Quite a few students were talking loudly about the Heaven Dragon War Drum, which only served to further enliven the crowd. Immediately, everyone began to rush toward the Central Battle Arena, which was only used for important events, or for meetings for the entire institute. It was a huge place, constructed from unknown materials by some Legendary of the past. No matter what type of fighting went on inside, the arena itself would never suffer any type of damage.
Yang Qi had been studying at the institute for quite some time now, but had only heard of the Central Battle Arena, and had never been inside.
Now, he followed the tide of people to the center of the institute, where the war drum was being beaten. There, in the midst of numerous ancient temples and castles, an enormous pillar of light rose up, then slowly collapsed, revealing a huge arena, complete with a fighting platform and grandstands extensive enough to accommodate millions of spectators.
Soon, crowds were pouring into the arena from the east, south, west, and north.
Yang Qi had never seen so many people gathered together in one place. The highest levels of the grandstands were sealed, making it impossible to see who occupied them. However, from the auras emanating out of them, it was obvious that powerful experts were seated there.
Those seating areas were clearly reserved for the Legendaries.
It was easy to identify the students who made up the sea of people. Those from the True Dragon Institute wore clothing embroidered with golden, five-clawed divine dragons. Students from the Sun Moon Institute had sun and moon sigils on their garments. The Demi-Immortal Institute students had the word ‘demi-immortal’ on their robes, and the people from the Sea God Institute all wore blue garments that seemed to ripple like water.
There were other random outfits that identified experts from other organizations.
Many powerful groups throughout the lands had been invited to attend the competition, and were allowed to send both leaders and lower-ranking disciples to observe and learn.
There were so many people present that anyone who was in the crowd would have to struggle to avoid being overwhelmed at it all.
There were just too many people! In fact, the entire city of Yanhaven would count for almost nothing compared to this crowd. If you described Yanhaven as a goldfish, then this crowd would be a whale shark.
Suddenly, a voice message was transmitted to Yang Qi via his identity medallion.
Elite students of the Demi-Immortal Institute: the time has come to gather in the appointed spot. Follow orders and refrain from wandering about!
His elite student’s identity medallion was made from the finest of jade, and was carved with a delicate cloud motif that would be impossible to counterfeit. In addition to the message which had just been transmitted by the institute elders, there was also an energy path to follow.
Yang Qi began to follow the path through the crowd as he looked for the appointed meeting place.
Before long, he found the location where the elite students were beginning to gather.
They were all maintaining taciturn silence as they sat there, attempting to build up their final accumulation of power for use in the coming fighting.
After all, this was a major competition, to be taken very seriously. It was the perfect place to establish one’s reputation, and acquire immense rewards from one’s institute.
Ladies and gentlemen, you are the elite students of the Demi-Immortal Institute. Before long, you will be fighting students of similar rank from the other institutes. It is an occasion in which you have the chance to win unprecedented glory. The rewards are substantial. Defeat a single opponent, and you will earn a thousand merit points. Defeat two opponents, get two thousand. Three opponents is worth four thousand. Four opponents is worth eight thousand. And so on. Any elite student who can defeat a conclave student from another institute will win an even more unimaginable sum of merit points!
The eyes of the elite students were already glowing with incredible brightness at the exciting thought of winning so many merit points.
After all, merit points were the key to everything in the Demi-Immortal Institute.
You could even spend merit points to have the chancellor of the institute, a Great Sage, personally improve your cultivation base. Of course, it would cost an incredible amount of points to purchase a benefit like that. Generally speaking, not even the holy neophytes could afford it.
‘Awesome!’ Yang Qi thought. ‘I never thought the institute would be willing to give out so many merit points!’
Up to now, he had never needed to worry much about merit points. After all, his Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth didn’t require the usual cultivation resources. And the resources he did need were not the type that could be simply bought with merit points.
Besides, if he absolutely needed to, he could simply hunt demon-devils and then directly consume their demon cores. And if he handed in the monsters he had killed, those which were equivalent to Nonary Lifeseizers, it would have caused a huge stir in the institute, and would have attracted unwanted attention.
But now, he had a chance to win some merit points in a completely above-board fashion.
Ding dong. Ding dong….
The war drums faded, and bells tolled, the sound of which seemed to calm the hearts of everyone who heard them. In the resulting quiet, Yang Qi looked around to see that most people in the crowd of spectators were using their energy arts to conceal their true appearance.
