Chapter 308: Pushing Through [Volume 5 – A Distance Within Reach]
At a corner of the high platform sat Elder Lu from the armory. His originally intoxicated-looking eyes opened slightly after seeing the East Peak leave its sheath and his peripheral vision swept toward the arena.
Song Zize was holding his sword with both hands, the tip pointed at the ground as he rushed toward Qianye with a footwork resembling that of dragons and tigers. Song Zize exhaled deeply and let out a great shout after drawing close—myriad beams of illusory brilliance erupted from his blade in a tempestuous forward slash.
With just a single move, Song Zize had displayed his exquisite sword technique to the greatest extent. The splendorous radiance was formed of origin power and contained an incisive sword intent. There was no difference at all between being struck by the light and being slashed by the blade.
Song Zize could already perform a materialization of origin power before crossing the champion threshold. Although he was aided by the premium grade-five origin sword in his hands, it was also a reflection of his own strength.
Qianye’s expression was completely calm as he raised the East Peak and performed a sweeping horizontal slash from left to right.
This simple stroke of the sword couldn’t even be considered a technique and was merely a basic sword move. However, the incoming brilliance was extinguished wherever the East Peak’s edge passed by.
Song Zize was inconsolably shocked. This “Myriad Lanterns” was the most powerful secret sword technique he had always relied on. He had never imagined that it would be broken through so cleanly by a basic sword move. All of this origin power variations and interlacing sword intents were as illusory as a mirage before this calm sweep of Qianye’s sword.
Seemingly as light as a feather, East Peak transformed from a sweep to a slash with a mere twist of Qianye’s wrist—a blade came slashing down toward Song Zize’s head.
At this moment, Song Zize was completely shaken—this slash was overflowing with sword intent and yet entirely silent—he was one who studied the sword and knew at a single glance that it was impossible for him to receive such a blow. But the blade was as quick as a sudden thunderbolt and there was also an invisible force pulling him toward its edge. How was he supposed to evade?
He made an all-out effort to block the strike with a sweep of his own blade but felt as if he had slashed at a mountain. Meanwhile, Qianye’s descending edge continued its descent, completely unaffected.
“How can there be such a heavy sword?!” This was Song Zize’s thought.
Qianye’s blow slapped both Song Zize and his sword into the ground, forming a man-shaped pit in the arena. Had Qianye not turned the sharp edge away at the last moment and used the flat of the blade instead, Song Zize would have likely been hacked into two halves. Even then, he had suffered a dozen or so fractures throughout his body. Not only was he disqualified for the current martial assessment, even the ensuing strategic assessment might be affected.
The might of this single strike was actually so powerful!
On the stage, Elder Lu unwittingly opened his eyes wide and nodded slightly with an undetectable smile before resuming his nap. When Qianye’s final blade landed, even Duchess An raised her eyelids ever so slightly.
Many elders on the stage wore ugly expressions. Song Zize was considered one of the more outstanding talents among the younger generation, but in the end, he was beaten into such a miserable state by an unknown fellow. The Song clan would be left with no face if this matter were to spread out.
This round, Gao Junyi suffered an unfortunate defeat and Song Zining achieved an easy victory. Nine out of the sixteen guest warriors had been eliminated, and only seven of them achieved victory.
From this, it was obvious that the combat strength of the great clan descendants as a whole was anything but ordinary. They had already gained the upper hand against the guest warriors even before the eight most powerful candidates had made an appearance. The reasons for this was not only due to the numerous formidable secret arts but also because the Song clan descendants were also much better equipped than the guest warriors.
The expressions of the Song clan elders recovered somewhat after seeing these results. One of them immediately said while stroking his beard, “These results aren’t bad at all. It seems the children are quite diligent!”
Another elder said with a smile, “With the Old Ancestor watching them, how would they dare not to give it their best? That being said, there are a lot of moldable talents among these children. It seems our Song clan has good descendants and our resurgence to power is in sight.”
Even the Song clan’s current lord and Duke Wei, Song Zhongnian, gave a slight nod. However, Duchess An didn’t even bother to open her eyes.
Meanwhile, a thin elder sneered from one side, “Resurgence? Heh, heh, just don’t let the first place get taken by an outsider. That would make things interesting.”
The elders’ expressions all changed. “That’s impossible. We have Zicheng and Zian holding down the fort!”
The thin elder’s name was Song Zhongxing. He had always been one to speak frankly and knew not about making indirect remarks or leaving any leeway. As such, his relationship with most elders was quite adverse. However, people had no way to deal with him since he was the current clan lord’s brother and also one of the current Song clan’s few experts.
