The next moment, a loud, hapless sigh could be heard. But the origin of the sound could not be traced.
In a moment’s time, a dark, cloaked figure emerged in the distance and glided gently towards Ling Xian, finally landing in front of him.
The man was roughly 40 years of age. He wore a black cloak covered in intricate patterns of birds and paradise. He was evidently a man of great importance.
"Ha ha, Mayor of Sunset City, if I hadn’t pulled out the Imperial Shield, perhaps you’d sit back and watch me die." The middle-aged man let out an angry grin. He lifted the shield into the air and announced, "Mayor of Sunset City, kneel to the Imperial Order!"
"Correction, that’s not the Imperial Order, it’s the Prince’s Order," Mayor of Sunset City responded without kneeling. Instead, he dipped his upper body in a gentle bow as a sign of respect.
The laws of the Zhou Dynasty dictate that anyone who finds themselves in the presence of the Imperial Shield must kneel. Likewise, anyone who finds themselves in the presence of the Prince’s Shield must bow, even though this particular prince was a heavy contender for the Imperial throne.
"Hmm, what a Mayor of the City you are."
The middle-aged man sniggered in displeasure but did not pursue further. This was the Sunset City, the jurisdiction of the City’s Mayor. Not to mention the Mayor was not incorrect here.
"What a Mayor I am is for the Emperor and the citizens to decide, not you," The Mayor of Sunset City responded coldly.
In fact, the Mayor of the City had known for some time that this man was in pursuit of Lin Qing Yi. Yet he didn’t appear until the Prince’s Order had been announced. The Dynasty was split into different Houses. The Mayor of the City and the forces behind the middle-aged man were members of competing Houses who never fought publicly.
"Hehe, whatever you say, Mayor of Sunset City. But now that you’re here, you must capture this man and that woman he was trying to save." The middle-aged man shifted his gaze towards Ling Xian as he spoke. In his voice, one could hear ten percent fear, three percent arrogance and sixty percent provocation.
His fear and hopelessness vanished completely after the appearance of the Mayor.
"What I must do is up to me." Mayor of the Sunset City frowned impatiently. He and the Emperor’s Third Prince were no acquaintances. Yet he had much admiration for the prince. What he couldn’t understand was why such a noble prince would allow this idiot to remain within his ranks.
As for the young visitor, he was in awe. A cultivator who’d reached the advanced-stage of the foundational level, a Heaven’s Favorite, cannot be anything less than a true disciple of a prominent House.
His talent was awe-inspiring, his potential frightening, and his background untouchable. This middle-aged man, on the other hand, was foolishly provoking this youth on his background alone. This man was beyond imprudent.
But he had already revealed himself, so this stalemate was now his to resolve. He turned to Ling Xian, bowed in respect and suggested, "My young friend, for my sake, would you spare the lives of these men?"
Ling Xian showed no expression or movement. Through his gritted teeth, he uttered, "Why should I do that?"
The Mayor of Sunset City frowned at Ling Xian’s response. He felt he was being polite enough. But Ling Xian was having none of it. Was he that conceited?
Of course, he dared not ask or suggest it out loud. He didn’t want a direct confrontation. He wanted to get Ling Xian out of his city as quickly and quietly as he could and send the middle-aged fool on his way, alive.
He did not serve the Third Prince. He had no obligation to the middle-aged man.
"Young visitor, if you stop now, I’ll let you and this lady leave in peace. I also promise I won’t pursue this any further," the Mayor suggested kindly.
"Funny, this is too funny."
Ling Xian began to chuckle, which progressed into a violent laughter.
His sentiments were shared by no one present. Instead, the crowd was overcome by fear, fear of the unknown, fear of Ling Xian’s boundless power.
"Friend, why are you laughing?"
The Mayor of the Sunset City frowned again. This time, he felt rage.
The Mayor was not used this type of treatment in his own city. He had kindly suggested a peaceful ending to this quarrel, yet this young man was not responding to his gesture.
"Why are you laughing?"
Ling Xian’s smile disappeared in a flash. His eyes now exuded anger. He finally responded, "First, you and I are not acquainted in any way. Second, these three harmed my friend. Do you really expect me to just forget this?"
The Mayor’s face darkened instantly as his tone changed. "I tried to reason with you, but you do not wish to cooperate. Let’s fight this out then. If I lose, you can do with these three what you like."
"You should have suggested that first. Then we wouldn’t have to stand here and debate."
