Very quickly, they knew the answer. As Tianfeng Jin’s next attack came, he carelessly gave a shout before falling to the floor before the sword even hit him.
“…” The entire crowd became silent.
Couldn’t he have at least acted a little better? Anyone who opened their eyes would have known that Xin Yi did it on purpose?
Xin Yi acted as if he could not hear the debate that was happening around him as he continued lying on the floor and turned to stare at the judges, “Can you announce the end of the fight?”
The judge froze before gritting his teeth and forcing out, “Victory to Tianfeng Jin.”
With this, the positions of the top three in the Martial Practitioner rank was finalised. Gu Lingzhi was first, followed by Tianfeng Jin in second and Xin Yi in third place.
Lin Xiaohu and Song Ze were fourth and fifth respectively.
As the results were released, everyone started discussing.
“I refuse to accept this! Why should Gu Lingzhi be first, she did not even fight!”
“That’s right, we can’t accept this!”
Someone shouted out. Many others echoed along.
Recognising Gu Lingzhi’s abilities was one thing, but the competition was another matter altogether.
Hearing the complaints from the ground, the judge’s face looked slightly better. At least there were people that agreed with him.
Although this was what he thought, he maintained a troubled expression as he looked to the other side of the stage.
Following his line of sight, on the other side of the stage sat the honest and amiable-looking Principal of the First School and Pan En, the Second Prince of the North Qiu Kingdom. Around them were numerous witnesses from other kingdoms that came in order to be witnesses to the finale.
Catching the look, the Principal slowly moved his plump body as he tilted his head and said a few words to Pan En. A grin appeared on Pan En’s face as he raised his voice, “Dear students, I know that many of you may not be pleased with this results. But as a Martial Artist, talent and perseverance alone will not help you succeed. Talent, luck and people are all necessary. The fact that Lady Gu managed to get others to give up first place to her without needing to lift a finger is also a sign of strength in itself.”
Pan En then intentionally paused and seemed to laugh at himself, “When I was competing in the same competition many years back, my senior who was in the same rank as me had no intention of giving up the place to me at all. It is admirable that Lady Gu is so popular with people.”
Quite a few people sniggered as they heard him, liking the Second Prince of the North Qiu Kingdom more. After all, if the Emperor of North Qiu was someone like Pan En and had humor, it definitely beat having an extremely cold and serious king.
At least the pressure would lessen in the Inter-school Competition.
However, Pan En’s words were not enough to erase their annoyance with Gu Lingzhi. Although today’s situation was not infuriating, the annoyance that they had built against her over time made them refuse to accept her getting first place.
For a moment, the audience spat and cursed Gu Lingzhi who was standing on stage. It was as if their criticism would increase the embarrassment in her and make her automatically reject first place.
However, it was not the first time that Gu Lingzhi had been criticised and hated by others. However since she formalised her relationship with Rong Yuan, she was seldom treated in such a hostile manner. She even seemed to miss and cherish those times.
Seeing Gu Lingzhi’s inaction and how she looked pretty happy, the crowd became even more rowdy. They started spitting at the stage as if they had a personal vendetta against Gu Lingzhi.
“No wonder she is a master seductress, she can even smile in these kind of situations.”
“A simple Inter-school Competition has been messed up by her. What a pity for the other two students from the Royal School. Who knows if they willingly gave up fighting for first place or they were forced?”
“From what I see… the lady must have been forced. As for the guy…ha.”
He left his sentence unfinished so as to insinuate and demean Gu Lingzhi’s quality as a person. Anyone who was slightly biased against Gu Lingzhi all immediately caught on as they assessed her. They wondered what Gu Lingzhi did to get Xin Yi to give up first place for her. Since the Inter-school Competition was only held once every five years, the rewards for first place was extremely valuable. The rewards for second and third place was no way comparable.
As the criticism started to develop in this trajectory, a man could no longer sit and watch as the crowd became rowdier. He bellowed into the audience, “No one is allowed to defame Lady Gu!”
A moment of silence befell the audience. Following that, the noise level increased even more as they mocked, “Is this another man that has been seduced by Gu Lingzhi? Her prowess really has no boundaries.”
“From the sound of his voice, he sounds pretty old. I guess Gu Lingzhi really does not care and goes for all ages.”
Under this mockery, the person that initially shouted went to the front of the stage and under Gu Lingzhi’s surprised gaze, he shouted to the crowd, “You are a bunch of idiots who only know how to listen to rumours. Lady Gu is nothing like what you all are making her out to be. She is the most morally upright lady I have ever seen. Without her generosity and kindness, my Tianfeng Clan would no longer exist!”
