Jing Yi was feeling relieved from a bout of luck, while Xiahou Ying felt a mass of emotions.
Women could sometimes be such bizarre creatures. The more a man ignored her and cast her aside, the more curious she became. Put nicely, it was curiosity, but the truth was that women sometimes were just that masochistic.
Although she was furious with Shao Yuan, her curiosity had also been deeply piqued. She was frustrated and befuddled. Why is Shao Yuan so hostile to my house? Is he doing this to get my attention? Playing hard to get?
Such were the delusions filling her mind at the moment. She quite wanted to know what was motivating the young man. Why had he entered House Yan first, then the Eternal Sacred Land?
Why did he refuse her invitations and was so harsh to her?
He was indeed a martial dao genius to be able to hold his ground as a great emperor against Gan Ning, who was at third level empyrean realm.
Is Gan Ning trash, or is Shao Yuan too stunning?
She was very conflicted. On one hand, she wanted Gan Ning to win and teach Shao Yuan a ruthless lesson. Shao Yuan was already so strong as a great emperor. Wouldn’t he become a formidable foe one day? Could he threaten her brother’s place as the foremost genius?
On the other hand, she was very unwilling to admit defeat. Why couldn’t this kind of genius become House Xiahou’s? Why wasn’t he affected by her beauty at all?
Her thoughts were hers alone.
Quite a number of people had started gathering around the arena. The intense raucous had caught the attention of a few geniuses nearby. There were only a couple at first. When the news spread through word-of-mouth, people swarmed to the fighting ring in droves.
The other four great gentlemen, however, didn’t show up. Gan Ning was the only one present.
That didn’t catch anyone’s attention. All eyes were on the stage. It was a thrilling fight that captivated and excited every spectator.
“The one fighting with senior brother Gan Ning is the newcomer Shao Yuan, isn’t he?”
“Yeah, he’s too full of himself. He was arrogant enough to take on the Nine Winding Caves. Who knew he’d be so bold as to provoke senior brother Gan Ning?”
“He’s new here, how did he do that?”
“Apparently he taunted the senior and insulted him!”
“Really? He’s that crazy? That’s an insult to every genius in the sacred land! I’m for senior brother Gan Ning giving him a good beating!”
“But I feel like there’s more to the story. Shao Yuan doesn’t seem like a troublemaker. Would he really provoke senior brother Gan Ning for no reason?”
“Who knows? It’s a good show anyways.” The audience chattered beneath the stage. They were thrilled by the fight and curious about how the conflict started.
It was difficult to figure out the reason from hearsay. Those who knew the truth were Gan Ning’s close friends. Their words were obviously biased.
This wasn’t where Shao Yuan lived. Rather, it was close to Gan Ning’s residence. Would Shao Yuan come all the way here to start a fight with a senior brother? That didn’t seem likely.
But Gan Ning was one of the Five Great Gentlemen. His high status meant everyone would rather play dumb than offend him. They would avoid offending him if possible. Even better was if they offended neither party and simply watched the drama play out as outsiders.
The geniuses were observant enough to come to the conclusion. It was a fight between the newcomer and one of the Five.
“Shao Yuan’s conquered nine caves in a row. It’s said that the three primes all have high opinions of him and treat him like a top tier genius. He does seem capable.”
“Of course he’s capable. How else was he able to complete all nine caves? He’s the only one to do so in all of history.”
“He’s able to go head to head with senior brother Gan Ning as a great emperor. That alone is admirable.”
“That’s not necessarily true. What if the senior brother hasn’t gone all-out?”
“There’s no guarantee that Shao Yuan has either. The only thing he’s relying on right now is his speed.”
“In the world of martial dao, anyone can be a formidable opponent as long as he’s perfected a particular skill. Shao Yuan’s able to bridge the gap between their cultivations with his amazing speed alone. I have to admit I admire him for that. He really is a genius.”
“True. His speed is enough to compensate for his shortcomings. Even senior brother Gan Ning, adept at controlling space, isn’t able to trap him. This kid isn’t to be underestimated.”
