Chapter 32 - Preserving Strength

“Kneel down!”

The two words were spoken softly, but they echoed out like a clap of thunder in Ma Kui’s mind.

To kneel or not kneel? That was the difficult question Ma Kui faced. After all, a man should only kneel to three people in his lifetime, his parents and his master. For him to kneel to someone else was a huge humiliation. But how could he take back his words when so many people had witnessed it?

Ma Kui could only hope that Lin Yun would forgive him. But it was clear Lin Yun wouldn’t let this matter rest so easily. From this difficult position, Ma Kui became sullen as the last hope in his heart dissipated. Those who had stood by his side a moment ago were now silent.

Plop!

Despite his resentment, Ma Kui went down on his knees as he replied, “I apologize for my actions. Please forgive me, Senior Brother Lin.” 

A commotion rose from the crowd as they watched the scene unfold. A senior among the outer disciples actually went down on his knees before Lin Yun, a sword slave.

Ma Kui knew there was nothing else he could do. He had been so forceful with his accusations, and Lin Yun had taken it all with dignity. As the saying goes, what goes around comes around. If he hadn’t taken it so far earlier, he wouldn’t be in this position now. He was the one who spoke those words and so he must be the one to atone for them.

When he carefully raised his head to look at Lin Yun, he saw Lin Yun still stood with his back turned to him. He had apologized, but Lin Yun did not let him up on his feet. His heart boiled with rage as he fought the urge to stand.

Crack!

A surge of cold killing aura suddenly exploded from Lin Yun, enveloping Ma Kui.

When he raised his head, he saw the Flower Burial Sword in Lin Yun’s hand was shaking. Fear swallowed Ma Kui’s heart. The memory of the bolt of lightning executed by Lin Yun’s sword was still fresh in Ma Kui’s mind. If he stood up now, Lin Yun might kill him.

Cold sweat rolled down Ma Kui’s forehead as he began to tremble.

But at this moment, the judge barked, “What an embarrassment. Get lost!”

Feeling heavily relieved, Ma Kui stood and  left the stage immediately.

Lin Yun turned back and put his belongings back in the interspatial pouch.

Once he had finished, the judge announced Lin Yun’s victory.

With that, Lin Yun had won thirteen matches in a row. Since he hadn’t lost once, Lin Yun would only receive more points, and it was clear Lin Yun would advance to the next round.

“You can go on and make preparations for what's next. You’d do best to put what happened earlier out of your mind.” the judge spoke a few words of comfort. He could guess that Lin Yun’s heart was troubled.

It was just a normal match, and Lin Yun had defeated his opponent fair and square. However, he was forced to be searched and was even criticized by a bunch of people.

“Thank you.” Lin Yun replied as he jumped down the stage.

The surrounding spectators parted for him as he walked away. With that, this incident had finally come to an end.

However, Lin Yun’s heart recovered quickly as he strolled around the plaza and observed his rivals in the other groups. Within the sixth group, there were no doubts he would advance to the next round. 

If he didn’t encounter Zhang Han, he could most likely save his sword for his opponents in the elimination round.

Lin Yun stood out from his competition like a dark horse, but it wasn’t because of his winning streak. After all, the Elders had divided the top outer disciples equally throughout the groups. Several other groups had disciples with matching winning streaks. Some had even collected enough points for them to advance to the next round already.

Take Wang Fei of the first group for example. His sword was so quick that it left afterimages. The eyes of his opponents couldn’t even follow his sword, and before they knew it, his sword was at their throats.

Everyone who encountered him so far had surrendered. He was even ranked  higher than Zhou Yun among the top ten, sitting at third.

However, the opponent that was truly terrifying was Hu Zifeng, ranked first among the outer disciples. He hadn’t been required to participate in the group fight and could be found sitting among the inner disciples. It made sense, though, as Hu Zifeng’s cultivation had already reached the Eighth Stage of the Martial Path, and it was rumored that he had challenged several inner disciples over the last two months. More shockingly, he won more than he had lost! It was safe to assume he would become an inner disciple. 

When Lin Yun glanced over at him, he saw Hu Zifeng seated high on the platform with his eyes closed. It seemed as if he wasn’t even interested in this tournament at all.

