Concubine Lin was surprised that the Yunwu Commandery Prince did not punish Zhang Ruochen for his disrespect, but instead punished Concubine Xiao. She let out a long sigh of relief and pulled Zhang Ruochen aside as if she had something to question him about.
It was still quite hard for Concubine Lin to believe what she had seen. Zhang Ruochen had not greeted the Commandery Prince Yunwu properly and had criticized him for being an irresponsible father and husband. She asked Zhang Ruochen, “Chen-er, have you really become a real warrior? Tell me the truth!”
He did not want to keep his mother in the dark, so Zhang Ruochen nodded and replied, “Yes! I have finished the cultivation and now I am a warrior.”
Concubine Lin was worried about Zhang Ruochen and said, “Like you said, you just became a warrior. What if something happens during the Year-end Assessment? You don’t have enough experience to handle it!”
“Look, mom, even though I haven’t joined the Year-end Assessment, it doesn’t mean I’ll be totally safe. Don’t you worry about me. I promise you that I will try my best and not do anything that exceeds my limits.” Zhang Ruochen could understand why Concubine Lin was anxious, she did not know about Zhang Ruochen’s ability from his previous life. Anyhow, Zhang Ruochen felt confident and ready for the assessment.
Warriors under the age of 20 had to be exclusively approved to participate in the Year-end Assessment.
The Yunwu Commandery Prince had nine sons and 13 daughters in total.
The Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth were all aged under 20. Except for the Seventh Prince, who was currently out of Yunwu City, the remaining princes would all attend the Year-end Assessment.
Aside from the lineal princes and princess, the relatives of the Royal Family could also pick the three most outstanding warriors to join the Year-end Assessment. For example, the Lin family.
The relatives gradually made their way and gathered the boundary of the Royal Coliseum, forming into alignment.
There were some significant people in Yunwu City such as Martial Arts warriors of the Earth Realm, the Master of the suzerain, and the leader of a large-scale family. They were all invited to behold the assessment at the Royal Coliseum.
The pretty and coquettish woman, Qin Ya, was also invited to the assessment. Mo Hanlin followed behind Qin Ya and asked, “Boss, the Royal Family has sent the invitations to Qingxuan Pavilion every year. Yet, you have never attended. Why do you want to watch it this year? I don’t understand.”
Despite the fact it was winter, Qin Ya was wearing a red blooming dress as one would in summer’s heat. It exposed her snow-white arms and sensuous collarbone.
There was a faint smile of attraction in Qin Ya’s eyes and her lips were rosy and glittering. She responded to Mo Hanlin, “When you meet someone that you are interested in, of course, you want to know more about him.”
Mo Hanlin was shocked and asked, “The one you referring to is the Ninth Prince?”
“Haha! Do you think there is anyone else apart from him?” Qin Ya responded with a smile.
After Zhang Ruochen visited Qingxuan Pavilion two months ago, Qin Ya had sent a secret agent to track him.
What shocked Qin Ya was that the young man, who had shown such a strong determination to succeed, had not acquired the Sacred Mark in the past 16 years. Rather, he was as ordinary as any citizen of Yunwu and had always rested in bed due to illness.
Qin Ya had also discovered the wretched situation of Concubine Lin and Zhang Ruochen inside the Royal Family, as well as the conflicts between Concubine Lin and her family.
Yet, this young man, who held no power in Royal Family, had spent 100,000 silver coins for a substantial number of Pills and two Genuine Martial Arms at Qingxuan Pavilion.
Qin Ya wondered where Zhang Ruochen had gotten all the silver coins from.
Despite her high intellect, Qin Ya could not figure out what Zhang Ruochen was hiding.
Other people might not have noticed, but from Qin Ya’s point of view, the Ninth Prince that everyone looked down on was mysterious.
Out of curiosity, she wanted to watch the Year-end Assessment in person and see how many secrets Zhang Ruochen had hidden. With the Pills and Arms Zhang Ruochen bought from Qingxuan Pavilion, Qin Ya thought that it might be worth going to the assessment to find out more about Zhang Ruochen.
“Hostess Qin, I didn’t expect you to come to the Royal Coliseum! What brings you here?” Lin Fengxian took the initiative to greet his boss, Qin Ya, in her red dress, whom he recognized from far away. It seemed that Lin Fengxian was eager to ingratiate himself with Qin Ya.
In Lin Fengxian’s eyes, Qin Ya was as mysterious as Zhang Ruochen.
Lin Fengxian had only seen Qin Ya once, so they were not close friends. However, knowing Qin Ya had control over the massive financial resources that affected the economical operation of Yunwu City, it appeared that she was definitely someone powerful in Yunwu City.
It was rumored that five out of every 10 shopkeepers worked for her in the Martial Market. That would explain why she had so much control over the financial resources.
