Chapter 654: Jiang Chen Muddies The Waters
Those watching beneath the stage thought that they had heard wrongly at first. Li Xin might not be the top genius in the Great Cathedral, but he was still a second-rate genius. He wasn’t entirely subpar even compared to the first-rate geniuses of other sects. Plus, the Sacred Wolf family was famed for their ferocity. Would someone from the Sacred Wolf family really voluntarily surrender after a mere two punches from the enemy?
Most of the rounds of the various matches of this year’s Grand Ceremony had been quite normal, so why did every battle involving Mu Gaoqi appear so out of the ordinary? During Mu Gaoqi’s first round, the fifth rank sect disciple Feng Pao he’d gone up against had only been at the seventh level origin realm. However, Mu Gaoqi had struggled against him and looked drenched in sweat by the end of the battle.
His second round opponent, the Sacred Sword Palace’s Wang Jing, was without a doubt several times stronger than Feng Pao, and the offensive power he displayed could only be described as incredibly destructive. However, when he displayed that terrifyingly strong offensive power on Jiang Chen, it seemed like a gentle breeze floating past the latter. In the end, Wang Jing was the one who’d been kicked out of the arena instead.
The third round had been even more bizarre. Li Xin was much, much stronger than Wang Jing, but this time, he didn’t even have the chance to execute a move. After enduring several simple punches from Jiang Chen, Li Xin had vomited blood and surrendered voluntarily.
What on earth was going on? It was as if every opponent Mu Gaoqi fought was acting with a script.
“Do you guys understand what’s going on? Why did that Li Xin surrender all of a sudden?”
“I wasn’t able to get a clear look. I think it was probably because Mu Gaoqi’s punches were pretty strong?”
“Who knows? I personally couldn’t see what’s so strong about his punches.”
It was true that Jiang Chen’s punches had appeared much too ordinary. It looked like a move that any true qi cultivator could execute. It didn’t even look like it contained any profound mysteries behind it, much less pleasing aesthetics.
Jiang Chen ignored the gazes of astonishment from beneath the ring and slowly made his way down. He’d actually become the fastest person to move onto the next round this time. He’d taken out his opponent faster than even the sage realm geniuses. That being said, it didn’t take long before the sage realm geniuses also finished their battles and walked down from their rings in a relaxed fashion.
Jiang Chen scanned the participants briefly and discovered that Myriad Domain’s sects had indeed sent out all of their elites this time. The number of young sage realm geniuses he glimpsed were far greater than during the Mt. Rippling Mirage Pill Battles. “I see that some of the martial dao geniuses thought little of the Mt. Rippling Mirage Pill Battles.” Jiang Chen looked on briefly as the sage realm geniuses slowly made their way down the stage. In particular, the Great Cathedral alone had sent four sage realm geniuses. They were also the four most outstanding cultivators of the Great Cathedral’s four great families.
The Sacred Sword Palace was represented by three sage realm cultivators. The Dark North Sect, Walkabout Sect and Regal Pill Palace had two sage realm cultivators each.
If the Tristar Sect hadn’t wallowed in degeneration, then the top sixteen spots and leading echelon of the martial competition would have been fully monopolized by sage realm geniuses. It would’ve been impossible for someone not of sage realm to obtain a spot. Besides the sage realm geniuses, some of the one-sided battles also began ending in succession.
Ling Bi’er for example, had been quite lucky this time. She’d managed to draw a non-fourth rank sect opponent and easily won her round. In the end, four of the Regal Pill Palace disciples easily won their matches and proceeded to the next round. However, the last Regal Pill Palace disciple, Nie Chong, was in a miserable predicament.
His opponent was the Sacred Sword Palace’s number two genius, Jin Feng. This person was at peak first level sage realm, and perhaps not even Shen Qinghong would have been able to beat him in terms of pure combat power. Although Nie Chong had gone all out from the start and used all of his trump cards, he still instantly fell into a disadvantageous situation.
Jin Feng obviously had no plans to hold back either. Although he was a little wary of Nie Chong using all of his strength from the start, Nie Chong wasn’t so strong that he could force Jin Feng into a fluster. As the number two genius in Sacred Sword Palace, his strength and his trump cards were all a tier better than Nie Chong’s.
