Chapter 1258: Please Guide Me Along
It was true that an ordinary human would find themselves dizzy after spinning around too much, resulting in nausea and vomiting.
And Xue Ning did spin quite a few times in order to execute his Golden Silk Thread, and quite quickly at that. Could it have been that he had been unable to withstand the resulting sensation, just like ordinary humans?
“Of course not!” the first Quasi Leaving Aperture realm young genius exclaimed. “If I’m not mistaken, Zhang shi should have utilized a terpsichorean art, and in his moment of carelessness, Third Young Master Xue fell for it.”
In the first place, it was already ridiculous to think that someone whose cultivation had reached Primordial Spirit realm pinnacle would actually be vulnerable to giddiness from spinning too much. Even if not for that, Xue Ning surely would have undergone plenty of intensive training to cope with whatever side effects the battle technique would bring him. Otherwise, if he started vomiting before his attack could land, that would literally be suicide!
“Terpsichorean art? Speaking of which, the movements he carried out earlier were indeed a little peculiar. But Zhang shi isn’t dressed in any elegant clothes, and there were no exaggerated movements. Were those awkward movements really enough to put Third Young Master Xue into a trance?” The second young genius was still a little skeptical at that notion.
Xue Ning might not have been the strongest in their group, but he was definitely ranked in the upper half. His willpower and state of mind should have been flawless, so before a man who was neither dressed in beautiful clothes nor carrying out elegant and pleasing moves… why would he fall into a trance?
Didn’t terpsichores bewitch others through their beauty and grace?
Or did this mean that Xue Ning… was interested in men?
“True terpsichores are able to draw others in with even the simplest of gestures. In normal circumstances, it would indeed be difficult to faze Third Young Master Xue using such means. However, Third Young Master Xue’s failure to break through the tortoise-like defense after an extended period of time left him deeply anxious, resulting in an opening in his state of mind. It was by exploiting this opening that Zhang shi managed to get him in a single move!” the first young genius explained.
Even though the two of them were Quasi Leaving Aperture realm cultivators, he was more well-versed in the topic of terpsichores compared to the other.
“To wear down Third Young Master Xue’s strength and patience through putting up an impeccable defense, biding his time for the perfect timing to down him in a single move. It is no wonder Pavilion Master Yue said that Zhang shi is the strongest among us. There’s indeed more to him than meets the eye!” The second young genius turned his gaze toward Zhang Xuan, who was delightfully stowing the concentrated high-tier spirit stones into his storage ring, and his face turned grim.
Just like the others, he had thought that the young man had only won against Liu Chongxin and Yun shi through sheer luck. However, after seeing this sight, it suddenly dawned on him—how could a person who had cleared Zhao Xingmo’s preliminary selection possibly be ordinary?
“He really piques my interest. Brother Sun, let me challenge him first. You can have him if I fail,” the second young genius said.
As drawn to the Tianchen Brew as they were, they were not so desperate as to have to drink it at all cost. However, the various peculiarities that Zhang Xuan had shown had left them rather intrigued. In this moment, he was like an enigma that they desired to look into.
“Our fighting prowess is roughly equal. If you can’t defeat him, there’s no point in me going up there and embarrassing myself.” The first young genius shook his head. Nevertheless, he still offered some pointers. “During the battle with him, remember to propose a fight without weapons. Also, make sure to firm your state of mind. Don’t grant him any openings to use his terpsichorean arts!”
“Un!” The second young genius nodded.
Following which, he stood up and clasped his fist. “Zhang shi, I am Ma Minghai from the Qianchong Empire. Please guide me along!”
Zhang Xuan was still feeling deeply thankful to Pavilion Master Yue for granting him this precious opportunity to earn so many concentrated high-tier spirit stones when he suddenly heard a voice. Turning to the young man who had just stood up, he asked, “You want to challenge me, too?”
“That’s right!” Ma Minghai smiled. “Will you accept my challenge?”
“I won’t,” Zhang Xuan replied as he sat back down on his seat.
“…” Ma Minghai nearly fell to the ground after hearing those words.
That is not how the script was supposed to go!
Even if you don’t want to accept my challenge, do you have to be so smug about it?
A little choked up within, Ma Minghai gritted his teeth and offered, “I’m willing to offer fifteen concentrated spirit stones as my stake for the battle!”
“I have exerted myself too much earlier. I’m too exhausted to fight anymore.”
