Yun Hailan’s blue garment seemed too thin for the coldness around her. As she stood there on the tall building, she looked impressive, and at the same time, dainty and lonely.
Virtually any man who saw her would feel their heart stirring, and would instinctively offer her both worship and love.
But Yang Qi just chuckled coldly in his heart.
‘So, you’re here in Krorän too, eh Yun Hailan?’ He was surrounded by the swirling snow of the Four Seasons Swordplay, and was clad in his Infernal Deity Plate Armor, making him look like a devilghost yama king. 
No one who saw him could possibly recognize him.
However, he was still a bit nervous. Considering how close he had been with Yun Hailan, and how intelligent she was, he still worried that she might somehow be able to identify him.
He was fully aware of the extent of her treachery and shrewdness; she was profoundly dangerous.
‘Hmph! Even if she does suspect it’s me, what good will that do her? Where would she get proof? Besides, a battle of wits and strength is exactly what I want. You’re going to see exactly how powerful I am, Yun Hailan. You think you’re a powerful Master of Energy? Wait till you see me! In fact, I hope you suspect it's me. That would be a wonderful blow to your self-confidence.”
Mind spinning with ideas and plans, he burst into motion, radiating killing intent. As he moved, he unleashed a powerful attack with his right hand, releasing true energy that almost looked like lightning, which headed straight toward Yun Hailan.
This was the summer lightning from the Four Seasons Swordplay.
According to the rumors, that element was the most powerful aspect of the sword technique. Upon cultivating it to the fullest, it was possible to create lightning in the palm of one’s hand. It was like the power of gods among men, like the wrath of a lightning deity that could slaughter all types of wretch-devils.
Although Yang Qi hadn’t cultivated the technique to that level, his true energy was completely magnificent. As the various streams of true energy interacted, they created a rumbling sound like that of thunder, causing many of the buildings in the city to shake physically.
He was attacking like a thunderbolt, ready to kill his target!
He was actually very curious to see how Yun Hailan would deal with this attack.
Even if she blocked it, he had more moves lined up and ready to go. And his plan was actually to capture her, take her somewhere private, and then reveal his identity. That would be the ultimate humiliation for her.
When it came to matters of revenge, it was important to be able to hold one’s head high in the presence of ridiculers.
Yun Hailan almost instantly sensed the ghastly killing intent bearing down on her, and it caused her face to fill with shock and disbelief.
Looking over, she saw the swirling mass of snow heading in her direction, and could sense a terrifying aura in it, as well as rumbling like that of thunder. Although she was taken aback, a moment later, she recovered her composure. And yet, she didn’t prepare to fight back; she was waiting to see what this person in the snowy wind would do.
She was the type of person who could keep calm even under extreme circumstances.
Yang Qi was not surprised by this. Maintaining complete focus, he continued with the attack, his aura growing unbelievably intense with every moment that passed.
He planned to use this one attack to cleanse the humiliation of the past, and restore his dignity. Because of that, he would not allow himself to be intimidated by Yun Hailan’s calmness.
It was in that exact moment, right before he was about to strike Yun Hailan, that a thunderous voice filled the air.
A blazing sun suddenly appeared right in front of Yun Hailan, to aid in her defense.
The Cosmic Sunflare Sword!
Sun-like sword light smashed into Yang Qi’s summer lightning sword technique, causing a huge shock wave to ripple out in all directions, destroying much of the surroundings, and even causing gold to transform into ash.
The intense heat of the Cosmic Sunflare Sword then began to melt the ground.
Surprisingly, Chu Tiange had interfered to block Yang Qi’s attack on Yun Hailan.
During the entire time, Yun Hailan hadn’t even moved. Apparently, she had predicted that Chu Tiange would step in to help. This girl was absolutely unbelievable when it came to plots and schemes.
The blazing, sun-like sword light gradually faded away, revealing Chu Tiange, standing there on the building next to Yun Hailan. On another building, the blood energy also faded, revealing a middle-aged man in a blood-red cloak. Although he had no weapons in his hand, and not a single scrap of the aura of a vampire brigand, Yang Qi knew exactly who he was. He was the leader of the vampires here in Krorän, the Lifeseizer Jing Wuxue.
Yun Hailan and Chu Tiange were on one building.
Jing Wuxue was on another.
And Yang Qi was hovering in the air off to the side, still surrounded by swirling snow.
All three parties eyed each other.
“Who are you?” Jing Wuxue said to Yang Qi. “Were you the one who stole my Sage Devil Painting from my subterranean chamber? That was the Four Seasons Swordplay, just now, wasn’t it. Are you from the House of Spring and Autumn?”
“That's right,” Yang Qi replied, keeping his voice high pitched. “I have your Sage Devil Painting, allowing me to unleash my true power. It won't be long before the House of Spring and Autumn changes its name to the Spring and Autumn Institute, so consider this painting a gift of congratulations for that.”