It was true that everyone had advised Nie Chong to forfeit if he couldn’t win. But even forfeiting required an opportunity, especially when the combatant had fallen into his enemy’s rhythm. Jin Feng clearly didn’t plan on giving Nie Chong any such opportunity at all. He went at him with full force, obviously planning to destroy Nie Chong in one go.
Everyone on the Regal Pill Palace’s side was wearing solemn looks on their faces. However, no one could interfere with an arena battle. They could only sit and watch anxiously from beneath the stage.
“Honored Master, do you have any way to protect Nie Chong?” Shen Qinghong couldn’t help but ask Elder Lian Cheng.
Elder Lian Cheng smiled wryly, “This is the martial competition of the Grand Ceremony, and there are rules in place that we must obey. If we interfere with this battle, then everyone from the sect will be disqualified from the competition. Plus, even if we ignore the consequences, the Sacred Sword Palace isn’t here just for show. They will not idly sit by.”
Shen Qinghong cast a glance at the Sacred Sword Palace’s direction. It was obvious that those of the Sacred Sword Palace were eying them. They were clearly on guard against any movement, and doing their best to nonverbally provoke them into action.
Dan Chi said in a heavy tone, “Those who are willing to bet must pay their due.”
Jiang Chen raised his head to watch the unfolding battle. He knew that Nie Chong would either die or be destroyed if this situation were to continue any further. To be frank, he wasn’t responsible for Nie Chong’s current predicament. Even if he hadn’t destroyed Wang Jing earlier, the Sacred Sword Palace still wouldn’t have shown mercy to a Regal Pill Palace disciple. At worst, his action of destroying Wang Jing had only worsened an already bad situation.
Jiang Chen cast a glance up the ring. Nie Chong was already surrounded by peril, and looked liable to falter at any moment.
While Nie Chong was extremely impulsive, he was ultimately a Regal Pill Palace disciple as well. If anything happened to him, Palace Head Dan Chi would be humiliated too.
Jiang Chen immediately sent a silent message to Long Xiaoxuan, “Brother Long, can you please help my peer over there? You don’t need to show yourself. Just interrupt that battle for a bit so he has a chance to surrender.”
Long Xiaoxuan was a true blooded dragon, and he was truly reluctant to do something as trivial as this. However, he had to admit that he had been getting along quite well with Jiang Chen recently, and Jiang Chen hadn’t summoned him much at all. Therefore, he didn’t turn down Jiang Chen’s request despite his reluctance. He simply voiced his complaints, “I’m not your nanny. I can’t believe you called me over for something like this.”
“Brother Long, I don’t have your ability to conceal yourself, do I? It is exactly because you are so capable that I ask for your help.” Jiang Chen knew Long Xiaoxuan very well. He knew that this little dragon was amenable to coaxing but not coercion. If someone were to flatter him, coax him, and praise him to the heavens, then nothing would be a problem.
As expected, Long Xiaoxuan immediately grew motivated the moment he heard Jiang Chen’s praise. The dragon race was very adept at invisibility and concealment. They could instantly transform into the size of a mustard seed and conceal themselves from the naked eye.
Of course, even without the ability to transform into the size of a mustard seed, a dragon could enfold itself within space and pass unseen.
Long Xiaoxuan shrank himself to the size of a mustard seed and flew up over the ring. It casually used a bit of strength and pushed down lightly on the middle of the ring.
The two men who’d been caught up in a pitched battle were suddenly sent skidding backwards by an unknown power. They staggered to a halt at the edges of the arena, nearly falling off because of how off balance they were.
Nie Chong had been at the end of his rope to begin with. His valor had been the only thing that kept him going. Not only did he feel no anger at being pushed out of the battle, he even felt like a drowning person who’d suddenly risen above the water’s surface.
As proud as Nie Chong was, he knew that this battle couldn’t continue any longer. It was only a matter of time before he was destroyed by Jin Feng.
“I surrender.” When Nie Chong uttered these two words, the Sacred Sword Palace disciples beneath the arena immediately started to boo and jeer.
