BTTH Chapter 304

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Chapter 304: Fa Ma, Yao Ye. The Grand Meeting Begins!

The next day, there were no clouds in the blue sky for tens of thousands of kilometers. The sunlight was warm, yet not overbearing. The occasional breeze that brushed past carried away the noise within the city, causing one to feel very refreshed.

Today there was a great event within the Jia Ma Empire. The Alchemist Grand Meeting would begin today.

The moment the first rays of sunlight broke through the boundary of the land and shone upon the city that had a rich history, groups of human figures in long alchemist robes began to appear on the quiet streets.

These people who had an occupation that was highly regarded were usually seldomly seen en masse. Due to their great strength and their incomparable importance, alchemists appeared to be somewhat mysterious and revered in ordinary people’s hearts. Today, these alchemists of high status were like ants leaving their nest, repeatedly swarming out from the various resting places in the capital. Although the paths they took differed, their final destination was that ancient looking alchemist association that stood in the center of the city.

Today, all the shops within the Jia Ma Sacred City were opened much earlier than usual. Countless people climbed out of their warm beds, stood at the door and eyed the large group of alchemists bustling through the streets. Their gazes were filled with heat and respect.

The Alchemist Grand Meeting during these few days would be the Jia Ma Sacred City’s most lively and fiery period of the entire year…

The alchemists that were usually rarely seen, came out from all directions today and appeared at a scale similar to a military unit. This kind of majestic scene was something that people only had the luck to see during the Alchemist Grand Meeting…

On this special day, Xiao Yan had also woken up very early. He sat cross legged on the bed and quietly readjusted his condition for an hour. When his body had achieved its peak condition, he finally slowly opened his eyes.

Xiao Yan lazily twisted his body. He heard some crackling sounds within his body. With a slight smile, he came down from the bed and walked out of the inner hall. At one glance, he saw Hai Bo Dong who was by the window side.

“You’re awake? Today the number of alchemists appearing in the Jia Ma Sacred City will likely reach a frightening number. It is indeed worthy of being the Alchemist Grand Meeting. Only this kind of great event can summon all of the alchemists within the empire.” Hai Bo Dong’s gaze eyed the street where alchemists were repeatedly flashing past. He could not help but click his tongue and praise.

“Alchemists are also people. They also need the honor and approval… this Alchemist Grand Meeting will be their best stage.” Xiao Yan poured a cup of tea for himself, sipped a little and said with a faint smile.

Hai Bo Dong turned his body around, stared at Xiao Yan, with a smile he asked, “Actually, I am very curious. With your ability, you would actually be thinking of participating in the Alchemist Grand Meeting. Although this kind of Grand Meeting is rarely seen, it does not quite suit your ability, does it?”

Xiao Yan smiled, lifted his teacup with both hands and said softly, “I don’t have a choice. Who asked this Grand Meeting’s Champion prize to be something that interests me. That ‘Thawing Spirit Pill’ medicinal formula will be very useful to me…”

“Although you are not an alchemist, I think you should also know what kind of alluring ability a medicinal formula has toward an alchemist. That tier six medicinal formula has an attractiveness that would not be lower than a Di Class Dou Technique…”

Hai Bo Dong helplessly shook his head, smacked his lips and said, “With your ability, participating in this Grand Meeting is just like a Dou Huang charging into the competition ground of a group of Dou Zhe.”

“You really overestimate me…” Xiao Yan shook his head slightly and said with a smile, “If it was before I have displayed the ‘Angry Buddha Lotus Flame’, becoming the champion of the Grand Meeting would be as easy as flipping one’s hand. Although, now… my spirit is damaged and my strength is much weaker than before. And the most important thing when refining medicinal pill is Spiritual Strength. Therefore, I don’t have absolute confidence in winning the Grand Meeting that I am participating in this time around.”

“Uh… it can’t be that serious right? If an alchemist grandmaster who can refine a tier six medicinal pill was to really lose in this kind of competition to the younger generation, then…” Hai Bo Dong’s expression was strange as he eyed Xiao Yan and said.

