Chapter 523: King of the Underground

"Here it comes!"

The redhead growled out before pushing the ground beneath his feet. He looked like a red blur as he charged toward me with incredible speed. Judging from the fiery energy surrounding his sword, he was preparing to use Blaze!

I ran toward him as well. I wasn’t going to underestimate the guy, and my prudence was quickly proven to be wise. Just before we made contact, redhead’s eyes flashed with cunning before he abruptly cut to my side at a 45-degree angle. He kept zigzagging around me in an attempt to catch me off-guard.

"Trying to kill yourself?!"

I stabbed the Heaven-stealing Sword into the ground and executed War Crush, but the redhead was able to react in time and dodge the skill completely. Rushing in again with unpredictable movements, he slipped behind me and slashed out with lightning speed!

Chiang!

Steel met steel, and I managed to parry his first strike completely. Annoyed by the failed hit, he swerved past me again and spun around for another strike!

I had figured out his plan at this point. It was a classic close-range battle technique, the butterfly maneuver! The basic idea was to run to and fro around an enemy and attack them from a difficult angle, exploiting the fact that most people didn’t have the skill to spin their vision angle in time to parry the attacks. From above, it would look like the player was running along an 8-shaped or butterfly-shaped pattern. It wasn’t really that high-level a maneuver, but it could only be executed properly by a first-rate expert or above. No wonder he was able to kill Xu Yang.

"Die!"

Suddenly, he growled and thrust a sword with a flaming cone in front of it toward my back. It was none other than the Level 120 fifth-promotion skill, Barrier Break!

"What?!"

I exclaimed in surprise, but my mind was as calm as a lake. Deducing his attack angle instantly, I took a sliding step forward, bent backward and swung my sword in a half arc in front of me.

Ding!

A sharp ring resounded across the air, and the redhead pulled back before staring at me in shock. He was sure that the skill would land, but I managed to parry it and reduced my HP loss to only around 2000 or so. My max HP was over 21k, so this bit of damage was nothing at all.

"Who… who are you? You can’t possibly be this good…" the redhead growled at me.

My eyes turned cooler as I raised the Heaven-stealing Sword again. "You can speak after I put you to the ground, you little shit!"

I abruptly took off and pounced toward my opponent. Gritting his teeth and meeting my charge, the redhead tried to use the butterfly maneuver again right before we made contact!

I shouted and increased my speed suddenly. The Soul Suppressing Cloak flapping behind my back, I executed the helix maneuver and cut into his orbit perfectly. The moment the formation of the universe appeared beneath my feet, I immediately launched a devastating Universe Break toward his chest armor.

"Fuck! This can’t be happening!"

Redhead was shocked. He clearly wasn’t expecting me to break his prized maneuver so easily. However, his reaction speed was amazing, and he tried to emulate my movement by bending on his back and parrying my Universe Break!

"Think you can parry this? Dream on!"

I sneered out loud and pushed my sword downward so that it would follow his movements and pierce his armor. Unfortunately, he was ultimately able to execute a partial parry!

14898!

As I thought, the skill failed to one-shot the redhead. From the looks of his health bar, he probably had around 18k HP. My opponent’s face turned white when he saw how much damage he took, and after chugging down a health potion he shouted in obvious astonishment, "Who are you? In Suzhou, he should be the only one at this level!"

I ignored him and rushed him again. Before he could steady himself, I leaped into the air, hit him beneath the chin with the sharp, craggy surface of my Battle Soul Poleyn, and sent him flying. It was a knee strike, but it still dealt over 3000 damage to him. His HP instantly dropped to the red again.

My eyes gleamed with murderous intent. Still in the air, I plunged my sword right through his chest from above and used Thousand Ice Slash!

Boom!

Thousands of energy blades penetrated the redhead. His body had almost been torn apart by the time the corpse landed heavily on the ground.

……

The second the match was over, I logged out and put my gaming helmet at the viewing platform next to me. Then, I walked straight toward the boss of the entertainment center.

"You…"

The boss was so shocked that he didn’t even realize that the cigarette he was smoking had dropped to the ground. He clearly had no idea who I was or what I was planning to do right now.

I stopped right in front of him, grabbed a nearby chair and snapped off one of its metal leg right off the hinge. It felt heavy in my hands just the way I liked it.

I then shot the boss an indifferent glance before saying, "You’d better not interfere with what I’m about to do next!"

When I turned around, I saw redhead just logging out of the game. Astonishment and hate alternating rapidly across his features, he swore, "You must have cheated, you fucker!"

"Your mom’s the cheater!"

I kicked him right in the stomach before following up with a punch to the face. The redhead’s lips immediately started bleeding profusely as he slumped next to a bunch of equipment. A short distance away, the spectators were widening their eyes in excitement because they were just treated to an intense virtual match earlier, and now, real life PvP!

