The location of the first round of preliminary was the largest arena in the outer city. A total of more than 6,000 people registered for the contest this time. This was far more than previous seasons. It was an unprecedented, lively situation.
Due to the large number of people, the first round of preliminary had to be conducted in groups. Each registered participant was given a number. On the arena’s stage, a huge crystal screen appeared, showing the number range of the group. Chen Rui was No. 5200. He was in the final group.
The content of the first round of the preliminary was very simple, that was, to draw three random questions and complete the questions in accordance with the requirements of the questions within the prescribed time. The extracted content was related to the specializations filled during registration. For example, metal specialization would have metal-related questions.
Luck was a huge component in this contest. Some people just happened to draw the ones that they weren’t good at or the ones that were very difficult. Some people drew those that were very time-consuming, so they couldn’t finish all three in time. However, generally, people with true strength could still pass smoothly.
The contest started and the numbers being eliminated and advanced began to appear on the crystal screen. These problems were generally quite difficult to the point that many senior participants felt that this year’s difficulty was higher than the previous season that was 10 years ago. Many unlucky losers burst into tears, but they had only attracted contempt and ridicule as almost no one sympathized with them. It was a contest and people only cared about the winner, not the losers.
Chen Rui filled in the metal specializations and drew three questions. The first was to fill in the missing part of an earth magic array enchantment; the second was a Q&A regarding metal smelting; the third was to repair a broken sword.
Other than the second one, the first one was more difficult and the third one was more time-consuming. However, for Chen Rui, it was a piece of cake. He easily completed everything and the judge next to him announced his advancement.
When Dior, who had been anxious looking at the stage, saw Chen Rui’s advancement, he finally calmed down. This mechanic from Dark Moon has some capabilities anyway. However, this is just the beginning. The difficulty will only increase in the future. Can this guy, who just received the title of mechanic, pass the next test?
Kia was also surprised. According to her knowledge, Princess Royal didn’t have a particularly outstanding mechanic under her. Where did this Arthur come from? She had a faint feeling in her heart that Arthur’s strong confidence wasn’t a bluff.
The first round of the preliminary took six days to complete. This round, it eliminated nearly 70% of the participants. There were nearly 2,000 remaining.
These days, Chen Rui obtained a lot of materials through Dior. Part of them were kept for his own usage and another part were converted into auras.
The second round of preliminary had begun. From this round onward, even the candidates recommended by masters must participate.
The second round of the preliminary was located in the ancient magic tower of the Mechanics Association’s building. The ancient magic tower was one of the most mysterious places in the Mechanic Association at the Dark Shadow’s capital. It was said that the magic tower was built for a long time, and it couldn’t be measured by years anymore. It contained precious magic inscriptions and various, unpredictable magic arrays, left by master-level and grandmaster-level mechanics that were left for millions or even longer time. Even the mechanic master of the current association had a hard time prying into the wonders within.
The ancient magic tower was usually not open to the public. Only the masters of the Mechanic Association could have limited access to examine. This exception opening to the public immediately caught every participant’s interest.
The content of the competition was very novel. Participants were to carry specially-made magic stone slab and magic stone to enter the magic tower. Within two hours, they had to copy a complete magic array using the slate. After the completion, they were to use the magic stone to teleport back. Other than teleportation and timing, the magic stone could also reflect the latest points in real time.
Those that hadn’t teleported out within the specified time would be automatically teleported out. Incomplete magic arrays would be immediately eliminated.
Not only that, this round could only remain the 200 players in the semi-final. The more difficult the magic array and the less time it took, the higher the score would be. 90% of 2000 people would be eliminated and only 200 would remain. The cruelty of competition was imaginable.
2000 people were divided into 20 groups. Fortunately, Chen Rui and an old “acquaintance”, Savice were both in the last group.
When Savice saw Chen Rui by accident, his eyes immediately solidified and shot a ray of deep hatred. As he was young and talented, he had been enjoying his fame since he became popular. The humiliation that he received the last time was unprecedented!
