LBM C7 The Very Best Cultivator (8): Didn’t You Know Already?

Yun Bei Fen didn’t miss out on any of the other fights Mei Chao Bing fought. In fact, he didn’t even miss out on the breaks that were being taken between the fights. Every time Mei Chao Bing stepped down from the stage, Zhi Guan would somehow appear, pick Yun Bei Fen up and carry him to where the disciples waited for the next round. With this treatment, Yun Bei Fen could observe what Mei Chao Bing did in the competition almost every second up until the last round in the following week.
Finally, a wide stage rose in the middle of the venue for the competition one last time. All the disciples of the Teng Yong Sect, as well as the guests, gathered around the stage. As for the competitors for this round … The first to jump up onto the stage was none other than Mei Chao Bing.
Yun Bei Fen jumped into the air to try and see something but this time, there were too many people around. He sighed. It was getting more difficult with every round. Why wasn’t he growing at all? Before Yun Bei Fen could get depressed, he was once again lifted up into the air and found himself sitting on a pair of broad shoulders.
“Can you see now?” Zhi Guan looked up at this little junior martial brother of his and smiled. It was good Yun Bei Fen was so interested in watching the fights. He would be able to learn a lot. The sect should have thought of the smaller disciples and gotten stands for them too so they would be able to watch and learn.
Yun Bei Fen nodded and clung to Zhi Guan’s head. “Mn! First senior martial brother is the tallest person!”
“That’s something at least.” Zhi Guan smiled and pushed a little closer to the stage so Yun Bei Fen would be able to see better. “I can’t bring you out of the crowd after the fight though. It’s time for my fight then.”
“Your fight?” Yun Bei Fen leaned to the side and looked into his face, cutely blinking his eyes. “Why are you fighting too? Didn’t you get eliminated already?”
“No. Why would you think so?”
“Because senior martial brother Mei is fighting already and this is the last round. It seems I was wrong and you’re only the third best cultivator then.”
Zhi Guan smiled. “Hasn’t Master told you yet? There are different levels of cultivation. Of course, the disciples with different levels won’t be pitted against each other. Didn’t you notice that there were several fights each round?”
Yun Bei Fen blinked his eyes. No, actually, he hadn’t noticed. “But senior martial brother Mei only fought once each round.”
“Just like everyone else.”
“Then is his level the highest?”
Zhi Guan who was several years older than Mei Chao Bing and had already managed to rise to one of the highest ranks of the disciples looked at the person in the white robe atop the stage and finally nodded. “He has a very high level for his age.”
“Oh! As expected of senior martial brother Mei!” Yun Bei Fen happily clung to Zhi Guan’s head.
Just then the gong that announced the start of the fight sounded and the audience fell silent.
Mei Chao Bing unsheathed his weapon and focused on his opponent. This was one of the disciples of the Jian Chu Sect who were famed for their mastery of the sword arts. Seeing him unsheathe his sword, the blade glinting in the morning sun, Mei Chao Bing couldn’t help but gulp. He might be one of the best disciples of his age in the Teng Yong Sect but this competition had shown him that the disciples of the other sects couldn’t be underestimated either. The first one or two fights might have been easier but by now, he really didn’t know whether he could win.
Mei Chao Bing took a deep breath and leaped forward. Nothing was certain. In such a fight, it was especially important to gain the initiative instead of passively reacting to the rhythm of his opponent.
The other disciple parried his strike almost carelessly. Before Mei Chao Bing had the chance to follow up on his first attack, his opponent’s sword bypassed his weapon and went right for his shoulder. He could only leap back but the blade still struck his arm.
In front of the stage, Yun Bei Fen’s fingers dug into Zhi Guan’s hair. “First senior martial brother, what is happening? Why is senior martial brother Mei hurt?”
Zhi Guan quietly observed how the two people on the stage exchanged another three strikes before he reached up and patted Yun Bei Fen’s hand. “Don’t worry about it. That other disciple is a few years older. He has a bit more experience than your senior martial brother Mei so it looks like he is better. But that Mei Chao Bing isn’t an easy opponent either. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have managed to get this far in the competition. He’ll be able to turn things back around again.”
He said so but things didn’t look too well up on the stage. The disciple of the Jian Chu Sect had managed to cut Mei Chao Bing time and time again. By now, they had exchanged more than twenty strikes and Mei Chao Bing hadn’t managed to score even a single hit.
Yun Bei Fen twisted Zhi Guan’s hair out of the crown on his head in his anxiety but his senior martial brother didn’t seem to care. He just watched on and took note of all the little details Yun Bei Fen missed out on. Ah, it seemed he had been right. Mei Chao Bing was indeed about to wrest the control over the fight back.
Another five strikes were exchanged, another three cuts added to Mei Chao Bing’s sleeves but then his sword weaved past his opponent’s weapon while his body bent to the side, evading the strike meant for his chest. The tip of his own blade ended up right at the other disciple’s throat, drawing a single drop of blood.
The gong sounded and the spectating disciples of the Teng Yong Sect erupted in cheers. Yun Bei Fen stared at his idol whose robe had turned into a mess for the first time since he had first met him. He clutched Zhi Guan’s hair tighter.
“First senior martial brother …”
“What are you so anxious about? The gong just sounded. Your senior martial brother Mei won. Didn’t you know already? He’s the very best cultivator!”
Yun Bei Fen watched how Mei Chao Bing lowered his sword and cupped his fists, bowing to his opponent before he put his weapon away, smoothed out his sleeves and brushed back his hair, turning back into the handsome hero Yun Bei Fen knew.
Yun Bei Fen’s expression eased and he stretched his arms into the air to cheer, making Mei Chao Bing glance over in their direction. Seeing the cute child that had followed him around for the last few days happily break out into cheers with delay, he couldn’t help but smile. Ah, thankfully, he hadn’t given up when things looked bleak in the middle of the fight and had persevered on. Wouldn’t this boy have been disappointed in him otherwise?
He turned around and left the stage with light steps, making way for the last round of the next higher level.

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