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Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
Any champion with a place on the Roll of Supremacy knew what they were looking at.
Lu Ye’s proposal might have been due to circumstance—he was forced to—but it was nevertheless an opportunity. One for him to attempt for the Aureole of Invincibility.
Although he himself wasn’t aware of this at all.
But there was one glaring caveat: he must stay alive.
Lu Ye might have struck the fear of Heaven into the Thousand Demon Ridge mob that every one of them no longer had the courage to step into the ring at all, but the situation wasn’t optimistic at all. If anything, the status quo was hardly in his favor.
The string of duels in the day had given the enemy side enough information about how Lu Ye fought and that would allow them to formulate a better plan.
That no one was willing to step into the ring to challenge Lu Ye was in fact not because of the lack of valor, but rather because of an internal conflict between the sects and orders within the mob that the leading champions were all still busy trying to mediate.
In the end, it was the same champion, the strongest one present and the one who was one of the Battlefield’s twenty most dangerous Cultivators, who had to come up with a suggestion, “Here’s my suggestion: anyone who kills Lu Ye gets two-tenths of the entire trove of rewards while the remainder goes in equal shares to every order that has contributed in one way or another. Do we have any objections?”
He ended his sentence with a steely glare at every de facto leader of the sects and orders present.
The conflict started because everyone on the Thousand Demon Ridge side saw how many losses were piling up because of Lu Ye. Every sect and order only had one chance and whenever Lu Ye killed a challenger, he was not only killing an enemy. He was also killing their sole chance for a go at the prize and possibly a potential talent of that sect or order.
And this pattern was making everyone stall and delay sending in their challengers as much as possible.
With this problem threatening to splinter the confederacy of the Thousand Demon Ridge, the champion knew that it must be resolved. The rewards for killing Lu Ye were just so rich that anyone would feel jealous if they had no share in it and naturally, no one would be willing to sacrifice just so that others could reap the rewards.
Hence the deal for the slayer of Lu Ye to get two-tenths while the rest would go in equal shares to all sects and orders who had contributed turned out to be one that everyone welcomed greatly.
This way, so long as the sects and orders did their part and put forth a challenger, they would still get a cut of the cake.
“If there are no objections, then each of us will nominate a challenger! Try to destroy his weapon or cripple him. The one who does so gets a one-tenth share as well!” the champion announced.
Killing Lu Ye was now clearly easier said than done. The strength, speed, and flair that he had displayed so far had impressed the Thousand Demon Ridge side enough to realize that he could never be defeated and killed in just one round. He might be a Fifth-Order Cultivator, but he was more deadly and more dangerous than regular Sixth-Orders. Seventh-Orders might stand a remote chance to defeat him. To that end, they decided to separate the plan into two phases.
Meanwhile, Lu Ye was sitting in the middle of the ring, chomping down on his meat jerky. As he swallowed the last of the dried rations, he got up to his feet slowly.
He needed to eat to replenish his strength, but at the same time, he was also consuming food as a means of restoring his Spiritual Power. He could not fully rely on Spiritual Pills to make up for the exhaustion of his energies. With the loss of the Tree of Glyphs—now that he discovered its real name after Han Zhe Yue’s revelation about his use of Glyphs—ability to eliminate all toxins in his body that he incurred whenever he consumed Spiritual Pills, he could no longer swallow Pills as wantonly as he did before lest the accumulated toxins in his body might affect his ability to fight.
His Spiritual Power was no longer as pure and pristine as before, for he had been consuming Pills during his flight here.
The assimilation of Spiritual Power through eating might be very much less efficient, but that was pretty much all he could do now. With Gluttonous Feast activated, he was doing as best as he could.
On the other hand, the Thousand Demon Ridge side did not want to dawdle any longer. A challenger stepped into the ring. Lu Ye glanced at the newcomer. It was a Combat Cultivator armed with a spear.
As soon as they had announced their names and the sects they belonged to, the enemy challenger charged. The tip of his spear glinted dangerously as it dove straight for Lu Ye’s vital points, its red-scarlet plume in a wild dance to the spear’s motion.
However, it took Lu Ye just a couple of minutes before he easily cut down his opponent…
But this time, Lu Ye did not press on to the next round directly. He claimed his right to a respite because he learned that his intimidation earlier was no longer working. Thus, he decided to just take a rest. Whatever had happened in the interim, it must have spurred the enemy challengers enough to be daredevils who hardly feared death.
