- Ah Wu –> Awu (I thought “Ah” was just a prefix. I’m sure you know of the nickname format “Ah ___” for people with monosyllabic given names. Turns out, it’s probably a part of his given name.)
- Boling/Murong Clan Head –> Clan Head Boling/Murong (I just realized it was better this way, especially when people are addressing them by their title. My original thoughts were the __ clan’s head; that’s why I had put the clan’s surname before “clan head”.)
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Boling clan has an important announcement to make. In light of our Boling clan’s great expectations toward the new clan heir, our clan head has decided after much deliberation that the heir to the clan must not only outstanding in terms of his physical capabilities but also in his morals, talent, and ability to command. As such, the following round will no longer be a simple 1v1 competition but a team competition, with each side consisting of four people.
“For the remaining eight competitors, you have half an hour to prepare. Within that time, you must utilize your network and connections to find three non-competitors to team with you. Afterward, exhibit your ability to command as you lead your teammates in the later fight.
“Finally, I would like to stress that these three teammates must be a junior member of my Boling clan whose age ranges from 15 to 25. If you aren’t able to find enough teammates, you will automatically be withdrawn from the competition.
“Once this announcement is over, the competitors can start finding teammates… The countdown starts now!”
The moment after, a thunderbolt seemed to have struck the ground. The entire area was overturned as wave after wave of cheers shook the earth.
The spectating guests were all eager to see the action unfold, the excitement in their expressions much greater than before. Team competitions were better than simple 1v1s.
Meanwhile, excited tears streamed down the faces of the remaining competitors on the field. After fighting in so many rounds, they’d long exhausted themselves physically and mentally and had accumulated many injuries. At this point, anyone who looked at them would feel that they could defeat them themselves. But now, they were actually given the chance to find three teammates. This was simply a meat pie falling from the sky, a blessing from the heavens!
All the people were ecstatic by the announcement. As such, no one questioned the motive behind Boling Canglan’s sudden move. With the exception of Chu Ye, Lanxi Liuhua, Huan Cheng, and Chenzhu.
Only they knew how insidious this move was. It was even more insidious than a venomous snake.
Chenzhu, the previous clan heir, was renounced by the Boling clan. Although his face had been restored and he was now more handsome and powerful than before, anyone with a discerning eye could see that Boling Canglan absolutely didn’t plan on letting Chenzhu become the clan’s young master again. Boling Canglan’s sudden decision to hold a team competition clearly stated his true motives.
Who would dare side with Chenzhu?
After all, Boling Canglan was the current clan head, the one calling all the shots in the clan. Moreover, he was in the prime of his life. Judging from the circumstances, he’d still be in power for the next 30 to 40 years.
One was the clan head who possessed real authority, while the other was the former clan heir who had already lost his. Who was more important? Who could they afford to offend, and who could they not?
It was already obvious.
Practically at the same time, Chu Ye, Lanxi Liuhua, and Huan Cheng gritted their teeth.
Their voices weren’t loud but weren’t soft either.
It was loud enough for Boling Canglan to overhear them.
All of a sudden, Boling Canglan grew indignant and ashamed. His face flushed bright red, and tremors ran through his entire body.
In his entire high-profile and honorable existence, this was the first time someone had dared to spout insults right in front of him.
And they were even from three immature kids.
But it also wasn’t proper for him to speak out and reprimand their audacious remarks.
After all, they hadn’t explicitly mentioned a name. If he were to retort, then that would be an admission that he was the shameless, despicable, lowly person they were talking about.
Of course, the most crucial factor was Caroline beside him. He had to maintain his noble aura in her presence.
Endure. No matter how angry he got, he could only endure.
Pretend that he hadn’t heard them when he clearly did.
However, while he was as cunning as a fox, Boling Feiwu was as shallow as a pond.
Boling Feiwu was glowing in delight from her father’s wise decision until she heard the three’s insults and blew a fuse. She stood up and glared at Chu Ye and the other two, a finger pointed at them. “Who are you scolding?”
Chu Ye coolly turned to her without a trace of fear. “Naturally, we’re scolding the one who should be scolded.”
“You say that again.” Boling Feiwu shot them a menacing stare. Her face seemed to say, “Say another word, and I’ll tear apart.”
“Shameless, despicable, lowly!” Chu Ye was very obedient. She even repeated Lanxi Liuhua and Huan Cheng’s words as well. Afterward, she added, “Our eldest miss should have heard it loud and clear now. Do you want me to say it again?”
