The first round of the Alchemy Conference ended, and only about 3,000 people were left within the vicinity of the Alchemy Pillars. Most of the participants were eliminated in that round. While many who made it there were capable of crafting superior noble ritual implements, it was another story to be able to do so within the time of an incense burning.
The requirements for crafting such items were tremendously high, as the process of melting the materials required for crafting the ritual implements was already very time-consuming. If the fires used were of insufficient heat, it would be impossible to melt the materials down within said amount of time.
Many among the audience came to notice Xue Ye and Luo Fan. Those two behaved very peculiarly. However, as none of the participants were common folk, nobody said much. So long as everything was done without violating any of the rules, there would have be no trouble for anyone.
"Split up and take your places," the elder at the stairs said. 3,000 people split up to take their spots within the vicinity of the Alchemy Pillars. The space between one participant and another became noticeably wider, and it became far easier to track everyone. Everyone on the grandstands and the seats above the stairs was able to see every single participating armorer. As such, no one would have been able to escape the scrutiny of the top-class figures above the stairs.
"You all will be given two hours in the second round to craft your item. Anyone capable of crafting top class noble ritual implements will be allowed to remain. Begin now," the elder announced. While the time given in that round was considerably longer, the requirements also grew considerably higher. Top class noble ritual implements were required, and that would serve as a watershed as it would be a reliable measure to determine the overall standards of the master armorers.
All 3,000 participants began working at their craft. They then seemed to be more careful as the crafting of ritual implements carried a certain risk of failure. If they were to craft a top-class noble ritual implement within two hours, the wiggle room for errors was incredibly small. Everyone needed to give their all while being incredibly careful in their respective tasks.
"You Tu is indeed the heir of the City Lord Office. Great demonstration of crafting there. It isn't every day you see a master at work at such a young age," Yan Jun commented as he looked at You Tu from above the stairs.
"Gongsun Ye is doing well himself. That is some incredible fire he whipped up. His speed at melting down the materials is second to none," Di Kai, head of the Emperor Family, quipped as he looked at a slender young man at work. The young man was incredibly composed and he had great prowess at controlling fires. Furthermore, the fires he conjured were very fearsome. Not only were those top genius armorers exceptionally adept at the art of armorers, but they also possessed incredible prowess in related areas.
Gongsun Ye, You Tu, Chi Lian, Yu Ming, and many others had great reputations, especially Gongsun Ye. He was so well known that he was deemed second to none; even one as formidable as Di Gang of the Emperor family.
Alchemy City was like a world of armorers in itself. Gongsun Ye's formidable prowess at the art would have earned him incredible prospects if he were to work and study under You Chi of the City Lord Office.
"Mu Ou is incredibly adept. Too bad he is so old now," someone quipped as he looked at Mu Ou. While his capabilities were undeniable, his talents were limited, and as such, his achievements paled in comparison to others. True top-class master armorers were required to have exceptional cultivation talents, for they would not have been able to reach the pinnacle otherwise.
You Chi was ranked eighth in the Barren Sky Ranking due to his incredible talents in both cultivation and armorer talents. It was also the very reason that he was able to become a symbol of Alchemy City.
The spectators scanned the armorers at work, and some mighty ones took notice of Xue Ye and Luo Fan, wearing peculiar looks as they did so. "Just what the hell are they doing there?" Many others turned their attention to those two as well. They saw Xue Ye going all out with crafting matrix patterns while Luo Fan kept dumping materials into the furnace to be melted. The furnace looked like one meant for cooking, and both did not look like they knew what they were doing. It looked as if they only knew the theories of crafting ritual implements, but had not done so themselves.
"Was that how they made that thing?" Many had bewildered looks on their faces. From the looks of things, what they crafted was not some peculiar invention, but proof of their ineptitude at the art. They were totally inexperienced at crafting ritual implements and were only able to follow what they learned from books to the letter, with the end product being some junk of unknown use or origin.
