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Chapter 32: Assailing the Middle Stage (Four)

Vice Branch Master Qi shut his eyes. In an instant, his heart had simply rose to the heavens and then sunk to the depths of hell. 

To do?

Or not to do?

Time was like a millstone, grinding down upon his conscience and heart. As one that had just recently become Foundation Establishment, he didn't have many bargaining chips to refuse a genuine high official at the pinnacle of China's government. Especially with the supreme-grade spirit stone… In his pocket, it burned like a flame as one of the few things on his conscience.

A minute… two minutes… three minutes passed on by.

Four minutes… On the sixth minute, he suddenly opened his eyes and quickly stepped before the monitor. His face sunk like water as he pressed down on a button.

Chu Tianyi sat down. He held a porcelain teacup in his right hand and slowly sipped it: "Good tea." 

Inside his stone room, Xu Yangyi's entire state of mind was completely set above on his sea of essence! He could clearly feel… the sharpness of spiritual energy and the gradual expansion of his sea of essence as well as the subsequent strengthening of his body. Even if he couldn't feel it right now, it seemed like he could sense it. After his breakthrough, everything would be different! 

The critical juncture had already arrived. The spiritual energies of heaven and earth had given rise to a kind of phenomenon that had appeared known as "Qi pours into the body". He clearly understood that his "Qi pours into the body" would soon come to an end. As the power of his body became greater and greater, he suddenly sensed that he had touched upon a membrane. 

An incorporeal membrane established in the surroundings of his sea of essence like a turned-over bowl. It seemed as if it had been permanently erected here in the past to this day, but he had just only recently discovered it. He knew that this was his "bodily limiter". It was an obstructing wall that was hindering him from entering the next boundary!

He would cleave through it in an explosion!

Presently, he held absolute faith! The entire world seemed take shape and conform to him. He only needed to mobilize the endless origin of spiritual strength to burst through this unseen barrier! Then, would be the moment he stepped into the next minor boundary! Only then would he dare to say that in this battle royale of the thirteen rank ones was he in the clear!

His spiritual sense condensed into the image of his person, and without the slightest hesitation, he roared with all of his strength, carrying a matchless excitement to pierce the heavens with a single blow!

It was a move without name. It was only an instinctual strike, yet all of the essences of his vitality, spirit, and mind converged! At this moment, the three aspects were one!

"Boom!" A heavy sound echoed. A great ripple emerged in the sky, and the entire heavens and earth of his sea of essence seemed to tremble. The tiny man that Xu Yangyi had condensed with his spiritual sense had a sudden change in complexion.

At this stitch of time, he felt… that the spiritual force, the convergence of spiritual force from the outside world appeared to have suddenly weakened?

Ten layers of force had been expensed, yet as he struck the membrane, there were only six layers! He simply didn't possess the skill to discern whether or not it was an error of perception. Within his mind, there was only a single word.

Charge!

Charge past this heavenly trench!

He clenched his fist, tucked his stomach, and twisted his waist. From head to toe, every single drop of spirit sense had congealed in his fist. With the maximum execution of all of his strength, he brandished his fist once again! But at this split second, in the twinkling moment just as he waved his fist… the world seemed to slow.

He pursed his lips firmly, and as if he was in slow motion, looked at his spirit sense that had enclosed his spiritual energy. On his fist that rumbled forth, a white ray of light slowly drifted forth, coming from whence it came, and returning to where it had come, carrying a smoky tail. With a whistling, it rushed back into the mirror that was his sea of essence.

Subsequently, a second light, a third light… the flocking rays of light that had arrived before were now like a tide, frantically evacuating from his entire body like a torrent of mercury! Above his sea of essence, the spiritual energy that he had condensed into a small person with his spiritual sense left him with every fiber of its being as if it had evaporated!

The pouring of spiritual energy into the body was the assistance of spiritual energy from the heavens and earth for new cultivators to break through the bodily limiter. This was because at the initial stage of Qi Condensation, one was utterly incapable of relying on themselves to shatter the bodily limiter.

In a similar vein, he could not, as well.

