Bai Yunfei could see it now.
The Cheng knew they couldn't use their status to try and force Bai Yunfei to do anything, so they opted to swap to a more cunning strategy to take revenge for Cheng Xin. By issuing a 'challenge' they'd be able to take back the face they had lost.
Comparing notes was a theoretically safe sparring session, but neither the leg or arm had any eyes, and so injuries were often very hard to avoid. If they could have Cheng Yao—who was from the same generation as Bai Yunfei—fight and win against Bai Yunfei, not only could they reclaim the face they had lost 'fair and square', they could also use it as a way to mask their intentions of teaching Bai Yunfei a lesson.
The fact that Wu Hong was silent was proof enough that he was agreeing with this plan, or at the very least didn't have any other way to mediate this conflict. The son of a minister had been severely hurt, after all, and no matter who was right or wrong, the Cheng had to do something about it. Their honor was at stake after all.
Comparing notes would be a very simple and 'fair' way of resolving this conflict between booth parties.
Perhaps Wu Hong didn't really care for this matter and was only interested in seeing two talented geniuses of the same generation compete and potentially learn from the battle.
The die had already been cast, so who was Bai Yunfei to refuse it?
"If lord Cheng wishes to compare notes, then this one will be honored to do so. Please instruct me well."
Cheng Yao's eyes lit up at his response. Lips curling into a meaningful smile, he rose up to face Wu Hong, "Your Majesty, as you have heard, brother Bai and I wish to compare notes. If Your Majesty could be a witness, the two of us will fight well and without regrets!"
Wu Hao smiled from besides Wu Hong, "Haha, very well then. Two youngsters fighting one another is a good learning experience. To have two geniuses compare notes today is a very difficult thing to come by. Please let us see a befitting match from two geniuses."
Wu Hong gave a slightly deep loo kat Cheng Huayu first before he nodded. "Very well. You two are both well known youths of your generation, and having two of those in one place is quite rare. Comparing notes wouldn't be too bad of a thing. I'll allow it. You may proceed outside."
Wu Hong stood up to lead everyone into the outside of the hall with Wu Hao and Cheng Huayu right behind him. Giving Bai Yunfei a quick look, Cheng Yao followed behind his father while Wu Ren and Wu Yang walked with Bai Yunfei.
"Instructor Bai, that Cheng Yao is one of the more outstanding students from the Wind Lightning School. I heard that he became a peak late-stage Soul Exalt several years ago and can use both elemental wind and lightning to a point where his strength is beyond those of his same level. Please be careful." Wu Yang whispered in warning to him.
Bai Yunfei narrowed his eyes, "The Wind Lightning School? Cheng Yao is from that school?!"
"He is. Cheng Yao is gifted in using both elements. He's rumored to be able to use them in strange ways too. The Wind Lightning School personally came to scout him out and so he was taught since he was small in the school. He's one of their major students."
Wu Ren chose that moment to speak up as well. "Yunfei, Cheng Yao's current strength isn't something that can simply be classified as a peak late-stage Soul Exalt. He's very close to becoming a Soul King and can be considered one of the strongest under Soul Kings. You must be very careful when you fight him."
The look on Bai Yunfei's face hardened by a fraction of a degree. "Yes." He nodded, "Thank you for your warnings, I will take note of it."
He hadn't thought that Cheng Yao would have a story like that behind his person. Being the eldest son of a minister was already very superior by itself, but to hear he was one of the core disciples from the Wind Lightning School was more than enough to make Bai Yunfei reconsider the importance of this person. He had already met another person from the Wind Lightning School, Du Shaokong who had been very amazing. From what he heard already, this Cheng Yao was definitely far more amazing than Du Shaokong.
There was also the unordinary aura he was picking up from Cheng Yao's person. That type of soulforce was far beyond what any peak late-stage Soul Exalt should be capable of. In a way, he felt similar to that of instructor Xiao Nan back in the academy who was extremely close to becoming a Soul King.
Him being a core disciple of the Wind Lightning School by being able to use both elemental wind and lightning made him even more amazing than most soul cultivators. Combined with the fact that the Wind Lightning School had definitely taught him several extremely strong techniques, Cheng Yao's strength could definitely be considered extremely strong. Being known as one of the strongest beneath Soul Kings would definitely not be wasted on him.
