Chapter 49: Let the Tournament Begin!
Xu Min sighed, seeing that the group of experts looked at him as though he was trash. His rank equaled their rank; but, due to their age, they had been second-star warriors for quite some time already. This age difference needed to be taken into account since this would make them stronger than someone who had just reached the rank of a two-star warrior.
Although Xu Min knew the experts’ thoughts, he paid no heed to them. He knew that his strength could not be measured against the average experts’ energy. Furthermore, with the benefit of strong stance and an outstanding sword, Xu Min had some advantages to balance his youthful appearance. If he were in a potentially fatal situation, Cao Cao would save his life, but he was very certain that reliance on his snake friend would not be necessary. The strongest person competing was a three star Warrior, and Xu Min easily remembered his fight against the three-star guards at the Yong family mansion.
Not only had the sword assisted him in defeating these experts, but it had also managed to devour and deliver their energy to Xu Min’s body. In turn, the sword helped make him even stronger and grow at an unbelievable speed.
While exclusive experts joked amongst each other and disdainfully looked at Xu Min, the youngster stayed to himself. Suddenly, a clamor arose from the group of experts as two other young men walked to them. These two men were Tang Jin, the oldest son, and heir to the Tang family and Wei Ling, the oldest son and heir to the Wei family. Behind them, Guo Long followed. Interestingly, though, he was in the top three, he was not walking alongside Tang and Wei. Usually, the three geniuses stayed together, but now this was not a case. Maybe a disagreement had occurred between the three families.
These top three experts were the ones who captured Xu Min’s interest. In the tournament, Xiao Lei, Han Shi, and Wu Weisheng were also three-star warriors like the three top masters; however, they were still not as powerful as the three geniuses.
Looking at these three geniuses, Xu Min furrowed his brows. He sensed a dangerous presence coming from Tang Jin. It seemed that he had successfully broken through into the fourth-star Warrior rank. Being nurtured by Huang Zhen greatly assisted Tang Jin, and every expert started praising Tang Jin.
“You are going to win this year’s tournament even without having to exert any energy!”
“To think, the honorable young master Tang managed to become a fourth star Warrior rank before the age of thirty. Yes, no one is comparable to you.”
“Young master, congratulations on your advancement! You are soaring to the heavens like a dragon, defeating any other genius on the way!”
Words of praise flooded the young master, and he genuinely smiled from all the compliments nodding and thanking the many experts; yet, he never corrected them or asked them to stop. Apparently, he felt like a divine prodigy, a peerless expert amongst the many geniuses in the world.
As Tang Jin basked in his acclaim, his eyes suddenly fell upon Xu Min. The young man stood separate from the group, a small smirk shown on his face and his dark eyes stared straight at Tang Jin, never blinking, nor lowering his eyes in fear, just staring directly into the eyes of each other.
The tension in the air suddenly rose. Everyone stopped speaking as the audience looked at Xu Min. Some were shocked that he dared to look directly at Tang Jin; others gleefully snickered because they expected him to be beaten up soon.
Tang Jin felt his hair stand on end. He had never met anyone who did not fear him, even if it was only a little bit Nevertheless, within this boy’s black phantom eyes, no signs of fear nor signs of hesitation appeared. All there was was a keen interest in the battles.
Clicking his tongue, Tang Jin turned around and walked towards the entry into the arena with everyone following behind. At the very back of the followers walked Xu Min. Although he was very unassuming, he instantly drew the audience’s attention who turned their heads to catch a glimpse at Xu Min. Their eyes stared at Xu Min; this youngster who filled the city with so much turmoil.
The experts lined up, and their faces radiated their pride; just to be allowed into this tournament, one had to be the most prominent expert in their family, and their family needed to have some standing within the city. In short, they were all the cream of the crop, and their pride was well earned.
Xu Min was the only one who seemed apathetic. His eyes roamed across the entire audience; his eyes never once shied away from those who stared back at him. The Xu Min’s onlookers all felt a sense of discomfort, but they could not understand fully why. Maybe it was because he was an outsider or is absolute fearless scared them; they didn’t know.
“Ladies and Gentlemen! It is our Tang family’s great pleasure to welcome all of you to the one hundred and sixty-seventh tournament for young talents within Ri Chu City. For the first time, the Yong family from our Alluring Treasure Pavilion is joining the fighting households with a talent they have recently taken in. Every other spot filled is from the same families who have joined us for the last forty years.”
“You all know the rules; each participant will fight another one at a time. Whoever manages to stay on the platform until the end will be the winner. At one time, only two individual experts will fight.”
“Furthermore, a challenger may choose a particular participate. If the challenger does not accept, he will instantly be disqualified.”
“Since we all know the rules now, let the fighting begin!”
