The time was up and the last trial was over. The participants that were still inside the testing area, were forcefully removed by the teleportation formation that was embedded into the trial area. Even though some of the young cultivators were able to last till the end, not all of them were left with the three tokens. Some of them somehow managed to scrape by while hiding from the stronger participants, hoping to nab a token in the end, but to no avail.
A group of youths was slowly appearing in the large auditorium like room. This was the same room through which they entered into the trial through the large teleportation gate. The number of people that were in this room was a lot smaller than previously. The people that were removed during the trial had already gone back to their hotel or clan members by this point.
The youths from the three clan alliance were there as well, with them all together they finished with about fifty members. This would be considered about half of the contestants in the final tournament. The rest was a hodgepodge of other clans and sects, the people that remained were either very lucky to evade the overbearing three clans, or somewhat capable.
Zhang Xue was standing, just looking around. After the big battle, the youths didn't really have many problems in the trial. They run into some of those puppets and traps while traveling, but it wasn't anything that they couldn't manage. She was walking along with her brother that was getting bothered by the short, tanned girl. This self-proclaimed 'big sister' was quite the oddball.
She looked to the sides trying to find her sibling but spotted her red-haired male friend. Huo Kong looked back at her as everyone was teleported into this area but into random locations. This man had proven to be a good ally to this Zhang Xue so she just smiled at him as he was looking in her direction. The man opened his eyes wider and the young girl could see his cheeks turning into a redder shade.
'For such a big lug, he sure is quite innocent...'
Zhang Xue thought to herself while trying not to laugh. She then spotted her white-haired brother that was inching away from something. This 'something' was a busty looking pink-haired girl, she was shouting something at him while the youth looked like he wasn't sure what to do.
'That girl is sure peculiar... but big brother should take care of that himself... I'll tease him about her later.'
She thought that this Feng Nuana was quite an interesting person. She didn't act as anything that Xue had ever seen, she was one of those eccentric people that she heard about. The small girl was a bundle of energy and apparently had it in for her big brother. She was the strongest member of the Feng Clan so the other girls didn't bother her older sibling. She also scared away any other girls that tried approaching him. Liu's younger sister could only look on from the side and giggle, even if her older brother gave her pleading looks she wouldn't help him out.
Xue moved her eyes to the side, she saw another peculiar thing. It was her senior brother Zhang Tai. He was covered in lipstick marks and his robes looked to be torn. Apparently he had spent the rest of his time in the trial ground running away from a gang of gyarus. The girls were relentless but he managed to safeguard his chastity. The number of girls was probably this large due to not being able to bother Zhang Liu that was occupied by the Feng Clan strongest junior member.
'Senior brother sure is popular...'
Xue wasn't really interested in him that much. She knew that the man was vying for her attention, but she wasn't all that interested. There were a couple of reasons for this, mostly she didn't like his double-sided nature. He was nice to her and all, but when it came to others he quickly transformed into a haughty young master type. He also didn't have the body type that this little sister admired, being more on the toned lanky side.
'Think I just need to wait for one of those Feng sisters to nab him, he looks to be very popular with them.'
Everyone that made it through the lat trial rejoiced, they had made it till the end of the road only about a hundred participants remained now. The people responsible for the last test came out, one elder stepped out as he started talking.
"Any fighting past this point is forbidden, please head through this corridor if you have managed to acquire the three tokens."
The man pointed at a door, if they went through it their tokens would be counted and their names would be recorded.
"If you didn't please use the other passageway, also relinquish any tokens you might have on you. Sharing tokens among yourselves from this point forth, is forbidden. Anyone not adhering to this will be forcefully removed!"
If allies wanted to share tokens with each other the judges wouldn't mind if it happened during the trial. For instance, if three people had one token each, they could hand them over to one person to pass the trial. This was also how some of the contestants made it through, either by making deals or threats which were still approved.
The tired group of youths nodded, the winners went to the corridor to get their names recorder and tokens counted. The losers returned theirs to the judges and left in shame. Everyone that made it through would have a number assigned to them, the tournament was an elimination one. This meant that by winning a fight you would move up in the brackets. This was a different method than what Zhang Dong used to test his fighters before moving on to the secret ground. He mostly did that as he thought that an elimination tournament would have a large luck component to itself.
"Zhang Liu... number 42... Zhang Clan... tokens check out... please take your number and move along."
Liu was handed a number and moved along, from what he knew the actual pairings would be given on the day of the Dao Festival. Papers with the numbers would be put into a closed container with an opening on the top. Someone would then pull them out, making the pairings be random and also give the audience something to look forward to.
"Feng Nuana... number 43... Feng Clan..."
