Chapter 324: The Hundred Challenges Arena
A night passed. Jiang Chen opened his eyes to revel in the feeling of a new day as sunlight streamed into his room.
The morning sunshine and mountain breeze gave one a very homely feeling. However, each candidate also knew that the true challenge had arrived.
Jiang Chen had also seen some success after practicing the “Nine Transformations” for a night. When he had first called upon the essence of metal power and focused it onto his skin, he’d only felt a slight pricking pain.
This pain wasn’t noticeable at first, but as his training deepened, it felt like tens of thousands of embroidery needles were constantly stabbing into his skin.
Although this level of pain wasn’t enough to cause someone to break down, it still didn’t feel good by any means.
Jiang Chen was someone who could endure pain very well, and he didn’t even crease his brow when continuing to use the essence of metal power in order to further refine his skin.
As time went on, his skin grew used to the tempering from the essence of metal and the sensation of pain slowly decreased.
He knew that no art was easily trained. There would be countless inevitable trials and tribulations on the path of cultivation.
When it came to refining the body, there was a commonly accepted principle in the world of martial dao.
Those who lacked great determination would not be able to endure refinement of the body. Refining the body was a kind of self torture, and sufficient courage was needed to place oneself within the eighteenth level of hell.
There were those with ordinary potential who fought their way to the top, step by step, just through refining their bodies.
It could be said that the art of body refinement had cleaved a new path to attain the peak of martial dao for those with ordinary potential.
However, it was a path that was much more difficult than ordinary cultivation.
Those who could truly make it to the peak of body refinement were as rare as phoenix feathers and dragon scales.
However, once a cultivator made it to the peak of body refinement, their battle strength was, without a doubt, much stronger than their peers of similar cultivation levels.
Fierce battle strength, incredible explosive power, and a death-defying fighting spirit were all traits unique to body refiners.
The first level of Jiang Chen’s “Nine Transformations of the Demons and Gods” was just to temper his skin. All the pain that he felt was just the smallest taste of things to come.
The higher his level grew, the tougher the trials would be on his body.
Jiang Chen was also well aware that since he’d chosen to refine his body, this meant that he would have to be prepared to accept the pain and suffering of eighteen levels of hell as well.
However, Jiang Chen wasn’t an ordinary body refiner in this regard. He had many methods that could help him decrease his pain a bit in the process of refining his body.
Knock knock knock.
Knocking sounds came from the door. Judging from the footsteps, he knew that it was his neighbor, Xiao Fei.
He opened the door to reveal candidate number two’s face.
“Brother Boulder, it’s about time to assemble. We should go.”
Jiang Chen nodded, as he knew the rules.
All candidates had to report to the Hundred Challenges Arena every morning during these three months.
The Arena was built in the core area of the mystic spirit quadrant, with a hundred rings built within. Each candidate had to take their place within the Arena every morning.
According to the rules, the successive sixteen hours starting from the morning1 of each day were open for challenges. All candidates had to remain within the Arena and could not leave.
This was because each candidate was not only a challenger, but also someone to be challenged.
This rule did not apply after a candidate had been challenged three times in the same day, and they were allowed to leave first.
Their name would then be struck off the list and they would no longer be able to receive more challenges that day.
This was a type of protection for the candidates.
Otherwise, if one was unlucky and was selected seven or eight times a day, they’d die of exhaustion, even if they weren’t beaten to death.
At the same time, each candidate had to complete one challenge a day.
By ruling that that each candidate had to complete a challenge a day, this ensured that the hundred challenges would be able to be completed within three months.
Jiang Chen exited his room and left the door unlatched. Although he hadn't left anything inside, he still didn't want anyone coming in to disturb his room. Therefore, Jiang Chen left a few marks around the doorway.
If anyone moved his door and entered his room, he’d find out when he returned.
“Brother Boulder, how are your preparations?” Xiao Fei asked probingly.
Jiang Chen smiled faintly, “Not bad, you?”
Xiao Fei barely mustered a smile, “My strength is far less than Brother Boulder’s. I’ll try my best.”
His attitude was quite humble, but Jiang Chen could tell that Xiao Fei’s true strength was absolutely not what he’d displayed thus far.
The two of them walked out to discover that the other six sect disciples had left quite early.
It looked like they’d slipped out early in order to avoid any awkwardness. They were deathly afraid of bumping into Jiang Chen and being ordered around like a servant.
As sect disciples, they couldn’t let go of the pride rooted in their bones.
Xiao Fei smiled, “These fellows look like they’re truly afraid. They left early and didn’t dare meet with Brother Boulder. What a vindicating feeling!”
Jiang Chen smiled slightly, and felt that although it was possible that they were scared, he didn’t feel that these fellows would accept their new lots quite so easily. It was likely that more developments were in store.
