The ocean wind kept on blowing, the tea in his cup had been refilled, and Jing Jiu won another two matches.
He started getting a lot of attention by then.
It was because his conical hat was so unique; more importantly, he had won a few matches back to back, catching people’s eye.
The most surprising thing was that he placed his chess pieces extremely fast even though there was a time limit for each move at the Four-Seas Banquet.
Especially in the last match, his opponent was a famous chess player in Haizhou rather than a Cultivation practitioner. As he was a Dao follower, he was invited by the Western Ocean Sword Sect to participate in the Four-Seas Banquet. But who would have thought he could lose for unknown reasons.
The caretaker of the Western Ocean Sword Sect understood the game, and he was the only one who observed all the matches played by Jing Jiu. He was amazed by Jing Jiu’s winning streak.
At first, Jing Jiu played awkwardly, worse even than a beginner; however, as the game proceeded, he became more and more proficient. Sometimes he would even make a few outstanding moves. It seemed he had improved his chess playing skills rather quickly. It was hard for them to understand how he was able to.
"The power of calculation."
After having read the playing records on the last matches Jing Jiu played, someone finally figured out the enigma, and said with an astonished expression, "This guy has a powerful ability to calculate."
He was obviously a new player, and played his first a few moves ridiculously, but he always won in the end. Why?
Because his calculative ability was just too powerful. As long as he didn’t make any fatal mistakes in the beginning, he would launch his counterattacks mid-game, trying to gain advantages in the seemingly insignificant spots, and recovered his lost grounds step by step till the end, giving his opponent no chance to come back.
Even though the Cultivation practitioners had many abilities superior to regular people, even their abilities had limits, and who could precisely predict the complicated situations found on a gameboard?
Using one’s calculating skill to win chess matches was something unheard of.
Nobody believed Jing Jiu could keep on winning. Jing Jiu might be able to win a few matches this way, but how long could he last?
No matter how strict the time-limit rules were in the Four-Seas Banquet, chess was always the last among the four tournaments to produce a final winner, always going zither, chess, calligraphy and painting.
You only needed to play one music piece for the zither tournament, write a few words in the calligraphy tournament, and painting a picture during the painting competition, which was slightly more time-consuming.
The other three tournaments had produced their winners, all except for the chess tournament.
Mo Xi from the Water-Moon Nunnery was excellent at playing the zither.
She was the personal disciple of the Nunnery Master. Her participation in the Four-Seas Banquet was regarded as a great favor to the Western Ocean Sword Sect, and the piece of music she played was quite heavenly.
If she didn’t come out as the winner of the tournament, it would be a big surprise.
Of course, her music playing was incredibly beautiful, which could be proven by all those who had heard it in the buildings of the Lone Mountain.
The Middle State Sect was regarded by many practitioners as the number one sect in the world. The disciple sent by them to the Four-Seas Banquet was Xiang Wanshu.
Xiang Wanshu was a famous, gifted youth; it was said that his magic skills were all taught by his Big Brother Tong Yan.
The Middle State Sect had done a great favor for the Western Ocean Sword Sect by sending their gifted disciple, so the Western Ocean Sword Sect knew how to repay them.
"These are truly masterpieces of calligraphy and painting!"
Standing in front of the building, the practitioners were amazed at the words written on a central plaque and a meticulous brushing style in a picture of flowers and birds.
Xiang Wanshu walked out from the building.
The crowd approached him to express their admirations.
Xiang Wanshu responded with a calm expression and a gentle smile, displaying a gentlemanly manner.
The only tournament without a winner was still taking place in another building.
The vehement discussions and even arguments rang out from that distant building.
For the gatherings of the Cultivation circle, this noisy scene was really rare.
Xiang Wanshu became curious and walked over, surrounded by his fans.
When he arrived in front of the building, the crowd split in half, forming a path for him to pass through since his identity was known in advance.
A large chess board was hung mid-air inside the building, with many chess pieces on the board; the outcome of the game seemed uncertain.
Looking at that chess board, Xiang Wanshu raised his eyebrows slightly and then shook his head; he didn’t seem quite understand why they played this way.
"Why would Immortal Master Wanshu shake his head?" asked someone curiously.
Xiang Wanshu didn’t reply, simply smiling instead.
The disciples of the Middle State Sect followed the way of the middle ground and peacefulness, so he couldn’t give opinions on others so liberally.
However, he thought, Haizhou was in fact still a remote small county without truly outstanding talent, even though the Four-Seas Banquet was quite famous. As an example, his careless painting of some flowers and birds and a few written words had already received quite the acclaim. If these people saw the calligraphy and painting done by the scholar of the One-Cottage at the Plum Meeting a few years ago, how would they think?
