Chapter 294: The Finish
A silence like that of death. The originally lively hall had in an instant become totally quiet. The flickering bright red glow on the examination machine flashed on the faces of everyone, imprinting a comical dullness.
Ao Tuo watched the flickering monitor with a stunned expression. His heart, which felt a little helpless at Xiao Yan's earlier performance appeared to have undergone a drastic change. Having the ability to refine the 'Black Iron Spiritual Leaf' for eight times was something that could be comparable to some alchemists who had just entered tier four. It should be known that with Ao Tuo's flame controlling ability, he could only refine the ingredient nine times...
TL: Peak of tier three -> Start of tier four = large jump like Dou Shi to Da Dou Shi
However, Xiao Yan was actually able to achieve this stage at such an age. He was afraid that this training talent could only use one word to be described: Monstrous!
Ao Tuo had never underestimated Xiao Yan's talent for refining pills. However, Xiao Yan's performance had still let him understand that his high regard for Xiao Yan was still low...
"It appears that this fellow already possesses the ability to take the test for a tier three alchemist. Ah, he hides it really deep, causing my old self to be so alarmed..." Ao Tuo muttered in his heart. He eyed the calm face of the young man in front of him and shook his head with a bitter smile.
Within the large hall, the silent atmosphere persisted for a long time before it finally and gradually eased up. Numerous different gazes that contained respect, curiosity, envy, etc, were repeatedly shot at the skinny back. Currently, there was not a single person who dared to display the kind of eyes they used when Xiao Yan had entered some time ago.
The Little Princess bit her red lips while the shock in her eyes was slowly withdrawn. Her gaze swept over Xiao Yan. When she recalled her attitude from before, some helplessness and anger flashed across her eyes. "This fellow purposefully hid his strength to let people look down on him. Is he a masochist?"
Of course, with the ability that Xiao Yan had currently displayed, Little Princess could naturally only say these words in her heart. She clearly understood that with her earlier attitude, she had definitely caused Xiao Yan to feel some dislike for her in his heart. Therefore, she did not choose to immediately step forward to apologize and curry favor. Although Xiao Yan may be an outstanding seeded competitor who had strength, it was not sufficient for her, as the little princess of the imperial family, to humbly try to befriend him... However, honestly speaking, losing the chance to cross arms with such an outstanding person caused Little Princess to feel a little bitter in her heart.
While Little Princess was quietly thinking to herself, the handsome face of Liu Ling by her side alternated between being dark and clear. His eyes stared at the flickering red colored score. Seeing his manner, it appeared that he was highly doubtful of the authenticity of the examination machine. Nine points. Heavens! That was higher than him by a full two points! This was something that the proud boned Liu Ling had some difficulty accepting.
Everyone in the hall had different expressions under this shocking results and they were all extremely interested now.
Qie Mi Er coughed gently and woke up everyone from their dull state. His eyes gave a complicated look as he eyed the young man with an ordinary appearance. A long while later, he sighed and said, "Ah, it looks like I am really old. I nearly... but young friend Yan Xiao hides his ability really deeply. With this ability of yours, the tier two badge on your chest is somewhat incomparable with your status."
After this somewhat terrifying grade of Xiao Yan, the manner in which Qie Mi Er used to address him also began to have some changes. Regardless of Xiao Yan's actual strength, just this display of ingredient refinement was something that an ordinary alchemist could not do. Moreover, Xiao Yan's current age and potential was the true reason for Qie Mi Er to really view him seriously. At around the age of twenty, he was able to refine the 'Black Iron Spiritual Leaf' eight times. It was likely that even Gu He back then could not do such a thing?
And... most importantly, just what kind of strength did the teacher behind Xiao Yan had if he was able to teach such an outstanding student?
Clearly sensing some faint attitude change in the other party's tone, Xiao Yan calmly smiled. "Deputy Chairman must be joking. I am only a little good at controlling flame. The others are not worth mentioning."
After this test which had shocked the entire place, Qie Mi Er would naturally no longer believe such words from Xiao Yan. He smiled with assent, merely thinking that Xiao Yan was just trying to continue hiding his ability.
"Old Ao, you have very good vision..." Qie Mi Er turned his head around and patted the shoulders of Ao Tuo who had recovered from his shock as he said with a smile.
"This has also far exceeded my expectation. I did not expect that in merely a year, this little fellow had improved to such a stage. Back then, when he was taking the test for a tier two alchemist in my association, he was very far from what he is now. This improvement speed really leaves one speechless." Although Ao Tuo felt very good because of those old envious gazes around him, he still smiled bitterly and shook his head before sighing.
"Forget it. Let's not bother about this now. We should first announce the results of the test." Ao Tuo rubbed his white beard. He saw Xiao Yan's calm face and did not continue to be entangled by this issue. Instead, he voiced a reminder.
"Do we still need to announce it? Yan Xiao's grade is the best. Liu Ling is second, followed by Yue-er. Other than those people who did not met the requirement, the rest can be considered to have passed." Qie Mi Er smiled, immediately turned around and faced Xiao Yan and his competitors. He said seriously, "I would first like to congratulate those who have passed the association's internal test. Tomorrow will be the time when the test starts... all of you should be clear that in such a grand meeting, there will be some outstanding alchemists from other countries beside the alchemists from our country participating. Similarly, their ability cannot be underestimated. All of you should do your utmost best to suppress them. Otherwise, if the alchemists from another country were to take the champion of our empire's grand competition. It would really be embarrassing..."