“That would really be embarrassing, right?”

Xiao Yan smiled and continued. He stood up and said, “If I don’t even possess this little bit of mental fortitude, then how would I go and pursue the long alchemist road?”

“Alright, it is nearly about time. Let’s go…” Xiao Yan placed the teacup down. He smiled, turned around and walked out of the door. Behind him, Hai Bo Dong helplessly shook his head and could only follow.

They walked out of the room and climbed down the stairs of the inn. The tier two alchemist robe on Xiao Yan’s body attracted many eyes, but Xiao Yan was not very concerned about these things. His gaze randomly swept past a couple of alchemists who were passing by the door. After which, he slowly walked out.

As he walked on the street, those curious respectful gazes that were repeatedly shot at him caused Xiao Yan to purse up his lips. The corner of his mouth contained a slight smile.

On the two sides of the spacious street, young ladies with curvaceous and slim figures softly laughed melodiously. They threw their shy and worshipful gazes towards those alchemists walking on the street. For these young ladies who belonged to the age where they were filled with tricks and delusions, the mysterious and deep alchemists were like magnets that tightly attracted their gazes.

In this era, alchemists had an easier time letting these young ladies fall in love than with those princes in fairy tales. From this, one could tell just what kind of prestigious status an alchemist had in the continent where Dou Qi was most respected.

The city permeated with liveliness and enthusiasm, washing away the rigorous and solemn aura until nothing was left. Feeling the passion within the city, Xiao Yan’s calm heart had also begun to secretly beat faster. No matter how outstanding his mental strength was, he was after all still a young person. As long as one was a young person, one’s heart would be frivolous and wild. The thing about young people that others were envious of, was them striving forth energetically, persevering untiringly until they succeeded.

Xiao Yan walked slowly toward the alchemist association. His gaze would occasionally sweep past those alchemists that had passed by him. In his heart, he muttered in surprise, “Looks like the people that the Grand Meeting attracted are not weak. Not only have the peak alchemists in the empire swarmed over, many from other countries have come. I wonder if there will be a dark horse from another country that might suddenly appear during the Grand Meeting… if that is the case, then this will be a little fun.”

Although Xiao Yan’s heart thought such malice thoughts, his face did not reveal any of it on the surface. He slowly passed through a few streets, lifted his head and eyed the ancient association that stood at the edge of his sight. He sighed gently, turned around and glanced at Hai Bo Dong who was leisurely following behind him. After which, he lifted his leg and walked toward the association.

After entering the association, Xiao Yan could not help but shake his head helplessly when he saw the association’s entrance that appeared to have been completely blocked. He pushed his way into the human crowd. His body was like a fish entering the sea, passing through the crowds in a strange manner.

After undergoing Yao Lao’s dodge ability training in the Magical Beast Mountain Range, Xiao Yan managed to save quite a lot of trouble in such a situation now.

As his body swayed slightly, Xiao Yan arrived at the front of the crowd and released a long sigh of relief as he finally entered the front gate of the Alchemist Association. His pupils constricted as he turned his head to look around and saw Hai Bo Dong, who looked as if he was sleepwalking, closely following him.

“Truly worthy of being a Dou Huang, accompanying me so closely yet I was still unable to detect him even slightly…” Xiao Yan secretly admired him in his heart as he entered the Alchemist Association and strolled around the hall. He was just about to enter the east zone when he actually ran into Ao Tuo and his group, who were surprised to see him. They immediately started to laugh.

“Come with me little guy, the venue of the Grand Meeting is not inside the Alchemist Association…” Ao Tuo said with a smile as he patted Xiao Yan’s shoulder.

Xiao Yan smiled and nodded as he greeted Frank as well as both of the Xue and Mei girls.

“Little guy, this time our Black Rock City’s Association has come to see you. Be sure not to lose to that Liu Ling.” Frank smiled and said. He had a lot of confidence in Xiao Yan since the previous internal tests.

“Hehe, I’ll try.”

Xiao Yan smiled. He suddenly saw Ao Tuo staring with surprise at Hai Bo Dong, and introduced, “Master Ao Tuo, This is a friend of mine, Hai Bo Dong…”

“Oh… ke ke, how are you? Black Rock City’s Ao Tuo, Frank…” Ao Tuo and Frank smiled and nodded. Due to Hai Bo Dong having lived in isolation for a few decades, the both of them were not too familiar with the name Hai Bo Dong. They only vaguely felt that the name was a little familiar to the ear. Ao Tuo and Frank were of the Dou Ling class and as alchemists, their Spiritual Strength was much higher than those of the same class. Therefore, despite being ignorant of the background of the other party, they could faintly sense with their Spiritual Perception that the old man in front of them had something profound and they did not dare to slight him.

“Yes.” Hai Bo Dong merely nodded faintly at the polite etiquette of the two of them. His calm manner caused the two of them to be at a loss. Ling Fei, who could not have the slightest imperfection in her eyes, widened her eyes and stared. Just as she was about to shout, she was quickly grabbed by Ao Tuo.

“I’m sorry two grandmasters, Old Hai’s character is like that. He has no intention of going against the two of you.” Xiao Yan shook his head helplessly. He could only smile slightly and smooth things over. Fortunately, Ao Tuo and Frank were not really concerned. They smiled carelessly and changed the conversation topic. The group conversed and laughed as they walked out of the hall. With Ao Tuo leading the way, they walked out from the back door of the association and headed toward a spot south of the city.

“The location for the Grand Meeting this time around is the Imperial Family’s plaza. The size of that place can hold tens of thousands of people, and it completely meets the size needed for this Grand Meeting.” As they walked on the street, Ao Tuo smiled and explained, “After an initial estimation, there should be around more than two thousand people participating in this Grand Meeting. This is the greater number of participants compared to the previous few Grand Meetings.”

“Over two thousand people…” This number caused Xiao Yan to suck his tongue involuntarily. It should be known that the requirements to become an alchemist were very harsh. Saying that only one in a thousand or even one in ten thousand could become an alchemist was not an exaggeration. The two thousand people currently here may be the gathering of over half the alchemists in the Jia Ma Empire.

“The Grand Meeting is divided into a few examination rounds. Each examination will eliminate quite a number of people. In the later rounds, the examination difficulty becomes much greater. The last person who finally remains will be the final champion…”

“Ah,” Xiao Yan nodded his head slightly. Thinking about having over two thousand people simultaneously raising their flames and refining pills in the same open field, Xiao Yan felt a little excited. That spectacular manner was likely to be extremely thrilling.

While he spoke, the imperial family plaza, that Ao Tuo had mentioned early, had gradually appeared in their sight. Xiao Yan raised his eyes and watched. The edge of his sight could actually only see a small portion of the huge plaza.

Currently, there were fully armed soldiers who were stationed outside the plaza to maintain order. This kind of Grand Meeting had gathered strong people from everywhere. If a riot were to occur, the capital would receive a huge blow. Therefore, the imperial family was extremely cautious regarding maintaining order.

There were inspectors from the Alchemist Association stationed at the entrance of the plaza. Only the people from the association and the participants were allowed to enter from this entrance. The entrance to the audience seats was located in another place.

Under Ao Tuo’s lead, Xiao Yan and the others did not face the slightest hindrance as they entered the plaza. After walking up a high slope to enter the plaza, that enormous open area was finally completely displayed in Xiao Yan’s sight.

Standing at the top of the slope, Xiao Yan eyed that green rock plaza that was large to the point of being ridiculous. He could not help but shake his head and praise.

The plaza was round in shape, with countless seats located on two sides of it. It seemed that those were seats for the audience. Opposite the audience seats, there were VIP seats which were decorated in a much more luxurious manner. These were specially catered for the upper echelons of the association and the heads of those large strengths.

As his gaze swept over the incomparably large open ground, Xiao Yan discovered that thousands of green rock square tables were actually placed openly and neatly in it. These square tables were orderly scattered and were placed extremely precisely. At a glance, they were like a green rock military unit standing still.

Currently, there were already quite a number of alchemists participating in the competition quietly seated cross legged on a rock chair behind the green rock tables within the open ground. As time flowed, moving closer to the time beginning of the competition, more and more alchemists swarmed out from the path and searched for their seats according to the number tag that they had received.

Ao Tuo glanced at the sky as he smiled and said, “Let’s go to the VIP seats first. There is still some time until the start of the Grand Meeting. There, you can meet some important people who have significant power. This may be useful to you.”

“Ah.” Last night, Xiao Yan had already seen even the guardian of the imperial family, the mysterious Jia Lao. Therefore, he did not express an opinion in regards to the people of significant power that Ao Tuo had mentioned. However, it was currently still quite early so he randomly nodded his head.

Seeing that there were no objections, Ao Tuo and Frank took the lead and brought the few of them toward the VIP seats. When they were about to enter the VIP section, Ao Tuo suddenly pointed at the front row. There was already a row of people seated. Among them, there was the deputy chairman of the Alchemist Association, Qie Mi Er. Beside him sat an old man wearing a purple colored alchemist robe.

“That is the chairman of the Jia Ma Empire Alchemist Association, Lord Fa Ma. I have heard that the current him is about to step into the tier six alchemist level. In the alchemist world within the Jia Ma Empire, Lord Fa Ma’s reputation would be about the same when compared to Pill-King Gu He. Even when Gu He meets Lord Fa Ma, he must be a little more courteous. Back then, before Gu He gained fame, Lord Fa Ma had given him quite a lot of care. It would not be overboard to say that he was a patron of Lord Fa Ma…” Ao Tuo softly said.
Note: The lord here is used as a respectful term

“Hei, I didn’t expect that old fellow to still be alive. These old things are more undying than I thought…” Hai Bo Dong narrowed his eyes as he stood beside Xiao Yan. When he heard Ao Tuo making the introductions, he abruptly raised his head. He glanced at the old man and said.

“Oh?”

Xiao Yan’s eyebrows twitched slightly. He eyed that dried tree bark like face of the old man that appeared to be dying. His gaze was somewhat strange. From what he had heard, this old man should be the leader of the Jia Ma Empire’s alchemist world.

The old man with bleary eyes appeared to have sensed the gazes focused on him and suddenly turned his head around. He turned his seemingly perplexed gaze toward Xiao Yan’s side. A friendly smile appeared on the dried skin on his face.

Seeing that old man had turned his head over, Ao Tuo and Frank hurriedly bowed and greeted. after which, they moved along the corridor and carefully walked to the front row. They spoke respectfully to the old man, “Lord Fa Ma, it has been a few years since we last met. You are still filled with the same vigor.”

“Ke ke, it’s Ao Tuo and Frank from the Black Rock City, right? The both of you are quite good. You’ve actually become tier four alchemists in these years. Your progress is quite fast…” The old man who was addressed as Fa Ma swept his turbid gaze at the two of them and laughed softly.

“It’s all because of Lord Fa Ma’s lectures the last time around.” Ao Tuo respectively smiled and said.

“All that I can speak about is some of my personal experience. The most important thing is depending on yourselves…” Fa Ma smiled and shook his head. He suddenly turned his gaze toward Xiao Yan behind Ao Tuo. With a friendly smile, he said, “This little friend must be the one who obtained the best result during the association’s test this time around, right? His name… seemed to be called Yan Xiao.”

“Chairman Fa Ma, This little one is Yan Xiao.” Xiao Yan did not dare to slight this person whose reputation in the Jia Ma Empire Alchemy world was greater that Gu He. He bowed and smiled as he replied.

