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Chapter 34 An earth-shattering slap
No one had expected this turn of events. The originally impenetrable crowd backed off instantly, opening up a huge space for them.
Everyone was chattering amongst themselves, discussing where they could be from.
The Fu Yao sect had disappeared for a long time already. Aside from Da Neng, who has lived for probably about a thousand years, very few had even heard of it before. It was a sect that most didn’t understand, yet it was also the same one to draw everyone’s attention with their flashiness on the eastern sea coast so that everyone wanted to know more. At this point, all had heard of the corrupt ways of the sect.
Even though people who were in training should never value the mere wealth of the world, what would the lord of an island’s respect affect that?
Yan Zhengming and the others didn’t come out of reclusion often enough. Right now he and his company had become an annoyance to others.
Chen Qian, who had stepped out earlier, looked no older than twelve. He held nothing but a lonely little wooden sword and looked like a toy figurine, standing there motionless.
People were already beginning to whine in the crowd, “What an arrogant kid. No elders in his sect are going to discipline him?”
Someone else piped up. “What, you haven’t heard that the lord of the island has allowed them to enter the classroom? What kind of sect would allow their own disciples into others’ classrooms?”
“How odd. Why would the lord be so biased?”
“Who knows? The kid’s probably from a rich family, or maybe related to royalty. His family could’ve bought up some expensive artifact to bribe his way into the sect.”
“So they’re just letting anyone in to train now? Is the path of training for any old dreamer now?”
Yan Zhengming was going crazy. He understood it now, Cheng Qian’s supposed methods were all nothing more than flashes in the pan–tricks that looked like they were real, but were anything but.
His face solemn, he growled at him through his teeth. “Cheng…Qian!”
Cheng Qian wasn’t deaf. Of course he could hear others talking about him. He was beginning to understand now–their days on the island wouldn’t be difficult. They were already starting off difficult.
After his initial swagger, payback came too quickly. Cheng Qian almost suspected that the words his master spoke to him when he was boarding the ship were predictive of the future.
Yet things had progressed so quickly…
He hadn’t planned on actually fighting anyone. He was just posing for the thousand or so people on Azure Dragon Island.
For one, his opponent had already fallen, so there was no reason to stir up further conflict. Secondly, he had the self-awareness to know that he was young. Even in the human realm without all these immortals in training, he could scarcely hope to beat a large man in a hand-to-hand fight.
This was when Cheng Qian began to realize that he was between a rock and a hard place.
If he were a bit more socially adept, he might’ve been able to argue the whole thing to a standstill. He wasn’t an important figure by any stretch of the imagination. In height, he barely reached the other man’s chest. Compared with saving face, getting out of here alive was more important–unfortunately, Cheng Qian was never a glib kid.
His mind began to whir with thoughts, reviewing all the moves that they’d exchanged earlier onstage. After that, he not only didn’t back down, but made up his mind and thought to himself, “If we’re going to fight, then let’s fight. Maybe I don’t have a reason to be afraid of you after all.”
Cheng Qian didn’t back down, and ignored Yan Zhengming’s warning. Instead he saluted the rogue cultivator. “I’ve been fortunate enough to practice my swordsmanship from time to time as well, although my skills are by no means refined. My master is still not willing to let me make the switch to steel swords. Still, I’m looking forward to learning from you.”
It wasn’t clear which random sect the defeated cultivator hailed from, but he still handled the whole thing with civility, walking forth to say, “My skills are nowhere near enough to instruct you. If you can stay in the lecture hall without even attending an exam, you must have some unique form of skill.”
The moment he finished his sentence, the people around burst into quiet laughter–probably laughing at how shameless he sounded.
Someone in the crowd who was excited to stir up trouble spoke up. “Sir Zhang, if this boy is brave enough to challenge you, you should be brave enough to accept. If you win, the lord of the island might even pull some strings for you too!”
Huan Yuan shouted out in anger. “And if you lose, kneel down and say–mmph…!”
Li Yun slapped a hand over his mouth, preventing him from causing even more of a riot.
The fallen cultivator raised an eyebrow mockingly. “Hm, what were you saying over there? What should I do if I lose?”
Cheng Qian slowly raised his wooden sword, entering a starting pose. He spoke calmly. “Nothing. My junior brother speaks out of turn, forgive him. Please.”
Yan Zhengming was almost steaming with anger. In the moment, his first reaction was to step forward and yank Cheng Qian back. After a single step, a folding fan suddenly shot out in front of him, blocking his way.