This chapter was sponsored by: Anonymous & Anonymous.
Note that in Chinese, you would differentiate between paternal and maternal cousins, with paternal cousins being considered family from the same clan and maternal cousins being considered relatives from a different clan.
Edit: I completely forgot about cousins from a paternal aunt, they would be considered relatives from a different clan as well, since the important thing here is your clan name. The translation will be changed to “clan cousin” for paternal cousins that share a surname and just “cousin” for all other cousins that do not share a clan name (maternal etc.), “maternal cousin” will remain where applicable.
Chapter 154 – Winning…
Translated by: bbkgs
Edited by: bbkgs
TLCed by: bbkgs
Tian Hai Sheng Xue and Luo Luo both stood upon the sand within the Tower of Purging Dust, with their backgrounds combined, it was enough to constrain everyone on the second floor.
Of course, those on the second floor were all important figures, but his warning was very clear and these personages all had their own factions; being from different factions, yet in the same room watching each other, rendered them unable to continue listening even if they wished to.
The room was very quiet, tranquil and secluded, the light that came in through the window wasn’t very bright. Sitting in the centre, Mo Yu remained silent for a time, with her eyes closed and a look of indifference on her face, as if she was about to rest for a while, in truth, she was using this action to express her stance; she wasn’t going to listen to what Tian Hai Sheng Xue had to say.
Xue Xing Chuan lightly frowned, the two Archbishops of the Holy Church slowly closed their eyes and consequently, several light sounds could be heard as the wooden shutters outside of the windows rolled down, the sky became dull and the silencing array activated; sounds could no longer be heard from the floor below.
As for the Li Palace clergy that were elsewhere, they were surely even more lacking in the courage to eavesdrop and would think of their own methods to “deafen” themselves.
After a while, Tian Hai Sheng Xue no longer tried to confirm whether if there were any eavesdroppers, nor did he care, he looked towards Luo Luo and continued talking: “Using first upon the First Banner to prove my strength is meaningless towards my life and the acquirement of greater power and influence, therefore, I am willing to forgo it.”
Luo Luo said: “First upon the First Banner is a hard to obtain achievement, able to increase your standing within Her Divine Majesty’s mind.”
“And then?” Tian Hai Sheng Xue replied with an expressionless face: “Within the younger generation of the Tian Hai clan’s third generation, I am already the most outstanding, what benefit is there to becoming even more outstanding? The ones to decide this clan’s fate will still be my father and his brothers.”
Luo Luo looked at him and asked: “So you are preparing to exchange first place for something you need?”
Tian Hai Sheng Xue replied: “Correct, which is why I previously said that the Grand Examination’s importance is in the fact that I will meet Your Highness and that Your Highness requires my failure.”
Luo Luo considered for a moment, then asked: “What do you wish for?”
Tian Hai Sheng Xue quietly looked at her and said: “I wish to exchange it for Your Highness’ friendship.”
Luo Luo replied without any hesitation: “Not possible.”
Tian Hai Sheng Xue said with a self-mocking tone: “It seems the name of Tian Hai really has already become resented to the world.”
Luo Luo replied: “No, I only think that friendship isn’t something you can exchange, it can only be nurtured.”
“Reasonable,” Tian Hai Sheng Xue’s expression became serious and he said: “Then will I have the chance to nurture a friendship with Your Highness?”
Luo Luo said: “This isn’t something I can decide upon; I will have to listen to my tutor.”
Tian Hai Sheng Xue gave it a thought, Chen Chang Sheng shouldn’t have any good impressions of himself, he then asked: “Perhaps, does Your Highness have an older female cousin?”
Luo Luo was highly intelligent, how could she miss his intent, she replied with some confusion: “My maternal cousin lives on the Great Western Continent, but… if I’m not mistaken, aren’t you going to marry Ping Guo next year?”
Tian Hai Sheng Xue replied: “You should know very clearly that Ping Guo likes Qiu Shan, what meaning is there in marrying her? Not to mention, marrying her can only make me die a little faster.”
