It was understandable that he didnt believe it.
The guy had already been cut down by Xu Xiaoshou when there were thirty-two people left in the match, and thus had long since given up hope.
As such, he couldnt believe that he was actually able to join the Inner Yard.
The crowd cheered.
Some were envious, some were jealous, but most were just curious.
Many were wondering if the bar had been lowered for this year, given the fact that someone ranked below 32 on the Windcloud Board was allowed to join.
Xiao Qixiu continued saying, “The second candidate to join the Inner Yard, Zhao Qingteng.”
Zhao Qingteng, who was usually cool and aloof, couldnt help but smirk, his fingers tracing the guard of his Ice Stream Sword.
The audience clenched their fists, noting that the record had been broken.
“Third candidate to join the Inner Yard, Mu Zixi.”
“Fourth candidate to join the Inner Yard, Mo Mo.”
Xiao Qixiu read out two names in a row, causing quite a commotion in the audience.
Mu Zixi grabbed her pigtails.
She looked very excited, so much so she even hopped once on the spot.
Mo Mo, on the other hand, remained cradling the bronze cauldron in her hand.
She took a whiff of the incense within, her face deadpan.
“This is awesome!”
The audience was extremely excited, as if their names were the ones that had been called instead.
But someone voiced their doubts all of a sudden.
It looks like only people at the Innate Stage were called…”
Everyone was stunned, finding that it was indeed the case.
Even Zhou Tianshen, who was outside the 32, was only able to join the Inner Yard due to having broken into Innate Stage in that battle with Xu Xiaoshou.
“In previous years, it seems like only people at the Innate Stage were allowed to join too.”
“If thats the case, Xu Xiaoshou would definitely be able to join then, since he has Innate Level Physique…”
“Not quite,” someone interjected.
“Those with Innate Level Physiques have reached the end of the road.
It would be very difficult for them to go further from there.
Furthermore, his powers are only at level eight.”
Everyone started to feel tense then, as someone with Innate Level Physique making it to Master Stage was virtually unheard of.
The reason was simple—training was simply too difficult to achieve further success.
That was an unwritten law of sorts, which applied to more than just the Tiansang Spirit Palace; it was something that applied everywhere in the entire Shengshen Continent.
Everyones gaze fell on Xu Xiaoshou.
None had expected the champion to be the one whod caused the audience the most worry.
They wondered if an exception would be made for someone at Acquired Stage to join the Inner Yard.
They wondered if the number of candidates allowed to join the Inner Yard would go up to five, which was unprecedented.
Everyone started to feel very tense.
Xu Xiaoshou was rather intimidated by the looks he received all around, yet the next second, he felt nothing but glee.
Anticipated, Passive Points 2130.
He took a breath, like he felt nothing at all.
But, despite having become the champion, he was nonetheless feeling rather tense.
Xiao Qixiu turned his gaze away from the paper, folded it, and put it away.
His expression was cold as he said, “Four candidates.
That will be all.”
Doubted, Passive Points 1869.
Doubted, Passive Points 1511.
Doubted, Passive Points 1042.
The Information Bar was flooded by such lines, and Xu Xiaoshou was stunned.
“Im not in” he thought.
Even though hed put on a nonchalant façade, he was still nonetheless the champion.
Even if he hadnt shown it outright, hed nonetheless felt for sure deep down that hed gotten it, yet this was the outcome.
That was all
The others on the stage were equally as stunned.
The smiles on the faces of the three whod just been admitted instantly froze.
While they wouldnt openly admit it, theyd all been nonetheless impressed by Xu Xiaoshou, yet here was this baffling outcome.
The audience wasnt as reserved as the contestants.
One after another, the spectators instantly went berserk.
“What No more Four candidates Are you kidding me”
“Xu Xiaoshou is the champion, man! He is funny, but you could not joke at such a time”
“Oh the irony.
The champion isnt admitted into the Inner Yard, and yet the one outside the thirty-two… hey, let me go! Im gonna say what Im gonna say!”
“Are you out of your mind Zhou Tianshen is right behind you!”
Zhou Tianshen was furious.
He immediately rose to his feet and said, “If this is how its going to be, then I, Zhou Tianshen, would like to forfeit my candidacy into the Inner Yard.”
He glared at Xiao Qixiu without a slight hint of fear in his eyes.
Same goes for me.”
“Its not like youre in.”
“Oh, you shut up.”
Xiao Qixius words had set the audience on fire.
They were practically boiling with anger.
He didnt say anything to address their protests, and instead walked up to Xu Xiaoshou, looking at the kid without saying anything.