“Haha, most heroes are from the young. At such an age, you can refine the ‘Black Iron Spiritual Leaf’ so many times. I remember that back then, Gu He, that boy did not have this kind of ability…” Fa Ma’s voice was neither hurried nor slow. Although it was a little hoarse, it had a certain magical-like property that did not allow others to interrupt his words.

Xiao Yan calmly smiled, but did not continue to say anything on this topic.

Fa Ma smiled and stared at Xiao Yan, his gaze seemed to have a deeper meaning as he paused on that calm face for a while. Sensing his gaze, Xiao Yan abruptly felt alarmed. “He… don’t tell me that he has seen through this disguised appearance?”

Just as Xiao Yan was imagining things in his heart, Fa Ma appeared to have sensed his uneasiness. The latter immediately said softly with a smile, “Little friend, as long as you are not targeting the association, the old me won’t be nosy…”

Although Fa Ma’s laugher caused the surrounding association elders to feel baffled, Xiao Yan secretly sighed in relief. He threw a thankful gaze at Fa Ma.

“Che, old fellow who won’t die. It seems that the longer you live, the more you like talking…” The sudden appearance of a cold laughter, caused the expressions of all those on the VIP seats to changed drastically. The expression of Qie Mi Er, who was seated by Fa Ma’s side, sank as he cried in a low voice, “Who is it?”

When this cold laughter rang, Xiao Yan helplessly sighed in his heart. Other than Hai Bo Dong who was behind him, who else would be this rude when he spoke?

The cold laugher also cased Fa Ma to be at a loss. Quickly following which, however, he turned his gaze behind Xiao Yan and muttered, “This Qi… it’s icy like a cold ice… don’t tell me… Old Man Ice?” When he said up to this point, more shock clearly appeared on his face.

“Hee hee, Old Man Fa, I didn’t think that you would still remember me. It isn’t easy…” The human figure behind Xiao Yan flashed. Hai Bo Dong slowly walked forward under the stunned gazes of Ao Tuo, Xue Mei and the others. He proceeded to directly sit by Fa Ma’s side and opened his mouth to laugh.

“You actually haven’t died? Didn’t Queen Medusa end up… doing that to you?” Fa Ma was shocked as he stared at Hai Bo Dong by his side and could not help but question.

“I have luckily survived…” Hai Bo Dong smacked his lips. There was some remaining fear in his eyes as he sighed, “That woman… is really terrifying…”

“You are really a fellow with a tough life… but it is good that you are still alive. At least an old fellow like me will not be too lonely, ha ha…” Fa Ma’s withering tree like face moved as he laughed out loud.

Hearing the conversation between the two of them, those elders of the association who were originally displeased with Hai Bo Dong’s impertinent words immediately shrunk back. According to what Fa Ma had said, this unknown old man was actually a great character who had a humble appearance.

Standing behind Ao Tuo, Ling Fei and Xue Mei were completely stunned as they eyed Hai Bo Dong who was carelessly chatting with Fa Ma to kill time. At this moment, they finally understood that this old man who appeared extremely ordinary was actually a strong person who hid his skills.

“This fellow, why is it that all those he befriends are people of such a level?” The two girls exchanged glances before turning their strange gazes toward the Xiao Yan by the side, who was shaking his head helplessly.

The familiarity between Hai Bo Dong and Fa Ma clearly caused Ao Tuo and Frank to be startled. Some time later, Ao Tuo, who had recovered, suddenly had his expression change slightly. He softly muttered, “Hai Bo Dong? Hai Bo Dong? The Ice Emperor of the Ten Strong back then… seemed to be called by this name right?”

As he thought this in his heart, Ao Tuo tilted his head and exchanged glances with Frank. They could see the shock within each other’s eyes. They did not expect that this kind of antique level person would still be alive. Moreover, his relationship with Xiao Yan did not appear to be a simple one…

“This little fellow hides really deeply…” Just like Xue Mei and Ling Fei, Ao Tuo and Frank also stared at Xiao Yan with strange eyes. In their hearts, they were uncertain why a young man who had stepped into the alchemist world not long ago was actually able to get to know such a strong person.

