Initially, there were some who were not happy about this. Ye Lang was an amateur like them, no? However, after some time, they couldn’t help but admire and respect Ye Lang’s ability as a judge.
Ye Lang wasn’t like any judge, he never attended any events according to schedule. He would show up based on his mood, not fixed timings.
The only times he was punctual were for Zhen Xiaoyan’s tryouts. He was often present to support Zhen Xiaoyan and help her move up to the next level. Of course, some might say Ye Lang was biased for her. However, Zhen Xiaoyan was a capable student too, so far no one could question her abilities.
Zhen Xiaoyan had another event today. She had already passed tests for basic alchemy knowledge, alchemy fundamentals etc and it was now time for one-on-one duels.
It was the same at the magic academy. The basic examinations eliminated the majority of candidates, then the one-to-one elimination phase would begin. Stronger students were distributed among the different groups evenly so the rest wouldn’t be wiped out so quickly.
Those with enough confidence in themselves had a chance to fight against the stronger players too, but the rule was that they couldn’t duel against someone they’d already lost to.
This wasn’t a competition, the objective here was to pick out a team of strong representatives!
After many rounds, today was the day that would determine if Zhen Xiaoyan could be a part of the competition team. Naturally, her opponent would not be weak too.
However, her opponent was the weakest among all the students that were left. This showed Ye Lang was biased because he had the power to deliberately choose the weakest opponent for Zhen Xiaoyan.
Many people disagreed with this decision but they couldn’t do anything about it…
“Hmph, so be it. You’ll regret this!” growled someone from the alchemy academy through clenched teeth.
Perhaps no one foresaw what was going to happen next. This was just the beginning of Ye Lang’s favouritism.
“Go!” yelled Ye Lang.
The two of them picked up what was in front of them, and began —
Wait, this wasn’t a physical fight, they were competing to assemble an alchemy item!
Alchemy tryouts were not as intense as magical tryouts. Alchemy tested a person’s skills, imagination, and creativity. There was no physical battle.
Both candidates had to create an alchemy tool by assembling various items in front of them within the shortest time possible. This test was specially designed to test a candidates’ knowledge on alchemy while challenging their imagination and creativity.
Because of that, if someone used their incredible imagination to create an interesting alchemy item, they might earn special privileges. They would not be eliminated just because they lost to their opponents. However, there was still a theme to follow.
Ye Lang entered the field, he seemed to be overseeing the two participants. This was normal, but it was other judges who would do that, Ye Lang never entered the field.
That was why it was out of the ordinary… But no one noticed yet.
“Fatty… There…” Ye Lang kicked Zhen Xiaoyan subtly, then pouted his lips in a certain direction. He was giving her a hint.
Wow, how more biased could this guy be? Was this allowed?!
Although he made only small movements, there were only three people on the field, and all eyes were on them. The audience could see everything.
Ye Lang wasn’t very subtle either. It wasn’t like he was attempting to hide something- he was obviously helping Zhen Xiaoyan!
This confirmed every rumour. Ye Lang was playing favourites.
“??” Zhen Xiaoyan was confused. She didn’t understand what Ye Lang was referring to, and wasn’t expecting Ye Lang to be this obvious.
“You idiot, go get that…” said Ye Lang.
“Oh…” answered Zhen Xiaoyan out of habit. She wasn’t aware of what was happening yet, she just listened to Ye Lang and did what he told her to do.
“Ye Lang, he took it, what should I do?” asked Zhen Xiaoyan with surprise. Her opponent grabbed the item before she had the chance to.
She was confused, but her opponent wasn’t. He decided it was best he took whatever advice Ye Lang was giving Xiaoyan. He lunged for it without hesitation.
“Forget it, take these, it’s the same anyway,” pointed Ye Lang.
“Oh… Hold on, that’s not right. Ye Lang, you’re a judge and I’m a participant, you shouldn’t be doing this! This is not the right time!” Zhen Xiaoyan finally came to a realization.
“Who said the judge can’t talk to the participant, I’ll talk to you if I want, we’ll see who dares stop me!” said Ye Lang without care.
“…” Zhen Xiaoyan was speechless. This slowed her progress. Ye Lang had slowed her down and even helped the opponent.
