Before the assembly at Floating Mountain could begin, many people heard about some interesting news. Tian Quan Sect’s outer disciple Han Jiande had initiated a Life or Death Challenge against Pure Yang Palace’s outer disciple Yang Chen, and Yang Chen had immediately accepted that challenge. Both sides had agreed on the time and a vacant land for the Life and Death duel.
For the outer disciples of two sects to partake in a life and death challenge, this was the correct way for cultivators to resolve their hatred and enmity without any tricks. No matter what the outcome is, both parties must let go of all the resentments. Naturally since it was life and death challenge, often one of the parties died in the end. Since the person had already died what kind of resentments wouldn’t he let go?
But in this duel, there was large disparity in the strength of both parties, one was at the sixth qi layer, the other was at the second qi layer. However, this was precisely the reason for this life and death challenge. Although Han Jiande already somewhat regretted it, Yang Chen had forced him into that position, he was also not a person who would refuse to face reality and not dare to challenge Yang Chen.
Although the parties concerned hadn’t appeared, a lot of people had already filled the surroundings of the area where the duel was supposed to be held. The majority of them were disciples who were below the foundation stage, the main participants of the assembly at the Floating Mountain. As for the masters with a strength of the foundation stage or above, would two youngsters in qi realm fighting be worth it, for them to specifically come over?
Han Jiande had not come late but compared to Yang Chen he was still early. When he appeared, there was not a person from Pure Yang Palace present. Han Jiande was also unexpectedly distracted at that time, so he found a place and sat down in meditation, to wait and to meditate.
From left to right everyone was waiting, but still nobody from Pure Yang Palace had appeared yet, so gradually the surrounding people started commenting.
“What is the matter? The people of Pure Yang Palace should not be afraid!”
“Strange, have they not negotiated the arrangements of the life and death challenge? The agreed upon time is already here, yet they still haven’t come?”
“They are really clever, a second qi layer cultivator against a sixth qi layer cultivator, isn’t that simply throwing away one’s life?”
“That is not completely correct, that disciple of Pure Yang Palace is known as Yang Chen, reportedly he had already fought and killed three seventh qi layer and an eighth qi layer assassins, a sixth qi layer cultivator is a mere trifle for him!”
“How do you know that is really true? Maybe the Pure Yang Palace has spread this, just to increase his reputation.”
“What is the Tian Quan sect doing? A sixth qi layer disciple issuing a life and death challenge against a second qi layer cultivator, isn’t this simply bullying? The Tian Quan Sect and the Pure Yang Palace are not known to have any great disagreements!”
“I have heard that it was Tian Quan Sect’s disciple Han Jiande who had taken the initiative to issue this challenge. It is said that Fellow Daoist Han had demanded a contest to learn by interaction, but Pure Yang Palace’s disciple Fellow Daoist Yang had immediately admitted defeat saying that he is not his opponent, if it was a life and death challenge than maybe they could fight. Fellow Daoist Han couldn’t just decline, if only to not put the label of a person who bullies the weak on himself. It would be fine if he won, but if he lost he would have to compensate with his life and fall from grace, alas!”
Discussing all of this and what not, everyone standing on the side of Tian Quan sect or the Pure Yang Palace, each were making their own theories at that time. Luckily the Floating Mountain assembly was considered an important event in the cultivation world, so numerous sects participated in it. However everyone was polite was each other, so everyone just talked with each other, but didn’t make any aggressive actions or comments.
Naturally Han Jiande also heard the discussions, but the more everyone was calmly discussing about it, the more depressed Han Jiande was getting. To escalate to a Life and Death duel from a mere quarrel over a minor issue, their words were not entirely false, he had forced himself into the current situation. If he could get another opportunity, he would absolutely not run around and try to trouble Yang Chen again.
Feeling gloomy enough to vomit blood, Han Jiande could not help but reach his hand for that talisman gem given to him by his Foreign Affairs Hall’s Master. The JieDan stage expert had only given him a bracelet, refined by the elder personally. As long as he feeds enough spirit power into it, it will immediately launch a devastating strike, which people below the foundation stage could at most barely survive with heavy injuries, if not die altogether.
His opponent Yang Chen only had the strength of the second qi layer, as long as he was hit by this attack, he would die without any doubt. Unfortunately, the Foreign Affair Hall’s Master had refined this for a female disciple, so Han Jiande could only conceal it within his qiankun pouch, otherwise if he wore it on his wrist, it would be impossible to defend effectively.
With this he could certainly kill Yang Chen. Only because it would produce hatred and desire for revenge within the Pure Yang Palace, was Han Jiande very anxious. However, compared to his life, this future inconvenience could be resolved afterwards, at least for now he needed to live. Thinking this, Han Jiande calmed his mind, while an expression of confidence bloomed on his face.
