Volume 1 –
Chapter 164: A Hot Knife Through Butter
‘Quite the grandstander,’ Yang Qi thought. The way this Wang Yujue thrust his sword out and demanded that he forfeit the match was relatively intimidating. The man actually seemed to bristle with killing intent, and if Yang Qi had been a weaker or more timid person, it might have led to him making mistakes and eventually losing the match.
It was a classic fighting tactic. Showing open derision of an opponent could theoretically unnerve them, interrupting their true energy flow, and disrupting their thoughts.
But Yang Qi was different.
True confidence stems from superb skill.
Although this Wang Yujue was a Secondary Lifeseizer with incredible sword energy, Yang Qi could tell that the man was far below him.
In fact, he didn’t even bother to respond to him. Taking a step forward, he waved his finger, sending out a stream of boundless sword energy that shattered his opponent’s sword.
Before Wang Yujue could even finish his opening monologue, he was sent flying. A moment later, he slammed into the ground, blood spraying out of his mouth, his meridians severely damaged.
Then Yang Qi waved his finger again, ripping Wang Yujue’s identity medallion off of him, and then slicing it to bits.
At that point, he heard a voice speaking. “First round victory goes to Yang Qi from the Demi-Immortal Institute.”
The primary way to determine victory and defeat in this competition was to destroy your opponent’s identity medallion.
When that happened, the unique properties of the Central Battle Arena would detect what had occurred, and announce the winner. Of course, anyone who feared being injured could always throw their identity medallion down to forfeit the match.
After defeating Wang Yujue and smashing his identity medallion, Yang Qi felt a stream of energy wrap him up and drag him back to his original position.
Back at his seat, he looked around to find himself the only person sitting in the area for elite students. Apparently, everyone else was locked in fierce combat.
It was a rare thing for people to be able to end a fight in one move, but considering that Yang Qi could already defeat Nonary Lifeseizers, other students were clearly not at his level.
And thus, he sat there, somewhat aloof, not bothering to pay attention to anything or anyone else.
Before long, more elite students began to emerge from the arena, some of them having been defeated, others puffed up with pride from achieving victory.
Yang Qi’s eyes glittered when he caught sight of Li He, Liang Dong, He Jili and Hua Yinhu, all of them in high spirits, clearly having achieved victories in round one. When they saw Yang Qi, they sat down next to him.
“This is incredible,” Li He said. “We can use the Cosmic Sunflare Sword technique to the limits of its capabilities.”
“It looks like you four have some foreign true energy in your meridians. Here, let me help you expel it.” Yang Qi quickly sent some of his own true energy into them, healing their wounds and helping them recover from the fighting.
“Winning one round in the competition doesn’t mean much,” Yang Qi pointed out. “This is a good opportunity for training for the four of you, so don’t get cocky.”
“We know,” Li He said, nodding. “We’ll be careful.” After all, the competition could also be very dangerous; the slightest slip-up could lead to life-threatening situations.
Not every aspect of the fighting could be controlled, and it wasn’t impossible for competitors to lose their lives. If a student were accidentally killed, the institute wouldn’t investigate the matter very closely. But that wouldn’t stop people from trying to get revenge. Because of that, most competitors would show mercy, and wouldn’t deliver killing blows unless it was absolutely necessary. Of course, if two people with a grudge happened to meet each other, it would often turn into a battle to the death.
For example, if Yang Qi and Yun Hailan ended up fighting each other, there was no way he would hold back. He would do everything he could to kill her, and then worry about the consequences later. As far as he was concerned, a match with her would be the perfect opportunity to put her to death!
‘I’m just waiting for that day to come, Yun Hailan. Nobody can interfere with these matches. Not the Crown Prince, not anybody! If you’re dead set on taking first place, then that means we’ll run into each other sooner or later. And that will be the day you die. I don’t care what magical treasure he gave you, it won’t be able to save your life from me!’
Anticipation surged within him.
Before long, the first round of the competition was over. Various emotions could be seen among the throngs of competitors, including grief, joy, fear, pain, anxiety, and confidence….
The Central Battle Arena was like a boiling pot of emotion.
As for Yang Qi, he forced himself to be calm.
Meanwhile, in the highest level of the grandstands, behind the glowing shields that blocked sight from below, a very interesting conversation was playing out.
Yang Qi couldn’t see the people up there, but they could most certainly see him, and could also see every aspect of the fight which he had just ended.
Seated together were a group of very powerful people, including the Legendary elders of the Demi-Immortal Institute.
Patriarchs Wind and Cloud. The Seven Preheaven Masters. The Three Pure Yang Elders…. These were top experts who were rarely seen out in the open, but who were now gathered together in very rare fashion.
