And thus, the martial arts competition ended.
The Crown Prince had caused a huge scene, and essentially turned the entire thing into a farce. In fact, quite a few people now wondered what the point of the entire thing was. Of course, there were many top experts who had been completely shocked by the Crown Prince’s strength. Soon, he would be the chancellor of his institute, and would be the most powerful person in the Rich-Lush Continent.
The Demi-Immortal Institute was the number one organization in all the lands, to the point where not even the Sage Ancestor Dynasty could really compare to them. And now, it seemed obvious that it had all the other three institutes in check as well.
As long as the other three chancellors didn’t intercede, there was no one in any of their institutes who could do anything about the Crown Prince.
As for the members of the Crown Prince Society, they were all feeling very high and mighty as they looked down at Yang Qi and those who stood with him. Even if they were stronger than they were, or there were more complicated rules, or more geniuses to provide backup, what did it matter when the Crown Prince was calling the shots?
“The Crown Prince is so incredible. He just broke the rules, plain and simple! Now that’s power. That’s majesty! Not a single person from any of the four institutes could do anything to stop him. He even took the prize away from the champion.”
“That’s right. It's a real honor for us to be members of the Crown Prince Society.”
“After this, I bet plenty of people from the other societies will be wanting to join us.”
“The Crown Prince calmed down and took the Gate of the Great Void, but there’s no way he's going to let that Yang Qi off the hook. He’ll die sooner or later. Not even meeting with the chancellor will do him any good. After all, the chancellor will be retiring soon and travelling to parts unknown.”
“Yang Qi must have a death wish. Why would a genius like him refuse to join the Crown Prince Society and even defy the Crown Prince? The fact that he opposes us just shows that he doesn’t know the difference between life and death.”
There was quite a buzz among the students.
“Hey, do you wanna make a bet about how he’ll die?”
“Sure. I say that he won’t live longer than a month. He and everyone connected to him will be dead by then.”
“Exactly. When the Crown Prince wants someone dead, they die. That’s how it's always been. He won’t leave someone alive who could be a future threat. Although, right now he’s off fighting Young Master Shroud-Heaven. I wonder if he’ll be able to handle him. I heard that the young master’s father is a Great Sage from the ancient divine mountain of the Demonfolk.”
“Ah, stop worrying. Come on, the Crown Prince is someone that even Great Sages fear. And you think he needs to worry about a Great Sage’s son? Not likely. The martial arts competition is put on by the four institutes, with the backing of the Sage Ancestor Dynasty. And yet he threw the whole thing into chaos. Besides, the emperor didn't show up either, and that goes to show a lot, considering he's a Great Sage too.”
“According to the rumors, the Crown Prince is a god from heaven descended into the mortal world. He's not even human! It’s only natural that he would be incredibly talented. I wonder if he’ll actually break past the Great Sage level to whatever is beyond.”
“The Great Sage level is the highest level described in the Demi-Immortal Institute’s secret records. Is there really a more powerful level after that?”
“I heard there is, although I’m not sure what it’s called or what it’s like. They say that the founder of the Demi-Immortal Institute was actually in that level, and that he eventually left for another heaven and earth.”
As for the students from the other societies, such as the Gentlemen’s Society and the Divine Ability Society, they all stood there ashen-faced. Although they all had known that the Crown Prince was powerful, the show he had put on today was completely unprecedented.
If the Crown Prince Society went on to act as arrogantly as he had today, how would the other societies survive?
Yun Hailan hovered high above the sea of clouds, watching as Yang Qi entered the Minorcosm World. Despite the chaos that had played out moments ago, she was smiling coldly.
‘Yang Qi might have been invited to a meeting with the chancellor, but he's only delaying his inevitable death.’
In one hand, she held the Pearl of the Thousand Illusions World, and in the other, a tiny bronze gate that flickered with glittering light. That gate emanated the power of an alternate dimension which significantly bolstered her true energy.
