Yang Qi defeated Gu Fenxian with a single fist strike, then stared him down and jokingly said, “A piece of trash like you wants me to get my ass out of here?”
Gu Fenxian was from the Crown Prince Society, but that didn't scare Yang Qi.
Now that he was in the Lifeseizing level, he could use his Hellfire Crucible to directly consume demon cores, which meant that his cultivation base would continue to advance by leaps and bounds.
Given some time, he would eventually seize life again and again, and would thus gain enlightenment of the Hell Portal. With that, he would have even less reason to fear the legendary Crown Prince.
The Hell Portal would allow him to summon countless kinds of devil-gods, the type who had the capacity to turn the world of men into a living hell. Of course, summoning creatures like that was inherently dangerous in certain ways.
Gu Fenxian almost couldn’t believe that he had met defeat. “You! I'm gonna kill you!”
He was the insufferably arrogant type, and the fact that he had just been defeated by someone who just reached the Lifeseizing level was a complete humiliation. That in itself ensured that he now viewed Yang Qi as a mortal enemy.
“Painting of Immortal Immolation!” he howled. Flame rippled up behind him, quickly turning into the image of a painting. It depicted all sorts of god-immortals, all of them transcendent beings, who were wreathed in flames, agonized expressions covering their faces as they were immolated into nothing.
Face twisting viciously, Gu Fenxian said, “I can’t believe you shoved me backward a few steps, brat. Humiliation like that can never be wiped away. Henceforth, you have no reason to stay alive! I’ll put you in so much agony you’ll wish you could die! Except, I won’t let you! You’re going to be the first person to experience my imperial-class energy art, the Five Volumes of Immortal Immolation!”
From the way his energy was building up, it seemed he was preparing to go all out.
“The Five Volumes of Immortal Immolation! That's an imperial-class energy art! It’s a consummate discipline from the Gu Clan, not from the Demi-Immortal Institute.”
“The Gu Clan is one of the top ten richest clans in the Rich-Lush Continent. According to the rumors, they used to have a Great Sage. Even the Sage Ancestor Dynasty pays them a lot of respect. The Five Volumes of Immortal Immolation are so powerful that, if used together, they can be used to immolate immortals. However, after years of chaos in their clan, four of the five volumes were lost. Now they only have one of them. Even still, it’s incredibly powerful.”
“Who is this guy anyway? From his clothes, it seems he’s an outer campus student. I can’t believe his cultivation base is so profound. He actually defeated Gu Fenxian?”
“Gu Fenxian is being a bit careless. Considering he’s using his Painting of Immortal Immolation, there’s no way this other student will be able to defend himself.”
“Well, that guy is a Lifeseizer, so there’s no way the elders will let him get killed. They’ll interfere. Every Lifeseizer who loses their life is a blow to the quintessence of the institute.”
Already, many of the students were taking note of Yang Qi.
As for Yun Hailan, her expression was cold, almost as if she could see deep into Yang Qi and understand the truth of why he had advanced so quickly.
Before, she had taken him to be little more than a talented commoner who would never go very far no matter how hard he worked. How could she have ever guessed that he would actually reach the Lifeseizing level? He was standing out as conspicuously brilliant, which made him a major threat to her.
As for Gu Fenxian, she knew full well that he was one of the top talents in the Crown Prince Society. He had reached the Lifeseizing level ten years ago, and was already a Secondary Lifeseizer. Despite that, Yang Qi had defeated him, and forced him to use his Five Volumes of Immortal Immolation, a consummate energy art. It was no trivial matter, and Yun Hailan knew that things couldn’t go on this way.
“This has to stop,” she said coolly. It was difficult to tell whether she meant Yang Qi, or herself.
Even as Gu Fenxian prepared to unleash his Painting of Immortal Immolation, one of the elders from the Academy of Sage Studies waved his finger, causing a razor-sharp sword to appear.
The Painting of Immortal Immolation collapsed, and the resulting true energy returned to Gu Fenxian, defeated by only one move from this old man.
The mere sight of it left Yang Qi shaken.
“Elder War-Soldier, sir, did you have something you wanted to say?”
Shocked that an elder had interfered, Gu Fenxian’s fellows all began to urge him to calm down.
“Gu Fenxian, now that Elder War-Soldier has intervened, you’d better not use any more energy arts. Considering this punk barged into the Academy of Sage Studies, Elder War-Soldier probably wants to punish him. There’s no more need for the Crown Prince Society to step in.”
Obviously, this elder had a very high standing in the Demi-Immortal Institute, to the point where Lifeseizers from the Crown Prince Society wouldn't dare to defy him.
‘That was some incredible sword energy,’ Yang Qi thought. ‘I wonder how many times he’s seized life from heaven. If he went all out to attack me, would I be able to defend myself?’
