"Destroy my Clan you say? Have you asked for my permission?"
These deadly words echoed throughout every house and every street in the City of Qing.
As if all at once, everyone engaged in the battle froze in time.
All eyes fell on the erect figure. All eyes filled with shock and astonishment.
Dear God, what am I seeing? Have I gone mad?
The man landed feet away in front of Ling Yuan. With a casual wave of his sword, the oncoming spells disappeared into oblivion.
The massive City was left stunned in a deafening silence. No one moved for a long moment. Then, shouts of jubilation erupted simultaneously through the crowd.
"Have mercy! Who is this? What a stunning entrance!"
"Spells Ling Yuan couldn't even resist, how did he do that with only a flick of a sword?"
"Unbelievable, when did this City produce a hero like that? Never heard of him, let alone seen him. One swipe to dissipate two spells, mid or later stages of the foundational period?"
The name Ling Xian had been associated with the youth who broke the spell for the Wave of the Flying Swords. He was a celebrity in the City of Qing, but very few residents outside of the Ling Clan had actually met him in person.
Therefore the moment he appeared, every surviving member of the Ling Clan beamed with delight.
Ling Tian Xian's mouth fell open in shock. Tears flooded down both sides of her cheeks.
She had always known, deep down, that Ling Xian did not die. She cried because his arrival now ensured the survival of the Ling Clan.
She knew that even against two mighty predecessors who were both skilled cultivators of the foundational level, Ling Xian will prevail.
The image of the youth with a bloodstained sword in his left hand and a magical flame in his right had been carved into her mind, never to be tainted or lost.
For that reason, she never stopped believing.
She believed with all her heart that Ling Xian could end this pain and suffering.
She wasn't the only one who believed this. Ling Tian Qing nearly lost his footing when he saw Ling Xian appear. He believed not because of an unforgettable image, but the prophecy of the mysterious old man.
Ten years ago, during his travels throughout the Qin Dynasty, Ling Tian Qing had rescued an old man. As gratitude for saving his life, the mysterious man delivered him three prophecies.
The result had so far been astonishing. The first prophecy had come true eight years ago, the second five years ago. Because of the fulfillment of the first two, he had always been convinced of the legitimacy of the last prophecy. The last prophecy was the tragedy that nearly ruined the Ling Clan here today, but it also foretold that a young savior would appear in the last moments of the battle to save the Clan from the brink of destruction.
As a result, Ling Tian Qing had taken a special interest in Ling Xian a long time ago, believing him to be the young savior spoken of in the prophecy.
Now, after missing for a year, Ling Xian returned to take on two mighty spells unleashed at the time by two skilled cultivators of the foundational level, spells which would certainly end the life of a Master like Ling Yuan had Ling Xian not appeared in time. Not only did he take them on, but he dissipated both of them with a simple flick of his sword.
"Ling Xian's powers had grown exponentially, just as the prophecy foretold. It has to be him, our Clan is saved!" Ling Tian Qing couldn't control himself any longer and began crying tears of joy.
"A year ago, he was merely a young cultivator of the fifth realm. I actually believed his powers had peaked, now it seems like I had terribly underestimated his potential." Ling Tian Jiao let out a long sigh, his breath exuding relief, joy, and pride.
That last scene revived his confidence and solidified his belief that this was not over.
In contrast to the growing noise from the crowd below, the crew in the sky remained quiet.
Ling Yuan was nothing short of stunned. He stared at the youthful figure that protected his body from harm, unable to speak. He felt as though this was all but a dream. How could a young cultivator defeat two mighty spells of this caliber at once?
Are my eyes lying to me?
Ling Yuan had been confident prior to and near the beginning of the battle. But as the battle raged on, he knew he couldn't last. However, this youth, could he be a cultivator of the foundational period?
But he's too young. Had he done something to himself that violated the laws of Alchemy?
Fang Ming Yuan eyed the intruder with a look of disdain. Swallowing his anger back down his throat, he bowed with his hands, "Sir, please state your name. This is a battle to settle the debts between two Clans. Please do not interfere."
"You ask my name?" Ling Xian extended his wings and uttered the words that paralyzed the City yet again.
"My name is Xian, of the Ling Clan."
The words rattled the crowd.
"Ling Xian? Sounds familiar! Are you the youth that broke the spell of the Wave of the Flying Swords?"
"Impossible, according to my knowledge, Ling Xian was indeed a gifted cultivator. But his skills were hovering around the fifth realm only a year ago. The skills you just showcased belong to one that has broken through to the foundational level. You are not Ling Xian."