Xiao Yan stood on the same spot and could only helplessly endure the numerous strange gazes. He suddenly realized that Hai Bo Dong had said something to Fa Ma who had once again turned toward him. The current Fa Ma was frowning slightly as he swept his gaze over Xiao Yan, seemingly searching for something.

“Why?” Seeing Fa Ma’s manner, Hai Bo Dong could not help but ask in surprise. He had simply mentioned that Xiao Yan’s training talent was not bad, but he did not expect the other party to react like this.

“Haha, for some unknown reason, I seem to sense a Qi of someone I have met before on young friend Yan Xiao…” Fa Ma coughed gently and said somewhat uncertainly.

“Have met before?” Xiao Yan blinked his eyes. There was a change in his heart as he muttered, “Don’t tell me that he sensed Queen Medusa’s presence?”

“Ke ke, perhaps I have sensed wrongly. When one is old, one tends to hallucinate more…” When Fa Ma sensed again, he did not have the same feeling as before. Fa Ma shook his head with some disappointment. He leaned against the chair, appearing a little absent minded as he entered a trance while his memory played…

Back then, when Fa Ma was still young, he had coincidentally met an old man, whose ability was unfathomable, while he was roaming the continent. Due to some reason, the old man and Fa Ma lived together for three days. During those three days, the old man casually imparted some things to him. However, Fa Ma benefitted greatly from those things. By borrowing what the old man had taught, the originally unknown Fa Ma returned to the Jia Ma Empire and advanced step by step until this stage today. It was also because he had reached this step that Fa Ma increasingly realized just how terrifying the ability of that mysterious old man back then was…

The vague Qi that he sensed on Xiao Yan a moment ago was quite similar to the one that the old man back then had… it was the reason that Fa Ma had abruptly lost himself.

Since Xiao Yan had guilty conscious, he did not dare to pursue this topic. However, when he was about to change topic, an old laughter was emitted from a passageway in the middle of the seats, “Ke ke, old man Hai, Young friend Yan Xiao, you have arrived quite early.”

Hearing the laughter, everyone turned their heads around to take a look. When they saw a white haired old man wearing a simple linen garment, everyone was so shocked that they paled. In their hearts, they asked just what wind had blown over today. Even this old demon had come running about today…

The person who came was naturally Jia Lao, whom Xiao Yan had met last night. The Little Princess also followed closely behind. Today, she was wearing a pale-green alchemist robe that was clearly specially tailored. Her spacious sleeves, had bright silk pulled around them to form a lotus shape. This gave her an elegance that came from nowhere. However, Xiao Yan who clearly knew her character, understood that this young lady, who appeared quiet on the surface, was actually a quirky person.

As his gaze swept past the Little Princess, Xiao Yan discovered that beside her, there was a tall lady wearing a luxurious and brilliant dress. This lady’s face was similar to the Little Princess but it had an iciness that was not much different from Xue Mei. Moreover, under this iciness, there was actually a majestic and imposing manner that was an edification of the imperial family.

Compared to the cute looking and small sized Little Princess, there was an iciness and matured aura seeping out from all over this lady. As her pretty eyes moved, a temptation naturally appeared.

Xiao Yan’s gaze swept passed the two ladies and finally landed on Jia Lao. He bowed and greeted with a smile, “Jia Lao is early too.”

Jia Lao smiled and stepped forward. He eyed Hai Bo Dong and Fa Ma before laughing loudly, “I didn’t expect that the three of us still had the chance to gather. It really is fate.”

“We do indeed have some affinity…” Fa Ma softly smiled and said, “Old Demon, I didn’t think that you would actually come to watch the Grand Meeting. I recall that you don’t really like this kind of competition.”

“I have stayed back for so many decades. It is also good to occasionally come out and take a look… “ Jia Lao smiled and turned his head toward Xiao Yan. After which, he pointed at the matured and icy lady behind him and said, “Little Fellow, I think that you already know Yue-er. This is Yue-er’s elder sister, Yao Ye. The security and order of the Grand Meeting as well as the fifty thousand soldiers around the Meeting are all under her control.”

