Elder Gongxi gulped. How had he gotten into this situation? Being asked to duel by someone from the younger generation … Had he any face left at all?! Just thinking about it, he was too embarrassed to answer. Why didn’t he have some mystic artifact to turn back time for half an hour so he could wait for somebody else to jump out and call that boy a demon? Then he could claim to be righteous and chastise that guy for accusing someone without proof before anyone else could react! Ah, he would have ingratiated himself with that young genius and Grandmaster Zhangsun and his image would have become better. Now …
He could only sigh. “This, I’m afraid it’s not too good. See, I’ll apologize to you. I was wrong. You aren’t a demon.”
“I know! I said so from the beginning!” Qiu Ling was getting impatient. Damn that old geezer! He should just come down and let him beat him up!
Just then, the Elder in charge of organizing the fights gave out a surprised noise and looked up at the stage. “Ah, Sect Master, with the addition of Grandmaster Zhangsun’s disciple there is one person too much.”
“Oh?” Yuchi Bing Xia raised his brows. “Which disciple got left out? Is it someone from our sect?” Then he’d just ask that person to stand back for once and compensate him. It was more important to have the Grandmaster’s new disciple fight. After all, he might secure them the top spot.
“No, it’s …” The Elder smiled wryly. “It’s the disciple of Elder Gongxi from the Yang Huo sect.”
Everyone at the site was stunned. What a coincidence! Maybe that Elder Gongxi would use his disciple to leverage the situation?
Before he had any chance to react, Sect Master Yuchi used the opportunity. “Ah, so it’s Elder Gongxi’s disciple! How about this? Qiu Ling just challenged the Elder but I’m afraid it’s not suitable to have someone from the younger and older generation fight. Don’t hold it against him, he hasn’t been with us for long and didn’t know any better. So how about letting your disciple substitute, Elder Gongxi? After all, you are his Master. It’s only right that he stands up for your faults.”
“That … Is this really necessary?” Elder Gongxi just wanted to wash his hands off this. This person had a divine constitution! Did his disciple have a chance to win at all?
But of course, Yuchi Bing Xia wouldn’t let him back out. “This is also a good opportunity to solve the problem of the extra person. Let’s just have the one who loses the battle drop out of the fights. Then the numbers will be even again.”
Elder Gongxi smiled wryly. How was this fair? If his disciple lost, his sect would have one person less than the others! And that even without officially competing.
The other sects weren’t thrilled at this prospect either. After all, the one taking that place would be someone with a divine constitution. “That wouldn’t be fair, would it? The Yun Zou Sect couldn’t be trying to swindle another slot for itself, could it?”
Yuchi Bing Xia smiled icily. “The Yun Zou Sect certainly never asked our esteemed guests to accuse one of our disciples of being a demon. So how can you insinuate this had been our plan all along? Of course, should Elder Gongxi decline then, of course, one of our disciples will yield his slot to Grandmaster Zhangsun’s disciple.”
“I wonder why he wasn’t on the list of participants in the first place.”
Grandmaster Zhangsun looked at the Elder who had dared to pose that question. Was it really so difficult to have his disciple participate in this Gathering? “My disciple just emerged from closed-door practice today.”
“Well, if he’s not on the list …”
Sect Master Yuchi smiled. “As far as I remember the list isn’t mandatory. It’s just something we casually put together. Had one of the disciples on the list gotten injured we would also have somebody else substitute for him. I don’t see a problem with one of our disciples giving up their slot in favor of another disciple of ours.”
Qiu Ling listened with a satisfied smile. Ah, please argue for a while longer! Not that he minded the outcome but he could feel his beloved’s adoration-filled gaze in his back. This moment had to be cherished! After all, even back in the Nine Heavens, Jing He had never displayed his affection this openly. Mn, maybe he should slip into the crowd, find his beloved and hold his hands. Wouldn’t it be great if they could finally meet face to face? He couldn’t wait for it! Ah, he should start contemplating how to approach him. He had to find some impactful first words.
Unfortunately, Sect Master Yuchi didn’t want to let this drag on. “Let’s get back to the issue at hand. What do you say, Elder Gongxi? Do you want your disciple to take up the challenge in your stead? Or do you actually want to fight with someone from the younger generation?”
Elder Gongxi gnashed his teeth in anger. What kind of question was that? How could he take up the challenge of that brat? When he won people would point at his nose and accuse him of bullying a junior and say that he was dishonest with how he had first insulted him and then given a fake apology. His face … No, not just his face, the face of his whole Yang Huo Sect would be lost!
He didn’t even think of the possibility of losing but for someone who had lived a long life and was accustomed to the gap in skill between the young and the old that was to be expected.
Thus Elder Gongxi could only gnash his teeth in anger and bear it, spewing some nice-sounding words. “Sect Master Yuchi’s suggestion seems fair to me. It was my fault, after all. Zhou Wu, go and duel in your Master’s place. This will decide which one of you will be participating in the Gathering so there is no need to hold back.” Even though he said that, he knew it was futile. Regardless of how much effort his disciple put in, he couldn’t win this fight.