On the stage, Zi Chen and Wu Sheng were both diligently restoring their zhen qi.
Under the stage, many disciples were in the midst of heated discussion, eagerly anticipating the results of today’s final battle. Up on the platform, the elders were also discussing something amongst themselves in a low, soft voices.
Their gazes would wander to Zi Chen, and then shift to Wu Sheng from time to time, their eyes full of interest.
A little while later, Wu Sheng finally opened his clear eyes. After using the Qi Restoration pill, his zhen qi had been restored to about 70 or 80 percent. It wasn’t the condition with which he would have liked to fight with, but it was sufficient enough for him to launch a full power attack. At around the same time, Zi Chen also stood up after having restored more than half of his own zhen qi.
A trace of surprise surfaced in Wu Sheng’s eyes. He had not expected Zi Chen’s recovery speed to be on par with his. However, this was of little concern to him.
“Are you ready?” Wu Sheng asked expressionlessly.
Zi Chen nodded in affirmation.
Under the heavy, anticipatory gazes of the crowd, their auras changed instantaneously. Zhen qi rushed to the surface of Wu Sheng’s body like a fireball that had been compressed to its limit and was ready to explode at any moment.
Not one to lose out, Zi Chen tightly clenched his fists as his body transformed into a fierce tiger. After Zi Chen had grasped the essence of true meaning of the Fierce Tiger Fist, he had obtained the indomitable aura of a mountain king. However, the aura Zi Chen currently exuded was both hard and soft. Both consistencies were thoroughly assimilated and Zi Chen felt as if he could attack and defend simultaneously; a king with no flaws, no weaknesses.
Zi Chen’s original transformation had discharged only an aura of indescribable toughness and tenacity. However, at this moment, his rigidness had lessened considerably, and traces of flexibility could be detected flowing through his powerful demeanor. His kingly aura no longer had any deficiencies to it.
The two of them confronted each other without any pretense, their auras becoming increasingly stronger as they stared at each other with stubborn determination: one seemed ready to explode upon contact while the other seemed flawless.
“This is the complete Star Burst Fist.”
In the square, the audience stared at Wu Sheng, shock appearing in all of their expressions. Wu Sheng had actually fully comprehended the rank two martial technique, Star Burst Fist. Based on this natural talent alone, he was already no weaker than the Chen Feng of the past, if the two were compared.
Everyone’s expressions changed after seeing Wu Sheng at his best, even Chen Feng. Not only had Chen Feng seen the potential of Zi Chen’s incomprehensible talent today, he had also just witnessed the birth of another talent that was no less than himself, Wu Sheng.
After experiencing the circumstances today, Chen Feng’s complexion gradually became gloomier.
“This Wu Sheng is too frightening. No one knew about his strength before, yet he was able bear through the lack of recognition patiently. Now he has amazed the world with a single, brilliant feat. It seems that Zi Chen will lose.”
“Given that Zi Chen is up against an opponent with one higher Zhen Qi layer and stronger martial technique, he is probably going to lose for sure.”
The crowd came to this conclusion with a series of sighs. Obviously, there was some disappointment.
“That may not necessarily be true.” Miao Kong’s eyes shone with light and conviction. He had noticed that the aura coming from Zi Chen’s body was no weaker than Wu Sheng’s. Moreover the aura of Zi Chen’s Fierce Tiger had some changes to it, although what exactly changed, Miao Kong was unable to tell.
Let alone Miao Kong, even the elders watching were not able to see through it at first sight.
On the stage, the two auras reached their peak. Wu Sheng suddenly shouted aloud and launched his attack without any prior warning, both his fists clenched tightly. Relying on the aura he had built up previously, he sent out a fierce punch. All his zhen qi simultaneously began rushing crazily towards his fists like a wild creature out of control.
Both of his fists shone like the stars. They glittered and seemed to be bursting with an aura of extreme dominance and confidence.
As the attack approached him, Zi Chen moved as agilely as a tiger would, his Fierce Tiger Fist perfectly integrated with Flowing Cloud Step. He shifted slightly, evading the Star Burst Fist’s strongest attack and simultaneously punching out.
