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 Chapter 78: Rules

Translator: Novel Saga Editor: - -

"Brother Jin, why are you so interested in Shi Mu? He's very strong... but I don't think that he's worthy of so much of your attention... right?" Huo Mao asked in a flattering tone.

"You don't know anything. He looks like an ordinary person, but I know that he had secretly participated in the talent test of the Hall of Magic a month ago. He passed the test... and he's an official magician-practitioner now. And, it's been reported that his talent is extraordinary," Jin Huan's eyes flashed as he spoke.

"Magic skills?"

Huo Mao was taken aback.

"The word about this matter hasn't spread yet; other groups don't know about it. So, we - the Holy Spirit Association - should take advantage of this opportunity; we should try to find a way to pull this person into our group," Jin Huan spoke in a whispering tone.

Huo Mao nodded in agreement as he understood Jin Huan's plan.

"Fortunately, Shi Mu is familiar with only a few people in our Sect. Interestingly, all these people are connected to us. It's great that you are on good terms with him. But, we have to make sure that no other group can take him even if we fail to draw him into our group," Jin Huan devised after a thought.

"Yes. I request Brother Jin to feel relieved... and leave the rest to me," Huo Mao nodded as he replied.

Jin Huan gave a nod, and exchanged a few more words with Huo Mao. Then, he departed.

Huo Mao felt relived as he gazed at Jin Huan's receding figure. Then, he noticed Shi Mu emerge from the valley; he held a steel blade in his hand... casually so.

Huo Mao forced a smile on his face, and strode forward to meet him.

*** ***

Huo Mao and Shi Mu arrived at the valley between the eleventh and twelfth mountain peaks.

A circular plaza with an area of 30,000 square meters was situated in the midst of the valley's trees. Ten rings had been arranged in the plaza.

The plaza was crowded with more than a thousand disciples. The black-attired disciples were gathered around the ten rings. The loud noise of their chatter resounded endlessly.

Shi Mu possessed incredible eyesight. So, he could see the competing disciples in the ten rings even before entering the place. He could also see the disciple who stood on the side of each of the rings. These disciples wore the uniform of the Black Demon Sect; the word 'junior' was embroidered on the cuff of one of their sleeves.

These junior disciples seemed to be the referees of the matches.

The sound of the cheering of the surrounding people was bursting out of the plaza; the atmosphere had become extremely fervent.

This enthusiastic atmosphere didn't leave Shi Mu unaffected; he became eager to take part in the competition, and decided to put his strength to test.

"This small competition is organized every three months for the primary disciples. Disciples of higher ranks don't participate in these matches. The main goal of this competition is to determine the ranking of the primary disciples. It can be considered to be a warm-up before the annual competition," Huo Mao stretched his finger, and pointed at a figure as he spoke.

Shi Mu's eyes followed the direction of Huo Mao's finger; he saw a several feet high gigantic black stone monument that towered on the other side of the plaza. The entire surface of the monument was covered with small silver characters.

Shi Mu focused his spirit power in his eyes. And, he could clearly read the silver characters written on the monument; even though they were hundreds of meters away. These words were the name of the participants.

Shi Mu became curious when he saw this. He thought that it was the first time that he had seen the ranks for the primary disciples.

The names of the participants twinkled with a silvery light. The topmost name was 'Duan Qian Li'; it was followed by several people's names.

"Can Brother Shi read the names on the monument from here?" Huo Mao asked; he was astonished since he saw Shi Mu looking eagerly at the stone monument.

"My eyesight has always been better than ordinary people. So, I can read the names on the monument vaguely. But, they would appear clearer once I get a little closer to the monument," Shi Mu chuckled as he explained.

They chatted as they entered the plaza. Huo Mao pushed through the crowd as he led the way. Then, they finally arrived at the stone monument.

Hundreds of disciples had already gathered around the monument. Most of them were primary disciples who had entered the Sect with Shi Mu.

Shi Mu raised his eyebrows as he noticed Lan Feng; she was surrounded by several disciples. And, she looked extremely confident. She seemed to have made good progress in the Blood Dragon Gang.

She had become a popular and influential figure among the new disciples. The surrounding people looked at her every-now-and-then as they discussed about her in whispers.

Shi Mu glanced at her, and then turned his eyes towards the stone monument.

"Does Brother Huo know the person named Duan Qian Li... whose name has been written at the top of the monument?" Shi Mu narrowed his eyes as he looked at the topmost name on the stone monument.

"Brother Duan? He's a mysterious guy; he seldom makes a public appearance. I haven't seen him many times... but I heard that he had made his breakthrough to the Hou Tian middle stage in the last annual competition. It's reported that he is a wind element magician-practitioner," Huo Mao replied after a thought.

"He cultivates both the magic and martial arts at the same time?" Shi Mu felt a chill in his heart. He had never thought that his situation would be similar to a guy who holds the first rank among the primary disciples.

It seemed that one's strength could significantly increase... if one's martial arts techniques and magic arts were synchronized in an appropriate way.

"Our Sect arranges a Xian Tian level expert and a few junior disciples to organize, and judge these matches. But, it seems that the Xian Tian master hasn't yet arrived," Huo Mao looked at the platform near the stone monument, and noticed an empty purple wooden seat.

"Brother Huo, I've entered this Sect very recently. So, I'm not familiar with the rules of these matches. Can you please enlighten me?" Shi Mu pondered for a moment, and asked.

"Hehe... Certainly! You know that there are a large number of primary disciples in our Sect. Now, the old primary disciples have come to know each other pretty well during the previous year. So, they don't challenge each other unless they are confident. So, the rules of the competition are simple... The first day of the competition is reserved for the new primary disciples... they are to challenge each other. The next day involves the new primary disciples challenging the old primary disciples. The third day is fixed for challenges among the old primary disciples. There's no limitation on the number of arts and weapons that one can use in this competition. But, there shouldn't be a threat to the life of one's opponent. So, the strongest person wins..." Huo Mao explained the rules of the competition in detail.

"Ah... so, that's how it is..." Shi Mu nodded.

"It's nothing... Brother Shi, you don't have to be so formal. Well... as per my understanding... our Sect has enrolled four groups of new disciples this year; your group is one of them. So, there should be around 300-400 primary disciples. Today is the first day of the competition. So, I might get to see you in the ring..." Huo Mao beckoned with his hand and said as a thought crossed his mind.

Suddenly, Shi Mu's eyes fell on the bottom of the stone monument. He saw several hundred names written in red color; they had been separated from the silver names. He noticed that his name was among the last 100 names; these names seemed to belong to the new disciples.

"Brother Shi, those who defeat the old disciples in the second days' matches would be upgraded in rank... and gain a handsome reward... But, I suggest that you don't think of challenging the old disciples... Everyone knows that the new disciples don't have any chance of a victory against them. Anyways, I've heard that Brother Shi is extremely strong. But, you must remain cautious throughout the fight. If you wish to gain any advantage out of these matches - focus on defeating your own peers to hit a good rank. You must know that our Sect rewards the top ten new primary disciples," Huo Mao said.

"Thanks for the advice, Brother Huo." Shi Mu nodded with clasped hands as he pondered over Huo Mao's words.

"Haha... Brother Shi, you don't need to be polite.... just consider my words as wise remarks," Huo Mao laughed.

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