Apart from external injuries, Garen felt some internal bruising as well as a tearing pain. It was clear that he had strained some muscles and injured himself. Most importantly, the blood and Qi orb in his chest had been considerably reduced and had depleted significantly after healing and temporarily enhancing his defense.
Garen vaguely felt that the blood and Qi orb was overused, it might completely disperse with no way to restore it. This hypothetical situation would cause a drop in his level of attainment and his body strength could be greatly diminished.
Ever since he attained the Qi and blood orb, his all aspects of his ability had markedly increased. He did not have Attributes to enhance his physical qualities, but his explosive force, defense, reaction speed, comprehension, and so on had undergone significant changes. Even though there were no direct changes to his Attributes, his actual strength had increased by at least one level.
"Looks like I have to use this thing carefully…" Garen's body gradually shrunk as he reverted to his original state. He took the torn black overcoat from Tenstar Ni's body and put it on. Even though it was ripped, it was better than nothing.
Garen took a last look at the body on the ground and let out a sigh of relief. He relaxed his body completely and started to recuperate.
Tenstar Ni was undoubtedly an expert on par with Garen. The true strength of normal experts would not even hurt Garen, let alone threaten him, but Tenstar Ni managed to do it. If not for the effect of the Qi and blood orb, Garen would have been severely injured even if he managed to kill Tenstar Ni.
Tenstar Ni's Secret Martial Art was very strong: it was able to not only increase one's speed, but explosive force and strength were enhanced to a terrifying level as well. When this explosive technique was used, Tenstar Ni could even effortlessly break through Garen's defensive Explosive Fist Arts Body Hardening Technique
If not for the fact that this explosive technique could not be used continuously—it seemed that every time Tenstar Ni did, there would be some backlash damage to his body—it would have been hard to predict the winner of this battle.
"I've really fallen out with Celestial Circle Gate this time. There is still the Eldest Senior Brother of Celestial Circle Gate and number one expert of the South, Andrela. Even his junior brother Tenstar Ni was already so powerful. Andrela… I'm afraid I'm no match for him yet."
Garen estimated their true strengths and started to be more fearful of the Celestial Circle Gate.
"Celestial Circle Gate sent snipers, then sent a series of experts in defensive striking. In the end, Tenstar Ni even directly intercepted me and continuously impeded me. His intent was likely to get me agitated so that I would start the fight and give Celestial Circle Gate a reason for a direct intervention. Otherwise, they would have broken the rules if they intervened when they had already expressed a neutral stance. But if White Cloud Gate started it, then they could cover their face with another layer of fig leaf."
"How hypocritical…" Garen sneered. "Looks like you never would have expected Tenstar Ni to die by my hands. If it was not for his own stupidity and vocal provocation, I would probably not have been able to kill him in the end."
Celestial Circle Gate was different from other common sects. Even on the surface, they had many experts. Coupled with the number one expert of the South, Andrela, and countless other hidden strong powers, they were a huge force to be reckoned with. Even if Garen had a strong self-confidence from his special ability, he felt heavily pressured by having them as his opponent.
He was not sure how many more experts Celestial Circle Gate had that were the same level as Tenstar Ni, but if they sent two more, he would not be able to survive.
He was the strongest person of the Southern Twel
ve Gates, far and away stronger than other students and disciples. Some sect masters were also likely weaker than him. Even with such true strength, it was already so difficult for him to face a somewhat famous disciple from Celestial Circle Gate. There was obviously a gap in their level of martial arts: he had trained in the Secret Mammoth Technique to an unprecedented level, yet barely scraped a win against Tenstar Ni.
Garen had subtly peaked: he had reached the upper limit of this Secret Martial Art.
Although the outcome of combat was not purely decided by the level of the Secret Martial Art—it still depended on willpower, strategy, response, and other factors—martial arts definitely played a large part in it.
Disciples like Tenstar Ni definitely had not attained the level of Qi and blood orb, but they still vaguely managed to temporarily achieve the true strength of that level with special methods. The Secret Martial Arts and Secret Methods of Celestial Circle Gate could produce this effect. Garen was dismayed and did not know how many more experts Celestial Circle Gate had that were at that level.
"Enough thinking about this matter. I'll just head back first. There is no time to consider all these things now!"
Garen quickened his pace and went back the same way he previously came from.
As he walked out of the shadow of the building, Garen was stunned.
In front of him, dozens of black submachine guns were pointed at him. Not only that, Garen felt a dozen people focusing their gaze on him from afar: the gaze of snipers.
Not far away, there were green armored personnel carriers which were shaped like quadrilaterals. Imprinted on the sides, there was an insignia of a black and white striped flag with a black bird spreading its wings on the white stripe.
This was the national flag of the Yalu Confederation!
Garen did not dare to move a muscle mainly because of the gaze of the dozen snipers.
The bullet from the sniper earlier had proven that these powerful rifles could break his defense and cause him a certain amount of harm. If there were a dozen more submachine guns at such a close range, Garen was not sure he would survive.