The people observing him naturally understood what was going on and sighed for Yang Chen, who had yet to appear. A disciple who was brought to the Floating Mountain Assembly by their sect is one, whom the sect thinks highly of. Unfortunately he is going to die at the life and death challenge.
Yang Chen was running a little late. After a quarter of an hour had passed, beyond the agreed time, he and Gongsun Ling appeared on the scene. Gongsun Ling had a look of watching passively, simply without any intention to help. Actually even if Gongsun Ling wanted to she couldn’t help: if someone breaks the custom in a life and death challenge between two people by saving one of them, it is seen as a provocation to everybody present on the scene.
“I was thinking that you are afraid of death so you wouldn’t come!”
Han Jiande coldly laughed while getting up. He had a great killing tool within his hand, he was not afraid in the least.
“The arrangements were to come at this time, I am not late!”
Yang Chen replied indifferently, then he turned towards the arbitrator and asked:
“Can we begin?”
The arbitrator was some other sect’s foundation stage disciple. In a life and death duel, the arbitrator is only responsible for making sure that both parties have nobody secretly assisting them, however, he has nothing to do with the other rules.
In response to Yang Chen’s question, the arbitrator looked towards Han Jiande, who faintly nodded. The arbitrator did not immediately begin, but instead asked both of them:
“This is a life and death duel, it will not stop till someone dies, before the duel, does anyone of you have anything to say?”
Han Jiande shook his head, in any case the one to die will not be him, so why speak so much rubbish?
The arbitrator looked at Yang Chen.
“For every debt there is a debtor, you and I have no past grudges, nor recent hatred, you took the initiative to initiate a life and death duel, which won’t stop until death, so on the road to the underworld, don’t blame the gods and accuse anyone, be at ease and on your way!”
Yang Chen expressionlessly finished speaking these words and did not speak anything again.
The arbitrator took a look at the left and right, then calmly waved his hand downwards.
Right after that he rapidly retreated, immediately withdrawing from the circle between both parties.
A sinister smile appeared on Han Jiande’s face: he did not intend to bring out the great killing weapon in the beginning. At least, until Yang Chen died, he wanted to pretend to give him honourable death in response to the recent humiliating words.
But before Han Jiande could even move, he sensed something directly before his eyes. Greatly alarmed, his throat started tightening, as if his entire person had been frozen.
With the support of two agility talismans strengthened by the Universal Treasure Raising Secrets, Yang Chen’s speed increased almost two to three times. The distance between the two was not that far, so Yang Chen merely took a step using some strength, and immediately arrived in front of Han Jiande.
In Han Jiande’s eyes, Yang Chen’s figure appeared at his side instantly. This kind of speed was just like that of a demon, so Han Jiande made a timely decision, he could not delay using his killer weapon anymore, it was just that he was already somewhat late coming to this conclusion.
A mountainous pressure enveloped him, to him it was like he was in hell. This kind of frightening aura destroyed all of his determination to resist, his whole body had gone rigid, incapable of moving anymore.
Even those immortals of the Heavenly Court felt scared when Yang Chen released his killing intent to the greatest extent, let alone a mere sixth qi layer ordinary disciple. In the eyes of everyone watching, Han Jiande had turned into a fool, merely reaching his hand to the edge of his qiankun pouch but unable to take the next action.
“Spare my life!”
These two simple words which he could speak effortlessly on a normal day, at this moment they were forcibly stuck in his throat, he wanted to shout but was not able to do it, and he could only stare helplessly as Yang Chen was nearing him. Desperation filled Han Jiande’s entire body.
Within Yang Chen’s hand, appeared an absolutely ferocious blade, and with just a slash, the long blade streaked across Han Jiande’s neck. Under the gaze of many eyes, Han Jiande’s head flew high in the sky and blood squirted from his neck. Meanwhile, the culprit of this, Yang Chen, had already stored the long blade and returned back to his original position and did not care to glance towards Han Jiande again. He was only looking at the arbitrator, waiting for him to announce the result.
All of his actions were too simple, rushing out, slashing the blade once, storing the blade and withdrawing, so simple, that it left no suspicion that he cheated. After a moment, Han Jiande’s body softly fell onto the ground, but Yang Chen’s body was quite clean right now as if he had just taken a bath. There was not a single blood stain on his body.
Shocking, startling, unimaginable, unfathomable, various kinds of expressions appeared on the faces of everyone watching. At this moment, everyone present had lost the proper bearing of cultivators, such an unbelievably majestic victory, without even a change in his complexion, it was a vivid performance in front of everyone.
Who could have imagined, that in a duel between a second qi layer cultivator and a sixth qi layer cultivator, a gap of four realms, the conclusion of the Life and Death duel would be as unexpected as this? After countless people had witnessed all of this, everyone felt their hearts go cold, as if that blade which Yang Chen had used to chop off Han Jiande’s head was above their heads. Previously, if it had not been for Han Jiande, who had already appeared first, maybe they would have been the first ones to go to taunt and provoke Yang Chen.
