You Chi looked towards the crafting area, and announced, "Time's up. Next, we'll be determining the order of the ranking."
"Understood," the elder standing on top of the staircase replied. He looked towards the crowd below, announcing, "We will check each ritual implement to test its strength, and display it before everyone. Then we'll determine the ranking to be entered into the Alchemy Rank. Finally, the ranking will be judged by the City Lord and the heads of the various clans in Alchemy City. Only when there is no more dispute over the rankings will the Alchemy Rank be announced publicly." After he spoke, three elders walked into the crafting area. They started with the competitors at the back of the area. The elders walked up to the first competitor to be tested, asked his name, and then took the ritual implement.
Spiritual Energy and Spiritual Qi flowed into the ritual implement. It was a ruler, colored a bloody red as if stained by fresh blood. When Spiritual Qi flowed into it, the ruler let out a frightening blood-red glow. It possessed immense flaming energy, and the temperature of the surroundings instantly became unimaginably hot.
"It's a ritual implement with top quality offensive power. It may have strong offensive capabilities, but only a single type of attack can be used. It has mid-level offensive martial arts capabilities, and it neither has any defensive power nor offensive Spiritual Energy capabilities," the elder commented. The other two elders checked the ritual implement too, and they did not dispute his judgment.
Afterward, they began to test the second ritual implement. It was a clock with mid-level offensive martial arts capabilities, defensive capabilities, and offensive Spiritual Energy capabilities. It was evidently a very well-crafted ritual implement.
"Impressive," many people praised. It was impressive that a ritual implement could be so well-balanced in its capabilities. Even though the ritual implement was judged as being only of a medium level, it was still a very well-crafted item nonetheless.
The City Lord Office was very strict when it came to the judging of ritual implements. While these ritual implements were all noble-level items of the highest quality, they would still be separated into the following four grades—lower-level, mid-level, upper-level, and superior-level. If not, it would be very difficult to judge the differences between all the ritual implements crafted here. After all, the hundred people here had all created top quality noble-level ritual implements.
The ritual implements went through the elders' tests one by one, and countless gazes were fixed upon them. As the elders checked the power of each ritual implement, eventually an upper-level ritual implement emerged. Lv Wei presented a ritual implement that had upper-level offensive martial arts capabilities, upper-level offensive sorcery capabilities, and mid-level defensive capabilities. It was a very well-rounded ritual implement.
Then, the elders came before Luo Fan and Xue Ye. Luo Fan was still sitting on the ground while Xue Ye had lost consciousness. Since his life was not in any danger, he was left in the crafting area to await the final results.
"This ritual implement has a Life Spirit integrated into it. It's a treasure book that contains many techniques. Please have a look at it," Luo Fan reminded them gently. The elders nodded. Taking the ritual implement, they injected their Spiritual Energy and Spiritual Qi into it. Immediately, the pages of the treasure book released a dazzling glow. Immense power flowed from each page in the book. In no time, the elders announced the results of their judging.
"This ritual implement possesses a multitude of offensive techniques. It has upper-level offensive martial arts capabilities, upper-level offensive sorcery capabilities, upper-level defensive capabilities, and upper-level offensive Spiritual Energy capabilities," the elder announced.
At the elder's words, there was a flurry of discussion. This ritual implement had upper-level capabilities in all aspects. These two were just beginners in the art of crafting ritual implements, yet they had crafted a powerful ritual implement that was balanced in all aspects. If they were to train for a few years, they could potentially become highly skilled.
Ye Futian clenched his fist lightly. His Older Brother's ritual implement had achieved an upper-level grade in all aspects. Hopefully, that would be enough to help him win first in this Alchemy Conference. He wouldn't have risked his life for nothing.
Throughout the whole process, You Xi stared at Xue Ye. Tears remained in the corners of her eyes, but her expression and gaze became aloof and determined again. One would not be able to tell what she was feeling if not for the tears on her face.