In the dense hail of bullets, the wounds from his broken defense would be ripped wider and even he could not escape that reality. It was impossible for a human being to outrun a bullet.
He quickly scanned the soldiers with submachine guns in front of him. They wore dark green uniforms and round steel helmets, which were also painted green. Each of them was heavily armed from head to toe, with a bullet belt strapped diagonally across their bodies and a grenade bag at their waist.
"What should I do!?" A variety of measures flashed across Garen's mind in an instant, but being surrounded by so many guns, it was impossible even for him to successfully escape.
"Eldest Senior Brother! Run, quickly! They want to kill you!" Among the few people being held hostage in the distance, Collin suddenly shouted.
She had hardly finished her sentence before Garen suddenly felt a piercing pain between his brows. A chilling sense of danger filled his body and there were goosebumps all over his skin.
Someone wanted to kill him!
The Qi and blood orb in his chest bubbled. Nearby, Garen saw a military officer in a dark green uniform with a cruel expression on his face holding up a huge, heavy duty, jet-black sniper rifle and steadily aiming it at him. His hand was already on the trigger ready to shoot!
Without the slightest hesitation, Garen kicked up a cloud of dust and sand without warning.
Rat tat tat tat..!
The sound of submachine guns firing filled the air.
Within seconds, countless guns started firing. The intense barrage muffled all other sounds.
Garen stood squarely in place and was stunned to see that the federal soldiers had fallen in front of him.
Teams of soldiers in brown uniforms surrounded all of the soldiers in green uniforms.
Compared to the soldiers in green, these soldiers in brown uniforms were obviously better trained. Their every move was calm and precise: there were no unnecessary actions. Each of them had strong Qi and blood and their actions were sophisticated. They were heavily armed and were clearly battle-hardened veterans.
Next, Garen looked at the sniper military officer in the distance who was lying face down on the personnel carrier. His head was now bent to the side and blood was slowly flowing out from the gunshot wound at his temple.
"Commanding officer of the Sixth Brigade of the South, Caesar Leon, is alleged to have committed treason, traded in important national intelligence, sold federal arms, privately used military force for personal gains, and so on. He has now been found guilty and shall be sentenced concurrently for these multiple crimes. He was arrested in the name of the highest command in the South, but the commanding officer and his guards did not show repentance and have now been executed by firing squad. All Sixth Brigade soldiers, put down your weapons and await further instructions."
Calm and collected, the clear voice of a man came from the distance.
Garen looked toward the direction where the voice was coming from.
"Yo, Garen! Long time no see." The flaming red hair of Golden Hoop Number 6 fluttered as he smiled cheekily. He was wearing the neat brown uniform of a military officer and black leather gloves. On his right shoulder, a silver patch clearly indicated his rank.
Silver on black with four stripes and a dot: it was the rank of a colonel.
Garen let out a long sigh of relief.
The soldiers around him started to clean up the bodies and opened up a path.
Garen walked straight towards Golden Hoop Number 6 until the two stood one meter apart.
"I haven't even repaid you for the time you helped me out with my sister's matter. Now I owe you one more," Garen said while somewhat embarrassed.
"What a coincidence then. I have something I need to trouble you with. If you help me out, I'll count it as one favor repaid. How's that?" Golden Hoop Number 6 asked jokingly.
"What trouble? However, I will have to recuperate for a while first."
Golden Hoop Number 6 took a look at Garen's sorry state and injuries. "Of course I will wait until you have recovered. I'm in no hurry either."
"Then no problem!" Garen agreed.
"Come on, I'll arrange a car to send you all back. It's unwise to stay here for too long. Celestial Circle Gate has a huge influence here. I can only remove one of their assistants."
"Sir, we discovered the body of Tenstar Ni from Celestial Circle Gate out back," a military officer reported after walking to Golden Hoop Number 6.
"Oh?" Golden Hoop Number 6 widened his eyes in shock, then looked at Garen with a half-smile. "You're good, you!"
Garen smiled wryly and said, "Please stop saying that. I almost died. Did I give you more trouble?"
For some reason, he vaguely felt that the brown uniformed soldiers around him were looking at him in awe.
Golden Hoop Number 6 realized it too, and smiled.
"We practitioners of martial arts, regardless of our characters and personalities, will easily become impulsive due to the continually abundant and strong Qi and blood within our bodies. You have no idea how a military unit with stronger physicality and true strength will cause more trouble. Constantly having a strong power in the body without being able to use it developes into a mentally repressive grievance, so they will easily become impulsive. Since you've killed him, that's that. Celestial Circle Gate won't fall out with me for such a small character anyway. You have been too inhibited, so this release is also a good conditioning."
"Stronger people will have problems after being mentally repressed for too long?" Garen had a weird expression. He vaguely recalled Eldest Senior Sister's insane look.
"Indeed so. Of course, there are those with strong spiritual attainment who are able to disregard such situations, but they are a rare minority." Golden Hoop Number 6 turned around and said, "Come on, let's talk on the move."
Garen nodded. "Let me explain to my Junior Brothers and Sisters first."