Ling Chen stared at Ling Xian. His face was full of insufferable arrogance.
He has been spoiled by everyone since a young age and was provided with resources that aided his training. Under this environment, he was rather powerful, and it was almost certain that he would be the next clan leader. Naturally, he grew cocky and did not accept that anyone was on the same level as him.
After hearing the news of Ling Xian breaking down the Tidal Sword Technique, his first reaction was to reject reality. The famous and divine Tidal Sword Technique was a technique he had been working on and perfecting for years. Therefore, in his mind, this technique was ranked highly. He even cockily believed that the Tidal Sword Technique was the strongest swordplay in the entire cultivation community.
When more and more people started to talk about the news of Ling Xian breaking down the Tidal Sword Technique, he went to ask everyone who was there when it happened. Only when those people confirmed the news did he begin the accept it as reality.
That day, his confidence shattered into pieces.
However, when he learned that the Tidal Sword Technique Ling Bai used was only at its second stage, his confidence was completely restored.
Now that he thought about it, even if Ling Xian did break the second stage Tidal Sword Technique, it was nothing impressive. He has already practiced enough to reach the sixth stage of the technique, where the power was ten times what could be achieved at the second stage. Their abilities were not on the same level.
For that reason, Ling Chen was eager to start a fight with Ling Xian. He wanted to prove that the Tidal Sword Technique was not one that could be broken down by a level five qi cultivator. More than that, though, he was jealous.
All his life he has been the proud child of the Ling clan. The elders have placed all their hope on him, and the youngsters respected him.
All of a sudden, the Ling clan found a genius who could see the flaw of the Tidal Sword Technique. These days, all he heard was how much talent Ling Xian has. The compliments given to Ling Xian induced his envy. He was envious that Ling Xian became famous after merely one fight. He was envious that Ling Xian was born a rare genius.
How could someone, spoiled with compliments, handle the feeling of falling from heaven to hell?
Because of all that, this situation was occurring.
He needed to prove himself, in front of the entire clan, that he was stronger than Ling Xian. He needed to redirect the compliments back onto himself and have the entire clan revolve around him.
Ling Xian shook his head as he looked at the youth leader. "Sorry, I have no plan to enter the combat competition."
"What did you say?" Ling Chen was in shock.
"I said, I do not have plans to enter the combat competition," Ling Xian repeated himself. This time he spoke a little louder.
His statement, like a stone, rippled thousands of waves.
The entire crowd was in disbelief and broke into a loud chatter.
"What did he say? He's not competing?"
"We heard it wrong right? As a Ling clan's valued sibling, how could he not participate? This year's rewards are amazing."
"If you ask me, he probably realized his training was too low. He was scared to lose face, or he is fearful of the youth leader!"
"Haha, yes that must be it. The youth leader is so much better trained. He must be scared that losing the fight will make him lose his reputation."
Listening to the gossips happening around him, Ling Xian frowned. He did not want to explain himself because he never saw the combat competition as something that matters.
He had wild ambitions and wanted to ride on the clouds, unlike Ling Chen who was short-sighted and treated the Tidal Sword Technique as the toughest technique. To him, Ling Chen was like a frog who lived at the bottom of the well and believed the little patch of sky it saw was everything.
"Listen to what everyone is saying. You are obviously afraid of me. A handicap will always be a handicap!" Ling Xian's face was full of disdain; he really thought Ling Xian was afraid.
Ling Xian was calm. He had no plans to waste his time arguing and simply said, "Think however you want to."
"Haha, Ling Xian, even if you do not enter the competition, I will not let you go easily. I am going to make sure you get humiliated in front of the entire clan, and I will make sure all your training goes to waste. I will revert you back to the handicap who could not cultivate!" Ling Chen sneered. The words he spoke were extremely toxic.
Ling Xian had no intentions of debating with him. However, Ling Chen would not let it go. Not only did he threaten to embarrass him in front of everyone, but he also claimed to handicap him again and force him to be a mere mortal!
