Sect?” The Second Elder squinted his eyes as he clarified.

“Oh? I didn’t say anything like that. I simply don’t want the Heavenly Peak to become the Dawn Sect’s footstool or stepping-stone.” Jun Xiaomo shrugged her shoulder as she retorted.

After all, who knows whether these scheming and cunning people would continue to press the issue and order the Heavenly Peak to undertake any absurd tasks?

“Linxuan, are you of the same mind as well?” The Grand Elder turned towards Jun Linxuan – the truth of the matter was that even though Jun Xiaomo had not expressly stated the words “break away from the Sect”, these words were in effect tantamount to the same thing.

“I stand by Xiaomo’s suggestion.” Jun Linxuan calmly stated. This incident had truly left him utterly disappointed with the Dawn Sect.

He Zhang deliberated for a moment, before he sighed pretentiously and patted Jun Linxuan’s shoulder, “I know that the misunderstanding between martial brother Jun and I run incredibly deep, but I also appreciate the fact that I won’t be able to change your mind over a short span of time. Fine. We’ll agree to that for now. If martial brother Jun changes his mind in future, you can let me know directly.”

The only question remaining is whether you’ll be able to live till the day you have a change of heart. He Zhang mocked in his heart. At the very least, he was certain that the Heavenly Peak disciples could not possibly survive this iteration of the group battles.

I’ll just let them make whatever deal they want.

“That’s fine.” As soon as Jun Linxuan finished speaking, he patted Jun Xiaomo’s shoulder, turned around and left with her.

The door slammed behind them, leaving the room full of schemers behind with their cold and frigid gazes.

After leaving for some moments, Jun Xiaomo hesitated once more before quipping softly, “Father, I still think we should consider establishing a new sect.”

Jun Linxuan paused in his steps. He was already utterly disappointed by the Dawn Sect, and this suggestion by Jun Xiaomo once again sent innumerable considerations flickering across his mind.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter