Chapter 33: Graduation Ceremony
Xu Yangyi was sleeping. During Qi Condensation, one still couldn’t disregard food and sleep like in Foundation Establishment. He had to rest as well. In his slumber, he fell into a deep sleep. On the morning of the next day, his cell phone summoned him to wake up. It was the cell phone’s preloaded alarm. He hadn’t chosen any ringtone since it was rather troublesome.
He whistled as he finished washing up. He wouldn’t whistle any other songs, even though during his execution of Sanshui City’s graduation exam assignment he had unconsciously saw an auntie dancing in a plaza and had learned Little Apple. Currently, this was what he was whistling.
He used his comb to brush his hair and took out a cigarette. He didn’t leave to eat, either, taking several buns and milk from inside of a bag as his breakfast. Through observing his actions, his mood seemed extremely well. But if someone was in front of him, they would discover that his smile wasn’t a happy morning spiritedness, a brimming enthusiasm to tackle the dawn of a new day. Rather, it was a kind of indifferent, serene, bloodthirsty smile. It was the kind of smile that would leave others trembling in fear.
Yes, he was very understanding of his own level. Chu Zhaonan hadn’t guessed incorrectly yesterday. He was planning on fighting for the entire journey!
Targeting me? You like watching the excitement? Baseless rumors, words like passing wind? It doesn’t matter. I will make you remember this forever!
Since someone was being unreasonable with him, then he didn’t want to be sensible whatsoever. He wouldn’t stop searching until he found that person. Since they were scared of the lion, they would clearly remember what a lion looked like!
Creak… The stone door slowly pulled open. A clamoring wave of ruckus suddenly burst in.
“Grandpa, it’s so spectacular here!” At the same time, a young girl wearing a T-shirt and jeans tugged at an old man with liver spots covering his face. The old man was wearing a pair of glasses, and his voice and expression were extremely hearty, even though he was an old man. Excited, he took in the already-roaring crowd in the arena, his eyes nearly set aflame.
The characters of Unrivaled Beneath the Heavens above made the audience below appear just like insects. But on the contrary, these insects had a majesty that lined the arena. It was a kind of grandeur like the flourishing of the sky and the boundless borders of open fields, making the crowds of people below even more insignificant.
Things weren’t the same as in the past several days. Today, in the seating behind this gigantic arena, there were 121 immense stone steles erected!
They were covered in moss, and some stone steles even had cracks on them. However, each stone stele had a name written on it like hooking silver and streaking iron! Among them, half had already blackened, yet the other half was bright-red like blood. 
The stone steles were five meters wide and fifteen meters tall. They were set off by the three-meter-tall names on them. Unexpectedly, they exhibited a kind of brilliant prestige. The stone steles were like edgeless swords, yet despite their clumsiness they held an immaculate might. 
“2348th graduation, paragon: “Yuyang City’s Song Ziwen.”
“2393rd graduation, paragon: Tianfeng City’s Zhao Chun.”
“2387th graduation, paragon: “Zhaoping City’s Wu Chunlai.”
“2412th graduation, paragon: Fengyi City’s Yu Ling’er.”
These words seemed to be sections of history, each stele to remind everyone where they were! The gigantic stone stele were like raised pillars supporting the heavens, silently standing tall beneath the four characters of Unrivaled Beneath the Heavens. At this moment, there were already over ten thousand people seated in the arena stands before the steles!
A great majority of people were dressed in western-style clothing. Eighty percent of them had a computer placed on their laps. They wore incredibly eager expressions as they looked at the arena. The audience appeared to be a chaotic mess, but they were self-divided into small groups of tens to a hundred people. Everyone held a stack of resources in hand, and were in the middle of whispering to each other.
Although it was quite soft, the sound of over ten thousand people converged together. Already, it formed a stream of people that immediately had their blood set aflame as they entered the arena! Standing on the center of the stage, under the immense characters of Unrivaled Beneath the Heavens, was what the crowd of ten thousand were truly focused on!
“What is this? A gravestone?” In a place where ten-odd people were assembled, there was a youth sitting on the corner of a flight of steps. It was obvious that this was the first time he had come. His excited face was flushed red, and he excitedly pointed at the hundred-plus gigantic stele.
Before his voice even fell, an old woman at his side immediately covered his mouth, so scared that her forehead was dotted with cold sweat. “Grandson… What the heck are you saying?! These are all the previous paragons! In those graduation days, who wasn’t a heavenly-blessed hero? Only the names that are black are fallen seniors. Among those who are still alive, half of them are at the very least Foundation Establishment Seniors!”
Hearing the several words of “Foundation Establishment Senior”, the youth jumped in fright and immediately shut his mouth. It wasn’t until a good while passed did he pull on the old woman’s sleeve. “Grandma… Is that blank stele for the name of this year’s paragon? So why are there are two? Can’t there only be one paragon?”
The old woman looked at the two steles, her expression strikingly grave. She nodded and said softly, “Grandson… remember this well… One of the steles will certainly be carved with the name of this year’s paragon. However, the other stele doesn’t need to be engraved.”
“Because that is Sunnihilator’s stele!”
These words were said with dignified honor and a decisiveness that could cleave through iron. At the same time, heat radiated in her eyes, like fire.
“Sunnihilator?! That ‘Foundation Establishment In Thirty Years’ Sunnihilator? Is he from Nantong Province?” The youth gasped coldly upon hearing this name. A wisp of unrestrained zealotry climbed onto his face. How difficult was Foundation Establishment? Didn’t China only have 20,000 Foundation Establishment cultivators?
It was claimed “A Century for Foundation Establishment”, but the average was seventy-somewhat years. Yet among this unbroken serenity, there was a man from Nantong Province who had soared to the heavens! He had seized the paragonship and cut down the most talented adversaries, dashing throughout the entire journey. He left others to simply wait in his dust! Ultimately...
He attained Foundation Establishment in thirty years! His Foundation Establishment title was Sunnihilator!
This stele, where Sunnihilator was to be engraved, didn’t require a name. That was because it was thirty meters tall and eight meters wide! It towered over all the other inscribed steles! It resembled a god disdaining the struggle of heroes.
The province’s cultivators had flocked together to sit here. The steles were like a forest, as if they were geniuses looking around. Behind everyone’s backs, they were the heroes of the current era! However, Sunnihilator’s inscribed stele was like a gigantic hand piercing the heavens! It completely eclipsed the splendor of the other monuments!
With great effort, the youth pulled his gaze away from nameless stele. His complexion was flushed and he asked, “Grandma, then what have we come to see?”
“What have we come to see?!” The old woman glared at him. “One one hand, it’s to broaden your horizons, and let you see what true cultivators are like. On the other hand, besides the Featherwood Guard, Bountiful Treasures Pavilion, CSIB, and Heavens Law in each province, there are also the hundreds of cultivator clans outside of these four major powers. Our Yao Clan is one of them. The Heavens Law graduation is the time when the seedlings get together to finally come out this year to be picked. Which clan’s team hasn’t come? If now isn’t the time to recruit, when is?”
“But… how do you know who’s awesome? The paragon, no, our Yao Clan can’t even recruit the top thirty.”
The old woman laughed and pointed at the inscribed steles. “Take a good look… There aren’t only names on the surface… What else is there?”
“There aren’t only names on the surface… What else is there?” On the other side, an old man wearing glasses was likewise talking with his granddaughter.
They were dressed in monotone western-style attire. On their chests, there was a simple, unadorned dragon claw crest. On top of it was the character Ding (丁), representing the cultivation clan they belonged to. He was accompanied by approximately thirty men. All of them looked forward. Not waiting for them respond, the old man uttered, “Cracks”
“Although we’ve brought our own testing tools and computers, we need specific numbers. In general, these inscribed steles, which have been maintained with the addition of Core Formation spiritual force, must be relied on!”
“In case, someone’s potential is beyond these inscribed steles, then they’ll completely crack all the steles of the paragons that they surpass, as all of their strength explodes! If they surpass a stele by too much, that stele…” He sucked in deeply. “will collapse.”
“Will they be setup again later?” A young girl asked in shock.
