“What? You will leave this place?” asks Old Zhang, surprised. He and Xing Jue are now inside the hut on the mountain behind Xing Tavern.
“Yes, I need to leave Yunzhong City. I want to temper myself,” answers Xing Jue, gazing toward the distant place that is covered in darkness.
“It is good. You do need to temper yourself, since currently at Sky Martial Continent there are plenty stronger people. After being far away from home just make sure you correct that stubborn temperament of yours,” says Old Zhang with a smile.
After returning to the mountain, Xing Jue told Old Zhang about his strength, but he did not mention about the mysterious old man, after all the fewer people know the better.
Old Zhang Lao is naturally pleased knowing that Xing Jue has reached the Advanced Rank Martial Master level. He looks proud. After all Old Zhang is the one looking after Xing Jue. In his heart, Xing Jue is like his own grandson. For the same reason, when Xing Jue was dispatched by Xing Clan, Old Zhang pleaded to the teacher to accompany Xing Jue, because he was worried about the boy.
“Hey, hey, you don’t need to worry about me,” says Xing Jue with a confident wide smile to Old Zhang.
“You little brat,” replies Old Zhang, helplessly shaking his head. He then laughs at how laid-back Xing Jue is, still carefree about what may happen in the big vast world.
“By the way Old Zhang, it has been so many years for you taking care of me. Let me serve you today,” says Xing Jue. He goes behind Old Zhang, puts his hands on the elderly man shoulder and starts to massage him.
If Old Zhang regards Xing Jue as his own grandson, Xing Jue also thinks of Old Zhang as his own grandfather. All these years he has seen how the old man takes care of him. Now that Xing Jue is going to leave, he worries the most for Old Zhang.
That night Xing Jue and Old Zhang chat for a long time, until late at night Old Zhang falls to sleep.
“Almost time to go,” whispers Xing Jue to himself. It is early morning, and the sky has a faint light in the east.
He quickly turns to face sleeping Old Zhang, takes a deep bow and quietly leaves the place. When he has just left, Old Zhang gets up to the window and sees him off.
“Be strong, my boy,” whispers Old Zhang. He smiles proudly.
Yunzhong City is a Wind Empire medium city, and it is ruled by three Martial Path aristocratic clans. The clans hold convention once every three years to decide who gets the authority over the city for the next three years. It is the most important event in Yunzhong City.
Today, is the day of the Three Clans convention begins.
A lot of people gather in Yunzhong City. Not only the city’s residence, there are also many city's officials and nobles filling up every road. At the center of the city there is a giant sports arena called “The Martial Path Hall”. This is where the Three Clans Convention takes place.
At the entrance of Martial Path Hall, ten huge men are standing neatly side by side. Each of them is an Advanced Rank Martial Artist. All of the high official and noblemen who are invited must have the golden invitation. After it is checked by the men, they can enter the main hall.
Among the large number of people having invitations, a youth draws their attention. This particular boy wears very simple clothes. He also looks so young and doesn’t seem to have any power or influence. After carefully sizing up the invitation that he brings, they find that the invitation is genuine, but they are still doubtful.
“Hey! Don’t you see the gold seal up there? Why must it take so long checking it?” The youth impatiently pesters the men for not letting him pass for a long time. This is Xing Jue, of course.
“Is your name really Xing Jue?” One of the big man asks him, the same question for the third time.
“Should I write it on my forehead or something?” Xing Jue answers sarcastically, staring daggers at the man.
“All right, all right, you may come in,” says the man finally, realizing that there is already a very long queue behind the boy.
At that permission, Xing Jue quickly enters the Martial Path hall. At some time in the past he dreamed to be on this stage. Now that he is actually here, a strange feeling lurks in his heart.
The seats in auditorium are particularly interesting. In front of each seat there must be placed a table, and on the table there are many kinds of fruits and desserts. Xing jue casually finds a spot to sit down, and conveniently takes a fruit to chew.
“Wow, isn’t this Xing Jue? It’s unexpected that a house slave has the qualifications to be here,” says a recognizable voice beside him.
