788 The Plum is Ripe
It was only then that the tests for the selection of female priests were officially over.
Mr. Xia stood in the middle of the grand hall again. He told the guests and the inhabitants of the whole planet that they should take a brief break and the list of final three candidates would be announced soon.
Lizi (a.k.a. plum) was not nervous any longer. As the effect of alcohol came back again, she felt like vomiting…
Seeing the redhaired girl keep puking into the green ceramic bowl, the people in the praying hall uttered an uproar.
The TV stations had switched the picture as quickly as they could, to make sure the audiences in front of the TV sets wouldn't see the scene. Otherwise, the sales of the foods would be affected throughout the planet; and the owner of the barbecue stall at the night market of the underground neighborhood would swear again.
Jiang Yuxia hurried to help Zong Lizi clean up and rub her back to make her breathe better.
Hua Xi's face was full of worry; she intended to come over and help Zong Lizi out. But she was herself affected by alcohol and couldn't sit straight. She fell down on the floor and started sleeping while snoring loudly.
Mo Zong had no intention to help out. Seeing the scene, she curled up the corners of her mouth slightly again, flashing a contented smile.
She had felt uneasy earlier. There were a dozen girls remaining in the arena; Jiang Yuxia, Hua Xi, Zong Lizi and herself had the best comprehensive scores among them.
Mo Zong thought that her own performance was much better than Zong Lizi; however, she had answered the three definitions of god wrongly. Would the praying hall take that into consideration…
Now that Zong Lizi made a fool of herself in front of everybody, would the praying hall put her in the list of the last three candidates?
The female caretakers of the priest clan came over in a hurry and cleaned up the mess as quickly as they could. Zong Lizi was very lucky, and she vomited all into the green ceramic bowl. She had used quite a bit of the water in the green ceramic bowl to wash her face earlier, but she managed to have nothing splashed outside the bowl. As such, it was easy to clean up. As for the unpleasant odor, it didn't spread very far because it dissipated through the advanced venting system in the praying hall.
Zong Lizi felt much better after the vomit and had a much clearer head. She leaned against Jiang Yuxia's bosom with her eyes closed, as if she was asleep.
Listening to the rate of her breathing, Jiang Yuxia knew that Zong Lizi was pretending to sleep because she felt it rather embarrassing to vomit in public. With an amiable smile, Jiang Yuxia patted her gently, and didn't attempt to reveal her secret.
Soon afterwards, Mr. Xia and a dozen main preachers walked out from behind the stone pillars and announced the result in front of the guests and the audiences of the whole planet on the other side of the camera.
"According to the results of the tests today, the praying hall has made a decision on the last three candidates; they are: Jiang Yuxia, Hua Xi…"
Hearing the names announced, Jiang Yuxia steadied Zong Lizi in the sitting position and stood up slowly.
Hua Xi was awakened gently by a female caretaker with a secret medicine. She stood up vacantly, her body still wobbling.
Mo Zong straightened her back, her buttock off the seat slightly. She was ready to stand up in an elegant demeanor when she heard her own name.
But when she heard the third name, the curled-up corners of her mouth froze instantly.
"…and Zong Lizi."
The loudest cheers occurred on the prairie outside the praying hall that night.
The children in front of the TV sets were running more vigorously. The hosts and hostesses clanked their rice wine glasses while smiling, celebrating the birth of a new history on this planet.
Many tables and chairs were damaged in the canteen of the New Era Institute. The fat president wiped the sweat off his face excitedly and a bit apprehensively, and yelled loudly toward the dean of the Supply Department and asked him to bring out the best foods from the storehouse of the canteen.
The boss of the gaming parlor sucked on his cigarette forcefully while staring at the TV screen, but couldn't speak a clear word other than uttering "wow" constantly.
The owner of the barbecue stall was carried on the shoulders of his customers, parading along the narrow pedestrian road.
Mr. Dan gulped down the spirits left in the small bottle with one swig, his pale face displaying a barely suppressed delight. Then, he stooped over the table and fell asleep, unaffected by the commotion around him.
Though it was not the first time a girl from the underground neighborhood participated in the selection of female priests, it was the first time someone had passed the three rounds of tests and was placed in the list of the final three candidates.
This was the first occurrence for the underground neighborhood over a long time.
The underground neighborhood was in a frenzy. Even those who usually stayed in their apartments all the time had taken to the streets, joining the crowd celebrating the event.
