Chapter 483 - Grudges
On a barren mountain range, five figures stood upright on a towering peak, facing into the wind. Despite the erratic gales present around them, these five figures were like boulders, unmoving in the wind. Even their clothes remained still and unaffected by the wind.
Among the five, the leader of the group was leaning on a large boulder. His glanced lazily towards the distant mountain range, where rampant Spiritual Energy fluctuations were sporadically bursting out.
Dressed in white robes, this leader figure had a slender build. Appearing exceedingly handsome, a warm smile hung from the corner of his mouth, giving him a friendly and genial impression as his black hair gently blew in the wind. Although the other four behind him were not average people too, next to him, they definitely dimmed in comparison. His appearance and demeanour really stood out from the crowd.
He was Saint Spiritual Academy’s Ji Xuan.
Behind Ji Xuan, a golden-haired youth chuckled as he stared at the distant mountain range. “Captain, that fight seems to be drawing to a close. The twelve remaining teams are of decent strength, and I count at least twelve who have crossed their Human Body Disaster.”
Hearing this, Ji Xuan nodded with a laugh. “12 teams… yet another big meal, eh? I wonder if this will actually be too much for us.”
“With Captain around, even experts who have passed their Spiritual Energy Disaster would avoid us. Any team that doesn’t are asking to be crushed,” replied another teammate, whose body was thick and sturdy, with a straightforward laugh. Many scars ran across his face, giving him a vicious and malevolent aura.
“Still waters run deep. There’re many crouching tigers and hidden dragons in this Great Spiritual Academy Tournament. If you’re overly confident, you might suffer a defeat due to negligence.” Ji Xuan slightly smiled, staring into the distance with an abstruse look in his eyes. “Apparently, there are many Spiritual Academies that have secretly enlisted the help of geniuses and prodigies from large and influential clans for the Great Spiritual Tournament this time. While many of them have yet to reveal themselves, as the Tournament progresses, these hidden experts will naturally reveal themselves. Only then will there be genuinely fearsome fights.”
“Even if we disregard all those experts, there’s still the teams from the other four Great Spiritual Academies. Those teams won’t lose out to ours, and we’ve yet to meet them. Aren’t we already being thoroughly suppressed by Myriad Phoenix Spiritual Academy’s Wen Qingxuan?”
Upon hearing the name Wen Qingxuan, the four behind Ji Xuan wore sullen expressions on their faces. Right from the start of the Great Spiritual Academy Tournament, Wen Qingxuan’s team had snatched the top position in an overbearing manner. Despite the fact that the current leaderboard might not accurately reflect the final standings, their ability to hold onto the pole position was a testament to their ability.
“The rumours say that Wen Qingxuan’s a heaven-sent beauty…” Laughing, one of the youths replied, “She participated in the Spiritual Road alongside you, right? With your charm and wit, were you unable to conquer this proud phoenix?”
Ji Xuan nonchalantly shrugged. “She is one of the most frightening ladies from the Spiritual Road… furthermore, beauty and dashing looks have no effect on her.”
The golden-haired youth latched onto Ji Xuan’s words, questioning, “Wait, there are other girls whom you fear? Who? There’s actually someone comparable to Wen Qingxuan?”
Sinking into his thoughts, the smile on Ji Xuan’s face faded. Staring into the distance, a dark look flashed past his eyes. “Another one… her name is Luo Li. She did not lose out to Wen Qingxuan in any way, it’s just that her personality differs from Wen Qingxuan, and she cared less about contesting for a ranking…”
He could still clearly remember her. Dressed in a black skirt, carrying a longsword, hair like a silver river, and a pair of limpid eyes, clear as glass. She was so dazzling, so much that one would get intoxicated just by looking at her. If Wen Qingxuan was a proud and respectable phoenix who bowed down to no one, Luo Li was a lone black lotus in the bowels of a deep valley, her breathtaking beauty only blossoming before the person she fancied.
Her innate ability was in no way inferior to Wen Qingxuan’s. If she so desired, she could even be as illuminated as Wen Qingxuan in the limelight. However… she simply stood quietly alongside that fellow. That still gaze she levelled at everyone would only show traces of warmth and gentleness when she looked at that fellow. That rare display of softness could spur countless men to move mountains.
Slowly clenching his fists, his finger gouged into the boulder beside him like it was just butter. His gaze turned chilly as his eyes drooped.
Sucking in a deep breath of air, Ji Xuan closed his eyes.
Before he became Mu Chen’s sworn enemy, he’d actually met Luo Li once. In that moment, Luo Li was being chased and attacked by ruthless opponents, yet all he did was watch the situation from afar. He knew that helping another on the Spiritual Road was a foolish act, and not being a benevolent person to begin with, he would not risk his safety to save another for no good reason.
