Chapter 112: Does Your Face Hurt?

It wasn’t just him. Quite a few people in the Yuan clan also kindly contributed a substantial amount of Rage points to Zu An. In fact, even some of the bystanders were getting affected by the remarks too.

Even Ji Dengtu had stopped ogling at all of the married women around him to look at Zu An.

This fellow sure is asking for a beating. I must get my daughter to keep away from this fellow, or else it’s only a matter of time before she gets implicated in his shenanigans.

But again, that fellow gave me quite a nice book though. I wonder how many more of such books he has. If he gets beaten to a state of near-death by Yuan Wendong, should I step in and save him in view of the book he gave me?

On the stage, Snow harrumphed softly, “That man is as hateful as ever.”

In front of her, Shi Kun surprisingly nodded in agreement. He could relate deeply to those words.

“He’s a hoodlum through and through. He’ll never come to do great things,” sneered Sang Qian.

Sang Hong, who was sitting in front of him, however, reminded him through ki transmission, “The fact that he’s able to earn 7,500,000 silver taels from the Silverhook Casino and become an arithmetic teacher in the academy shows that he’s no ordinary individual. Don’t be fooled by his exterior. I’ve told you many times that you shouldn’t just look at the superficial. You should peer deeper into the crux of matters.”

“I understand,” replied Sang Qian, though he actually thought nothing of what his father said.

Meanwhile, Xie Yi secretly sent a ki transmission to asked Xie Xiu, “Is that the man you spoke of?”

“Indeed. He’s Zu An,” replied Xie Xiu.

His older sister, Xie Daoyun, remarked with a frown, “This man is incredibly crude. I don’t like him.”

Xie Xiu was just about to explain the matter when he recalled the Legend of the Moochlord in the academy. He seemed to recall Zu An asking him about his older sister once, and all of a sudden, he felt that he should keep his older sister safely away from that dangerous man.

The Sunspring Duke, Wu Wei, guffawed, saying, “So this is the drafted son-in-law of the Brightmoon Duke? Looks like the Chu clan is bound to fall into decline!”

Wu Qing was overjoyed to hear her father putting down Zu An. Hah, we aren’t in the academy today. I’ll watch how you embarrass yourself through and through, Zu An!

The only one on the stage who really knew about Zu An’s background was Jiang Luofu. She looked at the young man who was calmly bearing the criticisms of the crowd, and she couldn’t help but fall into deep thoughts. 

Just what is it that compelled him to lie low all this while? Is he planning to strike his name out through the tournament today?

Sang Hong cleared his throat and announced, “The Clans Tournament between the Chu clan and the Yuan clan is about to begin. First and foremost, allow me to reiterate the rules. Both sides are to confirm the sequence of which their fighters are going to enter the dueling ring and submit it upward. The sequence cannot be changed anymore afterward. Whichever side wins more battles will be granted 80% of the Linchuan Commandery’s arms market whereas the losing side will be left with the remaining 20%. In the course of the battle, you are forbidden from intentionally executing fatal blows that could potentially lead to deaths, or else your rights as a fighter will be revoked. Have I made myself clear?”

“Yes!”

The fighters on both sides replied in unison.

However, Zu An had much to refute about the rules. In name, they were restricted from killing one another, but the use of the term ‘intentionally’ opened room for contention. A person could just claim that he was too heated up in the duel and failed to hold back in the critical moment. As long as he didn’t do it too obviously, no one could say for sure whether he was doing it on purpose or not.

“Now, submit the sequence paper. An incense’s time from now, the tournament will officially commence!”

After making the announcement, Sang Hong returned back to his seat. For previous tournaments, they had only invited the city lord as the judge, but the nature of the tournament this time around was different. It wasn’t just a fight between the Chu clan and the Yuan clan anymore. Instead, it was the Chu clan against the Wu clan. Naturally, they would need someone with more authority here.

The two clans had already decided the sequence at which they would enter the dueling ring in advance. Chu Chuyan walked up to submit the sequence paper. It was also about this time that Hong Xingying passed by Zu An. He was the first fighter that the Chu clan was sending up.

On the surface, it looked like he was earnestly making preparations for the fight, but in truth, he was speaking in a voice so low that only the two of them could hear. “Are you feeling gleeful over how you acted earlier on?”

“What?” Zu An was baffled. Is this fellow trying to provoke me right before his fight?