The people, including those in the Mingshen District, Chaoyang District, Leyuan District, and even those in the upper neighborhoods, were all passionate and in a celebrating mood.
As for whether Zong Lizi would become the new female priest, it utterly depended on the choice of the female priest, which would be the wish of god.
The people understood that they couldn't do anything about the final selection; and they wouldn't feel disappointed if the result were not desirable.
It was already a miracle for her to come this far.
The female caretaker didn't leave after she awakened Hua Xi. Hearing the name of Zong Lizi, she came before her and brought a secret medicine close to her nose.
Zong Lizi couldn't pretend to sleep anymore. She couldn't help but "wake up" slowly. Then she found a spicy substance in her nostrils and couldn't help making a sneeze.
The whole of planet was watching her at the moment, and the TV station couldn't switch the camera fast enough. As such, everyone had seen the scene; and it was believed that this scene would be remembered by the people for a long time to come and in history.
It wasn't until now that Zong Lizi had come back to her senses completely. "Is it me?" she asked incredulously, ignoring the embarrassing scene she had just made.
"It is you." Jiang Yuxia felt even more thrilled than Zong Lizi at the moment.
A perplexed and angry voice suddenly burst out in the praying hall, "This is unfair!"
Mo Zong stood up and looked at Mr. Xia and the dozen main preachers, exclaiming with a pale face, "Why is it she who is in the final list?!"
Mr. Xia said expressionlessly, "The testing results are determined by the praying hall. Nobody should doubt them; and most of all, nobody can interfere with the decision."
Mo Zong was nevertheless a girl who was on the verge of nervous breakdown; so she couldn't care too much about the demeanor and exclaimed in a crying tone, "I did a better job in the first round of test than she, and I demonstrated a higher Cultivation state than she in the second round. Even if she had a better performance than I in the third round, why have you chosen her over me? Is it because she came from the underground neighborhood and you need to take the feelings of the people there into consideration? Is it fair to sacrifice me for that?"
Oddly enough, the TV station didn't do anything to deal with the incident; and they broadcasted her statement word by word on all the TV sets.
The people in the praying hall and in front of the TV sets had gradually calmed down and found it was indeed an issue; at the very least, the decision was not entirely fair.
If the fact that Zong Lizi came from the underground neighborhood was disregarded, her performance was indeed not more outstanding than Mo Zong.
"And…I knew what the classification of identity was intended to achieve in the end…But…I didn't say anything."
Mo Zong said this in a trembling voice, the tears rolling down her face; she looked rather pitiable.
Mr. Xia looked at her quietly and expressionlessly.
Everybody would like to find out what answer he would give on behalf of the praying hall and the priest clan.
Zong Lizi felt a bit anxious. Jiang Yuxia held one of her hands and squeezed it slightly, to tell her that she had nothing to worry about.
"The answer is quite simple."
Mr. Xia looked at Mo Zong and said calmly, "She drank more alcohol than you in the last test."
Upon hearing this answer, an uproar went up in the formerly quiet praying hall.
None of them had thought that he would give such a ridiculous answer. Would one have to win the selection of female priest by drinking more alcohol?
In the next moment, the people realized that the answer given by Mr. Xia had no loophole. When the wines were brought to the praying hall, the content of the test was not stipulated.
It could be the test of temperament, self-control, demeanor, and retention of the knowledge in the deep awareness after being drunk; and it could also be a test of tolerance of alcohol.
For the sake of low-risk, Mo Zong opted to act in the least risky way and was the first one to put down the winecup.
It was evident that Zong Lizi couldn't drink much alcohol and she didn't know what the purpose of the test was, but she opted to take the riskiest action. Wasn't that a desirable trait?
As the people were mulling over the reasons for the praying hall and Zong Lizi, she was flabbergasted herself, wondering if drinking more alcohol was indeed desirable.
She had never thought her entire life that she would someday beat others…due to drinking more alcohol.
"Even if it's the case, it's still unfair. It's because this little girl was drunk when reciting started. She was much later than others to recite the script."
A slightly chubby middle-aged man stood up unhurriedly. No expression could be detected on his face, his deeply sunken eyes displaying a cold intent.
Many people recognized him. He was Mo Zong's father and the head of the Mo clan. He was the owner of the largest transportation company on this planet.
