“Eldest senior sister was only about eleven or twelve years old, but she knew about Shrek Academy. She knelt down before Ancestor Xuan and begged him to avenge her. Ancestor Xuan was still reeling from my parents’ deaths, so he agreed to her request, and he told her that Shrek Academy would nurture her and unleash her potential. He had one condition, and that was she had to guard Shrek Academy for the rest of her life, and she had to become my bride. Eldest senior sister made the vow without hesitating at all.”
Bei Bei paused for a moment and said, “I think you guys can guess what happened afterwards. Ancestor Xuan avenged her, and eldest senior sister remained at the academy to cultivate as hard as she could, and managed to get where she is today. As I grew up afterwards, Ancestor Xuan began to calm down, and he regretted forcing eldest senior sister to make that vow. He mentioned more than once that eldest senior sister didn’t have to uphold her vow. After all, she’s more than ten years older than I am, and waiting for me isn’t practical or realistic at all.
“However, eldest senior sister insisted on keeping her vow. She told Ancestor Xuan that she would still be my bride no matter what choice I might make in the future. If I didn’t like her, then she would be single for life, and she would commit her entire life to Shrek Academy so that she could repay Ancestor Xuan’s benevolence.”
Jiang Nannan’s face seemed a little unfriendly as she said, “You’ve already had a bride since you were a child, and you still went for Xiao Ya…”
Bei Bei forced a laugh and said, “But I didn’t know about all that! Ancestor Xuan only told me about this vow after I got together with Xiao Ya. I felt everything was just unbelievable. I was only fourteen or fifteen back then, and eldest senior sister was already twenty-seven or twenty-eight, so our ages made us entirely unsuitable for each other. Furthermore, I’m sure you guys are aware of the feelings I have for Xiao Ya. All I could do was argue with Ancestor Xuan, and it was then that I decided to move out of the inner courtyard. Afterwards, Ancestor Xuan implicitly gave me the green light with Xiao Ya because the academy owed the Tang Sect. Ancestor Xuan talked to me about this one more time before he passed away, and he asked me to be nicer to eldest senior sister if I could help it, and he said that he had let her down.
“I once sought her out so that we could set things straight. There were many talented suitors within the academy who had a crush on her, and I would hate to see her remain single for the rest of her life because of some outrageous vow that she made all those years ago. But eldest senior sister was extremely stubborn, and she said that I didn’t have to take her, but she would never go back on her vow. She waved her sleeve and walked off after that.
“The truth is that even though I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong, I still feel a little apologetic towards her. However, I have no clue what to do so that she will forgo that vow. Over the years, even though Xiao Ya has never been by my side, there’s no space left in my heart to accommodate anyone else.”
Bei Bei’s expression was a little awkward, filled with conflict and difficulty.
Wang Dong’er asked, “Eldest senior brother, do you not feel anything at all for eldest senior sister?”
Bei Bei answered without hesitation. “Of course I do. She was the one who took care of me as I grew up, and I’ve never had a mother. Eldest senior sister is like a mother or like an elder sister to me, and she’s the second-most important woman to me in my heart after Xiao Ya. The only problem is that this feeling that I have isn’t a romantic one, and there’s only kinship between eldest senior sister and I. You guys have to help me figure this out! What exactly can I do so that I won’t hurt her, yet still give her the great future that she deserves?”
Bei Bei looked around at everyone, eager and hopeful. Everyone’s eyes became a little strange. How could this conundrum be solved?
Huo Yuhao cleared his throat and noted, “The competition is coming up in two days. What suggestions do you have, eldest senior brother?”
The corners of Bei Bei’s mouth contorted, and he surveyed the rest, and realized that their eyes were drifting around at everywhere, but him. He snapped, “The lot of you have no loyalty at all!”
He Caitou chortled and said, “It’s not for outsiders to resolve family issues. How are we supposed to help you with this, eldest senior brother?”
Bei Bei was exasperated. “Alright, alright. Let’s not talk about that anymore. But you guys can’t speak a word about this to anyone, as it concerns our eldest senior sister’s reputation. Tell me, Yuhao, what plans do you have for the competition?”
Huo Yuhao answered, “I don’t have an actual plan yet, but I have some ideas. This competition will have one hundred and sixty-seven participating teams because sects are allowed to participate, and the first few rounds will be elimination rounds, all the way up till the last thirty-two before the group stage begins. The organization committee hasn’t declared how the elimination rounds will be carried out for now. Compared to the group stages that come afterwards, we have to clear the elimination rounds before anything else.
“We are representing the Tang Sect, so we aren’t a seeded team. That also means the competition’s rules won’t be in our favor. We aren’t sure what teams we’ll run into at this point. If we encounter any formidable sects, we will be faced with quite a challenge. Therefore, we have to hide our abilities as much as possible during the elimination rounds.”