Qin Ya had always been secretive and mysterious. No one could ever read her mind. Even if the leader of a superior family wanted to see her, it was relatively difficult.
Lin Fengxian did not care how mysterious Qin Ya was, it was her financial status that interested him. He believed that if they could become close friends, it would be of great benefit to his family.
Qin Ya finally arrived at the Royal Coliseum. She glanced at Lin Fengxian, slightly raised her eyebrows, and asked, “Excuse me, do I know Your Excellency?”
Mo Hanlin, who stood next to Qin Ya, whispered, “My hostess, he is Lin Fengxian, Head of the Lins.”
“The Lins? Oh well, that is interesting!” Qin Ya’s eyes blinked and an elegant smile appeared on her face. She said, “This is the Head of the Lins! Please forgive my discourtesy!”
Lin Fengxian had not expected Qin Ya to be a woman that had a way with words. He smiled and responded, “Yes! I wanted to talk to you two years ago when I bought some Pills at Qingxuan Pavilion. Unfortunately, you, my hostess, were in a hurry at the time. I only caught a quick look at you from far away. You’re more beautiful after two years, my hostess!”
“Two years ago…” Qin Ya wondered, trying to jog her memory.
However, she could not recall anything at all. Yet, her smile never failed to dissolve any awkwardness.
Qin Ya turned around and looked at the Lin family warriors behind him. Her attention was caught by Lin Ningshan. “If I’m not mistaken, this is the second daughter of the Lins? Such a pretty lady! Oh, I’m so embarrassed now!”
Lin Ningshan stood behind her father, wearing a snow-white shirt, her hair swaying on her downy body. She was surely an exquisite, classically pretty, young woman.
However, it would be unfair to say she was more beautiful than Qin Ya, the sexy and attractive hostess of Qingxuan Pavilion.
All people could say was that they both had great charisma in their own way.
“Hostess Qin, what an honor it is that you know my little girl!” Lin Fengxian was shocked that Qin Ya had recognized his daughter.
Of course, Qin Ya did not actually know Lin Ningshan. However, when she was investigating Zhang Ruochen, she had found out that Lin Ningshan was one of the people who influenced Zhang Ruochen the most.
Therefore, this name, Lin Ningshan, was stored in her head.
Qin Ya then smiled and expressed herself. “One of the four prettiest women in the Yunwu Commandery, I’ve surely heard of her. It is said that even the honorable Ninth Prince has been following after Ningshan. I bet many girls are envious of her!”
A young warrior from the Lins sneered. “That’s just the Ninth Prince’s wishful thinking. Ningshan is too high up for him. Even if he were to cultivate for another hundred years, he could never catch up with Ningshan in terms of practice.”
Another warrior from the Lins, who looked slightly older than 17, laughed and interrupted, “After the Year-end Assessment, Ningshan will be engaged to the Seventh Prince. The Ninth Prince has overestimated himself. To be with our Ningshan? Such a ridiculous fool!”
The two warriors who had just humiliated the Ninth Prince were Lin Tianwu and Lin Chengwu.
Lin Ningshan, Lin Chengwu, and Lin Tianwu were the three outstanding prodigies picked from the Lins to participate in the Year-end Assessment. It seemed that the Lins were extremely confident with their capabilities as warriors. Yet, Qin Ya still found it hard to understand why they were being so harsh toward Zhang Ruochen.
Qin Ya rubbed her chin lightly as if she had discovered some sort of secrets throughout the conversation. She said, “Oh! Ningshan is getting engaged to the Seventh Prince! Congratulations! This is such wonderful news for the Lin family! I guess that every woman in Yunwu City will surely be jealous of Ningshan once the engagement is announced!”
Lin Ningshan grinned slightly. You could tell how happy and joyful she was from her eyes. After all, being able to marry the Seventh Prince was no doubt the dream of numerous women in the Yunwu Commandery.
Lin Ningshan was only one step away from the dream!
There were two parts to the Year-end Assessment—the literary test and the Martial Arts Examination.
Yet, the literary test was not as important as the Martial Arts Examination.
Even if a warrior got first place in the literary test, there would only be some appreciation. On the other hand, if a warrior performed excellently in the Martial Arts Examination, there would be a rich and generous gift from the Royal Family.
The Martial Arts Examination was beginning!
The first round of the Martial Arts Examination was a power battle.
Inside the Martial Arts arena, there were several black stone trays of different sizes. They were divided into 10 different levels.
The smallest the stone tray weighed 100 kilograms with a diameter of half a meter.
The largest weighed 1,000 kilograms with a three-meter diameter.
Warriors had to take turns testing their power level according to their age, starting from the youngest to the oldest.
The first warrior who stepped into the Martial Arts arena was Zhang Yulin, the Young Commandery Princess in the Royal Family, she was six years old. She stood only a meter tall.
