Chapter 477: I Abstain!

    Chapter 477: I Abstain!

    Xuanyuan Shishi did not continue to press an attack. "So dizzy... no more, you win." He punctuated the statement by hopping out of the ring. The first fight of the semi-finals was complete - Zeus, God of Lightning, had defeated the Ten Thousand Swords.

    The swordsman was never given an inch, and could not bring his full strength to bear. The fight was under Lan Jue's iron-fisted control from the start. The result was completely unexpected.

    Mo Xiao's surprised voice confirmed it. "Congratulations to the God of Lightning, our first competitor in the finals. With each victory he seems more and more the deity. Your Majesty, what can you tell us about that last fight?"

    The expression in the Terminator's eyes could be described as despondent. "Xuanyuan Shishi didn't really lose. He had something up his sleeve, but had no chance to use it - or couldn't control it. Zeus had very good understanding, that's what saw him win so quickly."

    His own disciple had made his own future progress slower in order to win glory for the Great Conclave. But he lost, giving his spot in the quarter finals to this mercenary king. What's more, Zeus had used the opportunity to find his Path. Was Skyfire Avenue really so richly endowed?

    Of course he knew that Zeus also went by the name of the Jewelry Master, a Councilor of the Avenue. He was his organization's future, and he had played a part in stealing away the North and West's splendor.

    Mo Xiao could hear the irritation in the Terminator's voice and quickly changed the subject. "The next fight will be against the White Blademaster and the Sword-Spirit Fairy. Do you have any thought on this fight?"

    He didn't hesitate to give this answer. "The Pharmacist appears stronger, she showed us that at the end of her fight against the Dark Necromancer, Jiang Yuan. It was no less powerful than a strike from a Paragon. Her weapon is likely already an Astrum, or equivalent."

    He was a second level Paragon, and with that insight he knew that her strength was even enough to curtail the spread of his own Domain. In fact, it was hard to say for certain she weasn't already a Paragon in disguise. And she was of the Avenue as well! With their five Paragons, even minus the Clairvoyant, Skyfire Avenue was simply lousy with star Adepts. The Terminator was less than pleased.

    Mo Xiao nodded. "Well, let's take a look!"

    Zeus jaunted back to the waited area in time to see the Pharmacist give him a smile and stand. "Congratulations," she said.

    Lan Jue chuckled. "You've got this one, sis!"

    His companion's face bore a smirk, full of trickery. "You're the one needing encouragement. Your next fight is a big hurdle."

    "Eh?" He lookd at her quizzically. But before he could get any answers, the Pharmacist dissolved in to a beam of light and raced for the ring. There, she reappeared.

    When the Sword-Spirit Fairy appeared in the ring again, the crowds went wild. The strength she'd shown was absolutely incredible, like some legendary warrior. Ever since, she'd been everyone's favorite subject. If the Northerners were asked who they'd like to see win the championship, more than seventy percent would probably pick her.

    Jun Yongye, known as the White Blademaster, also entered the ring from the other side. He offered the Pharmacist a respectful bow. It was a gesture she did not return. She stood quietly for a moment, looking carefully at her opponent.

    "I abstain!"

    Abstain! The two rounds rang loudly through the arena. She was conceding? Why?

    The place became a sea of voices trying to shout over one another.

    How could this be? She was the favorite, their Sword-Spirit Fairy. And yet, when faced with the White Blademaster she gave up her chance. What had promised to be an epic class between two powerhouses was finished, just like that.


    Lan Jue had just sat down, but when he heard her voice he shot right back up on his feet. She quit?! Sis, what are you doing? You were supposed to meet me in the finals, weren't you?

    He was as stunned as everyone else. This included the Gourmet, who sat up in the viewing platform with wide eyes and open mouth. What was she thinking? The Pharmacist, concede? She represented Skyfire Avenue, and her loss meant that now no one in the champion fight would carry their banner. It was an embarrassing situation to suddenly find himself in!

    The Terminator turned his massive head and gave the Gourmet a long, silent look. Then nodded.

    Inwardly, the Gourmet screamed relief. This guy thought it was planned, a stunt to avoid embarrassing the North and West. But... that wasn't his plan at all!

