Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97
The first time Zhang Xuan had seen so many master teachers was back when he was in Myriad Kingdom City. But even so, the number was only around a thousand or so. Yet, just the entrance examination of the Master Teacher Academy itself already involved thirty thousand 4-star pinnacle and half 5-star master teachers…
Just the thought of it was scary in itself.
But nevertheless, considering the circumstances surrounding Hongyuan Master Teacher Academy, this was understandable.
This was the only Master Teacher Academy in this region. It accepted students that were not only from Hongyuan Empire but from other Tier 1 Empires as well.
Taking into account the dozen or so Tier 1 Empires and the countless sects and Master Teacher Pavilions they had in their region, it was natural that there were this many talented master teachers.
It was no wonder Tianxuan Kingdom was known as 'ancient ruins'. To not even have a single master teacher, it was indeed a backward location.
Feng shi, Luo shi, and the others walked up to Zhang Xuan and said, "We don't have any alliances with anyone in the entrance examination, so our team will be depending on you, Zhang shi…"
Even though they'd had several conflicts with Zhang Xuan in the past, considering they were from the same geographical region and the powerful competitors they would be facing in the entrance examination, they had decisively chosen to put aside their differences and unite together as one. This was the greatest hope they had in passing the entrance examination.
Looking at the Huanyu Empire freshmen around him, Zhang Xuan nodded in assurance.
There was a total of fifty master teachers from Huanyu Empire that would be taking the entrance examination. Putting aside the top three from each Vassal State, the others were mainly 4-star pinnacle master teachers possessing a cultivation of Clarifying Turbidity realm.
With such cultivation, they were indeed considered mediocre within the group. Thus, for them to triumph over the competitors and pass the examination as a whole was, honestly speaking, very difficult!
This was precisely the reason they chose to ally with Tier 2 Jinhai Empire. Considering they were from a Tier 2 Empire as well, they'd thought that the strength of both teams would be roughly equal, so they should at least have been able to vie for an equal distribution at the very worst. Who knew that they would be completely defeated by the other party, and nearly turned into meat shields?
It was fortunate that Zhang shi arrived at that crucial period and saved them from that tragic fate.
But while they did manage to prevent the worst from happening, the crux of the problem still existed—their lack of strength. It was already too late to do anything else, so they could only put all of their hope in Zhang shi, and pray that he would be able to lead the group successfully through the entrance examination.
"You have our gratitude!"
Feng shi, Luo shi, and the others clasped their fists gratefully.
Thinking back on what they'd done to the other party, they felt extremely ashamed of themselves. Putting themselves into Zhang shi's shoes, if someone had treated him the way they did back at Huanyu Capital, they would surely have exacted vengeance during the entrance examination and made things difficult for the examinees from the other Vassal States. However, Zhang shi harbored no such vindictive thoughts at all.
In terms of magnanimity, they were truly nowhere near the other party.
"There's no need to stand on ceremony!" Seeing the expressions on their faces, Zhang Xuan chuckled light-heartedly, indicating that the past was the past. At that moment, a voice suddenly sounded from not too far away.
"Is this the man who defeated you?"
Turning around, Zhang Xuan saw a dark-skinned young man walking over with the defeated Senior Feng from Jinhai Empire following behind him.
The one who spoke was the dark-skinned young man in front. He had a tall stature, and his arms and legs were unusually long. His gaze was sharp and cold, as if a dagger was hidden in the depths of his eyes.
"Cosmos Bridge realm?"
Zhang Xuan's eyebrows shot up.
The other party didn't conceal his aura at all. The might of a Cosmos Bridge realm cultivator lingered around him as if the searing heat of a sun, exerting an immense pressure on the group.
At the Cosmos Bridge realm, a connection would be forged between one's consciousness and the world, granting one enhanced intimacy with nature. Even though a Consonant Spirit realm cultivator wasn't weak, it could hardly compare up to a Cosmos Bridge realm expert.
But while the young man had reached the Cosmos Bridge realm, the emblem pinned on his chest only had 4 stars.
