Chapter 164: A Promise of Battle [Volume 3 - The Place Where My Heart Feels At Peace]
His fist was covered in layers of dark red origin power, and the air crackled loudly as it sped towards to Nangong Wanyun!
Nangong Wanyun’s expression changed immediately. The force behind the punch alone was more than enough to dissuade her from blocking it head on! She had no choice but to dash away in retreat.
Qianye caught up to Nangong Wanyun swiftly and threw a horizontal kick. The attack also crackled like lightning just like before. This time Nangong Wanyun had no place to retreat, so she clenched her teeth and threw her own leg at Qianye’s!
A dull bang resounded, and both combatants retreated and turned pale at the same time.
Surprisingly, Nangong Wanyun’s origin power was the forceful type just like Qianye despite her delicate appearance. The clash resulted in a draw where no clear victor could be seen. Qianye felt as if he had kicked into an alloy plate of equal hardness, and the rebound was uncomfortable for him too.
But this bit of rebound was nothing compared to the dangers of a battlefield so Qianye charged once more towards Nangong Wanyun while looking like he was barely affected by the clash earlier. Fists, legs, shoulders, and elbows; it was as if every part of his body had turned into a weapon.
Nangong Wanyun abruptly realized that all of her combat techniques had become useless. The only thing she could do against such a violent display of strength and speed was to match them head-on.
The exchange of blows actually lasted for ten minutes or so before Nangong Wanyun abruptly vomited blood because her origin power couldn’t keep up any further. Her stances abruptly relaxed, and Qianye immediately seized the opportunity to move into her lap and lean forwards!
Nangong Wanyun immediately flew backwards and crashed outside of the ring.
Qianye didn’t move from his original spot. An odd flush passed through Qianye’s face as he also spat out a mouth of blood.
Nangong Wanyun looked extremely depressed when she climbed to her feet. She only managed to use her secret combat technique once at the beginning, before Qianye took over and forced a melee with his offense for almost the entirety of the battle. Despite being two ranks ahead of Qianye, she was knocked out of the ring all the same.
But after Nangong Wanyun got up to her feet, she noticed that Qianye had also spat out a mouth of blood. It was obvious that his victory hadn’t come as easily as it seemed. She immediately felt a lot better as she pushed the disheveled locks of her hair behind her ears and resumed the elegant outlook of an aristocratic lady. She even greeted Qianye once before she finally left the grounds.
Qianye slowly walked to the edge of the proving ground and sat down. He quietly rested as he waited for the next battle to begin.
Five rounds later, sixteen participants were all that remained in the one on one tournament as the finals table appeared on the large display beside the proving grounds. It was only now that the wealth of the aristocratic class had bared its advantage. Two thirds of the sixteen remaining participants were aristocratic descendants, while the rest were a mix of landowning households, humble families, and commoners.
The sixth round was the final round of the day, and it was one of the easier matches Qianye had encountered so far. The aristocratic descendant he faced had encountered two equals during the previous two rounds and barely won them. However, the cost of his victory were severe injuries, and in just a few exchanges Qianye had forced him to block a heavy punch after the match began. In the end, the added injury forced the aristocratic descendant to forfeit the match.
There were plenty of people who noticed Qianye’s successful promotion in the tournament. Duke Wei knew what talent Qianye possessed, so he nodded slightly but didn’t look particularly moved in any way.
His advisor immediately noticed his reaction and joked, “It’s surprising that that No.163 is able to come this far with just rank five origin power. He must have a special talent of his own. Maybe we should pick him up and raise him into something worthwhile?”
Duke Wei stroked his beard and replied, “It is rumored that Venus Dawn’s greatest characteristic is its ability to win from a position of weakness, and it would appear that its reputation is well justified. He could’ve gone further if the Combatant Formula is not the only art he cultivates.”
The advisor immediately understood that Duke Wei had probably noticed this young man since a while ago, seeing that he had investigated even his talent already. He immediately said, “Your insight has always been impeccable, sir duke!”
