Zhang Ruochen stared at Lin Ningshan and said wryly, "Making the top four is important for me too. How about this? I'll fight without a sword!"
A sense of excitement welled up in Lin Ningshan's mind. "Well, thank you for being so humble, my cousin."
As far as she was concerned, Zhang Ruochen had to be so loath to defeat her that he had proposed to fight empty-handed.
She had no idea that Zhang Ruochen clearly knew that defeating her did not require a sword.
The sword in Lin Ningshan's hand was the Splendor Sword, a Second Class Genuine Martial Arm.
Once she took the combat sword out of the sheath, it immediately emitted radiance. The sword shone like a star and had bright spots flowing on its surface.
Lin Ningshan's eyes sharpened. She activated the Genuine Qi inside her body and channeled it steadily into the blade. Her Qi stimulated the Inscription of Power Series and Inscription of Light Series forces in the sword.
Lin Ningshan took three steps forward, covering three meters with each bound. She moved first and stabbed toward Zhang Ruochen's chest. A cyan sword flower bloomed out of thin air.
Momentarily, the cold tip of the sword pointed at Zhang Ruochen.
Lin Ningshan had defeated the Ninth Commandery Princess with the same sword technique. This sword technique was not easy to handle.
Zhang Ruochen's thrust his foot against the ground, dodging to the right immediately.
Lin Ningshan changed her technique as well. With a twitch of her arm, she rotated the Splendor Sword in the air and made a backhand stab toward Zhang Ruochen's neck.
The Splendor Sword had almost become a part of her, like an extension of her hand. Her technique was sophisticated and her control of the sword was complete.
"Floating Clouds and Flowing Water!"
Lin Ningshan brought out a sword technique of the Mid Class of the Human Stage, stabbing toward Zhang Ruochen repeatedly.
Her technique was elegant and gave off an intense light.
"Wind Sweeping Away the Clouds!"
"Rain Stops and Clouds Show!"
Lin Ningshan used 13 sword techniques in a row. Every stab was well-executed, but they all failed to touch even the tail of his robe.
Her Sword Comprehension, after all, had reached the Realm of "Sword Following the Heart". How could it take that long to defeat a warrior who had a weaker cultivation?
Lin Ningshan used one last sword technique. Its power was so staggering that Zhang Ruochen was forced to retreat step by step. He almost reached the edge of the drill ground.
The attack nearly pushed Zhang Ruochen out of the drill ground.
"It's almost time!"
Zhang Ruochen's eyes emitted two rays of light. Suddenly, he stopped. He stared into the overwhelming sword light and squeezed his index finger and middle finger into a finger sword.
All of a sudden, he unleashed his finger sword!
The finger sword had broken through the Sword Breath in the void and pointed at Lin Ningshan's chest.
He transferred his Genuine Qi through his fingers and struck Lin Ningshan. She fell to the ground three meters away.
Zhang Ruochen stared coldly at Lin Ningshan on the ground and said, "You lose!"
Lin Ningshan covered her chest with her hand. She gritted her beautiful teeth and stared at Zhang Ruochen with humiliation in her eyes. She grabbed her Splendor Sword and said, "No, I don't! Zhang Ruochen, let's keep fighting!"
Zhang Ruochen shook his head slightly and turned toward the exit of the drill ground. He did not want to keep arguing with a defeated opponent.
"Sacred Guiding Sword!"
Lin Ningshan had a grim look in her eye. She channeled all the Genuine Qi and resentment in her body to the Splendor Sword and cast the Low Class of Spiritual Sacred Sword Skill.
All of a sudden, the Splendor Sword sprouted a meter-high light sword, emitting a huge stream of Sword Breath.
She waved her arm and seven meters of Sword Breath stabbed toward Zhang Ruochen.
When Lin Ningshan displayed this sword technique, the warriors gathered outside the drill ground were shocked.
They could not believe that Lin Ningshan would attack the Ninth Prince from behind as he was leaving the drill ground. Furthermore, she used a sword technique of the Spiritual Stage, a much stronger power.
Had the sword cut the Ninth Prince, he would have been a dead man.
"Ningshan, stop!" Lin Fengxian's countenance changed as he roared toward his daughter.
If the Ninth Prince died under Lin Ningshan's sword, their family would be doomed!
No one, however, expected that she would attack him after being defeated.
Yet, it was too late to stop her.
Everyone thought that Zhang Ruochen was going to die under Lin Ningshan's sword, but he shot into the sky to evade the Sword Breath from Lin Ningshan's sword.
"Dragon in the Sky!"
