Chapter 97: Declined Challenge
Xu Min was not very skilled when it came to knowing how to act amongst other people. He did not see anything wrong with giving away this gift. When he saw Ouyang Xiu's face, he was quite surprised. The older man did not seem excited about the present. In fact, he looked as though he had been doomed.
"It is just a gift," Xu Min blurted out, "I have no use for these things. I am an individual cultivator, and these items are more suitable for a large sect. Since I have no use for these things, I decided to give them to you as a show of my gratitude for your care and consideration."
Ouyang Xiu was surprised. He had expected that Xu Min was like all the other young masters he had met. Someone who would think of benefits and be calculating and scheming.
Xu Min was neither. He was straightforward and easy to understand. He would use his abilities to protect those he cared for and would be a loyal friend through and through. He would not think about benefits or rewards. That was not the kind of person he was.
Only now did Ouyang Xiu understand this. His face was filled with a great smile as he understood that he made an erroneous judgment earlier.
"I am sorry; I must have offended you," Ouyang Xiu said as he shook his head. It was hard for him to hide the smile on his face. Although Xu Min was unaware of what had happened, he understood that this strange man in front of him now believed he had no hidden agenda with gifting these items to him.
Xu Min shook his head. I'll never understand these young masters, he thought to himself. He said no more and just smiled too. He moved forward, passing on the storage item to Ouyang Xiu.
Though Ouyang Xiu was very curious about what could be within this storage treasure, he did not instantly start roaming through it in front of everybody. He was curious, but he cared more about his reputation. He gently placed the storage treasure on the table and sat down gesturing for Xu Min to take a seat as well.
"Brother Xu, I imagine that you will win this Immortal Valley Rankings," Ouyang Xiu said with respect and a jovial tone in his voice. "I have never before heard of a single person winning. Then again, this is the first time an individual such as you has entered the Immortal Valley Rankings. Just how on earth did you manage to convince Bu Huang to let you enter?"
Ouyang realized what he had just asked. He smiled politely, and he shook his head, "Nevermind, please don't answer that," he said, "I know you must have your secrets, and I don't need to know about them."
"Well, it is quite simple actually and not something to hide," Xu Min said with a shrug of his shoulders, "My teacher and Bu Huang know each other. He recognized me and decided to help me out."
"Winning or losing does not matter much to me," Xu Min continued. "As far as I know, I won't benefit from winning this Immortal Valley Rankings, but Bu Huang's family will benefit. After the kindness they showed me, it is only natural that I will do what I can to repay him." Xu Min smiled. The answer made Ouyang Xiu feel impressed. To repay the kindness and to value relationships, this was without a doubt the best kind of friend one could have.
While Ouyang Xiu asked plenty of questions about what Xu Min had been doing during the Immortal Valley Ranking, the other friends and followers of Ouyang Xiu were quiet as they listened to every word Xu Min spoke.
"The Snow Mountain considered you the bringer of death. They even gave you the nickname Yanluo. You know, I am quite curious, how many people have you killed?"
Ouyang Xiu was a young master, and his family would never allow him to be in danger. This time, within the Immortal Valley Ranking, was the first time he was experiencing life without being protected by a high-ranked expert. Even so, no one truly felt as though the Young Masters would die. Who would be willing, or have the power, to go against these major families? An abnormality like Xu Min was never expected.
Before meeting Xu Min, Ouyang Xiu had fancied himself an expert with a great deal of experience. He was swift in reacting to danger and believed that he was well-versed in real life and death battles. However, when he saw the battle between Xu Min and the young master of Snow Mountain, he understood just how wrong he had been.
Although he was skilled in battle and had killed before, he had never been in real life and death battles. His family would never allow that. Thus he had not been tempered the same way as Xu Min.
For the first time, Ouyang Xiu finally understood. His overprotective family had caused him to be behind some of his peers when it came to worldly experiences. Still, it also meant that he was still alive, so he was uncertain whether he was fortunate or not.
Being born into a great clan, family or sect meant that Ouyang Xiu had grown up with plentiful resources, careful teaching from extreme experts, and treatment equal to a future king. These peerless geniuses within their clans were often treated much better than other young members of their generation. However, instead of being viewed with jealousy and contempt, they were viewed with reverence and admiration.
"Please excuse me," one of the people who had been speaking with Ouyang Xiu before Xu Min appeared called out, "I would like to ask for a sparring match with you. I know my skills are lacking compared to the young master of Snow Mountain, but I wish to test myself against an overwhelming power. Would you be willing to accept such a challenge?"