But Duke Wei shook his head and said, “This talent is completely wasted on a forgotten land like the Evernight Continent, however, not to mention that his origin power is only twice as dense as the normal standard.”
The advisor mulled over Duke Wei’s words and felt that Duke Wei wasn’t looking to recruit Qianye. Therefore, he changed a topic and said, “There are other interesting and talented youths in this spring hunt too. Setting aside those beneath the level of landed gentry, I feel like there are a few aristocratic sirs who may be fit to become Miss Xin’er’s partner.”
Duke Wei simply said, “We’ll see. There are still three rounds left in the match, right? Xin’er is still pretty young, so there is still plenty of time before a decision must be made.”
The advisor immediately understood that Duke Wei hadn’t come to a conclusion yet, so he turned quiet and waited for every battle happening on the proving grounds to end.
The afternoon of the Yin Family’s back garden was exceptionally tranquil.
Qianye sat inside the lush canopy and raised his right hand before his eyes. Sunlight spilled through the gaps of the leaves and cast many motley light dots on his palm. He suddenly looked up and towards his right, and a figure slowly appeared as a few dead leaves floated down from the branches amidst rustling mountain breezes.
Song Zining sought out a wide tree branch and sat down casually. He was holding a drum-shaped silver pot and pouring out a clear, fragrant stream of liquid. It was tea again, however.
Qianye accepted the teacup Song Zining passed over to him and broke into an involuntary smile, “Are you seriously not going to drink any wine? I noticed that Qiqi is quite busy for the past two days. Don't you need to participate in any social events at all?”
“Someone will evaluate and recruit the landowning households,” Song Zining said heedlessly, “I have an upcoming match, you know!”
Qianye shrugged. Song Zining’s excuse was just too lousy; even Qiqi had gone through the first six rounds without a hitch.
Song Zining rested his head on his hands and said in a carefree manner, “Zhao Junhong told me that he won’t go over rank five origin power when he meets you in battle.”
Qianye asked curiously, “Why did he bring that up all of a sudden?”
“He wanted to be put in the same group as you are.”
Qianye immediately accepted the answer. It would appear that Zhao Junhong was dead set on fighting against him, and he was so worried that he wouldn’t last until the end of the tournament that he was even going to use his special privilege to set up an encounter. Still, Zhao Junhong’s concerns weren’t out of place. Having witnessed Song Zining’s secret art and fiery spear technique, even he didn’t dare claim that he could beat Zining for sure.
But Qianye threw another question in puzzlement, “So why hasn’t it been changed that way?”
Song Zining said cheerfully, “That’s because I have a promise of battle with Young Master Wei too!”
Suddenly, Qianye felt that his friend’s smile was full of malice.
After that, Song Zining diverted Qianye’s attention by talking about his review and discussion with Zhao Junhong regarding Qianye’s performance during the earlier matches. Both Song Zining and Zhao Junhong were extraordinarily gifted household nobles who managed to achieve small mastery in Champion rank secret techniques while they were still at Fighter rank. Naturally, their insights were better than others and hit the nail on the head every time.
Qianye paid very close attention to the review because he had noticed his own weakness after encountering various secret combat techniques during this Profound Heaven Spring Hunt. The combat technique that was pounded into his body on the frontlines, the military’s combat art and the vast origin power he acquired through cultivating the Combatant Formula had allowed Qianye to maintain a considerable advantage over his opponents of the same rank. However, his lack of secret combat techniques that generated or overcame interaction between attributes, and fine control over origin power greatly restricted the types of combat techniques he could employ in battle.
Zhao Junhong once told him that his combat technique was unsuited for arena battles. That was because Qianye only had one tactic from the beginning to the end, and that was to overcome technique with greater strength in a spurt of energy; defeating everything through sheer power. The biggest problem with this technique was that it required the cultivator to go all out with no retreat to fall back to. Moreover, the cultivator would suffer huge rebounds if their momentum was disrupted during the process.
