“State your conditions,” Xu Yangyi interrupted Stanford and said straightforwardly.
Stanford seemed to laugh. “Mr. X, you are always so good at understanding people. If a Holy Shadow-ranked holy medicine can be scheduled in advance, I think that His Majesty the Elf King would be willing to sacrifice some spiritual force to personally draw the completed Demonic Mark for you.”
Xu Yangyi seemed to smile yet not smile. “So you were leaving something out, then? Waiting for me to watch the next fight?”
“Perhaps you can think of it in such a way that we only wanted to upgrade you with a more dependable method.”
Xu Yangyi didn’t want to haggle with this shrewd businessman. Who said that elves were pure and noble in the first place?
“When do we start.”
“At the soonest, you’ll still have to wait until the competition between the top six begins.” Stanford pondered to himself. “I believe as things stand thatI no longer have to hide anything from Mr. X. We call the power roused from a Sacred Spirit’s remnant power from its Demonic Mark a totem. The totem that any Sacred Spirit produces is in a sealed state. Only the knowledge originating from the Elves can completely awaken them. However, the preparation tools for this are very complex. In particular, there are a few things that require a blessing ceremony to be performed over the course of a few days. We haven’t made the preparations at this time.”
“But…” he paused, “even so, there’s still an insurmountable barrier between you and a quasi Grand Duke…”
Xu Yangyi was silent. He knew that the other was definitely talking about that 1% of a Grand Duke’s might.
He only nodded. “As quickly as possible.”
The Holy War progressed at a blazing pace. Xu Yangyi fully observed the robustness of the peak western battle powers. In the outside world, any of the warriors in the Holy War was undoubtedly a person who could shake the West with each of their steps. Today, they had all gathered here to fight for the factions backing them.
By the time the twenty-fourth battled rolled around, no less than two weeks had passed. The longest fight was between the Dwarves’s candidate, ‘Thor’s Hammer’ Sambeck, and the Subterranean Dwellers’s candidate, ‘Endless Nightmare’ Taudrey. Stretched over the course of eighteen hours, this battle could be said to be the most shocking of the first round.
In the long, bitter struggle, the Dwarves’ well-known defensive magicks guarded against the Subterranean Dwellers’ violent bombardments again and again. Occasionally, the battlefield was layered with ghostly shadows, and from time to time the wail of spirits lingered in the air. It was as sinister as hell, black flames tantamount to a falling sky. And yet Sambeck stood unfalteringly like a mountain. Finally, in sixteenth hour, the dwarf launched his counterattack. With his heavyhammer known as ‘The Earth’s Heart’ in his left hand, and his towershield known as ‘The Red Dragon’s Eye’ in his right, he destroyed the field as his magick treasures sparkled and slammed down. It was then in the eighteen hour that he defeated his opponent to become the fourth candidate to advance to the semi-finals of the left bracket.
Everyone was startled by this fight. The incredible strength displayed, the unimaginable tenacity shown! Even if a cultivator’s fleshly body was stronger, fighting and attacking for close to twenty hours non-stop would certainly make anyone feel mentally and physically drained.
As the dwarf on stage raised his ruined warhammer, the audience erupted with thunderous applause. Even the Throneless Grand Duke who was head of the Subterranean Dwellers shook his head and sighed ruefully. Xu Yangyi also clapped sincerely.
Regardless, the focus on the fights of the right bracket received far more red-hot attention than the left bracket. This was because there were no more than twenty Throneless Grand Dukes in the entire West, and Bloody Moon, who had shocked New York for the past century, was there. The result, however, greatly disappointed the audience.
Bloody Moon didn’t even make a move. His opponent wasn’t a seeded candidate either, instead forfeiting before the match. This allowed the vampire to directly advance without fighting, but what Xu Yangyi noticed was that Bloody Moon hadn’t appeared.
On the contrary, Vermilion Snow, who hadn’t been listed with her realm, made everyone’s eyeballs jump out from their sockets.