Luo Luo understood his meaning, she thought for a little, then said: “This isn’t something I can decide upon, I will have to listen to my parents.”
“Then what can I exchange from Your Highness?” asked Tian Hai Sheng Xue, with his brow lightly raised.
Luo Luo was also rather distressed, saying: “I really don’t know.”
Tian Hai Sheng Xue looked towards the tightly shut windows on the second floor and suddenly said: “A promise?”
Luo Luo’s expression softly trembled, replying: “When it happens, I won’t necessarily have the ability to fulfil my promise.”
Tian Hai Sheng Xue calmly replied: “I believe in You Highness’ integrity, as long as you sincerely try to uphold your promise, I will accept it.”
Luo Luo said: “This is too unfavourable for you.”
He replied: “Using something I do not yet possess to exchange for something most worthy of pursuing, even if it only exists as a possibility for the future, it’s worthwhile.”
Luo Luo suddenly felt some sympathy for him, asking: “Why go this far?”
Tian Hai Sheng Xue laughed, seeming rather lonely, and replied: “Perhaps this is the price of maturity.”
Finishing those words, he turned and headed out of the tower.
Luo Luo watched his fading back, feeling a little maudlin.
For those born to Royal families, not all are as lucky as she.
Of course, she also had her own misfortune or perhaps difficulties; they had just yet to arrive.
Tian Hai Sheng Xue was undoubtedly a clever person.
He had used a single match in the examination in exchange for some kind of future guarantee.
As with the last words between him and Luo Luo.
Why go this far?
He had to go this far.
The wooden shutters rolled up and sunlight once again came in.
Sound once again travelled into the quiet and secluded room; the sound of Tian Hai Sheng Xue’s footsteps.
No one knew of what Tian Hai Sheng Xue and Luo Luo had discussed and in truth, even if they had heard their conversation, they wouldn’t be able to ascertain what sort of agreement the two had come to.
Those present were all important figures with sufficient intelligence, it was just, apart from Prince Chen Liu, none of the others had Luo Luo and Tian Hai Sheng Xue’s family background and therefore had difficulty understanding their biggest fears.
Everyone only saw Tian Hai Sheng Xue’s departure, giving up on this match.
Mo Yu glanced at the two Archbishops of the Holy Church who had stern expressions upon their faces, thinking to herself that Tian Hai Sheng Xue was, in the end, surnamed Tian Hai, how could he be exploited by you? Even his father couldn’t.
Tian Hai Sheng Xue directly left the Education Palace and no longer continued to participate in the examination, since his results in the Academic Exam will at least place him within the top 5, no one would dare to place him outside of the Three Grades.
The Li Palace clergy member stood atop the stone steps and announced: “Orthodox Academy, Her Highness, Luo Luo, winning without battling.”
Winning without battling?
This incredibly attention-grabbing match between strong fighters, didn’t even proceed? Tian Hai Sheng Xue actually withdrew from the tournament? The examinees outside of the tower were all greatly startled, not knowing exactly what had happened inside the tower.
Luo Luo returned to the woodlands.
Chen Chang Sheng looked at her, not understanding, and asked: “What happened?”
Luo Luo’s small face displayed some bewilderment, it wasn’t the bewilderment of not knowing something in full, but bewilderment from being emotional.
She looked at Chen Chang Sheng and said: “Sir, I’ve promised him that I won’t tell anyone, including you and my Royal Parents, I’m sorry.”
Chen Chang Sheng was stunned, replying: “It’s fine. If that’s the case, it’ll be better if you don’t say.”
The second round officially came to an end, following this was the third round, with duelling between the last 16.
This third round also had drawing lots, but it was different from that of the second round; for this round, the lot drawing was actually not as tense, examinees that have entered this stage are essentially guaranteed to rank within the Three Grades, all they needed was to wait for their overall ranking.
Examinees that have entered the Three Grades and are satisfied, will obviously not care about who they will draw; as for the others that have a higher aim, those wishing to enter the First Grade will inevitably meet a strong opponent, therefore they also didn’t mind who they drew.