Chu Ji of the Goddess Pavilion chuckled as she said, "I never knew there would be some interesting ones among the participants."
"Are they seriously participating in the competition knowing only that much?"
Are they really coming to participate in a grand event held only once in ten years, armed with such amateurish skills at the art of armorers? Are they really hoping to make it to the top hundred armed with such mediocre skills?
Ye Futian heard the voices from above the stairs far away. He was speechless, thinking of how people had taken notice of his seniors' ineptitude.
"You have to give it to them, though. While they may know nothing about crafting ritual implements, they are nonetheless good at what they are doing. At the very least, that fire is indeed something, and that ability at making matrixes is decent. If those two really dedicate themselves to the art of armorers, they might actually be something in years to come," someone commented with a smile.
"What they are doing now serves well to entertain the spectators, I'd say. But to really compete in the Alchemy Conference with those skills? They are asking to be insulted," Di Kai said plainly as he watched those two buffoons moving about. Just what were those two doing at the Alchemy Conference?
"The Alchemy Conference is an event where all who are adept at the art of armorers are welcomed to participate. It is no surprise that you find all sorts of people here."
Zhuge Mingyue and Zhuge Canyang said nothing. Xue Ye and Luo Fan visited the Zhuge family before. They were never seen doing anything in public; they were not top-class figures. As such, it was only natural that no one knew them, and no one knew of their connection to Zhuge Mingyue.
"They're geniuses," someone was heard saying. Many turned to look at the one who gave the comment: Ye Futian. He added with a smile, "They know little about crafting ritual implements, so it is a given that they are amateurs who just got acquainted with the art. But it is remarkable to see someone able to go that far while they are still new at the art. I'm not an armorer, but I can see that they are geniuses that you don't see every day. If they were to dedicate themselves at honing the art, they would one day become one of the top armorers."
Many looked at Ye Futian with their mouths ajar. Many were ridiculing their level at the art, yet Ye Futian went calling them geniuses.
Geniuses like that exist?
Ye Futian paid no heed to what the spectators' thought about anything. Regardless of why Xue Ye and Luo Fan were participating in the Alchemy Conference, and their utter ineptitude displayed in the competition, Ye Futian ignored the ridicule of others. It was, after all, his seniors, who were competing, and he felt compelled to side with them.
Di Gang looked at Ye Futian and said plainly with a smile, "So, you are a genius like that?" He heard from Di Zhou a few days ago that the party from the Holy Zhi Palace led by Ye Futian defeated Li Futu and his people. As such, Li Futu was deemed a loser for fighting that battle as soon as he got there. The Holy Zhi Palace was known as the sacred ground of the Barren State, and the likes of Bai Luli had emerged from there. Ye Futian was able to reign supreme as the champion of Law Battle three years ago as a Grade Nine Noble. It was a given that he was seen as an exceptional being. However, Di Gang believed that he would be the one who shined the brightest in their generation, even compared to the likes of Bai Luli and Ye Futian.
Ye Futian turned his eyes to Di Gang. He never saw Di Gang before, but he was able to see the arrogance and contempt in his eyes. It as if he was an ant to be stomped on.
Ye Futian smirked as he guessed the other party's identity: Di Gang of the Emperor family, the one with the most exceptional talent in all of the southwestern region.
"I'm not an armorer," Ye Futian replied with a smile.
"I heard that Ye Futian from the Holy Zhi Palace was able to merge everyone's spirits into one with just a single song. The champion from the Law Battle in the Holy Zhi Palace three years ago, and one who is adept in many fields," Di Gang continued.
"I'm doing okay." Ye Futian kept the smile on his face.
"It is a pity, however, that a jack-of-all-trades will easily become a master-of-nothing. Why not dedicate all your efforts into perfecting one area instead?" Di Fang added, "Just like those two. They may have exceptional talents at the art, but entering a competition with skills means that whatever they craft will be junk."