In conclusion, Ye Lang was no help at all!
“Stop talking, I’m losing already. Just leave me alone, I can do it!” yelled Zhen Xiaoyan. Zhen Xiaoyan realized she had to focus because she was already behind on progress. She continued to look for the right items.
“What do you mean? Follow as I say now or you’ll lose!” Ye Lang squatted, picked out an item and tossed it to Zhen Xiaoyan.
“… No, go away!” said Zhen Xiaoyan, “I want to rely on myself!”
“Rely on what? I’ve had your back all your life. Relying on my help isn’t embarrassing, others want my help but don’t have the chance!” said Ye Lang rudely.
“I know, but, I still… It’s your fault, look at him, he’s almost done ! This is all your fault…” Zhen Xiaoyan started to panic at Ye Lang when she saw her opponent close to completing his task.
“…” At that moment, the opponent was nearly done. Zhen Xiaoyan did not have any major progress. Even if Ye Lang started to do it himself, it seemed impossible to catch up with the opponent.
Also, if Ye Lang joined in, it would violate the most basic rule of this tryout.
At this crucial moment, Ye Lang did something, that left everyone shocked.
Ye Lang ran in front of the opponent, and then kicked the devil out of the item the opponent made, then he ran away…
“Settled. Fatty, you can continue!” said Ye Lang while he clapped.
Everyone was quiet…
Although they knew Ye Lang was biased, they also knew Ye Lang was obvious about it, but no one could ever imagine Ye Lang would directly sabotage her opponent’s work!
This had reached a point of no return. He had completely ignored every rule, using his position as a judge to convoy Zhen Xiaoyan!
The public was furious!
“Ye Lang! What is the meaning of this? I tolerated your bias for Zhen Xiaoyan, but this is too much!” said the opponent who was about to win. He was furious!
“Apologies, it was an accident,” apologized Ye Lang.
Accident? Was that even possible? Did he see everyone as three-year-olds or as an idiot like he was?!
“Who do you think you’re fooling?!” yelled the opponent angrily.
“Oh, you saw through me. Alright, it was on purpose!” Ye Lang had to be honest about something everyone already knew.
“Since you admit it, you have to announce I won!” said the opponent.
“No, I refuse!” said Ye Lang directly.
“I am a judge with principles…” said Ye Lang seriously. This raised eyebrows but he ignored everyone else and continued, “No matter what the reason is, you haven’t completed your task. Therefore, it can’t count as a win!”
“You are the reason!”
“I’ll say it again, no matter what reason!” repeated Ye Lang. Then, he used a deep voice -uh, he must have faked it- he used a deep voice and continued —
“Kid, remember this lesson. It doesn’t matter who, even your closest loved ones, they may seem like honest good people on the surface, but they may also hurt you. They might sabotage your future, so trust no one!”
Everyone stayed silent. This was a true statement but everyone felt something was off. Ye Lang’s actions seemed to be partly educational, but it felt more like finding an excuse to cover up his bad behavior!
“Ye Lang, are you saying you look like an honest person?” said Zhen Xiaoyan.
“Yeah!” nodded Ye Lang.
“You are only a good person on the surface!!” continued Zhen Xiaoyan.
“No, I’m a good, honest man on the surface, meaning I look like I’m honest, but I really am not very honest. Also, I’m not saying that I am a good person on the surface, the truth is I am, in fact, a good person!” said Ye Lang as he tried to defend himself. This confused everyone, no one knew what he was talking about.
What the hell was that?
However, regardless of whether the details were understood, everyone heard what Ye Lang said. Ye Lang said he was a good person!
But was he though? He did something so shameless.
Who said a good person couldn’t be shameless?
“You’re… You’re not a good person, you violated the rules!” The opponent pointed at Ye Lang, nearly speechless.
Ye Lang said, “When? Is there a rule saying a judge can’t have a bias? Is there a rule saying I can’t interfere with the results? No!”
There were no such rules because everyone assumed the judges would be fair with their judgments. Even if they were biased, no one would’ve expected a judge to be this obvious about it.
Therefore, there were no special rules that judges had to adhere to, they were all unwritten, unspoken regulations!