Xing Jue glances to the side and finds a person whom he knows better than anyone else. It is Xing Feng. He seems to already reach Intermediate Rank Martial Master. There are also two familiar faces behind him. A pair of brothers called Xing Shan and Xing Shui, both of them are Preliminary Martial Master. They once followed Xing Jue worshipping him like a dog following his master, but now it seems that Xing Feng is their new master.
“Ahh, yes. At first I didn’t even want to come, but seeing a dirty-wretched boy who sent the invitation personally welcoming me today, is quite worth it,” replies Xing Jue as sarcastic as he can be.
“Damn it, stop being so arrogant! Do you still think you are a genius? Now you are just a worthless slave. Be careful or I’ll throw you out of here!” Xing Shan replies angrily.
“Why don’t you try?” tempts Xing Jue, looking down at Xing Shan.
“You..!” Xing Shan of course will not accept such derogatory manner toward him. However, his body seems to be fixed in place. He can sense some danger from Xing Jue, stopping him to say what he really want to say.
“Xing Shan, you are also a prominent new blood, why should you lower yourself and fight this trash?” Xing Feng says in attempt to counter what Xing Jue said.
“You are so right. He is a trash! Hahaha!” Xing Shan and Xing Feng then laugh together.
Xing jue only gives them a faint smile, decides to ignore them completely and continue enjoying the fruit in his hand.
Seeing how calm Xing Jue is infuriates Xing Feng and the others.
“Humph! Let’s see how long you can keep that charade. Wait until you see how big the gap between us!” Xing Feng roars and turns away to leave. The brothers follow him from behind.
“Those youngsters, don’t you recognize them? It is said that they are the chosen fighters of Xing Clan this time,” says a middle-aged man who sits next to Xing Jue.
“Oh? No, I don’t know them. Hey, Uncle, please pass me the bananas on your side,” requests Xing Jue, pointing at the bananas on middle-aged man table.
The middle-aged man shakes his head and no longer gives any thought on Xing Jue. He passes the bananas to the boy absent-mindedly. He wonders how this glutton gets the invitation.
At this moment, the auditorium suddenly heats up with excitement and anticipation. The high official aristocrats who just now are talking nonsense among themselves, now rush to take their seat. Three high-spirited middle-aged men wearing magnificent clothing take their seat above the platform.
These three middle-aged men are the Patriarchs of Xing Clan, Zhao Clan and Lu Clan, namely Xing Tian, Zhao Shan, and Lu Ming. Each of them is an Intermediate Rank Martial Ancestor.
Beside the three Patriarchs there is a strange old man, dressed in a blue robe. He has an arrogant look and the three Patriarchs act respectfully toward this old man. This makes the crowd murmur, anyone who can make Yunzhong City’s three overlords so respectful must not have a simple status.
After Xing Clan Patriarch enters the position, the selected new bloods from three clans move to their respective clans area. Each clan has selected ten new bloods. They are going to go through a process of elimination. The final victor will get rich reward, and will help the clan exercising the next three years authority at Yunzhong City.
Xing Feng and the brothers are also sitting in the new blood area. Xing Feng looks like he already wins the competition. All other new bloods also have smug faces, but perhaps for them it is alright to be arrogant since they are the strongest new bloods from three respected clans.
“A group of ignorant people,” says Xing Jue with disdain. When he looks at the new bloods he can quickly tell that the ones quite strong are Xing Clan’s Xing Feng and Zhao Clan’s Zhao Zhen. They are Intermediate Rank Martial Master. The new bloods from Lu Clan are the weakest.
“Eh?” When Xing Jue looks to the back of Lu Clan’s new blood area, a youth draws his attention. He is wearing a bamboo hat that covers his face completely. Since Xing Jue is unable to see his full appearance, it is hard to measure his strength, but he must be not weaker than Xing Jue himself. The youth’s stature emits a familiar feeling for Xing Jue, but he can’t really remember.
After pondering for a moment, Xing Jue finally finds the answer.
“Is he really coming back?”
“If it is really him then this convention will be interesting,” he mumbles. The corner of his mouth goes up slightly. He now looks at Xing Feng with pity in his eyes.
Just then an old man slowly goes to the stage and the people gradually quiet down. Although this old man does not come from the three clans, he has a very high reputation in Yunzhong City. He directs the convention every single year. So when he steps onto the stage, all the audience know that the Three Clans Convention has truly begun.