Countless people rejoiced within their hearts, glad that they had not been impatient like that and also glad that Han Jiande had jumped out early, providing them a real example.
Not only Gongsun Ling, who did not dare to believe this result that had taken place, everyone else also had stupefied expressions for a long time. Even if Gongsun Ling had believed Yang Chen’s previous words without any doubt, she still hadn’t expected that Yang Chen’s response to a cultivator of the sixth qi layer, Han Jiande, would be so simple. The area was filled with a deathly silence, which continued until Yang Chen started speaking again.
“I am not your opponent in comparing notes!”
Yang Chen’s voice was not loud, but apparently it had woken up everyone and simultaneously warning all of them.
“But, in a Life and Death challenge, it looks as if you are not my rival!”
Right now everyone clearly understood the reason why previously Yang Chen had admitted that he was not his opponent when comparing notes, but who would think of questioning this outcome. The severed head and body of Han Jiande clearly illustrated everything, most of all even after his death, he was still tightly clutching that bracelet in his hand and with just one look anyone could determine that it was a first rate treasure gem. He did not even have the time to use the treasure gem before dying, even if these people didn’t want to believe it, seeing the current circumstances, everyone firmly believed the news that Yang Chen had killed three seventh qi layer and an eighth qi layer assassin by himself.
The arbitrator finally managed to respond, bowing his head to look at the headless corpse of Han Jiande, and said with an expressionless face:
“Pure Yang Palace’s Yang Chen wins!”
And then he became quiet again. To him, a third party at the foundation stage, it did not matter who won or lost in a life and death duel between two qi layer youngers. Although he was surprised at Yang Chen’s blade’s fierceness, it was still only at the level of surprise. Challenging cultivators above his realm, was Yang Chen alone like that in this world?
At this point, the curtain for the Life and Death duel had fallen. The headless corpse of Han Jiande was naturally taken by Tian Quan Sect’s people and Yang Chen also did not pay any more attention to the people present on the scene.
Following immediately after the smiling Gongsun Ling, who was providing support from the side, two people, one in the front and one in the back, as if nobody was watching, walking rather than riding, they calmly returned to the Thousand Autumn Pavilion.
Only after the silhouettes of these two people had completely disappeared, did discussion started among the people present on the scene, one after another.
“Did you see that? That guy had the confidence of a killer!”
“Alas, poor Fellow Daoist Han was unable to take a lighter view, insisting on going to a Life and Death challenge with this horrible man. Was it worth the price?”
“Looking down on another, just to trouble someone, thinking himself to be extraordinary. The other guy had already accepted defeat, but he still had to go after him, the fault is his own!”
There were also many people who had heard Yang Chen’s remark before the battle and were interested, so they asked.
“Pure Yang Palace’s Fellow Daoist Yang, he said something like debts have a debtor and past grudges, what was that?”
“Are you not aware? This Fellow Daoist Yang was an executioner within the mortal world before becoming an apprentice and every time before he beheaded someone, he would say those words. You should take care and not make him say those kinds of words to you, haha!”
“Executioners can also cultivate?”
“That guy had already killed several masters when he was just at the second qi layer and right now we looked at him beheading a sixth qi layer master, and you ask if he can cultivate?”
“Pretty good, youngster!”
Seeing Yang Chen and Gongsun Ling return to the Thousand Autumn Pavilion, Xu Cheng Xin burst out into loud laughter and praised him:
“One blade made all of the doubtful people shut up, save your strength and don’t worry about anything, I think highly of you!”
“Many thanks, Uncle Master!”
In response to Xu Cheng Xin’s praises, Yang Chen merely bowed slightly and expressed his thanks.
“Thank who? I have not done anything!”
Xu Cheng Xin waved his hand, and kept on gently laughing while talking about it:
“This kind of outcome has enhanced my Pure Yang Palace’s reputation by a lot, you are just a second qi layer cultivator, so you should not have any method of flying. This is a bamboo falcon, which used to be my means of transportation in those days, this is a prize for you!”
While he spoke, a black light already flew towards Yang Chen’s body and hovered in front of his eyes.
“Many thanks, Uncle Master!”
Yang Chen reached out with his hand and grabbed that bamboo crane and the crane directly lied down on his hand. Truly considerate. Yang Chen only had a paper crane which was imbued with a tracking formation, the bamboo crane was the perfect solution to this problem. Xu Cheng Xin always paid close attention to people and this time, Yang Chen genuinely and sincerely expressed his thanks!
“Rest for a few days, until the Heavenly Stairs opens!”
Xu Chen Xin instructed, beaming with smiles.
“I also wish to know just how many steps of the Heavenly Stairs you can climb.”