“You… you, you…” Boling Feiwu was dumbfounded. Following this, she merely continued pointing at Chu Ye, stuttering the same word for quite a while, not able to let out another word.
Beside her, Boling Canglan couldn’t stand it anymore. “Enough, Feiwu. Sit down.” This eldest daughter of his was only losing more and more of his face.
She stomped her feet, not willing to comply. “Father, why are you so cruel to your daughter? She was scolding you, so I helped you…”
“Shut up. Men, bring the eldest miss away.” Boling Canglan was already incredibly furious. He cast Boling Feiwu a glare, hating iron for not becoming steel.
He thought himself to be quite intelligent among his generation. How could he have such a stupid daughter?
He tried not to pierce that final layer of film, but she was too good. One sentence from her simply shredded it. Tell him, how should he conclude this matter?
By teaching those three a lesson?
How could that be possible?
Was Caroline’s disciple someone he could lecture just because he wanted to? Let alone when Caroline was right beside him?
By not teaching them a lesson?
Even more impossible.
He, the stately clan head of the most powerful wizard clan, was insulted right in his presence. If he didn’t exhibit his dignity as a clan head, his Boling clan also need not mix with the Eastern Nation.
At the sight of the anger and hatred in Boling Canglan’s face, Boling Feiwu finally realized the foolishness of her actions. She had originally intended to cause a fuss in her unwillingness to leave, but now, she no longer dared to say anything more, obediently leaving the competition area with her father’s personal bodyguard.
Deep in her heart, she was ultimately afraid of her father.
Boling Canglan put on a bold front and coldly said, “Caroline, your disciple has spouted conceited nonsense, disregarding the divide between juniors and seniors. Shouldn’t you give a satisfactory explanation for this?”
The truth was he didn’t wish to offend Caroline, whether it be in private or in public.
But he had to.
Ever since the start of Chu Ye and Boling Feiwu’s argument, Caroline maintained an indifferent expression and a leisurely bearing as she sipped her tea. It was like the situation had nothing to do with her. Seeing Boling Canglan cling onto this matter, she turned her head to the side and raised an eyebrow. “Explanation? What type of explanation do you wish to hear from me?”
“Uh…” Boling Canglan ran into a mental roadblock.
Right, what explanation?
Chu Ye was the first to dare insult him like this. As such, he itched to strangle her to death.
However, where would he get the guts to say that right in Caroline’s face?
Caroline ignored Boling Canglan’s marvelous expression. “My disciple’s words were improper. I apologize on my disciple’s behalf. However, Clan Head Boling, the manner in which you dealt with the situation wasn’t very genuine,” she said in a mild tone. “Of course, I have no say in your Boling clan’s affairs. Well, to show my apologies, I will take out two more rewards of good quality. Regardless of who wins the competition today, these two items, as well as the life-type spatial ring from earlier, will all be his.”
She then stroked her own spatial ring, taking out two swords.
The blade of the sword grew visible, the cold metal glinting in all directions.
In a flash, it attracted everyone’s eyes.
Needless to say, this was also a rare high-grade sacred tool.
Murong Wan was already salivating over it. In his heart, he cursed Boling Canglan 18 times, filled with hatred. Fuck, why couldn’t he have such great luck?
Even the Boling clan and Murong clan, the two most powerful clans, only possessed spirit-grade tools and treasures. As for high-grade sacred tools, they had no more than one or two of them and were constantly kept hidden. As the treasure or treasures of the clan, they didn’t easily take them out in public.
Yet within a day, Caroline was able to fish out three high-ranked sacred tools for the Boling clan. All the people in nearby seats truly envied her.
At the beginning, Boling Canglan’s expression grew uglier the more he was scolded in Caroline’s presence. But the sight of Caroline taking out two more sacred-grade tools made him willing to suppress the anger still raging in his heart.
He took the sword from Caroline, then had someone take it away and place it on top of the flagpole at the center of the field, where the prizes for this competition were situated.
Half an hour later, at the start of the next round, these new additions to the prize would be announced to the entire audience.
At this moment, all the competitors rushed out of the field to find three people to team up with them.
Only Chenzhu possessed a sluggishness to his steps, downcast. Seeing the contrasting happiness in his seven fellow competitors’ faces only made him gloomier.
He raised his head and turned in the direction where Chu Ye and the others sat.
