Chen Yunxiang seemed to enjoy a very close relationship with He Xiangzi. After meeting each other, they immediately began chatting so energetically that others could not even get a sentence in.
The ladies in the Jade Sound Clan greeted He Xiangzi one by one as well before finding a table to rest at and ordering some dishes.
"I heard about Fei Huangzi as well" A look of disgust surfaced in Chen Yunxiang's face. "I really didn't expect that he'd turn out to be that sort of character. To think that I used to admire him."
"It's all in the past. Let's not mention it anymore," He Xiangzi replied helplessly.
"To be honest, our Jade Sound Clan has been relying on you guys to push us up from bottom in the rankings. If you guys fall out of the rankings this time, we're done for as well. He Xiangzi, give me an honest reply. Are you guys confident of holding your place?" Chen Yunxiang whispered.
"I've got no idea as well" He Xiangzi shrugged helplessly. "Thankfully, this time here's my"
Before she could finish, however, she was cut off by another voice.
"Yo isn't this Prime Devil Sect's He Xiang? Still not folded yet? Heard that while back that bast*** Fei Huangzi went rogue. Oh, well what's the point of joining a sect that can't even provide enough resources?" Another group of people had come up the stairs as well. The man in the lead taunted and mocked them.
"The Alternate Cave Sect Li Du!" The moment He Xiang lay her eyes on that man, her face turned pale.
Aside, Chen Yunxiang gently comforted He Xiangzi with her hand and shook her head towards her. At the same time, she explained to Lu Sheng in a whisper, "It was really tragic at the last Meeting. This is the man who defeated He Xiang, and even cut off both her arms she lost really badly."
Lu Sheng nodded, immediately understanding the other party's identity.
With the Hundred Lineages Meeting almost upon them, all the sects were gathered in the White Bell City, waiting for the Meeting to start. And thus it was that the Prime Devil Sect encountered both its longstanding ally and foe in one day.
Placidly, Lu Sheng stared at the other party as they sat down after some mocking comments. Neither he nor He Xiangzi said a word.
Because the teachers were separated from their students, Grand Elder, as the sect master, had to head towards the Meeting grounds on his own in advance. As students, they had to be led by their first seats to the Meeting subsequently. Hence, this period was a test of the first seats' reputation and leadership ability.
Moreover, this district of the city was the unofficially acknowledged gathering point of the sects in the lower three grades. Hence, it was only expected that they would run into their old foe so early.
All that Lu Sheng cared for was merely to protect the sect's inheritance. He did not care much for another anything else. He would keep a low profile and avoid revealing anything that should not be revealed.
Alternate Cave Sect's men also settled down in the inn.
Very soon, the Zhan Family siblings arrived too. Because of her relationship with Prime Devil Sect's Grand Elder, Madam Qing Kong made arrangements for her first seat to travel with Prime
Devil Sect's team so that they could look out for each other.
In reality, however, anyone could tell that she was purely taking care of Grand Elder Liu Shanzi's disciples.
"He Xiang, Brother Lu." Zhan Kongning cupped his fists at Lu Sheng and He Xiangzi with a smile. "We were delayed on the road sorry for arriving late."
"Don't worry about it, Brother Zhan." Lu Sheng rose as well and waved them over to sit with them.
The Zhan siblings led the group from the Fine Garden Sect to sit by the side. Now, the entire second story was filled.
The Prime Devil Sect, the Fine Garden Sect, and the previously arrived Jade Sound Clan and Alternate Cave Sect. These occupied the entire second story.
The Fine Garden Sect and the Jade Sound Clan were not well acquainted with each other. But with He Xiangzi as middle-person and the fact that the Jade Sound Clan was mostly filled with beautiful ladies, which made the male disciples from the Fine Garden Sect very polite and gentle, the atmosphere soon grew warm.
Lu Sheng dismissed Crimson Whale Sect's men with a wave of his hand. This was no longer a gathering mortals could participate in.
Even the weakest among those who were present would trample over a mortal expert in the Crimson Whale Sect. Such was the power of a Nobleman bloodline. The two were of entirely different leagues.
Moreover, Crimson Whale Sect's men could not be of much use here. Instead, they stood out like a sore thumb. Hence, Lu Sheng dismissed them.
As everyone ate and chatted, He Xiangzi began filling Lu Sheng in on some detailed information about the Hundred Lineages Meeting.
"The Meeting program is separated into three segments: internal matches, external move-ups and defense of position.
First: internal matches. Basically the upper, middle, and lower three grades will fight among themselves to establish ranking.
Second: external move-up. The top three teams from the internal matches are qualified to challenge the bottom-ranked sect in the higher grade. If they succeed, they can move up and seize a new ranking.
Third: defense of position. After seizing a new ranking, we've got to defend our position by accepting three challenges from sects ranked below ours."
With He Xiangzi's clear explanation, Lu Sheng understood immediately.
"In that case, wouldn't those sects with many people be at an advantage?" Lu Sheng asked.
"That's how it is. A person's stamina is limited. Each sect only has one first seat, making it difficult to obtain a higher ranking. But because the first seat is strong, the sect's ranking wouldn't be too low, either. This is the key to the test of the Hundred Lineages.
It's not bad to raise one impressive disciple, but it's not very good, either. Only a sect with many strong disciples is considered a powerful sect," He Xiangzi explained.
"Furthermore, resources are distributed according to the sect's ranking," Jade Sound Clan's Chen Yunxiang added.
A petite young lady stood up and asked energetically, "If that's so, Senior Apprentice Sister, why does our Jade Sound Clan get so many resources when our ranking's so low?"
At that question, Chen Yunxiang's cheeks turned red. How could she explain in such a public setting that those were a gift from Sect Mistress' old lover?
Even though this was already public knowledge, it still was not a good thing to declare in public.
Moving on from Jade Sound Clan's embarrassment
"This time, our first opponent should be Alternate Cave Sect's Li Du," He Xiangzi reminded Lu Sheng.
"If we can fight him and end in a draw, we should be able to keep our ranking this time. But I'm not his match Fei Huangzi might have been," He Xiangzi said helplessly.
"Fight him and end in a draw? That's simple. I'll do it," Lu Sheng said calmly. Fei Huangzi was merely at Five-Vein Level according to the Prime Devil Sect's standards, which made him a Four-Vein Level expert in other sect.
In Lu Sheng's books, such a level was just a filler character.
He wasn't worried about these opponents. Rather, he was on the guard against the Wandering Gods lurking in the dark who might appear at anytime.
Though she already knew that Lu Sheng was stronger than herself, He Xiangzi could not help but worry.
"Junior Apprentice Brother, this match requires you to use only Prime Devil Sect's secret arts. I know that you already had some strength before entering the sect, but that doesn't count"
"I understand." Lu Sheng nodded. "Don't worry." His plan right now was simply to defend Prime Devil Sect's present ranking so that its inheritance would not be broken. As long as he kept a low profile, there should not be much trouble.
He would go on safe and steadily. Just keep the status quo. That was his plan.
After the meal, they either went back to their rooms to rest or left to shop outside.
The inn was a property belonging to the Hundred Lineages. Here, they could speak freely. In actual fact, many places in the White Bell Sect were owned either by sects or Noble Families.
Lu Sheng was obviously dissatisfied even after the meal. Finding an excuse in taking a stroll outside, Lu Sheng went to find more food while also making contact with his subordinates in Crimson Whale Sect and taking some supplementing pills from them.
He Xiangzi, on the other hand, was not so relaxed. She was discussing strategy in detail with Chen Yunxiang in the inn.
Lu Sheng was only at the door of the inn when the Zhan siblings came up behind him. They seemed to be waiting for someone.
"Brother Lu, we're specially waiting for Senior Apprentice Brother Fang Tan of the Wisdom Light Sect. If you're free, Senior Apprentice Brother Lu, how about we wait together?" Zhan Kongning suggested in a mild manner.
"Wisdom Light Sect?" Lu Sheng remembered that this sect ranked high among the middle three grades. He had not expected that Zhan Kongning was in contact with someone of that circle.
On second thought, however, it was normal. Zhan Kongning has pretty good strength himself. It was within reason that he mixed among higher circles.
"No need. I want to take a walk by myself," Lu Sheng replied with a smile.
"Brother Lu, there'll be plenty of time to take a walk by yourself. But Senior Apprentice Brother Fang is an amicable person, and it's a crucial time now. Building some connections may be unexpectedly useful," Zhang Kongning said discreetly.
