Chapter 56
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On the day of the marriage competition, Jun Zishu decided to join in on the fun and spectate the event.

Shen Zheyan was also curious about this rare event. Although marriage competitions frequently happened in many places, the event this time was different. After all, the marriage competition this time involved many warriors from the world of martial artists.

"This is my first time watching a marriage competition. Do you think it's appropriate to hold such competitions?" Jun Zishu asked as she looked at Shen Zheyan. She never understood the purpose of holding marriage competitions. After all, even if a person possessed strong martial prowess, it didn't mean that they would have equally excellent appearances and personalities. What if the winner of the competition turned out to be someone ugly or evil? Worse yet, what if the winner turned out to be an old man?

Moreover, what confused Jun Zishu even more was that the competition's host this time was a wealthy merchant family in Weishui City. Why would such a family want a brute from the martial world as a son-in-law?

"It's their decision. They naturally have their reasons. Whether it is a good decision is not up to us to decide. It is fine so long as they can acquire the outcome they want. Not to mention, we are only spectators in this event. What they do is none of our concern," Shen Zheyan replied in a low voice as she stood with Jun Zishu in the crowd.

"Ah, that makes sense. You analyzed it better than me, Big Sister."

"You're still young."

"I'm not!"

Many people were looking forward to watching the marriage competition today, so the tea houses around the event venue had long since reached full occupancy. Latecomers had no choice but to stand and watch out in the sunny plaza.

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The event organizers had already set up the stage in the middle of the plaza. The stage was red and looked very prosperous.

Before the main event began, there was a dragon dance performance. The sound of the beating drums raised the atmosphere to its peak.

"This competition looks interesting. I wonder if Young Miss Bai is as beautiful as the rumors make her out to be?"

Jun Zishu had heard many things about the competition when she was out strolling around the city. Meanwhile, the most discussed topic she overheard was none other than the appearance and temperament of the Bai family's young miss.

According to rumors, Young Miss Bai had a fiery temper and a straightforward personality. She was also somewhat of a martial artist. Although she wasn't a very skilled martial artist, her lifelong dream was to roam about the world of martial artists. However, although Young Miss Bai's father pampered her very much, after seeing that his daughter still refused to marry even after reaching marriageable age, he decided to host a marriage competition for her.

"Why are you concerned about her appearance? I thought you would be focused on the excitement of this competition like me. I'm guessing that the first contestants to enter the stage would be a bunch of small fries."

"You know that I'm a very competent flower thief, Big Sister. Although I haven't succeeded even once thus far, I naturally need to pay attention to the appearance of potential targets," Jun Zishu said as she playfully winked at Shen Zheyan.

For some reason, Shen Zheyan felt a little uneasy when she heard Jun Zishu's words. Then, she said, "What do you mean 'never succeeded even once?' Last time, you and I… Wasn't that a success?"

"I don't think that counts. The act of stealing flowers should be done in the dead of night. A competent flower thief should sneak into the target's room when everyone is asleep, then do this and that to the target," Jun Zishu stated in an upright manner.

However, Shen Zheyan frowned as she listened to Jun Zishu's explanation. Her expression also grew sterner and sterner the more she listened to her childhood friend. Eventually, she even gave Jun Zishu a death glare, her eyes seemingly saying, "If you dare try something like that, we'll go our separate ways."

"I'm joking, I'm joking. Since you're an upright warrior, as your best friend, I naturally have to be an upright warrior as well, Big Sister. So, I won't do those things I said," Jun Zishu said.

Although Shen Zheyan did not make a verbal response, her expression had toned down significantly.

"It's starting! It's starting! Let's focus on the stage for now!" Jun Zishu said, forcibly changing the topic.


At this time, two people walked up to the podium set up beside the plaza and sat down on chairs prepared there.

Of the two people, one was a man, and the other was a woman. The man was naturally Lord Bai, a wealthy, middle-aged merchant. He had a somewhat chubby face, and he gave off an amiable expression when he smiled.

The woman seated beside Lord Bai wore a lotus green dress and covered her face with a light blue veil. Although the veil only allowed others to see the outline of her face, one could still tell that this woman was a beauty at first glance. Meanwhile, this beauty was none other than Young Miss Bai.

"I'm sure everyone is aware of the rules already. Anyone is welcome to take on the challenge. However, I have to make it clear that the final victor will still need to gain my daughter's approval for the marriage to succeed," Lord Bai said.

Immediately after Lord Bai finished speaking, sounds of booing started appearing among the crowd below. After all, even if a contestant managed to hold the stage and defeat all other contestants today, it would be meaningless if Young Miss Bai wasn't satisfied with him. In the end, he would've fought for nothing.

"Don't worry, dear warriors. If the final victor fails to win my daughter's heart, he will still receive a handsome monetary reward. Of course, if the final victor wins my daughter's heart, the Bai manor will treat everyone present to a meal. If the Bai manor can't accommodate everyone present, we will host the banquet at the Drunken Saint Pavilion."