After Xue Ye and Luo Fan, there were many geniuses from Alchemy City who had managed to craft upper-level ritual implements as well. However, none of those could beat the ritual implement that the two had crafted. Everyone waited with bated breath. Even Ye Futian was getting nervous as he waited for a miracle to happen.
"It's Chi Lian's turn now," someone said. Everyone stared at the three elders, who walked before Chi Lian to test the dueling sword before announcing the results, "Superior-level offensive martial arts capabilities and upper-level defensive capabilities."
A strong competitor, many people thought approvingly. A dueling sword with superior-level offensive capabilities was no doubt a work of Chi Lian's. However, it was still unknown if Chi Lian's ritual implement would beat Xue Ye's.
"It's Yu Wei's turn." Everyone held their breath. His ritual implement was a chess set, and the results were: Upper-level offensive martial arts capabilities, upper-level offensive sorcery capabilities, upper-level defensive capabilities, and with the hidden potential for controlled attacks.
Afterward, the elders walked towards Mu Ou and tested the magical orb he had created. The final results were: Upper-level offensive sorcery capabilities, upper-level offensive Spiritual Energy capabilities, with the hidden potential of defensive Spiritual Energy capabilities.
As expected, things turned out the way many people had thought. While Mu Ou was skilled, he was restricted by the limits to his abilities in cultivation. He was not as strong as those top-notch talents, which restricted the quality of the ritual implement he crafted.
Next up was You Tu's Nine Dragon Cauldron. In the end, it was judged to possess superior-level offensive martial arts capabilities, upper-level defensive capabilities, and upper-level offensive Spiritual Energy capabilities. It was even stronger than Chi Lian's dueling sword and had the hidden potential to carry out Spiritual Energy attacks.
The treasure book that Xue Ye and Luo Fan had created was indeed magnificent. It did not pale in comparison to the ritual implement You Tu had crafted.
The last person to be judged was Gongsun Ye. Ye Futian was especially nervous at this very moment. While the ritual implement You Tu crafted had been outstanding, his older brother's creation had been no less impressive. Furthermore, it didn't matter if You Tu came in first anyway. It all depended on that one last person.
Gongsun Ye stood, waiting quietly for the elders to come to him. There was no hint of emotion in his expression. The elders took the scroll he had crafted before injecting Spiritual Energy and Spiritual Qi into it. Instantly, the scroll expanded such that it seemed to cover the sky itself. On the scroll, pictures seemed to come alive, and it seemed like there were matrices within the scroll as well. The matrices swallowed up the Worldly Spiritual Qi in the surroundings, and Spiritual Qi from the seven elements surged into it as well. The three elders lifted their heads to look around at the surroundings, their hearts shaken by the sight.
"This catalog has the power of many matrices that you can combine at will. It swallows up Worldly Spiritual Qi in order to create frightening offensive spells. It even has the hidden potential of a Sage's might within. This is a ritual implement with superior-level offensive sorcery capabilities, superior-level offensive Spiritual Energy capabilities, and upper-level defensive capabilities," the elder declared. Everyone's gaze froze upon Gongsun Ye upon the elder's judgment.
This judgment seemed to have pre-determined the outcomes of this competition. It seemed like Gongsun Ye's ritual implement would undeniably make him the winner of the Alchemy Conference. He would rank first in the Alchemy Rank.
Gongsun Ye's remained unaffected. He didn't feel happy at all, only rage at how Xue Ye and Luo Fan thought they would be able to surpass him just by offering up a Life Spirit to the ritual implement. They were fools on a wild goose chase for success. Gongsun Ye thought that they should have given up by now. Yet he still couldn't find it in him to be happy.
Luo Fan, who was sitting on the ground, smiled. But his smile was somewhat depressed. Looking at Xue Ye, who was next to him, he said, "Older Brother, you put your life on the line in this gamble, but we've still lost." After all, they were only beginners in the craft. Having only started recently, they weren't at all familiar with the ways of crafting a ritual implement. If it wasn't for Xue Ye offering up his Life Spirit to the ritual implement, there was no way they would have come this far. Even then, they still weren't good enough to triumph over that monstrously talented armorer.