While Bai Yunfei had fought several times against a Soul King, those times had always been with the help of his soulbeasts like Xiao Qi, the blue-eyes wyrm, or the permafrost mastiff. If he were to fight someone else of the same caliber as an early-stage Soul Kingby himself, even if it was just comparing notes, Bai Yunfei wasn't very confidence in his chances.
This was also including in the fact that Bai Yunfei's current physical condition was far from optimal. To fight against Cheng Yao who was second only to a Soul King, it was definitely unknown to Bai Yunfei just how this battle would go….
It was too late to retreat now, though. The opponent had already asked the ruler to take witness in this challenge, and the die had already been cast for Bai Yunfei.
Outside the hall was a giant plaza that spanned for a great deal of space. With everyone walking outside, Wu Hong stared at both Bai Yunfei and Cheng Yao. "This is a spar to compare notes rather than a battle to the death. Do not do anything that might threaten the life of the other, understand?"
Cheng Yao responded and bowed at once to Wu Hong. In a gust of wind, he took off into the skies and came to a stop roughly two hundred meters high in the sky. Rather than using elemental energy to form solid platforms to stand on as custom for all Soul Exalts, Cheng Yao's back had a pair of wings made of wind to help keep him 'afloat' in the air without falling.
Looking back at Cheng Yao staring from the skies, Bai Yunfei bowed once to Wu Hong and Wu Hao and nodded once to Wu Ren and Wu Yang. His feet glowed red as he stepped into the skies, each step he took had a small platform of elemental energy to take him higher and higher before he came to a stop just twenty meters away from Cheng Yao on the same level of height.
Cheng Yao's eyes were focused on Bai Yunfei as he came up. Not even a bit of hostility was leaking from him, but he seemed more than ready to use all his strength to fight and test just how strong Bai Yunfei's strength was as it was known in the 'rumors'.
He didn't know much about Bai Yunfei besides what he was told from the elders of his family. From them, he had heard that a few late-stage Soul Exalts protecting Cheng Xin had been defeated in a single blow. He also learned that his second uncle had been unable to stop Bai Yunfei from leaving, and according to him, this Bai Yunfei was capable of using a soul attack somehow.
But if he looked at Bai Yunfei right now, there didn't seem to be anything special to him. The aura Bai Yunfei was showing wasn't any different than to what a late-stage Soul Exalt might show. Even more curious was the state of Bai Yunfei's body. Normally, a body filled with energy would normally have the sensation of being bottomless almost with how much energy there was, but Bai Yunfei's body hadn't that same feeling to it.
"Could he still be hiding his full strength then?" Cheng Yao wondered to himself.
The two men regarded each other for two seconds before Cheng Yao cupped his hand customarily to Bai Yunfei. "Brother Bai, please instruct me well."
Likewise, Bai Yunfei lifted his right hand, "Please."
"Then….be careful, brother Bai!"
With that opening remark, Cheng Yao took action with a grunt. Eyes glowing with a cold light, the wings on his back flapped once before his entire person was propelled forward. Both hands a blur, Cheng Yao weaved elemental energy through them for an attack.
Rather than elemental wind, it was….elemental lightning!
He closed the distance between him and Bai Yunfei in the blink of an eye with both hands now at their opposing side of his waists and bent slightly at the fingers as if to grab onto something. As soulforce circulated through his body, his arms both swung outwards!
Elemental lightning surged out from him as soon as he took action. As if caught by his hands and whipped open like a curtain, the elemental lightning within the surrounding area immediately came alive to surge and spark chaotically for a hundred meters all around!
Like a chain reaction, more and more elemental lightning started to spark to life. Purple colored lightning spanned the entire area to cover both Bai Yunfei and Cheng Yao at the center!
A series of crackling could be heard as the elemental lightning grew stronger and stronger. Ray after ray of elemental lightning shot this way and that, creating a net of lightning all around.
In the blink of an eye, the space around Bai Yunfei had turned into a lightning field!
This was a technique of the Wind Lightning School: Lighting Purgatory!