With everyone having drawn their numbers, the first round of singles was between Universal Righteous Sect and Ultimate Clarity Sect.
The first battle that would start this fierce clash would be between Ultimate Clarity Sect’s best talent in western lands, Wu Qingqiu in the 6th layer of Ethereal Stage, and Universal Righteous Sect’s most naturally self-righteous disciple, Zhao Dezhu in the 5th layer of Ethereal Stage.
The two eyeballed each other, then cupped their hands. Wu Qingqiu started with a smile, “Brother Zhao, after you.”
“Thank you for your kindness, brother Wu.”
Zhao Dezhu replied with the same courtesy. Then he made a sign followed by a palm strike, “Quasi earth-ranked martial art, Universal Palm!”
Wind blew out of nowhere into a fierce gale as a gigantic yellow palm crashed like heaven and earth crumbling. It went for Wu Qingqiu with the power to take his body back to the earth where it belonged.
The audience gasped in shock and thrilled at the show.
[Such is a superior-three sect. One strike can change the landscape.]
Zhao Dezhu was seen as one of the best talents in the superior three sects, worthy of his name.
Even the Exalted Double Dragons lit up at his feat, making them take out the roster.
“Ha-ha-ha, just in time. Brother Zhao is capable, worthy of all the preparations I made for today!”
Wu Qingqiu laughed, feeling like he had just found a worthy adversary to clash with. Among the peers in western lands, there had to be less than three people that could fight him, with Zhao Dezhu being one of them.
Now, in this fight, this best talent of western lands found the trip worthwhile.
Wu Qingqiu laughed because of it as he did his signs, “Bright clear sky, Spinning Ether!”
Wu Qingqiu’s palm stuck out in front of him and rotated. Something like a spinning wheel was felt as if it was there. Despite having no form for anyone to see, its power was unmistakable.
Wu Qingqiu flicked his hand, and the wheel spun into the air, facing the huge palm. That fierce storm was sucked into the wheel and drifted off in the form of a gentle breeze.
Finally, the wheel and the palm made contact in a terrible explosion. The huge palm shook, and then it scattered.
Only that wheel kept spinning and enlarging as it ultimately faded, leaving behind the bright blue sky.
“Such a strong move. It matches perfectly with the world’s transitions. Wu Qingqiu is indeed the best talent in western lands. His insights in the Dao are deeper than his opponent’s.”
Exalted Bai Mei praised, opening the roster and writing on it, “These two are heroes of their generation. Today they have earned their place among the others on this list.”
Exalted Bai Mei didn’t get to finish writing their names as Exalted Hei Ran waved with a smile, “Let’s not be hasty. We should enjoy the show first, ha-ha-ha…”
Startled, Bai Mei eyed the other, then chuckled, “Hey, old man, you’re so old, yet you still like to have fun? You just don’t want to miss anything, ha-ha-ha… “
“Brother Zhao, it’s my turn now. Here, take this!”
Wu Qingqiu was excited to pit himself against his opponent, but Zhao Dezhu waved with a smile and a gesture of respect, “A great talent like brother Wu, I am not worthy of stopping. You don’t have to continue. I admit defeat.”
Wu Qingqiu shook from the shock, then his face grew dark from fury, “Brother Zhao, what is the meaning of this?”
“Brother Wu is too strong that I am in awe. The only option is to concede. Please do not make it hard for me.” Zhao Dezhu bowed in respect.
The entire audience was stumped. The two had only just begun, and one was giving up just like that?
[He didn’t even try his best!]
Wu Qingqiu’s brow shook with anger, “Brother Zhao, that strike of yours was only at half power. Why would you give up so fast?”
“Brother Wu must be kidding. Even if I unleashed the quasi-earth-ranked martial art at full power, brother Wu would still cancel it. I am more than aware of the gap between us, and I don’t wish for us to delay the inevitable… “
Zhao Dezhu quickly turned to the judge with a bow, “Elder, I concede. Please announce it!”
The judge held his beard and said, “You have only clashed once. It’s still too soon to tell…”
“Does elder have to see blood being spilled to call it off?” Zhao Dezhu cut off the judge with a rushed speech.
The judge huffed and flicked his hand. “I haven’t seen a winner, but since you insist on backing out, I will help you. In Universal Righteous Sect vs. Ultimate Clarity Sect, the first match goes to Ultimate Clarity Sect!”
The people looked at one another as they devolved into an uproar. They had barely fought, and it was already over.
