Chapter 177: A Sudden Development

“This Yang Qi is a dead man. Even if he somehow lives through the day, he won't last in the Demi-Immortal Institute long-term.”

“Yeah. In all fairness, he’s a genius. He’s only in Senary Lifeseizing, but he actually defeated a Nonary Lifeseizer and took first place. Sadly for him, a champion was already arranged ahead of time. Now that he's pissed off the Crown Prince, he’s going to be killed beyond the shadow of a doubt.”

“Not even Houselord Spring-Autumn, Pontifex Flame, Prince Wei and Hua Chicheng working together could beat him.”

“Although, Yang Qi does have quite a group of sworn siblings who are ready to fight to the death with him. It’s hard to believe the Crown Prince is actually willing to go against such a big group. If I had sworn brothers like that, I could die without regret.”

“I heard that Yang Qi treats his sworn siblings like true family. Not too long ago, Jun Tianchou called for help when he got stuck in a Preheaven Devil Formation on Fiend-Devil Island. Yang Qi showed up and charged right into the devil-eye to save him and the others there. That was when they all became sworn siblings.”

“Yeah. Now that is what it means to be supremely honorable and righteous. It’s just too bad he had the misfortune of crossing paths with the Crown Prince.”

“I know. But come on, there’s no way the Demi-Immortal Institute is going to let the Crown Prince just kill a genius like that, right?”

As the countless experts present discussed the matter amongst themselves, Yang Qi stared at the Crown Prince, his heart swelling with the desire to become stronger. Although he currently had a Senary Lifeseizing cultivation base, that was too weak. He wouldn’t be able to last for even a single move against the Crown Prince.

‘If I was a Legendary,’ he thought, ‘I could use my Hell Portal, or perhaps the God Legion Paradise. Then I could fight the Crown Prince, or at the very least, not be pushed into a corner like this.’ Right now, he wished more than ever that he could surpass the ordinary limits of strength and power. That way, he could protect himself, his friends and his family. That way, he could live by the maxim: Leave me alone, and I’ll leave you alone. Mess with me, I’ll wipe you and your people out of existence! Then he would be free and unfettered to climb to the highest heights.

Unfortunately, the Crown Prince was strong enough that he could disregard the rules, which was threatening to ruin all of Yang Qi’s plans. He was so strong that, while millions of people were watching, he flagrantly broke the rules and even attempted to kill the champion of the competition. The grand elders who hoped to keep order were now shivering like cicadas in winter, and were waiting for the chancellors to step in.

The mood was now one of chaos and anxiety.

As for Yang Qi and his friends, they could only watch as the scene unfolded.

They had already steeled their hearts to fight back against the Crown Prince, no matter how hopeless the situation seemed.

Pointing his halberd at the grand elders, the Crown Prince said, “Still trying to stop me? Don’t tell me I'm really going to have to wipe you all out?”

These were grand elders from all four of the institutes, people who normally spent their time focusing on cultivation, not on external matters. Today, they had been tasked with maintaining order as the competition identified the top genius in all the institutes.

“Crown Prince,” one of the grand elders said, “you’re really going a bit overboard. This competition is a tradition among our four institutes, and the point of it is to identify the top geniuses. It’s really inappropriate for you to try to kill one of the top competitors, much less fix the outcome. Let’s just call it a day, and turn hostility into friendship.”

“Turn hostility into friendship?” The Crown Prince laughed coldly. “Only a pig would be stupid enough to ignore my commands. What do you think you’re going to do? Back down NOW. You don't qualify to speak to me, and I don’t feel like killing you today.”

Swish!

He stabbed his halberd out, causing a beam of energy to fly out toward the grand elder who had just spoken, shoving him backward. Face draining of blood, the man staggered to a stop and didn’t dare to speak again.

“No more jibber-jabber,” the Crown Prince said coldly. “If anyone else says a single thing, I’ll kill them!”

Everyone else who had been preparing to offer words of advice closed their mouths.

He wasn't giving face to anyone, and nobody present was strong enough to fight him. They could only keep their mouths shut.

“Houselord Spring-Autumn, Pontifex Flame, Prince Wei, Hua Chicheng, I'm going to ask you one more time. Do you acknowledge allegiance to me? Or not. If you don’t, then in a moment or two, the four of you will be corpses.”

Their faces fell, and they prepared to join forces in one last-ditch effort to fight back.

However, that was when a mighty voice drifted down from above. 

“Stay your hand, Crown Prince.” A majestic will filled the area, like that of a sage bringing enlightenment to the masses of mortals. It was like a spring breeze from the depths of the universe, the work of an ancient saint, an aura that was on par with what Yang Qi had felt from Ghost Emperor Yama.

It was the chancellor of the Demi-Immortal Institute, a powerful figure who had long since practiced cultivation all the way to the Great Sage level.

“What’s going on, chancellor?” the Crown Prince asked, his eyes flashing. “Why should I stay my hand?”

“We have rules in the institutes,” the voice replied warmly, “and the point of this competition is to identify geniuses. What need is there for you to interfere, considering the level of your cultivation base? It won't be long before you are in the Great Sage level, like a saint from the distant past. As such, you should develop the inner qualities to help bring enlightenment to the masses. That includes being tolerant and free from vulgarity. When you become a Great Sage, you will need to be like the wise and holy saints who have risen up throughout the years in the Demi-Immortal Institute. You will qualify to leave the Rich-Lush Continent and travel to larger and more expansive lands. At that point, you will be the new chancellor, and you will understand that all students of the institute are like children. Their glory will be your glory, and their losses will be your losses. When you are one with the institute, you will understand why it is necessary to be completely tolerant, and at the same time, to avoid the squabbling of societies and factions.”