For those who lost in the second round, apart from Su Mo Yu and Huo Guang, who had both sustained heavy injuries and couldn’t battle again, or Tian Hai Sheng Xue, who had conceded, they all remained at the match grounds, preparing for the subsequent second tournament; outside of the tower, there remained 61 examinees.
The gazes of the examinees typically fell upon the Orthodox Academy group that were by the woodlands.
Would the important figures from the Orthodoxy continue to manipulate the lot drawing; assigning tough opponents to Her Highness and Chen Chang Sheng? This was the only subject everyone present was curious of; after Tian Hai Sheng Xue’s departure, the only person remaining that could defeat Her Highness with a degree of certainty, is Gou Han Shi.
There was one more thing that made the examinees nervous, that was as to who would draw that wolf-tribe youth, Zhe Xiu’s name. Though it was already the third round and it didn’t matter who they drew, nevertheless, no one wanted to face Zhe Xiu.
Being disgracefully defeated would still be fine, but the most important point was that this youth is far too cold-blooded and brutal, getting heavily injured is not a good thing.
The clergy member quickly drew the slip with the fake name Zhang Ting Tao written upon it, Zhe Xiu’s opponent was going to be Guan Fei Bai.
Zhe Xiu’s face remained expressionless, making it seem especially cold, but from his peaceful gaze it could be seen that he was very satisfied with this opponent.
Guan Fei Bai didn’t say anything, remaining very quiet, it couldn’t be seen as to what his current mood was.
A battle between the third and fifth upon the Proclamation of Azure Clouds.
The bloodthirsty wolf-tribe youth from the snow plains against the Divine State’s Fourth Law of Li Shan Sword Sect, no matter which of them, their fame was sufficient to elevate this match’s status, as for those examinees who believed they no longer cared about the results of the lot drawing, they also let out waves of surprise.
The sounds of surprise didn’t stop, in the next moment, they become even louder.
That’s because Liang Ban Hu was matched against Qi Jian.
What kind of development was this?
Gou Han Shi’s expression became rather stern.
Following this, he drew the name of a young expert from Star Seizer Academy.
Chatter erupted amongst the examinees.
The second round repressed Orthodox Academy; the third round was targeted towards Li Shan Sword Sect?
For this round, Chen Chang Sheng and Luo Luo’s opponents were relatively weak.
But amongst those that aimed for first place upon the First Banner, their luck was not the best.
Heavenly Academy’s Zhuang Huan Yu had drawn rather weak opponents for three rounds in a row.
Similarly, there was also Scholartree Manor’s Zhong Hui.
Gou Han Shi entered the tower.
This was his first time entering the stage since the duelling phase had started.
After Tian Hai Sheng Xue’s departure, amongst the examinees, his power level was the strongest.
This match was naturally rather captivating.
Yet, this match proceeded very calmly, very normally, perhaps even a little too typically.
Not long after, the door once again opened.
Gou Han Shi and that youth from Star Seizer Academy walked out of the tower sequentially.
Whether upon his own body or that of the youth from Star Seizer Academy, not a single blood stain could be seen, it seems neither had sustained any injuries, they didn’t even have any dirt upon their bodies, as if a battle didn’t even happen between them.
The winner was obviously Gou Han Shi.
“I’m not his match, the difference is far too great.”
Luo Luo stared at Gou Han Shi, who was walking towards the streambank, she felt both admiration and unease, saying: “Even if I was to complete my Ethereal Opening at this very moment, my chances will still be low.”
“What are you daydreaming about?” Chen Chang Sheng continued: “He’s my opponent, not yours.”
Gou Han Shi’s first match was surprisingly mundane.
Qi Jian against Liang Ban Hu, this fratricidal strife between disciples of Li Shan Sword Sect was even more surprising.
This match was surprisingly intense; the silencing array was completely unable to cloak the forlorn and horrifying sound of their swords. In the deep blue sky above, there appeared countless crisscrossing lines of sword manifestations, even for those standing outside of the tower, they could feel the danger and power behind those two swords.
The most surprising thing was, the final victor wasn’t Liang Ban Hu, but Qi Jian.