Translator:Nyoi-Bo StudioEditor:Nyoi-Bo Studio
Many were able to tell from Di Gang’s reaction that he felt rather indifferent. However, it was a justifiable reaction, as Di Gang’s talents and plane meant that competition among nobles was rather meaningless to him. His current goal was to become someone like Bai Luli.
“Chu Ji, you might have underestimated my son a little too much,” Di Kai, head of the Emperor family said. He knew his son better than anyone. Di Gang was a prodigy of exceptional talents, and he would have achieved great things given time, surpassing even his father. He might even actually become a saint and step foot into that plane told in legends.
The Emperor family, one of the two top forces of Alchemy City, cast off their ancestral armorer tradition to focus on cultivation, yet none from Di Kai’s generation was able to overpower the You clan. However, Di Gang showed promise of being the one capable of accomplishing such a feat in the future, enabling the Emperor family to replace the You clan and become the symbol of Alchemy City. Whenever anyone talked about Alchemy City, they would first think of the Emperor family.
“I have heard of Di Gang’s talents, but the younger generation from all over Barren State here are all proud sons and daughters, and the cultivators from the Holy Zhi Palace were even known to be gods among men. As such, it would be obvious that I’m not underestimating anyone. If you, Di Kai, find it unpleasant, just pretend that I never said anything then,” Chu Ji elaborated.
There were many on the grandstands who looked eager to test their mettle. Seeing the Alchemy Conference underway, they grew rather restless as well.
The Holy Zhi Palace was known to be the number one sacred ground for training in the entire Barren State. With the students of the Holy Zhi Palace there that day, many were eager to find out personally, how capable the students of said sacred ground actually were.
“When the Alchemy Conference is over, the youngsters can have it their way,” You Chi said, his eyes forward. Many turned their eyes away. The day was still meant for the Alchemy Conference, and since the city lord office was the organizing party, it was only proper that the Alchemy Conference was to be given top priority and everything else came later.
Ye Futian shifted his eyes back on his seniors. He was still speechless seeing them work. While he felt compelled to defend his seniors in front of strangers, their performance was indeed a horrible one compared to others.
“Is the Fifth Brother cooking or crafting? Is he simply trying to dump everything into the pot and cook it up?” Yi Xiaoshi found the scene rather unbearable to look at as well. It was their Fifth Brother who cooked for them back in the cottage, and he was undeniably good, so much so that his dishes tasted better than a lot of the so-called exquisite dishes outside. However, they were supposed to be crafting ritual implements, and Fifth Brother seemed to have just let the pot simmer after dumping everything inside.
What actually looked different was how Xue Ye, their Fourth Brother, was seen helping out by absorbing Spiritual Qi in a crazed manner to craft matrixes on their product. While it was obvious he learned everything demonstrated there in a crash course, he was still able to show that he learned a lot and some things he did actually made sense. However, what they were doing still had people wondering if they were actually capable of crafting any ritual implement worth mentioning.
“The base of crafting ritual implements lies with the matrixes crafted. That brother of yours seems to be decent at it, but the ways the physical object is prepared are just Well, let’s just say that he is bad at the simplest process of it all: shaping.” Zhong Li knew something about crafting ritual implements, and he went on to comment at their work with a flabbergasted look.
“So long as they can actually make something.” Ye Futian felt dejected as well. He was puzzled as to why his seniors wanted to participate in the Alchemy Conference to begin with.
One participant after another stopped what they were doing, and many finished powerful ritual implements were seen before them. Top class noble ritual implements, pulsing with terrifying auras. Two hours were almost up by then. Xue Ye and Luo Fan were still fumbling about. Ye Futian felt nervous and concerned on their behalf.
“Time is up. Stop whatever you’re doing,” a voice was heard eventually, and Xue Ye and Luo Fan breathed deeply as they finished in the nick of time. They had actually made it.
“Anyone who failed at creating a top-class noble ritual implement, please leave immediately,” the elder from the stairs announced. Many were seen looking at things laid before them, sighed, and left.
More and more among the initial 3,000 were seen leaving, and there were about 300 left on the stage before long. The space where the competition was held looked rather empty by then.
“Lift your ritual implements up and unleash their powers,” the elder continued. Everyone did as they were told, unleashing the powers of their respective works. Devastating powers filled the air of the stage. There was no one left who were simply doing things for fun. The finished products of everyone who stayed behind all proved to be of top-class noble ranks.
All of them were considered elite masters.
What was most baffling, however, was that Luo Fan and Xue Ye were actually capable of crafting top-class noble ritual implements. While their end product was simply an irregularly shaped brick, the aura exuded from it said that it was still a top class noble ritual implement nonetheless.
“Seemed to me that those two actually worked their a**es off to learn the art,” Ye Futian commented with a smile. Those two seniors of his had always been cynical and buffoonish in their antics, but it was still undeniable that they truly dedicated themselves to learning the art. The very reason why they never learned how to shape their works was because they dedicated their efforts to learn the most important aspect of the artthe matrixes.
The elder deliberately spared a glance at both of them and said nothing. He went on to announce, “In the next round, we will be providing the materials and smelting furnaces. All furnaces are of the same make, and you are free to choose the attributes of the materials given to you. However, every single material provided, regardless of attribute, is of the same level, and you will be limited to picking only three materials at most. Under similar conditions, the hundred who are able to craft their pinnacle noble ritual implements will be listed in the top hundred.”