“Do you have a death wish?” Jing Wuxue growled.
“Friend,” Yun Hailan said, “are you really from the House of Spring and Autumn? You're not working with this monster from the Blood Demon Grotto, are you? Why did you attack me just now? I haven’t done anything to offend you.”
“If I feel like attacking somebody, I attack them,” Yang Qi replied coldly. “What's that got to do with you?” It was obvious that Yun Hailan was already probing for information, but he didn’t care.
“Aren’t you aware that doing such a thing could harm relations between the House of Spring and Autumn and the Demi-Immortal Institute? Or could it be that it's all an act? True, the Four Seasons Swordplay is a consummate discipline from the House of Spring and Autumn. But there are plenty of experts who have gotten their hands on it through underhanded methods. Tell me who you really are! And why are you trying to stir up trouble between the Demi-Immortal Institute and the House of Spring and Autumn?”
“You really know how to run your mouth,” Yang Qi said, his killing intent surging. With that, he unleashed Silk Rain of the Spring Silkworm, causing masses of silk strands to fly toward Yun Hailan, accompanied by a blast of spring wind. Instantly, the bitter cold in the city turned a bit warmer, as though spring were coming.
On the outskirts of Krorän, some of the students from the Gentlemen’s Society looked up, and could sense the feeling of spring.
“What’s that? A spring wind?”
“What incredible energy arts. Has another Lifeseizer appeared?”
When Chu Tiange saw the incoming Silk Rain of the Spring Silkworm and its masses of silk strands capable of piercing metal armor, his eyes glittered brightly with killing intent.
“Evil creature!” Activating his defensive true energy, he drew his sword from his back and ran his finger along the flat of the blade. Ten burning suns of sword energy appeared, enigmatic to the extreme as they shot toward the Silk Rain of the Spring Silkworm. One by one, the strands of silk snapped; with one move, Chu Tiange completely vanquished Yang Qi’s energy art.
That brief interchange was all Chu Tiange needed to tell that Yang Qi wasn’t in the Lifeseizing level.
“So, you’re not actually in the Lifeseizing level. You used some spirit medicine to power up, or perhaps you cultivate some strange devil technique. Either way, I'm warning you. No matter how strong a Master of Energy might be, they can never be a match for a Lifeseizer.”
After all, breaking through to the Lifeseizing level involved a drastic transformation of true energy. Starting at that level, attacks would contain the spirit energy of heaven and earth.
Yang Qi was strong, but no matter how much power he drew on, his moves could not combine with heaven and earth.
Now that Chu Tiange had a better idea of Yang Qi’s level, he looked at him with a sneer.
“You seem to think you’re pretty powerful, you little punk. But it turns out you're nothing but trash. You're no Lifeseizer. For that arrogance, you will die!” Brandishing his sword, he said, “Ten Suns Ascend to Heaven; Guide You to an Early Death!”
Ten blazing suns of sword energy shot toward Yang Qi, sharp and hot to the extreme, an energy art that was virtually beyond mortal comprehension.
“Be broken!” Yang Qi said, clearly not the least bit frightened. Suddenly, the Infernal Deity Spear appeared in his hand, with its infinite variations. Without a moment’s pause, he leaped toward the ten suns.
Laughing coldly, Chu Tiange yelled, “Fool! Cosmic Sunflare; Meridian Immolation!”
The ten burning suns suddenly exploded, sending light shooting into the Infernal Deity Spear, and through it toward Yang Qi.
‘Now’s my chance!’
Spinning through the air, Yang Qi intentionally sucked all of the burning, golden fire into him.
His Infernal Deity Plate Armor could have protected him from the attack. But he wanted to absorb the sword light of the Cosmic Sunflare Sword. The attack of a powerful Lifeseizer was nothing to take lightly, but he needed something to stimulate the lightning mammoth.
Yang Qi was essentially using the sword light of the Cosmic Sunflare Sword and converting it into a power-up for himself. It was almost like having someone in the Lifeseizing level intentionally helping him improve his cultivation base.
Intense golden fire streamed through him, so hot and painful that it felt like his meridians were being destroyed. But Yang Qi was like an ancient, wild beast. Taking a breath, he sent the burning sword energy into his sea of energy, and toward the lightning mammoth.
Instantly, the lightning mammoth’s life force quintessence went to work, and after three breaths of time passed, all of the sword light had been converted, and his meridians grew stronger.
Multiple particles within him were waking up.
One ancient megamammoth after another was making him grow stronger and stronger.
1. In "real life" Yama is a death god from Hinduism. In Chinese fantasy stories, his name tends to get used to describe a type of death god in general. There is nothing inherent to the term that would carry any specific meaning. For all intents and purposes, it's like saying "a devil from hell".