Chapter 50: The Dark Horse
Silence swept over the arena, everyone’s eyes stared at the defeated Warrior. “He must have lost on purpose; I’m sure that the Alluring Treasure Pavilion paid him to lose! They can afford it, after all!” someone suddenly and loudly interjected. Since the comment was spoken in the silenced arena, everyone heard what was said.
The Yong family’s faces filled with anger and veins could be seen throbbing in their foreheads. It was clear that they were forcing themselves to remain calm and unaffected.
Looking up, Xu Min noticed that the speaker satin one of the rows reserved for the weaker families attending the tournament. Xu Min abruptly laughed, a laughter which shocked everyone present.
“You accuse me that I need to pay to win?” he asked with a sinister smile spreading on his lips, “In that case, I challenge your family’s expert. Let us see if your family too has been bribed to win.”
While everyone thought this was a rash decision, three men knew otherwise. Xiao Lei, Han Shi, and Wu Weisheng knew of Xu Min’s hidden strength. They then told their families about Xu Min’s strength they saw at the challengers hall. None of their families though went to other families with the information. Although families might ally from time to time, the families were mainly loyal to themselves. All knowledge they had, they kept for themselves unless they benefitted from sharing it.
Everyone’s eyes were glued to the stage. Many in the audience thought the Yong family conspired the first battle from their riches. This young fighter was different; this man had called them out. If they lost, didn’t that imply they seemed unreliable too?
“You have the guts to challenge me?” An expert exclaimed, walking down the stairs leading to the arena. Unlike the previous expert, this man was without a doubt an external expert. His body was massive with tanned skin and bulging muscles. Looking at his appearance, Xu Min instantly understood that he focused fully on strength; thus, his speed was incredibly slow. The warrior’s sloth-like slowness reminded Xu Min of a battle he had fought earlier, remembering how that fight had gone, he could not help but confidently smile.
Entering the arena, the external expert stretched his body, cracked his neck and looked menacingly at Xu Min. Comparing the two fighters, they looked ridiculous. Xu Min was a full two heads shorter than the bulky external expert. Furthermore, his body was small, lean, and agile; his body was swift. It resembled a wolf trying to kill a mouse.
The spectators watched breathlessly. This battle would prove if Xu Min were naturally strong as the Yong family led on or if he was just a young man they had picked up and exaggerated his strength. Everything depended on Xu Min now.
The fight was about to start. As soon as the judge dropped his hand, Xu Min’s big opponent charged forward, with every step the ground shook. If a commoner, unpracticed in cultivation, saw this charge, they would be shocked by the speed. However, many experts felt that this large man was incredibly slow. Avoiding his attacks proved to be the easiest Xu Min had ever done, dodging and evading, he managed to dodge every single attack. The fists aimed towards him never even touched the corner of his clothes.
Everyone on the seats narrowed his or her eyes. Observing the fight, it was evident who was at an advantage and who was at a disadvantage.Although the large external expert was constantly advancing towards Xu Min, due to his snail-like slowness he was unable to reach him, making him at a disadvantage.
Xu Min was considering if he should just stop retreating and attack instead attack. Should he use his sword? Or should he use his fists? Uncertain if he used his sword he could finish the battle early while at the same time increase his strength because adding too much energy would cause his body to explode. The energy he received from his first was already quite a bit, absorbing more could be risky.
‘Fine, let us go with the fists then,’ Xu Min decided, ‘I’ll just use some of the energy I have already absorbed and then suck the next expert dry.’
‘Hey! You should let me deal with him,’ Cao Cao’s voice suddenly resounded in Xu Min’s ear. ‘I owe that Yong family a lot. They gave me plenty of good food, so we cannot afford to lose this tournament. If I see you having problems, then I will personally make sure to step in so that you win.’
Hearing these words and the arrogance behind them, Xu Min couldn’t help but snort. The spectators above and the fighters below noticed the snort, and they assumed it was a sign of disdain for the expert in front of him. Suddenly, all of them believed that the Yong family had not cheated. Perhaps, they truly had found a peerless genius.
Understanding this realization, many of the experts felt pity for the young man. To have such a great talent and then use him this year in the tournament was an unfortunate situation. He was under twenty years of age; thus, he could have joined the competition until another ten years. Nevertheless, he had joined, and only when he was a second-star student. Even if he were talented, he would be destroyed by the third-star Warriors, if not them by young master Tang Jin for sure since he was a four-star Warrior
However, the human being is complex, and though they felt pity, they were secretly pleased with this misfortune as well. The Alluring Treasure Pavilion was already a giant within Ri Chu City without having martial powers due to their money.
