Chapter 246: The Official Beginning of the Competitions
"Sixty-one stones, indeed quite impressive!" Inside the field, Ye Chen, Xu Jing, Zhu Mei and Luo Hanshan were all there. Eight core disciples who had not made a breakthrough to the Clasping Yuan Realm yet were surrounding them. They had followed the leaders of the school and come to watch the competitions. After receiving the news, they had come to tell them at once.
Zhu Mei shook her head and forced a smile, "Sixty-one stones was the kind of score Early Astral Reaching Realm warriors would be able to attain. I had only forty-eight stones, and Xu Jing was at sixty stones. Ye Chen, what about you?"
Luo Hanshan answered for Ye Chen, "Ye Chen got sixty stones without his sword. The last stone had turned red and almost purple when he used one hand to hold his sword."
"How impressive, brother Ye!" Hearing him, all of the core disciples who had come were shocked. Although Ye Chen was still incomparable to Sikong Sheng and the group, the Sky Cloud Martial School was only a rank 9 martial school, which was nothing like those rank 6 martial schools. With martial geniuses like Ye Chen could be truly considered as a miracle, which was exciting for them as well. What could be more exciting than breaking the natural rules? Everyone secretly had the passion for challenging the powerful warriors.
"Sister Xu is also quite powerful! She had scored a sixty-stone when she is only at Early Clasping Yuan Realm. Once she reaches Mid Clasping Yuan Realm, how powerful will she be?"
All of the sudden, all of the core disciples who came to watch were jubilant. The more powerful their elder disciples were, the prouder they got when they walked out. Plus, they had also heard about the luck of the Hidden Dragon Rank; the higher the rank, the luckier the individuals and the martial institution would be. With the help of their head disciples and the martial institution's luck, their future training life would definitely be smoother and easier. It might even get them to a realm that they could never expect.
Hearing everyone, Ye Chen thought to himself, 'This year's contestants are so powerful! All of the ones who are competing for the top ten have already reached the limits of being a Clasping Yuan Realm warrior, which makes them the top of the top. The good thing was that I had saved a lot of ace attacks in the bottom of my draw. Otherwise, it would actually be tricky.'
"Let's see who the most powerful warrior below the Astral Reaching Realm is then!"
No matter if it was Ye Chen as a university student in his "past life," or the Ye Chen now as a sword artist, he was still a young man, carrying the competitive blood. And right now, he could feel that he had been lit up, his spirit and qi kept rising higher and higher, and reached beyond a state it had ever been.
Inside a huge building in the center of the Hidden Dragon Ancient Place, leaders of all the martial institutions had gathered here. In the top seats were the seven leaders from all the rank 6 martial institutions, which were also the only seven Seas of Souls Realm warriors.
"Everyone, the reason I had gathered you all here was for the matter of the judges. The competitions of the Hidden Dragon Rank are not just normal competitions. Using any one of the people from any martial institutions would be unfair. Therefore, just as usual, we will pick the judges from those lone Astral Reaching Realm warriors, what do you think?" The leader of the Floating Mountain Martial School was standing in the middle of the seven. His voice was not loud but was enough to cover the whole huge building.
"I have no objections!"
"Neither do I!"
There was not a single objection.
The leader of the Sky Demon Martial School said while representing the group, "Last time's Hidden Dragon Rank competitions was judged by Luo Jiacheng, who was a man who believed in justice and fairness. He would not get soft for personal reasons, and I think he should be the judge for this year's competitions as well."
"Senior Luo! He is indeed a man of fairness. I agree."
"It is for the best."
Luo Jiacheng was an elder in his seventies. He walked over with a smile on his face. His fists were held in front of his chest as he said, "Thank you all for considering me. Since leader Mo has recommended, I will no reject but accept it. But of course, everyone, you don't have to worry. Even if it was the disciples of the Sky Demon Martial School, if they lose, they lose. I would never go in anyone's favor just because I am grateful for the recommendation."
Leader Mo laughed. The competitions of the Hidden Dragon Rank were sacred. If he had gone easy on the disciples of the Sky Demon Martial School, he would be the first one to object it. Otherwise, he would not have chosen him to be the head of the judges then.
There were a head judge and twelve judges in the competitions. With the head judge being decided, it was time to pick the rest of those twelve judges.
There were three requirements for being a judge: one should strive for justice, have high cultivation and great observation.
The head judge Luo Jiacheng had been chosen for the judge position many times, and he was also at Late Astral Reaching Realm himself. Adding his attitude towards justice, it was quite obvious for him to become the head judge. Although the rest of the judges did not have to be as good as him, they could not be too bad either. Otherwise, if they embarrassed themselves, no one would look good in this situation, especially the seven leaders of the rank 6 martial institutions.
After two long days of everyone waiting for the competitions excitingly, it had finally reached the third morning.
The dawn had just arrived. The noises of the crowds had already covered the whole Hidden Dragon Ancient Place. Looking from above, one could easily see oceans of people gathering towards the center of the city. It was like countless black rivers gradually converging to form an ocean.
All of the people from the Sky Cloud Martial School were there inside the field.
"Today will be only the eliminating competitions. So when you are confident about the situation, try not to expose your true power too early." Luo Xinglie reminded the three.
Ye Chen and the other two nodded.
"Okay! Let's skip through the chatting and go!"
