Jun Xiaomo’s face revealed nothing more than a trace of astonishment. Within moments, she managed to compose herself and began to contemplate several strategies to deal with her present predicament.
Jun Xiaomo’s stoicism in the face of danger made Du Yongxu elevate his assessment of Jun Xiaomo, albeit ever so slightly.
In Du Yongxu’s eyes, without the backing of her powerful formation arrays and her talismans, Jun Xiaomo was nothing more than a sheep to the slaughter. He could practically do whatever he wanted with her, and she would not be able to do a thing against him.
“Thunderclap Mantra!” Du Yongxu suddenly waved his arms and launched his next attack. Just like that, over ten bolts of lightning immediately struck at Jun Xiaomo’s head.
This sudden attack took Jun Xiaomo by surprise. Lightning-based spells were the quickest, second only to wind-based spells. Additionally, lightning-based spells possessed the strongest offensive powers among the spells of all elemental affinities.
Thus, it was too late to avoid the attack by the time she reacted. She only had the time to retrieve a talisman from her Interspatial Ring and apply that talisman directly on her palm to block some of the oncoming damage.
After blocking this wave of attack, the talisman immediately self-immolated and burnt up – it had lost its effect extremely quickly.
Jun Xiaomo only possessed two such defensive talismans in her Interspatial Ring. Furthermore, these talismans were the strongest talismans that she could create given her current cultivation level right now. In fact, the creation of each one of these talismans was so draining to her that she would have to rest for almost half a month before she could commence on the next one again.
And one had immediately been used up just like that. Jun Xiaomo knew that she could not continue to rely on her talismans like this.
These thoughts had also crossed Du Yongxu’s mind as well. A smile crept up the corner of his lips as he chuckled wickedly, “Jun Xiaomo, do you think you can keep on relying on these defensive talismans against me? Relying on talismans won’t be enough if you want to deal with me…I’ll let you know that that earlier attack comprised of only thirty percent of my full power.”
Du Yongxu’s abilities were already in the secondary-tier Foundation Establishment stage of cultivation. This was several qualitative levels higher than Jun Xiaomo’s levels of cultivation. Furthermore, Du Yongxu was equipped with some items that augmented the power of his abilities, making him far stronger than the average cultivator at the secondary-tier Foundation Establishment stage of cultivation.
Truth be told, if not for the fact that Jun Xiaomo had managed to dodge slightly earlier, she might very well have been seriously injured from Du Yongxu’s earlier attack notwithstanding the fact that she had applied a defensive talisman on her body.
Jun Xiaomo grimaced, but her eyes glistened with an unwavering battle intent. Jun Xiaomo would never give up so easily.
Besides, her opponent clearly came with nefarious intentions, and it was evident that Jun Xiaomo would not be able to simply escape even if she admitted defeat.
I have to give it my all!
Thus, Jun Xiaomo began to imbue her limbs and joints with her true energy so that she could increase her senses and reflexes to avoid Du Yongxu’s oncoming attacks in the quickest time possible.
In other words, Jun Xiaomo had tentatively given up on all aggression, and she had focused everything she had on her defenses.
No, it was not right to say that she had given up on all her offensive abilities. After all, she still wielded her whip in her arms. That said, that was about all the aggression she wielded at this point in time. She did not imbue her whip with any of her spiritual energy or demonic energy, and the offensive abilities of each whiplash was not even at ten percent of what they could normally achieve.
Naturally, ten percent of her usual power was clearly insufficient to hurt Du Yongxu. Jun Xiaomo knew this full well. Thus, she was certain that if she were to come out on top of her current predicament, she would have to bide her time and wait for the prime opportunity to counterattack.
Du Yongxu discovered that Jun Xiaomo had consciously adopted a passive stance, and he began to grow disinterested in this battle. However, he was still rather intrigued by the spirited gaze in Jun Xiaomo’s eyes.
Du Yongxu enjoyed the game of cat-and-mouse with his opponents. The more determined the “mouse” was, the more exciting the game would be.
Just like those human sacrifices that the Du Clan was built upon – they struggled to the bitter end, but they still ended up yielding up their lives to their undeniable fate.
“Spark Serpent Fetters.” Du Yongxu slowly muttered the mnemonics for another spell. A serpent made of electricity immediately congealed in his hands and shot straight towards Jun Xiaomo. She dodged to the side, but the spark serpent continued to give chase after her.
It was as though the spark serpent had a spirit of its own and intended to trap Jun Xiaomo within its lightning fetters.
The strength of this spell was not in its offensive abilities. Rather, it was in the fact that it could restrain its opponent and numb their senses with lightning, even causing them to pass out.
Jun Xiaomo had seen such a spell before. The agility and accuracy of this spell grew in accordance with its user’s cultivation level and spirit.