Also present were many of the holy neophytes, who wore solemn, fixed expressions.
Of course, there were also Legendaries from other organizations as well. There were sect leaders and paragons of all sorts, all of them Legendaries of immense power who had been specifically invited to observe the proceedings. Although the four institutes were the most powerful orthodox organizations, there were other ancient and powerful groups in the lands, such as the House of Spring and Autumn, the Tabernacle of Flame, and others.
The chancellors of the four institutes were not present. They had projected their voices from some other distant location.
“Report ready!” four voices called out in unison. At the same time, four individuals materialized, holy neophytes who had been selected to oversee the competition and keep track of the standings.
“The statistics for round one are in,” one of the holy neophytes said. “In the total standings, the Demi-Immortal Institute took first place, the Sea God Institute second place, the True Dragon Institute third place, and in fourth, the Sun Moon Institute.”
Patriarchs Wind and Cloud, the Seven Preheaven Masters and the other grand elders from the Demi-Immortal Institute all broke out into chuckling.
“Looks like the Demi-Immortal Institute will retain the number one position among the institutes.”
“Oh really?” one of the Sun Moon Institute elders said, a man who had a halo floating behind his head that made him seem like a god from heaven. “This competition isn’t about numbers. It’s about who produces the most consummate genius. A true genius can easily vanquish tens upon tens of thousands of other elite students. Our institute has several geniuses present who will topple every student who gets in their way, even the ones from the Demi-Immortal Institute. We’re definitely going to sweep the top ten.”
“Well, that’s impossible,” said one of the Seven Preheaven Masters. “The geniuses from the Demi-Immortal Institute are superior in every way.”
“What’s the point in talking about it?” shot back one of the Legendary grand elders from the Sea God Institute. “We’ll know soon enough who the top geniuses are. I’m sure you all remember Yun He, the outer campus student from our Sea God Institute who performed so remarkably in the last competition. He was only a Master of Energy, but he cut down everyone who faced him. He even defeated numerous elite students, as well as a conclave student. This time, he’s at the peak of the Lifeseizing level, so he’ll definitely be the one to take first place.”
When it came to matters of seniority between the four institutes themselves, a lot of it came down to which students performed better. When a student shone, it reflected on their entire institute.
“Well, let’s just wait to see whose genius rises to the top! Issue the orders to commence rounds two and three.”
Soon, more bells were tolling, and more fierce fighting began to play out.
Yang Qi followed the tug of his identity medallion to enter the arena, and the dimension in which he would fight his second opponent.
This time, his opponent was even younger than he was. He appeared to be fourteen or fifteen, with bright, intelligent eyes that fairly shone with experience.
“I’m Qiao Yihang from the True Dragon Institute. Do you mind sharing some fighting tips with me?”
In the blink of an eye, the young man erupted with incredible power, like the true energy of a divine dragon. A dancing dragon appeared behind him, and as it coiled up, it seemed to thrum with the might of gods.
‘A True Dragon Institute technique. Coiling Dragon Grand Energy Art?’ Yang Qi’s eyes flashed as he looked at this profound energy art, which to his eyes seemed like a swirling, fluctuating mass of vital energy, twisting in and out of various transformations….
This was an ability he had gained after pushing the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth to a certain level. Given the right circumstances, he could easily see through to all of the unique variations of an energy art. Eventually, he could even use that ability to copy other energy arts.
When Yang Qi just stood there unmoving, his opponent smiled coldly, then blurred into motion. An instant later, he was actually behind Yang Qi, where he shouted “Probing Claw of the True Dragon!”
However, before anything else could happen, Yang Qi’s sword energy erupted, stabbing out like a black lightning bolt, completely destroying this Qiao Yihang’s true energy.
Then, a cracking sound could be heard, which was none other than his identity medallion breaking.
Even as the young man seemed just about to lunge forward for another attack, Yang Qi coolly said, “You lose. Enough. I don’t want to hurt you.”
Shocked, Qiao Yihang looked down at his broken medallion, and then shrieked, “How? How did I lose? You destroyed my identity medallion with only one sword strike? With a cultivation base like that, how could you be an elite student? Your energy arts must be strong enough to kill a Quinary Lifeseizer! How could you be so much stronger than me?”
“You know the old saying.
However strong you are, there’s always someone out there stronger than you
.” With that, Yang Qi exited the fighting dimension.
Already, there were elite students who had noticed what happened, and were in an uproar.
“What? Seriously? Defeated in the second round?”
“Qiao Yihang once descended into the Myriad Dragon Cistern, where he was baptized in Myriad Dragons Divine Blood. His energy arts are incredible, the type rarely seen in the world. How could he have been defeated in the second round?”