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Even someone like Zhe Xiu, with a fate that foments heavenly termination and the star of solitude, was shaken by Tang Thirty-Six’s sincere attitude.
He looked at Tang Thirty-Six, wanting to say something, yet didn’t.
But his look made Tang Thirty-Six feel a little hurt; that’s because when Tang Thirty-Six used to see Zhuang Huan Yu or other fellow-students from Heavenly Academy, their look would be more or less the same – he was very certain, that was the look they used when seeing an idiot.
“If you think I’m not suitable, then how about Chen Chang Sheng? I’ve already told you, that fellow is very similar to you, he’s also afraid of death, being especially fussy when eating; you chew 12 times for rice? He’s a freak that needs to chew 20 times. Within the boundless sea of people, being able to find someone so similar to yourself isn’t easy; isn’t that something worth cherishing?”
Tang Thirty-Six excitedly waved his arms as he spoke.
Zhe Xiu remained unresponsive, continuing to eat the provisions that had been provided by Li Palace.
Tang Thirty-Six felt a little forlorn, pointed at the hulking yao youth that was by the woodlands and said: “If you feel that humans aren’t trustworthy, then I strongly endorse Xuan Yuan Po; honest and sincere, a first-class person.”
Zhe Xiu continued to ignore him.
“You’re just forcing me to use the most powerful item here.”
Tang Thirty-Six said: “Your reputation isn’t low; having Her Highness become your friend can be considered well-matched.”
“How about it? I trust you won’t be able to find a better choice of friend, both of you are human yaos (human freaks), no, no, yao humans, with the same life experiences and having met similar problems, upon becoming friends, it’s quite possible you can acquire many benefits from Her Highness; at least, when coming across complications, you can discuss them together, no?”
At this moment, he no longer displayed any signs of being relaxed and transcendent, the traits befitting of a young master from Wen Shui; he was completely the picture of some talented merchant peddling his goods.
Upon hearing the name, Her Highness, Luo Luo, Zhe Xiu finally raised his head once again, looking towards the woodlands, his gaze revealed a complex mood, unknown as to what he was thinking.
As Tang Thirty-Six thought he was on the verge of being successful, Zhe Xiu replied, in a slow, halting manner: “I don’t need friends, only a loner can become strong.”
Hearing those words, Tang Thirty-Six didn’t become angry, instead, he settled his mind, and calmed himself, becoming more solemn.
He stared right into Zhe Xiu’s eyes and said: “Wolves have never, contrary to what people think, been loners.”
Zhe Xiu returned the stare, a sharp gaze lightly evident.
Tang Thirty-Six continued calmly: “The reason why you’re lonely, is because you’re not accepted by your tribe.”
Zhe Xiu’s gaze immediately became cold, akin to a blade that had frozen over.
Tang Thirty-Six acted as if he didn’t notice, and said: “The wolf tribe usually battles as a pack, no? Upon knowing who you are, a lot of examinees were conjecturing as to why you would leave the snow plains, travelling countless miles to the Capital and entering the Grand Examination.”
He continued: “Chen Chang Sheng thinks it’s because you can’t accept being taken down from second position on the Proclamation of Azure Clouds by Her Highness and thus, you want to defeat Her Highness in the examination in order to prove yourself.”
Hearing these words, Zhe Xiu frowned, seemingly surprised with Orthodox Academy’s wariness against himself.
Tang Thirty-Six continued: “Before Su Mo Yu was injured by you, he had said that he believes you simply enjoy battling and that the examination gives you this opportunity.”
Zhe Xiu looked at Tang Thirty-Six and asked: “What… do you think?”
Tang Thirty-Six replied: “Chen Chang Sheng’s concern is fairly logical, but not enough, otherwise, two years ago, you would have long fought your way to Holy Maiden Peak, seeking to cause trouble for Xu You Rong.”
Zhe Xiu shook his head and said: “I can’t defeat Her.”
Tang Thirty-Six was bewildered, discontinuing this line of discourse; he continued talking: “I don’t believe Su Mo Yu’s reasoning to be correct. Even if you enjoy battling and wish to improve yourself in the midst of battle, it will have to be the type of battle where life and death is decided; for you, the Grand Examination shouldn’t be any different from a game; how much appeal can it have?”