Ling Xian was itching for a dual. The middle-aged man had harmed Lin Qing Yi and therefore must die.
"Come, defeat me and do what you like," the Mayor said calmly.
Suddenly, dark, murky clouds rushed out of his pores to form a seemingly impenetrable shell. The shell expanded far into the distance.
The foundational peak!
"A peaked foundational! Great, worth a fight!"
Ling Xian lifted an eyebrow in amusement. Showing no hints of fear, he geared up for an epic battle.
He had little to fear. Having progressed into the foundational level through the tenth, or Undefeatable Realm of the meditational level, Ling Xian was miles ahead of his foundational counterparts.
Therefore, he had no other foundational opponents aside from other Heaven’s Favorites and cultivators who had peaked at the foundational level.
Thus explaining the fate of the first two challengers who were merely in the mid-range stages of their foundational practices.
The Undefeatable realm gave Ling Xian rock solid foundations unparalleled in his counterparts. The benefit of this path was only beginning to emerge.
"Come, you are of a younger generation, I’ll let you go first." The Mayor of Sunset City placed one hand behind his back, ready to teach this young man a lesson.
He knew Ling Xian was no ordinary cultivator. But he was also confident in his own aptitude. He was only one step away from breaking through to the completion level. He shan’t be concerned with a foundational-level opponent.
"Then you should prepare yourself."
Ling Xian felt a little pressure taking on an opponent of such caliber. He felt it in the air. He responded. A wave of dark terror sent the entire city into darkness.
His eyes sparkled and expelled a blinding ray of light. As the glow faded, a halberd and an armor emerged behind him.
The Halberd of the Divine Warrior!
The Armor of the Royal Spirit!
Advance and retreat; attack and defense. A perfect pair of deadly weapons.
Ling Xian took a giant leap forward and unleashed the enormous halberd. Suddenly, the earth trembled, spitting out rocks and debris.
The Mayor of Sunset City narrowed his eyes and gathered his focus. With a casual swing of his large sleeve, a dazzling emerald spear materialized and dashed towards Ling Xian.
Halberd and spear pierced through the air towards each other at lightning speed, brightening up the apocalyptic sky.
Ling Xian bellowed. His armor stretched up in defense of its master while the halberd dove fearlessly towards its enemy.
Dong, dong, dong...
The weapons collided and unleashed a magnificent light show. Ling Xian continued his advance, emerging from the splendid explosion, headed straight for the Mayor.
"You are not bad yourself," The Mayor of Sunset City replied. From this first strike and the first show of weapons, he knew Ling Xian had much more depth than the average foundational cultivator. This young man needed to be taken seriously.
Instinctively, the Mayor recalled his spear and used it as a shield against the incoming halberd. But at the moment of impact, the Mayor felt himself being knocked a dozen steps backward. The earth beneath his feet cracked under the immense pressure of the attacking force.
The Mayor regained his composure before he found his footing, unleashing fierce rays of lightning from his spear. The earth continued to crack under his feet.
"This is no use against me."
Ling Xian was not fazed. Halberd in hand, he kept on advancing with his weapon aimed directly at the heart of his opponent. Suddenly, the glittery glow of the spear vanished.
"Not bad indeed. No wonder you were this arrogant!"
The Mayor of Sunset City stomped on his right foot and instantly regained his footing. Then, with a sudden twitch of his shoulder, an unstoppable force shot out from his direction and knocked Ling Xian backward a few steps.
"One last strike, the Heaven-turning Stamp, if you can defend against it, we’ll call it my loss."
The Mayor of Sunset City bellowed. Instantly, a gargantuan mountain covered in black charcoal emerged from behind him and came crashing down directly on top of Ling Xian.
The Heaven-Turning Stamp!
One of the most prestigious treasures of the Zhou Dynasty, it could turn the heavens upside down and the oceans dry.
"Ha ha, good, we’ll let the next round decide." Ling Xian laughed and advanced without constraint towards the crashing mountain. As he advanced, a pair of giant, snowy wings appears on his back – the terror of white against black.
The Winged Blitz!
At the same time, the Armor of the Royal Spirit glowed against the darkness, shielding its master from unspeakable danger.
The Winged Blitz gave Ling Xian the speed of lightning. The Armor of the Royal Spirit defended him with every ounce of impenetrable mineral. The Halberd of the Divine Warrior was simply unstoppable.
An earth shattering sound broke every module in the air, sending the world into a deep freeze. The black mountain, on the other hand, was nowhere to be found.
The entire city descended into a state of shock.