Being placed with this large hat of bringing honor to the country, some of the young men who had not yet seen the world immediately felt their blood boil. An excited orderly response echoed throughout the entire hall.
With both hands lazily inserted in his sleeves, Xiao Yan indifferently watched some of the young people around him whose emotions had soared. Other than Liu Ling and few others, most of the alchemists had varying degrees of excited redness on their faces.
The corner of Xiao Yan's eyes glanced at Liu Ling's somewhat gloomy face. The corner of his mouth was lifted. Clearly, this guy was still bearing a grudge over having lost to him in the test.
Xiao Yan's finger randomly flicked in his sleeves. This passionate speech of Qie Mi Er did not have the slightest effect on Xiao Yan. Although his current age ought to be when young people were extremely frivolous, it appeared to be very difficult to find such a thing on Xiao Yan...
Were it not for him having some interest in the reward for the champion spot, it was likely that Xiao Yan would not participate in such a Grand Meeting. Rudely speaking, it was none of his concern whether it was a competitor from other countries or this empire became the champion.
Standing on the high platform, Qie Mi Er slowly swept over the competitors below whose enthusiasm had soared. When his gaze was shifted to Xiao Yan, he was momentarily stunned. Immediately, his eyes narrowed. The value he attached to Xiao Yan in his heart had also become much greater.
"This little fellow is really not simple..."
If it was someone much older who possessed such a calm manner, Qie Mi Er would not feel anything inappropriate. However, a person around twenty years old ought to be at the stage where one was a wildly arrogant and an uncontrolled young man. However, Xiao Yan had a mental strength like an old man who had experienced worldly affairs for a long time. This could not help, but cause people to treat him with great attention.
From how Qie Mi Er saw it, Xiao Yan already possessed some ability and his character had far exceeded the basic requirement. He had already met the two most important conditions to become a strong person. Him growing stronger was only a matter of time.
"Once I return, I must definitely let Ao Tuo tell us more about Yan Xiao's background. If things are done appropriately, this little fellow may well be another Pill-King Gu He. He might even... have the possibility to exceed him." Qie Mi Er muttered softly in his heart.
"If he really does possess this potential, we must definitely not let such a talent fall into the Misty Cloud Sect or those other strength's hands this time around..."
As he thought in this manner within his heart, Qie Mi Er no longer procrastinated. He waved his hand and smiled as he said to everyone, "Haha, alright. The test is over. Everyone please take your leave. Remember the starting time of the Grand Meeting tomorrow. Do not be late because of anything!"
Hearing this, everyone in the hall faced the group of association elders on the high platform. They bowed before scattering.
"Ke ke, Mister Yan Xiao. I did not expect that you would have your skills hidden so well. Liu Ling really admires you." Just as Xiao Yan wanted to follow the large human crowd to leave the hall, a laughter caused him to knit his eyebrow together slightly and pause his footsteps.
He tilted his head to see that smiling Liu Ling and said faintly, "I was just lucky. There isn't any hiding of skills."
"Mister Yan Xiao still keeps such a low profile. Ke ke, I think that you should have used the 'Heavenly Flame' during the test, right?" Liu Ling laughed. Although the truth was in front of him, he still did not quite believe that Xiao Yan completely used his own strength to obtain such a result. Recalling the matter about the 'Heavenly Flame' back then, he became much more relieved. From how he saw it, Xiao Yan should have used the 'Heavenly Flame' during this test in order to obtain such an outstanding result. If it was like this, he should be about the same as Xiao Yan if he used his hidden card.
When a person who had always been called a genius all the time suddenly met a person of similar age who actually far surpassed him, he would find many different excuses in order to put up a facade that this new person was really just like anyone else. This was all in order to show that he was not weaker than the other person.
Xiao Yan glanced at this handsome young man who was naturally blessed with good looks. He naturally knew the meaning contained in the other person's words. Immediately, he smiled in a somewhat ridiculing manner as he said softly, "Mister Liu Ling. Just treat whatever you say as correct. I don't have any opinions..."
Xiao Yan did not have any intention to argue with Liu Ling. This was because he thought this was extremely silly. Since the other party was willing to believe his own wild imagination, he would just leave him be. The final truth would give him a few violent tight slaps. Saying anything to him now would only cause him to think that Xiao Yan was acting. Since it was so, what else could Xiao Yan say?
After saying the sentence, the corner of Xiao Yan's mouth contained a mocking smile as he directly walked out of the door under the presence of Liu Ling's cold gaze. After which, he disappeared from Liu Ling's sight.
With a gaze that contained a coldness, Liu Ling stared at Xiao Yan's disappearing back. He pursed up his lips into a thin line. Clenching his fist, he softly and coldly laughed, "What is there to be proud of? The competition in the Grand Meeting does not merely test how to refine the ingredients. Wait until the Grand Meeting. I will let you know that other than the 'Heavenly Flame', everything else about you is basically worthless!"