    The crowds had fallen in to disarray, but Jun Yongye seemed unperturbed. He simply offered her another bow. The Pharmacist nodded, then left the ring. She was calm as she walked back to Lan Jue.

    "The fights for today are done, let's go." She grabbed his arm, and pulled him from the arena.

    If she had quit when facing Zeus, then this whole thing would have made more sense. Their relationship had been clear to the audience for some time, and they couldn't help but concoct stories to go with their assumptions. But that was not the case, and she had given away her opportunity to Jun Yongye. It was flabbergasting. She had no reason to throw the fight!

    "Sis... why did you give up?" He could deny his curiosity no longer.

    She shot him a glance. "I can't tell you now, but you'll know soon enough. What you need to focus on now is preparing for tomorrow - to fight Jun Yongye! Do you understand?" Her tone had hardened, and she sounded for all the world like a big sister, or perhaps a strict mother.

    Lan Jue almost unconsciously nodded his head in acceptance. A thousand ideas were swimming in his brain, but none of them explained why she would act this way. There didn't appear any logical reason. The only one, was that she would give up her spot so he could learn from another opponent. For cultivation? But even this didn't make much sense.

    Lan Jue dutifully allowed himself to be pulled along out of the Great Conclave Arena, though his heart was full of doubt. Many shared his confusion, but the tournament sponsors jumped on the chance right away. Seats needed to be filled.

    Now the competitors for the final had been decided; Zeus, versus Jun Yongye! Ver soon they would battle for supremacy, to reveal who would be this tournament's Grand Champion.

    "I told you daddy's going to be champion. Tomorrow, daddy's definitely going to win!" Jun'er, bundled up in the Gourmet's arms, excitedly gave everyone around her a talking-to. She wasn't the least bit upset at her mother's loss - like she already knew it was coming.

    The Avenue's Paragon got to his feet and bid his two Northern Compatriots farewell. With Jun'er in his arms and uncertainty gnawing at the back of his own mind, he left.

    The Pharmacist and Lan Jue walked lazily toward the hotel. "When you get back, get right to cultivating," she instructed. "You must work on firming up your control over Domain. Don't trouble yourself with anything else, you can deal with all of that when the tournament's finished. Jun'er and I will be cheering for you. We're both certain you'll be the champion. Certain!"

    "I'll do my best," he promised.

    The Pharmacist answered by patting his shoulder. With a smile, she turned and left to go collect her daughter.

    Lan Jue watched her go, mulling over something. After a minute he left for the elevators, but carefully. He was wearing his mask, and it would be very easy to be noticed.

    The first thing he did when he got back, was to release Qianlin. He absconded in to the bathroom and waiting for her to get herself decent. He leaned over the sink and stared at himself in the mirror. "So why do you think she threw the fight? I have a strange feeling that sis knows Jun Yongye."

    Qianlin shouted through the door as she changed. "Maybe it's something she finds hard to say. At the very least, I'm sure it's nothing that would hurt you."

    Her words immediately reminded him of their exchange at the bar. Was she talking about the Pharmacist, or herself?

    He was silent. After a moment Qianlin's voice called again. "I'm done."

    He left the bathroom, and saw Qianlin waiting for him in a simple and breezy white dress. "You can relax," he told her. "I want to meditate on what I've learned today for a little while.

    "Ok," she replied with a nod. "I'll make sure you aren't troubled."

    Today, Lan Jue's command over domain had risen. It was a great boon. They were joined at the time as well, so she had very clearly experienced the breakthrough just as he had.

    Lan Jue wasted no more time in conversation. He knelt cross-legged on the floor, shut his eyes, and slipped in to meditation.

    Qianlin stood beside him. She looked down at his quiet, relaxed figure, and a strange expression passed across her pretty face. Inwardly, she thought; A-Jue, if only you knew how much I wanted to tell you everything. But right now you are on such an important trajectory, I can't distract you. Please just wait until we get back. I'll tell you everything.


    The audience had been less than pleased with the finals, the viewer ratings highlighted that very clearly. There appeared quite a lot of criticism over the web, directed at both the sponsors and the Pharmacist. Fewer of those curses came from Easterners, though, for after all the final two fighters were both Easterners. Whoever won, the tournament crown would be coming to the East.
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