Mei Chao Bing didn’t have much time to wonder about Yun Bei Fen’s strange behavior. Sect Master Zhang arrived at the venue, making all the disciples fall silent. Even the Elders that had brought the disciples from the other sects over, turned toward him and cupped their fists.
Zhang Guan Yu smiled and took his place at the top of the stand, looking over this year’s participants. “Welcome to the competition of the Northern Gate. I won’t waste much of your time. The rules are just as in every other year: The participating disciples will be organized in pairs by drawing lots. The respective winner of a fight will advance to the next round. Today, the first three rounds will be fought. The fourth to sixth round with one day between them each and the last round after another three days’ time. Now, let’s commence with the drawing of the lots.” He motioned to two Elders standing to the side.
The men nodded and carried a jar that was about half the size of a human body to a pedestal. The words ‘Northern Gate’ were engraved on the front of the jar and the imprint of a hand.
Elder Baili turned to his disciples to tell Yun Bei Fen just whose handprint that was but … Where was Yun Bei Fen? He raised his brows and looked around but his fourth disciple remained missing.
Baili Chao furrowed his brows. He wanted to ask his other disciples but with the drawing of the lots about to begin, there was no chance to speak up. He sighed and turned back to the front, waving at the three of them to get in line.
The Elders in front stepped back with a solemn expression. At the far back of the sect grounds, a sliver of spiritual energy was ignited, resonating with the jar. One of the Elders waved toward the first disciple in line, prompting him to step forward.
The disciple carefully approached the jar and reached in, taking out a jade slip with an engraving before he stepped back. The next disciple stepped forward and took out another jade slip. One after the other the disciples took turns in drawing the lots. As soon as two of them received one with the same engraving, the two jade slips lit up and a jade platform with the same engraving in the middle rose from the ground. The two disciples rushed over and took their positions but none of the fights started yet. Only when the last two disciples took their places did the Elders carry the jar away and the other Elders took their seats on the stands.
Yun Bei Fen hurried through the crowd of disciples and intently stared up at the platform where Mei Chao Bing was eying his opponent. Looking at the white-clad figure with the black hair fluttering in the wind, his eyes started to sparkle.
Ah, senior martial brother Mei … So handsome!
On the platform, Mei Chao Bing blinked and glanced over his shoulder. Sure enough, the child was back.