He would never forget how he limped out of the lounge at the time. In the following days, how the pain afflicted him. Although the physical wounds healed, the great shame and trauma in his heart would never wash away!
If it weren’t for the mechanics contest that would affect his future, Savice really wanted to use every means possible to take avenge on the Custer Family and Arthur who should be crushed into pieces.
I never thought to bump into that detestable enemy here in the mechanic contest. Besides, this guy even passed the first round of preliminary!
“Isn’t this Savice?” Chen Rui also saw his old “friend” with a wicked look and greeted him like they were close, “The magic item you invented last time is really powerful. What makes me admire you more is that you were willing to take such a huge risk to experiment it on yourself. You’re truly the top genius of the capital!”
Upon hearing that, the mechanics from the same group looked admirable. Genius and hard work, no wonder he became famous in the capital. Yet, the words of praise became another unrestrained ridicule in Savice’s ears. It was as uncomfortable as being stung by needles. However, in the presence of so many people, he couldn’t reveal such a humiliating incident. So, he swallowed his anger and the hatred in his heart was maxed.
Savice was just an ant, so Chen Rui didn’t take him seriously. However, Savice could barely become Chen Rui’s stepping stone to advance in the contest.
It was his group to start the contest. Savice, with a somber face, walked to the front of the group and entered the ancient magic tower.
Chen Rui originally thought that the ancient magic tower was a tower with levels of staircases with magic inscription engraved on the wall. However, after he entered, he realized that it was completely different from what he imagined. It was an independent space with active, colorful, bizarre rays that were floating and changing everywhere. At first glance, it looked colorful, but in the eyes of mechanics, these lines vaguely showed the mysterious magic arrays.
Except for the light gate at the exit, there was another light gate in the distant space that reached the next floor. The higher the floors, the more esoteric the magic array became, and the more difficult it was. The ancient magic tower had a total of six floors. It was said that even a master could only comprehend the mysteries of the first four floors.
There were many kinds of arrangements and combinations in magic arrays. Each person’s mentality and attention were different. Therefore, the magic arrays obtained were also different. Everyone immediately started recording on the magic stone slab.
The chance to enter the ancient magic tower was rare. Chen Rui had already activated [Deep Analysis] and started recording and scanning. In [Deep Analysis], those arrangement and combination modes were quickly “copied”, even if it couldn’t be analyzed at present, he could slowly analyze them in the future.
His vision had reached master-level, so he could see more than ordinary people. Many of the magic arrays on this floor were improved, but they weren’t hard. According to the association’s classification, they were one-star and quasi-two-star. Chen Rui didn’t stay long and walked to the light gate toward the upper floor.
Compared with more than a hundred people on the first floor, there were only a dozen people on the second floor and Savice was one of them. Seeing Chen Rui walking to the second floor, Savice sneered disdainfully. Due to his relationship with Master Leo, it wasn’t Savice’s first time entering the ancient magic tower. The magic circle on the second floor was much more difficult than the first floor. Although the points awarded for complete record would be higher, if it wasn’t completed, it’d be better to stay on the first floor.
The difficulty of this level was definitely higher and the amount of data was much larger. The scanning speed of [Deep Analysis] was obviously a lot slower.
“Why do I not understand them…” Chen Rui took the magic stone slab, hesitated for a moment, and said to himself deliberately, “I don’t know if it will be better upstairs…”
Savice sneered secretly. The levels above can only be understood by masters. This “Arthur” is just a rookie who has just become a mechanic. By luck (at least Savice thought), he passed the first round of preliminary. If he really goes to the third floor, let alone 1 hour, he can’t even record a few strokes in a year.
As a competitor and enemy, Savice certainly wanted Chen Rui to go to the third floor to “suicide”. As he hoped, Chen Rui walked step by step toward the light gate that went to the third floor and soon disappeared. Savice sneered, but his hands didn’t stop at all as he was recording a slightly difficult magic array. Then, he crushed the magic stone that he carried to teleport out of the ancient magic tower.
