Chapter 162: The Competition Begins

The fact that Yun Hailan came in the form of seawater seemed to indicate that she had been worried Yang Qi might attack her.

And yet, he had been completely unable to tell that he wasn’t dealing with a real person. It was a marvelous technique, and obviously not something that she was inherently capable of. It was definitely the work of some unexpectedly spectacular magical item.

Yang Qi remembered Holy Daughter Manyflowers saying that the Crown Prince was actually far more powerful than the Guru Ice-Soul of the past. Furthermore, he had magical items that were more powerful than the Ice-Soul God-Sword. If Yun Hailan had access to something like that in the martial arts competition, she would have a strong chance of taking first place.

Thankfully, Yang Qi had an early chance to witness the power of whatever item she had.

The fact that he hadn’t realized he was dealing with an imposter indicated that Lifeseizers were incapable of piercing her disguise. Only Legendaries could do so. If she was now capable of taking any form she wanted, it meant that her scheming capabilities had been pushed to an even higher level.

‘Let her scheme and plot to her heart’s content. Once I'm a Legendary, I’ll be able to overpower countless techniques and magics. Then her tricks will be completely useless.’ Yang Qi’s eyes glittered as he swore to himself that he would crush both the Crown Prince and the Crown Prince Society into dust. When he destroyed Yun Hailan’s god-protector right in front of her, she would sink into despair. Then he would kill her, and vengeance would be served.

Blurring into motion, he flew up into the air.

After he left, the water on the ground formed back into Yun Hailan, who wore a vigilant expression as she looked in the direction he had left in.

When she was sure that his aura was completely gone, she floated up into the air and then transformed into a mist, which sped through the air toward a mountain peak some distance away. There, her true body awaited, standing on the peak with a sphere of bright blue light floating above her head, which rotated slowly without cease. The mist instantly joined the sphere, which was not true energy, but rather, a magical item whose surface began to flicker with countless blurry images. Apparently, those images were a recording of everything which had just played out, which she could keep as evidence.

‘The Thousand Illusions World….’ she murmured to herself. ‘This Pearl of the Thousand Illusions World is definitely a god item. Not only does it have an enormous holding dimension inside, it also has the power to create powerful illusions out of nothing. I'm honestly surprised the Crown Prince would loan this to me with such little hesitation. Even a Legendary would do anything to get something like it. There’s no way he’s just being generous. The pearl is just too powerful, and too difficult to control…. I need to head back to the Sea God Institute before the competition begins. The leaders there should be able to help me refine it a bit. That way I can use it without any qualms. I'm becoming important in both the Demi-Immortal Institute and the Sea God Institute. Everything is going according to plan.

‘Although, Yang Qi’s cultivation base is getting so high that I can’t even assess it.’ Thinking back to her interchange from moments ago, she chuckled coldly. ‘You’ve grown up a lot, Yang Qi. You didn't slip up at all in what you said. However, our little conversation only went to further convince me that you were the one who killed Song Haishan and Gu Fenxian. Well, that will only make things easier to handle. Although I have no proof now, I’ll find some eventually. And once the Crown Prince returns, and I ask him to look into the situation, he’ll definitely force Jiang Fan to tell the truth. I refuse to believe that Jiang Fan will play dumb to the Crown Prince.’

A moment passed, and she smiled. ‘Yang Qi. Ah, Yang Qi. Once I have proof that you killed fellow disciples, all of that arrogance of yours will vanish. Thanks to your impulsiveness, your friends and family are all going to meet catastrophe. You act tough now, but when that day comes, you’ll definitely kneel in front of me and beg for mercy. Don’t worry. I won’t kill you. You’ll make a fine lapdog, and a fine knife to stick into my enemies’ backs.’

With that, she flew into the air and headed toward the shore, and the Sea God Institute.

The sun rose, and the sun set. Life went on. Three months passed, and summer left the lands. Fall took over the lands, and the plants and vegetation rustled as autumn wind spread coldness everywhere.

Of course, the Demi-Immortal Institute was still a warm and thriving place. Freshman students, outer and inner campus students, elite and conclave students, were all filled with excitement. It was time for the big competition.

The Inter-Institutional Martial Arts Competition only came around once every several decades, and the institutes rotated hosting duties. This time, the competition was being hosted by the Demi-Immortal Institute, the oldest and largest of the institutes. Of course, they had long since begun to attend to the tiniest details related to their hosting duties.

** 

Yang Qi opened his eyes one morning and walked to the balcony of his castle-like temple. The institute was abuzz, with students hurrying about everywhere. Streaks of light could be seen in the air as visitors arrived and headed to their arranged guest quarters.

There were also elders assigned to escort guests through the institute.

Yang Qi could even sense certain intense energy fluctuations coming from people he couldn’t see, which were presumably the Legendaries.

‘Legendaries….’ he thought. ‘I wonder if I’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the fabled chancellors of the institutes. They’re Great Sages, right? And it’s also possible that the emperor of the Sage Ancestor Dynasty will be in attendance.’

The atmosphere in the institute was already causing Yang Qi’s heart to swell with ambition, to the point where he felt like throwing his head back and letting loose a whoop of excitement.

Ever since his interchange with Yun Hailan, he had remained in secluded cultivation. Three months had passed, but he had not yet reached Septenary Lifeseizing. That said, his cultivation base had reached an unimaginable level of stability and strength.

And he had long since used his Hellfire Crucible to fully refine the Ice-Soul God-Sword. It was now an expression of sword energy which resided peacefully in his sea of energy.

His sword technique had reached the ultimate peak. With the Cosmic Sunflare Sword technique, Moonset Hyperlunar Sword technique, and Ravaging Dual Sword technique combined with his powerful true energy, he was now so strong that a single sweep of his sword energy would be enough to vanquish Patriarch Frost-Drake.

By now, he was roughly ten times as strong as he had been back on the island of peach blossoms.

In addition to that, his Devil-God Seal was even more stable and strong.

His Infernal Deity Spear, Infernal Deity Plate Armor, Fiend-Devil Wings, and Hellfire Crucible were all operating at a higher level too. If he used the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, he could directly channel the power of the earth. Unfortunately, he still could not use the Portal to Hell to reach out to alternate dimensions and summon devil-gods to fight for him, much less use the God Legion Paradise.

However, he was definitely much stronger and much more enlightened than he had been three months ago. And he also had the sensation that he was getting close to the point of communicating with the golden imp in his forehead.

Ghost Emperor Yama had called the golden imp the ‘God Legion Seal’, and had implied that it was simply some sort of sealing magic. However, Yang Qi knew that the golden imp was definitely tied to his own life force, and that the God Legion Seal was not sealing him. It was sealing some other extremely mighty life force.

He was well aware of how mighty the golden imp was; back when Ghost Emperor Yama had been trying to kill him, the golden imp unleashed its raging power, and had stabbed the ghost emperor through with a single attack. Were it not for Ghost Emperor Yama’s quick retreat, he would likely have ended up being killed.

Power like that definitely surpassed the highest level of leadership in the four institutes. After all, it had taken an alliance of Great Sages to suppress Ghost Emperor Yama in the distant past. If he broke free now, he would essentially be invincible.

And yet, the golden imp had easily defeated him, showing exactly how disparate their cultivation levels were.

Every time Yang Qi worked with his Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, he could feel the golden imp stirring. That was especially true when he used the Devil-God Seal. It was almost as if the golden imp was helping him to conceal his energy.

‘If the day ever comes when I can actually control the power of the golden imp, I’ll be able to crush the Crown Prince with ease. However, whatever entity is sealed by the God Legion Seal will definitely not be easy to control. I’ll have to be very strong. Right now, I can rely on sword technique alone to defeat Nonary Lifeseizers. If I used the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, I wonder if I could tangle with a Legendary.’ Yang Qi had yet to see a Legendary fighting, and was now itching for the opportunity.

He hadn’t had a chance to go see Yang Susu and Holy Daughter Manyflowers, otherwise, he could have asked some advice from them.

Li He and the others flew over, and when they saw the look in his eyes, the seemingly abstruse connection to heaven and earth, they realized that his cultivation must have reached an even higher level.

“You finally came out of seclusion, Brother!”

Yang Qi looked them over, and said, “Looks like all of you have improved as well.” 

All of them were now in Secondary Lifeseizing, except for Liang Dong, who was a Tertiary Lifeseizer. Clearly, they had benefited a lot from the life force springwater. Thanks to Yang Qi, they had saved dozens of years of cultivation.

All of a sudden, bugle calls filled the air, followed by the boom of war drums. The clouds trembled, and the autumn wind went still. Everyone felt their blood pumping hard in their veins.

Li He’s expression turned stern and awe-inspiring. “The Heaven Dragon War Drum! It’s starting. Let’s go!”

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