“Hide our abilities?” Bei Bei was slightly taken aback. “Aren’t you contradicting yourself, Yuhao? You just talked about how important the elimination rounds are. So why should we hide our abilities?”
Huo Yuhao replied, “It’s not contradictory, eldest senior brother. What I’m trying to say is, we have to hide our abilities as much as possible provided we can emerge victorious in the same round. Our appearances are quite different compared to five years ago, and there are so many more sects in this competition, so there won’t be many who still recognize and know about us. We can put on some makeup or something to change our appearances a little, so that the people who might recognize us from the previous tournament will no longer recognize us. At least, they won’t be sure that we are who they think we are. If we don’t get too unlucky, and as long as we don’t meet the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy in the first rounds, it’s unlikely that we’ll be recognized.”
Bei Bei’s eyes sparkled and said, “That’s a great idea. The people that will have an impression of us from the previous tournament will have been the reserve team members, who have become the main team members in this season. Everyone’s become quite different after five years, and after we make some adjustments, and the fact that we are representing the Tang Sect, will be quite effective in hiding our abilities and identities.”
Xu Sanshi frowned and said, “We can change our appearances, but we can’t change our martial souls! How can they not recognize us once we unleash our martial souls?”
Huo Yuhao smiled mysteriously and said, “That’s what I mean when I said that we have to do all we can to hide our abilities and identities so that they can’t recognize us. We can do it this way…”
Their discussion on battle tactics continued for a little more than two hours, and was concluded so that Bei Bei could get some rest.
Huo Yuhao and his companions conducted a few more discussions and drills the following day, and confirmed how the starting rounds were going to be carried out.
At the highest level of the Brilliant Delight Hotel...
Wang Qiu’er stood quietly on a spacious semicircular balcony and gazed into the distance. The view was enchanting from this spot, she could see almost half of Radiant City.
There were only eight similar rooms on the Brilliant Delight Hotel’s highest level. They were known as the Villas in the Sky, and they were exceedingly extravagant and luxurious. It was claimed that one night cost three thousand golden soul coins, an exorbitant price. This place could be said to be the most expensive hotel on the Continent.
Every Villa had an arched door, as if the room were a castle. There was a hall for hosting guests, a living room, a large conference room, and twenty rooms of different sizes that consisted of bedrooms, gyms, and tearooms. There was a garden in the sky that was more than two hundred square feet in surface area, and there was a swimming pool that was twenty meters on each side at the center of the villa. There was a curved dome above the greenish-blue water, and one would be able to see gentle and faint blue sparkles around the swimming pool at night. Looking up at the dome at night felt as if one were staring at the boundless starry sky, and that beauty was truly enchanting.
There was even a miniature sparring arena in the villa, which was built with special materials and defense-type soul tools. It could sustain most soul skills beneath a Soul Sage’s rank.
Shrek Academy’s team had all been astounded when they first entered this villa. Dai Huabin was the Duke’s son, but this was even his first time staying in a hotel as luxurious as this one. Twenty rooms was more than enough for a team that consisted of a little more than a dozen, and it allowed everyone to have their own room. They could order anything they wanted to eat, and everything would be free of charge, courtesy of the hotel.
This was the best possible arrangement and service for the participating teams, and only eight teams could have this luxury. Shrek Academy’s team stayed in the first Villa in the Sky. The Sun Moon Empire was clearly extremely generous about this, as the first villa wasn’t just the most extravagant one, it also represented the fact that they were the champions from the previous season.
Wang Qiu’er turned around and stared at the luxurious and spacious villa. There was a blank look in her eyes as she muttered under her breath, “Is this the gift for Shrek’s glory? Is this what they achieved from the previous season?”
“Yes, that’s true. We wouldn’t be staying here if not for their perfect performance last season! The truth is that they are the ones that are worthy of staying in this place, and not those cramped and narrow rooms in the lower levels.” Zhang Lexuan walked over from not far away. She was holding a delicate wine glass in her hands, and there was some amber-colored aged white wine inside. A faint aroma floated around the glass’ opening but didn’t drift out. The glass was specially crafted by the Sun Moon Empire’s chamber of commerce, and was considered a top-tier wine instrument.
“Do you want one?” Zhang Lexuan asked plainly.
Wang Qiu’er shook her head and said, “I don’t wish for such things to affect my mind.”
Zhang Lexuan sipped on the white wine in her glass. The wine was filled with a thick and rich fruity aroma that was tinged with a little sourness, and the faint taste of pickled plums lingered in her mouth.
“Sometimes you have to learn how to relax, you’re wound up too tightly. I was like you before, but I realized afterwards that it isn’t the way to go, and it would negatively affect my cultivation. You are a lot worse than I was all those years ago; your emotions are tightly wound, and extremely tense. Something is bound to go wrong if you continue like this.”
“I’m not!” Wang Qiu’er’s denial was cold and crisp.Previous Chapter Next Chapter