Fang Yuan’s words were still lingering in the crowd’s ears.
Instantly, almost all the Rank two Gu Masters below the rock building looked at Fang Yuan with surprise.
Fang Yuan ignored them; he held his arms and stood on the spot with an indifferent expression.
"Admit defeat? He directly admitted defeat, did I hear that wrongly?"
"He is Fang Yuan? He doesn’t even have the guts to come out, haha."
"We recognize Xiong Li’s power, he is indeed strong. But even if you want to admit defeat, at least do that after the formalities. By directly admitting defeat, he is not only showing that he is a coward, he is even tarnishing the clan."
The whispers were like ripples in a calm lake.
The Gu Masters’ gazes turned from surprise to despise, scorn and gloating.
Many Gu Yue clan Gu Masters felt unease; the gazes from the Xiong and Bai clan’s Gu Masters were like invisible needles, piercing their self-esteem.
Fang Yuan was a member of the Gu Yue clan, with him directly admitting defeat, this made them feel absolutely humiliated.
"How could you admit defeat? Fang Yuan, you are a man of Gu Yue village, stand up and fight bravely with Xiong Li!"
"Even if you lost, it wouldn’t be anything serious."
"If you don’t even have the guts to go out, then that would really be throwing away our dignity!"
Some Gu Yue clan Gu Masters shouted and urged Fang Yuan to take the challenge.
Fang Yuan was indifferent; to him, these words were like dogs barking.
The so-called name, face and honor was only a pie painted on a paper; shackles used by the higher-ups to bind the organization members.
These Gu Masters were also dogs on a leash.
Xiong Li gazed at Fang Yuan and suddenly laughed, "I am truly disappointed. Is this how a Gu Yue village’s bravery looks like?"
Gu Yue clan Gu Masters looked unsightly when they heard this.
Hoots of laughter came from Xiong village’s side, and even Bai village’s Gu Masters looked at Gu Yue clan with mockery.
The people around Fang Yuan started moving away. Everyone made some distance from him; their faces were filled with embarrassment.
Soon, there was no one within five steps from Fang Yuan.
Fang Yuan stood alone. My way or the highway(1), his expression was calm as opposed to the surroundings.
Others fancied a courageous reputation, but Fang Yuan scoffed at it. This made others loathe him.
Because Fang Yuan loathed fame, he was rejecting the society’s values. Denying this system of values was rejecting the people who lived their lives following these values.
Others naturally wouldn’t deny their own values, otherwise they would feel that they were living in a wrong way. Thus, they had subconsciously started to reject and boycott Fang Yuan.
A weak-hearted person would be defeated by such rejection and they would change themselves to suit the public.
However, Fang Yuan needed such rejection. He had too many secrets on him and so he needed to be solitary. At the same time, these people weren’t worth being friends with. In his memories, Qing Mao Mountain’s three villages barely survived the wolf tide, but the accident two years later would totally destroy them and turn the entire Qing Mao Mountain into a desolate area.
What Fang Yuan needed was to use this time to improve himself as much as possible, then leave the clan and avoid the fatal disaster.
Gu Yue Qing Shu - the number one Rank two Gu Master in the Gu Yue Clan - couldn’t help but stand up seeing this situation.
"Xiong Li, how about sparring with me?"
"Hehe, what will we compete on?" Xiong Li was smiling, but his expression was serious.
Gu Yue Qing Shu didn’t look at Xiong Li; he slightly raised his palm and silently moved his primeval essence, his eye watchfully looked at the green vine that was slowly growing out from his palm.
He calmly said, "Let’s compete on your strength. If you can break away from my green vine’s binding, I will admit defeat. Is that okay?"
"Hehe, good suggestion, let’s do it that way." Xiong Li grinned, his eyes revealing a bright light.
He inwardly thought, I already have the strength of a bear and combining it with the strength-increase from Grand Bear Gu, I possess the strength of two bears. Although green vine is tough, I have absolute guarantee of breaking it away with the strength of two bears. Xiong Jiang won against Bai Bing Yi and if I defeat Qing Shu, it would give us great reputation!
Qing Shu gently smiled. Without speaking, he extended his two hands; two green vines grew out from his palms. Like two nimble green pythons, the two vines climbed up Xiong Li and twisted around his body.
Xiong Li’s hands were at his waist; the green vines coiled around both his arms and instantly made a dozen circles around them, tightly binding his hands with his back.
The Gu Masters on the scene couldn’t take their eyes off this contest.
"Please." Qing Shu said to Xiong Li.
Xiong Li opened his eyes. He tightly clenched his fists and started putting strength.
Every muscle on his body seemed to stand out like lumps on a huge rock.
Strength of a bear!
The green vines started to snap under his enormous strength.
"Hahaha, brother Qing Shu, it seems the winner of this contest belongs to me!" Xiong Li was using his strength to break free, but he still had enough energy to make a conversation.
"Senior Qing Shu…." Fang Zheng was nervous and his hands were sweating
The other Gu Yue clan’s Gu Masters were also the same. Gu Yue Qing Shu was the number one among them and if he lost the contest, the Gu Yue Clan would have thoroughly lost their face this time!
"Not necessarily." Gu Yue Qing Shu smiled, his eyes showing confidence.
When he finished speaking, the green vines on his hands started changing. The originally green-like jade color suddenly changed to a dark green color. At the same time, the vines also became thicker and green wide leaves started growing on it.
Xiong Li’s face changed, he sensed the green vine’s coiling strength had increased by more than ten times.
What made him more apprehensive was that those green vines which he had broken away from started growing and reconnected with the broken areas.
Grand Bear Gu!
He sensed the situation going bad and immediately used the Grand Bear Gu in his aperture.
Immediately, his hair started stiffening up like steel needles. The muscles on his whole body enlarged and he seemed to have become much taller and bulkier.
Strength of two bears!
The green vines gave creaking noises but it was still able to resist this terrifying strength, firmly confining Xiong Li.
Xiong Li’s face became very red, and he brought out all his strength to break the green vines. But finally, he was only able to snap one green vine and couldn’t continue anymore.
"I lost." He released the supporting strength of Grand Bear Gu and said while gasping.
"You let me win." Qing Shu cupped his hands and retrieved the green vines.
"Senior Qing Shu, you are the best." Gu Yue Clan’s Gu Masters were jubilant.
"Senior Qing Shu really deserves his name. Big brother can’t compare to him at all." Fang Zheng stood beside Qing Shu and looked at the latter with reverence.
Xiong Li’s gaze was complicated as he looked at Gu Yue Qing Shu. He had progressed and obtained Brown Bear Innate Strength Gu, but Qing Shu had also progressed. Although he didn’t know what the latter used, but this was his true rival. As for that Fang Yuan, he was only a newbie and was nothing to worry about.
"It really is the Wood Charm Gu," Fang Yuan thought as he observed Qing Shu from afar.
Xiong Li hadn’t discovered anything when facing Gu Yue Qing Shu. Two emerald-green leaves had grown on Gu Yue Qing Shu’s hair.
This was the sign of using the Wood Charm Gu.
The so-called Wood Charm was a tree spirit.
Using the Wood Charm Gu could let one battle as a tree spirit.
The tree spirit was an unusual creature. It could directly absorb the natural essence in the air and use it.
Gu Masters couldn’t do this, they could only use the primeval essence in their aperture.
When one used the Wood Charm gu, they could become an embodiment of a Wood Charm tree spirit and would be able to directly absorb the natural essence in the air and replenish their primeval essence. It was the same as absorbing the primeval essence from primeval stones.
When normal Gu Masters battle, they are unable to divide their mind and absorb primeval essence from primeval stones while fighting.
But as an embodiment of the tree spirit, the absorption of natural essence is an instinct and does not need one to divide their minds. This meant that the Gu Masters who used Wood Charm Gu were experts in war of attrition. Although one couldn’t say that they could use the natural essence endlessly, they could fight for as much as three times longer because of the continuous replenishment.
And once one became an embodiment of the tree spirit, Gu worms like Green Vine Gu and Pine Needle Gu would also have their strength amplified.
Fang Yuan instantly connected the dots, "Wood Charm Gu’s fusion advancement can be said to be one of the most extravagant advancement routes. It is a Rank three Gu and needs to fuse with a hundred-years Lifespan Gu to advance to a Rank four hundred-years Wood Charm gu. The hundred-years Wood Charm Gu needs to fuse with a thousand years Lifespan Gu to advance into a Rank five thousand-years Wood Charm gu. Everyone knows this fusion route, but Gu Masters rarely use this recipe. The reason is due to the preciousness of the Lifespan Gu. When the Gu Masters finds Lifespan Gu, they will usually use it directly to increase their own lifespan."
In this world, a human could live for at most a hundred years if they didn’t encounter any accidents or illnesses. A hundred years was the lifespan limit of the humans.
But a Lifespan Gu can increase lifespan.
A hundred years Lifespan Gu can increase the lifespan of a person by a hundred years and a thousand years Lifespan Gu could increase it by a thousand.
Lifespan Gu were extremely rare and everyone sought after them.
Fang Yuan had lived for five hundred years in his previous life because he used five hundred-year Lifespan Gu in his previous life, thus adding five hundred years to his lifespan — his one hundred years lifespan had turned to six hundred years. But in the end halfway through, he was attacked by the righteous factions and had no choice but to self-detonate and die.
Lifespan Gu represented ‘long life’ and could let people live for long, but it didn’t mean ‘undying’.
"The Wood Charm Gu is powerful but has its weakness; Gu Masters can’t use it for a long period. If they use it for too long, the Wood Charm Gu’s strength will affect their body and will transform their body to that of wood, finally changing the body into a wooden corpse. In my previous life, Gu Yue Qing Shu had died in this way."
Thinking of this, Fang Yuan’s eyes flashed.
Ordinarily, powerful Gu worms had huge side effects and needed to be used with other Gu worms. Otherwise, there would be harmful influences on the Gu Masters’ body.
Xiong Jiang’s Roaming Zombie Gu was best used with the Bloodline gu. If not, the blood in his body would decrease when used for too long and he would change into a true zombie.
The Xiong Li group returned to their camp. They first won against Bai Bing Yi, then met defeat against Qing Shu. Even so, the group still received a lot of applause and praises.
"Mo Yan, I challenge you."
"Come, Xiong Jiao Man, I will fight you!"
After the Xiong Li group, the whole scene suddenly became noisy. Many Gu Masters continuously came out and challenged the powerful opponents in their minds, demonstrating their bravery.
The Alliance slope turned chaotic, and all kinds of brilliant and varied Gu battles were occurring.
The true Gu battle had started.
(1) Not entirely sure how to fit this into the passage, it is an idiom, but it just means he does whatever he wants/to persist in whatever he is doing no matter what others say.