Hearing this, Xiao Yan felt a shock in his heart. He did not expect that this icy lady in front of him would actually possess such ability. Fifty thousand soldiers. If it was left to him, he would likely make a mess of the situation. However, the orderly and disciplined manner of the soldiers at the front gate just now clearly showed that this woman could easily command them.

“Yao Ye, this is young friend Yan Xiao whom I have mentioned to you. His ability is extraordinary. He is likely the competitor with the most ability to snatch the champion position this time around.” Jia Lao pointed at Xiao Yan and smiled as he said to the cold woman behind.

Hearing Jia Lao’s evaluation, the Little Princess by the side tooted, secretly muttering something. It was likely that she was not satisfied by these words of Jia Lao.

“Nice to meet you, Mister Yan Xiao.”

The pretty eyes of the icy woman stared at Xiao Yan. She gracefully and naturally extended her hand and smiled. The instant she smiled caused some of the descendants of the noble clans around the VIP seats to become absent minded. It was usually very difficult for them to see the usually cold Elder Princess treating people in such a manner.

“Nice to meet you, Princess Yao Ye…” The attitude of the other party was such that Xiao Yan could find no fault with. He smiled and extended his hand and gently held that soft and seemingly boneless hand. He secretly admired in his heart, but on the surface, he simply let go the moment he made contact. He did not let the other party feel any inappropriateness.

“Hopefully, Mister Yan Xiao is able to obtained a satisfactory result during the competition. When that time comes, Yao Ye will personally hold a banquet to celebrate the accomplishments, I hope that Mister Yan Xiao will not refuse.” Yao Ye withdrew her hand and smiled as she said.

“This woman… her methods of roping people over are really quite acute… she will likely be someone extremely great in the future…” Xiao Yan smiled and nodded as his heart felt a little astonished. Even someone of his mental strength, his guard against her had diminished greatly with just a few sentences from Yao Ye during the time that they had made their initial contact.

Seeing that Xiao Yan had nodded, Yao Ye stepped back behind Jia Lao with satisfaction. With her character, she would not have lowered herself and befriended Xiao Yan in such a manner had her great-grandfather not given this young man such a high evaluation.

“Although, if he really possesses the potential that great-grandfather described, then it is worthwhile for me to lower myself to befriend him…” The pretty eyes swept across Xiao Yan’s face, which had not displayed much fluster since the beginning. Yao Ye was quite satisfied with his mental strength. It was extremely rare to be able to maintain such calm in front of the upper echelons of the empire and strong people at the peak level. At the very least, those descendants of the noble clans behind her had shrunk back and dared not approach her because of her status.

After conversing a little with Xiao Yan, Yao Ye bowed and greeted Fa Ma, Hai Bo Dong, and a few others. Her perfect etiquette was difficult for someone to find fault with; even someone like Hai Bo Dong had adopted a less cold expression.

Once the group had greeted each other, they sat down in the front row of the VIP seat. Whether it was intentional or otherwise, Princess Yao Ye ended up sitting beside Xiao Yan. The faint female body fragrance drifted from the side, causing him to become a little distracted.

As the sun in the sky moved, the number of people in the VIP seats also increased. These people were mostly people who possessed some strength in the capital or their families. The audience seats opposite them had long been overly packed. The shouting aggregated into a torrent that shot to the horizon.

Xiao Yan sat quietly in a seat with his eyes closed. A long while later, he suddenly sensed some movement in the seats around him. Only then, did he frown and turn his head around to see the source of the commotion.

The line-up that was entering the VIP section was quite large. The empire’s three large clans arrived together. This kind of line-up was likely something that no strength within the Jia Ma Empire dared to look down on. A greater reason for causing such a commotion, however, was Nalan Yanran and Ya Fei who were walking in the middle. The two women had different dispositions, but they were similarly extremely beautiful. When the two of them walked together, it naturally attracted many eyes. No wonder the children of the noble clans behind were so excited…

The group of people moved along the walkway until they came to the position right at the front before greeting people they were familiar with.