Although this person was extremely courteous, the only reason he was this courteous was due to Ouyang Xiu's behavior towards Xu Min. He knew that this man was strong, having not personally seen him display his strength, but how could he believe that he was this strong?
Xu Min looked at this young man and then shook his head, "Sorry," he said apologetic. "I would love to accept the challenge, but I am afraid I have to decline. My companion Ye Ling would love to accept in my place, though. I am sure you can have a great battle. He is also a fifth-ranked beast, so he is not much weaker than me."
Upon hearing this, Ye Ling snorted. Although he was the same rank as Xu Min, he had long since understood that his strength was far from parity with this human youth, but he said nothing. It was clear that he was more than satisfied with the praise he had been given.
The person who had issued the challenge was not satisfied. His face turned from red to white to purple as multiple levels of anger rose within him. He did everything in his power to suppress this anger. Unfortunately, he was not very successful. Everyone could see he was about to explode.
"Younger brother Xu, please, just a single duel," a woman urged him. She too wished to see his power on full display. Even more so, though, she wanted to ensure that the older man did not explode from anger, but Xu Min shook his head regretfully.
"It is not that I don't want to participate in a sparring match," he said with a sigh, "the problem is that I fear that if I participate, I will not be able to hold back and will by accident either cripple or kill someone."
His words sounded arrogant, but everyone seemed to feel a certainty within his words. It was as if there was no other option.
"I am so unfortunate that I have not been part of many sparring matches," Xu Min explained. "In the past last year here, I have increased my strength tremendously. Almost every person has tried to kill me, giving me no other choice than to sharpen my attacks, which has made my attacks aimed to kill and not to spare. I am not so brazen as to kill my new friends, so I have to politely decline your invitation. My best solution is for you to try and duel my companion. He is not bad."
"I am capable of withstanding your attacks!" the person who had challenged him shouted. He could no longer hold back his anger. Just as Xu Min was about to respond, a loud, crisp slap resounded in the tent. The person who had spoken out was sent flying out of the tent and landed on the ground. He was completely incapable of understanding what had happened.
Only then did he look at Ouyang Xiu who had an unsightly expression on his face. "You think you can withstand his attacks when not even the young master of Snow Mountain could do so? Not even I dare go against him. What gives you the confidence that you can survive his attacks?"
Hearing Ouyang Xiu's words, everyone seemed to cool down. It was true. They could not even hold a candle to Ouyang Xiu's talent and performance when it came to battling. However, none of them had personally witnessed Xu Min battling. Thus they wished to see just how strong he was.
Just as they were about to open their mouths, a loud voice sounded from outside the camp. "Xu Min!"
The voice was enforced by Qi and traveled thousands of kilometers, making the ground tremble, which made Xu Min lift his head. A snicker appeared on his face. Trouble had come to find him, but he was not unhappy. If anything, he was excited. This was the chance for him to prove just how strong he was. The stronger he was, the more likely he was to be recruited by a major power. By being recruited by a major power, he would gain access to more and better resources, stances, and abilities, enabling him to get his revenge quicker. Xu Min's plans were simple. Everything he did was for the sake of getting revenge as soon as possible while ensuring that he would survive so that he could return to Meilin's side and live life to the fullest.
Rising to his feet, Xu Min rolled his neck and moved out of the tent only to raise an eyebrow in surprise. Behind him, all the others from the tent followed suit. He heard them all gasp.
Right in front of Xu Min was a group of around a hundred experts. All of them were filled with boundless killing intent. They were wielding their weapons, staring at the young man who had just left the tent. No one dared to block them as they all rushed towards Xu Min who was just laughing out loud.
With a voice that was filled with Qi, Xu Min roared to the sky, "Come one, and I will kill one. Come two, and I will kill two. Anyone who steps in my way will forfeit their lives!"
These arrogant words boomed through the entire Immortal Valley. Everyone felt the force that was hidden beneath. It was not empty words. As soon as they were spoken, Xu Min increased his pace. He unsheathed the sword on his back and rushed to meet his opponents.
By his side, Ye Ling had a toothy grin on his face. His internal energies were starting to surround him, and his claws were shining. Both, Xu Min and Ye Ling, were ready to kill the ones opposing them, and both human and beast felt extremely excited.
Ouyang Xiu, who was left behind, did not seem worried. Instead, a smile was on his lips as he looked at the young man and beast rushing to meet the horde of cultivators.
"You wanted to see his real strength. Now keep your eyes open. I am sure that it is time for you to see just what he has kept hidden."