A ninth phase expert, a Master of Energy, had ambushed their team of five.
As for the seemingly blood-soaked figure, it was Humanoid True Energy that had slipped in as quietly as a ghost, and disappeared just as suddenly.
Normally speaking, if five freshman students in the eighth phase were attacked by someone in the ninth phase, they would be wiped out. Sadly for their attacker, though, the freakish Yang Qi was there to fight back.
Suddenly, an eerie voice echoed out in the distance. “Who would have guessed that there would be an expert hidden amongst the freshman students of the Demi-Immortal Institute?”
Along with the voice, a demonic wind swept through the desolate ruins that reeked of blood. The stench was so unbearable that the group nearly vomited.
“That’s a blood-toxin energy art!” Hua Yinhu said, struggling to pull a medicinal pill out of his garment. “Get your antidote pills ready!” After consuming the pill, some color returned to his pale face, and wisps of blood-colored toxic energy seeped out of him.
“You take one, Brother Yang,” Li He said, digging out some pills. Clearly, everyone else in the group was experienced enough to have come prepared for something like this.
“There’s no need,” Yang Qi said. “That blood-toxin has no way to get into me.” Sure enough, the true energy flowing through his body prevented any tainted blood energy from entering him.
In fact, he even sent his true energy out for a few dozen paces in every direction, clearing it of any poison, and negating the demonic wind.
Seeing what was happening, the other four students edged closer to him.
They were no fools, and could immediately tell what was going on. Yang Qi was obviously far more powerful than them, and was finally revealing the levels of strength that he had previously kept concealed.
“How could I have guessed that you were keeping your true strength so deeply hidden!?” He Jili said, rubbing his hands together eagerly. “Don’t tell me you’re already in the ninth phase! I guess I really would have embarrassed myself if I really got you to fight earlier, huh?”
“I'm not a Master of Energy,” Yang Qi said with a smile. Shaking his head, he continued, “But don’t worry, I could fight one if I really had to. I’ll take care of you from here on out.”
Of course, if he drew upon the true power of his cultivation base, he could easily flush out and kill whatever Master of Energy was hiding in the ruins. But that would be a bit too dramatic.
And right now, he could only use his Invincible King’s Fist and Golden Bell Rampart.
The Four Seasons Swordplay wasn’t an option; it was a consummate discipline of the House of Spring and Autumn, so if word got out, he might not be afraid of the consequences, but he had to think of his father and brothers.
Even still, with his level of true energy, he could use his two techniques to defeat a Master of Energy fairly easily.
Suddenly, sinister laughter echoed out around them. “Pretty confident in yourself, huh, you little brat. You think you’re strong enough to escape me? What a joke! You brats don’t know the height of the heavens and the breadth of the earth! You think you can come here and rid the world of devils and demons? Although, considering that you’re all in the eighth phase and can perform Mind Incarnation, that means your blood will be much more rich and nourishing than that of mortals. I guess I’ll just have to suck you all dry.”
Yang Qi snorted coldly. “Enough grandstanding. Show your face.”
With that, he stamped his foot onto the stone ground, using his true energy to grab ahold of a large chunk of stone, which he then sent shooting toward the top of a nearby wall.
A gasp of surprise suddenly echoed out, and then a blood-colored streak of light blurred forth, slamming into the rock and shattering it.
As the dust settled, a middle-aged man appeared on the wall, clad in a blood-red robe.
His face was as pale as death, and twisted into a ferocious expression. Two fangs were just barely visible, which were clearly used for the purpose of sucking blood. He pulsed with demon energy, making him seem almost like a demon, and thanks to whatever energy art he cultivated, he was surrounded by blood-colored light.
The man strode off the wall, stepping onto the air as though it were solid ground.
As he approached, more brigands appeared on the walls, hundreds of them, all with profound energy arts. Even the weakest among them was in the fifth phase, and with a mere glance, Yang Qi identified at least ten who were eighth phase experts. Each and every one of them radiated the stench of blood, and were fiendish to the extreme.
As they looked down at Yang Qi and his companions, they seemed like hungry wolves eyeing helpless sheep.
“We’re done for!” Li He murmured. He and the others all had ashen faces, and felt despair gripping their hearts.
“We still have a chance to get out of here,” Hua Yinhu said. “If we send out a distress call, any students within fifty kilometers will come to help.” With that, he pulled out a small firework pellet. He would only have one chance to shoot that pellet high into the air and alert the nearby students. Without any hesitation, he threw it as high as he could.
A holy light exploded above them, which gradually took the shape of the word: Demi-Immortal.
Anyone within dozens of kilometers would be able to see it clearly.
“That’s not going to do you any good,” the leader of the brigands said. “We’ve locked this place down tight. There isn’t a living soul within fifty kilometers. If you think other students from your institute are going to come help you, you’re a complete fool.”
The leader truly didn’t seem to care at all about their distress signal.
Eyeing Yang Qi, he said, “I want this brat’s blood. The rest of you share the others.”
“Yes sir!” the other brigands replied, and then began to chuckle menacingly.
“What do we do?!” Hua Yinhu said. He and the others looked over at Yang Qi, whom they had already come to view as their leader.
The fact that so many of these brigands were energy arts experts, all ready to attack, seemed to indicate that escape was an impossibility.
