Translator: Silavin & Tia
Translation Checker: PewPewLazerGun
Editor and Proofreader: Leo of Zion Mountain & Dhael Ligerkeys
Yu Zhuo didn’t stop to take a breather even after escaping her crisis. She flicked the soft whip in her hand, sending it striking like a snake out of its pit. The soft whip struck out at the man in black’s back like a gale of wind that could not be stopped.
The man in black slashed backwards as he spun around blindly, having already noticed that things were dire when he lost his target.
A clashing sound rang out as the man swayed for a moment before catching his balance. On the contrary, Yu Zhuo was sent flying by a powerful shockwave from his counterattack, coughing up a mouthful of blood mid-air before landing on the ground unsteadily.
Yang Kai secretly thought to himself. [What a pity. If Yu Zhuo had the same cultivation as her opponent, she would have won with that attack just now.]
Unfortunately, she was one Minor Realm weaker than her opponent, so with her hasty attack, she failed to make use of this great opportunity. Instead, she even suffered some minor injuries from being countered by her opponent.
In the middle of all that tension, the two of them had narrowly escaped defeat. It was truly a dazzling and mind-blowing fight.
Yang Kai couldn’t help but cheer up somewhat. He couldn’t believe that he managed to encounter these two people in the very first round on the very first day of the competition. He could tell that both of them, be it Yu Zhuo or the man in black, were extremely impressive in terms of strength in the Dao Source Realm. People like them would have been prioritized and nurtured carefully even within the top three Sects.
Yang Kai suddenly discovered that he had underestimated all the smaller Sects. There was a reason why a Sect could establish its heritage for thousands of years. It wasn’t just the top Sects that could produce outstanding talents.
He suddenly thought of Luo Yuan from Eight Paths Sect. Back then, the Four Seasons Realm had raised the reputation of two people. One had been Yang Kai as he had successfully refined a batch of Extraordinary Treasure Pills, which were known as a Heaven-defying item, with only a Dao Source Realm cultivation. With such an achievement, it would have been hard not to take notice of him. On the other hand, Luo Yuan from Eight Paths Sect was the other rising star.
Eight Paths Sect was a small Sect in the Southern Territory, one that couldn’t even compare to Blue Feather Sect at the time. However, Luo Yuan, who originated from Eight Paths Sect, was a fearless rising star. He was not even afraid of Wu Chang and fought against him in an almost even manner. His strength was evident.
Speaking of Luo Yuan, Yang Kai suddenly recalled seeing somebody who slightly resembled Luo Yuan yesterday. Unfortunately, they had been too far apart and he had not paid much attention, so he couldn’t be sure if it truly was Luo Yuan. [It might actually have been that guy. Eight Paths Sect is also from the Southern Territory after all so it doesn’t make sense for them not to participate in the Martial Gathering.]
While Yang Kai was caught up in his thoughts, Yu Zhuo and the man in black began exchanging blows again. Their figures clashed in the arena as sword met whip, releasing loud clanking noises.
One was aggressive while the other was flexible, but they were fighting on equal terms. Both parties were unable to determine a winner. It was not a one-sided situation. Thus, the unusual situation attracted many other cultivators to come and watch this fight. It didn’t take long before the Eighth Arena was surrounded by spectators. They all had solemn expressions as they watched the fight in the arena, secretly analysing how they could win if they encountered either of these two as opponents.
Yang Kai was watching with great enthusiasm too, and if it wasn’t for High Heaven Palace no longer accepting new disciples, he would have asked Hua Qing Si to hold a similar competition. A competition like this might be tedious to organize and run, but it was indeed the best way to select outstanding talents. Unfortunately, it could not guarantee the personality and character of these talents.
A quarter-hour later, the man in black became more and more hostile. It was no surprise. His opponent’s cultivation was lower than his, and he believed that he should have been able to finish her off easily. Conversely, the woman who was running around endlessly turned out to be the most difficult opponent he had ever faced. He couldn’t help feeling frustrated, and his attacks became fiercer as a result.
Yu Zhuo was constantly meeting his attacks by relying on her rapid reaction and flexible Movement Skills. However, the gap in their cultivation was her biggest shortcoming. Fighting up until now had not been easy, and while winning the fight would not be impossible, it was certainly a difficult prospect. With her hair a mess and many wounds on her body, she appeared quite dishevelled and her breathing was ragged as her chest heaved heavily. Fine beads of sweat were sliding down her face, but nevertheless, she gritted her teeth and refused to admit defeat.
Even so, Yang Kai could see that Yu Zhuo’s hand holding the long whip was trembling. She had been constantly clashing with her opponent’s sword, so how could she bear the violent force transmitted through the whip to her arm for so long?
The man in black was aware of this too and was utilising his strong point to attack her weakness without giving her any space to catch her breath. Instead, he kept forcing her to keep up with him.
Finally, the sound of something breaking rang out when that sword came into contact with the soft whip again. That soft whip was cut into two by the sword, and the front end flew out.
The man in black was overjoyed by the situation. He had enough of his opponent’s whip and now that he had destroyed this artifact, his opponent would have no power to fight back. He looked up with a cold and stern gaze to see a flash of panic flitting across Yu Zhuo’s face as she hurriedly tried to back away. But, how could he allow her to retreat so easily?
“Die!” He roared as his sword came slashing down and a triumphant expression appeared on his face, as though victory was already in his grasp.
