The starlight was like water, and the curtain of night was tranquil. Great Chong Island’s several tens of thousands of people waited for the results with bated breath. Several knells of a bell signaled the end of the court examination’s first round, but the true examination had only just begun.
Emperor Tang immediately dispatched people into the Pagoda Basin, charging them to search for dead warriors. Every single one of the rest of the defeated warriors left the basin with their heads lowered in dejection.
The two dozen simultaneous smoke signals made Tang Mingshi realize that obstructing Chen Mo’s advancement was already very difficult. However, he still had a bit of luck that he looked forward to, hoping that his thirteenth prince could bring him a pleasant surprise.
Tang Yunshen had received high regard ever since he was little from Emperor Tang. In the imperial family, his cultivation was second only to Crown Prince Tang Feng, but his talent was magnitudes greater. In a different time, he could have ascended the throne.
Emperor Tang had already secretly promised that if Tang Yunshen was able to stop Chen Mo’s progress, then he would be made the future emperor.
Several thousand bodyguards flooded in and out of the Pagoda Basin, and the statistical results were compiled very quickly.
After he learned that Chen Mo’s name was not among the dead, Emperor Tang sighed heavily. As expected, he was still defeated. As for the rest of the dead warriors, Emperor Tang already had no interest to listen, not paying attention to the deaths of several of the princes.
“Jiang Yanyu, We already exhausted everything to help waste Chen Mo’s strength for you. Let Us see the results of your cultivation from the Inner Star Field. Do not disappoint Us!”
Emperor Tang said to himself.
“Of the three thousand six hundred jinshi, more than four hundred have died, and more than two thousand seven hundred were defeated. The approximately five hundred warriors remaining have entered the next stage.”
Very quickly, everyone waiting outside the Pagoda Basin obtained the results of the court examination’s first round.
Some people were mournful, others elated.
The families of the dead warriors were grief-stricken and heartbroken, that their blood would abruptly end here, that more than a decade of effort had turned to dust, that even the chance to re-enter the Divine Warrior Examination in the future was lost. Family members who did not catch sight of the bodies of their warriors were secretly delighted that their kin had finally entered the next round and obtained a ranking, but they were also worried.
Everyone knew these statistics were only based on the number of bodies. In past Divine Warrior Examination, there were many warriors who vanished without a trace during the first round. If these warriors had not been devoured completely by Demon Beasts, then their bodies would have been disposed of by other people. The final results could only be based on the second round.
However, there was one thing in this Divine Warrior Examination that made everyone astonished.
The jieyuan of each of the major provinces, such as Ling Kaicheng, Wang Baoguo, Yu Huiling, and other top-notch warriors in the court examination were all surprisingly defeated during the first round, and they had lit their signal beacons. This could be said to be the very first time this had happened.
These elders of their respective families were split between pain as well as secret joy because they were more aware than anyone else the reason for this.
“As expected, Emperor Tang had dispatched more than a dozen jieyuan to surround and annihilate Little Brother.”
Chen Luan sneered when she learned of the results.
The court examination had thirty-six of these jieyuan, and a dozen of them surprisingly were out of the running. It was not difficult to figure out what had happened.
“As long as Little Brother is alright.” Chen Lin wiped his sweat. This Divine Warrior Examination honestly was challenging.
“Right, I heard that Tang Lun has been killed, and that it was done by the Azure Dragon Shredding Wind Claw.” Chen Luan received information.
“Azure Dragon Shredding Wind Claw? Only a few people in the court examination are capable of it.” Chen Lin was taken aback.
“To be able to kill the Tang Family, who do you think it was, Second Brother?” Chen Luan eyed Tang Lun’s family. That prince was in grief as he looked at his son’s body, yet there was nothing that could be said.
Chen Lin chuckled.
There was only one person.
The up-and-coming genius commander of the Azure Dragon Imperial Guard, Tang Yunshen.
“But why would he kill his own family? This is honestly confusing.”
“What other reason is there. Likely, Tang Yunshen was defeated by Little Brother, and he used Tang Lun as a shield.” Chen Luan twitched her mouth, regretful that she was unable to kill that genius.
Chen Lin forced a smile, “Little Brother’s strength is so powerful now. I really am ashamed as his Second Brother.”
Although Chen Lin had Fifth Layer Thunder Tribulation power, his foundations were not at all steady due to his loose natural disposition and frequent visits to brothels. He was far from his Eldest Brother’s Second Layer Thunder Tribulation.
“Ever since Little Qiao1 went missing, you let yourself go, hmph.” The Little Qiao who Chen Luan mentioned was Chen Lin’s old sweetheart, but she suddenly vanished without a trace one day.2 Unable to find her in the entire Great Chong Dynasty, Chen Lin had lost the will to cultivate ever since and indulged himself in debauchery. Every time she saw her Second Brother fall from grace like this, Chen Luan was angry enough to strike him.
“After so many years, you still cannot get over her. She never loved you at all, how do you still not understand. Even Little Brother has already walked out from the shadow of the past.” Chen Luan scolded him.
Chen Lin was solemn, “I won’t from now on.” Pausing, Chen Lin smiled and said: “Third Sister, I see that you apparently have some other feeling for Little Brother. It can’t be true, can it?”