The fox-demon was up against the Sirens’s candidate ‘The Blue Moon’s Song’. Before the battle, everyone thought that while Vermilion Snow was respected as New York’s overseer, she still wasn’t much to look at on the top battlefield of the West. She gave them all a resounding slap to the face.
Half an hour!
In comparison to Savidean VII and Dorothy’s battle, her fight was ten minutes shorter!
So far, this was the fastest showdown!
Furthermore, it was completely one-sided. Vermilion Snow hadn’t even manifested her demon form. The nine-tailed demon fox that had awed New York for close to a decade hadn’t appeared. The battle had cruelly ended as a fight between two women.
The siren didn’t have the slightest power to retaliate.
Another two weeks passed. Golden names sparkled on the left-side bracket.
‘Master Spirit-Technician’ X.
‘Silver Moon’ Savidean VII.
‘Neptune’s Trident’ Muse of the Sirens.
‘The Summit of the Mountains’ Phillip Saurostin…
Names symbolizing glory were engraved on a screen of light. So far, the twelve strongest on both sides of the bracket had been determined. Already, the list of the top twenty four was completely revealed.
Three days of rest followed. On the night of the first day’s rest, Xu Yangyi was meditating, but his eyes suddenly snapped open.
Everything in the surroundings… had been disconnected.
Not even qi was felt!
“Foundation Establishment can only isolate sound and visual at most, and if one wants to cut off qi then a treasure like Angelo’s Arcanum has to be borrowed. Right now, though I can’t even sense a trace of a ripple from a treasure. This… a Grand Duke’s power!” He took a deep breath and stood up. Respectfully clasping his hands, he took a knee on the floor. “Junior X, pays respects to the Dao Master.”
There was no answer. Streaks of black spiritual light gathered in the room. Three seconds later, a pitch-black crow appeared in the room. In its mouth, there was a head-sized golden box. Soon, the spiritual energy radiating from the crow swirled like a vortex, and the scene of a crow turning into a person awesomely unfolded before Xu Yangyi’s eyes.
Black energy containing the evening mist spread through the room. The figure was bundled in a black gown from head to toe, and two simple black crows were perched on his shoulders, their soft feathers hanging down for half a meter. If it weren’t for the oppressive might of a Grand Duke—so terrible that it was practically solid—no one could’ve expected that this was Antonio Blackcrow, ‘The Great King of the Elves’, whose name shocked the West.
He’s not just a high Grand Duke… Xu Yangyi maintained his clasped hands. While he knew the elf king’s purpose in coming, his heart was still frantically pounding since he was in such close proximity to a Grand Duke. Such oppressive force… is even somewhat higher than Daomaster Yue’s. He… is a quasi Prince!
“It is the False Soul realm. That’s how China calls it, yes?” Antonio’s voice was strange. It was obviously extremely young, but it carried a kind of heavy lethargy. He seemed to clearly see the thoughts in Xu Yangyi’s mind. “Stand.”
Xu Yangyi stood straight up and quietly glanced at Antonio—the sun god-like man who had been sitting in the front row of the Elves’s section. However, he suddenly fell into a daze.
Antonio’s appearance was young. He could even be said to be handsome without fault. In spite of this, his face was covered in wrinkles, like he would die in the next second.
While Xu Yangyi was distracted for a second, enlightenment quickly dawned on him.
If a Dao Master wasn’t willing, he simply wouldn’t be able to clearly see the other’s real face!
“This Grand Duke is already 700 years old.” Antonio didn’t seem to mind, stroking his long black robe. “To rise to become a Prince… I have no hope whatsoever. You feel the heavy lethargy upon me… That is death energy. Perhaps in not even a hundred years a Red Spider Lily will blossom in the Woodland of Nature’s Dream.”
“Mr. X, no need to console, and no no need to say anything. Let us broach the subject in question.” He raised the golden box in his hand. The surface was carved with all kinds of countless flowery designs. “This is called ‘The Grace of Mother Nature’. The elf king of each generation takes this item as their own prime magick treasure…”
“Hey! Speak a little carefully! Old man!” Just as Antonio finished speaking, a displeased voice interrupted him. “Your Lordship here is a spirit treasure! Do you know what a spirit treasure is! You won’t even find ten in the entire world! You’re bringing down my force like that?”
