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(Getting nervous(1)

Zen didn't tell them that he had accepted the task of killing blade locusts when he left Cloud Sect.    

 So they didn't know what he was doing during this period.    

 "It's a long story. Let's talk about it later. What's going on here? Why are so many people gathering here today?" asked Zen as he surveyed the scene before him.   

  Generally speaking, disciples could hardly wait to improve their strength after they joined Cloud Sect. Most of them would indulge in martial arts and cultivation upon being accepted at the Sect. Some disciples were so diligent that they rarely left their cultivation sites except for meal times. It was thus beyond Zen's expectation to see so many disciples gathered at Drizzle Peak.  

   "Zen, you've been away for a while. You probably don't know that Drizzle Peak has gotten into trouble recently!" said Nory. "But the matter doesn't relate to us. After all, we can't interfere in the disputes of those disciples."  

"Drizzle Peak has gotten into trouble? What kind of trouble?" asked Zen in surprise. Although Drizzle Peak was ranked last among the 33 peaks, it was still a part of Cloud Sect. Who dared to cause trouble?     

Seeing the bewilderment on Zen's face, Sean said, "A few days ago, there was a conflict between disciples of Drizzle Peak and those of Vulture Peak. It grew increasingly serious, and the masters of the two peaks had to intervene. Since the matter couldn't be resolved to everyone's satisfaction, the masters of Vulture Peak challenged Drizzle Peak."    

"Challenged? Only disciples can throw down the gauntlet, right?" asked Zen with total confusion.    

 Sean smiled and continued to explain, "One peak can also challenge another. 

There are a wide variety of competitions and rankings in Cloud Sect, including inter-peak rivalry once every three years, the annual trial for the inner and outer disciples, the free challenges between different peaks, and so on. This challenge between Vulture Peak and Drizzle Peak is one of them. All outer disciples will be able to participate in the competition as long as they get the approval of their masters."  


Just as Sean was explaining the various competitions to Zen, the sound of drumbeats filled the air.     

Once all the outer disciples heard the sound of drums, they swarmed to the arena.     

Seeing this, Sean said, "Zen, today's rivalry is about to begin. Let's go over there and take a look. We can talk about it as we walk."  

On the way to the arena, Zen got a general idea about the rules of the challenge.     

From Sean's explanation, Zen gathered that Cloud Sect permitted contests where disciples of different peaks could compete with each other. The masters at Cloud Sect believed that such competitions could motivate disciples to make rapid progress.     

The challenge between two peaks did not involve the outer disciples only. 

Similar contests were organized for inner disciples of disputing peaks. This time, however, the challenge between Vulture Peak and Drizzle Peak was open only to outer disciples.    

 Sean believed that it was a deliberate and carefully planned competition. The Vulture Peak asked several outer disciples to stir up trouble first and escalated it into a major conflict. Then the masters of the two peaks had to come forward to alleviate the tension. 

Finally, the two sides decided to end the dispute with a contest. Vulture Peak must have planned the battle for a long time.   

Vulture Peak ranked 24th in Cloud Sect. Why did Vulture Peak choose to challenge Drizzle Peak?     

The answer was obvious. They thought that Drizzle Peak was the weakest peak in Cloud Sect and hence, it would be the easiest to defeat.     

The comprehensive strength of Drizzle Peak ranked last from among all peaks, which made other peaks feel that their strength was far better than that of disciples at Drizzle Peak.     

According to the rules of Cloud Sect, if the disciples of Vulture Peak won in the challenge, they would get a month's expenses and pills distributed by Cloud Sect to the outer disciples of Drizzle Peak.     

The masters of Drizzle Peak knew that their outer disciples were no match for those of Vulture Peak. They were not supposed to accept the challenge. But the truth was they had accepted the fight. Sean did not know why they did so.   

Zen, Nory, and Sean crowded into the arena with the other outer disciples.    

 Since the challenge involved the welfare of all the outer disciples, almost all of them were present to watch the competition. The number of disciples watching the competition today had doubled, if not tripled, compared with the last contest between Zen and Leo.

Although the area around the battle ring was very spacious, the sheer number of onlookers made it seem as though the place was too small.   

  After all, it wasn't just the outer disciples of Drizzle Peak that had come to watch the event, but also some inner disciples, who were wearing black robes. They stood in the crowd, keeping a close eye on the situation in the battle ring.  

   The inner disciples couldn't take part in the challenge. They wouldn't be affected even if the outer disciples were defeated. But the result of the challenge affected the reputation of Drizzle Peak. So they were very concerned about the game. 

  Zen found a good place to watch the competition. He looked up and saw Wurth Zhang standing in the battle ring.    
 "Why is Wurth in the arena?" asked Zen with curiosity.    

 Sean said, "Vulture Peak has won three games in recent days. They have defeated three outer disciples of Drizzle Peak, namely, Otto Chen who is ranked 16th, Samson Zheng who is ranked 13th, and Truman Xu who is ranked 9th. So it's Wurth's turn this time."    

  Hearing this, Zen understood that things hadn't been going well for Drizzle Peak.     

Zen didn't care about the money and pills that Drizzle Peak would receive every month. Those pills were of limited benefit to him, and the money was a small sum for him. But as an outer disciple of Drizzle Peak, he was a member of the group. If he had the opportunity to contribute to Drizzle Peak, he would head up and fight for the peak's honor.

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