“I just realized that Xiang Shaoyun is actually really handsome! No wonder I hear that Lu Xiaoqing is interested in him!”
“He really is quite handsome! He seems rather gentle and considerate, just my type!”
“I really hope that he somehow manages to win! He’s much more likeable than that stinky Wu Mingliang.”
“He may be handsome, but he’s completely useless! I’m afraid he’ll be beaten to a pulp by Wu Mingliang soon!”
Many of the female disciples in the arena began swooning over Xiang Shaoyun, with some of them even casting furtive glances at him. Xiang Shaoyun felt extremely gratified. He had not felt admiration from the masses in a very long time. What a pity it was that his good mood was utterly ruined by a certain fellow.
“Boss, do your best! I have my eyes on you, so don’t lose too terribly, ok?” Xia Liuhui cheered, a towel wrapped around his forehead as he waved a white flag in support. This fellow was dressed up as if he was there to offer surrender. And after hearing his words, Xiang Shaoyun almost felt like coughing out blood on the spot.
“This damned bastard,” Xiang Shaoyun cursed to himself then walked up steadily onto the arena, no longer turning to look at the audience.
At this moment, Xiang Shaoyun was carrying a large saber on his back. His entire bearing had transformed since he entered Martial Hall Palace; he no longer looked like a mere scholar but more of an upstanding young saber wielder.
“Xiang Shaoyun, you really came! Young Master Wu will teach you a lesson!” a voice filled with resentment came from below the arena. The one who spoke was none other than Wu Mingliang’s number one lackey, Gou Zi. His injuries had not yet healed, his head still wrapped like a dumpling, making for an extremely comical sight.
Xiang Shaoyun looked down and coldly laughed, “It’s a pity I don’t have a brick here, or I would’ve given your Young Master Wu the same treatment!”
“You really like to talk big for someone who can only rely on their physique to boast! You even dare to stand before me, a ninth-stage Basic Realm cultivator, with your pathetic bit of cultivation? Naive!” Wu Mingliang shouted, utterly despising Xiang Shaoyun.
“We’ll know just who the naive one is after the battle!” Xiang Shaoyun replied confidently. Thinking back to just a few days ago when he was humiliated in the canteen, his heart burned with rage. From being a lofty young master with much influence, he fell to the point where he was made fun of by mere Basic Realm cultivators. He had to settle this particular debt.
Just then the officer, who had been waiting in the arena for a long time, said, “I don’t care what your grudges are, but you must settle them in this arena today! But I must make this very clear—no matter whether who wins or loses, neither of you are to attempt to take the other’s life. Those caught trying to do so will immediately be expelled from Martial Hall Palace! Do you understand?”
“Yes!” Wu Mingliang and Xiang Shaoyun simultaneously replied.
“Good. I declare the start of the match!” the Martial Officer shouted.
“Xiang Shaoyun, if you’re willing to concede now and swear fealty to me, I can spare you from suffering. Furthermore, I can offer resources to help you fully grow! What do you think?” Wu Mingliang suggested before the fighting even started.
“You? Hah hah! This really is the greatest joke under heaven! Come and accept death, you braggart! I’ll defeat you within three moves!” Xiang Shaoyun threw his head back and roared with laughter.
“Looks like you are an idiot through and through, even dreaming of defeating me within three moves. This young master will make you kneel with one move!” Wu Mingliang loudly berated Xiang Shaoyun. Wasting not another moment, he charged straight for Xiang Shaoyun.
Rushing Qi Fist!
Wu Mingliang’s first move was Martial Hall Palace’s tier-1 battle technique available to all. The punch contained considerable power within it, seeming to have 70 percent of its comprehension as a whole. This meant that Wu Mingliang’s Rushing Qi Fist had 30 percent left until perfection. Furthermore, adding Wu Mingliang’s personal strength and ability, the resulting force from the Rushing Qi Fist caused a humming sound throughout the arena.