At the moment, he could only attribute this reckless streak to the reality of being in the Battlefield. It was usual for skirmishes to break out between sects and orders of the two sides hence Cultivators who managed to reach the Sixth-Orders have seen their fair share of life and death.
Lu Ye thought of the Thousand Demon Ridge Cultivators that he had slain before throughout his journey. Few ever pleaded for their lives, and most would rather just hurl threats, insults, and curses as a final act of defiance. Even Dong Shu Ye too, right before he died, although Lu Ye doubted if all that cursing did much good to him.
The reason for their disposition, however, was simple enough: no quarter was ever, nor would it ever be, shown to the defeated.
That was why the Cultivators of Jiu Zhou did not fear death and the higher their rank was, the less likely they would be intimidated by the prospect of dying.
Lu Ye rested, then he killed, then he rested again, then he killed again…
The cycle repeated itself again and again like a wheel. One after another, challengers stepped into the ring in their bid to kill or at least injure Lu Ye. Most ended up dead and only a paltry few managed to escape death.
As daybreak began to rise, the losses incurred by the Thousand Demon Ridge side began to pile. But the rising number of deaths daunted them not one bit at all. The challengers might still be shivering with fright at the onset of facing Lu Ye, but none of them allowed their fears to dampen their resolve to fight for their sects and orders.
The day went by quickly enough and dusk slowly gave way to night.
Blood swathed the earth within the ring and the air was rank with the acrid and metallic tang of blood so thick that one could almost suffocate and choke at the smell of it.
Lu Ye was sitting on the ground, right at the corner of the ring where he was nearer to the Grand Sky Coalition side. In his grasp were a pair of Spirit Stones while he munched on some meat jerky. His head hung over his shoulder as he rested.
For two continuous days and nights, he had been fighting. To say that he was fatigued and wearied would be a mere understatement. That made rests after every round all the more crucial to him.
He worried little about his Spiritual Power. Every time he swallowed a Spiritual Pill, he relied on Gluttonous Feast to make sure that he could assimilate as much content as possible.
Watching by the side of the ring, Wei Yang looked every bit the semblance of a doting big sister. The many rounds of fending off the challengers had seen Lu Ye collecting a great number of wounds. She would have been able to help to heal him, but the Sacred Pact prohibited any external assistance, therefore, Lu Ye had to dress his own wounds.
Wrapped only with bandages, Lu Ye had long discarded his tunic. It was tattered and caked with so much blood that he could no longer wear it. Fortunately, he had the medicinal powder and salve that Hua Ci left him, and they were proving to be most useful in this hour of need.
“How many rounds has it been?” a stranger asked Li Baxian.
Li Baxian’s parched lips quivered. “Thirty-two rounds,” he croaked hoarsely.
“Thirty-two?!” the Cultivator who was asking took one long, deep breath. He peered at Lu Ye, who was hanging his head in extreme fatigue. [What an incredible record!], he mused.
Thirty-two rounds of single combat against enemies of superior rank! One could expect that Lu Ye might be able to finish forty rounds even before noon!
Forty-three sects and orders from the Thousand Demon Ridge had left their mark on the Sacred Pact when it was made.
No one thought that Lu Ye could survive past all forty-three rounds—not even Li Baxian himself. All he was counting on was for Lu Ye to stall until after the third day when he would be able to walk free.
No one expected him to succeed—not Li Baxian and certainly not the Thousand Demon Ridge mob. No one could blame them. Nothing like this had ever happened before, even in the real world of Jiu Zhou. Hence as far as the Thousand Demon Ridge champions were concerned, at first, Lu Ye was fresh meat right from the start.
Only right now did people begin to realize that they had underestimated Lu Ye’s speed, strength, and acumen to take life with the ease of a farmer scything stalks of wheat—every Sixth-Order challenger sent forth was either ignominiously routed or savagely killed.
They were only just halfway past the three-day deadline, but Lu Ye had completed thirty-two rounds, and by the Sacred Pact’s reckoning, he would only just have to make it past the remaining eleven challengers.
The Thousand Demon Ridge could marshal more men and raise the mob up to four-thousand-man strong, but nothing would change the outcome. So long as Lu Ye finished all forty-three rounds and still remained alive, victory would be his and the Grand Sky Coalition’s.