"How is your little brother, Di Zhou?" Ye Futian asked with a smile.
"He is doing okay. While not very exceptional, one can say he is still a genius," Di Gang replied.
"Di Gang of the Emperor family is indeed humble." Ye Futian smiled and continued, "While I train in many areas and I'm not a master in any of them, I'm still able to beat the geniuses you speak of. Even in their respective areas. As such, thank you for your concern but it won't be necessary. You need not concern yourself with the armorers either. I suggest you focus on your own matters."
Many turned their attention at the two young men and looked amused. One was the brightest star within the sphere of influence of Alchemy City, while the other was a renowned figure in the Holy Zhi Palace. It was apparent from their words that sparks were flying between them.
What Ye Futian meant was obvious. What Di Gang said to be junk was still better than whatever his little brother would have been able to come up with. As such, it was best for Di Gang to stop sticking his nose into other people's business and focus more on his own people.
Ye Futian still wore a smile on his face. While Di Gang was known to be the most talented in Alchemy City, the other party was someone who came from the Holy Zhi Palace, and that meant there was no place for Di Gang to throw his weight around. The very reason why Ye Futian brought Di Zhou into the conversation was because he was unhappy with Di Gang insulting his seniors in front of everyone. Since Di Gang was not being nice with his words, it was only natural for Ye Futian to retort with a sharp tongue.
"What do you mean?" Di Zhou, who was behind Di Gang, asked with a cold look, knowing well that Ye Futian was insulting him specifically.
"The Alchemy Conference welcomed anyone who called themselves armorers to participate. The results of their work would then be measured with set rules, and there is no need for others to be noisy about their performance. Furthermore, since when is a noble qualified to judge anyone who participates in the event?" Ye Futian elaborated with a smile, and many around them looked stunned. Is he trying to confront Di Gang right here and now?
"Furthermore, they are my seniors," Ye Futian said with a smile. Many turned their eyes to the two at work as soon as Ye Futian spoke, before turning their eyes back to Ye Futian. Ye Futian looked composed. The well-known young genius of the Holy Zhi Palace declared those two to be his seniors with pride, without any regard for their foolish and inept performance. It was easy to understand why Ye Futian retorted. So that is why…
"Are they from the Holy Zhi Palace?" Di Gang asked with a funny look on his face.
"Seniors before I entered the Holy Zhi Palace," Ye Futian replied.
"Interesting." Di Gang smirked hearing Ye Futian's reply. "It's a pity that your plane is a little bit on the low side." If Ye Futian's plane had been somewhat higher, equal to his, things would have turned out more interesting.
A chuckle was heard from somewhere. Many turned their attention and saw Zhuge Mingyue's beaming smile, and she said, "That guy became a Law Battle champion as a Grade Nine Noble, went to rank tenth in Law Rank as a Grade Eight Noble, and had the Alchemy Casino pay a hefty price as a Grade Four Noble. If his plane were any higher, would there be anything left for other nobles in the Barren State? What do you think, little brother?"
Zhuge Mingyue smiled at Ye Futian. That rascal sure learned the annoying habit of defending one's shortcomings from the cottage well.
Many turned their eyes at Zhuge Mingyue and came to understand something. Rumor had it that Zhuge Mingyue came from the Eastern Barren Territory and Ye Futian was his little brother in training. With those two who were competing in the Alchemy Conference being Ye Futian's seniors, it would then stand to reason that they were her juniors. The 'little brother' part practically gave their relationship away, and it was no surprise that she showed up then.
So that line 'would there be anything left for other nobles in Barren State,' would also include Di Gang then, eh?
"Interesting. Since we have the Alchemy Conference going on, how about we add a martial arts competition to it?" Chu Ji chuckled. "There sure are a lot of young proud sons and daughters from all over Barren State here today."
"Martial arts competition?" Di Gang smirked. Given his current plane at cultivation, he deemed it rather pointless to join a competition meant for those of his generation.
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