Also, this was the last match for the chess tournament, so the players should be the best in the Four-Seas Banquet; it was to the contrary, as their skills were awful, and one might even call it appalling. A chess player like them would be eliminated after the first round at the Plum Meetings. His Young Brother would beat them easily, to say nothing of his Big Brother, or even himself.
As he was thinking of these thing, a voice from the building announced the winner for the match.
Jing Jiu stood up and walked behind the screen to wash his hands.
The caretaker of the Western Ocean Sword Sect and some others didn’t know what to say while watching him from behind.
The crowd felt somewhat baffled; this person truly looked like a beginner in his chess playing, so how come he came out the victor in the end?
This feeling made atmosphere in the building feel a bit odd. It was quiet, not a word of congratulations given.
Suddenly a voice bellowed from the crowd outside the building.
"What does Immortal Master Wanshu think about this person’s chess skills?"
Scanning around quickly, Xiang Wanshu found the speaker.
He was a thin and tall elder, but his face revealed discontent and resentment.
Xiang Wanshu said, "My chess skill is ordinary, so I’m not qualified to comment on this, my Cultivation friend."
The thin and tall elder was the chess master of Haizhou, who had just lost to Jing Jiu. Until now, he still couldn’t believe he actually lost the match.
The elder wasn’t a Cultivation practitioner, but he somehow learned enough about the Middle State Sect.
He raised this question either because he was too angry to understand why he lost the match or because his intentions.
He didn’t try to conceal his intention, shoving his way forward and arriving beside Xiang Wanshu. "Immortal Master, you don’t have to be so modest! I heard even Master Tong Yan merely granted you three first moves when you two played," he said.
This caused an uproar in the crowd.
When it came to the most famous geniuses in the Cultivation world in recent years, the top three would definitely include Tong Yan.
Even the Sect Master’s personal disciple Zhuo Rusui was inferior to him in some ways.
Tong Yan’s Cultivation talent was second to none in Zhongzhou, and he was the idol of countless people up to now.
Besides his talent in Cultivation, he was also known for his chess skills.
A few years ago, Tong Yan won the chess title three times in a row at the Plum Meeting, even making those scholars of the One Cottage admit defeat.
It was rumored that Tong Yan attempted to utilize the Way of Chess to perceive the Heavenly Way.
From any perspective, Tong Yan was absolutely the number one in the chess playing.
When he played with Xiang Wanshu, he only granted Xiang three steps?!
The gazes at Xiang Wanshu were filled with more awe and respect.
It was too modest of him to say that his chess skills were ordinary.
Someone said with a flattering tone, "If Immortal Master Wanshu participated in the chess tournament, he wouldn’t be the double winner, but a triple winner in chess, calligraphy and painting."
Xiang Wanshu said with a bitter smile, "In comparison to my Big Brother’s chess skill, mine is like a faint candle fire compared to his glowing pearl. My calligraphy and painting skills are also ordinary, so I don’t deserve such compliments."
Yet that thin and tall elder wouldn’t let it go, insisting, "But you are absolutely qualified to comment on today’s game. You can comment…on the game, and this person; his chess moves were unsightly, so how could he win?"
For those chess lovers, the style of playing chess was also extremely important, so they emphasized the sense of beauty in addition to winning and losing.
Jing Jiu’s chess playing had no strategies, let alone a sense of beauty.
Xiang Wanshu felt uncomfortable about this, but he didn’t want to say anything unpleasant, so he simply replied, "This Cultivation friend has a remarkable calculating ability, but…his chess playing isn’t so beautiful."
"Was I right? I said his chess playing was ugly, like cutting grass or carrying manure; how can somebody play chess like this?"
The thin and tall elder got excited, yelling loudly, "Playing chess like this can win once or twice, but can he win all the time?"
Influenced by Tong Yan, the disciples of the Middle State Sect respected the Way of Chess a great deal, and this was the reason that Xiang Wanshu didn’t want to participate in the chess tournament today even though he was in the calligraphy and painting tournaments.
For him, the way the Four-Seas Banquet arranged the chess tournament displayed disrespect to Chess.
Though Xiang Wanshu thought that what the thin and tall elder said was a bit exaggerated, he basically agreed with the statement.
"If I played like this, I would be hit by my Big Brother," he said with a laugh.
The laughter of the crowd echoed in the building.
Suddenly a stern voice rang out outside the crowd.
"The Middle State Sect is really as rumored, hypocritical and disgusting."
Upon hearing this, the crowd was shocked, wondering who would dare speak like this in front of the gifted disciple of the Middle State Sect?!
In the entirety of Chaotian, the One-Cottage kept a low profile, the Fruit Formation Temple was not confrontational, and the Western Ocean Sword Sect, as the host, wouldn’t want to cause any trouble, so then was this person a guest from the Windy Broadsword Sect or the Green Mountain Sect?
Turning around facing the direction, they saw a person standing by the cliff edge, the face was covered by a conical hat, in plain green cloth; the body resembled that of a young girl.
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