The Thousand Demon Ridge Cultivators could sulk or curse all they wanted but nothing would ever make them renege on their word. They could not. The terms of the Sacred Pact dictated that anyone who lifted a hand against Lu Ye once the outcome had been settled would face judgment. Every single Grand Sky Coalition would spring up in his defense, including the forty-three Thousand Demon Ridge sects and orders as well as their own champions—even, or especially the ones who were on the Roll of Supremacy—who were all honor-bound by the Pact to punish anyone who went against the Sacred Pact.
By the will of Heaven, the authority of the Sacred Pact was sacrosanct and any attempt to overthrow or defy it would stand no chance.
Eleven. That was the number of challengers that now stood between Lu Ye and his victory. But Li Baxian felt nowhere near relieved at all. There was no telling if Lu Ye could still hold on, for he of all people could see that Lu Ye’s glow was already fading. He knew what it was. The toxicity from Lu Ye’s consumption of Spirit Pills must already be taking a toll on him. Whether he could admit it or not, the toxic poisoning must be affecting him, and Li Baxian could have sworn that he noticed Lu Ye’s speed and strength already waning noticeably.
As if to prove his point, Lu Ye’s fights were taking longer and longer. That would mean that his exertions were growing, and he would need more Spirit Pills to replenish himself in what was culminating into a vicious cycle.
The duration of his break was up. Wei Yang grimaced, feeling her heart wrenching. If only it could be longer. With reluctance as heavy as lead, she poked Lu Ye gently, calling very quietly, “Lu Ye.”
Lu Ye’s head piqued up at once. He looked at Wei Yang full of weariness in his gaze, lost in dazed bewilderment that it took him a full second before he was able to react, realizing it was time for him to get ready for the next round. He swallowed the unchewed morsel of meat jerky in his mouth and lifted his saber when he got up. He looked at his next opponent and repeated what he had been saying more than thirty times, “Lu Ye of the Crimson Blood Sect!”
That was the start of another round. The steel of his weapon shimmered, reflecting the orange-red incandescence from the fires around him as he lunged, and blood spattered to the ground.
That was another long night of duels until dawn visited once again.
Later in another round, Lu Ye would find himself outpaced by an enemy smaller and more agile than he was. Drifting to and fro with blinding speeds like a phantom around the ring, Lu Ye stood at the center as he could only watch his opponent run circles around him.
Cuts and lacerations scattered all around him, some of the wounds so grisly that his flesh was literally torn and flayed, and these were all the handiwork of this nimble opponent. Still, Lu Ye remained where he was, stoically enduring the rain of attacks with his saber held firmly in his hand.
Only after so many rounds, Lu Ye finally met an opponent that he genuinely found both difficult and onerous to deal with.
With fluffy ears on top of her head that made her look like a feline, the Mutant would have appeared every bit as harmless as a demure pet, if not for the fact that she really was as agile as she was deadly like a panther.
There was no way that Lu Ye could have bested her in speed. Not even on his best day. Hence, it did not take a genius for him to guess that she must be an ace that the Thousand Demon Ridge side had kept up their sleeve until now. She must have been kept hidden and was only put forward after his fatigue and the toxic poisoning were taking a toll on him.
And it was a good play. Playing her at this juncture really was a well-calculated move; Lu Ye could no longer keep up with her and the moment he struck, he not only missed but also exposed himself, allowing her to land several vicious swipes on him. That was how the cuts and lacerations came to be.
Soon, Lu Ye found himself surrounded in the middle of a blurry whirl once again. He slashed and hacked, only to hit only another afterimage before a sudden jolt of pain came from his midriff.
He immediately lifted a foot and kicked hard. But his leg was deftly caught by the feline Mutant with both her arms when she was landing, and she hit the ground with all the grace and finesse of a cat.
Meanwhile Lu Ye tottered unsteadily rearward. Wei Yang could not help letting loose a yelp of fright when he nearly crashed to the ground if he had not managed to plant his saber into the soil just in time to prevent himself from falling.
2 thoughts on “Humanity’s Great Sage – Chapter 163, 32 Rounds”
Time to send a fireball at her!
How about the dragon stone. It could cure someone of pill poisons if i recall. Though he can’t expose it. And he doesn’t have a way to safely absorb it