Yuchi Bing Xia launched into the speech he had come up with in the hope of making Qiu Ling forget about whatever it was that had rained on his parade.”Thank you, everyone, for paying us a visit. The Yun Zou Sect is honored to have friends that care so much about us that they’d hurry over on such short notice because they feared we might be in trouble. Everybody offering their help and congratulations has touched our hearts and we’re just as grateful for that as we are for our recent stroke of luck.
“All the first-tier and even some of the second-tier sects have sent a delegation consisting of one of their Elders, as well as their best disciples. Since we don’t require your help we have been feeling that we’ve made you come all this way in vain, taking precious time from your disciples that they could’ve used to cultivate and train their sword arts.
“Thankfully, Elder Gongxi from the Yang Huo Sect came up with a splendid idea.” He glanced over at the Yang Huo Sect and gave a smile.
The other sects’ Elders couldn’t help but look over as well, most of them with dark faces. So this was the person that was the reason they wouldn’t be able to finish their mission. Who knew what he had done that for? Maybe he had made some deal with the Yun Zou Sect and acquired benefits in exchange for this help? Then they’d have to keep an eye on the Yang Huo Sect in the near future!
Yuchi Bing Xia’s smile got only brighter when he saw everyone’s expressions. Very well! It seemed he had successfully shifted everyone’s blame. Now, it was time to get rid of them for good. “We’ve already talked to everyone and I’m glad that the other sects also thought this was a good idea. Your disciples might not have heard yet since everything was organized on short notice so let me explain to them. Don’t worry! I won’t take much of your time!
“Your Elders have agreed to have a small competition between everyone so the younger generation can give pointers to each other and maybe receive some from the older generation as well. I’m sure that this will be a valuable learning experience for everyone.
“Since you all are the pride of your sects, you will be acquainted with the proceedings of the Gathering of Practitioners and the cultivators’ Crystal Tournament. We will proceed the same way for this competition that we normally use for these occasions.” He motioned at one of the Yun Zou Sect’s Elders standing to the side.
Jing Yi glanced over and found it to be the very same person that had headed the proceedings of the Gathering of Practitioners when he had seen Qiu Ling for the first time. Being reminded of that day, he smiled and gingerly gripped Qiu Ling’s hand.
Qiu Ling looked over in surprise and his face lit up. When had his beloved ever taken the initiative to get close to him like this? Well, it wasn’t like it hadn’t happened but it was exceedingly rare. So this opportunity had to be cherished!
He squeezed Jing Yi’s hand in return and inched closer. “I love you.”
Jing Yi’s smile widened. “I love you too.”
Meanwhile, the Elder and his disciples had taken out the cauldron and started to give out some of the same crystals that had been used in the Gathering of Practitioners back then to determine the people competing against each other. The disciples of the visiting sects reluctantly let a drop of blood fall on their orb before they gave it back. All of them were thrown into the cauldron and finally, they were ejected in pairs, signifying the people that would be competing against each other.
Jing Yi looked up at Qiu Ling and gave a smile. “I guess you’ll have to go and fight in a bit.”
Qiu Ling harrumphed. “Don’t worry about that, my love! None of these guys can hold a candle to your future husband! I’ll just defeat them as fast as possible so we can spend some more time together.” He leaned over and kissed Jing Yi’s cheek, smiling happily. Yes, he wouldn’t hold back today. Since his beloved already knew how handsome he was, he shouldn’t care about that and just use the fastest way possible to defeat these people: brute strength!
Jing Yi’s lips twitched when he got that response. He didn’t doubt that what Qiu Ling said was the truth but … Wasn’t he afraid that somebody might hear? Looking around, it seemed that several people actually heard. And those people weren’t all from the Yun Zou Sect. No, at the very least, the Elders of the other sects had also heard. As for the disciples … It was hard to say. Most of them had concentrated on the crystals and their levels also weren’t as high as those of the Elders so not all of them were able to hear what was spoken from such a distance away. But if he hadn’t seen wrong, some of them had noticed after all. Now, they certainly wouldn’t give up easily.
Qiu Ling could also see that some people had overheard their conversation but he didn’t think much of it. He was stronger than all of these people. Why should he pretend that it was any different? They’d find out anyway as soon as the fight started. This way, at least nobody could say that he hadn’t warned them. He had been honest from the very beginning. They just hadn’t wanted to believe him.
Finally, an empty crystal orb of was ejected alongside a normal one from the cauldron, signifying Qiu Ling and the one he would fight against. Qiu Ling pursed her lips and stayed where he was though. He definitely wouldn’t go down there already if the fights weren’t about to start! Instead, he turned to his beloved and gave him a happy smile. “You really don’t have to worry!”
Jing Yi nodded and patted his hand. “I know already. Don’t worry about it. You can go and finish the duel. You don’t need to think about me.”
Qiu Ling couldn’t help but happily pull him closer. “There’s no way I wouldn’t think of you! I’m thinking of you all the time!”
Jing Yi’s lips twitched but what was he supposed to say? He motioned over to where the fights would be happening and then pulled his hands back. “I know already. You go and make our sect proud. As soon as the fights are over, we can just leave and spend our time with each other.”
Qiu Ling nodded happily. Ah, his beloved was right! He just had to finish this and then they’d be all alone together again. “Alright, but don’t miss me too much! I’ll hurry up!” He gave him another kiss before he finally went over to the stage, confronting his opponent. He didn’t bother to really take a close look at this person though. Anyway, it was good as long as he defeated that guy.
The Elder in charge of the competition continued to pair up the disciples until the last crystal orb was ejected from the cauldron. Then he turned and nodded to the Sect Master.
Yuchi Bing Xia nodded as well and then turned to the disciples that were taking part in the duel. “Very well, everybody has been paired up. I wish everybody good luck and that you might benefit from receiving pointers from the disciples of the other sects.”
He wanted to sit down and then just watch the fights proceed but one of the Elders cleared his throat. When Yuchi Bing Xia looked over, his lips thinned. It was Elder Gongxi from the Yang Huo Sect of all people and his expression said that what he wanted to say was nothing good.