Although Yang Qi’s energy arts were strong, he was still relatively inexperienced, and thus had no way to assess Elder War-Soldier’s level in detail.
“Silence!” Elder War-Soldier said. Looking around at the students from the Crown Prince Society, he continued, “Calm down, all of you. Today's formalities end here.” Then he looked at Yang Qi. “What’s your name?”
“Elder War-Soldier, I am Yang Qi,” he said respectfully. “I just reached the Lifeseizing level, and came to take the test and apply to be an elite student.”
“I see. Well, you definitely have the power of a Lifeseizer. That was the Invincible King’s Fist, correct? You’ve got some talent in you to be able to use an incomplete version of the technique to unleash the power you just did. What do the rest of you think?” Elder War-Soldier turned to look at the other elders.
One of those elders rose to his feet. “You’re absolutely right, Elder War-Soldier. I was watching this kid closely just now, and he definitely has a Lifeseizer cultivation base. No one can call that into question. However, according to our rules, we still need to administer the test.
“Elder War-Hero. Elder War-Power. Elder War-Gallant. Why don’t the four of us inspect the boy’s sea of energy?”
The other elders nodded and rose to their feet.
Gentle energy streamed out of their hands, heading directly toward Yang Qi.
He did nothing to resist, and in fact, dissipated his defensive true energy and allowed their power to enter his meridians. He knew that passing this test was the only way that the Demi-Immortal Institute would permit him to officially become an elite student, and thus join the upper echelons.
Now was the moment of truth: would the God-Devil Seal work?
There were five grand elders present. The highest ranking among them was Elder War-Soldier, and after him were Elder War-Glory, Elder War-Hero, Elder War-Power and Elder War-Gallant.
These five elders ran the Academy of Sage Studies, and were in fact vice-rectors in the institute. Most major decisions were made by them. As for the rector himself, Elder War-Sage, he spent most of his time in seclusion, seeking enlightenment. He hadn’t even been seen in the last hundred years.
These five elders sent their power coursing into Yang Qi’s meridians, all the way into his sea of energy, where they could see the true energy of both the Invincible King’s Fist and the Golden Bell Rampart. As for the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, it was tightly sealed up, as well as the Four Seasons Swordplay, making it impossible for them to even notice.
After closely examining the true energy, the five streams of energy did another inspection of Yang Qi’s meridians before moving on to his head, as well as his acupoints.
Finally, the energy settled in his forehead.
Of course, Yang Qi was immediately concerned that the five elders might notice the golden imp.
But after a moment passed, his fears were proved unfounded, as the elders noticed nothing unusual.
It was almost as if the imp weren’t real, and existed in an illusory world, to appear only when it wished.
“Very well,” Elder War-Soldier said. The five elders retracted their true energy. “You pass, Yang Qi. You have no heterogeneous true energy in you, only energy from traditional consummate disciplines and first-class energy arts. To have practiced cultivation to this level shows how talented you are. We all agree that you should be promoted to elite student.”
“Awesome!” Outside, Li He and the others heard the exchange inside, and couldn’t help but cry out in excitement. There was no going back now; Yang Qi was an elite student, and nothing could change that.
“Any student who becomes a Lifeseizer, and also passes the test to prove no connection to deadly devil arts or forbidden techniques, can become an elite student,” Elder War-Soldier explained. “Let the promotion ceremony for Yun Hailan and Yang Qi be held in unison. Men!”
“Sir!” shouted a handful of giants, who strode forward and knelt in front of Elder War-Soldier. “Go fetch two sets of elite student uniforms from the storerooms, plus identity medallions.”
“Yes sir!” Moments later, the giants came hurrying back with the uniforms and identity medallions. Yang Qi tossed the uniform on, which instantly made him look more dignified than before.
“And now, offer three sets of three kowtows to the successive generations of patriarchs of the Demi-Immortal Institute and the Academy of Sage Studies.”
Yang Qi looked deeper into the Academy of Sage Studies and saw portraits of more than ten individuals. Each of them looked like transcendent beings, like rising suns, gods, or immortals. They looked ready to spring into action at any moment, and yet completely at ease. At the same time, they were austere, like emperors or saints.
Clearly, these were portraits of the generations of powerful individuals who had led the institute throughout the years.
The last portrait featured the current chancellor of the institute, a young man in yellow garments, with a scroll in one hand and a sword sheathed at his side. He was clearly extraordinary, and yet his eyes seemed touched by sorrow, as though he was worried about the difficulties faced by the common people. He wasn’t looking at the scroll in his hand, but rather, at the heavens above, as if he longed to bring peace to all creation.
1. Gu Fenxian’s given name “Fenxian” literally means “burn immortals” or “immolate immortals”. It uses the exact same Chinese characters as the name of the technique. So if you translated his name, it would be something like “Gu Immortal-Immolator”.