Zhe Xiu used silence to convey his agreement.
“Then what exactly do you want? What is your purpose for coming to participate in the Grand Examination?”
Tang Thirty-Six looked at him and said: “Tell me, perhaps I can help you.”
“I… don’t need friends.”
Zhe Xiu’s manner of speaking remained extremely slow causing his speech to feel a little painful for those hearing it. He looked at Tang Thirty-Six straight in the eyes and enunciated each word clearly, saying: “I need… money.”
It was still and calm, a breeze passed by the oilpaper’s edges and caused it to flutter, letting off a small sound, the roast chicken’s oily scent became dampened somewhat.
Tang Thirty-Six didn’t say anything for a long while, because he was dumbfounded.
Leaving the woodlands and coming over to converse with Zhe Xiu, he had naturally prepared himself mentally; no matter what Zhe Xiu wanted, no matter how strange, he wouldn’t feel surprised and would be willing to procure it.
Chen Chang Sheng wanting to obtain first upon the First Banner would require Zhe Xiu’s assistance, for this, even a bigger cost would still be worthwhile for Orthodox Academy.
But he never could have guessed Zhe Xiu would want money.
Within the younger generation of the continent, Zhe Xiu was unquestionably the haughtiest and most solitary youth, yet, what he wanted, was the basest thing in the world.
Tang Thirty-Six spent a long time confirming that Zhe Xiu wasn’t joking and that his words were what he truly wanted, this made Tang Thirty-Six all the more shocked.
“Yes, I need money, a lot of money.”
Zhe Xiu didn’t answer.
A light breeze fluttered the oilpaper; the roast chicken slowly became cold.
Tang Thirty-Six also cooled-down, he looked at Zhe Xiu and said: “I’m very rich.”
Zhe Xiu answered: “I know.”
Tang Thirty-Six asked: “Amount?”
Zhe Xiu said: “Depends on situation.”
After a moment’s silence, Tang Thirty-Six said: “Deal.”
Zhe Xiu looked at him, saying in an indifferent manner: “I also want one more thing, I hope you can give it to me.”
Tang Thirty-Six lightly frowned, asking: “We have that thing you want?”
Zhe Xiu answered: “Yes.”
Tang Thirty-Six stared at him in the eyes and said: “So… your objective from the start, in participating, was Orthodox Academy?”
Zhe Xiu said: “Yes.”
Tang Thirty-Six asked: “Is it Her Highness or is it someone else?”
Zhe Xiu said: “It isn’t you.”
Tang Thirty-Six understood, Zhe Xiu had come for Chen Chang Sheng.
Tang Thirty-Six gave it a thought and then said: “He really wants to obtain first upon the First Banner, so I would think, as long as you don’t want his life, he would be willing to give you anything else.”
Zhe Xiu said: “I don’t want his life.”
Tang Thirty-Six nodded, saying: “Then that’s fine. Once the lot drawing results are out, we will discuss what to do.”
Zhe Xiu didn’t answer, instead asking: “Can I eat it?”
His gaze fell upon the roast chicken.
Returning to the woodlands, upon seeing Chen Chang Sheng and the other’s gazes, Tang Thirty-Six didn’t care about saying anything first, he picked up the teapot and poured himself three cups of warm tea in succession.
It was at this moment that Chen Chang Sheng noticed his back was drenched in sweat and that his forehead was also covered with beads of sweat. Chen Chang Sheng hurriedly took out a handkerchief from his sleeve and passed it to Tang Thirty-Six, then asked: “What happened?”
Zhe Xiu was famous for being cold-blooded and ruthless, but of what temperament was Tang Thirty-Six? He couldn’t possibly be intimidated to this state.
“I was frightened,” Tang Thirty-Six used the handkerchief to wipe away the sweat on his face, he then looked at everyone else, his face displayed a lingering fear.
Chen Chang Sheng was a little speechless, thinking to himself, “what did Zhe Xiu do, to the point of being able to scare you?”
“I’d have never considered it, that the wolf-child could be… a money-grubber”
Tang Thirty-Six looked at all of them while talking, placing additional emphasis on “money-grubber”.
Ignoring just money, it was the love of money.
“How can that be?”
