Andrela's body hit the half-open door hard, and with a 'crack' he broke the wooden door and skidded far across the floor. He finally stopped after almost hitting the martial arts practitioners watching the fight.
Garen stood silently in place; his scarlet eyes seemed to emit a fluorescent glow. He silently looked at Andrela who was lying on the ground in a distance.
He had already tried to restrain himself as best he could. Unfortunately, he was completely out of form and his strength was too violent. Even if he only struck a shoulder, the force would be enough to cause turbulent shocks.
This was the essence of the Secret Mammoth Technique: explosiveness.
He looked around him. The whole room was quiet. Any martial arts practitioner who met his gaze would subconsciously look away.
His gaze swept from the martial arts practitioners on the fence, to Circling Dance Gate, then to Red Obsidian Gate, and finally fell on the group from Celestial Circle Gate.
Those from Celestial Circle Gate fell into a dead silence. They had a blank look on their face, as if they hadn't managed to process their Eldest Senior Brother's defeat. Only Xin Luo and the other two disciples rushed to support Andrela up from the ground.
The Elder who led the group stared fixedly at Garen without avoiding his gaze. There was no hatred or anger in his eyes, just slight disappointment.
"Do you know the real purpose of our trip, Garen of White Cloud Gate?" he suddenly said aloud. His voice seemed to stand out distinctly in the sea of silence.
"Our trip here was to…"
"Master!" Andrela's voice cut him short.
He stood up with the support of his Brothers, and maintained his balance by using his sword as a crutch. Even though he looked pale, apart from the wound on his shoulder, he didn't seem to be too severely injured.
But everyone knew that he was merely putting up a strong front. After being struck by Garen who had transformed into such a terrifying size, no one would have been able to withstand it.
"A victory is a victory, and a defeat is a defeat. There is nothing more to say." Andrela clutched his shoulder with his other hand, and was prodding around the circumference of the injury with his fingers in a compact and swift manner; it looked like a type of healing Secret Martial Art. It was apparent that after his continued prodding, the injury and pain on his shoulder seemed to gradually reduce. Even the way he spoke seemed more relaxed.
"I can't believe you actually showed mercy, Garen." He calmly looked at Garen in the courtyard. "About my brother's death, I won't pursue it further. I owe you a life. You've killed Tenstar Ni, so we're now even. Next…" He turned around slowly—unexpectedly with his back to Garen—to face the crowd behind him.
"We should carry out the real purpose of our trip."
Members of Seven Moon Gate blended in the dense crowd. The Second Elder, Rampas and the others were surprised to discover at this point that Andrela was facing in their direction!
"Young man, you've got some nerve."
A thin and short figure gradually emerged from the crowd of members from Seven Moon Gate. The strange thing was, before he walked out, no one actually noticed him standing in the crowd.
He was a skinny old man in dark green robes, a bamboo hat covering his face. His height merely reached the chest-level of everyone around him, but he exuded an air of violence and danger.
When he walked out, everyone around him instantly crowded backwards, as if they had encountered a poisonous snake. Some who had weaker willpower even looked terrified and were screaming in fright.
Just as the old man emerged, the Great Elder from Seven Moon Gate followed closely behind. His injuries seemed to have been alleviated; he looked healthier.
"Since you made a formal challenge based on the rules of the martial arts world, I'm following the rules too. Hmph! You've injured so many of our people, do you think you can leave Dinah City just like that?" Sarcasm was written all over his face.
"Regardless of whether it's the Secret Martial Art world, or the sway that Celestial Circle Gate holds in the military, this is Galantia Province, not your own neighborhood. You think you can be as rampant as when you were at the exchange gathering?"
Everyone was baffled; they had no clue where this old man came from. Even the people around Seven Moon Gate were confused, but based on the look of the Great Elder, obviously this old man was a secret force within Seven Moon Gate.
And from his Bravery, it was apparent that he was a Grandmaster of Combat from the previous generation.
But everyone understood the motive of the Great Elder of Seven Moon Gate now: he brought a group here to stir up trouble. And they purposely waited for the moment when Garen and Andrela were both injured to take advantage of the situation.
"Mr Mallone, I'll trouble you to handle these people from Celestial Circle Gate," the Great Elder calmly said to the old man in a hushed tone.
"You're too modest, General Bert," the old man replied the Great Elder in an oddly polite manner. "You helped me out a great deal the last time. This is just a small matter in comparison. As Grandmasters of Combat, I'm interested to see what experts have emerged from the next generation."
His gazed shifted to Andrela who was barely standing.
"Kid, seen as you've just dueled with someone and lack strength, I'll make the first move. I'm telling you in advance, this move is a simple move I created by casually observing the cosmos; I'll just be using ten percent of force. If you can't even withstand it, I'll have to take your title of 'Top Youth Expert in the South'."
Upon those words, without waiting for Andrela to respond, the old man Mallone took a deep breath, dug out a red pill from his pocket and put it in his mouth. He chewed a few times and swallowed it. At the same time, the violent Bravery on his entire body became stronger, and everyone could faintly hear the hissing of a poisonous snake.
He bent his knees slightly. His face was pale then red intermittently; his hands were swollen to a larger size and were a bloody red. There was a faint revolting stench in the air.