“How could that be possible.” The old man laughed, “This is a place established by Core Formation masters! A year after graduation, new steles will be automatically produced without anyone needing to repair them. Just the cracks will remain. Isn’t that why they’re worthy of being Core Formation masters…? The Featherwood Guard and the others from the Big Three will have the data on these heroes. However, how could our little family have the same? Right now, we’re here to find out who has more potential, at minimum.”
“If…” The young girl looked at the tallest stele, Sunnihilator’s. “Someone can crack that stele, then…”
The stone stele was bright and clean without blemish. Like ivory jade, its entire body didn’t have a single trace of a crack. It wasn’t like some stone steles that were covered in spider-web fractures.
The old man laughed and stroked the young girl’s head. “Do you know… what boundary Sunnihilator is at now?”
The young girl shook her head.
“The Great Circle of Foundation Establishment.” A wisp of burning envy surfaced on the old man’s face, yet he carried an extreme agony in his voice. “He’s only a step away from the door… to becoming a Core Formation Dao Master… The same as that old fox you saw at the Triumphant Virtue Plaza…”
“However, Vermilion Snow is over 270 years old… Sunnihilator… is only 120.” He remained silent. The implication was already strikingly evident. How could someone surpass such a man?
The young girl gasped coldly. She pursed her lips and spoke no longer.
“Oh? Old Ding? You’re not closed up in death seclusion? Didn’t you say you that wouldn’t come out until you assailed Foundation Establishment? So why have you come out now?” At this time, a youth appearing to be twenty years old cupped his hands and laughed. He was simply without the impulses of a young twenty-year-old youth but was instead serene like a lake.
On his chest, there was the crest of a petal. On top of it was the character Bai (白), awesome to the eye. Behind him, there was a squadron of fifty-odd people. The group couldn’t be called large, but in the same vein it couldn’t be said to be small.
“There’s no hope for Foundation Establishment, hehe.” Old Ding laughed and cupped his hands. “Little old decrepit me is already 92 years old this year. In roughly another five or six years, I’ll probably be buried. The Heavens Law graduation is a grand affair that happens once every five years, and also a time for the Ding Clan to seek some chances. We dare not think about the top twenty, but if someone in the thirties fancies the setting sun of our Ding Clan, our journey wouldn’t have been in vain.”
“Wouldn’t it be better for us to sit down together?”
“Of course, please.”
As Xu Yangyi walked out, there was already a sum of over ten thousand people who were present. The sudden eruption of sound that followed as the stone door opened made his eyes slightly narrow.
“Door number ten, assemble his information.” Following Xu Yangyi’s emergence, quite a few people said these words, in the cauldron of voices that was the Unrivaled Beneath the Heavens Arena. This command brought a surge of minor tides again.
Here… Each student was a potential prospect! It was here that prosperity gathered under the heavens. All had come for these students. It was here that chaos flourished under the heavens. All had stayed for them!
“Physical strength: A, Spiritual force: A, Speed: A, Reactions: A, Endurance…” A woman with a crest of a maggot on her chest with the character Li (李) on it immediately aimed the side of her computer webcam towards Xu Yangyi. In less than a second, his file appeared on the computer. She took a mere glance, and her eyes suddenly glimmered. Her voice hitched up by a degree. “Also A!”
“An A5 student!”
She instantly stood up in shock and faced behind her. She forced down her excitement and said, “Ancestor… an A5 student! This person is an A5 student! Yuyang City’s branch gave a five division assessment of all A’s!”
There were twenty-odd people in her surroundings. All of them were dressed in western-style attire. Upon hearing these words, they felt their hearts pound and all of them looked back.
“Shadow and investigate him!” Behind, there was an approximately ten-year-old boy. Originally, he was licking a lollipop, but once he heard these words, he promptly bit down on the candy with a crack. He said heavily with excitement, “The fluctuations within the A-level are extremely great! A peak heavyweight boxer’s fist strength can achieve around 200 kilograms of force! 1,600 kilograms of force is A. 2,000 kilograms of force is also A! I want his data in detail!”
2. 石碑无锋，大巧不工 another Jin Yong reference I believe. I had a little trouble understanding this. From what I think it means, it refers to an idea of a sword that doesn’t need a tip. Even if it looks like bad, it in itself contains a powerful essence in the hands of a master.