Yang Qi frowned. ‘It seems that the only way to kill these brigands is to use my true strength. If I do that, it could lead to problems later on. But then again, impressing these four right now might be a good thing. As long as they keep my secret, it shouldn’t be a problem.’
His frown vanished, and he prepared for the slaughter to begin.
“Kill them!” the leader shouted, his Master of Energy cultivation base surging to life.
The fight was just about to begin, and yet, that was when a whistling sound suddenly filled the air.
It started out at a great distance, but within moments, was only a few kilometers away. By that point, it sounded like rumbling thunder that caused the ruins around them to tremble physically.
Everyone present looked around in shock.
Even Yang Qi was visibly surprised.
Based on what he was hearing, this was a level of true energy that surpassed anyone he had ever met before. It was at least ten times more powerful than the Master of Energy level, perhaps even a hundred times. It was far beyond anything ordinary.
Shivering, he thought, ‘Don’t tell me… it’s a Lifeseizer…?’
He had just been preparing to unleash his true level of power, but now, he reined in his true energy, and decided to just wait patiently and watch how the situation developed.
The whistling sound suddenly ended, as quickly as it had begun.
At the same time, a figure appeared on a nearby section of the city wall.
It was a young man dressed in simple hemp garments that made him look like an ascetic monk. However, he had a sword strapped to his back, and was so dignified and imposing, with such powerful energy, that anyone who saw him would be inclined to drop to their knees to offer worship.
From his position on the wall, he looked over the scene, and anyone his gaze touched felt like their soul was being struck by a lightning bolt.
Looking at the leader of the brigands, he said, “You freakish hellions! How dare you ambush Demi-Immortal Institute students!”
“Who are you?!” the vampire brigand leader shrieked. Obviously, he recognized how powerful this young man was.
“Chu Tiange from the Demi-Immortal Institute. Remember my name after I kill you. After all, we wouldn’t want moronic ghosts in hell, would we?” 
Even as Chu Tiange spoke, sword light spread out from the sword on his back, almost like a bright sun that illuminated all of the city walls.
Before the vampire brigands could even react, countless streams of sword energy stabbed through them, provoking blood-curdling screams.
“A Lifeseizer!?” the leader shrieked. He spun in place, and a pair of blood-colored wings sprouted from his back as he prepared to flee.
However, before he could, the sun-like sword light covered every possible path available to him.
Moments ago, the ancient city had been like a ghost city in the depths of night, sinister to the extreme. But now, intense, sun-like sword light filled it, dispelling any ghostly energy, and filling the place with warmth.
Only shocking types of energy arts could provoke such an astrological phenomenon with only one move.
“A cosmic sunflare leaves thousands shocked. A blow against evil that cannot be blocked. A Demi-Immortal elite who cannot be stopped! Only Chu can sing a song of the heavens!” 
As Chu Tiange chanted his poetry, his sword energy swept out dramatically. A moment later, the vampire brigand leader screamed, and was cut down, completely unable to fight back.
Then, a blood-colored demon core flew out of him.
Chu Tiange had used a single move to kill hundreds of brigands, and also cut down a Master of Energy.
To him, it had been as easy as brushing some dust off of his shoulder.
After the sword light died down, Hua Yinhu bowed his head and said, “My respects, Elder Brother Tiange.”
Li He and the others followed suit.
“No problem,” Chu Tiange said, looking them over. His gaze came to rest on Yang Qi. “You’re the ones who released the distress signal?”
“It's dangerous for freshman students like yourselves to try to take out vampire brigands of this level. I've already investigated the matter thoroughly; these brigands are the work of one of the demon kings of the seventy-two grottos, which is subordinate to the Hanging Mountain. Specifically, they came from the Blood Demon Grotto. Their entire purpose here is to sow chaos and wreak havoc.” Looking back up into the sky, Chu Tiange said, “They’re beyond you, so just leave.”
It was at that point that a howl like that of a lion suddenly reached their ears, and several shadowy figures appeared.
Shockingly, they were colossal monsters, creatures with the heads of lions and the bodies of birds. Yang Qi recognized them. They were demonlings called griffons, an ancient breed that some institutes raised as mounts.
The griffons swooped in and landed on the city wall, whereupon a few people hopped off, all of them students from the Demi-Immortal Institute. And none of them were freshmen. Laughing, they looked at the scene spread out in front of them.
“You’re so awesome, Elder Brother Tiange. You killed all of the brigands before our griffons could even catch up.”
Suddenly, Yang Qi’s eyes flashed with cold light, and his gaze became a stare that locked onto one particular young woman, dressed in blue clothing.
It was her!
1. Chu Tiange: Chu is a common surname which also means “distinct, clear, orderly” as well as a variety of other things. It's the same Chu from Chu Yuyan in ISSTH. Tian means “heaven, sky” and Ge means “song, sing”. So Tiange could be translated as “song of heaven”
2. This translation is not completely accurate in terms of the meaning, but close enough as far as I'm concerned. My main goal was to make the first three lines rhyme like they do in Chinese. The fourth line is not supposed to rhyme. It’s a play on words, as his given name (by itself) means “song of heaven” or “sing to the heavens” if used in this context