“The kid is still pretending that it doesnt matter eh” he thought.
Xiao Qixiu was experienced enough to read all the hidden bitterness on the kids face.
“The kid is still just eighteen, after all.”
“Huff…” Xiao Qixiu sighed.
Xu Xiaoshou backed away, pinching his nose.
Xiao Qixiu was baffled.
“Oh, that little sh**!
“The kid really does know how to put up a fight.
And there I was feeling pity for him.”
Xiao Qixiu stopped sighing and took a great big breath.
He clapped Xu Xiaoshou on the shoulder and said, “You could still stay in the Outer Yard for another year, so as to make a breakthrough into Innate Stage as soon as possible.”
Xu Xiaoshou was stunned.
He had almost forgotten that if he were unable to join the Inner Yard within three years, or stayed at the bottom of the Contest of Wind and Cloud, he would be kicked out of the palace.
“So, thats to say someone actually spoke on my behalf” he thought.
“Was it this middle-aged guy who did so, or…
He took a look at the audience.
Elder Qiao was one of the few who had remained quietly seated in the audience seats.
He simply nodded and said nothing.
Encouraged, Passive Points 1.
Xu Xiaoshou felt warm and fuzzy deep down.
He was undoubtedly feeling disappointed and dejected.
Yet, he didnt like being pitied, so he just had to do it when he saw the sympathetic look on Xiao Qixius face.
At the moment, however, he was truly touched.
Xu Xiaoshou sincerely voiced his gratitude.
Xiao Qixiu shook his head and grinned.
“Youd do enough by just sparing me your antics.
Your thanks are too much for me.”
He had no idea why this kid, despite being his junior, still managed to get on his nerves with all the antics he pulled.
Furthermore, he also seemed to have the subconscious tendency of lowering his status whenever he talked to Xu Xiaoshou.
“Yeah, thats probably how Old Qiao feels as well, I guess,” Xu Xiaoshou thought.
He pouted slightly and said nothing in return.
Xiao Qixiu then turned around and said loudly, “I hereby announce that the Contest of Wind and Cloud of this year is officially over!”
Everyone in the audience was feeling vexed, but they couldnt do anything to protest the outcome.
Theyd witnessed the birth of a dark horse and thought the ending would be utmost spectacular, yet the outcome had been unexpected.
The champion was unable to even get a place in the Inner Yard.
This wouldve been fine with them if Xu Xiaoshou were an ordinary champion, but he had defeated so many with Innate Elemental Powers, which meant he was anything but ordinary.
They wondered if his powers and potential were indeed not worth the Spirit Palace making a one-time exception.
“Good work! Xu Xiaoshou!”
Many didnt leave right away and came to encourage him instead.
Before long, cheers were coming from all over the place.
“Xu Xiaoshou! Youre the best! Ill love you forever!”
“Xu Xiaoshou! Hang in there!”
Encouraged, Passive Points 663.
Encouraged, Passive Points 414.
Encouraged, Passive Points 520.
Xu Xiaoshou was touched again seeing the waves of encouragement washing all over him.
This was especially so for the line: “Xu Xiaoshou! Hang in there!”
He vaguely remembered that that line had come about in the group matches, where he had pretended to be ganged up by over 40 people.
“Thank you,” he whispered in gratitude.
The sun set, and the crowd eventually dispersed.
Xu Xiaoshou smiled as he responded to those who came up to him just to encourage him, whether he recognized them or not.
“Dejected” Elder Qiao came up to him and asked.
“Very much so.”
Xu Xiaoshou looked at the sunset while Elder Qiao looked at him.
“This kid…” he thought.
Despite having said he was fine to so many people, he was sure being frank with him.
“Thats how it is with life, he said.
“Ups and downs all the time.”
“Yeah.” Xu Xiaoshou tilted his head and seemed to recall something.
“Ups and downs, but if youre lucky…”
“You sure are one hell of an optimist.” Elder Qiao shook his head, then took out two bottles of pills for him before walking into the sunset.
“Teach those unflinching old farts a lesson.
Make them see that they were wrong.”
Xu Xiaoshou was rather stunned, thinking that there was definitely a lot to swallow in those two lines.
He then looked down at the two bottles of pills in his hand.
A bottle of Spiritual Cultivation Pills.
Another bottle carrying Red Gold Pills.
Sunset, Elder Qiao, and pills again…
Xu Xiaoshou smiled faintly, finding the scene oddly familiar, yet something was missing.
He took out a Spiritual Cultivation Pill and took a whiff.
The sunset seemed to sway, so much so that even his shadow seemed to shudder.