Borrowing the time that they were greeting each other, Xiao Yan’s gaze swept across an unknown old man who was walking with Nalan Jie and Primer Tengshan. Closely following behind this old man was Mu Zhan. Hearing the manner the two addressed each other, Xiao Yan had also figure out this old man’s identity. Mu Chen from the Mu clan, another Dou Wang…

After greeting the elders, Ya Fei quietly slipped to Xiao Yan’s side and sat down. With a smile as pretty as a flower, she said, “Yan Xiao di-di. You must get a good result this time around. There are countless people watching…”

“With Mister Yan Xiao’s ability, his result this time around would naturally not be poor. Obtaining the top three should be something that is easily done.” Nalan Yanran came over to this side without anyone knowing when and smiled as she said.

Yao Ye, who was seated beside Xiao Yan, saw Ya Fei and Nalan Yanran, these two beauties whose appearance did not lose to her, gathered around Xiao Yan. She was naturally extremely clear of the identities of these two ladies. An astonishment flashed in her pretty eyes as she quietly said in her heart, “This Yan Xiao may have an ordinary appearance, but it is really unexpected that he is so attractive to ladies… looks like great-grandfather was telling the truth. This Yan Xiao is definitely an attractive person with great potential. Otherwise with Ya Fei’s intelligence and Nalan Yanran’s aloofness, they would definitely not converse with him in such a manner.

The three great beauties were all crowded around Xiao Yan’s side. This undoubtedly caused some of the gazes on the VIP seats to become heated. Some of the young people who possessed some imagination regarding the three ladies were clenching their teeth and staring intently at Xiao Yan. That manner of theirs was as though Xiao Yan was their enemy who had murdered their father.

Xiao Yan sighed and rubbed his head. The waves of fragrances shrouding the tip of his nose caused Xiao Yan to have an intention to laugh bitterly. The numerous heated gazes behind him resulted in his back feeling pricked. Even he himself did not understand why these three women would crowd around him. Was it that silly comparison mentality of women?

Xiao Yan laughed bitterly in his heart. He was like an old monk in meditation as he sat in an extremely straight manner, waiting for the time for the Grand Meeting to begin. In an instant, he suddenly frowned and turned his head around, only to coincidentally see Liu Ling, who was seated in the row behind, staring at him icily. His manner was like a poisonous snake ready to bite.

Seeing that Xiao Yan had discovered his gaze, or perhaps it was because the Grand Meeting was about to begin, Liu Ling did not bother to disguise his thoughts. The corner of his mouth lifted into a cold smile. His hand was held horizantally and his middle finger pointed to the sky. His mouth squirmed, “I want to let you suffer a crushing defeat in front of Nalan Yanran!”

Xiao Yan smiled gently. He moved his lips a little and immediately turned his head around.

Liu Ling watched Xiao Yan’s back in a dark and cold manner. He slowly let out a breath. A moment ago, he had clearly understood Xiao Yan’s lips movement.

“Let’s see…”

……

As time gradually flowed, the time for the start of the Grand Meeting slowly arrived under tens of thousands gazes…

When a clear bell rang out on the plaza, the noisiness that had shot to the sky suddenly became quiet…

Hearing the bell ringing by his ears, Fa Ma quivered slightly and stood up. After which, he slowly walked to the very front of the VIP seats. His gaze watched the thousands of alchemists seated behind the green tables below. At this moment, over two thousand alchemists also lifted their heads and threw respectful gazes toward this old man who possessed an extremely great reputation within the Jia Ma Empire’s alchemist scene.

“As the chairman of the Jia Ma Empire’s Alchemist Association, I pronounce that the seventh Alchemist Grand Meeting has begun!”

“Bang!”

The entire ground boiled. Their happy cries stirred the skies.

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