The onlookers were completely shocked. 

“What? Is he…? He is! The chancellor of the Demi-Immortal Institute is formally declaring that the Crown Prince will be the next chancellor when he reaches the Great Sage level.”

“He's actually making the promise in front of all these people?”

“It seems the chancellor is giving the Crown Prince something to calm him down. Considering how powerful he is, not even the chancellor can criticize him. He can only treat him with care and caution.”

There was now no doubt about who the next chancellor of the Demi-Immortal Institute would be: the Crown Prince. And from what the chancellor had said, it seemed to be no doubt whatsoever about whether or not he would become a Great Sage.

Apparently, the Crown Prince actually respected the chancellor to a degree, because his tone of voice softened as he said, “Chancellor, are you saying you want me to free these people who just openly insulted me?”

He didn’t seem very willing to comply.

“There there, Crown Prince,” the chancellor replied. He almost sounded like he was speaking to a child. “Your true opponent is the son of Great Sage Shroud-Heaven. Defeat him, and it will be a great service to the continent as a whole. Stop worrying about minor squabbles in the institute.”

Almost as soon as the chancellor finished speaking, another voice could be heard, echoing from beyond the horizon. “Crown Prince, the time has come to settle our grudge. I will get revenge today, and you will die a miserable death. Then everyone in the Rich-Lush Continent will know that I am the ultimate genius!”

The voice abounded with devil energy, and was boundlessly sinister. It pierced through the air so effectively that everyone who heard it felt their hair standing on end.

“Young Master Shroud-Heaven!” The Crown Prince’s gaze suddenly seem to pierce through the sky to a distant location. Voice turning sharp, he said, “I defeated you before, and now you’ve returned to be beaten again? Fine. First I’ll kill you, then I’ll return and take care of these little bastards!”

He slashed the air with his halberd, ripping an opening that erupted with space-time ripples that distorted everything around it. It was a tempest that would normally shred Legendaries to pieces, and yet, posed no problems for him. Without any hesitation, he stepped into the rift.

Meanwhile, high above the fighting platform was a pillar whose top was covered with a red cloth. As the Crown Prince stepped into the rift, the red cloth fell to pieces, revealing a seven-inch-tall treasure in the form of a gate. It was bronze, and covered with countless complex designs and patterns.

This was the prize for the competition, the Gate of the Great Void.

Under the eyes of everyone present, the Crown Prince reached out and drew on his magic to pull the gate into his hand.

“Chancellor, I refuse to acknowledge this brat as the champion, so I'm taking the prize with me. As for all other matters, I leave them in your hands!”

It was to the shock of everyone present that the Crown Prince simply took the prize for himself! He really did view everyone else as worthless. After all, despite the promise that the chancellor had given him, there was no way he would leave completely empty-handed considering how much face he had lost. 

And thus, a major incident ended, albeit with little fanfare, and not a particularly satisfying conclusion.

For the moment, the Crown Prince would not be killing Yang Qi or anyone else, although, in the future, it was entirely likely the conflict would resume.

The Crown Prince had acted rudely and arrogantly, but the chancellor managed to calm him down.

That said, he still managed to wreck the competition by taking the prize that should have gone to the champion.

He was ferocious, domineering, and insufferably arrogant, and had just left a profound impression on everyone from the four institutes.

That was the Crown Prince.

Someone so powerful that only the chancellor could possibly keep him in check.

Yang Qi watched him go, livid. Then he closed his eyes and murmured to himself, ‘You can break the rules all you want, Crown Prince. One day I’ll get strong enough to stomp you beneath my feet!’ 

He had scraped through this crisis by the skin of his teeth. He had lost the prize, and there was no way that the institute would fork over a second prize as valuable as the Gate of the Great Void. In fact, considering the threat of the Crown Prince, they might not give anything at all.

Of course, Yang Qi didn’t really need powerful magical treasures anyway. His energy arts were his most important asset.

Therefore, he yet again swore that he would do anything and everything to reach the Legendary level. When that happened, his Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth would transform further. He could use his Hell Portal to summon the powers of hell, and would also have access to the God Legion Paradise. Then he would be able to stand up to the Crown Prince, or at least not be demolished by him.

‘I need to be strong enough to resist the Crown Prince after he reaches the Great Sage level. If I don’t, and he becomes the chancellor of the Demi-Immortal Institute, then I'm afraid I wouldn’t be safe anywhere in the entire Rich-Lush Continent.’

Time was limited, and therefore, he couldn't wait around. Besides, thanks to the Crown Prince’s support, Yun Hailan would only continue to get more and more arrogant, and would cause more and more problems for him.

Even as he stood there pondering the situation, the chancellor’s voice suddenly reached his ears. “Yang Qi, come see me in the Minorcosm World!”

Yang Qi was a bit taken aback. He had assumed the chancellor would just ignore him. Instead, he was being summoned for a personal audience. 

“Yes, sir!” Flying up into the air, he looked down and said, “Brothers and sisters, I offer my profound thanks for your willingness to fight to the death with me. I won't let you down in the future.” 

His nineteen sworn brothers and sisters all nodded.

“There’s no need for that, Brother Yang,” Jun Tianchou said. “Go. The chancellor wants to see you, presumably to offer some compensation. You did win the competition after all.”

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