Xue Wei looked at the buff man in front of him and shook his head. "I want to defeat this guy, but I can't do it too cleanly," he thought as he wondered about what to do.
The opponent did not waste any time and rushed at Xue Wei; the entire podium trembled from the weight that landed every time he took a step.
Xue Wei narrowly dodged a few attacks. He had not clashed with the other because he wanted to gauge his own strength first.
If he sent out an attack and defeated him straight away, he would have wasted all the time he had spent to make himself seem like a weakling.
As a result, he was just narrowly escaping every time. He could feel the wind of the punch fly past his face, his body, and his limbs.
The punches were indeed backed by a strength that Xue Wei had never before seen amongst other Ordinary Warriors, but his own strength was similarly overwhelming. After a moment, he finally decided it was time to clash head-on with the burly youngster.
The longer he spent dodging the attacks, the crowd started to progressively boo at him, yelling for him to stop being such a scaredy-cat, and some even called for him to stop wasting time on the stage, yet the judge and the Crown Prince looked on with a frown on their faces.
They were much higher ranked than the other people present. They could see that there was no hesitation or panic whenever Xue Wei moved. It was clear that he was not as backed into a corner as he seemed.
At the same time, his eyes were completely calm; his actions were constantly under control. The Crown Prince smirked when he saw this. "Seems like I was not mistaken," he said to himself.
Xue Wei threw out a punch that contained twenty percent of his strength. He was still testing the waters, yet when he threw out the attack the majority of the experts in the hall looked at him with disdain.
Everyone was waiting to see the outcome of the clash. The Crown Prince and the judge, who were of a much higher rank, could see that the punch that Xue Wei threw out was a casual one with not even half his strength, their eyes narrowing slightly.
The two fists clashed, and a boom resounded in the hall. The burly young man was stopped in his tracks while Xue Wei took five steps back.
He then looked at his fist, which ached slightly, and acknowledged that he had overestimated his strength.
"Well done!" The burly man was shocked, as he had been stopped by Xue Wei with raw strength. That had never happened before.
Xue Wei, on the other hand, was also shocked that he had been forced backward and that his fist was hurting.
"No more underestimating, I am going to use half of my strength this time," he mumbled to himself. Although his voice was very low, both the judge and the Crown Prince heard him, their faces twitching slightly.
They knew for a fact that when they were as young as Xue Wei, they were likely not to be his opponent.
The shine in the Crown Prince's eyes grew. He truly wanted to recruit this young man, and he decided to start with showing goodwill towards his friends. If he became good friends with Shen Mu and Luo Zhirou, it was likely that Xue Wei would join him too.
Having decided on this, the Crown Prince shifted next to Luo Zhirou and Shen Mu, where he began chatting with them about the outcome of the fight.
"Xue Wei will win," Luo Zhirou said straightforwardly. "He is much stronger than anyone else here, not counting Your Royal Highness or the esteemed judge."
Luo Zhirou was of the impression that Xue Wei was a god that had descended from the heavens, someone who had strength like no one else and abilities that others could not comprehend.
Shen Mu was a little more reserved about what he said, but in his heart he too had complete faith in Xue Wei.
The other experts surrounding the Crown Prince were looking at them with various expressions. Some looked on with loathing and complete disregard, while others had expressions of confusion and deep thought.
Things did not add up. Xue Wei had downplayed his abilities so far, at least a group of experts were certain of this. When they heard the certainty in Luo Zhirou's voice, they felt even more sure of this fact, and when they saw how he had not been judged as the loser just yet by the judge, they understood that he was hiding a lot of strength.
"This man is the nephew of Xiao Lei," one of them mumbled to himself. "He has a special physique, and he is shrewd. This is a young man we should not make into an enemy."
While this guy made this conclusion, others had the same thought, but many were completely disregarding of his potential.
The burly man on the podium charged at Xue Wei again, but this time Xue Wei was prepared, and half his strength was inserted into his arm as he threw out another punch.
The speed of this punch far exceeded the speed of the previous one. The pupils of the burly youngster's eyes contracted, and he tried to avoid the collision, but he was too late.
The two hands collided in the air and he was the one forced back this time. His entire body trembled as he took a few steps back, and each step made small almost invisible cracks appear all over the podium floor. From this, one could see how much strength was added to this attack.
"I am convinced of my defeat," the burly man gave Xue Wei a long glance as he jumped from the podium and an uproar ensued in the hall.
Xue Wei cupped his hands to the expert and was about to step off the podium when a one layer Earth Warrior jumped onto the stage.
