The callous and overweening Li Jiancheng had never once lost to his peers in Veluriyam Capital. Even when young lord Fan was still alive, they'd never dueled to see who was stronger. Thus, he was always extremely confident and smug when fighting his peers. Not a hint of fear or trepidation had ever crossed his mind.
However, when Huang'er had made her first move, an unprecedented sense of fear flashed across his mind. Her jade-like hands seemed to be wielding a magical power that could control time and space. After the vortex of energy took shape, Li Jiancheng suddenly felt like he was floundering in the middle of a wide and empty ocean.
His heart shuddered with trepidation. Without any hesitation, he grunted and threw an eerie looking talisman into the air. Those talisman turned into purplish-red runes that exploded with an enormous blinding flash. The powerful explosion collapsed the surrounding air and shattered the energy vortex.
Whaam! Huang'er's attack was a very domineering dimension art that could instantly form a restrictive domain and trap the opponent in a vacuum. One would find themselves trapped in this formless cage if they were inattentive for even a second. If Li Jiancheng hadn't reacted as quickly and used an extremely destructive talisman to deflect Huang'er's attack, he'd likely be a caged beast now.
Baam! Bam! Baaam! Powerful surges of energy collided and repelled each other repeatedly.
The surrounding air was almost on verge of collapse. The arena shook from the sheer forces involved. The scene was flabbergasting and awe inspiring.
It was only their first clash, but the crowd was already dumbstruck by what they were seeing. They held their breaths with eyes as wide as bells. Nobody had thought that someone as graceful as Miss Huang'er was capable of summoning such a powerful attack with a flick of her wrist.
Li Jiancheng was also accomplished in his own right to realize danger so quickly. Most of the audience had been unaware of how profound the attack was when it formed.
"Wh? It's so powerful!"
"It seems everyone has underestimated Miss Huang'er."
"Li Jiancheng seems to be in a sorry state. Miss Huang'er summoned such a powerful attack in an instant! This duel is going to be interesting."
"Interesting my ass! I admit that I've underestimated her, but she's dumb enough to speak in absolutes. She'll have to admit her loss if she can't defeat young lord Jiancheng in three moves. Do you really think that she can do it?"
"She merely said those things to rile up her enemy. Why take it so seriously?" This speaker was clearly on Sacred Peafowl Mountain's side.
"Casual statements are not allowed in the arena. She'll have to honor her words." Those who supported Shura Retreat refused to budge.
"Casual statements aren't allowed? Do you remember how Li Jiancheng just mentioned that he'll give Miss Huang'er three moves? What does that mean? It means that he needs to let his opponent to make three moves without retaliating! Instead of doing that, he used a talisman! What a joke!"
"Indeed. Li Jiancheng lacks character and eats his own words for a living. He made a move even though he said that he'd give his opponent three shots. Shura Retreat is full of men like him!"
"Heh. He'd be lying below the stage by now if he hadn't retaliated. Is this all there is to the number one prodigy of Shura Retreat?"
"It seems that Sacred Peafowl Mountain is destined to guide Veluriyam Capital. Shura Retreat isn't bad, but they seem to lack a little something. Just compare Li Jiancheng and Miss Huang'er. One maintains a high profile and is excessively proud, while the other is reclusive and rarely shows herself in public. However, the champion of the Ranking of Young Lords can't even defeat a reclusive girl. Surely we should know by now that which faction possess the greater fortune?"
"Agreed. One must also consider the fact that Emperor Peafowl isn't even here. If he was, I doubt that Shura Retreat could even win three rounds."
Winning three out of thirteen rounds meant that there was an enormous discrepancy in strength.
"Three rounds would probably too difficult for them. I'd wager that they'd win one or two rounds at most!" The vassals showed little restraint during their discussions.
The crowd from Shura Retreat grew more and more solemn as the fight unfolded. They hadn't expected such a sudden turn of events. They were confident that this round would be a sure win for Li Jiancheng, but the duel was going the other way instead?
"This is unexpected." Emperor Vastsea mumbled. "Jiancheng has underestimated his foe. This wouldn't have happened If he made the first move instead of giving it to the opponent."
Emperor Shura's face darkened as he was quite angry at Li Jiancheng. He'd warned his disciple again and again not to underestimate the enemy, but the young lord had still done so anyway. Li Jiancheng was simply too eager to show off for the girl. His complacency had caused him to be bit in the ankle. If disruptions were allowed, Emperor Shura would surely have given his disciple an earful.