He snapped to his senses, the little girl was still sticking close to him and he wasn't sure what to do with her. He didn't have it in himself to get angry at her and whenever he tried hiding or running, she always managed to sniff him out. In the trial area, he always managed to bump into her whenever he tried to ditch her.
'Think she is sticking to me so closely, so that I don't try to run away... what is up with this girl..."
He was getting concerned, but he only needed to power through this tournament and then he could return back to his clan. The girl was from an allied clan but he didn't think that she should be able to bother him at his home turf. The girl had violent tendencies but he didn't think that she would do anything stupid. While he was thinking the girl in question wrapped her hands around his once again, the familiar feeling of something soft against his arm was felt again.
"Mmm, what is it? No need being shy, I know you like when Big Sis does this, you always get red in the face!"
Feng Nuana proclaimed while tightening her grip on Zhang Liu's arm. The young man went red in the face, while furiously denying this preposterous claim.
"W-who is shy? Who gets red in the face? Let me go this instant!"
He tried shaking her off but the more he moved the more he could see those peaks jiggle. He was still a young man and was quickly subdued by the cute girl's advances. While this was happening he heard a cackle from the side, turning his head he saw a smirking Huo Kong.
"Well, isn't the mighty Zhang Liu quite the ladies' man. Think you and my father would get along."
Huo Kong laughed, his rival looked troubled which instantly made him feel refreshed.
"Just don't forget about the festival tomorrow you two love birds!"
Feng Nuana looked to be happy about being called that, Liu, on the other hand, was fuming from the side.
"Senior brother Huo, should you be saying such things, yourself?"
Huo Kong looked to the side while still smirking, only to catch Zhang Xue's face dangerously close to his when he turned. He instantly backed away while stuttering, the white-haired girl just covered her face with a sleeve and snickered.
"Oh my, the mighty senior is so bashful~"
Kong's face contorted while Liu laughed out from the side, soon everyone left towards the exit with all of their numbers assigned. Zhang Tai was the only one that quickly bolted into the distance, followed by some Feng sisters the girls were apparently still on him.
"Senior Brother Tai sure is popular..."
Liu said while rubbing his head, the shorty that was stuck to his arm was now getting pulled back by the old lady he met in that shop. He was finally free and could stretch out, his arm had quite the girl smell to it now. His sister moved over to him and inhaled, she then poked her own nose.
Zhang Liu grimaced and backed off, his sister was looking at him funny and he knew that she wanted to tease him. The two and the rest of their clan members headed back to their hotel to rest. They had limited free time, they had to recover their used up spiritual energy and heal any injuries they had.
Nothing out of the ordinary happened, the elders escorted their juniors back to their quarters. The real festival would be starting soon and the possibility of getting attacked wasn't nill. There were also rumors about some people having their souls drained, there could be demonic cultivators in this city somewhere. So, they had to be more vigilant than ever.
At the headquarters of the Dark Palm outer sect building, an elder with a crooked nose was standing up straight. Opposite him there was a man with a gem in his forehead, it was glistering with an eery light that was giving the crooked nosed elder the creeps.
"Young lord Kai, the festival will be starting in two days, your disciple already had his number assigned and everything has been prepared for his arrival."
This was the governor as well as the man in the highest position from this Dark Palm outer sect. He was still trying to make a good impression on the young lord, but the man that was standing a bit further back was even more important. Even though Yang Kai had a high position, he was still only a core formation cultivator. The man that was standing in the back was the actual VVIP, even though the man with the gem had a strong backing, the elder behind him was an actual Nascent Soul powerhouse.
"Elder Ming, the auction house is still gathering the items for auction, it will open up in three days..."
The man was worried as he couldn't hasten the auction. That establishment had a strong backing and took a neutral stance. Thanks to this the quality of the items that were put up for sale was quite high. Masers even at the nascent soul could procure worthwhile items for themselves, but this was quite rare.
Even though the Dark Palm sect had a zero-tolerance policy for letting others have heaven grade treasures, it had to allow some powers to sell them. This auction house was a large chain store and was owned by a rather strong clan with their own nascent soul monsters. Even the Dark Palm sect couldn't strongman them around. Still, the auction house was only interested in profit. They didn't care what happened to the item after they sold it. If the Dark Palm sect wanted to chase the buyer down afterward it was up to them. Thus it was rare for people without a backing to go for items of that quality. If you tried it, you'd find yourself on this sect's hit list rather quickly.
"Is that so..."
The man just nodded while leaving the area, the atmosphere got lighter when he left even the man with the gem gave out a sigh of relief.
'Elder Ming is always so calm on the outside... hope everything goes well at the auction'
Yang Kai looked at the elder member from his sect leaving, a glint in his eye.
'Well, if not... then I bet there will be an interesting spectacle to watch...'
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