After hearing the elders’ words, Song Zhongxing sneered and said, “Zicheng and the others are all champions. Of course, they can hold their ground against a group of fighters. If our Song clan is really so confident, then why haven’t we relaxed the guest warrior’s rank restrictions to the champion level? How can it be called ability when we’re suppressing the weak with the strong?”
The elders all felt somewhat awkward and no one dared continue with his conversation.
They were indeed somewhat crafty with their rules, but one had to know that this was the old ancestor’s 100th birthday and what they wanted to bring about was an auspicious jubilation. There was nothing wrong with using the rules to let the Song clan disciples win as long as the examination still served the purpose of assessment and tempering. Things like this were best kept to oneself after realizing; how could one blurt it all out?
But Song Zhingxing was unwilling to spare them and continued with a cold laugh, “So what if the Song clan descendants win? Which of these kids from the third generation can be brought out to compete with the other three clans? Not to mention Zhao Jundu, I heard the Bai clan recently accepted a certain Bai Kongzhao. She’s already out on the battlefield at such a young age and has set a record of killing champions at rank-seven. Although she took advantage of certain cheap tricks, that’s still an extraordinary feat. Do Zicheng and the others dare fight against this Bai Kongzhao?”
The elders’ expressions turned more and more unsightly. A character like Bai Kongzhao was a demonic star born to slaughter. Anything could happen in a fight against her. Even if Zicheng and the others could win against her, they would likely receive permanent injuries. They might even lose their lives if they were a bit careless.
A certain elder let out a dry cough and said, “Zicheng and Zian are both people with status. How can they be compared on the same page with that feral kid whose origins are unclear?”
Song Zhongxing hadn’t even spoken when Duchess An finally opened her eyes and sighed. “What’s the use of status on the battlefield? However, Zhongxing, you would also do well to speak less.”
Song Zhongxing was much more reverent toward Duchess An. “I merely feel indignant watching these people scheming around behind people’s backs for mere points. What meaning does such a victory have? What meaning do these points have once they walk out of the Song clan?”
Numerous elders became angry. They had all engaged in no small number of petty maneuvers in order for their branch descendants to gain some advantage. So much that some blood was inevitably spilled in the process. However, Song Zhongxing actually revealed them so directly in front of the old ancestor! As members of a major clan, he should still consider their dignity.
The old ancestor closed her eyes once again and said calmly, “The competition has just begun and the champion is still undecided. Zhongxing, you shouldn’t be so anxious. Just watch slowly. You would’ve broken through a long time ago if not for your impetuousness.”
Song Zhongxing responded affirmatively and sat down in silence. Those elders who had been taunted by him proceeded to sit upright and give the match below their undivided attention.
Afterwards, the sixteen victors once again faced off in pairs to decide the final eight.
Qianye’s opponent this time was a Song clan descendant who was almost thirty years old. He had reached rank-nine three years ago and was tempering himself all this time. His origin power was abundant and inherently possessed a god-like strength. He was considered to become a powerful contender for the third successor’s position once he had broken through to champion rank.
This person didn’t bring an origin gun and only carried a heavy halberd. Judging from its external appearance, the weapon should be at least hundreds of kilograms in weight. He gradually walked into the ring with dignified steps and shouted, “I see that you’re also a straightforward person. Let’s do away with the long-winded conversation and exchange a few heavy blows first!”
Some Song clan disciples glanced at Qianye and sneered. They understood this cousin very well and knew that his scheming mind was completely contrary to his coarse external appearance. A direct contest of strength was his specialty, and a halberd going against a sword was also taking a big advantage.
Song Zining glanced at the arena and let out a yawn in order to conceal the smile hanging around the corner of his mouth.
On the stage, Elder Lu had already started to snore.
Qianye shot a glance at the opponent and nodded. “Very well.”
That person held the halberd horizontally and said, “I won’t take advantage of you. You can have the first three moves!”
Qianye broke into a laughter but had no intention to hold back as he held the sword with both hands and raised the East Peak. This sword which was one and a half times the length of an ordinary blade seemed full of vigor above Qianye’s head but was obviously slim and delicate compared to the opponent’s heavy halberd.
Qianye exhaled lightly—East Peak’s cutting edge gradually began to tremble as a droning whistle akin to a dragon’s cry arose within the arena.
That opponent’s expression suddenly shifted.
The speed with which East Peak slashed down wasn’t fast at all, but it was like a mountain peak gradually toppling over. The moment the blade’s edge moved, it let out a rumbling thunder which shook everyone’s hearts.
The opponent let out an odd cry as he raised his halberd and, with all his might, finally resisted this heavy blow. Contrary to expectations, no sound actually came out as the sword and halberd came into contact, but the entire arena violently shook.
