Having learned of the bad blood between the Ye and Yun clans, Mo Feng kept his relationship with Ye Changxuan strictly formal, choosing to play coy where conversations were concerned. Shortly after the group had reached the top of the steps, Mo Feng excused himself in search of his other acquaintances.
Ye Chen and Ye Changxuan looked at one another and smiled, as if having understood each other's thoughts and proceeded to head towards Yun Castle. After all, there was nothing that needed to be said.
Along the way, Ye Changxuan was greeted by a couple more lords and elder chiefs though they all kept their distance. In some ways, the House of Ye was far stronger than before. On the other hand, many were aware that the clan was an eyesore to the House of Yun. There was no guarantee that they would not wage war against the House of Ye someday. The House of Ye may have grown in power, but against Yun Castle, they remained inconsequential.
On the surface, everyone seemed friendly and good-natured. Deep down, however, many awaited the fall of the House of Ye at the hands of Yun Castle.
The pupils sent by the castle to welcome their guests gave Ye Changxuan and Ye Chen hostile gazes when they arrived. Of course, none of them were able to give the pair a hard time, as they were under orders from the House of Yun to ensure that no disturbances were to happen throughout the period of the martial tournament. As such, they could only grant the two a safe pa.s.sage into the castle.
A sea of people filled the castle floor. Apart from the Eighteen Houses of Lianyun, various notable figures had come to join in the momentous occasion. All in all, it was estimated that there were probably five to six hundred attendees in the crowd.
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Ye Chen scanned the area, there were at least twenty or thirty rank nine combatants present on the floor!
"Let's head over to the East Court, Little Chen. I heard Master Li is there!" said Ye Changxuan as he dragged Ye Chen towards the direction of the East Court.
"Lord Qin, I hope you've been well."
Qin Yu and the rest looked over to Ye Changxuan, all clearly unsure of how to react.
"Greetings Elder Chief Ye." Qin Yu quickly responded. Beside him stood Mo Feng, Yan Yin and the rest.
Looking up ahead, Ye Chen spotted two familiar figures from the crowd. It was Yun Yixuan and Yun Yifei. He shot them a chilly gaze. Even if they were reduced to ashes, Ye Chen would have been able to recognize their faces.
A group of ten plus rank nine combatants gathered outside the court, each accompanied by a youth or two. They were clearly waiting in eager antic.i.p.ation for something.
The doors to the East Court were tightly shut.
"I wonder when Master Li will show himself, it's already been three hours."
"Just be patient."
"I heard Master Li is Master Xuan Yi's favorite disciple, in fact, he's a high-ranking apothecary."
"That explains all the fuss!"
Having eavesdropped on the ongoing conversation between the rank nine combatants, Ye Chen looked over to the East Court. He wondered to himself, what was it that made Master Li so great that a group of rank nine combatants were willing to quietly wait for him? Some had even waited for a few hours and still the doors had yet to open.
"Grandpa, what makes a high-ranking apothecary so formidable?" Ye Chen asked Ye Changxuan. Does having mastery in the art of Alchemy make someone that great?
Ye Changxuan replied, "The role of an apothecary is a rare and highly revered one. Only one in a few million people display an affinity for Alchemy, and even fewer actually succeed in becoming an apothecary. Take Master Li for example. He's only forty-two years old and he has already attained the t.i.tle of a high-ranking apothecary. To be one requires one to be rank nine and above! As a matter of fact, only a handful of individuals out of the billions in the Xiwu Empire has ever refined both their Celestial Chi and Alchemy and demonstrated mastery over them!"
"What else is an Apothecary capable of apart from Alchemy?" Ye Chen probed further.
"Do not underestimate Alchemy. If our clan ever had a low-ranking apothecary within our ranks, the clan's earnings would skyrocket immensely and we would well-respected in Donglin County. If we had a mid-ranking apothecary who could produce medicinal pills like Chi Disposition Pills, Ice Quintessence Pill and so on. Our clan's power would grow significantly. In fact, we would have people begging and promising to do whatever it takes to have some medicine at our doorstep. When that happens, even the likes of the Yun Clan would not mess with us." Ye Changxuan added.
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Who would have thought a mere low-ranking apothecary would command such respect, what more a high-ranking apothecary!
"I am" Yun Yixuan hastily presented himself with a bow.
"Master Li has requested that you send Yun Yifei in," said the little boy as he stepped aside to make way for the two.
"Thank you kindly, little one." Yun Yixuan smiled and responded courteously as he shoved some Chi-ama.s.sing pills into the little boy's hands.
The little boy accepted the gift without hesitation and spoke a little more cordially this time, "This way, Second Lord."
Yun Yixuan and Yun Yifei proceeded to step into the compound.
The little boy turned to face the crowd behind him and exclaimed, "Master Li said to send in Yun Yifei first, as the House of Yun is the esteemed host of the martial tournament. The rest of you may return for the day, we'll reschedule the testing of the remaining candidates to tomorrow. Please take your leave." With that, the doors closed once more.
The news clearly left the crowd utterly displeased, some even begun to whine.
"But we've waited for three hours!"
"Master Li is so inconsiderate!"
"Shh, keep it down, we don't want them to hear our conversation!"
Although the crowd was upset with the outcome, they all quietly left nonetheless. Those who showed up today were clearly hoping they could get their work cut out through a connection but Master Li was only willing to see the Yun clan. Thus, they could only helplessly wait for their disciple's turn tomorrow.
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