‘The Gate of the Great Void. Incredible. With this, I can harvest Great Void True Energy from an alternate dimension, an energy that not even a Legendary could easily acquire. With the gate and the pearl, I can definitely reach the Legendary level soon. Yang Qi, you brat peasant, you simplistic oaf, I bet you still want to get some treasure as a reward, don’t you?’
Obviously, the Crown Prince had delivered the Gate of the Great Void to Yun Hailan before going on his way.
With those two items, it would be easier than ever for her to advance her cultivation base. In fact, not even she was certain how far they would push her.
The Pearl of the Thousand Illusions World allowed her to converge her power into countless clones. As for the Gate of the Great Void, it could open the way to alternate dimensions, and allow the user to escape dangerous situations.
Originally, the Crown Prince had arranged for her to win the competition so that she could get that magical treasure. And even after Yang Qi won, he still managed to take it and give it to her.
“Considering you’ve refused to serve me, Yang Qi, I very much look forward to seeing how you meet your end. And the same with your clan.”
Then, she vanished without a trace.
The giants guarding the entrance to the Minorcosm World didn’t block his way; obviously, they had been given orders to let him pass.
Normally speaking, students who were summoned to meet with the chancellor would have bright prospects for the future, and would thus be fawned over by the giants. But when they saw Yang Qi, they looked at him stony-faced and didn’t even offer a conversational greeting. Clearly, they were aware of what had played out at the competition.
Yang Qi had offended the Crown Prince, and therefore, would die sooner or later. And no one would dare to kiss up to someone like that.
Yang Qi didn’t care about their attitude. He entered the Minorcosm World, to be instantly assailed by Nine-Yang Immortal Energy. However, he didn’t absorb any of it. He was to meet with the chancellor, and had no way of knowing if the man would be able to tell. If the secret of his Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth were revealed because of that, the consequences would be too horrible to contemplate.
He proceeded through the Minorcosm World flying forward until he caught sight of a man standing on a mountain far above.
He looked like a middle-aged scholar, elegant, simple and refined, almost like a divine being, with an aura that seemed to be at one with the boundless and infinite void.
“My respects, Chancellor,” Yang Qi said, respectfully clasping hands in greeting.
“Come,” the chancellor said. Waving his arm, he sent a gentle breeze down, which wrapped around Yang Qi and pulled him up to the top of the mountain. Now, Yang Qi had a closer view, and realized how handsome the chancellor was. He had long, flowing eyebrows, and an expression that seemed to mourn the difficulties of the common people. There was no evidence that he practiced energy arts cultivation, and yet, his eyes shone with the desire to bring justice and morality to all creation.
Yang Qi said nothing, but instead, waited for the chancellor to speak.
Although they were now face to face, he wasn’t sure what the chancellor was thinking, and couldn’t read his expression at all.
He really did seem like a sage, and Yang Qi felt like nothing standing in front of him. And yet, it didn’t seem as if the chancellor were peering into his heart and mind.
‘If he can see the imp in my forehead, I’m done for, and it won’t matter how careful I try to be. I'm fairly certain the golden imp is more powerful than a Great Sage though.’ Suddenly, he felt completely calm.
A moment passed, and the chancellor spoke again, and the question he asked was somewhat surprising.
“Aren’t you upset at having lost the Gate of the Great Void? Considering you’re the champion of the competition, it should have gone to you. It is a magical treasure from the distant past, a magical space-time treasure that enables the user to escape any dangerous situation. With a treasure like that, not even a Legendary would be able to hurt you.”
“It doesn’t belong to me,” Yang Qi replied coolly, “so I don’t have any right to make decisions about it. Whatever arrangements the institute makes, I’ll abide by them.” Although it was a pity he had lost the Gate of the Great Void, he had his Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, which was a far more valuable treasure. As long as he could continue to advance his cultivation base, the technique would only continue to grow stronger and stronger.
“That's true,” the chancellor said. “What do you think of the Crown Prince?”
Yang Qi’s eyes flickered. Obviously, the chancellor knew what he thought about the subject. “With enough power, any rule can be broken.”