"Daoist Shura, you needn't worry. Jiancheng surely has plans of his own. But the young lass is incredibly skilled. Has anyone identified the background of her extraordinary technique?" Emperor Skysplitter suddenly asked.
"Her technique is indeed exemplary. It seems to be a dimension art of some sort. Is that lass really Brat Zhen's direct disciple?" Emperor Vastsea was still hung up about their relationship.
"There's little reason to be caught up in this. They can spin the tale in whichever way they like." Emperor Shura answered.
He didn't want to be overly fastidious because he was just as guilty. If one looked into Pill King Ce and Pill King Hui's backgrounds, one would find out that they had very little to do with Shura Retreat as well. In fact, the participants from Sacred Peafowl Mountain were a lot more valid. Emperor Peerless was a wandering cultivator and possessed reasonable motives for joining Sacred Peafowl Mountain. He'd even sworn a vow of undying loyalty.
As for Huang'er, she was young lord Zhen's dao partner and there was proof to back up that statement. The drawbacks were much greater than the potential benefit.
Jiancheng ah… you mustn't fail. If you can't win against the girl, you have to make this a draw. Emperor Shura sighed deeply. Shura Retreat had the advantage. Even if Li Jiancheng couldn't win, he only needed to make the match a draw and the great emperor would finish the rest.
Emperor Shura would obliterate young lord Zhen in the final round. Winning this pivotal duel would improve his image greatly and highlight his importance. Even though he was angry that Li Jianchang had taken his enemy lightly, he wasn't exactly in a panic. Shura Retreat would be the victors of the competition as long as Li Jiancheng didn't lose.
Things would be a lot more complicated if he'd lost. Even if Emperor Shura defeated young lord Zhen then, the competition would end in a draw where both factions possessed five victories, three draws and five losses. The entire competition would've been for nothing.
Emperor Shura didn't want that to happen, thus his lowest demand from Li Jiancheng was a draw.
Sacred Peafowl Mountain's reaction was in complete contrast to Emperor Shura's faction. They'd already prepared themselves for a loss, but after the first exchange between Huang'er and Li Jiancheng, their expectations had completely flipped over. In a fight that they'd deemed a definite loss, a huge turnaround had occurred?
The connoisseur recognized the artistry while the layman simply enjoyed the show.
There were many experts present who'd realized how incredibly profound Huang'er's technique was. If Li Jiancheng hadn't repelled the attack with a talisman, he would've lost from the get go.
The crowd saw Huang'er in a new light after seeing her attack. It completely lifted their downcast spirits. They no longer viewed young lord Zhen in the same way either.
When Jiang Chen had initially sent Huang'er to teach Li Jiancheng a lesson, they'd all thought that it was a mere joke. However, they'd clearly realized by now that it was far from a jest. Miss Huang'er was also just as extraordinary in martial dao!
Emperor Peerless' smile had deepened. "Young lord Zhen, you've found yourself a great dao partner. Li Jiancheng is certainly in for it now."
Jiang Chen smiled gently without shifting his eyes away from the arena.
Li Jiancheng could no longer put on a nonchalant attitude. In its place was vigilance and wariness.
Huang'er despised Li Jiancheng even more when she noticed his complete shift in attitude. Li Jiancheng is exactly the same as those so-called geniuses who like to cultivate a genteel reputation. They're experts at running their mouths, but one strike is all it takes for them to eat their own words.
Huang'er was bore great disdain for the opponent, but she didn't say it explicitly. Unfortunately, her emotions unconsciously showed on her face.
Li Jiancheng was deeply ashamed when he saw the flickering expressions. He knew that he'd gone back on his promise of giving her three moves when he used the talisman. Shameful or not, he could no longer care about keeping up appearances. He wasn't an idiot. He knew how powerful his opponent was in just one exchange.
He took in a deep breath and spoke sombrely. "Appearances can truly be deceiving. Miss Huang, as equals, there is little meaning for me to give you any free shots. Why don't we unsheath our weapons and have a real fight instead?"
Li Jiancheng's skin was truly as thick as a rhino's. He would stop at nothing for his own benefit. When the situation soured, he immediately took back his promise.
"Save your breath. You may go back on your promise if you want to, don't bother brainstorming lame excuses. I don't care whether you retaliate or not. You can have the win if you can block two more of my attacks." Li Jiancheng's antics had truly enraged Huang'er and she was no longer going to pull any more punches.
Li Jiancheng was stunned. The girl dared say such things even though he'd given her face? Was she really that fearless? He had always been the one who treated others this way. But today was the day was when he was getting a taste of his own medicine. What depressed him the most was the fact that he didn't even have the courage to retort back!