Although they were so far away that he could only see Chu Ye’s general figure, he could distinctly feel Chu Ye’s gaze, filled with concern and worry, directed at him.
All of a sudden, his heart didn’t feel so heavy now. Taking a deep breath, Chenzhu also stepped out of the competition field and entered the crowd, joining in the others’ efforts in finding team members for himself.
Even though no one was probably willing to stand by him in battle, he had to at least try.
But reality was much more cruel than he had imagined.
Chenzhu sought several of his friends whom he’d been closest to in the past, but they all rejected him, citing all sorts of excuses.
Some even ridiculed him, laughing at his vain attempt to challenge Boling Canglan’s authority all by himself. It was akin to an egg hitting a stone. He would only die so horribly that not even his dregs would remain.
Chenzhu couldn’t help but lament his sad past. He had been completely devoted toward them, but now that he had fallen to ruin, not a single one of them was capable of sharing his tribulations.
Ten minutes later, Chenzhu hadn’t found a single teammate.
Twenty minutes later, Chenzhu still had no one.
The start of the next round was fast approaching. 10 minutes, 9 minutes…
Chenzhu had approached all the people he thought he could count on and even those he thought he couldn’t. He had spared no effort at all.
By now, three competitors had already found all their teammates and reentered the competition field in succession, their arms slung over each other’s shoulders. They chatted and laughed, looking incredibly lively.
Meanwhile, Chenzhu could only stand at the edge of the field, lacking the qualifications to enter.
Chu Ye gazed at his desolate figure. “Chenzhu…” Then out of nowhere, she sprung up and left her seat.
“Chu Ye!” called out Lanxi Liuhua and Huan Cheng in unison, standing as well and following her. They knew Chu Ye wanted to help Chenzhu. They did too.
Although Chenzhu was their love rival, he was moreso their brother, especially after their recent interactions.
Chu Ye waved a hand to stop them. “You guys just watch the battle in peace for today. Watch me.” Then under Boling Canglan’s disapproving gaze, as though he was watching an amusing play, she walked toward Chenzhu not far away.
Chenzhu had already noticed Chu Ye approaching him the instant she moved from her seat. Afterward, he felt even more miserable. He was so useless that he had to trouble Chu Ye even further.
Once Chu Ye stood before him, he mumbled, “Chu Ye, I… I…”
With an easy smile, Chu Ye clapped Chenzhu’s shoulder and said, “Don’t be discouraged. I’ll help you find some teammates.”
“But I’ve already sought all the people I could seek. They weren’t willing to help,” said Chenzhu, aggrieved. Those so-called friends of his had forgotten their own morality for the sake of profit and benefits. To think that he had treated them so sincerely in the past.
Chu Ye laughed, her smile as bright and beautiful as a flower. “Since soft approaches don’t work, we’ll just use hard methods then. Boling Canglan can’t be the only one who can scheme, right?”
Well said. So those people didn’t want to help, huh? Good, good. Then let’s just grab them by the arms and force them to help.
Some people were just derisive in nature. If they didn’t want to raise a toast, just make them drink as a punishment.
“But there are only eight minutes left. Do we have enough time to do that?” Slight worry wormed its way into Chenzhu’s heart.
“That’ll be enough, but we have to move fast,” replied Chu Ye with decisiveness, eyes shining.
However, just as they prepared for action, a baritone voice, intentionally lowered in volume, spoke from behind them, “Young Master!”
This caused Chenzhu to jolt in surprise. How long had it been since someone had called him that? For a moment, he was overcome with a myriad of emotions.
In an instant, they turned around and saw an extremely tall and robust middle-aged man, dressed in the coarse robes of a stable hand. His brows were beaded with sweat. He bowed respectfully in greeting.
That previous “Young Master” had come from his mouth.
“You are?” Chenzhu found him somewhat familiar but couldn’t pinpoint just where he had seen him before.
“Young Master doesn’t remember me? I’m Awu!” said the middle-aged man, unable to resist feeling disappointed.
Chenzhu saw the light once the man mentioned his name. Following that, he placed his hand on the man’s shoulder and helped him up. With an expression of disbelief, he said, “Awu, aren’t you the leader of the gate sentries? How did you turn out like this?”
The stately leader of the Boling clan’s gate sentries, who was also a sixth-grade warrior, was now dressed like a stable hand, drenched in sweat and seeming exhausted. It seemed Chenzhu wasn’t the only one who had experienced some steep ups and downs.