In other words, if Du Yongxu had already attained a cultivation level at the advanced-tier Foundation Establishment stage, he would very easily be able to latch this spell onto Jun Xiaomo and bind and fetter her. However, he was only at the secondary-tier Foundation Establishment stage of cultivation, and this meant that Jun Xiaomo still able to avoid this spell cast by Du Yongxu.
Apart from the true energy within her body, Jun Xiaomo possessed an uncanny ability to predict her opponent’s next moves, and she knew exactly when the spark serpent would charge at her and when it would attempt to fetter her.
Thus, in the eyes of the audience, Jun Xiaomo looked as though she managed to “fortunately” avoid the spark serpent’s fetters in the nick of time.
After a few moments, the spark serpent faded away, and Jun Xiaomo remained unscathed.
A trace of fascination flickered across the depths of Du Yongxu’s eyes. He did not watch the Lower Category battles at all, and he found himself completely disinterested by even the Middle Category and Open Category battles.
After all, these battles were like child’s play given the extent of his present abilities.
Although he did not watch the battles, he had nevertheless learnt that Jun Xiaomo had made a name for herself over the course of the Lower Category battles. After all, a contestant at the sixth level of Qi Mastery had defeated several opponents two or three levels stronger than her to obtain the title of champion of the Lower Category battles.
Prior to his battle with Jun Xiaomo, Du Yongxu had concluded that there was nothing special about this, because he knew that Jun Xiaomo was Jun Linxuan’s daughter, and he thought that she might have won because of the invaluable treasures on her body which augmented her abilities and made up for her cultivation deficiencies.
But at this moment, he knew that he might well have underestimated this female cultivator in front of him. In fact, he had begun to suspect that Jun Xiaomo might harbour other secrets apart from her knowledge with her formation arrays and talismans.
Du Yongxu licked his lips. His gaze sharpened, before he released a chain attack, “Chain Lightning Wave!”
Bolt after bolt of lightning began to arc menacingly from his hands and dense forks of lightning filled the air as they surged towards Jun Xiaomo in a wave-like manner. It was mind-numbingly fearsome.
Jun Xiaomo’s whip lashed out madly, leaving innumerable afterimages where they had been. This sight was contrasted by the relentless fluttering of her sleeves, leaving an image that looked almost like a striking-red butterfly was dancing about delicately in the midst of a wave of lightning arcs and forks. It was an incredibly stunning display of abilities.
Even though Jun Xiaomo’s dazzling performance lasted only a few short moments, Du Yongxu’s gaze had been transfixed on his target all this while, and he had captured every moment of it. Within moments, his gaze grew profoundly deep and abstruse.
It had just dawned on him that this lady before his very eyes had changed very much from their earlier encounter when he deemed her nothing more than plain and uninteresting. At the very least, back when he had encountered Jun Xiaomo at the Death’s Gorge, she absolutely did not leave him astonished with such a breathtaking performance.
Du Yongxu suddenly wanted to know how long his intrigue with Jun Xiaomo would last.
Thus, he began to launch a series of attacks at her –
“Violent Spark Firebolt!”
Jun Xiaomo counted herself incredibly lucky that there was true energy running through her body instead of spiritual energy or demonic energy. Otherwise, with such relentless attacks, the energy in her body would have been completely depleted by now.
“Martial sister Xiaomo!”
The other Heavenly Peak disciples had discovered the graveness of Jun Xiaomo’s plight, and they wanted so much to rush over to her aid. Yet Jun Xiaomo stopped them from coming over.
“Don’t come over yet! Deal with those in front of you!” Jun Xiaomo shouted at her martial brothers.
They had earlier agreed on the best formation to adopt to deal with their opponents so as to give rise to the highest odds of success. She knew that she could not afford to let their strategies go up in smoke just because of her own ineptitude.
Furthermore, she knew that she only needed to hold out for less than an hour now, and the situation might change for the better.
Du Yongxu was completely unaware of the contemplations on Jun Xiaomo’s heart. He simply attributed her fighting spirit to Jun Xiaomo’s stubbornness.
It’s good that you’re stubborn. This way, I can slowly play with you and torment you. Du Yongxu remarked in his heart, and the wicked smile on his face widened.
In the audience stand, those who were supporting Jun Xiaomo’s faction in their heart couldn’t help but develop the urge to tear that wicked smile on Du Yongxu’s face to pieces; while those who had expected something like this, including He Zhang and Dai Yanfeng, revealed malicious, evil grins on their faces.
“Haha, not bad at all. You truly live up to your name as the champion of the Lower Category battles despite your cultivation at the sixth level of Qi Mastery. But I’m glad that’s the case. These games wouldn’t be enjoyable otherwise.”
Du Yongxu grinned wickedly as he spoke, before crying out, “Heavenly Thunderwave!”
Crackle! A thunderbolt crackled out of the blue and shot straight towards Jun Xiaomo’s head.