"So, they've lost." Ye Futian was shaken. His older brother had gone to such lengths, but still, he had lost. Since his Older Brother was in love with You Xi, it was a loss as long as he had not won first place.
Zhuge Mingyue was somewhat upset as well. When she had first found out about the incident, she had been especially furious. She had never been so furious before. This was because Xue Ye's actions were akin to looking for death. Even her father, who was the head of the Zhuge Family, would not be able to help Xue Ye, much less her. He would not help him either, because with the huge mistake he had made, there was no way the City Lord of the Alchemy City was going to let him off.
And now, since Xue Ye had gone so far with this competition, there was nothing else she could say. In the end, he still had not managed to create a miracle and rewrite fate against all odds.
You Xi's expression was calm as ever. She just stood there quietly.
The three elders were already in the process of creating the first draft of the rankings. They then submitted the draft to You Chi and the heads of the various clans in Alchemy City. After making a few small adjustments, You Chi inscribed the names into the Alchemy Rank personally.
When You Chi stood up to announce the rankings in the quiet space, everyone perked up and listened intently. Every name on the Alchemy Rank could be a future legend in the world of armorers.
Ye Futian didn't bother listening; he was not in the mood. Names were announced one by one, and Ye Futian only began to listen half-heartedly when You Chi was at the last few names. Mu Ou was sixth, Yu Ming was fifth, and Chi Lian was fourth. Finally, it was time to announce the top three.
You Chi looked at the crowd, before announcing, "Third in the Alchemy Rank, You Tu." Everyone was taken aback. You Tu, who was from the City Lord, was only third in the Alchemy Rank.
"Second in the Alchemy Rank, Xue Ye and Luo Fan," You Chi continued. Countless people looked towards the two. Xue Ye and Luo Fan, who were lying and sitting on the ground, respectively, were two bleak figures. Though they had won second place in the Alchemy Conference, everyone only felt an atmosphere of despair about them.
"First in the Alchemy Rank, Gongsun Ye," You Chi continued announcing.
Being first in the Alchemy Rank was an immense glory. One was a shining star in the eyes of others, the next legend of the armorer world. But when people looked towards Gongsun Ye, they could not feel his excitement. Everyone knew that the reason for this was Xue Ye's relationship with You Xi.
It would have been better if he had not gotten first place. Today's events had proven that Gongsun Ye had the abilities to be first in the Alchemy Rank, and he had attained first place, but now that he was first, the woman he was supposed to marry had now publicly revealed that she was in a relationship with another man. How was he supposed to save face now?
Marrying You Xi, the daughter of the City Lord Office, You Chi's daughter, and a talent in her own right, was supposed to be a good thing desired and envied by many. But now, it didn't really amount to much at all.
As a result, this edition of the Alchemy Conference ended on a rather strange note. None of the people in the top three were actually satisfied with their placement. You Tu was probably very disappointed with his own ranking.
"We've now come to the end of the Alchemy Conference. The City Lord Office will be hosting a banquet to welcome our guests from all over the Barren State and the top 100 armorers," You Chi declared. Everyone understood that only top-notch individuals from all over the Barren State would deserve to be invited to the banquet. There was no place for commoners there.
"During the banquet, the top 100 armorers shall receive their just rewards as well. Please follow me into the City Lord Office," You Chi spoke again before he turned to leave in the direction of the Office. The influential characters around him followed after him into the building.
Ye Futian and Zhuge Mingyue moved towards where Xue Ye and Luo Fan were in a flash. You Xi went to go there as well, but she was blocked from doing so by two elders. In the end, she could only turn and go into the City Lord Office.
Upon seeing this, Gongsun Ye's expression turned darker. The two had been in a relationship, and Luo Fan even called You Xi his sister-in-law. Could anything have already happened between Xue Ye and You Xi? He was going to see how You Chi, a representative figure of the Barren State's world of armorers, was going to account for this incident!
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