As soon as Chu Ye heard the name Awu, she suddenly remembered. A few months ago, when she had visited the Boling clan’s residence to look for the disfigured Chenzhu, this man was the one who had kindly informed her that Chenzhu had already been driven out.
It was because of this that he had been severely beaten up by Boling Feiwu. She had even spoken about how she was going to beat him to death.
However, she had stopped herself at that time upon seeing how ragged he had looked. It could be assumed in retrospect that he was then demoted to a stable hand out of Boling Feiwu’s narrow-mindedness.
Truly a young woman without the slightest bit of magnanimity.
Meanwhile, the fact that Chenzhu had recognized and remembered him touched Awu.
Back when the young master had assumed his position, he had only been an ordinary gate sentry. But whenever the young master passed by him, he would often flash him a friendly smile. One time, he had asked him for his name. Then every once in a while, he would say, “Thank you for your hard work.” Although it was but a mere sentence, it had warmed his heart for a long time.
The memory that was vividly emblazoned on his mind was that time when the young master had seen the sentries standing by the gates underneath the scorching sun, fully drenched in sweat as though they’d been in the rain for a long time. At once, he had people set up a tent for them and even gave them ice cubes to cool down. Because of this, the master had given the young master a fierce scolding.
“Young Master, my situation is a long story, and right now, you don’t have the time to listen to my prattling,” said Awu. “I’ve always been hoping for your return, but now that you’ve really returned, this somehow feels like a dream to me. A moment ago, I learned that the competition has changed into a team competition. I knew that you must need teammates, so I left the clan’s residence to look for you.” He then stepped to the side, revealing a petite young man.
Carrying a longsword on his back, the young man possessed delicate features and appeared to be around 15 years of age. He seemed to be shy too. When Chenzhu and Chu Ye’s gazes fell on him, his face flushed red all of a sudden.
“Young Master, as you know, I used to be the leader of the gate sentries. But I’m also a part of the Boling clan, though only from an extremely remote line of little status. Nonetheless, my surname is still Boling.” Awu then gestured toward the young man, pride welling up inside him. His manner of speech also grew more straightforward. “This is my son. His full name is Boling Aya, but you can call him Aya. He just turned 15 yesterday, so he is qualified to join the competition. He’s a fifth-grade warrior.”
A 15-year-old fifth-grade warrior. For an ordinary family, his talent wasn’t that bad.
And although Aya was rather delicate, the complete opposite to Awu’s robust build, if one were to take a closer look at him, he was 20% similar to Awu. Aya’s soft appearance was probably inherited from his mother.
“Thank you, Awu,” said Chenzhu, deeply moved. He didn’t expect that the person willing to help him was someone who had never even crossed his mind.
Life’s affairs were hard to predict and fathom, as were people’s hearts. But sincerity still existed in this world.
“That’s good. We finally found one, but you still need one more,” interrupted Chu Ye. She feared that Chenzhu and Awu would go on and on.
“I have a friend who might be willing to help,” said Aya in a shy manner, blushing once again.
Chu Ye didn’t beat around the bush and asked, “What is the level of your friend?”
At this, Aya grew slightly embarrassed. “F-fourth-grade warrior…”
He couldn’t be blamed for that. The friends he had who were also of a similar age weren’t all that strong.
After all, they held low social status. Their general level of talent was similarly low. In their small circle, becoming a fifth-grade warrior at the age of 15 was already considered to be a sign of great talent and a bright future.
A frown crossed Chu Ye’s face. Fourth-grade… was too weak.
However, Chu Ye had always been straightforward in nature. After a brief moment of hesitation, she said, “Ok, please invite them. Once this is over, we must show you our deep gratitude!”
Although she and Chenzhu could use extreme measures to force a seventh-grade or eighth-grade wizard or two to become Chenzhu’s teammates, they couldn’t force them to properly assist him in battle. As such, that would be a rather dangerous idea. And if those wizards felt vindictive enough, they might try to sabotage Chenzhu during the competition. The gains didn’t make up for the losses. It would be better to seek two people who genuinely wanted to help.
As for their combat strength, they could just adapt according to the circumstances.
The “A” in Aya’s name (阿亚) is the same character as the one in Awu (阿伍), which is how I figured that Awu is probably his actual name and that the “Ah” isn’t just an added prefix. That’s why the previous “Ah Wu” became “Awu”. It seems a bit weird to me, but oh well.