In the outside world, Xu Yangyi's closed eyelids twitched, yet didn't open. He was unreconciled in his last-ditch attempt. Within his sea of essence, his spirit avatar was like a sharp arrow. There simply wasn't more to say. It was a race against the second hand of the clock, and his fists rained down upon the membrane with a rumbling crash.

He pursed his lips rigidly, and he felt the abundant strength within his body swiftly dissipate. A tremendous feeling of hollowness appeared with in his sea of essence, and in order to force down this unsightly response, he bit down on his tongue without the least bit hesitation.

A trace of blood spilled over. Within his sea of essence, his spirit avatar generated a heaven-shaking snarl. Drumming up a final breath, he used the limit of his entire strength to attack the barrier! There was no shouting, only a stifled breath carrying a peerless hope and determination!

"Boom…" A heavy noise thundered. This time, very minor ripples slowly wafted in the "sky". 

A trace of supremely enduring pain fleetingly streaked across the face of his spirit avatar. Someone had severed the connection between the heavens and earth and the Unrivaled Beneath the Heavens Arena...

Someone did not want him to advance.

At this instance, his sea of essence was without wind, yet it was pervaded by a torrential surge of tangible killing intent! Right before the door… He was right before it… only a step away! He would've entered the middle stage of Qi Condensation!

However, while his spirit was strong, his flesh was unwilling.*

It was quiet, a calm of deathly stillness. As if the whistling of spiritual energy billowing from the misty sea of essence beneath his feet could be heard. He shut his eyes, and his chest heaved up and down somewhat violently. Clenching his fist to the side of his mouth, his gaze was icy like Ten-thousand-year Profound Ice. Suddenly, he used a hundred and twenty percent of his strength to fiercely pound his sea of essence!

There were no rolling tides nor were there jade currents given birth to. There was only the empty unacceptance of spiritual energy that suddenly frenzied like an infinitely long serpent.

He stood up in his billowing sea of essence like a god of murder striding out from the tide.

In the outside world, there were no words, and he calmly opened his eyes. However, if an acquaintance of his at this moment, no, even if it was an acquaintance or not, they wouldn't dare to approach now. 

His killing intent spilled out.

A kind of serene depression came forth, but as it rushed forth for the first time, it was broken off as it was born. It was obvious his body telling him it was fine, yet the sense of being forcibly severed from the connection of the Heavens and Earth made his eyes droop half-lidded, causing it to be unknown what he was thinking.

He calmly disengaged from his Innersight. 

Half an hour passed, one hour went by, and he said nothing. Neither did he shout or did he moreover smash objects in rage. Rather, he took out a cigarette, and after he lit it, inhaled. He dragged it puff by puff quite slowly as if he was enjoying it, yet he didn't blow the smoke out.

"Still too much, huh…" At the same time, Vice Branch Master Qi retracted his hand and softly sighed in relief: "The first assault on a minor boundary is the establishment of confidence. Its construction in the heart to cultivators is especially important. Without a staunch heart, the one is simply incapable of enduring the endless period of cultivation…"

"Ruined is ruined." Chu Tianyi caressed the lid of his teacup and said insipidly: "China doesn't need that many, it is nothing more than a single man. However…" He swept his eyes over at Vice Branch Master Qi with a smile that wasn't a smile, carrying a somewhat mocking tinge: "Vice Branch Master Qi refused while taking action without further ado. It really does make me sigh in amazement…" 

Vice Branch Master Qi reclined back in his chair, looking at the sealing. It wasn't until after a long time did he laugh: "To accept another's wealth is to aid them in vanquishing their misfortunes."**

In the Unrivaled Beneath the Heavens Arena, the endless disarray of spiritual energy had already come to a complete halt. It was like everything had just not occurred. Everyone outside the room looked at each other in dismay. They were entirely unsure how to explain the present situation.

They could feel spiritual energy, as well; it was no different than breathing to cultivators. All of a sudden in the sky, it had become no more. Anyone could sense this.

The spiritual energy was thin, or perhaps it wasn't as robust as before when it was frequently seen. However, on the contrary, it had suddenly went scarce at such a critical moment… no, it had ceased to be. In their hearts, everyone clearly understood.

"Tsk…" A student shook his head: "Isn't this person strange? Who graduated from the same branch as him? Who did he offend to bring this about?" 