The Prime Devil Sect was indeed at a crucial time, having to fight to keep its place. Any ounce of support could prove helpful at the critical moment.
"No need. I'm used to being on my own," Lu Sheng replied causally. "See you again."
Zhang Kongning could do nothing else but cup his fists. "Alright, then. Brother Lu, come back early. We'll set off for the Meeting venue at first daylight tomorrow."
"Alright!" Lu Sheng headed forwards the food district.
Zhan Hongsheng glared at Lu Sheng's diminishing back, increasingly feeling annoyed by him.
"What kind of person is this! We're trying to help him! You took the initiative to introduce people to him, but look at the sort of attitude he has?! Forget that he doesn't have much strength, he doesn't even have any awareness! He thinks he's so strong, but in the end, he's going to realize how much he's overestimated himself," she complained with furrowed brows.
"Perhaps Brother Lu has his own plans," Zhan Kongning responded helplessly.
Zhan Hongsheng was about to speak again when she saw two green-robed men walking towards them, one tall and the other short.
The taller between them was a long-haired man with a cold face. A short spear was attached at his waist, while a long one was strapped to his back. His appearance was handsome but cool, as if he was icy to anyone he saw.
From afar, upon sight of the Zhan siblings, a trace of joy flashed across the long-haired man's eyes, but was immediately hidden.
When they were close
"Brother Fang, I hope you've been well." Zhan Kongning took the initiative to greet him.
Although the other party was also at Six-Vein Level just like him, their actual strength differed depending on the power of the sect's secret arts. Such a difference could in fact even be as much as the difference between Vein-count. That was the case between the Prime Devil Sect and other sects.
First seats of sects in the middle and upper three grades typically had cultivation based between Six to Seven-Vein Level. Since the difference between Vein Level was not significant and the amount of time they spent in this stage was long, first seats compared themselves with each other using finer grades.
Between Six and Seven-Vein Level, they further split these two levels into three stages: ordinary, established, and top-notch first seats.
These three stages were graded based on combat record and reputation.
The present Fang Tan was a legitimate established first seat. Whenever his name was mentioned, other sects would comment honestly: "This man's pretty strong. He's not a mediocre person."
And this was the result of his many years of hard work after entering the Wisdom Light Sect.
"Senior Apprentice Brother Fang, it's been a long time." Zhan Hongsheng mouth turned into a starstruck smile as she walked up to him.
"Hongsheng, how many times have I told you, just call me Brother Fang." Fang Tan kept on his poker face, but inwardly he smirked.
"My bro's right beside me. He'll get jealous if I call you 'brother'." Zhan Hongsheng giggled.
Zhan Kongning rubbed his nose helplessly.
"Oh yes, Brother Fang, I heard that your opponent this time, Wu Haozi, has achieved a breakthrough. You've got to be careful to defend your previous ranking."
"Wu Haozi, eh?" Fang Tan's face remained placid. "Against him, three spear strokes are enough." His face was cool as a cucumber, reeking of the aura of an expert at the top of the world. "But he can be proud of himself. Not many among the middle three grades can take three spear strokes from me," he said softly.
Beside him, Zhang Hongsheng stared at him with eyes of worship and adoration.
"Senior Apprentice Brother Fang's the true pro, unlike some others"
"Oh? Is Hongsheng talking about the man who just left?" Fang Tan's eyes glinted.
"That's the one. That Lu Sheng from the Prime Devil Sect, a barbarian from the North he thinks he's such a big shot. In my view, it's going to be tough for the Prime Devil Sect to keep its place," Zhan Hongsheng continued with a spiteful pout. "My bro's been doing so much to help him, yet he's not appreciative at all. The Prime Devil Sect's already is ruins, I wonder where he gets his self-confidence from."
"Is that so?" Fang Tan's face was impassive, but he took a mental note of Lu Sheng's name.
Hey dear readers! Sorry for the wait again... as those of you in our Discord server would have heard, ive been in military reservist training for the past week... in fact, I still am, but I managed to squeeze in some pockets of time during the training to push this chapter out.
Our new translator has been working on a batch of chapters which should be ready soon! In fact, the next chapter may come from the new translator! Stay tuned :)