"Your physical body is strong, but this is an exchange of pointers. I wonder if I can make you serious enough to use your martial art skills. That is, if you have any."
There was mockery within the voice of this other youngster. Xue Wei looked at him and noticed that he was wearing clothes made from Fierce Beast silk too. It was purple with golden embroideries. His hair was half hanging, half tied up. His face could be considered handsome by some.
This young man was another noble-born son of the capital. He had consumed a fair deal of medicinal plants for him to reach the level he were at, and he had decent talent. Otherwise, it would be impossible to make it to the first layer of the Earth Warrior rank at his age.
Xue Wei frowned. He had just engaged in a sparring match, and so far no one else had fought more than one battle at a time. In fact, no one had been up on the podium more than once.
"You are not scared, are you?" He snickered, but Xue Wei just glanced at him with a bored look on his face. "I find it unbecoming of me to hog the space on the podium when this is for all the geniuses present," he said casually.
"Were the Crown Prince to enjoy watching me perform another exchange of pointers, then, of course, it is a different matter."
Having said this, Xue Wei was testing the Crown Prince. Allowing for the other youngsters to bully him when he was the host would be frowned upon, but the prince was likely also very curious to see his prowess.
This was quite a dilemma to give the prince, and while the prince and some realized the point behind Xue Wei's question, others thought he was just looking for a way to escape the exchange of pointers, and their opinion on him was constantly dropping.
The Crown Prince thought for a moment, aware that no matter what he said, he would disappoint someone.
His main aim was to recruit Xue Wei, so it was obvious that he should not be disappointed. At the same time, it would also be righteous to stand up for Xue Wei since he was being bullied. However, although this was the case, the Crown Prince was aware that Xue Wei had used no energy in the previous spar and was at his peak condition. He was also eager to see just how many tricks this young man had hidden.
Sighing, he stood up. "We have many young heroes present who have not displayed their skills just yet," the Crown Prince said with a smile on his lips. "To ask for young master Xue Wei to participate in another exchange of pointers when he just finished one is not the act of a gentleman." The Crown Prince laughed. "I understand that all of you are eager to experience the strength of this young genius, but he should be allowed time to rest as well."
The opponent on the stage had his face turning red after being told that his actions were not gentlemanly by the prince himself, and he cupped his hands before he quickly jumped off the stage.
Xue Wei followed him down the stage, feeling rather good. He had thought that the prince would not be able to contain his curiosity and request for him to partake in one more spar, but he had taken Xue Wei’s side and protected him from this bullying that the noble-born youngsters of the capital had planned for him.
Xue Wei returned to the prince's side and was surprised to find that the Crown Prince was speaking cordially with Shen Mu and Luo Zhirou.
It was clear that with the current relationship between the three, these two would succeed in forging a relationship with the Crown Prince and come under his wings.
Xue Wei could not help but praise the Crown Prince for his swift decision-making and his decision to not stop at anything to pull in Xue Wei. He was also aware that the prince operated not for his sake, but it was for the sake of his legendary uncle, Xiao Lei.
The rest of the night, no one else dared to challenge Xue Wei. It was clear that the Crown Prince was looking out for him, and thus they were aware that going against Xue Wei would be the same as going against the Crown Prince himself.
The ones who had realized that Xue Wei was hiding his power all came to talk with him. They wanted to leave a positive first impression, so they tried their best to be friendly with both him and his two friends.
Others did not even deign to give him one look. They felt that he was riding on the coattails of the rumors and in truth was a paper tiger.
Many went onto the podium to display their skills, but all the second and third layer Earth Warriors were staying down. It was clear that they did not feel a need to display their skills to be respected, as their cultivation base was already proof of their superiority.
"Luo Zhirou, Shen Mu," The Crown Prince called out, and the two hurried towards him and bowed deeply.
He then handed them two bracelets made from braided black Primordial Beast leather. On this bracelet was a small misty white pearl.
"This is a communication orb," the Crown Prince introduced it. "Each person's orb has a specific aura, and if you touch two communication orbs together, they will be able to find the specific aura again, and you will be able to communicate with one another on a distance of ten thousand kilometers.
"They are rather rare, but all my followers have one each. I have already connected it with mine and your own communication orbs. This means you can contact me or each other whenever need be."Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I would like to announce that book 1 of Condemning the Heavens has gone live on Amazon. If you have some time, please go and leave an honest review of the book, and if you are able to, please consider buying it to support me!
If you like the story, please considering becoming a patron, I have up to 15 chapters ahead of schedule and these chapters include merchandise and other goodies that are being sent out every month.
Teasers are back!
Betareader: Soultorrent & Norwegian Viking