Hong Xingying harrumphed. “I don’t know what’s going through your mind, but did you think that it was glorious for you to shout insults around like a common hoodlum? Didn’t you notice how everyone was mocking you? No, they weren’t just mocking you. They were mocking all of us from the Chu clan!

“Someone like you will only become the source of the Chu clan’s humiliation. The Chu clan has already become a laughingstock for taking you in as its son-in-law, and yet, you still continue to add on to it.”

Zu An was amused. “Have you forgotten how badly you got beaten up the last time around?”

Those words subconsciously brought Hong Xingying’s eyes toward Pei Mianman, and he gulped. However, he quickly snapped out of it and harrumphed coldly. “You think you’re all incredible hiding behind the back of a woman! Hah, you won’t be able to get their help on the dueling ring today. Everyone will see you as the trash you are!”

“What makes you so certain that I’ll lose?” Zu An felt that he should make use of this chance to make a bet with Hong Xingying, or else it would be a huge waste of this godsent opportunity.

“You can’t be thinking that you’re able to win the duel, are you?” sneered Hong Xingying. “Your job today is just to lose and leave everything else to us. Only a person like me can bring glory to the Chu clan. All someone like you can do is to enjoy the glory the rest of us earned through our blood, sweat, and tears!”

Zu An wanted to refute those words, but the referee had already declared the start of the first round. So, Hong Xingying tidied up his clothes, raised his head, and began walking onto the dueling ring.

“How exhilarating! I’ve finally managed to vent all of my stress out today. That trash was put down by me to the point where he can’t even refute anymore. Ahhh, this really feels good!”

Hong Xingying had never felt so soothed before.

Hmph, just watch as I bring the first victory into the hands of the Chu clan! On the other hand, that fellow will be beaten up by the Yuan clan before this huge crowd we have here. By then, both Master and Madam will know who is more suited for the first miss!

Not only must I win today, but I must win with an overwhelming advantage! Only this way can I raise my head in the Chu clan and catch the attention of Principal Jiang. I’ll let her know of my talents, and perhaps, she might take care of me in the future. Then, I’ll obtain an official position and return here to marry the first miss!

Meanwhile, by the side of the dueling ring, Qin Wanru leaned toward her husband and whispered with a frown, “What’s with that person on the other side? Why haven’t I seen him before?” 

Chu Zhongtian shook his head and said, “I don’t know either. He probably isn’t from the Yuan clan but the Wu clan. However, is there really a person like him amongst the experts of the Wu clan?”

“Do you think that Xingying can win the battle?” 

Qin Wanru had a good opinion of Hong Xingying. He was an extremely competent man, and his father had been loyal to the Chu clan all these years too. In fact, she had favored Hong Xingying over all other candidates back then, but it was a pity that her daughter chose Zu An instead.

Just thinking about it left her fuming, and she shot a sharp glare in Zu An’s direction.

You have successfully trolled Qin Wanru for +111 Rage!

Zu An was feeling stifled. Please, it was Hong Xingying who messed with me earlier, and I didn’t even get a chance to report back. What are you getting angry at me for? Is it your menopause? 

Unaware of his wife’s thoughts, Chu Zhongtian casually replied, “Xingying is quite talented, and our Chu clan has held him back over the years. Nevertheless, he still managed to reach the pinnacle of the third rank. He might not be particularly powerful, but he’s definitely not weak either. The person on the other side appears to be of the same rank as well. I think Xingying should be able to fare well against him.”

Hearing her husband’s words, Qin Wanru was finally able to set her heart at ease.

On the dueling ring, Hong Xingying drew his sword and brandished it elegantly. He gazed at his opponent haughtily and said, “Name yourself! I don’t cut down nameless souls with my blade!”

“Ooh, I never thought that there would be someone like that in the Chu clan! He’s so cool!”

“Well, anyone would look good compared to their drafted son-in-law.”

… 

Hong Xingying’s cool words and suave face stirred a small commotion amongst the girls. However, his attitude brought a frown onto Chu Zhongtian’s forehead. This child shows off a little too much.

In return, the other party laughed softly and said, “I am the Yuan clan’s Chen Lei.”

Then, he fell silent. 

Be it in terms of appearance or disposition, Chen Lei was indeed far beneath that of Hong Xingying. It didn’t take long for the crowd to side with Hong Xingying.

On the other hand, Hong Xingying frowned. He had never heard of this person before. However, the fact that this person wasn’t one of the targets of the Chu clan’s investigation showed that he wasn’t considered to be a threat.

Alright, this Chen Lei guy shall be my stepping stone to rising to new heights! I’ll make sure to win beautifully so that those important figures around will notice me!