However, just as Jiang Chen had said, they could resist, but the price of resisting was far worse than the price of being a servant.
It took them fifteen minutes to make it to the Hundred Challenges Arena.
A hundred elevated rings stood in the vast expanse of the Hundred Challenges Arena, giving one an impressive and awe inspiring feeling.
Candidates of various levels were already sitting cross legged around the Arena.
As Jiang Chen and Xiao Fei wore the uniforms of secular disciples, they stood out greatly as they walked across the ground. Xiao Fei looked around and discovered that the other ordinary practitioners were all cowering within the corners. It looked like they’d been thoroughly whipped into shape by the sect disciples.
When they saw Jiang Chen and Xiao Fei appear, a strange light appeared in some of their eyes. It seemed that they were waiting to watch a good show, and that their hearts would be assuaged only when they saw Jiang Chen firmly driven into the ground.
Jiang Chen could discern their thoughts from their eyes.
“What a pathetic bunch. What are they doing in a selection if they don’t dare to retort against these sect disciples? Just because they’ve had some tough times, they want to see us go through the same. They don't even have a bottom line of a decent human being. These people deserve to be stomped underfoot.”
Jiang Chen originally had a few traces of sympathy for these secular disciples, but that little bit of sympathy vanished completely when he saw the expression and looks in their eyes.
Xiao Fei also seemed to detect the enmity coming from them at all sides.
The sect disciples all had unfriendly looks on their faces. It was obvious that word of what had happened in their courtyard had spread amongst the sect disciples.
“Brother Boulder, it looks like we have trouble.” Xiao Fei said lowly.
Jiang Chen creased his brow, “You can go off on your own if you’re afraid of trouble. You can even kiss up to the sect disciples, I won’t stop you.”
Xiao Fei chuckled, “I don’t have much to my name, but I’ve got a stubborn temper. The more they want to suppress me, the more I won’t let them succeed. Brother Boulder, you want to get rid of me? Heh heh, I’m not moving!”
If it was in ordinary times, Jiang Chen wouldn’t have cared what this fellow was thinking. But in comparison to the other disciples all submitting to the sect disciples, at least candidate number two had some self pride and hadn’t bowed his head to the sect disciples.
Therefore, Jiang Chen didn’t feel any distaste towards him.
“You, kid. Come over here.” An impolite voice suddenly sounded from the left.
Jiang Chen didn’t even seem to hear the voice as he continued walking forward without the slightest pause in his footsteps.
“Hey! I mean you two! The two with the masks! I’ve heard you’re the first and second place candidates in the first selection? Tsk tsk, aren't you cocky eh!”
If Jiang Chen answered these idiotic provocations every time they came up, he’d never have time to do anything else.
However, the more he ignored them, the more annoyed they became. A figure flashed as it blocked Jiang Chen’s way, with arrogance and domination written all over his face.
“Kid, you’re cocky! If a sect disciple is calling out to you, it means we are honoring you! Who the hell do you think you are to be so discourteous?”
“Piss off.” Jiang Chen had only two words.
“What? You… you told me to piss off?”
Jiang Chen said no more and reached out a hand, grabbing the other’s shirt with incredible speed and sending out extreme strength with the shake of his hand. He flung the other out twenty or so meters, like he was throwing away a dead animal.
The person didn’t even have time to react before crashing down helter skelter over the ground, the very epitome of bedraggedness.
If it wasn’t for the rules, Jiang Chen would’ve sent him flying with one slap.
Although the person was in a sore state, he wasn’t injured. His face was beet red as he’d just been tossed aside like trash beneath the stares of everyone assembled. This was howling shame!
To add insult on injury, Xiao Fei actually started applauding, as if craving nothing more than to stir up chaos.
“Wonderful, wonderful! What a nice Tripped Dog Form, right on!”
The sect disciple almost spat out blood when he heard these words. Tripped Dog Form! This was insinuating that he was a dog!
“Brat, who are you calling a dog?? The sect disciple flew into a rage but was still wary of Jiang Chen and so didn’t dare to charge forward.
Xiao Fei chuckled, “Whoever blocks the way is the dog, do you need me to teach you that?”
The sect disciple howled with indignation as another disciple stepped out at this time. His expression was remote as he actually looked a bit similar to senior brother Cheng.
“Let me introduce myself, I’m Cheng Zhen. I heard from my younger cousin that you were quite arrogant in the courtyard yesterday. I don’t know what you, a mere secular disciple, have to be arrogant about. I warn you, if you dare do anything to my cousin, I will make you regret arriving in this world."
Threats upon threats! To blatantly threaten another in front of the Hundred Challenges Arena, these sect disciples were truly unbridled.
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