A punch with a force of 500 kilograms! This was the strongest strength possible for someone at the ninth stage of the Basic Realm. Even as spectators, the outer court disciples felt great pressure exuding from it. Everybody began to wonder whether Xiang Shaoyun would be able to withstand the punch.
“I’m taking your place in the ranking today!” Xiang Shaoyun yelled. Without dodging or hiding, he assumed a forward horse stance, and in return, sent out a punch like the wind. This was the exact same battle technique, Rushing Qi Fist.
A collective gasp of surprise came from the crowd. Nobody had thought that Xiang Shaoyun, a lower-ranking Basic Realm practitioner, would dare to clash with a peak Basic Realm practitioner head on.
Just when they thought that Xiang Shaoyun’s bones were all going to be broken and that he was going to be forced out of the arena, they found that he was standing steadily, still standing where he was. On the other hand, Wu Mingliang had been forced back several steps, and he was clutching his fist, as if in a lot of pain. At this moment, all the outer court disciples exploded into a flurry of discussion.
“H-how can this be possible?! Xiang Shaoyun has such great strength that even Wu Mingliang was forced back?”
“This can’t be real, right? Could it be that Xiang Shaoyun was hiding his strength all along and only revealed it today?”
“This doesn’t seem too plausible, does it? Remember his first day of trying to get food from the canteen? Even I could hit him! Do you think he was faking that too?!”
“Maybe this is the doing of the nineteenth elder! If he gave Xiang Shaoyun a spirit medicine, it’s not too exaggerated for his strength to have risen to this degree.”
“Watch closely, here’s my second move!” Xiang Shaoyun yelled. Pressing the attack, his body rushed forward swiftly like a sprinting demonic beast, carrying a terrifying momentum.
This was the rushing intent of the Rushing Qi Fist. The next step in this sequence of moves was to accumulate the force from this rush to be released at the right moment later. Again, Xiang Shaoyun repeated a Rushing Qi Fist. This time, he unleashed 90 percent of the might of this battle technique, which added no less than 50 kilograms of weight to his punch.
Xiang Shaoyun wanted to use Wu Mingliang to show everybody his strength. He intended to end the match within three moves, not wanting to give his opponent too many chances to counterattack.
Wu Mingliang’s title as one of the top 10 outer court disciples was not just for show. Reacting almost immediately, he changed his fist form and shouted viciously, “I’ll let you see this young master’s true strength!”
Tier-2 battle technique, Rippling Punch. The moment he sent his fist forward, ripples started forming in the air. This punch contained more destructive power than the Rushing Qi Fist. This was the sheer difference between a tier-2 fist skill and a tier-1 fist skill. This battle technique was not part of Martial Hall Palace’s gallery of battle techniques but was one of the Wu Clan’s heirloom skills.
The two fists once again met in the air; both fighters actually managed to stand their ground this time. Neither of them retreated.
“How is this possible?! The Rippling Fist should enable me to unleash 650 kilograms of force even if I’ve only comprehended 20 percent of the skill! But this brat actually managed to block it?” Wu Mingliang was incredulous at the sight.
One must note that even most ninth-stage Basic Realm cultivators would not be able to take this punch straight on. Could Xiang Shaoyun actually have reached ninth-stage Basic Realm already?
Just as Wu Mingliang was still in a daze, Xiang Shaoyun changed his move. This time, he chose not to punch but rather sent a Gale Winds Kick straight at Wu Mingliang. The Gale Winds Kick did not increase one’s strength, unlike the Rushing Qi Fist. However, its specialty was to allow one to unleash kicks in rapid succession, making it extremely difficult to block every kick.
Xiang Shaoyun sent a flurry of five to six kicks at once towards Wu Mingliang, each kick containing 500 kilograms of weight.
Wu Mingliang had underestimated his opponent in the beginning of the match. And now toward the end of the match, he was distracted. He had not once considered that Xiang Shaoyun would change his skill all of a sudden, and he was unable to prepare himself before getting kicked square in the stomach and thrown completely out of the arena.