“Hehe, there’s a limit to his speed. I believe that senior brother’s going to be the winner. Maybe he’s just waiting for an opening to defeat Shao Yuan once and for all.”
“That’s hard to say. Senior brother Gan Ning is strong, but Shao Yuan is far from incompetent. There’s no telling who wins between speed and space manipulation.”
“I’m for the senior brother.”
“Of course. Shao Yuan joined only a while ago. He doesn’t have a solid foundation yet. It feels a little like cheating for him to rely on his speed.”
“That’s not cheating. Speed is a part of martial dao. Different methods are equal in rank. Each has its own strength. How is that cheating?”
Both Gan Ning and Shao Yuan had their share of supporters. Most of those who supported the latter did so because they didn’t like Gan Ning, rather than because they admired Shao Yuan.
The same was true of those who supported Gan Ning. They simply found Shao Yuan to have garnered too much attention as an outsider and wanted to knock him down a peg.
The fight caught the senior executives’ attention in no time, Ziju Min and the three primes included. But they didn’t intervene.
As many had postulated, the senior executives encouraged youths to spar or even engage in personal disputes. Healthy competition could accelerate progress.
If everyone was friends and had no motivation to compete with one another, after a while the youths would grow complacent and lose their drive. Fights like these were the perfect way to inspire the passion to cultivate.
“Shao Yuan keeps on surprising us, First Prime,” remarked the third prime. “He wasn’t allowed to fly in the Nine Winding Caves, so we never saw his speed. Now it seems that’s his strong suit.”
The first prime smiled leisurely and responded emphatically, “The young man is like an iceberg. He shows us only a hint every time we see him. We don’t know how many abilities he possesses.”
When Ziju Min had first introduced Shao Yuan to them, he’d said the young man was a rare talent in pill dao.
Then, people had realized that pill dao wasn’t Shao Yuan’s only strength. His talent in martial dao was just as high, which had been on display during the challenge of the Nine Winding Caves.
Now he was demonstrating his extraordinary speed in the duel. He was able to rival Gan Ning with speed while there existed a large gap between their cultivations. This meant he had reached the pinnacle of speed.
“The first prime is right. Shao Yuan is full of surprises.” The second prime echoed their sentiments. The three of them had seen countless geniuses during the long years they’d ruled over the sacred land. Every genius had their own strengths and characteristics, which were easy to spot and understand.
However, Shao Yuan was an enigma. No one knew what other miracles he was hiding. Would speed be the last surprise he had for them?
They didn’t think so.
The first prime sighed, keeping her mental eye on the fight. “People notice only his remarkable speed, but the strength of his consciousness shouldn’t be overlooked. He’s turned his consciousness into physical force and his attacks never decrease in power, which tells us his consciousness is as strong as Gan Ning’s. Otherwise he would’ve already been exhausted mentally and physically by now.”
The other two primes realized that she was right.
“I didn’t notice that before you mentioned it, First Prime. Shao Yuan hasn’t changed the way he attacks. He’s using only his speed and his eye art. Is he hiding his real power? Or is this combination something he’s best at?”
The first prime didn’t respond immediately. She wasn’t sure either.
“During the evaluation, I had a feeling that he wasn’t giving it his all in the fight with the serpent spirit. He can do more than that. I believe that he’s still pulling his punches even in the arena.”
“Why? Isn’t this the perfect opportunity for him to make a name for himself?” asked the baffled third prime. “If he defeats Gan Ning, he’ll gain a foothold in the sacred land.”
“This young man is different from what we expected,” said the first prime. “Maybe he isn’t able to defeat Gan Ning with other methods? Or maybe he simply doesn’t want to stand out too much after the evaluation. Or is he avoiding being put under the spotlight at all? Is he conserving strength for the sword competition next year? Perhaps he doesn’t think it’s the right time for him to show his cards.”
There were all sorts of possibilities. Nonetheless, the first prime had expressed clearly her appreciation for the young man. It was remarkable for someone his age to perform so well under the circumstances.
Suddenly recalling something, the first prime grew distracted.Previous Chapter Next Chapter