The day of the tournament quickly arrived.
“Alright, let’s go to the arena,” The Grand Elder stood outside the inn and said to the people behind him. However, he wasn’t only talking to the disciples participating in the tournament such as Qian Yu. Besides them, each disciple was also allowed to bring with them, their friends and families and as such Sun Hong, Zhen Yue, and Zhao Xieren were there as well. Bai Jia still had the status of an elder so she naturally tagged along as well.
The sun had barely climbed past the horizon but as they arrived at the arena, lines of people were already waiting outside, stretching miles from the large arena.
Fortunately, a special entrance was given to those like Qian Yu and the Grand Elder led everyone inside.
The arena was nothing like the one in the Ice Arts Sect. It was a grand one, capable of hosting millions of spectators. The walls were tall with 4 large layers of seatings for the spectators. The furthest away from the stage were the seats at the top. Meanwhile the lowest layer provided the closest and most upfront view, and as such, it was specifically reserved for those with special circumstances or statuses.
Meanwhile, the battle arena was a simple one, consisting of a large singular stone platform.
“This is our area,” They had arrived at a special area of seats, separated from the other seats on the bottom layer. It wasn’t completely private as there were a couple special private booths in other areas of the first floor but still, it was extremely large and easily able to accommodate over a hundred spectators.
“Come come!” Zhao Xieren had instantly ran to get some seats.
“Alright alright,” Qian Yu said as he took a seat next to her. There were about 10 rows of 10 in this area and Zhao Xieren had chosen the seats in the back. Undoubtedly, she had taken into consideration the envious stares of the others they had received already.
Still, as long as they didn’t act too intimidate they wouldn’t attract too much attention.
“Are you nervous?” Bai Jia had sat down next to Zhao Xieren. Unlike before at the sect, only the early stage foundation cultivators would be fighting today.
“No, not really,” Qian Yu shook his head. To him, the tournament was merely something to measure and test his own strength and there was nothing on the line.
“I believe that Master will do well!” Zhen Yue cheered from the right of Qian Yu.
“Mhm, we have trained him plenty over the last few days,” Sun Hong said as she stared at the battle arena with a hint of envy.
Continuing talking, they waited for the arena to fill up. Before long, spectators started filling in the 2nd layer, followed by the 3rd layer and finally the 4th layer. Robes of all kinds and colors were seen throughout the seats.
Finally, a man, somewhat familiar to Qian Yu, walked onto the stone platform.
“Welcome, welcome everyone!” The man said as he enhanced his voice with qi. He looked to be just a few years older than Qian Yu in terms of mortal looks but he seemed very charismatic and comfortable in front of the arena of spectators.
“He’s the crown prince,” Zhao Xieren whispered to the others who didn’t know.
“Ah… we saw him before,” Qian Yu remembered he had done a small speech for the winter hunt.
The chattering died down as the crown prince started talking.
“I’m Xia Shuren, the crown prince of the Xia Empire and in charge of overseeing this event. Visitors from elsewhere, I welcome you all for being here. We have a few sponsors and special guests here to celebrate this event,” Xia Shuren smiled at the audience.
Waving his hand towards one of the private booths he announced, “From the Jiang Empire, we have the second princess, Jiang Wuying.”
A young girl with beautiful long black hair walked out from the private booth wearing a red dress that had fire markings and drawings on them. With a smile on her face, she gave a few waves to the audience, stirring up cheers.
“Jiang Wuying! Jiang Wuying!! Jiang Wuying!!!” The audience roared seeing the beautiful princess.
“Look at his smiling face,” Bai Jia stretched her hand behind Zhao Xieren pulling Qian Yu’s cheek.
“Ow ow! She’s pretty but that’s not all that’s important!” Qian Yu stopped clapping and averted his gaze from the princess.
“Hmph! Good!” Bai Jia strictly said.
The crown prince continued introducing the representatives of the two other countries. Up next was Chen Cheng, the crown prince from the Chen Empire. Donned in a set of armor, he was a man with short messy hair, bulging muscles, and a large torso. His gaze wasn’t too warm and his countenance didn’t change at all as he looked across the spectators.
Following him was Yuan Feng, the third prince of the Yuan Empire. He wore an elegant robe with white and green layers and his hair was neatly tied with a golden hairpin contrasting the man from the Chen Empire.
“Lastly, we also have a special guest this year,” Xia Shuren said as the audience finished cheering for Yuan Feng.
“He’s a very important figure from the Western Continent. Please welcome the Holy Son of the Temple of Light, Yang Li!” the crown prince waved his hands.
A person walked out from another private booth. He had on a very light yellow robe. It was simple in design but it had many layers to it, making it not seem so normal. A small crown and hairpin tied his long hair while a white cloth covered everything below his eyes.
The arena was completely quiet and even more quiet than when Xia Shuren was talking. It wasn’t because of his status or anything but as the audience observed the person, they realized that there was an oddity. His clothes and everything was fine but it only took a quick glance to realize that his hair was golden yellow.
“What the…?” Qian Yu couldn’t help but mutter. Sun Hong had a pretty rare hair color being dark red but golden yellow was at a completely different level.
Yang Li didn’t seem too bothered by the audience’s reaction as he closed his eyes and gave a small bow.
*Clap clap,* Xia Shuren started clapping seeing that the audience was still silent.
“Yang Li!” it took a few seconds but the audience nonetheless started clapping and cheering.
Yet, a small handful of people weren’t clapping. While Qian Yu had clapped and cheered for the other representatives, his hands stopped before they could make any noises.
“Oh my god!” “He’s staring at us!” A few of the other Ice Arts Sect disciples around Qian Yu and the girls said.
“No… he’s staring at us…” Qian Yu whispered quietly.
“Yes, he has always been looking at us- no, specifically you,” Sun Hong added.
“You’re right…” Qian Yu took a few seconds to remember. He had been too distracted early to notice but Sun Hong was completely right. Since he had left his booth, Yang Li had never changed his gaze and had always looked directly at Qian Yu.
A sudden shiver was sent through Qian Yu as he looked at the booth that Yang Li had retreated to. With his face being covered so heavily and knowing almost nothing about him, Qian Yu couldn’t help but have a bad feeling.
“Do you guys know anything about the Temple of Light?” Qian Yu asked the girls.
Everyone shook their heads besides Bai Jia, “I know a little bit. It’s the strongest and largest sect with hundreds of thousands of cultivators in the Western Continent. The Temple of Light is run by the Yang Family and this Holy Son is the successor to become the next leader. In a way their organization is similar to the Wang Family in the Dark Empire. The main difference is that the Temple of Light isn’t as aggressive and oppressive to the extent of controlling the whole continent.”
“So he’s like a crown prince too?” Qian Yu asked.
“Correct. I don't think we need to be too worried though. The Temple of Light takes their reputation very seriously and I have never heard of anything bad about the Holy Son. Maybe, it’s just a coincidence he was staring at one location,” Bai Jia continued.
“Alright... that’s fine then. There is nothing much we can do anyways,” Qian Yu sighed.