“What the hell, how can he surrender without even putting up a fight?!”
“Is the Regal Pill Palace made up of cowards who escape from battle?”
“What trash! People like him have no right to be a part of the Grand Myriad Ceremony!”
Even Wang Han could not help but swear inwardly. He was obviously surprised by this outcome as well. He couldn’t deny that Jin Feng likely wasn’t strong enough to ravage Shen Qinghong, but how had he given Nie Chong, a character below the sage realm, the chance to surrender? For a moment, Wang Han almost suspected that Jin Feng was purposely butting heads with him. Yet, Jin Feng himself was also completely bewildered by this outcome.
He had completely dominated the battle just now, and was literally seconds away from destroying Nie Chong. However, a strange power that he wasn’t able to resist at all had appeared out of nowhere and thrown him involuntarily to the edge of the ring. This shocking turn of events left him standing still in shock for a while before he finally came back to himself.
“Objection!” Jin Feng stared at the Regal Pill Palace beneath the stage with a furious look on his face, “Someone interfered with the battle just now!”
There were at least several hundred pairs of eyes who were watching the battle between Jin Feng and Nie Chong just now. It did look like a kind of force had pushed the duo apart while they were locked in battle earlier.
There was just one problem. All several hundred pairs of eyes had clearly seen no one interfering with the battle.
Had the Regal Pill Palace interrupted the battle?
Even if the Sacred Sword Palace hadn’t been keeping a hungry eye on them, the Regal Pill Palace was still quite a distance away from the ring. Just how difficult would it be to interfere with the battle from that distance? Therefore, the referees wasn’t sure how to deal with Jin Feng’s objection.
Wang Jianyu was absolutely furious. His face darkened as he walked forward, “Dan Chi, the honest person does nothing underhand. If your Regal Pill Palace couldn’t bear losing, then just admit it openly. Aren’t you ashamed of interfering with a battle?”
“Right! The Sacred Sword Palace requests an investigation into the Regal Pill Palace’s interference with a battle. According to the rules, they should all be disqualified!” A Sacred Sword Palace elder hooted.
“Yes, investigate them!” Everyone else in Sacred Sword Palace began to clamor as well.
Dan Chi himself hadn’t interfered with the battle. He also knew that no one on the Regal Pill Palace’s side had interfered with the battle. So he faced the Sacred Sword Palace’s overbearing attitude fearlessly and showered them with a disdainful smile. “What did you just say, Wang Jianyu? Did you think everyone present here is blind, or is your Sacred Sword Palace simply made up of a bunch of pigs? You were all watching us with extreme prejudice. If we’d truly interfered with the battle, do you think no one here would notice? Would you have let us interfere without jumping in as well?”
Dan Chi had a clear conscience, so naturally his words were bold and confident. There were also plenty of Great Cathedral members who were dissatisfied with Sacred Sword Palace’s complaints too. This was because the Sacred Sword Palace’s claims that anyone who surrendered were cowards had stepped onto their toes too. After all, their Li Xin had just surrendered voluntarily just now.
The elder of Great Cathedral’s Sacred Wolf family had naturally questioned Li Xin about his battle earlier and knew of Mu Gaoqi showing mercy. This was why the Sacred Wolf family felt a bit of gratitude towards the Regal Pill Palace. When they heard the Sacred Sword Palace claim that those who surrendered were cowards, they couldn’t help but feel even more unhappy.
They felt gratitude for one side and disgust at the other. An elder of the Sacred Wolf Clan slammed his hands down on the table and surged to his feet. “Does the Sacred Sword Palace only know how to cause trouble without good reason? There are countless eyes who are watching this battle, and you claim that the Regal Pill Palace had interfered? I say instead it’s you putting on the act and seeking to disqualify an entire sect!”
The slander caused the aggrieved Sacred Sword Palace to feel like they’d just run headfirst into a wall.
However, upon careful thought, the elder’s statements weren’t invalid either. There were plenty of people who were present during the battle. How could nobody have noticed if the Regal Pill Palace really did interfere with the battle? This was slander from the Sacred Sword Palace!