The moment Tang Ye, the patriarch of the Tang family, finished speaking, cheering sounds could be heard from the audience. None of the experts, though, rushed to the stage, everyone wanted someone else to go first. This tournament was not where a fighter would first enter the stage, but who would stay there for the most rounds. It was only natural that no one wanted to be the first fighter.
Finally, one of the smaller family experts gritted his teeth, and with decisive steps walked to the arena. “I know I will not win anyways, but I can at least prove that I am better than the boy Yong Meilin has fallen for.” he murmured. Although the audience could not hear what he had just murmured, every fighter on the ground heard him. Some started snickering while others seemed as though they wished they had thought of it first. Still no one moved towards the arena to battle the first expert. Suddenly his voice rung out through the entire arena area, “I challenge Xu Min from the Yong family!”
As soon as the words had been yelled, a collective gasp could be heard from everyone in the audience. The faces of the Yong family turned dark, everyone except Yong Meilin appeared and felt as if they had already lost. Yong Meilin, on the other hand, smiled knowingly. She had seen Xu Min train daily, and she had also witnessed his sword’s devouring energy. She was certain that it did not matter whether Xu Min was first, second, or last. He would win no matter what. She felt an unnerving and never-ending faith in Xu Min; her feelings bubbled up in her heart. Her faith in him was unnerving and never ending.
Having seen that gentle smile on Yong Meilin’s face, many of the experts questioned why she would smile at Xu Min’s seemingly impending defeat. Only Xu Min knew the truth, and seeing her smile did he move towards the arena where his first opponent awaited him. Unsheathing his sword, he climbed onto the platform and looked straight at his opponent in front of him.
Xu Min was an external expert. Everyone realized this once he pulled out his sword, and the ones who had previously looked at him with disdain were no incapable of not laughing out loud, directly mocking him as they knew that external experts were far weaker than internal ones.
Everyone except the Yong family was laughing at Xu Min. However, the laughter quickly faded when they glanced at the Yong family’s knowing smiles. Did they know something that the others did not know?
The judge didn’t care. He already expected Xu Min to hide some secret attacks up his sleeve. He also knew that the Yong family invited Dong Liang to practice his cultivation skills much like the Tang family invited the Huang Zhen. Not only this, the Yong family were very far-sighted individuals. They were not desperate enough to show up with an expert who would be weak enough to lose the first round. Thus, the Judge would be very disappointed if Xu Min did not manage to at least defeat the first opponent.
Xu Min still retained his apathetic smile as he gently tapped the sword against the ground; each time it touched the arena floor a small cut could be seen. One could easily guess, from the cuts, how shockingly sharp this sword was, and how heavy it had to be to create such a cut from nothing more than a slight tap.
“Weapons are allowed,and let the battle begin!” The judge said, non enthusiastically. The first of many battles were deemed to be the lower ranked experts against each other, and, unfortunately, their fights were not sensational. If anything, these fights were all desperate battles with evenly matched opponents. Many wounds would be inflicted, and they would be severely injured before a victor would be decided. As a result, the fights were drawn long and tedious.
Seeing Xu Min was the opponent, everyone expected another boring and long battle, but they were soon surprised. Xu Min’s opponent lifted his arm, and Qi poured from his body into an eagle behind his back. The eagle had released a silent roar before it rushed towards Xu Min.
Xu Min narrowed his eyes, but he did not move in the slightest. No Qi left his body; the only part of Xu Min which did move was his sword. He slashed horizontally right through the Qi eagle.The energy slowly vanished as the sword greedily absorbed it all.
The eagle was still controlled by the two-star internal expert; where the sword did what it did best, it latched itself onto the strands of Qi and forcefully absorbed the Qi from inside the body of the internal expert.
It did not take long before the internal expert collapsed on the ground. All the energy in the opponent’s body had been drained. His eyes were listless and his body limp. The absorption of the Qi invisibly took place, so no one exactly knew what happened. The audience’s expectations completely dismantled as the strongest one they thought would be victorious was defeated in one attack. Silence soon followed as everyone was stunned. He should not have been so quickly defeated from having his eagle destroyed, but something happened, something invisible. Nevertheless, no matter what it was, Xu Min released no Qi, no ripples of energy came from him, yet his opponent was still completely drained.
Not only the audience were shocked, everyone on the ground was shocked too. The experts remembered how they had laughed at Xu Min, but now that he had swiftly defeated one of their own, who was to say that he could not defeat two? Perhaps three? His ability was unlimited if he could deal with the two-star Warriors without the need for using his Qi. If this was the case, only the third and fourth-star Warriors were capable of dealing with him. The tournament had a dark horse participating, and this dark horse brought change.