"Rubbish! Open your eyes wide. Look at the expressions on their faces. Hope, pride, excitement! This man is obviously that youth protégé from the Ling Clan who disappeared!"
"Then he's a sorcerer. He must have gone to the dark side and broken the laws of nature. He must have consumed certain powerful Dans! Otherwise, it's impossible to grow this fast!"
These words caused another rattle amongst the crowd. Some whispered, some gasped, while others shook their heads.
The popular opinion shared amongst the Taoism community was that only cultivators of the same level can engage in an evenly matched battle. There was no such thing as a 14 or 15-year-old foundational level cultivator. Unless, of course, he had engaged in sorcery.
But their opinion was flawed. Ling Xian had only reached the tenth realm, otherwise known as the Perfect Realm or the Undefeatable Realm. His fighting skills were on par with his foundational opponents. Combined with the exceptional power of the Sword of Extinction, he managed to easily dissipate the double spell unleashed at Ling Yuan.
But it is not too early to call him a warrior of the foundational realm. He was only half a step away. Given half a year, he would naturally complete his transformation.
"You are one of them." Fang Ming Yuan's face suddenly darkened. If he hadn't just witnessed this man's powers and thus couldn't guess his actual strength, he would have rushed into a duel with him.
Ling Xian ignored him. He turned to Ling Yuan and inquired in a concerned voice, "Elder, are you alright?"
Ling Yuan was too stunned to reply until Ling Xian inquired again. Then he pulled up his chest, stood a little taller and said in a relieved voice, "It's really you, Ling Xian. You've become a hero. At your age, this is truly a miracle. Your future is limitless."
"You flatter me," Ling Xian responded peacefully. "This is not a good time for pleasantries. Let's finish this business first."
Ling Yuan nodded in agreement. He whispered, "Ling Xian, tell me the truth, can you take on one of them?"
"That is not a problem. Do not fright." Ling Xian smiled brightly. The two elderly cultivators standing in front of him were only in the early stages of the foundational period. Their powers pale in comparison to the beasts he had just fought. The wolf couldn't even harm him. These two were no match.
Ling Xian's assurance put Ling Yuan's heart at peace. Ling Yuan let out a comforted laugh and said, "Go take on the Qi fellow. He is the weaker of the two. I'll come help you once I finish off Fang Ming Yuan."
"Elder, you're hurt. Leave Fang Ming Yuan to me. You just focus on taking out the weakling."
Ling Xian turned to Fang Ming Yuan and spoke, "We were destined to meet again. A year ago, inside the Hidden Territory, it was me who killed every last one of the Fangs."
Fang Ming Yuan was already enraged by the sudden disruption to a battle he was sure to win. Upon hearing this news, he was completed infuriated.
The ten members sent to challenge the Hidden Territory one year ago were the crème de la crème of the Fang Clan. They were the best of their generation and the future of the Clan. Amongst them, Fang Han was perhaps his most cherished student whom he had intended to pass on his own legacy.
When Fang Han was discovered murdered inside the Territory, Fang Ming Yuan had vowed to track down the killer and avenge his pupil.
Now, the killer had revealed himself. There was only one thing left to do.
"Correct, it was me." Ling Xian returned Fang Ming Yuan's bloodied gaze with indifference. He sneered, "What? Are you angry? How do you answer for the hundreds of lives you took from the Ling Clan?"
"How do I answer for it?" Fang Ming Yuan gritted his teeth, "You brought that onto yourselves. You refused to surrender, that was your fate."
"For what you just said, I will ensure the name of your Clan is wiped from history." Ling Xian narrowed his gaze, his black cloak dancing in the wind.
"Ha ha ha… your arrogance knows no bounds. You think having blocked one of my spells makes you qualified to challenge me?" Fang Ming Yuan raised his right arm and pointed his dragon-spiraled spear at Ling Xian. This final battle would only end when one of them dies.
"You can stop pretending. I know you haven't reached the foundational level. I'll show you what the difference is between us!"
Suddenly, a violent storm erupted. Earth was scooped up from beneath people's feet and thrown high into the air. Transparent strands of a mysterious energy rushed out of Fang Ming Yuan's pores. The entire City was instantly covered under a dark, murky cloud.
But he was to be disappointed.
Ling Xian did not react at all. Maintaining his calm expression and confident composure, Ling Xian gently extended the Winged Blitz as his pupils turned one black and one white.
The Eyes of Execution.
The fourth most powerful spell.
After 120,000 years, the Eyes of Execution had finally returned. With the unleashing of this power, Ling Xian has elected to no longer hide his true abilities. He wanted a real battle.
Ling Xian hollered in a voice that echoed through the mountains and valleys of the universe!