“Rules can be broken with power?” The chancellor’s eyes glittered, but his expression was still impossible to read. “Very funny. The Crown Prince broke the rules, but it was within the larger scope of what is acceptable. He’s in the position to win immense glory, not only for the Demi-Immortal Institute, but for the Rich-Lush Continent as a whole. There's no one in his generation who surpasses him, and he's actually prevented a lot of fighting and conflicts in the younger generation! Before long, he'll break into the Great Sage level and become the next chancellor of the Demi-Immortal Institute. And he won’t stop there. It’s very likely that he will lead our institute to even greater heights. As for you, you haven’t even reached the Legendary level yet. The difference between the two of you is almost too vast to describe. However, you're both children of the institute. As far as I'm concerned, the squabbles of the societies, and even the martial arts competition, are inconsequential matters. Only Great Sages surpass the importance of the institute, and become relevant to the continent itself, and perhaps, other continents. Considering what you’ve done for the Demi-Immortal Institute so far, and what you might do in the future, not even ten thousand of you put together could be as important as the Crown Prince. Do you feel dissatisfied about that?”
“I'm inferior, but not dissatisfied,” Yang Qi said.
“Feeling dissatisfied is the normal reaction. I somehow doubt that you truly feel that way.” The chancellor shook his head. “In all fairness, if I were you, I would definitely be dissatisfied. In fact, I would swear an oath to improve my energy arts and bide my time until I could get revenge. That’s the normal thing to do.”
“You’re very perceptive, Chancellor.” Yang Qi bowed his head as his eyes flickered with sharp light.
“The Rich-Lush Continent isn’t a place of fairness and justice. Even back in primeval times, during the era of the Yore-Wilds Continent, the weak were the prey of the strong. In all the billions of aspects of space-time, in all the billions of planes, there was no such thing as justice. The strong ruled, and the weak were like ants.
“However, heaven is merciful, and provided hope. That was how energy arts came to be. With energy arts, the weak can become strong, if they have ambition and perseverance, plus the right opportunities. You’re all children, but in the end, I can only protect the strongest of you. After all, only if our institute remains the strongest in the land can it prevent the children as a whole from being bullied and swallowed up by greater powers. Perhaps some of the children will be eliminated in the process, or even sacrificed…. Alas. I yearn for mercy, and desire to save all living beings. Heaven and earth are merciless, and view living beings as things to be discarded! My feelings are what cause me to age. The ruthlessness of heaven and earth ensure that they exist for all eternity. It is what it is. It is what it is. Understand me or curse me. I must speak the truth!” 
“Yes, sir!” Yang Qi didn't want to be around the chancellor for any longer than necessary. And he understood what the man was saying. To him, all the students in the institute were children, but he didn't care if they fought or died. He didn't even care about their societies. As long as he could find the strongest among them, he would help that student to grow into a powerful individual who could carry on the legacy of the institute.
“Very well. My time is limited. The reason I called you here today is that the competition you won is a tradition thousands of years old, in which a genius will make a name for himself. Unfortunately for you, the Crown Prince got involved, and turned the whole thing into a joke. It stands to reason that I would compensate you, except that you’ve incurred the wrath of the Crown Prince. I can protect you temporarily, but given how strong you are now, or rather, how weak, you’ll never be a match for him. And it won’t be long before he simply kills you.
“In the west of the Rich-Lush Continent is a place called the Heavendawn Quarry. In primeval times, it was a mine operated by Demonfolk. Nowadays, it serves as a prison to a powerful monster. Go there, slay the monster, and take its treasure. That will be your reward.
“Of course, the monster is at the Legendary level. Whether you’re able to kill it or not will depend on your own skills and abilities. Incidentally, when the Crown Prince becomes a Great Sage, I’ll retire and travel to another continent. At that time, he’ll essentially be in charge of all the lands! You’re on your own now. Good luck!”
1. The final part of the monologue is a poem. From what I can tell the author used an ancient literary poem and sort of tweaked it for his own purposes. It would be kind of like an author starting out “To be, or not to be, that is the question” and then making up some new text to follow that isn’t exactly the same as the original.