Therefore, he simply stood aside and watched.
He watched as an arrow shot out from the forest and pierced into her shoulder with a spurt of fresh blood. As she staggered from the impact, she looked up, and discovered Ji Xuan watching from afar.
As their gazes met, and despite her precarious situation, her still and clear gaze never once wavered, nor did she send a plea for help. She simply turned around and rushed into the forest, disappearing like a shadow, leaving a startled Ji Xuan behind.
He never saw her again.
Upon the next time they met, half a year had passed. She had found a companion, a slender youth with dashing looks and eyes as deep as the night sky.
This time, he noticed that she had slightly changed. The girl who would maintain a calm expression in the face of death, was now gently smiling when she glanced at the youth beside her. That gentle smile was so breathtakingly beautiful, it caused his heart to tremble and shake.
He had to admit that a seed of jealousy was planted in his heart right there and then.
If he had previously taken action, he might have been the one standing beside her instead…
What he failed to realise was that after saving Luo Li’s life, Mu Chen had been hunted down by her for a whole six months. In that six-month-long chase, they had been through hell and back. Day-after-day, the youth had taught her many valuable lessons, only to receive a barrage of attacks in return, leaving him with no choice but to continuously retreat.
And with every successful escape, those calm eyes started showing slivers of emotions from within her, and every so often, the corner of her mouth would arc into a gentle smile.
The chase lasted for half a year, before Luo Li saw through Mu Chen’s various cunning methods and finally held her sword at his throat.
He bitterly laughed, only to receive a sweet smile in response.
Ji Xuan would never find out about this, and due to subsequent events, would start a feud with Mu Chen, and through the many attempts on each other’s lives, become bitter rivals.
Many might believe that their rivalry would have started sooner or later. After all, both of them were outstanding, and with Ji Xuan’s personality, he would not be able to accept another equally talented person occupying the same area as him, and thus their conflict was inevitable… Ji Xuan, himself, did not deny this reasoning, but bystanders wouldn’t realise that deep within his heart, there was another reason…
He wanted to thrash Mu Chen, in order to let the girl who moved his heart see that he was leagues above Mu Chen.
However, as the conflicts between them escalated, Ji Xuan started to consider Mu Chen as a real threat. With his shocking growth, Ji Xuan no longer had a guarantee of preventing Mu Chen from becoming the most dazzling figure in the Spiritual Road.
Hence, he had to eliminate Mu Chen!
Resorting to using underhanded methods, he finally succeeded, resulting in Mu Chen being banished from the Spiritual Road…
Yet, on the day Mu Chen started the Blood Calamity and got banished from the Spiritual Road, Ji Xuan noticed the Luo Li had been watching him from a faraway peak. Those beautiful eyes that he had once lost himself in were now directing a chilly gaze right at him, giving off a strong killing intent.
After she turned and left, she disappeared, and their next meeting was the end of the Spiritual Road.
She had given up the opportunity to obtain the greatest reward from the Spiritual Road, crazily sending attack after attack in his direction. In that bitter fight, both sides had suffered grave injuries.
And despite the heavy injuries, her icy stare never once left him.
“The only reason for me to not kill you where you stand, is that Mu Chen will show you what defeat truly means. In my eyes, you will never reach his level.”
This was their first actual conversation, yet she had uttered such words, causing the usually stoic Ji Xuan to rage within his heart.
With a violent punch, the huge boulder beside him exploded into a dust cloud that covered the skies.
In that moment, a nasty expression was present on his handsome face as a frightening Spiritual Energy swept out, scattering the violent gales around him.
Behind him, his teammates stared in shock as Ji Xuan momentarily lost control over his emotions. This was the first time they had witnessed this side of Ji Xuan.
After punching the boulder, Ji Xuan took a deep breath, finally managing to compose himself. Clenching his fists, a malevolent aura rose in his eyes. “Luo Li, since you think so highly of him, I’ll crush him right before your eyes, and I want him to die a terrible death!”
Seeing his current expression, his teammates were shocked. Just as they were about to speak, their Academy Plaques suddenly gave off a bright flash of light. They hurriedly looked over, before their expressions changed and they let out a cry of alarm.
“Eh? Xia Hou’s team has disappeared from the rankings?!”
“There’s actually a team from the Northern Heavens Spiritual Academy on the leaderboards…”
Upon hearing this, Ji Xuan squinted his eyes. With a wave of his palm, his Academy Plaque appeared, and his gaze fell on the name of the team who had just broken through into the leaderboards.
Great Spiritual Academy Tournament, Ninth Place: Northern Heavens Spiritual Academy. Captain: Mu Chen.