Princess Zhang Yulin walked toward the smallest black stone tray, the Genuine Qi in her body started running in the Meridians. She locked both of her hands on the edge of the stone tray. It seemed heavy for a six-year-old girl, yet Zhang Yulin managed to lift the 100 kg stone tray up.
She tried her best to throw the stone stray out as far as she could, and it landed at around one meter.
The Young Commandery Princess looked a bit disappointed at her distance for the first stone. She quickly got over it and prepared for the second.
The second stone tray weighed 200 kg. Apparently, this was out of the princess’s limits. She could not lift the stone tray up no matter how hard she tried. She did not want to, but she had to give up.
Although the young Commandery Princess had failed to lift the second stone, her performance had already impressed the crowd in the Coliseum. They began to whisper, “The princess acquired the Sacred Mark when she was four years old. After two years of practice, she was able to lift up a 100 kg stone tray. This is absolutely impressive! I can assure you this little girl here is going to be a god’s favored daughter.”
The Yunwu Commandery Prince, who was sitting at the top of the Coliseum, also nodded his head in appreciation. There was no doubt he was joyful discovering that there was one more genius among his own children.
Later on, the Tenth and Eleventh Princesses, who were aged 14 and 10 years old respectively, also took part in the first round of the assessment.
The Tenth Princess had cultivated to the Mid Stage of the Yellow Realm. She was confident and skipped the 100 kg stone. Instead, she walked directly to and lifted the 200 kg stone tray. As she expected, she threw it seven meters away. Then, she tried the 300 kg stone. What a pity! She was unable to lift it and had to give up.
The Eleventh Princess was at the Mid Stage of the Yellow Realm, the same as the Tenth Princess, and also threw the 200 kg stone to six meters.
Given that the Eleventh Princess was four years younger than the Tenth Princess, her performance was outstanding.
All three princesses who had finished the first-round of the assessment were under 14. The heaviest stone they lifted was 200 kg. In terms of power, they seemed to be slightly weaker than the princes.
Up next, it was the real battle between geniuses.
At 15 years old, Lin Ningshan was the youngest competitor, excluding the previous three warrior princesses. Therefore, she was the next genius to enter into the Martial Arts arena.
She skipped the first nine stone trays and walked toward the 10th.
The 10th stone tray weighed 1,000 kg and had a diameter of three meters.
Lin Ningshan engaged the extensive Genuine Qi in her body. She locked onto the massive stone tray, which was even larger than her body, on one arm and easily lifted it overhead single-handed.
People could not believe that with such a tiny body, Lin Ningshan could handle that terribly heavy weight.
“She is only 15!” The crowd was shocked at what they had just seen.
Lin Ningshan twisted her finger and threw the massive stone out from her palm. It reached the 15-meter mark and smashed a huge hole into the ground. It was beyond everyone’s expectation!
Lin Ningshan had surely shocked every single person in the crowd. Voices were shouting all over the Coliseum. “Oh my God! This is absurd! She is definitely a genius from the Lins!”
“This young woman has fully subverted the fact that a woman’s body is incomparable with a man’s. Lifting a 1,000 kg stone with one arm? Wow! I can’t wait to discover which stage she has cultivated to!” The people continued to discuss her.
The Yunwu Commandery Prince who was sitting at the top of the Coliseum was as shocked as the crowd and said, “Which family is this genius woman from? Comparing her talent with my Ninth Commandery Princess, I believe that there is not much difference between them!”
The queen was more than satisfied with Lin Ningshan’s performance. She grinned and said, “Your Majesty, she is the daughter of the Head of the Lins. Her name is Lin Ningshan. I also think she is outstanding and want to arrange a marriage for her and our Seventh Prince. What do you think?”
The emperor responded, “Oh! I recognize this young woman! In my point of view, her talent and family background matches fairly with our son.”
The Yunwu Commandery Prince’s eyebrows slightly frowned as his sight moved toward Zhang Ruochen, who stood near the edge of the Martial Arts arena. “Yet, I remember Ningshan and Ruochen are cousins as well as childhood sweethearts. I have already discussed with the head of the Lins about arranging their marriage. Sadly, what happened three years ago forced us to put the marriage aside.”
The queen grinned and replied, “Your Majesty! With Lin Ningshan’s talent, how could she still fall for the Ninth Prince? Apparently, they are no longer a match for each other. The gap between these two will only widen with time.”
“With Lin Ningshan’s talent, she is more than happy to be a concubine of the Seventh Prince. The Lins will not give up the opportunity of fawning over the Seventh Prince. Anyhow, the Lins would benefit if Ningshan was married to any prince.”
The Yunwu Commandery Prince thought about it and nodded his head in acknowledgment. He could not deny the fact that the talent of the Ninth Prince was pretty much incomparable to Lin Ningshan’s.
In the Martial World, it was preferred for men to be superior to women.
If it was the other way around, that women enjoyed a higher status than men on a large-scale, it was not a good sign for both men and women.