"Red Python Fist! Poisonous Bite!" His figure approached Andrela at a moderate pace. At every step forward, the stench from his fist became noticeably stronger. His face was reddening too; apparently it was the embodiment of an extreme flow of Qi and blood.
This was the thought that crossed everyone's minds at that moment.
Putting aside the fact that he took advantage of Andrela when he was heavily injured, he found an excuse to make the first move as a pre-emptive strike, and even increased the power of his fists. And yet he claimed that it was merely a simple move, and that he's using ten percent of force!
Also, youth, it's YOUTH! How could you claim to be a youth? Look in the mirror, you're way past 50!
"Fuck! This is his idea of a simple move? Only someone retarded would believe that!" a crude martial arts practitioner couldn't help but curse out loud.
"Could you be anymore shameless? Ten percent of force? Red in the neck and face and you claim it's ten percent of force? Who are you trying to fool? Fuck, I can't believe there's a freak like you at Seven Moon Gate!"
"I know that pill! It's Blood Surge Pill, a high-grade secret medicine that can increase the strength of the fists and speed within an hour!"
"Scum of the martial arts world!"
Everyone around couldn't stand it any longer, and started berating him.
Even members of Seven Moon Gate bowed their heads and gave way, their faces feverishly red.
Rampas and the Second Elder were traditional martial artists. When they saw how shameless the man that the Great Elder had invited out was, they were humiliated; it was a complete disgrace to Seven Moon Gate.
The old man Mallone was unfazed, and kept walking towards Andrela menacingly.
Of the Celestial Circle Gate members, three slowly stepped forward and shielded Andrela. They looked at the old man Mallone, expressionless.
"Move aside. You can't shield him." Andrela had figured out his opponent's true strength; he was equally a Grandmaster of Combat, and not a low level one at that. This person was one of the true hidden strengths of Seven Moon Gate, and also one of the targets of his trip. It's just that he didn't expect himself to be injured to this extent from his fight with Garen.
"It's alright! Eldest Senior Brother, you have a rest," Xin Luo whispered. "We'll handle him for you." He had always been the leader among the few of them, and this time he was the first to reply too.
In that moment, on the grounds:
"Does Seven Moon Gate only know such despicable tactics?" the Great Elder of Celestial Circle Gate sneered.
"At least it's better that Celestial Circle Gate drugging opponents." The old man Mallone chuckled a couple of times, then didn't speak anymore.
"Drug?" the Great Elder of Celestial Circle Gate was surprised. But before he could react, the old man Mallone accelerated instantly—leaping every few steps—and dashed towards Andrela.
Wham wham wham!
Three consecutive 'whams' and the three members of Celestial Circle Gate were struck aside. They rolled over sideways, their faces red. It was a sickly purplish-red; obviously they had been poisoned.
The old man started sniggering, and motioned his palm to strike Andrela's chest. The poisonous snake hissing which surrounded him became louder, and brought with it a gust of revolting stench.
A dart flew towards his neck.
A murderous gleam flashed in Mallone's eyes. He hit the dart mid-flight and sent it propelling back towards where it came from.
One of the three members of Celestial Circle Gate—the short youth—let out a dull cry. His left arm was pinned to the ground by the dart.
Andrela looked on calmly as Mallone's scarlet palm approached. He raised his sword. Although he was weak, he strenuously traced three specks of silver light with the tip of his sword then made them converge.
He heard his own shoulder fracture; that was the side effect of forcefully using a secret sword.
He thrust the sword forwards and directly stabbed Mallone's red palm.
With a 'creak', the sword was instantly bent.
"You can't even withstand a random move of mine, what 'Top Expert of the South' are you?! Looks like today is the day that I, Red Python Fist Mallone, make a name for myself! Hahahaha!" Mallone was finally unable to restrain himself and started laughing maniacally.
Suddenly his expression changed. He sensed something from his front left flying towards him at a high speed. The force of it brought about a sharp whizzing sound. Hastily, he shifted his palm to block in that direction.
A dull thud.
"What the..! What was that?!"
Mallone's body flew backwards diagonally, his scarlet palm blocking a small white pebble.
The pebble was rotating at a high speed in the middle of his palm. The violent friction gave off a burnt smell. The immense force caused his body to skid backwards for a dozen steps before stopping.
His feet had created two visible black skid marks on the ground.
Mallone was stunned. He clutched the pebble in his hand, incredulous, and quickly looked towards the direction where it came from.
In the courtyard, Garen's eyes were shut, and a wisp of green smoke was rising from his right hand. It was obvious that the pebble was thrown by him.
"You're a Grandmaster of Combat too, right?" Garen put down his hand, "Just happens that the last duel didn't cure my itch for a good fight. Come, fight me."
"Kid! Do you know who I am?!" Mallone threw away the pebble in his hand, and a sneer showed on his face. "I am the legendary unbeaten Red Python Fist Mallone!"
"I was merely out of form earlier. Forget it. For Celestial Circle Gate Master Lourdannon's sake, I'll spare you this time. Don't let me see you again! The next time we meet, don't blame me for being merciless!"
He scoffed twice, then leaped into the crowd and disappeared.
Garen's face twitched; he wanted to say something, but couldn't manage a word.
"Mallone…So that's him!" the Great Elder of Celestial Circle Gate was speechless. "His nickname had always been Dwarf Red Rat, since when did he become Red Python Fist? No wonder he looked familiar."