He had hoped to confirm whether or not any of his other sworn siblings were present, but now, it was impossible to do so. Nor could he simply fly into the air to look around for them; the air was locked down to prevent people from flying around casually.
All he could do now was wait for the fighting to begin.
Of course, the specific instructions would be revealed soon enough.
At this point, four voices joined together to ring out over the crowd. “Ladies and gentlemen of the four great institutes: Demi-Immortal, True Dragon, Sun Moon, Sea God. Let our great martial arts competition begin….”
There was an overwhelming sensation of power in those voices that made them seem erudite, majestic, and righteous. In fact, the power of the voices weighed down in a way that made them seem as if they belonged to saints.
‘The chancellors of the four institutes!’ Yang Qi craned his neck in the direction of the source of the voices, but all he could see were indistinguishable figures high in the clouds.
That said, the power in those voices was definitely no less than that of Ghost Emperor Yama.
It was only natural that the chancellors wouldn’t allow people to see their faces. They were saint-like figures who looked down on all creation, whose cultivation bases surpassed the Legendary level. They were Great Sages!
As soon as they declared the competition to have begun, countless pillars of light rose up throughout the arena. There were tens upon tens of thousands of smaller fighting platforms, enough for numerous fights to take place at the same time.
Of course, if all of the countless students from the various institutes fought, it would take more than a hundred years to go through them all.
“Brother Yang,” Li He said, sounding both anxious and excited, “the rewards available in this competition are incredible. We really need to do our best. And if you get the opportunity, let’s hope you can defeat a conclave student! Then we’d really strike it rich.”
This was his first time participating in a big martial arts competition like this, just like Yang Qi.
“Yeah. Just make sure to keep a clear head.” At this point Yang Qi looked around again. ‘Where’s Aunt Susu? She’s an elite student, so she should be here somewhere, right? Unless she’s already become a conclave student….’
Unfortunately, Yang Susu was nowhere in sight. He wasn’t worried though. Considering she had activated her Seven Apertures Sprite Body, it was likely the institute had given her special attention. After all, she had been called to meet the chancellor himself. It was hard to say what spectacular good fortune she might have acquired since then.
“I wonder if the Crown Prince will show up,” Hua Yinhu said. “He’s a holy neophyte, so he wouldn’t participate in the fighting. But I heard that toward the end of competitions like this, the holy neophytes will sometimes exchange fighting tips with each other.”
Yang Qi scanned the highest seating areas, where the most powerful auras were, but unfortunately, couldn’t make out any details. However, he could sense that the Legendaries were transmitting messages amongst themselves.
Because Yang Qi was only an elite student, he didn't qualify to fight with the conclave students at first. He could only do so if he stood out in the fighting and defeated all of his elite student opponents.
If he did that, and then succeeded in defeating a conclave student, he would acquire a huge reward.
Silence settled over the arena, after which, streams of energy emerged from the students’ identity medallions, directing them into the arena itself, and to the specific platforms where they would fight.
As soon as Yang Qi stepped onto his assigned platform, everything looked different. Instead of the view of numerous smaller fighting platforms around him, he saw only a huge, open space.
Opposite him, the air rippled, and a man became visible, wearing the garments of the Sun Moon Institute. Obviously, this was his opponent for the first round.
He seemed to be about thirty years old, with an aloof expression. Pointing at Yang Qi with his sword, he said, “I'm Wang Yujue from the Sun Moon Institute! Forfeit the match immediately. Otherwise, I’ll show you the true meaning of the word pain.” 
1. Wang Yujue: Wang is a common surname which also means king. Yu means “jade” and Jue means “interlocking jade”. This name is actually very interesting visually. 王玉珏. As you can see, the character for jade 玉 has the character for king/Wang 王 in it. And the character jue 珏 has the squished version of both 王 and 玉 in it.
Check out the unedited version of the first handful of paragraphs. Lol. I intentionally translated them directly and left them intact so that you can see the type of repetition that I get rid of sometimes. I ended up combining them into basically a sentence and a half
Numerous other students were making loud exclamations about the Heaven Dragon War Drum, and it only served to further enliven the crowd. Immediately, all students in the Demi-Immortal Institute began to rush toward the Demi-Immortal Institute’s central Central Battle Arena.
In the very middle of the Demi-Immortal Institute was a battle arena.
That battle arena was called the Central Battle Arena.