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As time passed, the silence was gradually broken, cries occasionally arose from amongst the autumn woods, it seemed a student of Temple Seminary had entered the proclamation, following this, the crying of a girl could be heard, a senior from the Thirteen Divisions of Radiant Green had fallen from her original ranking of 90 to one that exceeded 100.
In the proclamation’s mid to latter rankings, as it had been for many years, most of the rankers were youths from the Southern Domain, with most of them from the Longevity Sect and Scholartree Manor; especially the Longevity Sect, living up to its reputation as to being the foremost Sect in the world. For the schools in the Capital, including Heavenly Academy, Star Seizer Academy and the three schools located here, their number of rankers combined only slightly edged ahead of the Longevity Sect.
A lot of people unconsciously turned their gazes towards the quiet guesthouse, Gou Han Shi and the other disciples of Li Shan Sect alongside other members of the Southern envoy group were currently staying there – Li Shan Sect was only a branch of the Longevity Sect; everyone knew that apart from Qiu Shan Jun and Gou Han Shi, the other members of the Divine State’s Seven Laws would be listed upon the rankings, the proclamation had just yet to reach their names.
Upon thinking this point, students of Li Palace College, Temple Seminary and the Thirteen Divisions of Radiant Green began feeling a little depressed.
The teachers here were all too aware of the fact that the “blade” of the Longevity Sect was Li Mountain; the Longevity Sect’s strongest youths were all from Li Shan Sword Sect, but this would have been of little comfort for their students; all they could stress was that the cultivation methods of the Southern sects and Orthodox schools were similar in potency, with the Southern Sects concentrating upon building a quick and solid foundation, but for reaching the highest levels of cultivation, they did not show any inherent advantage over the various schools in the Capital, just taking the Proclamation of Liberation as an example, there didn’t exist any disparity in strength between the South and North.
Upon hearing this explanation, students of the Capital were slightly comforted, but they still couldn’t bring themselves to be happy, the Proclamation of Liberation wasn’t really a secret, and hadn’t had an update for many years, therefore couldn’t give an accurate assessment of current affairs; it must be understood, with the early entrance of Qiu Shan Jun and Gou Han Shi into the Proclamation of Golden Distinction, the Southern Sects already had a head start in two proclamations.
Due the current mood, both sides of the divine avenue once again became silent, with an air of tension; the Proclamation of Azure Clouds had already passed the middle rankings, and was starting to proclaim the names of the top 40, this caused not just the hot-blooded students, but also someone as stoic as Su Mo Yu to have trouble keeping their emotions in check.
Only Chen Chang Sheng was seemingly unperturbed by the proclamation, this was because he clearly understood that the proclamation had nothing to do with him; he wasn’t like Xuan Yuan Po, who did not have the need to undergo Purification. Without having achieved Purification, there was no possibility of getting onto the Proclamation of Azure Clouds, even Elder Tian Ji’s own child wouldn’t make the exception.
But this was his first experience of the proclamation, and the first time he had seen such a scene, therefore it was a new experience; looking at the nervous expressions of his peers, he gradually also became nervous, with rising tension amongst other emotions, but this it wasn’t enough to draw notice.
He looked at Tang Thirty-Six and consoled him: “There’s no need to be nervous, as you just said to Xuan Yuan Po, even though this is the Proclamation of Azure Clouds, vying over such a transient position is meaningless, you need to look further ahead.”
It had already been over half a year from when the proclamation was first updated, Tang Thirty-Six had only entered a single battle during the Ivy League gathering and subsequently never had another chance to show his strength. What’s more, in that battle it was clear that his ability was below that of Qi Jian’s, with Elder Tian Ji’s insight, he couldn’t have missed this point.
With this in mind, it was hard to gauge what will happen to his ranking in this update.
“Competing for a transient ranking is indeed meaningless, but I am already ranked upon the proclamation, if I were to drop in the rankings, then wouldn’t I just be an embarrassment? I have to at least maintain my current position.”
Tang Thirty-Six had his usual cool and proud expression, but his thin lips were faintly quivering; he replied very low voice and annoyed attitude.