The same warning was given in the other martial institutions. Although there were only seventy-two places in each Hidden Dragon Rank competitions, everyone would want to achieve a higher rank than what was possible currently. It was very likely to make a breakthrough in these kinds of highly intensive battles, and it was not impossible to win even in hard situations.
In the center of the ancient city was a huge flat ground. Around it, there were countless audience seats which extended to very far. It looked like an iron wok that had been placed straight facing up, the bottom of the wok was that flat ground, while the wall of the wok was the audience seating. While sitting on the audience's seats and looking down, one would be able to see everything that was happening on the ground.
"The competitions have finally begun, let's get a good seat!"
"F***, these people came so early! They somehow were even earlier than us!"
"Look over there! A lot of people are meditating. Perhaps they had already come here last night?! Damn, we had thought it wrong. The good thing is that we still got some good seats left."
"Yah! Got no time to lose! Let's get those seats."
People rushed into the audience booths. All of the warriors looked like they had gone mad, flying and trying to fight for the seats in the middle. Some of them had even started literally fighting for seats, which was extremely intense.
The good thing was that in the Hidden Dragon Ancient City, everyone was quite aware of behaving well instead of making a mess. Otherwise, with this many Clasping Yuan Realm warriors fighting each other, it would be a disaster.
Below the first row, all of the young warriors who were eligible for the competitions stood together, and one could already sense the tension in the air.
Zhu Mei glanced at the flat ground. She frowned as she said, "This battling ground is so simple. With only one flat ground, how can we fight?"
Ye Chen said, "Don't worry! There should be something."
The head disciple of the South Rudra Martial School, Qin Yulian walked over with a huge smile on her face, and said, "You don't mind me standing with you guys, right?"
Ye Chen laughed, "Of course not. Last time in the Ancient Desert, it was your headmaster from the South Rudra Martial School who had helped us out."
"We are all from the Wind Nation. Of course we should help each other out." Qin Yulian shook her head, and said again, "This year's competitions have so many powerful warriors hidden within. It would not be easy to make your way through. The good thing is that I don't have a high goal, I just want to win an opponent after another, pushing my limits."
Xu Jing said suddenly, "The ground is changing!"
They looked over and found that the huge ground had been cracked open and then sucked in. Then, twelve square battling platforms had been raised up from the ground, all highly symmetrical. In the opposite corners of the battling platform was a hollow stone column. A bright light shone right out of the stone column and eventually formed into four dark blue light walls which were almost a fist thick. It was like a dark blue crystal, wrapping the battling platform within.
A dragon roar came out of the cliff between the platforms. It was so loud that it shocked quite a few warriors in the audience seats.
"There was no dragon roar in the last time's competitions, how weird!" Some of the warriors were really surprised.
"I think it might be because this year's contestants are so strong that it has triggered some kind of mysterious power which made the dragon Qi look more obvious."
"Reasonable. But the Qi and luck are so mysterious! I wonder if it is actually real or not."
"You should rather believe its existence than not. The Hidden Dragon Ancient Place and the Hidden Dragon Ancient City are both very mysterious."
Soon, the audience booths were already packed. All of the powerful warriors from different martial institutions had landed and sat on the first row. The thirteen judges had separated, with the head judge standing in the front while the rest of them stood with a fixed distance between them, looking down at the battling platforms so that they could make a judgment effectively.
As usual, the head judge had explained the rules of the competitions.
The rules of the competitions were quite simple. Besides the low rank attacking weapons, the contestants were not allowed to use any other great weapons, nor could they use any great medicine or things like the silver light bomb. If anyone broke the rules, they would be either regarded as losing the fight or eliminated instantly if it was severe. Also, more than seven hundred contestants would be separated into twelve groups and compete for points. There would be ten rounds of battles, and only twelve people from each group would be able to get to the next round. After succeeding, random two groups would be made into one group and start the second round of competitions. With only twelve people being able to get to the next round again, the winning contestants would be the ones getting on this year's Hidden Dragon Rank and would be able to get to the third stage of the competitions.
It sounded quite simple, but it would not be easy for the young warriors. There would be ten rounds of battles in the first stage of the elimination and another ten rounds in the second stage. This meant that there would be twenty rounds of battles for each contestant, which would be a tough journey. Without a strong mind and heart, the contestants could easily break down from the intensive fights and lose their advantage.
Therefore, in the competitions of the Hidden Dragon Rank, it tested not only the individuals' power but also their minds. Of course, there was a big role of intelligence as well, since, besides the top ten strong competitors, there would rarely be anyone who could win twenty rounds. Therefore, for most of the other contestants, deciding when to fight and when to give up was a very important strategic play. They should not just fight recklessly.
"Everyone, please look at the jade tag that you have gotten from the last challenges. There should be your new group numbers." The head judge Luo Jiacheng pushed his zhen Qi and spoke with a loud voice.
Hearing him, all the young warriors took their jade tags out of their storage rings.
"Group Three." Ye Chen studied the jade tag and said.
"I am group five."
"I am with group six."
Xu Jing and the other two told each other the groups they belonged to.
The four separated and walked over to the judges in charge of their groups to fill in their personal data and get their individual competing numbers. Then, it would be the eliminating competitions.
"He is also in my group." After getting his number, Yuanheng Ying noticed Ye Chen, who was standing nearby. He was both surprised and nervous. He was happy that he got a chance to beat Ye Chen so soon, but he was nervous because he did not have one hundred percent confidence of winning against him. The two conflicting emotions made him tighten his fists.
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