One figure after another entered the arena as soon as the announcement was finished. All of them women, and all of them carried various kinds of crafting materials to be chosen by the participants. They were also people who set the smelting furnaces in their places, and every single one indeed looked identical. As such, no one was deemed to have any obvious edge against the other.
With the elites selected from the first two rounds, the next round was all about standards of finished products crafted under the same conditions. It was the true test to pick the ones worthy of becoming the top hundred. Those top hundred were free to join any forces in Alchemy City of their liking.
All 300 participants spread out once again, each taking their spot in front of a smelting furnace and having their selected materials laid out. The air felt tense. Many looked on feeling serious. The next round of crafting would be the key, and the winners would then make it to the top hundred.
“Little brother, give it all you got in this one and don’t mess anything up,” Xue Ye said in a soft voice. They were the slowest among the 300 in the previous round. However, they needed to be fast in the next one, and as such, they were required to make the simplest ritual implement they were able to come up with. But then again, it was nonetheless a challenge to make a simple ritual implement with the power of a top-class noble ritual implement.
“Since when did I mess anything up?” Luo Fan asked in a puzzled manner.
“Begin,” the elder announced the start of the next round of crafting. Everyone became busy in an instant. Luo Fan and Xue Ye were especially serious, sparing no time to talk and focusing only on what they should be doing in silence.
Time passed and finally, there was someone who finished their piece. “It’s done.”
That person was none other than Mu Ou. He crafted a very simple dagger, but it was a dagger that shimmered throughout, exuding terrifying air of sharpness. Many nodded in silence. Mu Ou was indeed very experienced at his art, and it was no surprise he turned out to be the fastest.
Chi Lian was the second one who finished crafting. It was a sword.
Lu Wei of the Lu clan in Alchemy City was the third person to finish crafting, followed by Zhou Sheng of Zhou clan. All of them were renowned figures in this event.
More and more people finished crafting their ritual implements, and more and more became anxious. However, Gongsun Ye, You Tu, and Yu Ming went crafting their works in a very focused and composed manner still. It was as if they were pursuing an artistic flair in the works instead of making things simply to win the competition.
The standards of the participants became even more apparent when they were forced to crafted high-level ritual implements using the same materials.
You Tu crafted a pair of gloves, which were incredibly intricate. The gloves conjured terrifying shadow of a dragon and filled with an appalling sense of power as soon as he put them on his hands.
“An heir of the city lord indeed,” some quipped with an impressed tone.
“Gongsun Ye’s work seemed not to be inferior as well. He went to craft a pair incredibly dazzling Roc wings, which shimmered with golden light, emanating incredibly sharp aura when the wings were melded with one’s body. It was an apparatus with both offensive and defensive properties, and it amplified the speed of the wearer as well. It was an astonishing feat for someone to be able to craft one such ritual implement in such a short time.
“We’re done.” Elated voices were heard. Xue Ye and Luo Fan looked at each other and smiled. The end product was still a brick. Terrifying might emanated from it as Xue Ye held his hands on the brick. It pulsed with the frightening power of lightning and packed highly destructive powers.
“This…” Everyone was rendered speechless. Their end product looked almost identical to what they had crafted so far. Were they simply trying to get more familiar with their processes in the last round?
While there were no rules forbidding such an act, it was nonetheless deemed baffling and shameless for them to craft a similar piece in two consecutive rounds.
“Just how such losers manage to get so far in the Alchemy Conference? This is an insult,” Di Zhou said coldly. As Ye Futian did not play nice with him before, he had no intention of being polite to him.
“Slightly inferior standard at the art compensated with strategy. Good move,” Ye Futian praised them loudly.
“You call that a strategy?” Many looked at Ye Futian, finding him to be just as shameless as his seniors.
100 mighty ones finished crafting pinnacle noble ritual implements soon and went on to unleash their powers as soon as they were done. The elder at the stairs, however, did not stop the competition. There was still a need to eliminate those who did not make the cut. As such, the competition at that round would have truly come to an end when 120 participants had finished crafting.
Those who were not able to finish looked at Luo Fan and Xue Ye with disgusted eyes. They would have done the same if they knew that would have worked. One’s face was cheap when they had the chance to be among the top hundred.
There was still the inspection of the ritual implements to be considered. The items crafted by the first 100 who finished did not seem to have any problems, and all of them were pinnacle noble ritual implements, including what Xue Ye and Luo Fan crafted. As such, they were able to make it to the top 100. Those who failed to make the cut left the arena one by one; all of them looked rather dissatisfied.
Countless kept their eyes on the 100 at the front. They were the ones who were to compete in the final round.
The elder at the stairs looked at the remaining hundred and said, “The next round will be the final round of the Alchemy Conference. There are no set limitations in this round. You will be crafting your best works using your own furnaces and materials. There will not be a time limit. Your time will be up when you have finished crafting your ritual implement. No re-craft will be tolerated, and finally, your rank will be entirely dependent on the quality of the ritual implement crafted.”
The next round of crafting battle was no longer an elimination round. Unlike martial arts competitions, all participants were allowed to craft at the same time. The rank would depend on the quality of ritual implement crafted.
“You all will have one hour to rest and prepare yourselves, as well as to think what you would be crafting next,” the elder continued, and the air in the stage felt different once again. In the next hour, the ritual implements crafted by the participants would decide the highest standards of the future generation of the world of armorers in Barren State!