Written by Tinalynge & Blue Jay
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Luo Xiao was declared the winner of the battle, and once more left the stage.
He did not sit down and observe the battles this time. Instead, he began cultivating. It was vital for him to restore the energy that he had just used if he wanted to have a chance of continuing in the tournament.
Fortunately, there was a quite long time between the different tournament rounds, and Luo Xiao was capable of refining the heaven and earth essence into spiritual energy within moments.
He was an Astral Soul, and thus, it took him a longer time to refine the energy. The energy of an Astral Soul was immensely pure, so pure that there could be found no imperfections within the spiritual energy at all, but the cost of this was the long time it took to refine the essence.
While most ordinary cultivators only needed an hour or two to reach their peak condition fully, it was different for Luo Xiao, who needed three to four hours before his spiritual energy was fully restored.
Fortunately, he did not need a fully restored spiritual energy to deal with the majority of the people who were his opponents. A simple Soul Reaping Palm was enough to kick them off the platform.
There were even some experts who forfeited as soon as they stepped onto the arena, and Luo Xiao encountered no problems at all.
After a few days, the top ten from each of the four corners had been found, and out of these ten in each corner, only one had an undefeated streak. In the south corner, the undefeated expert was Luo Xiao, while the expert chosen by the Fourth Prince was also undefeated.
Luo Xiao was not arrogant. He observed the other three different experts and instantly understood that it was not because of luck that they had achieved their results. All of them had a powerful aura around them.
When his eyes landed on the expert that Jiang Luo had sent, Luo Xiao sensed the hostility in his eyes that stared right at him, and he could not help but frown. What could possibly be the cause of this man to hate him so much?
Since he had no way of knowing, Luo Xiao shrugged it off and focused on his body. He had reached the peak condition again, and he was ready to fight in the finals.
The following day the forty people who had advanced all went to the martial arts arena where they would be battling it out this day. This was a special day; the royals should have shown up already, waiting to see the brilliance of them all.
Even Luo Xiao was nervous. He had never seen Jiang Yao in a formal setting before, and he could not help but hold a bit of anticipation.
When he arrived at the platform, he found that the nine demon princes were already seated; the ninth was not participating in the tournament but was there as one of the royals overseeing the progress their students had achieved.
But what truly caught Luo Xiao’s eyes was the silent but gorgeous Jiang Yao.
He was seated on the seventh position, reclining slightly on the chair as he held his head with a hand, his elbow against the armrest.
He looked so casual and carefree, so cold and suave that no one could compete against him.
Every woman who looked at him had their eyes filled with adoration, and some even started considering how to make a chance encounter so that they could leave an impression on him.
The men who saw him were filled with veneration. Jiang Yao was not too old, but he was already the second strongest cultivator within the continent!
No one could hold a candle to Jiang Yao’s popularity. Even Jiang Luo was unable to do so. The truth was that while the more scheming people acknowledged Jiang Luo and thought he had a good chance of taking over the throne, but amongst these young experts, Jiang Yao’s fame was undefeated.
Many of these people had never seen Jiang Yao before. He was an elusive figure, always running around doing his own thing, never the same place for long.
No one had actually thought that he would show up at the tournament, but now that he was there, they were suddenly overwhelmed.
One of the few completely calm people was Luo Xiao. A gentle smile hung on his lips as he gazed on his lover, and a soft flush appeared on his cheeks.
Jiang Yao was looking right at him, and a slight smile crept upon his face, the usually cold and aloof front suddenly seemed much more approachable.
“He looked at me and smiled!” someone suddenly exclaimed out loud, but before she had the chance to say much more, another came in saying, “It was me he looked at!”
It almost turned into a brawl, and the one who caused this uproar, Luo Xiao, just hid his smile beneath his hand.
Then a moment after the tournament was about to begin. Luo Xiao did not notice that another prince was also observing him. Jiang Luo had never before personally seen Luo Xiao, only through paintings, and when he saw the child, in reality, he had to do a double-take. Was this really a human? He was as fair and as beautiful as a spirit.
Luo Xiao had given the Fourth Prince a quick glance, but he feared that the hatred in his body would burst out if he kept looking at him, and thus, he looked away and moved his gaze to a different prince.
The Fourth Prince was the reason his father and friends had died. Although he was also the reason that Luo Xiao met Jiang Yao, he had not forgiven him.
A short time went by while everyone had gathered. The previous loud and boisterous atmosphere was completely changed.