If this person truly had the chance to grow and become older and a higher-ranked expert, Then the other presitiges families and experts would have to pay even more respect to the Alluring Treasure Pavilion. No one wanted that.
“Let us see if he can turn this around,” some of the experts in their seats mumbled.
“Perhaps he only knows how to flee,”
“He is slower at defeating this expert than the previous one. They were probably correct about the Yong family paying the expert for losing on purpose.”
“He is so young. Although he might have the advantage, if he cannot utilize his advantage then it doesn’t even matter. He cannot have much experience in battle, so he is going to get beat anyway.”
Many similar words were uttered. These murmurings could be heard by the audience from the experts seating down. No one blinked; rather, everyone looked at the arena, determining whether or not Xu Min could actually win.
The Yong family’s faces soured, their moods fouled, and they could not help but grimace at the negative words about Xu Min that rained down upon them. The only one who seemed serene was Yong Meilin. A gentle smile was on her lips and her eyes glued to Xu Min.
Xu Min didn’t even glance at the seats, but he knew that there was at least one person who did not doubt him. This assurance was all he needed deep within in his heart. Having been alone for such a long time, and then just being with Cao Cao, Xu Min was used to not dealing with other people. He didn’t trust humans after Overseer Tian’s infamous betrayal.
Nonetheless, Yong Meilin wasn’t there, not doing anything specific apart from just being around him and he had found that he could relax with her by his side.
A gentle smile appeared on Xu Min’s face. He abruptly came to a standstill. Instead of turning backward, Xu Min rushed forward; his sword was sheathed on his back, and Qi entered his fists. Although Xu Min was not as physically dominant as his opponent, he had speed at his disposal, and he punched his opponent squarely in his opened chest with Xu Min’s Qi enhanced fist.The Qi poured into the opponent and sent a shockwave through his muscle, crushing his heart His opponent staggered backward, a stream of blood ran from his lips.
This man was far older than Xu Min and though he was injured he forcefully managed to stand his ground before he charged forward. Rushing towards Xu Min his fastest speed was like a snail in front of a cheetah. As a result, Xu Min had long since pounced backward far away from the muscular man.
Grinning Xu Min decided he needed to end this fight; he instantly pounced forward again, Qi glistening on his palm. He struck the shoulder, the abdomen, and the solar plexus in rapid succession before he once more retreated and the opponent was propelled backward.
The opponent falling to the ground was shocked to realize he could do nothing to stop the attacks. Additionally, his body had been severely damaged by these attacks. Trying to stand up once more, he fell to his knees and vomited blood. It was clear that he was fully unable even to fight back against the swift Xu Min.
Although everyone wanted to prove and say that Xu Min was not experienced enough, it was apparent he had won this battle. Because it was not a fight to the death, the Judge stopped it after the expert had vomited blood.
“The winner is Xu Min from the Yong family,” he apathetically called out, causing surprise in the audience. When Xu Min had attacked, pouncing only twice had been enough to make this large muscular man submit. With the first expert everyone still had not figured out how Xu Min defeated him and now this?. Silence prevailed once again in the audience; finally, they understood that this young man might equal the others because of his inherent hidden strengths.
Although everyone knew that his power was real and not bought by the Yong family, they started, even more, to desire he would be defeated by the stronger competitors. They couldn’t allow the Yong family to rise too much in the martial arts competition. It would place all of them in an unfortunate position.
Knowing Xu Min’s unstable situation, the patriarch of the Yong family worried. He knew Xu Min would likely be severely injured by the young master of the Tang family or by the three-star Warriors, but he would have to still ask this young man to fight against the higher ranked cultivators. No matter what happened to Xu Min, later on, his time to shine was now, and his rank was what determined by how strong and prestige the Yong family became.
Knowing this, Xu Min stayed on the stage. He owed the Yong family a lot, and if not for anything else, he still would have participated due to his friendship between him and Yong Meilin. Unlike the Yong family patriarch, Xu Min did not think his future would end here. Xu Min exactly knew what his hidden strengths were like, and with Cao Cao around his neck he knew there was a fifty-fifty percent chance of winning. He was not sure how well he could do against the fourth-star ranked Tang Jin, but he did know he would do his best to bring fame for the Yong family. He needed to repay the kindness they had shown him before he had to move on, move on onto the road of revenge.