The third floor wasn’t only light, but there were also various flames and images. Even the space appeared strangely distorted. In Chen Rui’s eyes, those melodies and colors were strange magic symbols. The various arrangements were like complex calculations. Some were taught by Master Xingxing and Master Skye before, but some were unheard of. With Chen Rui’s current level, he could naturally understand the mysteries of these “formulas”, and he couldn’t help but immerse within at once.
Outside of the ancient magic tower, many people had completed the recording and teleported out. A special appraiser began to record and verify their scores. The crystal screen in front of the association’s building marked the latest top 200 rankings.
The first place was Savice who took 10 minutes to record a quasi-three-star magic enhancement magic array, totaling 170 points.
Second place was Robert who took 15 minutes to record a quasi-three-star basic enhancement magic array, totaling 165 points.
The third place, Southgate who took 16 minutes to record a quasi-three-star basic enhancement magic array, totaling 164 points.
The current 200th place score was a 2-star magic weakening magic circle recorded in an hour , totaling 80 points.
Chen Rui had reached the fourth floor at this time. Even for Chen Rui, he felt difficult to understand the contents on the fourth floor, but he had [Deep Analysis]. Although he couldn’t understand, he could “record” them first and slowly study them later.
After recording, Chen Rui looked at the time on the magic stone, and it had actually passed more than an hour. He looked at the next light door in front of him, he hesitated for a moment and tried to walk over.
The moment he approached the light door, the space was suddenly distorted. Countless mysterious marks flashed and a strong, repulsive force pushed him away. Each time he tried, the arrangement of those marks were different.
Chen Rui had a feeling that even if he did his best now by using [Scorching Dragon Possession] with the strength of Megrez state, he wouldn’t be able to break through the power of this light gate. The light gate not only contained immense power, but it was more like a rule. If he couldn’t understand the rule, even with Demon Overlord-level strength, he might not be able to break through.
In the administration office on the fifth floor of the building, a man with white hair and middle-aged appearance frowned. It was the chairman of the Dark Shadow Empire’s Mechanic Association and the empire’s top mechanic master, Master Anderson.
“Another curious guy is trying out the fifth-floor gate. I don’t know if it’s wise to open the ancient magic tower this time.”
Master Rummenigge smiled and said, “We can’t even crack the gate’s seal, so chairman, you need not worry. In fact, this time, it’s more about discovering and cultivating potential juniors. It’s good to let them open their eyes and gain insights.”
Master Anderson gave a slight nod and said nothing more.
After trying and recording that magic symbol a few times, seeing that there wasn’t much time left, Chen Rui looked at the latest ranking and he had an idea in his mine. He recorded a magic array on the second floor, crushed the magic stone and teleported out.
On the VIP seat outside of the association’s building, seeing that the name, “Arthur” hadn’t appeared within the 200, Dior, who had been paying attention to the crystal screen, looked very uneasy. Kia also seemed a little nervous.
At that time, a beautiful-looking woman, holding a man’s arm, came over with a gloating look, “Isn’t this our eldest brother, Dior? It’s already the final moment, why haven’t I seen your supporter, Arthur on the list? Falamo, at which place is our supporter now?”
The man aside was Dior’s brother, Falamo, who deliberately sighed, “Robert seems to be in second place. Although he is currently behind Savice, this point ranking isn’t brought into the semifinal, so the true battle is yet to come.”
“As far as I know, the next event is Robert’s strength. Afterall, he was the champion of the previous season.” The woman was Falamo’s wife, Marianne Asmodeus, also the sister of Valen, the second general of the Dark Shadow Empire. This woman was very dominant, so Falamo was being subdued and didn’t dare to get a concubine until now.
Dior was very annoyed, but he couldn’t think of anything smart to counterattack, “Look at the screen!” Kia suddenly screamed in excitement. Dior quickly looked up, and she was immediately refreshed.
