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Chapter 187: The Yan and Wu Competition Begins! Great Emperor, I was once your people!
At this moment, a noble young man, surrounded by a few people, approached the team from the Great Yan Empire in a grand manner.
The organiser in the front reached out to stop him.
“Halt! This is for guests from the Great Yan Empire. Show respect and leave immediately!”
The young man stood firm with his hands behind his back and said arrogantly, “I am the third prince of the Great Yan Empire, Yan Xinghe, also the leader of the Great Yan team!”
Among the Great Yan team, everyone recognized him as the third prince and said with a smile, “This is indeed the third prince, let them in quickly!”
After confirming his identity, the organiser let them pass.
Once inside, the third prince immediately gained the support of everyone.
“Your Highness, what have you gained from this Great Wu journey?” someone asked with a smile.
The third prince, Yan Xinghe, nodded and whispered, “I have gained a lot! This Great Wu is like a rumor, with vassal kings, corrupt officials, and the people living a difficult life. It’s like an old, decrepit man, no longer a match for our Great Yan! In a few more years, it will definitely collapse! Then, it will be a great opportunity for all of you to achieve success!”
“That’s great!” everyone was overjoyed.
“Your Highness, are there any formidable talents in Great Wu who pose a threat to us in this battle?” someone asked with concern.
The third prince smiled brightly, “After my investigation, besides Lin Beifan, who has some talent in literary combat, there is no need to fear anyone else! Lin Beifan is just one person, he can’t make much of an impact alone! So in this Yan and Wu Competition, destiny is on our side, and the Great Yan will definitely win!”
“That’s great!” everyone became even happier.
“Just like a lion pouncing on a hare, we must go all out! So, everyone, rest well tomorrow after meeting the Empress of Great Wu, and strive for complete victory in the Yan and Wu Competition!” the third prince said confidently.
“Yes, Your Highness!” everyone responded.
Under the arrangement of the Ministry of Rites, they stayed in an inn. In order to prepare for the Yan and Wu Competition, they didn’t go out for leisure activities and followed the rules strictly.
But in the quiet of the night, a figure floated into the inn and approached a powerhouse who had reached the innate realm. Surprisingly, this powerhouse didn’t notice and continued to sleep soundly.
The figure observed for a while and then left, moving in to observe other innate powerhouses.
After about half an incense stick’s worth of time, they quietly left the inn.
On the second day, the third prince, Yan Xinghe, led the team from the Great Yan Empire into the palace to meet the Empress.
As the Empress watched the outstanding talents of the Great Yan, she couldn’t help but worry.
As the saying goes, “The belly is filled with poetry and books, and the air exudes brilliance!”
Whether a person has talent or ability can be determined at a glance.
These outstanding talents from the Great Yan, with their extraordinary presence and aura, were clearly exceptional individuals.
They have selected talents, but besides Lin Beifan, none of them can fight.
“Will our Great Wu… lose?” Even the Empress herself started to doubt.
However, the Empress didn’t hesitate for too long and said, “Everyone, you have traveled a long way and worked hard. Go back and rest! After three days, the Yan and Wu Competition will officially begin!”
“Yes, Your Majesty!” The representatives of the Great Yan responded.
Turning around to look at the civil and military officials, the Empress glanced at Lin Beifan before leaving.
After the morning court session, Lin Beifan left the palace and arrived at a training ground.
There, five young people were waiting for him, the participants of the martial arts competition.
“Greetings, Mr. Principal!”
“No need for formalities!” Lin Beifan said seriously, “In order to prepare for the Yan and Wu Competition, Her Majesty has entrusted all of you to me for targeted training. Only then can we bring glory to our empire in this battle!”
The participants nodded, their expressions serious.
“Let me introduce someone to you!”
At this moment, the venerable Master Jing Tai stepped forward and said, “Amitabha, greetings to all the participants!”
Lin Beifan smiled and said, “This venerable master’s Dharma name is Jingtm Tai, a grandmaster!”
“Grandmaster!!!” Everyone exclaimed in surprise. That was an absolute top expert in the world!
“Quiet!” Lin Beifan called out, “Jing Tai is already familiar with the techniques and weaknesses of the representatives from the Great Yan in the martial arts competition. So he will provide you with targeted training! I hope you make good use of your time and quickly improve yourselves, not disappointing the grace of our empress!”
“Yes, Mr. Principal!” Everyone became excited.
Having a grandmaster for training was an opportunity that one couldn’t ask for, so they must cherish it!
After dealing with this matter, Lin Beifan left.
Three days flew by, and the highly anticipated Yan and Wu Competition finally began.
The arena chosen for the competition was a massive training ground that had already been prepared.
To reduce noise and prevent external factors from affecting the performance of the participants, as well as to ensure the safety of the emperor and the officials, the arena was not open to the public.
But any significant developments would be immediately reported so that the people could know.
Though they couldn’t see the process of the competition, crowds still gathered outside, whispering and waiting for the results.
“Today is the literary battle. Who do you think will win first?”
“Of course, it’s our top scorer, who is hailed as a literary star in the heavens. Who do you think will lose?”
“You’re right, in the first round, Great Wu will undoubtedly win!”
Inside the arena, the Empress and the officials had already arrived.