[We don’t see the winner, so how could they?]
The audience was perplexed. Only a few figures could read more into it and sneer at Zhao Dezhu.
“Humph, does he want to keep his strength for when he goes against Demon Scheming Sect and Sword God Sect?”
With a snort, Yan Mo showed a mocking smile, “How is this Universal Righteous Sect even worthy of being a superior-three sect? They’re nothing but cowards and a disgrace!”
The other disciples were lost, with Yu Mei asking, “Senior brother, just what is he up to?”
“You still can’t see it? Universal Righteous Sect’s scheme involves focusing on the challenge stage completely. So now they’re saving their energy and cutting their losses so as to go all out against the challengers, Sword God Sect and Demon Scheming Sect.”
Yan Mo’s eyes flashed. “While their plan is great, this action goes against a cultivator’s essence, pushing back against all adversity. Using such a cheap trick would get the exalted furious.”
Yan Mo looked above the audience at the highest spots. The other disciples did the same, in time to see the two ashen.
“Using the rules and the lineups to one’s advantage is a basic strategy. With small tricks, one can turn it all around!” Exalted Hei Ran spoke coldly, “Zhao Dezhu is very sharp, so much so that he lost his path. Even the middle three sects know cultivators emphasize character to persevere in pursuing Dao. But a talent from a superior-three sect using petty tricks? He’s no different than a mortal!”
[Indeed! I have been too rash just now. How fortunate I didn’t write him in as well. He is a man over-encumbered by fame and fortune. This is as far as he’ll go.]
Exalted Bai Mei sighed and shook his head. He lifted the roster and wrote just one name, Wu Qingqiu.
This was how the best talent in Universal Righteous Sect, Zhao Dezhu, lost his chance to enter Double Dragon Manor.
On the stage, Zhao Dezhu was oblivious of this cruel outcome and bowed in respect, “Brother Wu, even if we don’t fight, we all know the outcome. I am not your match. It’s best to save the energy for vanquishing demons instead. We are both righteous. Brother Wu should understand my pain.”
“Screw your understanding!”
Wu Qingqiu was so pissed off that he resorted to crude language, “Holding back in a single match is an insult to your opponent and an even more shame to you. You’re not fit to be a cultivator. Fighting you will only make me sick. I’d much rather ask Demon Soul Sect’s eldest young master or Sword God Sect’s Wen Tao for a spar than waste my time with you!”
Flicking his sleeve, Wu Qingqiu left the stage. Zhao Dezhu took a deep breath, feeling solitude from hearing the audience being against him as well.
Getting back to Universal Righteous Sect’s team, the best ass kisser that ever lived polished his trade, “Senior brother, calm your anger. Senior brother is doing it all to stop the demons from succeeding, thinking only of the greater good. How could they ever understand senior brother’s pain?”
“Yeah, they may be from righteous sects but can’t see evil when meet it, being in cahoots instead. Senior brother is, however, making it clear who the demons are. Senior brother is the model example of righteousness among this sea of hypocrites.”
Zhao Dezhu looked around and nodded, “You’re the only ones who understand me. Don’t worry. Even if they have mistaken my intent and despise me for it, I will stand strong. I, Zhao Dezhu, will definitely grasp victory!”
Everyone gave him thunderous support.
“We’ll follow the same plan, getting as many points as possible in the singles round. If you can’t score, save your energy after a couple of hits and concede. Ultimate Clarity Sect is a righteous sect and won’t resort to killing. It won’t drag down our score as much as abstaining, either. Even if we end up as the last of the superior three sects, as long as we block Demon Scheming Sect and Sword God Sect, we win!”
Zhao Dezhu told them their role and looked at the big guy among them, “Junior brother, next you will be fighting their weakest. Ultimate Clarity Sect is very strong, with everyone in the 4th layer Ethereal Stage at the least. Only that kid is a fresh Ethereal Stage cultivator. While he might be fast on his feet than normal, your soul won’t lose to mere speed. Those are points ripe for the taking. You must come back with them!”
The big guy grinned, looking at Ye Lin in the distance with a sneer. “Don’t worry. I’ll make sure to give him a proper greeting and give senior brother his honor back.”
He was totally oblivious to Ye Lin looking back with the same sinister look, “Frickin’ prick! You dare curse me? ME?”
While the true mastermind, Zhuo Fan, was casually overlooking these two bitter enemies about to tear into each other…