No one responded. 

"He's gone mad, right? He's not even opening the door." A short youth sneered, looking at the door. "Why? He scared? Embarrassed? We're not going to poke fun at him, hehe… Isn't this a failure to advance?"

Humans were odd like this. If the same matter happened to themselves, they would howl at the heavens and pound the earth in sorrow. If it happened to someone else, especially if it was a person that they deemed to be more outstanding than themselves in the past, they would hold mocking attitudes, far from placing themselves in the other's shoes. In particular if the victim was not in front of them. Such was called following the herd.

Even if they were unaware of the Qualifier, they knew there would definitely be some other method of ranking. When had modern society ever went without rankings? Even in the award of achievements there were rankings. Let alone to say nothing of the cultivation world? They just truly didn't expect that by way of true blades and real guns would they have to use their fist to dispute who was the champion. 

The time before the ranking could be done made everyone scared of the consequences of a failure to advance because it would bring with it a loss of a tenth of spiritual energy. In the hearts of a great majority of people, this pleasure had come too late. How could they still have the time to care to understand Xu Yangyi's thoughts? Who did he think he was?

The stone door didn't open again. It seemed Xu Yangyi was planning on locking himself on the inside.

"What a bother… Forget about it, I'm out. There's nothing good to see." A youth yawned and lazily left to go back to his room.

"I still want to see if he'll come out fuming in rage and kill his way to branch to get to the bottom of this. Afterwards, he'll be killed in a slap. How could he be so cowardly?" The short youth spat and shrugged his shoulders: "I'm done. Maybe it's Heavens Law's preinstalled mechanism? The Unrivaled Beneath the Heavens Arena doesn't permit breaking through ranks? Hehe!"

The crowd scattered one after another. Ten minutes later, only Chu Zhaonan was left. He crossed his arms across his chest, looking at the stone door coldly. Perhaps others believed Xu Yangyi would continue to be dispirited, but he didn't believe so by any means. 

On the airplane, he had wanted Xu Yangyi to scram, but the other only laughed, setting his bag down and sent a kick coming without a second word. This was a man with extreme self-confidence against him. A person the same as him...

If he had run across such a matter, what would he have done?

He would kill… but he absolutely would not be dejected!

These were the first three words that popped up in his mind. His gaze flickered, as if he had suddenly understood the other's intentions.

The other… It wasn't he dared not come out, but rather he was afraid he would release the feral beast within his heart. The arena… Perhaps it would be dyed red in blood!

"Is he placating the beast within his heart…?" He wasn't frightened. On the contrary, he licked his lips in excitement, his gaze like fire: "Yes… We are the same. It is obvious someone is targeting you. Are you waiting… until the time of the Qualifier?" 

"That will be the time to fully unleash a true slaughter…" He grinded his teeth ferociously as if he had touched upon Xu Yangyi's line of thought! 

The other didn't know who was targeting him. Since he was unaware, then he might as well kill each and every person! It couldn't be a covert struggle… So, the other would wait… like a stalking lion, waiting after the next ten-odd hours. Then, he could legitimately and openly engage in an opportunity of wanton slaughter!

Targeted from the darkness?

It was of no consequence.

No matter who it was, the person who was targeting him would definitely be on this arena! As long as both his fists endured to strike, he would beat his opponents to a bloody pulp, break them so that they would never dare to take such action for eternity! Pummel them that they would flee upon seeing him later! Shatter them into pieces that even if they one day attained Core Formation, they would remember the Qi Condensation Xu Yangyi.

That was an idea he clearly understood. 

"Self-confidence must be unyielding like the strength of the Great Wall…" Chu Zhaonan clenched his fist mercilessly, making cracking noises: "So, I will be waiting for you to display your might!"

* 有心杀贼,无力回天 - I translated this as his spirit was strong, but his flesh was unwilling. Literal meaning: He had the heart to kill the thief, but was powerless to overturn the situation. I think it works.

** 拿人钱财,与人消灾罢了. This is the second time I have ever read this line in my translating stint. I think I did a better job translating it this time though. Meaning is to take another person's money to do something, most often a shady affair.

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