Zhang Ruochen had risen seven meters high in the air. He twisted his body, let out a dragon's roar, and his palm struck Lin Ningshan's shoulder.
Lin Ningshan's body shivered. She spat out a mouthful of blood. Her legs trembled and she fell to the ground.
Zhang Ruochen looked at Lin Ningshan laying in blood and callously shook his head. He was more than disappointed with his cousin.
Lin Fengxian rushed over to the drill ground at once. He glanced at Zhang Ruochen and the Yunwu Commandery Prince. Then he begrudgingly said, "Thank you for your mercy, Ninth Prince."
Immediately afterward, Lin Fengxian helped Lin Ningshan get up.
He put his hands on Lin Ningshan's back. Lin Ningshan channeled a large volume of Genuine Qi into Lin Ningshan's body through his palms to help her condition of an injury.
Indeed, Zhang Ruochen had shown mercy just now.
If he had struck the top of her head instead of her shoulder, Lin Ningshan would have surely died.
Lin Ningshan woke up. She opened her eyes and glanced at Zhang Ruochen with heavy resentment. "Zhang Ruochen, one day I will return double the humiliation you gave me today." She vowed to him.
But Zhang Ruochen had already walked out of the drill ground.
After Lin Fengxian helped Lin Ningshan get down off the stage, the competition continued.
The following three competitions were: Situ Linjiang versus Lin Tianwu,
the Fifth Prince versus the Sixth Prince,
and last but not least, Xue Kai versus Luo Cheng.
Lin Tianwu was another young master of Lin family. Although he was only 19 years old, he had reached the martial cultivation of the Medium State of the Yellow Realm.
However, Situ Linjiang had already reached the cultivation of the Final State of the Yellow Realm. With only one blow, he struck Lin Tianwu out of the drill ground.
The competition between the Fifth Prince and the Sixth Prince had ended with the Sixth Prince's surrender.
The competition between Xue Kai and Luo Cheng was exciting.
Although Luo Cheng had only reached the cultivation of the Medium State of the Yellow Realm, his martial technique was powerful enough to compete with Xue Kai.
Eventually, the disparity in cultivation allowed Xue Ka to defeat Luo Cheng.
So far, the top 4 of the Year-end Assessment this year had all emerged. They were Zhang Ruochen, the Fifth Prince, Xue Kai, and Situ Linjiang.
Lin Ningshan, Luo Cheng, Lin Tianwu, and the Sixth Prince would have to compete for fifth place.
The following competitions would be quite brutal. The Fifth Prince, Xue Kai, and Situ Linjiang were all in the Final State of the Yellow Realm. Zhang Ruochen was only in the Dawn State of the Yellow Realm.
"Ninth brother, I can't believe you're in the top four. I definitely underestimated you before. Well, you won't be able to go any further. The gap between the Dawn State and the Final State is too big for you," the Fifth Prince said as he laughed.
Zhang Ruochen took no notice of him. Instead, he closed his eyes and rapidly recharged his Genuine Qi.
"The next competition: Zhang Ruochen, the Ninth Prince, versus Xue Kai from the Minister's Mansion."
Zhang Ruochen and Xue Kai simultaneously walked onto the drill ground.
Xue Kai looked Zhang Ruochen over. He laughed and said, "Ninth Prince, if I'm not mistaken, your specialty is swords."
"You could say that," Zhang Ruochen responded.
"Great! Let's fight with swords!" Xue Kai stretched out his arm. Outside the drill ground, a young warrior from the Minister's Mansion handed him a long sword.
Xue Kai had carefully scrutinized Zhang Ruochen's two previous competitions. He suspected that Zhang Ruochen ability with swords was a facade. Rather, his true specialty was palm techniques.
After all, the palm techniques he showed in the last two fights had been astonishing. He did not seem to be a sword master at all.
Palm techniques focused on strong power.
Sword techniques, however, were about dexterity.
Warriors would rarely combine these two abilities.
Xue Kai, therefore, proposed to compete with Zhang Ruochen using swords.
He believed that Zhang Ruochen's sword techniques would prove inferior to his own.
"Ninth brother, take this!" The Ninth Commandery Princess tossed her Blue Water Sword to Zhang Ruochen.
Zhang Ruochen took the Blue Water Sword. He held the handle of the sword and felt a draft of icy air emanating from it.
"A Third Class Genuine Martial Arms combat sword. There are three Inscriptions of Ice Series and three Inscriptions of Power Series engraved in this sword." Zhang Ruochen estimated the grade of this sword just by holding it.