Zong Qiu exchanged his wooden sword for an iron one. The iron sword felt heavy in his hands but Zhe had a good grip of it. He exited his tent and climbed up the stairs that led to the rink. Zong Qiu was not nervous at all, in fact he felt quite energetic.
Zong Ching came up on the other side of the rink. Unlike his brother, Zong Ching had dark circles and bags under his eyes.
"Please welcome the two contestants!" Some people in the crowd clapped while other hollered to cheer them on.
Mingxia had always met them individually after her rebirth so seeing them together at them the same time she was able to notice just how similar the two of them looked. The two of them not only shared the black color but they both had the same facial shape and jaw line. To be able to look so similar even though the two are only related through the same father is a mystery. However as Mingxia looked down at Zong Ching she noticed the dark aura around him. She also saw the way how he leaned on his left feet as he walked and knew that he is angry about something or someone since he always had that habit. She let out a sigh and remembered how she was obsessed with him and what extreme measures she took to know everything about him. But all her efforts were for nothing.
She hates him. She hates him with a passion.
She turned her head and focused on Zong Qiu. With his hair pulled back in a ponytail and wearing a simple sleeveless iron armor that showcased her arm muscles there is only one word to describe him, hot. In her past life, she never noticed him because at that time the only person she had in her eyes was Zong Qiu but in the span of only a couple of months he has slowly dug a place in her heart.
'Why didn't I meet you in my past life?' If she had met him in her past life perhaps she wouldn't have died and had been actually happy. But there is always the possibility that he wouldn't have noticed her anyways.
He found the "new" Mingxia interesting but he probably wouldn't find the "old" Mingxia interesting, right?
She zoned out in her thoughts but her gaze never left Zong Qiu. Xing noticed this and her smile only grew but Zong Ching also noticed this. He looked up to see her staring at her brother and her mind immediately interpreted as a gaze given to a lover. The words she said last night still rang in his head and he bit his lips.
'Zong Qiu is better than me? Mingxia, I will let you know that I am better than him!'
"Begin!" The proctor screamed and the flags were let down.
Zong Ching immediately charged at Zong Qiu with the iron sword and slashed at him. Zong Qiu dodged the blade but Zong Ching slashed again and this time Zong Qiu used his sword to block it.
With a mocking smile, Zong Qiu pushed Zong Ching down with the blade. This time Zong Qiu attacked and slashed his sword at his brother. Zong Ching bent back so avoid it but Zong Qiu used his legs and kicked his legs which caused Zong Ching to fall.
Zong Ching lost his logic and very stupidly lunged at his brother but Zong Qiu lifted his leg and with a magnificent kick Zong Ching's sword flew into the air and dropped onto the floor with a clatter. In the next second, Zong Qiu had his sword on Zong Ching's neck.
"You lost." Zong Qiu whispered into his brother's ear.
The entire fight took no more than 5 minutes and the audiences were shocked. This has got to be the fastest battle in this game.
"Th-the winner is Prince Zong Qiu!!" The judge cried and the audience went wild.
The king had an interesting smile and his son had the exact same smile on his face as well. The king whispered something to his advisor and his son nodded to the advisor to tell him that he agrees with whatever his father said.
Mingxia let out a breath and stood up to get a better look at Zong Qiu. Zong Qiu chose a small looking box as his reward but Mingxia couldn't see what it is from her seat. Zong Ching mysteriously disappeared from the stage but people had long forgotten about him.
The moment Zong Qiu stood on the first place podium the sun was setting so the sky was tinted orange and red. Many were leaving but in the sea of people Zong Qiu was still able to find her. When their eyes met Mingxia's cheeks flushed and she immediately turned around to leave.
"We're leaving Xing." She said and walked off.
Xing took a moment to realize that Mingxia had left and followed after her. She ran down the stairs but she tripped over her dress. Thankfully someone caught her before she fell but unfortunately this person is Yanjing. He helped her to her feet but Xing did not dare lift her head. When she was able to stand she removed her hands from his and took a step back then curtsied.
"This servant thanks Mister Deng." She said quietly.
Yanjing's hands balled up into a fist and his eyes were full of hurt.
"No problem." He murmured and walked off.
After he walked off, Xing stood up straight and ran off after Mingxia but her eyes were brimming with tears.
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'I need to forget about him.' She thought.
That night MIngxia returned to the Wei mansion and was able to sleep very comfortably but on this cool summer night not everyone is able to enjoy a good night's sleep.
In the palace, Princess Adela was having a fit and was throwing all her bows to her floor. Her mother and father all came to calm her down but none of their words helped soothe her anger.
She was angry that she did not win this year but she is even frustrated that the person she had originally hated with all her heart saved her. Now she can neither hate her nor can she treat her as a friend.
Lan Qi returned to the tavern where her aunt and her ill father was waiting for her. She didn't get first place and she almost killed the princess. They were frustrated and displeased with her. As punishment she was given ten beating and was not allowed to eat dinner. In her room, she cried but no sound came out because she doesn't want them to hear her. Her cousins stood outside of her room calling her names and kicking the door. The hatred she had for them grew but before she could vent out her anger Mingxia's words reminded her to stay calm.
Ninth prince Zong Ching was not better off in any way. The moment he returned to his room in a hotel, he shut himself in his room. He threw all the porcelain vases and jars onto the floor, in fact he tossed everything he could find onto the floor. He was infuriated by the fact that he lost to his brother, again, and that he let his emotions take control over him. He had just ruined his chance to get the king's attention he had just ruined his plan.
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