Reaching the Cosmos Bridge realm was just one of several prerequisites to becoming a 5-star master teacher. One had to have five 5-star supporting occupations as well as a Soul Depth of 15.0.
Often there were a couple of Grade 1 students who already possessed a cultivation realm beyond their current master teacher ranking, but due to their various other aspects being unable to catch up, they weren't qualified to be promoted to the next rank.
Clearly, the young man before him was such a case.
Nevertheless, he would still be a fearsome adversary.
To acquire such strength before thirty when he had yet to enter the Master Teacher Academy, he could be said to be ranked amongst the top even within the thirty thousand freshmen this year.
"Yes!" Senior Feng nodded.
Hearing the other party's confirmation, the young man frowned.
He had been acquainted with Senior Feng for some time already, and knowing the latter's strength, he thought that a person who could defeat the latter should be at least a formidable Cosmos Bridge realm expert, but… this? What the heck?
Dirty as if he hadn't bathed for many days, exhausted to the point that his eyes were bloodshot, countless swelling marks on his face…
The other party had clearly suffered a tragic beating not too long ago…
More importantly, even though the other party was at Consonant Spirit realm pinnacle, he didn't feel exceptionally powerful either… With the other party's disposition and appearance, he wouldn't have spared the other party a second glance anywhere else.
Was this really the man who smacked the confidence out of his good friend, leaving him in a slump?
Fearing that the other party wouldn't believe his words, Senior Feng hurriedly explained, "Brother Yu, don't underestimate Zhang shi. He… possesses extraordinary capabilities. He was able to defeat me with just a single finger!"
However, the more he spoke, the more uncertain he became.
Looking at Zhang Xuan's current state, he couldn't help but wonder if this was really the man who wounded him.
Why did it seem as if he had lost to a poor beggar?
"A single finger?"
Brother Yu shook his head. Turning to Zhang Xuan, he asked, "You are Zhang Xuan, Zhang shi? Since you defeated Feng Wu, may I challenge you to a match?"
"A match?" Zhang Xuan was just about to turn the other party away by claiming that he was busy when an idea suddenly struck him. With glowing eyes, he measured the other party from head to toe and asked, "What are you going to bet on the match?"
It just so happened that he was a little short on cash at the moment. Even renting a residence was difficult for him with his current finances. If he could earn some pocket change from a duel to tide him over this period, that would be for the best.
Sun Qiang hadn't had the time to clear away the artifacts he had obtained from the Mystical Treasure Hall before coming here, and there weren't any familiar faces in Hongyuan City that they could approach to fetch good prices for their items. As such, their funds were running extremely low at the moment.
"Bet?" Brother Yu was surprised by Zhang Xuan's words.
"That's right. What is the point of having a match if there is nothing on the line?" Zhang Xuan shrugged.
He wasn't interested in wasting his effort for nothing. If there were no material gains to be earned from having a match, why should he waste his time?
Brother Yu's face darkened, and his eyebrows shot up in displeasure.
"You… Do you know what I want compete against you in?"
No matter what, they were all master teachers, respectable members of the society. To place a bet on a respectable contest between fellow peers was really a little too cheap!
'You are just a mere Consonant Spirit realm cultivator. It is one thing that you aren't afraid of me, but you don't even know what we are contesting in, and yet there you are talking about bets… Are you just that certain that you will be able to win?
'How far can your arrogance go!
His initial impression of this fellow already wasn't good, but at this moment, it had dropped to rock bottom.
Ignoring the other party's disdain, Zhang Xuan waved his hands nonchalantly.
"As long as you can offer something that interests me, I'm fine with anything you propose!"
"Since you're that confident, I'll fulfill your wish then!"
Harrumphing coldly, Brother Yu flicked his wrist, and a bunch of spirit stones appeared before him, "I have 1000 middle-tier spirit stones here. As long as you can defeat me, feel free to take them away!"
"1000 middle-tier spirit stones?" Zhang Xuan glanced at the pile of gleaming spirit stones.