Such an impure heart. How did Ling Chen deserve the youth leader title?
Ling Xian's eyes turned cold. He was just getting ready to attack and knock Ling Chen out with one punch when a loud yell thunderously filled the arena.
"It is time! Let the competition begin!"
The third elder Ling Tian Ao swiftly jumped down from the stage. He waved his sleeve, and a square box appeared on the ground. "Every Ling member who is here to compete, please pick a number."
"Hmmph, just you wait. I will make sure you get what you deserve." Ling Chen was forming a plan in his mind. He then turned and walked toward the box.
All other Ling siblings lined up and walked into the arena one by one. Each of them drew a wooden plate with a number on it. Due to only 48 people competing, the numbers ranged from one to 48.
The 48 competitors quickly finished drawing numbers. Everyone looked around and asked their friends who they got. Those who matched with a strong opponent were getting nervous, and those matched with relatively weaker ones were cheering in relief.
"I believe there is no need for me to repeat the rules. You are well aware of them." The third elder glanced at all the energetic Ling siblings and nodded in approval. "Now, let me announce the rewards that you care about so much. I am sure you have all heard, this year's prizes are very handsome."
"First place receives a token to enter the Hidden Territory, and three sixth-ranked Energy-Freezing Dans!"
"Second place receives a token to enter the Hidden Territory, and the training mantra to stage three Tidal Sword Technique!"
"Third place receives a token to enter the Hidden Territory and two thousand spiritual stones!"
"Fourth to 10th place each receives one fourth-ranked Strengthening Dan and one fourth-ranked Energy-Freezing Dan!"
The Ling siblings, confirming the generosity of these rewards, became rowdy and excited. Each one of them was staring at the third elder intensely as they mentally prepared themselves and pumped themselves up to get a placement.
Even the direct descendants who never lacked resources were getting excited. Though the access to Hidden Territory was not a big deal because even if they do not place high, their family would be able to grant them these tokens, they were still really excited about the three sixth-ranked Energy-Freezing Dans!
For this year's combat competition, the clan sure spent a lot of money. As the direct descendants were growing up, they only received one Dan per year. To have three sixth-ranked Energy-Freezing Dans as rewards, how could they not be excited?
Ling Xian was a little speechless.
Token to the Hidden Territory?
He's had that for a while.
Sixth-Ranked Energy-Freezing Dans?
He could brew a seventh-ranked one with his eyes closed. If he paid more attention and concentrated, he could easily brew eighth-ranked ones!
They call those rewards generous?
Of course, to the Ling siblings, they were handsome rewards. However, to him, these rewards did not arouse any interest.
"Alright, let's not say too much useless stuff. Let the competition officially begin!" The third elder grinned. "Those who drew number one and number 48, please go to the first battle ring. Those who drew number two and number 47, please go to the second battle ring. Follow this logic, everyone please find your place."
After his little speech, the siblings walked to their designated spots. Some happily hopped all the way there, while others slumped their way out of fear.
The first round of battle officially began.
The second elder's daughter, a popular potential winner, Ling Fei, was in the first round. However, before she could even get inside the ring, the opponent admitted defeat. Those who were there for the show, like Ling Xian, was very frustrated at this.
She became the fastest winner in the first round of battle.
The other five battle rings also produced winners at a rather fast pace. The winners were radiating with joy, and the losers were gloomy and disheartened.
The second round began shortly after.
This time, the other direct descendants were in battle. Ling Zhan's opponents had level five qi. If he didn't have to battle with Ling Zhan, then he could've easily been top 10. However, because he was unlucky and matched with Ling Zhan, he was thrown out of the ring by Ling Zhan after ten rounds.
The opponent of the youth leader, like Ling Fei's opponent, admitted defeat without even showing his or her face. This allowed Ling Chen to arrogantly stand in the ring and enjoy the looks of admiration everyone gave him.
