Over two thousand outer disciples crowded around the Azure Sky Sect tournament stage. Today was the elimination round of the mid-year test. Eighty of the best outer disciples the Azure Sky Sect had to offer faced off in high stakes battles. From here on out, a single loss meant they were out. Only the top ten would be permitted to become inner disciples.
Many disciples came early in hopes of getting a front row seat. On stage, the Elders and inner disciples were all gathered; but, compared to the energy in the crowd, they seemed troubled.
Something was clearly wrong. Up on the stage, Zhou Yun, had already been waiting for five minutes and his opponent was nowhere to be seen.
“What’s wrong? Why isn’t Lin Yun here yet?”
“Is that sword slave trying to be disrespectful? Why is he always late?!”
“Strictly speaking, he’s not late as long as he can arrive in ten minutes, but it is still disrespectful to his opponent.”
“Heh, do you think he chickened out? I heard that Zhou Yun is planning to cripple him!”
“Well no shit! If I had to choose between forfeiting and being crippled, I pick forfeiting every time! No wonder he’s not here.”
A murmur came over the crowd as rumours started to spread.
Up on the stage, an Elder knitted his brows and commented, “This sword slave truly has no respect for anyone. Let’s just announce the result and get this over with!”
This man was Zhou Yun’s father, so his bias came as no surprise; but, despite most disagreeing with the sentiment, those around him remained silent.
“There’s no need to be in such a hurry, Elder Zhou. you should be more tolerant towards the younger generations. If he does not appear in ten minutes, then we’ll go according to the rules,” Sect Master Bai Tianming said with a comforting smile.
The incense joss had burned dangerously low when suddenly hooves echoed from outside the stage, followed closely by a surge of violent aura.
Clop! Clop! Clop!
“A demonic beast?! Inside the gates?!”
The outer disciples could not believe what they were feeling. Even the Elders and inner disciples on the stage were all baffled by this sudden turn of event. The true surprise came when they saw the origin of the aura.
Lin Yun’s intimidating figure cast a shadow over the road as the Dragon Blooded Horse galloped through the streets. The outer disciples began to clear a path the moment they caught sight of the horrific steed. Even Zhou Yun, who was standing on the stage, nervously checked to make sure he had an escape route.
His demeanour changed when he saw that the incense joss was about to burn out, and a sneer rose on his lips. it seemed that he had won this battle.
Lin Yun rode the Dragon Blooded Horse with unyielding determination. Just as the smile was crawling across Zhou Yun’s face, Lin Yun yanked on the reigns. The Dragon Blooded Horse let out a snort as it leapt into the air.
The horse was terrifyingly casual as it cleared the entire crowd of outer disciples and landed on stage. With a swing of the reins, the horse reared onto its hindlegs and let out a whinny.
As the horse stood with two of its forelegs in the air and Lin Yun’s hair fluttered under the sunlight, the outer disciples stood in awe as time seemed to freeze.
Lin Yun leapt from the horse and looked at the judge, “Just barely made it. I’m ready to start.”
“Uh...what….” the judge stammered. After a moment he replied, “But the horse…”
“Get down, Lil’ Red. Go on, off the stage,” Lin Yun said as he patted the neck of the Dragon Blood Horse lovingly. Lin Yun had no idea what name the Yun Clan had given the steed, but he was confident his was better. He was proud of himself for coming up with it on the spot, especially in front of such a large crowd.
The Dragon Blooded Horse did not seem nearly as impressed with its new name, but the still followed Lin Yun’s instructions and stood among the crowd. The outer disciples slowly started to crowd around the horse, unable to resist their curiosity any longer. Lil’ Red quickly grew annoyed by the violation of his personal space and let out the full force of his killing aura. The outer disciples scattered, and the horse let out a playful nicker in response, very clearly satisfied with itself.
One outer disciple began approaching Lil’ Red while screaming obscenities at the horse. The pleased look vanished from the Dragon Blooded Horse’s long face. He waited patiently until the man was in range and kicked him squarely in the chest. The man’s limp body landed several rows back. An uneasy peace was found only after the crowd put several meters between itself and Lil’ Red.
Meanwhile, the atmosphere on stage was just as tense. Zhou Yun had already been angry when Lin Yun arrived late, but his anger turned to rage when Lin Yun stole his limelight by bringing his horse on stage. People were supposed to be here to watch Lin Yun get slaughtered, not ride in like some hero from folk lore.