“Just mind your own business. If you keep asking about things between Little Brother and I, even if you are my Second Brother, I will have you know the Flying Luan Sword Chant’s might.”3
Chen Luan coldly said.
Chen Lin sneered. Mother could do nothing to him either.
“The second round of the court examination has begun, quiet down.” Chen Zhangtian rubbed his forehead, finally showing interest.
Faraway, the Seven Treasures Pagoda emitted light. A bell tolled several times, and the sound of dharma resounded.
The Seven Treasures Pagoda’s spiritual power suddenly scattered in all directions encompassing empty space.
Inside the Seven Treasures Pagoda.
Chen Mo and the rest of the warriors held their breath as they waited for the second round to begin.
After several tools of the bell, a Buddhist light appeared in the space before them. Then, an elderly monk walked out.
This monk had always been cultivating in the Seven Treasures Pagoda and was named “Monk Seven Treasures.” He was at least Third Layer Thunder Tribulation, the Fate Realization Realm, cultivation. He assumed responsibility for the Seven Treasures Pagoda’s assessment.
Monk Seven Treasures did not look at everyone. He leisurely waved his hand.
A gold leaf appeared in the hands of all the warriors.
Chen Mo immediately sensed the spiritual power in the gold leaf.
This gold lead was used to record a warrior’s score. All the warriors were to place the Buddhist Seven Treasures they obtained into the gold leaf. The gold leaf would absorb the items and convert into points.
Chen Mo’s Buddhist Seven Treasures were all the best quality, showing a score of twenty-eight points.
The others’ scores appeared one after another.
The other side of the gold leaf was the a warrior’s ranking in the court examination. Chen Mo looked and saw that the top one hundred warriors surprisingly all had twenty-eight points. Thus, they were based on the time of entry into the Seven Treasures Pagoda. First place actually was not Jiang Yanyu, but that Wanshou Temple disciples, Fang Xi.
Second place was Jiang Yanyu.
Some people noticed this and immediately drew breath sharply, as if they did not dare believe that someone could actually pass by Jiang Yanyu, and although Chen Mo came the latest, he was given full marks for this first part of the exam due to his 28 point score and ranked as the last of them.
Chen Mo felt this was fine. If he could not be first, then ranking last was also eye-catching.
Next were the rules for the court examinations second round.
The rules were very simple.
In total, the Seven Treasures Pagoda had seven floors and a roof. Each warrior was required to climb the tower. Each floor had a test, and warriors could ascend to the next floor once they reached the appropriate point score.
If while scaling the pagoda one did not reach the standard level to ascend to the next floor, then they would be disqualified. The Seven Treasures Pagoda’s seven tests had a Vast Desolation Spirit Treasure’s formidable spiritual power. It would be much more challenging compared to before. This ordeal was targeted towards the individual, so there was no way to cheat. To a warrior who did not reach Three Flowers Gathered Overhead, practically each floor was as difficult as reaching heaven. This was also why Xi Wen felt that just finishing the previous phase was satisfactory.
“The first floor is known as ‘ink meaning.’4 14 points is a full score. Those that can reach 30 points overall can proceed to the second floor. If you are finished preparing, then you may enter through here.” Monk Seven Treasures put his palms together. A Buddhist light glowed, like it was a portal to another world.
Fang Xi placed his palms together and resolutely walked into the light. Jiang Yanyu also stepped in.
Following them, all of the warriors impatiently charged into the Buddhist light.
“Your Highness, we shall leave first.”
There was no meaning in lingering here, anyways, so Xi Wen and the others entered the light after saying a few words. Qing Wan stayed last, hesitating as if she wanted to say something.
“If you want to thank me, then just produce a good result.” Chen Mo said.
Qing Wan slightly shook her head. It was unclear if she was saying Chen Mo misunderstood, or if she felt his request was impossible, but the girl entered the light.
Very quickly, the tiny space was left with only Monk Seven Treasures and Chen Mo.
Chen Mo stared at Monk Seven Treasures, secretly using the Bodhi Soul Technique. The Bodhi Treasure Karma in his Astral Stone apparently sensed something, and Chen Mo clearly felt the spiritual power of the entire Seven Treasures Pagoda become even stronger.
“Benefactor, are you done considering?” Monk Seven Treasures’ expression was calm as a dry well, his eyes tightly shut.
Chen Mo secretly suppressed the Bodhi Treasure Karma. He lifted his head to gaze up at this pagoda. Something at the top of the pagoda was calling to the Bodhi Treasure Karma. Could it be that this is the crux of refining this Vast Desolation Treasure? The two of them were both sacred treasures of Buddhism. Or perhaps this was merely their relation to Zen Buddhism.
Chen Mo could not figure it out and was no longer interested in thinking it through.
After he put his palms together in salute to Monk Seven Treasures, Chen Mo entered the light.
Once he entered, Monk Seven Treasures’ ancient aura instantly became lively, as if he had come to life. Monk Seven Treasures opened his eyelids that were like dead wood, revealing clouded eyes. The pagoda’s bells and jade ornaments let out noises one after another, swaying, while the old monk was lost in thought.
Monk Seven Treasures put his hands together once again, and his figure vanished without a trace.
Everything returned to silence.