Caitian Addresses the Nine Teams
A refined man in his thirties ascended to the ring and nodded to Luo Ming prior to saluting the audience: “Ladies and gentleman, please let this one speak first.”
“Would you happen to be All-Knowing Scholar of the Nine Provinces – Jin Caitan?”
“You recognise me?” The scholar on the ring responded, seemingly unable to understand the reason for the laughter. “Patriarch Luo asked this one to host and referee Refining Divine Convention. Please pardon him for any amateur mistakes,” Jin Caitan added with a bow.
Six Harmonies Scholar, Jin Caitan, was called an all-knowing scholar because he was erudite on many topics, but most importantly, he had eyes able to identify every style in existence and a mouth that could accurately reveal the level of combatants or spell the end of someone should he ever choose to divulge how to exploit someone’s style. His knowledge didn’t stem just sticking his nose in books but also in actually viewing fights across the land. This was why he was a credible pundit on martial arts as well as the most popular referee in the Nine Provinces.
Aside from his membership of Gold and Silver Sect holding him accountable, Jin Caitan insisted on exercising faithfulness and impartiality irrespective of who he was dealing with, let alone bribing him. Nobody would suspect foul play if he was trusted to referee and judge matches, so there was hope that they could behold some true fights worth the trip.
“Please allow this one to begin with explaining the rules first.” Smiling amicably, Jin Caitan informed, “Today’s tournament consists of two rounds. Matches will be conducted as three way matches, with one individual representing one group. They will then go on to fight until there is only one victor. The last man standing among the three finalists will be crowned the final winner.”
“How are you conducting three on three matches if there are eight sects in total? Is that two three on three matches and then one on one bout? It’s not fair.”
“It is,” Luo Ming avowed.
Jin Caitan signalled for Luo Ming to take over.
Luo Ming brightly elaborated, “Luo Clan will also partake in the tournament.
That explained why there were nine pavilions, each spaced apart at varying distances, next to the ring that could fit dozens of contestants from the finalists behind the curtain between matches.
In response to the protests of in-house fixing, Luo Ming debated, “My clan is one of the Seven Champion White Princes. We established ourselves with our swords. Are we not qualified to participate when you are? Furthermore, this is a rule of Refining Divine Convention. You want my clan’s weapon without passing our test? This one never claimed Luo Clan wouldn’t participate. There is no deceit in any shape or form.”
“… We can accept your members participating, but we cannot accept you participating in consideration of your prowess and that you are the organiser of this tournament. Never has a host fought in a tournament they organised.”
“Worry not. This one will not partake.”
“That’s more like it.”
“Wait, Young Master Luo is also an organiser, so he can’t be permitted to compete, either.”
“Of course. Have you forgotten what the rewards up for grabs are? This one’s children cannot compete” Luo Ming, needless to say, was referring to the fact that the winner would get to marry one of his kids.
Of the nine groups taking part, every group was allowed to dispatch a number of contestants of their choice under the condition that they offered a tribute – from the pool of fifteen weapons they won in the preliminary tournament. Not accounting for the contestants’ weapons, they would have to offer seven weapons up each time they entered the arena. If they lost, they’d have to offer the big cauldron the weapon they wielded as material for the ultimate weapon. In other words, each sect could only send out two contestants. For the second round, though, they didn’t require any weapon offerings.
Since there was no strict stipulation on when teams could send their contestants in, it wasn’t a violation of the rules if they sent two members in to outnumber one opponent from another group. That gave hope to smaller groups that would prefer to not to take on Wudang or Wutong Jin Yuxuan solo. At the end of the day, makeshift teams couldn’t compare to teams that had trained together.
Because of the rules in the first round, there was a probability where two of the three finalists being from the same team existed. Nevertheless, they still had to duke it out until there was only one man standing.
“… Thirdly” – Jin Caitan raised a finger – “First, if you die, you lose. If you are still standing when your opponent perishes, you win.”
In other words, Luo Sword Manor was going to allow fights to the death, surprisingly.
“Second” – Jin Caitan extended a second finger – “You can win or lose by ring out. Third, this one’s decisions will not be questioned. Having judged thousands of fights, he has never made a wrong call. Whether you win or lose, this one knows. To prevent unnecessary bloodshed, this one will have the final say.” Jin Caitan’s third rule counteracted the license to kill without consequences.
“We shall now welcome our contestants.”
The curtain rose, revealing Moyan Xiuluo’s predatory sneer and his two allies. Elder Shou was a bag of mysteries as usual, smiling as he enjoyed nips of tea. Venerable Mianhua recited a sutra to himself. Yu Feiyuan couldn’t enter the ring even once because she had her juniors return the weapons to their respective owners. Kuang Lu joined Mount Lu Sword Sanctuary as one of them. Xiao Nantian and other bandaged warriors from the preliminary tournament only needed some snacks for a complete cinematic experience.
Owing to what transpired yesterday, Dugu only recovered about 50% of his usual level. On top of that, he was concerned about Emperor Yuansheng and Green Prince. Long Zaitian was irate he couldn’t call in his Qilin Guards to maul Luo Ming.
The person who stood out most, nevertheless, was Su Xiao as he was the only one representing Mount Daluo.