Chen Chang Sheng helplessly answered: “You’re nervous to this point and yet you don’t think that’s embarrassing?”
Tang Thirty-Six snorted indignantly: “I’ve already said that it’s tiring to feign being lofty and stoic, not to mention…”
He turned to stare at Chen Chang Sheng and said: “How am I nervous?”
Chen Chang Sheng replied: “It’s pretty obvious.”
Tang Thirty-Six’s expression mildly changed, he lowered his voice and said: “Looks like I’m not feigning well enough.”
Chen Chang Sheng lightly lowered his gaze, looking upon his crumpled sleeves and said: “Your hands are shaking rather hard.”
“I’m just bored, I’m the type of person that can even joke with Gou Han Shi, what do you know about me?”
Tang Thirty-Six had a dour expression on his face, his voice was low and hoarse, he furtively placed his arms behind his back.
Chen Chang Sheng only gave out a laugh and didn’t say anything else.
During their conversation, the voice from the Hall of Oration had already reached number Thirty-seven on the list, the next one was obviously Thirty-six; the Thirty-six Chen Chang Sheng was most familiar with, Tang Thirty-Six.
The surname was not Tang, they were not named as Tang Tang and had no relation to the Wen Shui family.
Everyone at the divine avenue turned to look towards Tang Thirty-Six, their surprise and confusion was apparent.
The atmosphere turned a little awkward and strange.
Chen Chang Sheng looked at Tang Thirty-Six, and asked with some worry: “There shouldn’t be a problem?”
Tang Thirty-Six didn’t change his expression, only Chen Chang Sheng and Xuan Yuan Po, who were close to him could make out that his brows faintly twitched.
“It looks like I’ve advanced this time.”
His words were completely lacking in confidence; no matter how you were to analyse it, there was little chance of him not making the rankings, if he wasn’t ranked 36, then he must be ranked higher, yet he couldn’t understand, on what basis would his rank advance? His performance at the Ivy League gathering was not even to his own satisfaction.
The Hall of Oration’s proclamation soon reached rank 33.
Sounds of praise came from the surroundings of Li Palace College, there were even sounds of clapping; Su Mo Yu calmly gave a formal gesture of gratitude. He was surprised that obtaining first place on the second night of the Ivy League gathering didn’t improve his ranking, but maintaining the same position he had at the start of the year was still satisfactory, his main target was the Grand Examination after all.
He looked towards Tang Thirty-Six and gently knitted his eyebrows together, he couldn’t shake a feeling of unease.
“Tang Tang, Orthodox Academy, Rank Thirty-two upon the Azure Clouds.”
Upon that moment, the voice from the Hall of Oration clearly travelled to their location in the autumn woods, causing a ruckus amongst the gathered people, before chatter arose all around, with their shock clearly visible.
Tang Thirty-Six’s eyebrow twitched, “I really hate being called Tang Tang.”
Though his words were as such, he couldn’t hide his delight from showing, delight that also carried puzzlement, he couldn’t understand why he had advanced 4 places. Just as Xuan Yuan Po didn’t understand his inclusion in the proclamation… but he wasn’t going to fuss over these details, his first course of action was to enjoy the glory of his 32nd position.
A ranking of 32 was coincidentally just higher than rank 33 by one.
He looked towards Su Mo Yu, with an expression that carried a sense of laughing yet not laughing; an indescribable animosity.
Su Mo Yu thought back to his words towards the group from Orthodox Academy; even for someone with his type of personality, he couldn’t stop his expression from changing.
He had said to Tang Thirty-Six: “When you rank before me on the Proclamation of Azure Clouds, you can come and tell me that my words today are wrong.” He had also said to Xuan Yuan Po: “Wait till you’re ranked upon the Proclamation of Azure Clouds, then you can talk to me.” Yet, within but a blink of an eye, Xuan Yuan Po had entered the Proclamation of Azure Clouds and Tang Thirty-Six was ranked above him on the proclamation.