When Qianye encountered that young landowning household descendant during the third round, he literally had no choice but to risk his wellbeing to defeat his enemy. Even earlier before that, Ji Yuanjia had canceled his Combatant Formula during battle. Although Qianye had learned his lesson and not committed such a mistake since, it also resulted in Qianye not being able to use a single Fighter King’s strike throughout the entire tournament. On the one hand, he was leaving himself a trump card that he might use later. On the other hand, it was also his only trump card. If he hit his opponent, then he was invincible, but if he missed, then he might lose the initiative entirely.
The next day morning, while standing on the gigantic proving ground and staring at the match table on the screen, Qianye suddenly recalled that Song Zining and Wei Potian were fighting today.
However, Qianye soon found himself unable to spare the effort to wonder about their battle because his own turned out to be a difficult fight. Qianye’s seventh-round opponent was a landowning household warrior, and those who made it this far were true experts.
The battle lasted for almost an hour. It was only when both combatants had nearly exhausted all of their origin power that Qianye finally seized a tiny opening to heavily injure his opponent in one go and win the match.
It was only when he was done fighting that Qianye realized he wasn’t the last person to end his fight.
A series of thunderous roars accompanied by the familiar brown yellow flashes of Thousand Mountains happened on the other side of the proving ground. Brilliance sparks of starlight would also erupt in midair on occasion as Wei Potian roared and chased after his opponent relentlessly. His opponent was none other than Song Zining!
The bizarre but beautiful sceneries that appeared when Song Zining used the Three Thousand Flying Leaves Art didn’t appear, but his movements were just as erratic and unpredictable. He fleeted here and there like gravity had no hold over him, and he would’ve looked as ghost-like as the night he appeared if it wasn’t for the afterimages that revealed his passages of movement.
Wei Potian’s attacks were fierce and heavy. The occasional powerful ones could even produce sounds akin to a sharp blade tearing through the air, revealing just how fast and forceful his punches were. However, Song Zining was always able to avoid his strikes by the slimmest of margins, foiling Wei Potian’s attempts to land even one solid blow.
Ten full minutes later, Wei Potian’s Thousand Mountains flickered a few times before vanishing completely, a sign that he had exhausted all of his origin power reserves. He himself was so tired that he almost collapsed from exhaustion. He panted like a dog and sweated like it was raining while supporting his arms on both knees.
A few steps away, Song Zining’s figure vanished before appearing behind Wei Potian. Then, he toppled Young Master Wei with a gentle push and even sent him sliding forward across the floor until half his body had exited the boundary.
Naturally, Song Zining had won the match.
Just like that, he had been decided as Qianye’s semifinal opponent.
Song Zining was obviously feeling so good that true jubilance was actually spilling from his seemingly eternally kind smile. It made Qianye feel a chill behind his back as he recalled the unlucky bastards who were thrashed by Song Zining back at Yellow Springs Training Camp.
Although Qianye had only seen the end of the battle between Song Zining and Wei Potian, he knew very well that Song Zining’s tactic countered his and Wei Potian’s direct and forceful style completely.
It was nothing to be afraid of, however. Qianye’s battle thirst gradually rose in his heart: now that he thought about it, it had been many years since he fought his friend!
The bugle horn that signaled the start of a battle began and Qianye pushed his Combatant Formula over two cycles and eighteen tiers in the shortest time possible. Then, he strode towards Song Zining and punched out with a low cry!
Song Zining pressed his palms forwards while enveloped in a misty blue light, and the duo exchanged a dozen or so blows in just the blink of an eye. Both combatants were extremely familiar with each other’s close combat technique, and years of separation had actually done nothing to dent their memory at all. They weren’t able to land even a solid blow on each other despite tens of rounds of exchanges!Previous Chapter Next Chapter