[I won! It sure wasn’t eas…!] Before he could finish his thought though, he suddenly saw the panic on her face disappearing and a hint of cunning flashed across her eyes as she executed some kind of Secret Technique. It was accompanied by the sound of something slicing through the air behind him,
[This is bad!] His expression changed drastically. He might not know what trick she was trying to pull, but it was clear he had fallen into her trap. Unfortunately for him, it was too late to pull back at this point so a vicious glint flashed across his eyes as he pushed his sword even harder to bring it down faster than before.
Yu Zhuo hurriedly guarded herself with the half of her whip that remained in her hands, but the other party’s blow at full strength was too great and she could not stop his attack. Consequently, the sword slashed down from her shoulder all the way to her abdomen. It almost cut her into two. Blood spurted out of her mouth when the powerful force hit her like a tidal wave and she flew backwards like a sack. While she was flying through the air though, the Secret Technique she cast just before took effect.
The man in black felt something tightening around his body and finally knew what she had been planning all along. The half of the soft whip that had flown away after being cut by him had flown back while he was not paying attention and wrapped itself around him while he was caught off guard. Then, an inexplicable force emerged from the soft whip and suppressed his cultivation, making him unable to circulate his Source Qi smoothly.
Raising his head, a look of despair appeared on his face as he saw Yu Zhuo hurl the half of her soft whip in her hands at him. The whip segment was flying straight towards his forehead and he knew that if this attack landed, he would undoubtedly die in his current suppressed state.
“I surrender!” He hurriedly yelled.
The whip froze mid-motion, just a finger’s length from his forehead. Just a little bit more and it would have bored a hole through his head. Even the energy from the tip of this whip was pressing against his forehead painfully like an awl, frightening him so badly that he broke out in a cold sweat.
The reason the whip had stopped in front of the man in black was not Yu Zhuo’s doing, of course, but rather it was because Yang Kai had made a move. When that man in black surrendered, Yang Kai reached out and grabbed at something in the air, catching the soft whip mid-flight and protecting that young man from death. He simultaneously lifted his other hand and caught Yu Zhuo’s body that had been thrown backwards by freezing her in mid-air.
The man in black glanced in Yu Zhuo’s direction in shock, then his expression turned incredibly ugly. That was because her body was floating right at the edge of the arena. It was only a little bit more before she left the range of the arena. [Damn it! I almost had it! If I was slightly slower in admitting defeat, she would definitely have lost this match!]
However, it was a matter of life and death so how could he dare to hesitate? It was useless to be upset now.
Yang Kai released his grip, and the soft whip that had stopped in front of the man in black’s forehead fell to the ground. Meanwhile, Yang Kai slightly retracted his other hand and Yu Zhuo, who was lifted by an invisible force before she slowly floated over to Yang Kai and landed in front of him. Lowering his gaze, he studied this girl at his feet and frowned.
The first match was rather brutal. The man in black might not have suffered heavy injuries, but he had narrowly escaped death. After suffering a loss, he would never underestimate a person with weaker cultivation than himself ever again. On the other hand, Yu Zhuo was in a far worse condition. She had faced a huge disadvantage in this confrontation and at this moment, both her arms were shaking uncontrollably. There was also a bloody wound stretching from her shoulder to her waist. Moreover, blood was spurting out of the wound without stopping. It looked extremely terrible. This was a serious injury that while not life-threatening, would definitely preclude her from competing in the next battle if not treated properly.
Yang Kai sighed softly and crouched down, pressed one hand on Yu Zhuo’s shoulder, and used his Emperor Qi to stabilize her injury before he subtly took out a healing pill and stuffed it into her mouth.
Yu Zhuo’s gaze was a little dazed as it was obvious that she had been beaten up pretty badly and had yet to recover from the impact. When she saw that Yang Kai was healing her, she couldn’t help looking a little apologetic. Nevertheless, she asked in a trembling voice, “Did I… win?”
Yang Kai looked at her expressionlessly and announced in a loud voice, “The winner, No. 3018!”
Upon hearing those words, her eyes sparkled with a look of surprise and she laughed happily. She had yet to exit the arena when that man in black had surrendered, so she had won. However, she soon couldn’t bring herself to laugh anymore as there was a debilitating pain radiating from her wound. Bracing herself mentally, she lifted her head to examine her condition and immediately blushed beet red.
Her clothes where the man in black had slashed her were torn open and exposed her delicate belly as a result. The people in the audience might not be able to see anything due to the angle, but the Referee was crouching down right in front of her could, so it was impossible for him to not see her exposed skin. Yu Zhuo instantly had the urge to pass out from shame.
Yang Kai had not noticed this and only sensed that this girl was too stiff. When he noticed something strange about her complexion though and he followed her gaze, his expression twitched slightly in response before he took out a set of clothing from his Space Ring and covered her wound with it. After that, he lifted his gaze, turned to the audience, and shouted, “Who here is from her Sect?”
Two beautiful women immediately rushed forward and cupped their fists, “Senior.”
“Bring her away for treatment,” He waved his hand dismissively.
The two women thanked him, stored Yu Zhuo’s artifact away, supported her on both sides, and helped her off the stage.
There was silence in the audience. When Yu Zhuo walked off, everybody involuntarily moved to the side and opened a path for her, their expressions full of respect.
On the stage, the defeated man in black stood there for a while before he shook his head silently and bowed to Yang Kai before flying off the stage. He had lost in the first match, but it was not without gain for him. He still had more chances to return, so he was not too worried.
As for Yang Kai, he stood on the stage and fulfilled his job as Referee. With a meticulous expression, he took out a jade slip and shouted, “No. 6051 against No. 8036.”