“Twenty! I can’t offer you any more th..” Ma Minghai clenched his fists tightly. However, before he could finish his words, the young man had suddenly materialized back in the middle of the hall. He flung his sleeves grandly, assuming the disposition of an unworldly expert.
“You should have said so earlier! I have already recovered from my exertion, so let’s start now!”
“…” Ma Minghai was so stifled that he nearly failed to catch his breath.
Shameless people, he had seen plenty of them in his life, but the young man before him was really in a whole different class!
Just to up the stakes, he would use the same blatant lie again and again… Incorrigible!
At that moment, Ma Minghai suddenly heard a voice in his ears. “Don’t be affected by him. He’s intentionally provoking you to affect your state of mind!”
It was from the earlier ‘Brother Sun’.
“Un.” A glint flashed across Ma Minghai’s eyes, and he nodded in agreement.
If not for Brother Sun’s reminder, he might have lost sight of himself there. It seemed like the clash between them had already begun, even before the battle itself.
Taking a deep breath, Ma Minghai calmed his state of mind back to its unperturbed state before flicking his wrist to take out twenty concentrated high-tier spirit stones. With one quick movement, the jade containers storing the spirit stones flew straight toward Zhang Xuan’s table. After which, he leaped to the center of the hall and raised his hand politely.
“I’ll be in your care.”
“I’ll be in your care, too.” Zhang Xuan nodded.
Without wasting any time on words, Ma Minghai swiftly suppressed his cultivation to Primordial Spirit realm intermediate stage, and with a resounding burst of zhenqi flowing through his meridians, he dashed forward.
Unlike the previous few opponents whom Zhang Xuan had faced, Ma Minghai’s movements were simple and concise. There was no elegance or complexity in his moves, only ferocity and brutish violence. Yet, it was such an offense that was extraordinarily difficult to cope with. A single lapse in attention could very well result in severe injuries.
“Not bad!” Zhang Xuan complimented.
As expected of a genius from the Qianchong Empire, this Ma Minghai was not a person to be underestimated.
In the previous few battles, Zhang Xuan had not used his full strength at all. Nevertheless, it seemed like his opponent had still noticed that something was amiss, so he had given up all attempts at testing him out, using his strongest moves from the start so as to gain control of the flow of the battle.
Under his relentless suppression, it would leave very few gaps for Zhang Xuan to attempt anything.
Nevertheless, in face of the ferocious offense, Zhang Xuan calmly drove his zhenqi and flicked his palm. In an instant, it felt as if a river had appeared between the two of them.
Zhang Xuan had not used Spatial Seal, utilizing just his zhenqi.
Even though it was less than a tenth of his true strength, the palm strike still harnessed strength that no ordinary Primordial Spirit realm cultivator would have been able to withstand.
“This…” The awoken Liu Chongxin saw the sight before him, and he gulped fearfully.
Previously, he had thought that Zhang Xuan had only defeated him by sheer luck, and he had been filled with indignation at his defeat. But after seeing this, he realized that if the young man were to get serious on him, just this move would be more than enough to defeat him!
“Good move!” Exclaiming in excitement, Ma Minghai focused his Sword Intent into his forefinger and sliced it downward.
A burst of sword qi surged forward, and the river forged of zhenqi was instantaneously sliced in two.
“What formidable Sword Intent!” Zhang Xuan’s eyes lit up in excitement.
He had faced quite a few experts himself, but he had never encountered anyone with such pure Sword Intent! That was nearly on par with a fifth of his!
Really, experts from the Qianchong Empire were indeed extraordinary.
With such thoughts in mind, Zhang Xuan grabbed the sword qi in between his forefinger and middle finger, and with a flick, he sent it back at Ma Minghai.
“What the… He actually managed to catch such a powerful burst of sword qi?” Brother Sun widened his eyes in incredulity.
Granted that Ma Minghai’s sword qi was already considerably worn down from slicing the river of zhenqi, its might and speed were still not at a level where it could be caught. Impeccable timing, superior strength, and a profound grasp of swordsmanship—all of these had to be met before a feat like this could become remotely possible!
Brother Sun knew that there was no way he could achieve a feat like that.
Could it be that Zhang Xuan was actually a wolf cloaked in sheep skin? Appearing weak and tame before them, an unparalleled expert was actually hidden beneath that exterior!
“Incredible! Why don’t you try catching this one too?”