The head of the Mo clan looked at Mr. Xia and said nonchalantly, "Since she was drunk at the time and couldn't wake up to participate in the test, you should have disqualified her from the test."
"That has nothing to do with Zong Lizi but the process of the praying hall."
A voice burst out.
The people tracked the voice and found it was the CEO of the Twirling Rain Company, feeling startled.
Why did the CEO of the Twirling Rain Company speak on behalf of this girl? And why did he opt to take the risk of offending the Mo clan? It was well known that the Twirling Rain Company was the largest gaming company on this planet and had the same influence as the Mo clan. The Twirling Rain Company had a slightly more influence as the chairman of the Twirling Rain Company had become a political star lately, but their opponent was nonetheless the Mo clan.
The head of the Mo clan felt a bit surprised as well. He turned around and stared at the CEO of the Twirling Rain Company, as if he intended to see through him.
The governor and the director of the base, sitting in the first row, eyed each other. The rest of the high-level officials and the heads of the clans shook their heads imperceptibly. They discovered that the Mo clan was not adequately prepared and would lose for sure since they didn't even know the relationship between the Twirling Rain Company and the girl by the name of Zong Lizi.
What happened next was as expected by those important figures; Mr. Xia consented to what the CEO of the Twirling Rain Company had just said, "Right. It's something to do with the process."
The head of the Mo clan wheeled around and said tersely, "No matter what, someone has to answer my question."
The main preacher of Shou'er City asked calmly, "Who was responsible for testing the recitation of Mistress Zong Lizi?"
A preacher came out with a dejected expression on his face, saying, "It's the fault of this subordinate. I beg the main preacher to punish me."
"Since you've straightforwardly admitted your mistake, I punish you by sending you to the College of Divinity for two years to repent your mistake," said the main preacher.
The College of Divinity was Jiang Yuxia's original school, located on the third level in the underground; it had an excellent environment there. And the preachers teaching there could gain credits very quickly; so it was not a punishment.
Hearing this, the people understood the attitude of the praying hall by now. It was obvious that the praying hall would support Zong Lizi wholeheartedly, and the Mo clan couldn't do a thing about it regardless of how powerful they were.
For some reason, Mr. Xia had not been in a good mood throughout the evening. He didn't even glance at his own niece the entire time.
Looking at the head of the Mo clan, he said expressionlessly, "You can choose to sit down or leave."
The head of the Mo clan couldn't stay seated. He held the hand of his daughter and headed toward the outside of the praying hall.
The incident was settled.
The three candidates in the final list, Jiang Yuxia, Hua Xi and Zong Lizi, were led by a female caretaker into the inner hall. They were to take a bath and meet the female priest, then waiting for the final decision.
Some heated cheers had finally broken out in the praying hall; the teachers and students of the University of Stargate were especially excited. Two of the three candidates in the final list were the students from the University of Stargate; it was a very proud and honorable moment for them.
And they didn't bother thinking that Jiang Yuxia and Zong Lizi were both exchange students from other schools.
Zong Lizi looked at the crowd again when she left the arena in hopes to see the familiar figure, but she was disappointed again.
The guests bowed toward the sky-like gray screen and then came out from the praying hall like a tide.
The final decision would be made by the female priest, which was the wish of god. So the regular people couldn't be present to observe it; they had to back out the praying hall and wait for the outcome.
After a bath, Zong Lizi, Jiang Yuxia and Hua Xi in a brand-new white robe walked to the rear of the gray screen.
Thinking that they would meet the female priest, the three girls couldn't help but feel anxious. Zong Lizi and Hua Xi didn't have a sliver of drunkenness in their heads any longer.
The female caretaker who led them halted her steps at the entrance; their footsteps could be heard clearly in the quiet praying hall.
The battleships had already left the sky. The starlight became brighter, casting on the floor of green stone slabs like water.
Seeing the woman sitting on the futon, the three of them had guessed her identity. As they were to kneel down to greet her, they suddenly saw a person on the nearby deck.
The person wore a set of blue tracksuits, reflecting the starlight.
Hua Xi had no idea who that person was, uttering a faint cry reflexively.
Jiang Yuxia displayed an incredulous expression in her eyes.
Zong Lizi felt surprised also. She didn't expect Jing Jiu to appear here. In the next moment, her emotion of astonishment turned into the sensation of warmth and gratitude.
She understood why she could become one of the final candidates for the female priest.
But, who was he exactly?