No one said anything; everyone was scared of even breathing loudly.
“Gather!” a loud and booming voice suddenly resounded, and the forty experts from the Sky rank all jolted as they looked towards the place where the sound originated from.
A nobly-dressed man was standing on top of the center stage. When looking at him, many were unable to recognize him, but suddenly someone whispered, “The vice-principal!”
Since the place was so quiet that one could hear a pin drop, everyone listened to this whisper, and their behavior became even more rigid and worried.
As a student of the academy, the principal and vice-principals were both entities that they would only see a couple of times throughout the many years they studied there.
They were acknowledged powerhouses and someone that was not dealing with the everyday tasks.
It was clearly only because of the royals that the vice-principal had arrived. If they still did not appear when the Emperor himself and his nine royal princes showed up, then it would be a lack of respect.
No one dared to delay, and they all stepped forward the stage, gathering as they had been told to do.
“Now we are going to have a knockout tournament,” he began explaining. “Here, not everyone will battle one another, and those who lose will be out of the tournament. You only get one chance to prove yourself in front of our royal family, so don’t waste it!
“The opponents will be drawn with lots, so only Lady Luck can help you now!”
Having said this, he stepped down from the stage and moved to stand next to the Emperor. The princes were all seated on the Emperor’s right side, ranged from the oldest to the youngest. However, although there were nine demon princes, only eight were present. The fifth had lost his life previously, and there were many mysteries connected to it.
The Vice-principal stood next to the Emperor on the left side. Truthfully the Vice-principal was very shocked that the Emperor had shown up to see the Sky realm cultivators battle.
These Sky Realm cultivators were the weakest in the entire academy, and usually, they would never be enough to catch the ruler’s attention.
Then a thought suddenly struck the vice-principal. He had heard that Jiang Yao had forced the academy to accept Luo Xiao as a student. He had initially not thought too much because of this, but now that the entire royal family had shown up, were they here for the sake of seeing this young boy?
No, that could not be. If the entire royal family had shown up for Luo Xiao alone, then that was simply just too big a favor!
Unfortunately, the truth was that the Emperor had appeared for the sake of looking at this Luo Xiao. So had many of the princes.
The Emperor was aware of his seventh son’s personality. He was not one to suddenly fall in love, so he wanted to see just who had been able to tame him.
He also wanted to know if there was a way to control Jiang Yao through this youngster.
Although the Emperor was currently the strongest expert on the entire continent, he was not much stronger than Jiang Yao, but his age was much higher.
It was only a question about a short time before his strength would be overtaken, and he was not sure what would happen by then. Would he continue to be aloof from the worldly matters as he was now? Would he massacre the entire royal family? It was hard to say since he was so cold and callous, not at all treating the majority of the royals as his family.
Everyone had their own thoughts as they looked at the batch of youngsters that were standing in front of the stage, but none of them could reject the fact that Luo Xiao was the most outstanding person in the crowd.
He, who previously was sickly and easily overlooked in a crowd, was now glowing with vitality and inner strength. His delicate and attractive features were even more distinct when he was amongst others of his own age, he was like a male fairy that had descended to the mundane world, an immortal surrounded by mortals.
Even the Emperor was stunned. Although this child was weak, so weak that he could be killed with a snort, he was so pure and radiant that one instinctively became fond of him.
The Emperor had seen many things in his life, and when he looked at Luo Xiao, he could not help but frown. Was this truly just a Heavenly Soul? It had all the characteristics of an Astral Soul.
However, hiding the purity of your soul was no easy feat. In fact, he was quite sure that although Jiang Yao was very skilled, he had no methods to do so.
While the Emperor and the princes were deep in thought, Luo Xiao was patiently waiting for his turn to get on the stage. He was completely calm, and his eyes were filled with unwavering determination.
He had not gotten this far to let himself be easily dealt with now. Sighing, he smiled and shook his head. As long as he had faith in himself and his skills, as long as he took every opponent seriously, then he should have a good chance of winning. He was after all an Astral Soul. He had top tier skills. He was High Sky ranked.
Everything was in his favor. If he failed, he was truly embarrassing not only himself but also Jiang Yao. Embarrassing Jiang Yao was something he’d never do, so his fists clenched tightly, and his expression turned solemn.
Time went by, and when they were around halfway through the battles, Luo Xiao’s name was finally drawn.
Taking a deep breath, he got rid of all the emotions that had been stirred within him and focused entirely on the battle that was about to unfold.