Luo Luo and Xuan Yuan Po both spoke at the same time, they came from the yao domain, where there were a lot of rumours about Zhe Xiu, they couldn’t bring themselves to believe what Tang Thirty-Six said.
“He really just wants money.”
Tang Thirty-Six was slightly annoyed, saying: “If you don’t believe me, then just wait a while and you’ll see.”
Chen Chang Sheng thought for a bit, then asked: “Apart from money, does he want anything else?”
“Yes, he wants something from you,” replied Tang Thirty-Six.
“You agreed to it?” not knowing why, Chen Chang Sheng felt a little anxious.
Tang Thirty-Six replied in a matter of course manner: “It’s not as if he wants your life, why wouldn’t I agree? I don’t think this type of opportunity will appear twice.”
Chen Chang Sheng felt a little powerless, saying: “You don’t even know what he wants, how could you promise him in my place?”
Tang Thirty-Six countered with his own question: “Do you want to take first place upon the First Banner?”
Chen Chang Sheng didn’t even need to consider his reply: “It’s not want to, it’s have to.”
Tang Thirty-Six said: “If that wolf-child doesn’t help, what do you think your chances will be?”
Chen Chang Sheng glanced towards the streambank, Gou Han Shi was currently talking to his junior disciples, perhaps discussing the previous matches between Guan Fei Bai, Qi Jian and Zhe Xiu.
Judging from Gou Han Shi’s face, he was probably giving guidance to Guan Fei Bai and Qi Jian and wasn’t trying to glean anything from their battles.
He looked at Tang Thirty-Six, answering in a slightly uncertain tone: “30 percent?”
Tang Thirty-Six looked at him and snorted: “Can you get any more shameless?”
“Be a little more respectful towards my tutor,” said Luo Luo, rather displeased, she then turned towards Chen Chang Sheng and said, in a rather worried voice: “30 percent… is that a little too generous?”
Tang Thirty-Six laughed uproariously, arousing the attention of many examinees.
Chen Chang Sheng spread out his hands and said: “Fine, if I were to match against Gou Han Shi right now, I don’t see any chances for myself.”
Luo Luo said: “If I can draw him in the need round, Sir’s chances might be slightly higher.”
Tang Thirty-Six shook his head and said: “Zhe Xiu must also battle against him in a match, only then can there be a chance.”
Chen Chang Sheng asked: “Yet, the drawings won’t necessarily match our plans.”
“It doesn’t matter if Zhe Xiu draws someone else, currently, he’s the same as Her Highness, in charge of helping you sweep away opponents.”
Tang Thirty-Six said: “Her Highness and Zhe Xiu are the door gods for you taking first place.”
Upon hearing the words, “door gods”, Chen Chang Sheng thought of the dark underground space, thought of the two legendary Divine Generals that were depicted upon the stone wall and the Black Dragon that was bounded by metal chains; he suddenly felt rather anxious.
“Isn’t it rather inappropriate to have your mind wander at a moment like this?” said Tang Thirty-Six, rather angrily.
Chen Chang Sheng said: “Continue.”
Tang Thirty-Six said: “What I want to say is, for the opportunity to change Zhe Xiu from being the most dangerous enemy into being the biggest aide, any price is worth paying.”
Chen Chang Sheng thought for a while, then said: “You’re right.”
Tang Thirty-Six continued: “Therefore you should thank me. Not just anyone can persuade that wolf-child, conversing with him is very strenuous and tiring.”
“Thank you,” said Chen Chang Sheng.
“Aren’t all of you thinking too much?” Xuan Yuan Po looked at all of them while saying: “You have to defeat your own opponent first, it might be Zhuang Huan Yu, it might be Zhong Hui, it may even be Gou Han Shi you meet in the next round. If you can’t win, even if Zhe Xiu really is willing to help, it won’t matter for us.”
The woodlands were dead silent.
Tang Thirty-Six was slightly annoyed, saying: “A child that is overly honest, will easily cause others to get angry over their words.”
“That’s because an honest child speaks the truth,” said Xuan Yuan Po in a slightly defiant manner.
Chen Chang Sheng looked at the location far beyond the crowd, Zhe Xiu was currently on top of the rock, quietly eating the roast chicken.
“So be it, let’s wait for the results to the drawing of lots before we continue this discussion… additionally, next time, get him an entire chicken to eat, he looks strangely pitiful.”