Arthur’s name finally appeared within two hundred. He took 1 hour and 25 minutes to record a quasi-three-star basic enhancement magic circle, totaling 95 points, currently ranked 192.
Since it was the last group, there were very few people left in the magic tower. This ranking was basically stable. He should be able to enter the semi-final next.
Savice looked at Arthur’s name on the screen and sneered: That’s fine. I can continue to step on his head in the future contest. Not only in the contest but at the end of the contest, it’ll be the time where “Arthur” is crushed into pieces!
Dior in the VIP seat took a sigh of relief. Getting the 192th place is good enough. No matter what, it was a narrow escape.
“What are you yelling for? Such a rude, countrywoman!” Marianne mocked Kia with dissatisfaction and then said to Dior with disdain, “I forgot to tell you that Celine’s supporter, Horford, is also within the top 50. Although the final victory must belong to Falamo, to my surprise, the person you chose is even worse than Celine’s. No wonder you can’t even maintain your position as the first-in-line.”
Dior snorted and ignored the two. At that time, Chen Rui came to Dior, nodded to Kia and smiled, “It seems that I’m quite lucky. I can enter the next round steadily by staying within the top 200.”
“He’ll probably be eliminated immediately next round.” Marianne chuckled while holding a fan to gracefully cover her scornful smile.
“Dior, who is this pretentious, ugly woman?” Chen Rui heard Marianne mocking Kia, so he asked that intentionally.
Marianne’s face immediately changed. Dior was happy when he heard that and replied, “This is my younger brother, Falamo, who’s desperate to be the heir… and his woman.”
In revenge for the previous sarcasm, Dior deliberately didn’t mention Marianne’s name and Chen Rui looked like he had a sudden realization, “I heard that your brother has several women outside. I wonder which one is this?”
It was Falamo’s face that changed this time. Seeing Marianne’s cold eyes that were moving toward him, Falamo’s expression became quite interesting. In fact, Chen Rui was right by chance. Falamo did have a mistress, but because Marianne was too dominant, and she had a strong background. Therefore, he had been hiding from this fierce wife.
Dior raised his thumb at Chen Rui secretly. However, Chen Rui was currently ranked within the range of 190th place. The semi-final later might not be in favor, so he asked anxiously, “The next round will be the semi-final. It will decide the final’s candidates. How confident are you?”
Chen Rui shook his head. This guy is too impulsive. How can he ask such questions in front of competitors?
“Big brother! Second brother and Sister Marianne are also here!” A young girl came over. The girl was dressed in a short skirt, looked pretty and youthful. Based on the appellation, she should be Celine, Dior’s youngest sister.
Celine had the least “threat”, She usually had a good relationship with the two elder brothers. Dior forced himself to smile and nodded while Marianne relaxed her tight face.
“Is this your supporter Arthur?” Celine looked at Chen Rui curiously, “He actually entered the ranks of 200 at the end. However, I had better luck this time. I found a mechanic named Horford. Although he didn’t have much fame, he is quite good and actually got the 47th place this time.”
Dior nodded with a wry smile. Chen Rui looked relaxed and said indifferently, “In fact, I’m just retaining my strength.”
Dior sighed secretly. The ranking in the contest is obvious. It was at most a fluke for him to pass. No matter how I look at it, “retaining strength” seems like a bluff.
“I hope your strength is as sharp as your mouth!” Marianne spoke a sentence while pulling Falamo away.
“Poor Falamo, he is definitely going to be a punching bag when they go back.” Celine smiled sweetly, greeted Dior and turned away.
“The semi-final will start tomorrow. Let’s go back to rest first. By the way, you have to help me get more materials. The sooner the better as I need more insight.” Chen Rui’s last sentence was purely for his own benefit. Currently, he was willing to request while Dior was willing to give, so he might as well take advantage of it.
This insatiable Chen Rui, he never stop trying to gain more benefits😶
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