The Fierce Tiger Fist that had finished charging earlier was finally unleashed, causing a shocking roar to resonate through the surroundings. The attack Zi Chen directed at Wu Sheng was infused with all his physical strength and zhen qi.
The wind wailed furiously and a tiger’s roar could be heard echoing within it, whistling throughout the whole battle square. The Fierce Tiger Fist had been imbued with a shadow of fierceness along with an aura of flexibility, both aspects increasing the strength of the attack exponentially.
Someone cried in alarm, “This is the fusion of two martial techniques!”
The moment Zi Chen launched his attack, an elder watching from the platform abruptly stood up and exclaimed, his face twisting.
At the same time, the expressions of several other elders also contorted with astonishment.
Achieving the fusion of two martial techniques went far beyond the grasping of their essence of true meaning. In fact, its power was several times more formidable than any ordinary martial technique.
Igniting sparks flashed through the great elder’s eyes, though, in contrast, the second elder had a deathly pale complexion as cold sweat dripped forebodingly down his forehead.
Under the innumerable expressions of shock and surprise, their attacks collided, emitting a sharp, screeching sound upon collision. The entire battling stage began to tremble and shake under the pressure, dozens of stones broke off from the edge and fell down.
Zi Chen’s body moved swiftly along the ground like an arrow, retreating more than ten meters in an instant. He reached the edge of the stage and, with a deathly pale expression, spit out a mouthful of fresh blood. All of a sudden, his face had a look of blank listlessness.
At the same time, a figure was streaking upside-down across the sky. Against Zi Chen’s martial technique fusion, Wu Sheng had been utterly blown away, leaving behind a streak of fresh blood as his body traveled through the air. He flew to the edge and, as his body tumbled to the ground, he fell from the battling stage.
Thus, the winner was decided with a single attack from the both of them, but the two had similarly been severely injured.
However, since Zi Chen remained on the stage and Wu Sheng had fallen out of it, Zi Chen had won.
There were no cheers from the surrounding crowd, only silence. Every single person in the crowd widened their eyes in shock, staring at the incredible scene that had just played out on the battling stage.
Today, a disciple appeared on stage after having completely comprehended the set of a rank two martial technique; that in itself was very terrifying. This disciple naturally had the talent to catch up with senior brother Chen Feng. But nobody would have guessed at that time that they would witness the fusion of two martial techniques.
The perfect fusion of Fierce Tiger Fist with Flowing Cloud Step allowed this rank three martial technique to be as powerful as a complete rank two martial technique.
Moreover, Zi Chen’s powerful physique had made up for his lack of zhen qi. It was with good luck that Zi Chen was able to sidestep the Star Burst Fist’s strongest move and win.
On the stage, Zi Chen stood up slowly, his eyes slowly becoming incomparably bright. Under the watchful eyes of the crowd, he had won. There was surely no way that the elders could be impartial now.
The nearby referee elder had a face full of shock and did not even have the presence of mind to announce the winner and loser.
“This battle is draw.” Just when Zi Chen was about to remind the referee, a voice resounded from the platform. The second elder was standing up, his clear voice resonating out to the audience..
The crowd was thrown into an uproar. Under everybody’s careful gaze, it was obvious that Zi Chen remained on the stage while Wu Sheng had fallen out. The moment the second elder said the battle was a draw, many thoughts sprang across everyone’s minds, and they came to understand a lot about the circumstances.
“With respect to the second elder, where does this verdict come from?” Zi Chen turned his head to look at the second elder. For his own future, he had no choice but to be a little bit bold.
With the facts laid out in front of everyone, the second elder was unable to justify anything, but his expression changed as he said to Zi Chen: “How audacious. You dare question the decision of an elder? Don’t you understand the sect’s rule?”
“Rules? What rules?” Zi Chen said aloud. “I only know that right now, I am standing on this stage. I have won, but elder actually said that it was draw. Is this what you mean by sect rules?”