Before the redhead could do anything else, I swung the metal leg in my hand twice!

"AAAAHHHH…"

A long, bloodcurdling scream escaped the redhead’s throat after I broke both his right arm and his right leg. Tears were literally forming in his eyes, and he was curled up on the floor like a prawn.

……

Twang…

I stared at redhead coldly as I tossed the bloody piece of metal on the ground. Pointing a finger at Xu Yang, I said disdainfully, "Pathetic. He broke his arm too, but he didn’t scream like a bitch, did he? You think you can do anything you want just because you have some skill? Let me tell you right now that there are at least 5 people in Suzhou who can play you like a fiddle, motherfucker. Hmph! Anyone who hurts my brother gets twice the payback!"

Finally, I walked up to Xu Yang, carried him to his feet and spoke to everyone. "Come on, we need to send this dumbo to the hospital. He’s really going to lose his arm if we delay this any longer."

Xu Yang’s mouth curled into an ugly grin as he said, "Fuck man, you’re so good…"

I shot him a death glare. "I can’t believe you, you idiot. You have all the time in the world to get signed by a big sponsor, and you come down here to fight in illegal matches? Who do you think you are?"

Xu Yang laughed. "Come on, I wouldn’t have lost to him if he didn’t fight dirty…"

Gui Guzi and Du Thirteen echoed his laughter. "Well fought, Lu Chen. The way you snapped the chair’s leg right off the hinges was slick too…"

I smiled. As we walked past the boss, I pointed at redhead and said, "The bet is 5 million. 1 million goes to pay off my friend’s debt, and you can keep the rest to yourself. Oh, and don’t forget to send that brat to the hospital!"

The boss just stared at me in blank astonishment. He clearly wasn’t expecting me to give up 4 million like it was nothing.

It wasn’t that I didn't want that money, but the fight had taken place in an illegal establishment, and the bet only existed in verbal form, not to mention the boss himself was the "guarantor”. I wasn’t stupid enough to think I could get any money out of this; the fact that we managed to get Xu Yang back was a blessing already.

……

Some time later at a hospital ward.

He Yi, Murong Mingyue, Beiming Xue, and many others came to visit Xu Yang, but the scene was a lot less dramatic than what a stranger might imagine. Xu Yang was an honest and righteous man, so he often got into fights. This was hardly the first time he broke his arm, so we all had gotten used to this frankly. Plus, he had a great body that recovered in no time. Still, we were thankful to learn that his broken arm wouldn’t affect his ability to play in any way.

"Come with me, Lu Chen." He Yi called out to me just before she exited the door.

I followed her all the way to the balcony at the end of the corridor. When she turned around to face me, she asked, "Who was that guy? Xu Yang isn’t a particularly good player, but his level, equipment and skills are much better than most people’s. Unless I’m sorely mistaken, there shouldn’t be many people who can defeat him."

"No, you’re right. That bastard had dyed red hair, and he looks to be around 24 years old. From what I can tell, his technique and equipment are first-rate, and he’s at least at the same level as High Fighting Spirits."

"Seriously?" He Yi’s mouth fell open a little. "Since when did Suzhou have a player this good?"

"Yeah, I don’t think he’s from Sky City. Even more surprising is the fact that he knows Barrier Break. As you already know, it takes at least 4 Outstanding Spirit-grade items to reach its exorbitant Strength requirement, and this guy’s equipment couldn’t have reached this level. This means that he’s probably supported by a larger group."

He Yi nodded and fell into thought for a moment. "This seems fishy. I suspect that trouble is going to find us in the near future."

I gave He Yi a reassuring smile before putting my arm around her shoulders. "Relax, you have me, Gui Guzi, Li Chengfeng, and everyone. We can deal with anything that comes our way."

He Yi smiled back. "Fine. Oh right, do you know why Xu Yang took part in an illegal match? He must have known the risks, and I don’t think he’s that desperate for money."

"I don’t know, but…" I hummed for a moment before answering, "I think it’s because all our core players have a team, and he still doesn’t. Frost Cloud workshop was invited to join Lenovo, and Li Chengfeng and four of our core players were invited to join ASUS. He probably felt disappointed and down because he’s the only one in our group who still doesn’t have a team."

He Yi nodded. "Got it. I know what to do."

……

A short while later Rose came to visit Xu Yang, and she learned that Xu Yang was a central figure in Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls. Immediately looking at the honest man in a new light, she promised to keep in touch with him Du Thirteen and a couple more of our players. They were all great players, and she was sure that she could find them a team eventually.

At night, at least a hundred of us showed up to escort Xu Yang just in case someone decided to take revenge on him. He reached the base safe and sound as a matter of course.

After wasting away the entire day on various things, the girls and I finally returned home at around 10 pm or so. We went to bed early so we could face tomorrow’s challenge with fresh energy.

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