"That's right! You have never seen so many spirit stones in your life, right? But you need not worry, I don't expect you to repay me should you lose… All of you have to do is to apologize to me before all of the freshmen here for your disrespect," Brother Yu said with an air of superiority with his hands behind his back, emulating the disposition of a transcendental expert.
Considering how Huanyu Empire was below average compared to the other Tier 2 Empires, as well as the other party's shabby looks and attitude, it was clear that the other party was a poor bloke. To people like this, a thousand middle-tier spirit stones was probably a huge fortune, the like of which they had never seen in their lives before.
"Wait a moment…"
Seeing how the other party droned on and on, Zhang Xuan raised a hand to stop him. "Don't you think a thousand middle-tier spirit stones is too troublesome? Why don't we just go with one?"
"One? You call one middle-tier spirit stone a bet? Even the salary that I pay my subordinates is much more than that…"
Hearing the other party's suggestion, Brother Yu sneered coldly. But at that moment, he suddenly felt Senior Feng nudging him and pointing to Zhang shi's hand. Perplexed, he turned his gaze over, and his eyeballs nearly popped out from his eyes.
There was a spirit stone in the other party's hand that was emanating a blinding radiance.
"H-h-high-tier spirit stone?"
Brother Yu's lips trembled, and his body shook weakly.
"Indeed, one high-tier spirit stone," Zhang Xuan replied calmly.
"…" Brother Yu's vision darkened, and he nearly keeled over.
Even for someone as rich as him, he only possessed middle-tier spirit stones. High-tier spirit stones were objects that only Saints were qualified to trade.
'To actually use a high-tier spirit stone as a bet…
'Are you sure that you are a Consonant Spirit realm cultivator from Huanyu Empire?'
Given how shabby the other party looked, he thought that the other party would surely be a poor bloke. Who knew that he would suddenly whip out a high-tier spirit stone… What was with this huge contrast?
"Why? You don't have any high-tier spirit stone? If you don't even have the capital to make a bet, why are you bothering me? Go and play by the side, I don't have the time to be playing with you…"
Seeing the other party's frenzied expression, Zhang Xuan tutted in disdain.
'Why are you pretending to be wealthy when you don't even have a single high-tier spirit stone?'
Seeing the contempt on Zhang Xuan's face, Brother Yu and Senior Feng's faces darkened.
What the heck was this? They were here to humiliate the other party; how did they end up being the ones humiliated instead?
This was especially so with the other party's expression. It was as if he was snubbing them for being poor…
"Fine, let's bet on a high-tier spirit stone then!" Brother Yu flung his sleeves furiously and harrumphed.
"Sure, where is your high-tier spirit stone then? Show me. Otherwise, what am I supposed to do when you don't have the money to pay up? There are simply too many scammers nowadays!" Zhang Xuan said.
Brother Yu clenched his fists tightly in anger. Thus, he turned to Senior Feng and said, "Take out your 'Aerial Strike Amulet'!"
"Brother Yu, that item…"
Hearing the other party's request, Senior Feng's eyebrows immediately twitched. He quickly tried to turn the other party down.
"Don't worry, do you think he can defeat me?" Brother Yu placed his hands behind his back confidently.
"… Alright then!"
Recalling Brother Yu's identity, as well as the content of the examination, Senior Feng hesitated for a moment before eventually nodding in agreement. He flicked his wrist, and a jade token immediately appeared in his hands.
Brother Yu took the jade token and showed it to Zhang Xuan. "This Aerial Strike Amulet is an artifact forged by a Saint. It allows one to withstand a single attack from a Saint without sustaining any damage. Its value is definitely equivalent to a single high-tier spirit stone!"
"Aerial Strike Amulet?"
Zhang Xuan's finger reached out to touch the amulet before nodding in satisfaction. "This object is indeed worth a single high-tier spirit stone. Fine, I'll accept your bet!"
Seeing the other party agree to the bet, the edges of Brother Yu's lips crept up.
"Good. The winner of the bet shall be determined by… the results of the entrance examination!"