Despite having his sword qi caught, Ma Minghai did not show the slightest apprehension or fear. Instead, his eyes glowed in excitement, as if a new world had appeared before him.
With a bellow, a powerful surge of Sword Intent burst forth from Ma Minghai. It swiftly morphed into countless swords around him, filling the area so densely that a large area was shrouded by an ominous shadow.
Forged from sword qi, these swords could be considered mere masses of energy, but if they were to land, they would easily cut through one’s flesh just like sharp blades, inflicting grievous injuries upon their victim.
“That’s Sea of a Thousand Blades!”
“To be able to form so many swords with just his Sword Intent, Ma shi is really a frightening person!”
“I can’t even imagine standing against all of those swords simultaneously…”
The faces of the young geniuses in the hall swiftly turned grim.
Due to the presence of the Sword Lagoon in the Qianchong Empire, most of their experts had a profound mastery of swordsmanship.
The Sword Lagoon had many swordsmanship heritages, and the Sea of a Thousand Blades was one of the strongest sword arts there. It was impossible for any cultivator to defend themselves from the simultaneous assault of so many blades!
Just like the rest of the crowd, Zhang Xuan was also a little startled by the emergence of countless swords around Ma Minghai.
To be able to form so many surges of sword qi around him in the blink of an eye, Ma Minghai was indubitably a powerful adversary. While the other party was still a long distance away from matching up to him, against Zheng Yang, Wang Ying, Liu Yang… Fine, at least Sun Qiang would not have been a match for him in a battle at the same cultivation realm!
Standing before the imposing array of swords, a slight smile crept onto Zhang Xuan’s lips. Instead of attempting any evasive maneuvers, he opened his mouth and inhaled deeply.
The countless swords immediately converged together into Zhang Xuan’s mouth.
Before anyone could process what was going on, the imposing array of swords was swallowed into Zhang Xuan’s stomach.
The faces of the surrounding crowd paled.
While others would be desperately trying to escape from the onslaught of sword qi, that fellow actually opened his mouth and swallowed it.
However, that was not the end of the shock yet.
“Here, I’ll return them to you!”
The countless surges of sword qi that Zhang Xuan had swallowed earlier were melded into a short sword inside his abdomen, and with a resounding roar, the short sword burst forth toward Ma Minghai.
Along the trajectory of its movement, the short sword swiftly grew longer, reaching a length of a zhang 1 before it stopped growing. Even before reaching its target, the incomparably sharp aura that it emanated already left a sharp pain in the eyes of onlookers.
“Ahhh…” Not expecting such a move from Zhang Xuan, Ma Minghai’s face paled.
Understanding the deep peril that he was in, he unhesitatingly released the seal of his cultivation, and his aura quickly rose.
Nevertheless, he was still forced to retreat a dozen steps to ward off the momentum from Zhang Xuan’s assault.
Only with the full might of his Quasi Leaving Aperture realm cultivation did he barely manage to withstand that attack, and even so, he still felt an aching pain gushing through his body. At the same time, the lingering shockwave from the collision had caused his robe to be shredded, leaving behind a tattered rag that barely covered his body.
“You are indeed very powerful…”
Taking a deep breath, Ma Minghai was just about to suppress his cultivation once more to release his most powerful move when he suddenly heard a voice sounding from above.
“Enough. You aren’t a match for Zhang shi.”
Turning around, Ma Minghai saw Pavilion Master Yue gesturing for him to back down with a wave of his hand.
“Yes!” As indignant as Ma Minghai felt, he knew that Pavilion Master Yue was right. Just the previous release of the seal on his cultivation was already enough to signify his defeat.
“I believe that Zhang shi should have proved his superior strength to everyone here, so let’s end the duels right here.” Pavilion Master Yue waved his hand.
At that moment, he was feeling stifled inside.
He had intended to use the hands of others to teach that brat a lesson, but not only did his plan fail tragically, it even became an opportunity for that brat to establish his dominance.
“End the duels right here? Are you really thinking that you will be able to get away scot-free after attempting to bully me? How could there be something that convenient in the world?” Zhang Xuan raised his eyelids to glance at Pavilion Master Yue, and his voice grew louder as he spoke.
“I, Qingyuan Empire’s Zhang Xuan, request to challenge the head of the Qianchong Empire Master Teacher Pavilion, Yue Yiquan. Please guide me along!”