Xu Yangyi exhaled sharply. He’d only seen a spirit treasure once, and that was Xiaoqing’s armor. Furthermore, the armor was too old, and no one had taken care of it. He hadn’t even seen the artifact-spirit of legend. But at this moment, he was actually looking at a living artifact-spirit!
“It’s still quite young.” Antonio paid no attention and smiled. “It was just 300 years ago when the spirit treasure came into being? How many Chinese spirit treasures are there?”
“No… Junior was once told that China’s Dao Masters seek a grand artificer once every ten years to refine a treasure, but all attempts were failures.” Xu Yangyi deeply cupped his hands. “I had no idea that a drafting a Demonic Mark required a spirit treasure.”
Antonio laughed, “Are you afraid you will be unable to return this friendship?”
“No… there is no need, child. You should know why I’ve personally come to draft your Demonic Mark. It’s no exaggeration to say that in the entire world only we the Elves know how to properly activate a Sacred Spirit. The Human Pillars we have seen and what we have heard is much more than you. For example… did you know that your Grand Duke Cloudcrane is a Human Pillar?”
A Human Pillar?!
Even if Xu Yangyi was more focused, he couldn’t help but raise his head in shock now. Unable to restrain himself, he asked, “Yes… What?”
“He came to the Woodland of Nature’s Dream to find me.” Antonio was satisfied with Xu Yangyi’s reaction, and laughed, “But I didn’t act. If you want to know, however, why don’t you go ask him yourself? Well, as long as you reach Grand Duke.”
He stroked the Grace of Mother Nature with some reluctance to part with it and murmured, “Each time a Demonic Mark is drawn, my treasure will instantly slumber for thirty years. I, too, will enter the Moon God’s Well for the long sleep. Mr. X, I am already old… very old… so old that I am soon to die. And in the Grand Duke of this generation still hasn’t appeared. Therefore… how could such a precious opportunity to activate a Demonic Mark be used on an ordinary Grand Duke?”
“We do not possess the deep estates of the Dracul and the Corvinus. I dare not die. I am afraid that as soon as I do, the Woodland of Nature’s Dream will promptly be trampled and leveled by the combined efforts of those two great houses’ four Grand Dukes. So…”
“I desire a holy medicine that can increase my life for a century, Holy Shadow rank.” He stowed his gaze and stared at Xu Yangyi.
Xu Yangyi was silent for a short spell.
The Sacred Sword was right before his eyes. If he could use the Wolfbane’s Sacred Spirit, then it definitely wouldn’t be weaker than any Sacred Spirit. The Wolfbane had devoured an avatar of the Whitdeer King Malorne, and killed one of the Ancient Archdemons among the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors. He was absolutely confident! 
However, he hesitated for a few seconds, raised his head, and shook it. “I don’t have the formula. I can’t accomplish that right now.”
“You don’t need to do it now. But I want a promise!” Antonio’s gaze finally began to heat up. “An Oath of the Soul! In fifty years, give me a Holy Shadow-rank medicine!”
So finally, this was what the Elves wanted…
The Elves had set this scenario up for so long. Stanford’s prior preparations were all for the elf king to say these words.
Elves had an incredibly longer lifespan than other lifeforms, granting them wisdom of equal level. Mentioning the Sacred Sword was to catch Xu Yangyi’s attention. However, the Elves had chosen not to negotiation right away. They didn’t even say a word. Because they clearly understood that the one making a request would be a rank below from beginning to end. Only an equal exchange was fair.
Therefore, they let Xu Yangyi witness Savidean VII’s power for himself. Observe Bloody Moon’s victory which hadn’t even drawn a drop of blood. See Vermilion Snow’s strangely unfathomable strength. But what they wanted was still only equality. Nothing more than to continue the fate of the Elves.
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