The heavy halberd shaft suddenly bent downward, and the origin arrays upon it shattered one by one until East Peak’s edge stopped no more than a palm’s breadth above the man’s head.
Afterwards, the man’s movements came to a complete pause during this deadlock with Qianye—it was as if time itself had slowed down. The next moment, all the origin power defenses on his body suddenly shattered, and he shot toward the back like a cannonball, landing near the edge of the other arena.
The spectators who were hoping to watch a good show turned speechless. Many people had their mouths opened wide and their faces were frozen in astonishment. Even such an opponent was struck flying with a single blow—just how heavy was Qianye’s sword?
Next, Song Zining took the stage and once again defeated his enemy with relative ease. This time, most of the elders’ gazes were focused on him.
Song Zining had only entered the successor’s rankings for only two years. Although he had achieved minor success in the Three Thousand Flying Leaves Art, it wasn’t an attack type secret art. He was also quite young and only rank seven when he took part in the Profound Heaven Spring Hunt. Now that he had continuously advanced two ranks for this examination, there were people secretly criticizing him for being short-sighted and that his foundation would be unstable. No one had actually expected he would display such combat strength.
After the round was completed, the final eight victors were given half a day of rest and would face the eight higher-ranked Song clan descendants in the afternoon to decide the top-eight of this examination.
Qianye had swept through all opposition in his previous battles and didn’t need to rest since he hadn’t expended any stamina at all. However, the others didn’t have it that easy since the entire four-hour interval had to be used for both rest and treatment.
The martial examination, up to this point, hadn’t seen any casualties. However, the battles between guest warriors almost always drew blood, and among them, the one with the gravest injuries was Du Dahai whom Qianye had met in the first round. It was said that he still hadn’t regained consciousness.
However, as the competition progressed, the smell of gunpowder on the drill grounds grew progressively thicker. In the previous round between two Song clan descendants, the two parties obviously had old grudges—the fight immediately escalated into a lethal combat which ended with one of them sustaining heavy injuries and losing consciousness. Had the elders not stepped in at the critical moment, it might have become the first casualty of the examination.
At this point, there were only three guest warriors left. All of them possessed tyrannical strength and seemed to be hiding certain tricks up their sleeves even when they were pitted against champions. And Qianye was one of them.
The rules of battle were different from the top-sixteen onwards.
The contestants who had killed their way up the ladder would be appraised and ranked by a collective group of elders. They would then be able to choose their opponents from the top-eight Song clan descendants according to this ranking.
This rule greatly favored the warriors who had fought their way up the elimination ladder because the person assessed as first in combat strength would get the first pick. Normally, they would choose the weakest opponent because they would have reached the top-eight after this round, and there was no longer a difference whom they met first or last.
With Duchess An sitting on the stage, the combat strength assessment naturally proceeded without any obvious sketchiness. Qianye’s ranking was the lowest, but he had swept through all of his opponents as if he were pulling out rotten weeds. As such, he was unanimously elected as first in combat strength and would gain the right to select the first opponent. Such a result was already expected by the audience.
Song Zining asked before they walked out onto the drill grounds together, “Have you chosen your opponent?”
“Don’t get beaten up too badly.”
“That’s something I should be saying to you.”
“I won’t. I’ll definitely pick the weakest.” Song Zining shrugged—he had already guessed what Qianye would do, but decided not to stop him after some thought.
From here on out, the supporting elder had been changed to the elder of the Hall of Peace, Song Tu. It was obvious from his name that he came from a side branch—a tall, strong, and burly man in his prime. However, his every action was as steady as a mountain peak, and his eyes flashed like lightning whenever they moved. Apparently, he was extremely powerful.
Song Tu pointed toward Qianye and said in a deep voice, “An Renyi, choose the opponent for your next battle!”
Qianye stepped forward and slowly raised his hand.
Following his movement, the eight Song clan successors all revealed different expressions. This was especially true for the only female successor who was ranked eighth in the list, Song Xinran. Provided there were no accidents, Qianye was almost certain to choose her as an opponent because that would ensure his advancement into the top-eight.
The others who were ranked toward the lower end were all forcing themselves to look calm. With the strength Qianye displayed during the elimination matches, he could sweep through any opponent under the champion level—they were all bound to lose when faced against Qianye.
Qianye’s hand slowly rose, but the direction in which he was pointing at was actually the first-ranked Song Zian.
Immediately, the entire audience broke into a commotion.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I choose you!!!
Chapter 6/7 of the week. Enjoy ^_^
Teaser Source: https://tenor.com/search/i-choose-you-gifs