With a nod from the Empress, the master of ceremonies announced loudly, “The Yan and Wu Competition has officially begun!”
“First is the literary battle!”
“The rules for the literary battle are as follows: it will be conducted in a round-robin format!”
“In each round, one contestant from each side will compete! The winner stays, and the loser steps down, and so it continues! The competition ends when one side is completely defeated. The side that has contestants remaining will be the ultimate winner!”
“Now, does either side have any objections?”
A person from the Great Yan side whispered, “Your Highness, this move of theirs is targeted against us! They know that we have many talented individuals here, while they only have Lin Beifan, so they want to use him against all of us. It’s quite a far-fetched idea!”
The third prince, Yan Xinghe, fanned himself and smiled slightly, “Don’t worry, let them be. Let’s see what tricks they can come up with! The final winner will definitely be us!”
“Your Highness speaks the truth!” The Great Yan side chuckled.
“We, Great Yan, have no objections!”
“Neither do we, Great Wu!”
The master of ceremonies nodded, “Since both sides have no objections, the literary battle officially begins!”
“The first round—qin (ancient string instrument)!”
“Please send representatives from both sides forward!”
At this moment, a handsome and talented young man walked out from the Great Yan side.
“I, humble as I am, have made some achievements in playing the qin, so I represent Great Yan to compete against all of you! But before the qin competition, please allow me to introduce myself! Your Majesty of Great Wu, may I have your permission?”
The Empress nodded, “Go ahead!”
“Thank you, Your Majesty of Great Wu!” The man straightened his posture and confidently said with a smile, “I am Ding Shaojie, born into a relatively wealthy family! Since the age of six, I have studied and learned to read, studied the Four Books and Five Classics, and enjoyed reciting poetry and playing the qin! At the age of 24, I took the imperial examination and fortunately became a jinshi (successful candidate in the examination), ranking third on the list in Great Yan…”
Everyone was very puzzled. These were things that they already knew. Why was he saying them?
Was he trying to show off?
What a waste of time.
But at that moment, the man changed his tone, “However, I am not originally from Great Yan! I moved here with my father when I was eight years old. It was because I excelled in my studies that I became a true resident of Great Yan!”
There was an uproar in the audience!
The reigning jinshi of Great Yan turned out not to be a native of Great Yan!
This was truly explosive news!
“Then… what country are you originally from?” The Empress’s heart sank with a bad premonition.
“Reporting to Your Majesty of Great Wu!” Ding Shaojie saluted, raised his head with a sly smile, and said, “I… was originally your subject!”
The Empress’s face was filled with shock, as if she had been struck hard!
And the audience erupted in chaos once again!
“The jinshi of Great Yan was actually originally a commoner of Great Wu!”
“And now he is turning against Great Wu!”
The Empress was enraged, her chest rising and falling. She felt a mixture of confusion, regret, and anger, and urgently asked, “Since you were a citizen of Great Wu, why betray Great Wu and serve Great Yan?”
“Betrayal? Where did that come from!” Ding Shaojie blinked mischievously and said, “Your Majesty of Great Wu, do you know why we left Great Wu and went to Great Yan?”
“Why exactly?” The Empress asked again.
“Because we were fleeing for our lives to Great Yan!”
Ding Shaojie’s voice rang out with a hint of hatred, “I was born into a wealthy family, not extremely rich, but had no worries about food and clothing! I thought I could live a carefree life. If I studied well, I might even have the chance to gain fame and serve the court!”
“But then, a corrupt newly appointed county magistrate became insatiable and coveted our family’s wealth! He found excuses to seize our land and property! We endured it for a long time, but he still wasn’t satisfied! To prevent the matter from becoming known, he even planned to kill us. Luckily, we found out in advance!”
Ding Shaojie raised his head and loudly questioned, “If we had stayed in Great Wu, the lives of all thirteen members of my family would be forfeit! I ask, Your Majesty of Great Wu, what would you choose? How would you choose?”
His voice shook the eardrums!
The whole venue fell silent!
The Empress opened her mouth, but it turned into a helpless sigh.
Her hatred for corrupt officials grew even stronger!
It was because of them that talented individuals who could have served the court were driven away!
The Empress solemnly said, “We understand your difficulties! Speak up about the corrupt officials who persecuted you, and we will investigate! If it is true, we will punish them severely!”
“Thank you, Your Majesty of Great Wu!”
Ding Shaojie bowed and said, “However, those are all things of the past that I no longer care much about! If not for those experiences, I wouldn’t have the bright future I have now! I wouldn’t have gained His Majesty’s favor and the opportunity to pursue my ambitions!”
The less he cared, the greater the impact on the Empress.
Because he truly didn’t care about Great Wu anymore.
“And besides, with so many corrupt officials in Great Wu, can Your Majesty really eliminate them all?” Ding Shaojie smirked in triumph, “The more corrupt officials there are, the more advantageous it is for us, Great Yan! Isn’t that right Your Majesty of Great Wu?”
The officials rebuked, “Outrageous! You must not show disrespect to Her Majesty!”
The Empress weakly waved her hand, “Let it be, we, Great Wu, should be tolerant! Let the competition begin!”
At this moment, it was clear to everyone that the other side was deliberately undermining the morale of Great Wu!
Moreover, they succeeded, and the morale of Great Wu had fallen.