The divine avenue was silent, stares of female students from the Thirteen Divisions of Radiant Green towards Tang Thirty-Six became ever more ardent; students from Temple Seminary became more sombre; while students of Li Palace College were like Su Mo Yu, their expressions became increasingly ugly.
“On what grounds did Xuan Yuan Po manage to place upon the proclamation? And how did he manage to pass Senior?”
A student finally couldn’t hold back and started questioning the validity of this year’s new proclamation; to say that no one had dared to question the validity of the proclamation before, meant that no one dared to question it in front of the Council of Divine Ordinance or Elder Tian Ji, privately, there were obviously those who were frustrated and unsatisfied; today’s event was too big of an insult to the students of Li Palace college, causing someone to lose their restraint and openly question the result.
Words full of resentment, like the ones from this student, were out of the reach of the Council, and even if they were to hear of it, it wouldn’t affect them, therefore they wouldn’t go out of their way to provide an explanation.
The evaluation from Elder Tian Ji arrived.
“This child is too lazy, would have otherwise already entered top ten, due to fortuitous circumstance, can no longer be lazy, a blessing.”
Elder Tian Ji’s evaluation for each person that was listed on the proclamation, was concise and simple, enabling those who hear it to understand the reasoning behind the ranking and their strengths, yet for Tang Thirty-Six, there was no mention of his True Essence nor understanding of cultivation, only touching upon whether if he was lazy or not and touching upon something as vague as fortuitous circumstance.
Countless stares came to rest upon Tang Thirty-Six.
As used to feigning a cool and lofty persona as Tang Thirty-Six was, upon receiving such an evaluation from a peak expert like Elder Tian Ji, he could no longer maintain his expression.
He said while being embarrassed: “Not being lazy anymore is enough is it not?”
He understood what the fortuitous circumstance referred to; it was more than likely referring to his leaving Heavenly Academy and entering Orthodox Academy, or more specifically, his chance meeting with Chen Chang Sheng.
With someone like Chen Chang Sheng by his side, how could he continue to be lazy?
Upon thinking this point, he turned towards Chen Chang Sheng and seriously thanked him: “Greetings to Brother Fortuitous Circumstance.”
Upon hearing these words, those that understood its meaning had an immediate change in expression.
Chen Chang Sheng didn’t answer; he was more interested in a different matter: “Does this mean I will now have to call you Tang Thirty-Two?”
Tang Thirty-Six’s expression changed, thinking to himself that he didn’t like the sound of it; he needed to strive harder at the Grand Examination, vying for a better position and name by the time of the new proclamation in spring.
Only… was it going to be the Twenty-eight of the 28 constellations or was it going to be the Twelve from the 12 Knights? Three would obviously be even better, but the difficulty was also disproportionately high; Guan Fei Bai, Liang Ban Hu, alongside that wolf-child of the North were not easy to surpass, after thinking for a time, he suddenly thought of something more important and stopped his line of thought.
He raised his head towards Su Mo Yu, his lips lightly raising and maintaining an expression of laughing yet not laughing and silently said three words.
“You are wrong.”
Su Mo Yu’s face turned green, but couldn’t say anything in return.
A conflict of words between youths can only be considered an incident.
Today, the Proclamation of Azure Clouds was the most important event for the entire continent.
Xuan Yuan Po’s inexplicable entry on the proclamation, Tang Thirty-Six’s advancement of 4 positions to a ranking of Thirty-two alongside the imminent question of a name change; with today’s sudden update to the Proclamation of Azure Clouds, Orthodox Academy was undoubtedly capturing the attention of many people. That academy which had once experienced a pinnacle of glory, upon lying dormant for tens of years, had finally reappeared before the world, who could have expected that its appearance was immediately accompanied by re-found glory?
The sudden update to the proclamation had to be due to a tumultuous change, even if it wasn’t comparable to the world-shocking appearance of Qiu Shan Jun or Xu You Rong, it would still be something that could shock everyone. This type of change could only be something related to the top rankings on the proclamation; upon reaching rank 11 on the proclamation, the news transmitted by the Hall of Oration, had its first bewildering revision.