Jun Xiaomo lashed out with her whip again with a loud battle cry as she leaned towards the side. Her whip that had been imbued with her spiritual energy clashed directly with the thunderbolt and diverted its path of travel slightly, allowing Jun Xiaomo to barely avoid being struck by it.
“Not bad.” Du Yongxu continued to “praise” her, “However, these are just the appetizers. I’ve only used thirty percent of my energy. I wonder whether you’ll be as fortunate in a while.”
“Ball Lightning Mantra!” Du Yongxu yelled as a large ball of lightning began to congeal in the midst of his palm.
Ball Lightning Mantra was a spell where he would congeal a ball of lightning-based energy and send it straight towards his opponent where it would explode upon contact. It possessed immense destructive abilities, and if it hits Jun Xiaomo, she would be completely incapacitated, if not instantly killed.
The ball lightning congealed incredibly quickly. After just half a breath of time, Du Yongxu launched the ball lightning straight towards Jun Xiaomo without any warning!
Jun Xiaomo managed to avoid it by the hair of her skin, but she was still struck by the static around the ball lightning which numbed her entire body. Just like that, she nearly fell straight onto the ground.
Jun Xiaomo gritted her teeth as she fought to stabilize her body. She could no longer suppress the swelling indignation in her heart.
Thus, she turned around and immediately launched a fire-based spell at Du Yongxu. Jun Xiaomo’s angle of attack was incredibly incisive, and it struck Du Yongxu squarely on the chest.
Unfortunately, the attack was practically useless – it did not even leave as much as a mark on Du Yongxu’s body.
He raised his eyebrow quizzically as he mocked, “Little beauty, are you helping me to scratch an itch? Your attack was hardly painful at all.”
Jun Xiaomo grimaced, while the fire in her eyes burgeoned into a roaring inferno.
“Hah, you look so aggrieved. Looks like I’ve got to continue teaching you a lesson on how and when you should learn to lower your head in submission.” As Du Yongxu spoke, he began to cast and send several other lightning spells at Jun Xiaomo.
One after another, Du Yongxu cried out the names of these powerful lightning-based spells as he launched them straight towards Jun Xiaomo without relenting. In fact, he even slowly increased the output of power.
From thirty percent to forty percent, and then to fifty percent…
Then, when Du Yongxu finally increased the output to seventy percent of his maximum power, Jun Xiaomo found herself unable to avoid Du Yongxu’s attacks any longer. Several wounds began to appear on her body, while several parts of her clothing were also burnt to a crisp.
But despite that, she did not make one peep of groaning or moaning sound. She remained completely focused at what she needed to do in this duel, gritting her teeth and fighting through the pain as she fixed her gaze on Du Yongxu’s actions and faced him without cowering in fear.
Du Yongxu had never seen Jun Xiaomo battle. In his eyes, disciples from Secondary Sects were far too weak to be compared with the disciples from the Du Clan. None of them could hold a candle to the Du Clan disciples at all.
Therefore, regardless of whether it was the Lower, Middle or Open Category battles, all of the Du Clan disciples had remained at the inn while the individual battles were ongoing. None of them watched any of the individual battles at all.
Rather than watch the battles, my time could be better spent remaining at the inn and meditating or resting. Du Yongxu and the other Du Clan disciples thought at that time.
It was for this reason that today was the first time that they had come into close contact with Jun Xiaomo or battled with her. Naturally, they had battled with each other once at the precipice of the Death’s Gorge. But back then, Du Yongxu and the other Du Clan disciples had been so fixated on the mutated Basilisk Fruit in Ye Xiuwen’s hands that they had completely ignored and overlooked Jun Xiaomo and Ye Xiuwen. At that time, they had treated Jun Xiaomo and Ye Xiuwen as nothing more than two eyesores that they had to get rid of.
But now, they were only a few meters apart from each other. As he took in the determined look on Jun Xiaomo’s face, it suddenly dawned on Du Yongxu that the changes to this lady that he had encountered some time back was truly immense.
At the very least, Jun Xiaomo had not caught his eye or enraptured his attention as much back then.
It was particularly so when she was dressed in striking red, and she appeared to flutter about like a red butterfly. This butterfly occupied his full attention right now, and he even had the urge to grab hold of it and restrain its movements in his grasp.
As to what he was going to do to the butterfly after restraining its movements, Du Yongxu hadn’t thought so far yet.
Du Yongxu’s gaze at Jun Xiaomo was truly far too invasive and penetrative. Outside the marshlands, three people found themselves furrowing their brows at this tight – one was Rong Ruihan; one was Du Ruiguang, and the last was Du Yongxu’s cousin, Du Lianqin.
Du Lianqin had always been fond of Du Yongxu, and she was incredibly displeased by the look that Du Yongxu was gazing upon Jun Xiaomo with.Previous Chapter Next Chapter