Before the battle even began, a roar sounded out beneath the stage. It was Zhou Yun’s henchman, Chen Xiao, “Senior Brother Zhou, remind this sword slave of his place! Put him in the ground!”
The bloodlust was clear on Chen Xiao’s face. Not only had he been humiliated when Lin Yun took him out with one punch; the injuries he sustained had caused him to miss the mid-year test. A moment later, all of Zhou Yun’s henchmen to echo along. Even the crowd began to turn against him.
“This is the elimination round, so please try your best. Anyone who loses will be eliminated!” The judge looked at the two of them before he announced the beginning of the match and left the stage.
This battle was one of the main attractions and people looked on with baited breath. Under countless eyes, Zhou Yun gently smiled, “You arrived just in time, how nice.”
As Zhou Yun said the last two words he gnashed his teeth and his face became terrifyingly grim.
“Kneel!” barked Zhou Yun suddenly. A loud thunder clap rang out as his aura swept out like a violent storm. The full force of an aura at the pinnacle of the seventh stage of the Martial Path came crashing down on Lin Yun, enveloping him entirely. Violent gusts of wind began churning on stage.
“What a powerful aura!”
“Has Zhou Yun has been hiding his true strength this whole time?! When did he get so close to the eighth stage.
“It seems he intends to humiliate the sword slave.”
Lin Yun grimaced. He could feel himself being restrained under the weight of Zhou Yun’s aura. Only now did he realize how terrifying Zhou Yun truly was. There was a difference of almost two stages between them, a gulf that seemingly couldn’t be crossed.
When Lin Yun tried to circulate his internal energy, he noticed that it was restrained as well. A trace of fear came into is eyes. If he couldn’t circulate his internal energy, he wouldn’t be able to execute the Dragon-Tiger Might.
“Putting on a brave face? Let’s see how long you can keep up this facade!” Zhou Yun barked when he saw Lin Yun had not fallen to his knees.
As he approached, the pressure that Lin Yun felt rose in kind. His body began to scream under the weight.
In the end, Lin Yun could only bear it and take a strained step back whenever Zhou Yun took a step forward. Even before they fought, the differences between their cultivation had already been made apparent.
“As expected… Even if that sword slave had a magical encounter, he would still be a sword slave. There’s no escaping your position when you belong there.”
“In the end, the sword slave’s foundation is still weak. He’s not even close to the same level as the seniors among the outer disciples.”
“Haha, look at him struggle to get off stage!”
“This is karmic retribution!”
Am I really going to lose in this manner? But… I have still not given her the Heavenly Origin Pellet… I have still not obtained the qualification to stand before her… I… still have many dreams waiting for me to be fulfilled… No… I can’t lose!
Under the enormous pressure, Lin Yun’s unwillingness to be defeated rippled in his heart and his blood began to boil. He recalled the time he was faced the herd of Golden Brute Bulls and he began to smile slightly. He had not given up even when he was facing death. Why would he give up now?
He started circulating the Pure Yang Art!
An explosion of spiritual energy eased the pressure of Zhou Yun’s aura.
His internal energy began to flow throughout his body, surging endlessly.
“You still want to struggle? Did you ask for my permission?!” Zhou Yun wore a mocking smile on his lips when he sensed the changes to the internal energy within Lin Yun’s body.
He took two quick steps forward and threw a punch out. His movements were as swift as a venomous snake, but they would be of no help.
The stage became overwhelmed by the sensation of both a raging dragon and a ferocious tiger. The wind roared as dark clouds rolled in overhead. It was a scene where the dragon soared out of the ocean, and the tiger roaring through the skies.
Clouds follow the Dragon, Winds follow the Tiger!
As they gathered, the Dragon-Tiger Might was unleashed! Lin Yun took a step forward as winds and clouds spiralled violently overhead, shattering the aura that had acted as his shackles.
His fist blazed with crimson radiance as he threw out a punch of his own. He released all the pent up rage he held towards Zhou Yun with a wild, primal scream.
The two fists met in a violent explosion and, to everyone’s surprise, Zhou Yuns body crumpled under the force. The senior outer disciple was sent careening across the stage!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Thyaeria: That's one grand entrance there.
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Seel: This chapter made me do something I never once thought I'd find myself doing: spending hours researching horse noises. Fun fact, horses roar and it's an absolutely horrific noise. Check it out: https://youtu.be/9mJQKZ8xDt0