After Lord Bai's follow-up, all voices of objection disappeared. Many people who did not originally plan to participate also started having second thoughts. After all, even if they found themselves uninterested in Young Miss Bai, they could refuse to marry her and take the monetary reward instead.

Thus, the atmosphere in the plaza grew even more intense.

However, contrary to Shen Zheyan's conjecture, not all of the first few contestants to enter the stage were small fries. While the first contestant to go up was indeed a weakling, the second contestant was a relatively skilled martial artist, requiring only two moves to defeat his opponent. Moreover, the second contestant was quite handsome. The only problem was that he seemed a little old to be marrying a girl like Young Miss Bai.

"I think this guy is okay, but I can't tell which sect his techniques come from. He's probably a self-taught martial artist. The only problem is his age. I doubt that young miss will take a liking to him," Jun Zishu evaluated, to which Shen Zheyan smiled and nodded.

The competition became more and more intense with each passing fight. The weaker martial artists were quickly weeded out, and only those with real skill continued waiting to enter the stage. Whether they were doing it for the beauty or the money, everyone fought with great enthusiasm.

After lasting for many rounds, the middle-aged man who had entered the stage at the competition also got eliminated. Then, the fights that followed started becoming more and more interesting, with the various contestants brandishing swords, spears, and clubs at each other.

However, as the rules emphasized peaceful competition, no blood had been shed thus far.

After some more time passed, the number of people looking to participate dwindled significantly. Currently, the person standing atop the stage was a young man looking to be in his mid-twenties. The young man wielded a longsword. Although he had an average appearance, what he lacked in appearance, he made up for in temperament.

"He looks like some sect's disciple," Shen Zheyan muttered in thought. However, she failed to recall where she had seen the young man's techniques before.

"I think so as well, but I can't recall from where I've seen his techniques before. I think he should be aiming for the prize money," Wei Zinan said. He noticed that the young man had not looked at Young Miss Bai even once since he stepped onto the stage. Young Miss Bai also didn't seem to pay much attention to the young man. So, it would seem that neither party was interested in each other.

Jun Zishu also noticed this little detail, and she guessed that the young man probably didn't want any of the hassles that came with marriage. If the event held today wasn't a marriage competition but a competition to have a one-night stand with Young Miss Bai, there would probably be tons of lustful men fighting for the opportunity.

"Why don't you go and give it a try, Wei Zinan? I think you should be more skilled than him. Once you win the money, you can treat us to a meal," Jun Zishu said with a smirk.

However, Wei Zinan quickly waved his hand and said, "I'll pass. I'm not interested in betraying a young lady's expectations."

"Tsk, tsk, tsk. How do you know if she will fall for you?" Jun Zishu said, flatly calling out Wei Zinan for his shameless narcissism.

"It'd be strange if she doesn't fall for me, right?" Wei Zinan countered with a smile. Although he spoke in a joking tone, there were also hints of seriousness in his words.

Thinking it over, Jun Zishu felt that Wei Zinan's words held some truth to them. As one of the male leads, Wei Zinan naturally wasn't lacking in the appearance department. His face and temperament were more than enough to earn him a bunch of female followers. Thus, if he won the competition, there might be a realistic possibility for him to win Young Miss Bai's heart.

"You are indeed excellent, Brother Zinan. If you participate as you are now, you might really win the young lady's heart," Shen Zheyan said, voicing her affirmation toward her comrade's charms.

"Do you really think that, Zheyan?" Wei Zinan's eyes lit up in excitement when he heard Shen Zheyan's words.

"I do. You're my close friend, after all. I have a good grasp of your personality and other aspects," Shen Zheyan said, nodding.

However, upon hearing Shen Zheyan's words, Wei Zinan's smile dimmed slightly. Then, he returned his gaze toward the stage and stopped speaking.

Meanwhile, Jun Zishu couldn't help but snicker when she heard Shen Zheyan's words. Give it up, boy. Your fate is in the friendzone.

The competition had yet to end. However, the excellent atmosphere was suddenly interrupted by a loud shout.

"Everyone, stop him! He stole something from the magistrate!"

Along with this shout, a black silhouette zoomed through the crowd, causing many frightened screams.

Meanwhile, the person who shouted was a uniformed man on horseback. At a glance, one could tell that he was one of the city's law enforcers.

Many of the people present were martial artists, so they quickly shifted their eyes to the black silhouette. However, the criminal was very skilled at qinggong. By the time everyone realized what was going on, he had already vanished from their sight.

The law enforcer smacked his lap in frustration when he saw that the criminal had escaped. Martial artists came in all shapes and forms, with many of them having mysterious and extraordinary techniques. There was no way he could catch up to the thief with his speed. Fortunately, the magistrate had already issued the order to seal the city. Unless the thief grew wings, he wouldn't be escaping out of the city.

"Wait, the item is on her. I saw it."

At this time, Young Miss Bai suddenly spoke up and pointed in a particular direction.

The crowd Young Miss Bai pointed at quickly moved out the way and revealed a small path. Meanwhile, standing at the end of this path was Jun Zishu.

"It's her. I saw that thief shoving something into her arms just now," Young Miss Bai said as she looked straight at Jun Zishu.