With such thoughts in mind, his fighting spirit began to surge. “Pardon me!”

Without any hesitation, he swung his sword and charged toward Chen Lei.

Chu Zhongtian nodded in approval. He thought that Hong Xingying was taking a conceited attitude toward the duel, but fortunately, he didn’t let his arrogance turn into complacency. The latter chose to take on a moderate offensive position in order to pressure his enemy.

On the other hand, Chen Lei bellowed furiously as he whipped out his saber and dashed forward too. The two men clashed with one another through their weapons, causing sparks to fly.

The recoil from their clash caused both of them to retreat five steps simultaneously, but Hong Xingying was alarmed by the prowess of his enemy. He never thought the nameless Chen Lei would actually harness such great power.

“Again!” 

Not daring to get careless, Hong Xingying abandoned his initial idea of flaunting his skills and chose a more stable fighting style.

It didn’t take long for the two of them to start trading blows with one another. Even from beneath the dueling ring, the spectators could feel the chilling air coming from the clash of the two cold weapons.

“I’ve never heard of the two of them before, but they’re stronger than I expected. Do all major clans have such powerful cultivators amidst them?”

“That Hong Xingying seems to be a student from Brightmoon Academy’s Sky class, but I’ve never heard of this Chen Lei before.”

… 

The two of them were equally matched with one another. Sometimes, Hong Xingying would appear to be on the upper hand, only for Chen Lei to suddenly suppress him with a series of offensive strikes. The crowd felt their blood racing from the intense battle. They couldn’t help but imagine how awe-inspiring it would have been if they had been in the dueling ring instead. 

Battles were usually only fun to watch if both parties were equally matched. One-sided battles simply lacked tension and hype arising from an unpredictable outcome. The crowd didn’t think that the first match would be so intense, such that many of them found themselves rising to their feet to take a closer look. 

It was then that both Hong Xingying and Chen Lei clashed furiously once more before parting from one another. The two of them gasped for air as they tried to regulate the chaotic ki inside their bodies.

The webbing between Hong Xingying’s fingers had torn open a little, but he didn’t pay it any heed. With so high stakes on the line in this battle, he couldn’t afford to lose here. He had to win this battle to prove his worth to the Master, Madam, all of the prominent figures seated around, and most importantly of all, Zu An!

Huh? Why did I think of that fellow at a moment like this? Tsk, how inauspicious!

“Intermediate Swordplay!” 

Hong Xingying had been desperately learning everything the academy had to offer ever since he enrolled in it. Intermediate Swordplay was a sword art taught only to the more talented students in the academy. Despite its lackluster name, its prowess was incredible, and it had very few openings too. It was at least three times more powerful than the sword art he was using previously.

He had been practicing it diligently day and night so as to reveal it to everyone, especially Principal Jiang, at this critical moment!

A metallic reverberation sounded as the sword in his hand blurred to form multiple silhouettes that pierced straight toward Chen Lei’s vitals.

Seeing this, Jiang Luofu gave a slight nod of approval. This student has a fairly high aptitude. Despite having joined the academy not too long ago, he has managed to grasp this swordsmanship to a decent level.

With a loud ‘puchi’, the sword pierced right into Chen Lei’s body.

I won!

Hong Xingying was just about to heave a sigh of relief when he noticed a sinister curl on the enemy’s lips. He quickly tried to retract his blade, only for his enemy to grab onto his sword before abruptly hacking his saber down.

Tempestuous Saber Art!

Chen Lei suddenly struck with a terrifying momentum as a hint of frenzy emerged on his forehead. His saber hacked down with terrifying might onto Hong Xingying.

The ki armor Hong Xingying had manifested around him immediately cracked in the face of the Tempestuous Saber Art, causing him to spurt a mouthful of blood. As if a deflated sandbag, he collapsed to the bottom of the dueling ring.

Chu Zhongtian immediately rushed forward to catch Hong Xingying. He quickly sealed off several of Hong Xingying’s acupoints to curb his blood loss before proceeding on to neutralize the saber force still raging within the latter’s body.

“The victor is the Yuan clan’s Chen Lei!” 

The official from the City Lord Estate declared to the crowd.

With an ashamed look on his face, Hong Xingying muttered, “Master, Madam, I…”

It was then that a mocking voice sounded, “Who was the one who declared proudly that he would bring the Chu clan honor whereas someone else could only bring about humiliation? Does your face hurt at all?”

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