When Lin Yun withdrew his gaze, he accidentally saw Su Ziyao, who was seated high up as she kept her usual aloof expression. Her presence alone had attracted great attention as everyone would cast their glance over occasionally. Even the higher hierarchy of the sect were all looking at her with revere in their eyes.

It was as if the future of the sect was bet on her. There was a unique temperament coming from her. Even if she kept her silence, she still stood out among her peers.

Compared to her, everyone else seemed so dull.

Shaking his head, Lin Yun turned away, his attention was directed on a stage.

Zhou Yun, an opponent whom he had previously felt despair from two months ago, was on it.

Compared to the rage and reluctance he felt back then, Lin Yun was more calm this time as he watched the battle.

But it was a battle that held no worth.

Zhou Yun’s cultivation was in the Seventh Stage of the Martial Path, and it went without saying that he stood out in his group.

His presence on the stage alone was sufficient to make his opponents forfeit.

However, there were still some disciples who were reluctant to surrender and tried fighting Zhou Yun. But as a result, they were all suppressed by his aura to the point that they couldn’t take a single step out.

“How strong! Look at his aura! He seems to have made progress in his cultivation. I’m afraid that he won’t be far from the Eight Stage of the Martial Path.”

Lin Yun knitted his brows slightly. Although he had not seen Zhou Yun fighting, he could estimate from Zhou Yun’s aura that it wouldn’t be easy for him to defeat Zhou Yun..

“Next round, Lin Yun versus Zhang Han!”

While Lin Yun was lost in thought, his name was announced on the sixth stage. He rubbed his nose. He was really unlucky. There were over two hundred disciples in the sixth group, and everyone only had to fight thirty matches. If he had been lucky enough, he wouldn’t have had to face Zhang Han.

Most importantly, with his winning streak, Lin Yun only needed another two wins before he could advance into the next round.

“Lin Yun is actually facing Zhang Han!”

“It looks like this will be a nice show to watch. Zhang Han’s cultivation is in the Seventh Stage of the Martial Path, and he’s acknowledged as the strongest in the sixth group.”

“But Lin Yun made it so far without using his sword, and there’s a high possibility that he might get first.”

“Furthermore, he even executed the Flowing Wind Sword earlier!”

Everyone was filled with expectation as they ran over to watch the battle between Lin Yun and Zhang Han.

Or rather, everyone hoped that Zhang Han could put an end to Lin Yun’s winning streak.

“What’s the matter? You’re also not going to use your sword when facing me?” Zhang Han was stunned when he saw Lin Yun coming up the stage bare-handed. However, his heart was stronger than Ma Kui. Despite feeling enraged in his heart, he did not reveal any emotions on his face. After all, his cultivation was his greatest confidence.

However, Lin Yun paid no attention to him as he looked at the judge, “I forfeit this match.”

“Forfeit?”

“Am I hearing it right? He actually forfeited?”

“Is this sword slave messing with us? And here we thought that we’re finally going to have a show.”

“What a coward. He only knows how to bully those weaker than him.”

Some people who came over in excitement immediately exploded upon hearing Lin Yun forfeiting this round.

“Are you sure?”

“I am.”

Lin Yun nodded his head from the judge’s confirmation.

His flow of thoughts was clear. If he wanted to defeat Zhang Han, who was in the Seventh Stage of the Martial Path, he would have to use his Flowing Wind Sword. However, it wasn’t wise for him to reveal his trump card right now.

“Lin Yun forfeits this round, and I hereby announce Zhang Han’s victory!”

After the judge announced the result, a trace of smile rose on Zhang Han’s lips as he looked at Lin Yun, “Well, that makes sense. You will definitely advance to the next round, and your act of knowing how to make the right decision has won my admiration. Haha!”

In Zhang Han’s view, Lin Yun forfeited because he knew he couldn’t defeat him. As Lin Yun’s act had highlighted his strength even more, it made him feel happier. He had a smug look on his face as he walked down the stage.

Lin Yun couldn’t help but inwardly roll his eyes. He was left speechless by Zhang Han’s imagination.

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Thyaeria's Thoughts

Thyaeria: It's rather unexpected that Lin Yun would forfeit :/ I thought all MC should charge their way through and crush anyone in their path!