Tianfeng Clan? What is that?
A well-built but vulgar-looking man laughed, “Old geezer, you are already so old, don’t embarrass yourself. If your grandchildren knew about you trying to play the hero for someone and blames you, you wouldn’t even be able to defend yourself.”
“If I can help clear Lady Gu’s name, what does it matter even if my children don’t acknowledge me?”
Realising that the old man that came up to defend her was Tianfeng Clan’s leader, Tianfeng Yi, Gu Lingzhi’s jaw dropped. Astonishment was written all over her face as she turned to face Rong Yuan, “Is this the surprise you were talking about?”
Regarding the rumours, when Rong Yuan confessed to her, he told her not to worry and that he will give her a surprise when the time comes. She did not think that she would really be surprised. Tianfeng Wei was rumored to be the most tragic victim from Gu Lingzhi’s schemes. What could be more convincing than Tianfeng Wei’s father explaining the situation?
After getting his cultivation removed, Tianfeng Yi had aged significantly but his aura was still present. As he raised his voice, most of the chaos died down. As everyone became calmer, Tianfeng Yi started to make the speech that he had prepared. Hints of hatred, sadness and guilt were written on his face, “I hope that all of you can stop humiliating Lady Gu based on baseless rumours. As the father of the ex-fiancee of the Third Prince, I wish to confess. The Third Prince did not break the engagement with my daughter because he was seduced by Lady Gu. He did not have an engagement with my daughter to begin with.”
The crowd gasped in shock. They did not expect this old man to be Tianfeng Wei’s father. And what did he say? Tianfeng Wei did not have an engagement with the Third Prince?
Then what was the engagement that spread through the Xia Kingdom about? Why did the Third Prince never clarify this?
Their questions were about to be answered.
“Are you all very confused on why there isn’t an engagement between my daughter and the Third Prince? It is because my wife is very close to Consort Rong and the two of them had the initial intention of setting an engagement for the Third Prince and my daughter. The Third Prince was never willing. My daughter however, was infatuated with the Third Prince and announced to everyone that they were engaged although he had rejected her. With regard for the relationship between Consort Rong and my wife, the Third Prince never clarified this matter so that my daughter would not be embarrassed in public. He thought that as time passed, my daughter would come to terms and clarify the matter. Who knew that his generosity would end up stretching over a few years. It was only until the Third Prince met Lady Gu and wanted to get engaged with her, did he bring up the matter. He was still kind and did not reveal the entire truth in order to protect my daughter’s reputation…”
Tianfeng Yi’s long speech caused numerous jaws to drop.
Rong Yuan never had an engagement with Tianfeng Wei and everything was Tianfeng Wei’s wishful thinking?
This enormous news seemed like a joke to them. What Tianfeng Yi said next was even more shocking.
“My daughter secretly hated the Third Prince for dissolving their engagement, and in a moment of anger, she thought that if she got rid of Lady Gu, she would be able to be engaged to the Third Prince again. She…she actually colluded with the Beicheng Clan and set up a plan to massacre the youths of the Four Great Clans. She did not care if she sacrificed hundreds of her own clan in order to kill Lady Gu. It resulted in Lady Gu almost dying in the Secret Territory. Thankfully, the heavens protected Gu Lingzhi ensuring she made it out alive. If not, even if my old bones were buried I would not be able to find peace!”
His long speech confused everyone even more. It was completely different from the rumors that they have been hearing, making them seriously doubt the reliability of what he was saying.
“Even if your daughter almost killed Gu Lingzhi, you need not blame yourself to this point. Could it be that you were bribed in order to twist the truth and clear Gu Lingzhi’s name?”
Someone questioned, bringing out the questions in most people. “That’s right. Even if your daughter did harm Gu Lingzhi, why are you so agitated? You weren’t the one that did it.”
Facing the interrogation, the complicated feelings on Tianfeng Yi’s old face became even more pronounced as he turned to face Gu Lingzhi. His face was full of guilt as he avoided her face, “When my daughter colluded with the Beicheng Clan, they killed hundreds of clan members from the Four Great Clans. The other two remaining clans were extremely angry and wanted to kill our remaining clan members to seek revenge. It was only because Lady Gu pleaded on our behalf and managed to convince the Third Prince and the Gu Clan to not hold it against our two clans that we managed to survive. The only punishment was that our two clans would no longer be part of the Four Great Clans. Such benevolence will forever be remembered in the hearts of the Tianfeng Clan!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter