Chapter 172: First Place (Part 3)

The most difficult aspect of the fight with Yun Hailan was finding her true body.

There were so many projections of her that the task was truly challenging.

She had the Pearl of the Thousand Illusions World, which made her much stronger than normal, and capable of casting out millions upon millions of incarnations. And each of those incarnations was roughly as strong as her true body, and so realistic it was almost impossible to tell which was real and which were clones.

However, regardless of the fact that the clones were not ‘real’, the attacks they unleashed were.

Each fist strike contained unimaginable power; the Son of Heaven’s Godfist was being unleashed without restraint. This was a true imperial-class energy art, and a complete one at that, not like the fragmentary Painting of Immortal Immolation of Gu Fenxian.

That godfist was like a sovereign lord of all creation, giving Yun Hailan incredibly destructive power. And of course, it was all magnified considering how many of her incarnations were attacking Yang Qi simultaneously.

With the exception of the Crown Prince himself, this was a strength that no Nonary Lifeseizer could possibly stand up to.

However, as the fighting played out, Yang Qi quickly realized that Yun Hailan was not herself a Nonary Lifeseizer. Just like him, she was in Senary Lifeseizing.

The main difference was that her cultivation base wasn't stable. She had obviously been assisted by some powerful expert who shoved their cultivation base to a higher level with force. It was a sharp contrast with Yang Qi, who had forged ahead with hard work and personal enlightenment.

Because of that, the execution of her forms had flaws, causing vital energy leakage that Yang Qi was able to detect.

Without any hesitation, he unleashed the quintessence of his Infernal Deity Spear technique into his sword moves. It was the Nightfall Symphony!

According to the ancient myths and legends, the godmammoths who suppressed hells subjugated numerous infernal deities and evil gods of hell. When such evil gods congregated, they could join forces to perform the Nightfall Symphony. And when it sounded loud and clear, even the legion of gods in heaven would find their glory fading. Night would fall, and hell would visit the world of men.

It was because of the Nightfall Symphony that the ancient legion of gods had pooled their own power to create the godmammoths, and thus crush the infernal deities. It was only in that way that the Nightfall Symphony could be rendered powerless.

However, as the godmammoths suppressed hell, they were stained by the aura of the infernal deities, and thus, the Infernal Deity Spear of the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, when it reached a high level, could perform the Nightfall Symphony.

And right now, Yang Qi’s sword technique also contained that deadly symphony.

As his sword stabbed forth, the Son of Heaven’s Godfist was suddenly tainted by the darkness of nightfall, and began to crack apart.

One projection after another was cleaved by the sword, and collapsed into mist.

‘The mighty Son of Heaven leads an empire, and his rage can subdue millions of commoners. And yet, even he will eventually be forgotten in the sands of time. Nothing can completely escape death in the end. To humans, it is nothing but fair. Even the legion of gods who created countless worlds, as well as the sun, moon, and space-time itself, will eventually reach a time when night falls on them….’

It was thoughts such as these that ran through Yang Qi’s mind as his sword energy vanquished the Son of Heaven’s Godfist.

Bam. Bang. BANG!

Projections exploded left and right, until there was only one version of Yun Hailan left. The real one.

She looked a bit pale in the face; never could she have guessed that Yang Qi’s single sword form would be so spectacular. In the face of his sword, even her imperial-class energy art seemed completely useless.

Now that he had forced her out into the open, he didn’t hesitate for the slightest moment, or have any thoughts of mercy. From the perspective of the onlookers, it was as if night were falling on the arena, with the beautiful setting sun giving way to ultimate darkness.

“DIE!”

Yang Qi’s sword energy swirled around and around, forming a black vortex that looked like it came from the depths of hell.

Yun Hailan instantly lost control of her true energy, which was now being slowly dragged into the vortex. Now, it was obvious how much Yang Qi’s hard work and training made him completely different from her.

He had never received assistance from anyone. His journey of cultivation had involved hunting and killing monsters, refining demon cores, and defeating enemies on his own, one after another.

Yun Hailan was very different. Her cultivation had progressed without any hitches. She was blessed by Patriarchs Wind and Cloud, as well as the Crown Prince. She had been given plenty of life force springwater, as well as medicinal pills, all without having to work to get them. Unlike Yang Qi, she had not developed the tenacious instinct to stay alive even in drastic circumstances.

When facing an opponent like him, she would end up dead if she made the slightest wrong move.

Besides, Yang Qi’s sword move, backed by the Nightfall Symphony and his godly-class energy art, was so powerful that even the Crown Prince’s technique was like a drop in the ocean compared to it.

Swish!

The sword closed in on Yun Hailan’s throat, and she could do nothing but stare at it getting closer and closer.

From the look of things, she was just about to be stabbed through. She fell back, hoping to elude the sword, but sadly for her, it was like an infernal deity that she simply couldn’t shake.

It was like the old proverb: When a yama king wants someone dead by the third watch, who would dare let them live until the fifth?

And of course, yama kings were infernal deities. They were just two different words for the same thing.

“Go to hell, Yun Hailan. Literally!” Yang Qi was unleashing such a massive amount of sword energy that it seemed no one could possibly stop it. It was enough energy to destroy a nation, or bring down heaven.

He was going all out!

The true meaning of the sword, its arrogance, its cleanliness, its haughtiness, its respect… were all integrated into a single attack.

Who could escape from something like that? Definitely not Yun Hailan.

In fact, a drop of blood had already appeared on her throat. Then, it turned into a line, which wrapped around her neck, after which her head flew off of her body. And yet, she was still smiling, almost as if she didn’t believe she had just been decapitated.

“Very fast swordwork, Yang Qi,” she said. “That technique of yours is incredible.” 

BOOM!

Suddenly, her head exploded, and the rest of her body disappeared without a trace. Unexpectedly, it had been another projection!

It was not her true form!

In her place appeared a blue pearl, which hovered there in the air. As for the identity medallion she had been wearing, it was shattered.

‘What? She wasn’t actually here? She sent an incarnation to compete? An out-of-body incarnation? A second divinity! She used that pearl to create a second nascent divinity?’ Obviously, the pearl floating in the air was that most precious of treasures, the Pearl of the Thousand Illusions World.

Thanks to Yun Hailan’s scheming, Yang Qi had become all worked up over nothing. He had believed all along that he would kill her in the competition, only to find out that she sent an incarnation in her stead.

“Clever,” he growled. “Very clever.” Although he smashed her command medallion, and thus took first place, it didn't bring him any joy.

His true desire had not been fulfilled in any way.

‘Yun Hailan! You might have escaped death at my hands, but your Pearl of the Thousand Illusions World is right here for the taking!’ He took a step forward and reached out to grab the pearl. No matter what happened, there was no way he would return it to her. In fact, he would melt it with his Hellfire Crucible at the earliest possible moment.

Using his true energy to draw on the Invincible King’s Fist, he used the hand of a king to reach out toward the treasure.

But then, all of a sudden, a voice spoke from within the pearl, cold and full of dignity, like that of an invincible, unmatchable emperor, a sovereign who ruled both heaven and hell. 

“What gall!”

RUMBLE. RUMBLE! RUUUUMBLE!

In response, numerous exclamations rang out.

“The Crown Prince!”

“That’s the Crown Prince talking!”

“The Crown Prince is here.”

It was a voice that numerous students from all four of the great institutes instantly recognized. All of the experts who were members of the Crown Prince Society instantly rose to their feet and offered respectful salutes.

Without question, it was the voice of the Crown Prince.

He was a mysterious figure who few people ever managed to catch a glimpse of, and yet, he was now making an appearance.

“What? The Crown Prince is here?” Holy Daughter Manyflowers shot to her feet. She had long since forgotten the wager with Patriarchs Wind and Cloud. Of course, she had definitely won the bet; although Yang Qi didn’t end up killing Yun Hailan, he had clearly destroyed her command medallion and won the competition.

“The Crown Prince? That’s the Crown Prince’s voice?” All of the Legendary grand elders were now completely focused on the fighting arena. Generally speaking, no one should have been allowed to enter the scene. After all, Yang Qi’s victory meant that the competition was over. He had won.

But now, the Crown Prince had arrived, completely changing the situation. Even the grand elder presiding over the formalities was completely taken aback, and wasn't sure whether he should interfere or not. After all, the Crown Prince was a mighty and respected individual.

WHIZZZ!

The hand Yang Qi had sent out to grab the Pearl of the Thousand Illusions World was destroyed.

The backlash attack from the pearl then forced him to stagger backward, drawing on all of his defensive sword techniques to prevent himself from getting killed.

‘Such power! Is the Crown Prince really going to show his face?’ Yang Qi sent the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth flowing into all of his acupoints to defend against the encroaching power. Although it ended up being neutralized, he couldn’t help but think, ‘I can’t believe that backlash was enough to have completely destroyed me.’

As he stared at the pearl, it suddenly erupted with pure vital energy, from within which a figure emerged.

He looked like the emperor of heaven, a god in human form.

He was a son of the highest heaven, filled with heavenly might.

The Crown Prince had arrived.

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