“It’s the Grizzly Bears,” murmured someone from the Aspirations Society. The Grizzly Bears’ arrival instantly changed the once harmonious atmosphere.
The three student societies already in attendance stopped their conversations and locked onto the approaching Grizzly Bear representatives.
Li Hu even reached his hand back, where he kept his axe.
“You’re all here.” Pang Zheng walked over, his face full of smiles.
As he spoke, he even reached out. When he saw this movement, Li Hu took out his axe, only to see Pang Zheng hold out his hand to Ye Zichen.
“We might have had some differences in the past, but we’re all about to head to the Central Divine Mountain together to fight for Skyspan Academy and the Northern Divine Mountain’s glory. I hope that we can set aside our former grudges and unite against our common enemies.”
His smile was pure and open, and his gaze looked utterly sincere. Ye Zichen, Xue Mo, Jiang Yong, and Murong Xue furrowed their brows. They knew full well just what kind of person Pang Zheng was.
There was no way he could set aside his grudge so lightly.
Also, Di Long stood beside him. He was obviously the leader of the Proud Heavens Society, so why was he here alongside the Grizzly Bears?
“Surprised, aren’t you?” Pang Zheng noted their expressions, then stepped back, putting Di Long in the forefront. “Di Long recently left the Proud Heavens Society and joined our Grizzly Bear Society. He did this to ensure that our sharpest possible fighting force goes to the Central Divine Mountains. You ought to know that we’ll be facing geniuses from all the Divine Mountains, as well as experts from the Yao and Demon Realms. DI Long is, after all, fourth on the student leaderboards… No, he’s fifth now. Brother Ye, you took fourth place.”
“Still,” Pang Zheng continued, “Di Long is still one of our academy’s top fighters. Wouldn’t it be a pity if we didn’t send him out to fight? Also, Brother Ye, I ought to congratulate you: it’s your first time on the individual leaderboards but you’re already in fourth place. Your speed is even more dazzling than Jiang Wei’s was, back in the day.”
It was as if Pang Zheng had become an entirely different person. Or rather, he hadn’t changed at all.
He’d always seemed upright and orthadox, and as if he treated everyone with sincerity, grace, and modesty. However, after bumping into Ye Zichen, the resulting series of events had shattered his harmonious mask.
Now it seemed he’d put his mask back on.
Di Long nodded, and looked over Pang Zheng and the others. “Brother Pang is right. We decided this last night after talking things over. I hope that everyone can set aside our former grudges and work together.”
His companions’ gazes were still unfriendly, but Ye Zichen laughed, looked them over, and nodded. “That’s naturally for the best. Besides, we never had any real enmity for you. If you can let your grudges against us go, that’s naturally cause for mutual celebration. Once we start our journey to the Central Divine Mountain, we’ll all be in the same camp. We ought to look out for each other.”
“Now that I’ve heard you say that, Brother Ye, I can relax.” Pang Zheng smiled amiably. “Then I won’t stick around and delay you any longer. As you were.”
The Grizzly Bears left on their own accord. Once they were out of earshot, Xue Mo frowned. “Do you believe what they’re saying?”
Naturally, Ye Zichen didn’t believe a word of what Pang Zheng had said.
When people were truly angry, they revealed their true natures. Pang Zheng and Di Long had, in their anger, dropped their masks, revealing their true selves. Now they’d gone back to their former personas, as if everything were back to normal.
He’d have to be a fool.
But they were smiling and welcoming them; no need to reach out and hit them in the face. Di Long was accompanying them to the Central Divine Mountain, and he and Pang Zheng had taken the initiative to back down. Even if they were up to something, this wasn’t the time to take them to task for it.
“It doesn’t matter whether they’re sincere or not. Either way, Pang Zheng is right. Once we reach the Central Divine Mountain, we’re all on the same time. Besides, they took the initiative to bury the hatchet. How could we spit in their faces by refusing it? We just have to keep up appearances. In private, they can’t touch us anyway, not unless they recruit outsiders to do it for them.”
“Zichen’s right. Momo, let’s listen to him,” said Murong Xue.
“Hmph, what a sanctimonious, two-faced guy.” Li Hu rolled his eyes and spat.
In short, while Pang Zheng taking the initiative to smooth things over had some effect, it wasn’t enough for Ye Zichen and the others to acknowledge or accept him.
Actually, Pang Zheng had never hoped for that. He’d only done this because he had no other choice.
His Grizzly Bear Society was in an awkward spot. They weren’t in any sort of alliance with the Navigators. He’d hoped that the Proud Heavens Society would trample over Anti-Upheaval and accompany the Grizzly Bears to the Central Divine Mountain. That way, they’d form a team, and would be a little stronger than the combination of the Aspirations Society and Appearance Association.
As for Jiang Wei of the Navigators, so long as the Grizzly Bears and the Proud Heavens Society joined forces, he wasn’t much. Although Jiang Wei was strong enough that Pang Zheng knew he wasn’t his match, the Sword Immortal wasn’t strong enough to take on two of the top-five student societies at once.
But the Proud Heavens Society had lost, and thoroughly at that.
After going through that, he recognized Ye Zichen’s strength. Furthermore, the Aspirations Society, Appearance Association, and Anti-Upheaval were all tightly knit. That put the Grizzly Bears in a tight spot.
If he went on blindly opposing them, he’d only get hurt. There were only disadvantages, no advantages.
It was better to just back down. Then, once they reached the Central Divine Mountain, he could make new plans.
A few minutes later, all of the Navigators’ representatives arrived too. They immediately found a place and stopped, but didn’t communicate with any of the other student societies present.
Jiang Wei wore long black robes. He carried that rusted sword, looking just as proud and aloof as ever. His back was as upright as a tree trunk, and he didn’t so much as look at anyone else.
“That Jiang Wei sure is proud of himself,” snorted Li Hu.
“He’s an expert; a little pride is inevitable.” Ye Zichen patted Li Hu on the shoulder, but he glanced ambiguously at Jiang Wei. Memories of Jiang Wei’s performance the day before had carved themselves into Ye Zichen’s bones.
At that moment, a group of people appeared above the arena. Their leader was none other than the vice-dean of Skyspan Academy, Qiu Enhuai. There were around a dozen others beside him, floating in the air. Based on their auras, not one of them was ordinary.
“Why are there so many people?” Chen Guangfa looked at them and asked, his voice raspy, “Surely they aren’t all coming with us to the Central Divine Mountain? Is there any need for that? We’re just going to compete; it’s not like we’re going to war.
“Those are all instructors from our academy. Furthermore, they’re the strongest of the bunch. If they leave the academy, the academy’s comprehensive fighting strength will plummet to less than half its usual level,” said Dai Xiaoyu of the Appearance Association.
The others furrowed their brows, while Ye Zichen narrowed his eyes.
All of them were diviners! Their levels weren’t low, either.
This only further reinforced Ye Zichen’s belief that, given that the Yao and Demon Realms took the initiative to request this competition, what was waiting for them on the Central Divine Mountain was no mere competition.Previous Chapter Next Chapter