The second elder was unable to refute Zi Chen’s argument. He could only stand there and fiercely glower at Zi Chen. Today, Zi Chen had offended yet another person.
Zi Chen turned his head to face the great elder. He paid his respects and politely said, “Great elder, please make a decision for this disciple.”
The great elder narrowed his eyes once more, looking at Zi Chen without speaking. Today’s matter was really unexpected, and the seat for becoming the core disciple was indeed prepared for Wu Sheng. However, they never thought that Zi Chen would actually defeat Wu Sheng.
Other elders looked at each other in blank dismay, apparently unable to control the present situation.
Wu Sheng stood up slowly and lowered his head in shame. He now regretted his recklessness. If not for his overconfidence, both of them would have tied for first place and he would have become a core disciple for sure.
Now that he was defeated, his place there was no longer guaranteed.
The disciples under the stage all focused their attention on Zi Chen. Some people there took pleasure in his unfortunate situation, some looked on in envy, and others sympathized with the injustice Zi Chen was experiencing. There were a few who sneered with the intent to kill.
Under the pleading look from the second elder, the great elder spoke with impassioned eyes, “Allow us to reconsider this matter. The decision will be announced tomorrow.”
Zi Chen’s heart froze, and a bad premonition welled up inside him.
After the great elder asked them to disperse, the audience soon took their leave. Outer and inner sect disciples alike returned to where they should be. Chen Feng left with a sneer and Su Mengyao gave Zi Chen a complex look before returning as well.
Wang Xiong’s eyes were filled with bloodlust. Him and the other inner sect disciples left with Wang Meng.
Miao Kong came up to Zi Chen after everyone else had gone. “Try to accept it. Even if they call it a tie, your first place is undeniable.” Miao Kong patted his shoulder gently to comfort him.
Zi Chen nodded, but the fury in his eyes and the heaviness of his breathing showed that he was not calm at all at the moment.
Lin Xue’s eyes were already red. She also felt unresigned in her heart, but she had no way of changing it.
Zi Chen eventually left. He was only 18 years old, and although having already experienced death, he had never come across this atrocious circumstance before. He was not able to calm himself for quite a while.
The great elder’s final words struck Zi Chen like a heavy hammer, pounding away at his heart.
‘Reconsider this matter.’ From these few simple words, Zi Chen knew that even if he was able to keep first place, he would never receive the seat for core disciple.
If there was any intention of giving it to him, this matter would not have been postponed.
Zi Chen was unable to calm his anger for a very long time. Boundless resentment encircled his heart, and he was wracked with an impulse to just leave the Ling Wu sect immediately.
Lin Xue left in a haste and returned to her home. A moment later, she was standing outside a small wooden house, both sides were planted with a variety of flowers and plants. The scenery was beautiful and accompanied with a faint flowery fragrance.
Lin Xue quickly entered the small, wooden house where Su Mengyao was already waiting, as if she knew that Lin Xue would come.
“Senior Sister, please help Zi Chen, today’s matter…” Lin Xue had not even taken a seat before starting to ramble on anxiously.
“Xue’er, do not worry. Have a seat.” Su Mengyao chuckled and said.
“How I can not be worried? Today’s matter was obviously the second elder’s fault. He intends to favor Wu Sheng. Even if Zi Chen won first place, it’s still impossible for him to enter the core.” Lin Xue pleaded, “I beg you senior sister, please help Zi Chen. I do not ask you to say anything for him, I only hope that the elders’ decisions would be fair.”
Su Mengyao was very hesitant. Although she also valued Zi Chen, should she go to the trouble of offending those elders after their decisions were made just for him? He seemed quite unworthy of it. But when she saw Lin Xue’s pleading face, Su Mengyao nodded. She finally agreed, “Okay, I will try.”
Su Mengyao left Lin Xue in the wooden house, waiting expectantly.
After a while, Su Mengyao came back, with a look of disappointment on her face, she guiltily said, “Chen Feng didn’t care and said that I must obey the decision of the elders.”
Lin Xue’s heart froze.
In another place, the ten elders on the platform today were gathered once more to discuss today’s matters.