Ling Xian shook his head and laughed at the way Ling Chen reacted to the situation. If the competitor admits defeat, even before the fight, it obviously meant he should not have been competing in the first place. Was there a need to be so proud of himself?
Real powerhouses would not be proud and cocky over the opponent running away; they would only feel a sense of shame.
Shame of the lack of battle caused by fright.
The preliminary rounds quickly finished. 24 people went onto the next round. Then it was reduced to 12, then six, and then finally there were three of them. The three of them turned out to be the popular potential winning candidates. First, it was Ling Fei against Ling Zhan. This fight was worthwhile to watch. Both competitors had sixth-level qi and had capable family backgrounds. The fight was, therefore, intense. In the end, the one who religiously followed his physical training, Ling Zhan, won.
The next round was Ling Fei against Ling Chen. This round, she was aware that she lacked in skills compared to Ling Zhan. She completed a few perfunctory rounds before admitting defeat. She placed third in the competition.
Next was the battle for first place!
At this point, however, Ling Xian was no longer in the mood to watch. He was searching for Ling Hu. At first, he thought Ling Hu would be competing. When he never saw him in the battle ring, Ling Xian glanced at those who were just here to watch, but no luck neither. Ling Hu was not here.
[How could he not be competing? Did an accident happen?] Frowning, Ling Xian was a little worried. The time they met, Ling Hu said he would not miss this competition and specifically asked Ling Xian to acquire the token to the Hidden Territory.
There definitely has been an accident.
[At the time, I should've gone with him to purchase the medicinal Dan. Could it be that someone found out he had an enormous amount of spiritual stones on him and robbed him? Or could it be that something happened to his mother?] Ling Xian's thoughts wondered. He could no longer focus on the match. Instead, he hastily walked towards Ling Hu's house.
As soon as he stepped out of the crowd, a silhouette blocked his way.
With an evil look on his face, he ridiculed, "Oh, the genius who broke down the Tidal Sword Technique is running away? You heard the youth leader. He said he was going to humiliate you in front of everyone. Where do you think you are going?"
"Not your business." Ling Xian did not want to get mixed up with this drama.
"Why is it not my business?" Ling Bai snickered, "the youth leader instructed me not to let you go if you decide to run. On top of that, I want to see your embarrassed face. Hehe, it must be really fun to watch you get humiliated!"
"I don't want to waste my time talking to you. Hurry up and get the hell out of my way!" Ling Xian ordered.
"I will not get out of your way. I want to see the youth leader show you who's boss!" Ling Bai's smile was very detestable.
Ling Xian did not respond. Instead, he merely looked at him coldly. The murderous stare made Ling Bai shudder.
At that moment, a round of applause exploded in the arena. The number one winner of this year's Combat Competition was born. Ling Chen used his stage-six Tidal Sword Technique and defeated Ling Zhan, capturing the title of first place.
He arrogantly stood tall in the first battle ring, fully indulged in the endless cheering and applauding.
[If he truly wanted to embarrass me in front of everyone, then this is his best chance…] Ling Xian's eyes flashed. He suddenly understood why Ling Chen did not want him to run away. If Ling Chen challenges him now, in front of everyone and he ends up losing, then his reputation will be very quickly tarnished.
As expected, Ling Chen filled with the desire to succeed and still high off his win, stared down at Ling Xian. He yelled loudly, "Ling Xian, do you dare to come up and battle me?"
Everyone's cheering stopped abruptly. The arena was in complete silence for a couple of seconds. Everyone's focus shifted onto Ling Xian. There was anticipation on their faces and some even displayed compassion.
"This is what I thought. Since you cannot distinguish the good from the bad, then don't blame me when I beat you into the abyss."
Ling Xian's expression was composed. His tone filled with a ruthlessness that was cold enough to freeze a forest. The next sentence that came out of his mouth ignited everyone's passion and fury.
"Do you dare to come down here and face death?"