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"Chen Wang vs Zhan Chen."
"Si Qiong vs the black-robed figure."
"Shi Potian vs Qin Wentian."
All three battles filled the crowd with fervor and anticipation.
When Chen Wang and Zhan Chen stood upon the Vermilion Bird arena platform, countless gazes landed uniformly on them.
Great Solar Chen Wang, as well as Zhan Chen who had become so mysteriously powerful. How terrifying would their collision be?
Chen Wang’s body was bathed in flames, and even his bones and blood vessels had turned into fiery lava, as though he was one great being of magma. Great Solar light flickered in his eyes as the manifestation of a giant ball of flame could be seen on his back. With just a glance at his form, and the crowd was instantly filled with endless terror. The temperature around him skyrocketed to insane degrees, nobody dared to stand near him.
Bizarrely, Zhan Chen’s body was pure gold in color, and extremely dazzling to the eye under the glint of sunlight. In this frontal confrontation; a golden, indestructible body facing against the raging sun flames of Chen Wang.
"No matter how strong you may be, you are still destined to lose here," Chen Wang calmly spoke as he gazed at Zhan Chen. "Nobody will impede my path."
A terrifying golden light glimmered in Zhan Chen’s eyes, and it was as though his eyes alone were sufficient to kill. A golden-colored ancient sword then appeared in his hands—the Heaven Punisher Sword.
The two of them slowly stepped forwards and moved closer to each other. A towering energy gushed forth from Chen Wang as the glow of terrifying flames covered the entire platform. In midair, their Vermilion Birds were both already engaged in deadly combat…
Zhan Chen initiated the attack, and a sword beam tore apart the void. Infused with the will from the Mandate of Sword, the Heaven Punisher Sword meted out justice on behalf of the Heavens, as it inexorably exploded forth with overwhelming might. His sword contained the might of Heaven’s punishment, and could determine life and death with a single strike.
"Peng…" Chen Wang’s silhouette vanished as a burst of Astral Light inundated the area.
He had chosen Stellar Transposition as well.
Out of all the nine ultimate arts, Stellar Transposition was the easiest to master in the shortest period of time. The higher your proficiency in this art, the stronger it would be when used in combat. This was a characteristic of all the nine ultimate arts.
For example, Chen Wang’s Great Solar Universe Art, as well as the black-robed figure’s Chaotic Art of the Heavenly Devil, they were all exceedingly powerful because they had been cultivated for a long time. As for the others who had just managed to learn the ultimate arts, while the power unleashed from those arts was strong, each contender was limited by their relative inexperience in utilizing them. This was also the reason why Emperor Azure had lost to the black-robed figure.
Strangely enough, Emperor Azure, who seemed proficient in several of the nine ultimate arts still lost to the black-robed figure, who was only proficient in one. Why was this so?
And therein lay the answer. The black-robed figure had only concentrated his efforts into mastering the Chaotic Art of the Heavenly Devil, hence all his attacks contained a true tyranny to it.
In addition, there was another real reason for his defeat: Emperor Azure wasn’t actually skilled in several of the nine ultimate arts. He had instead chosen to cultivate in a single one—Formless Heart Sutra.
The Formless Heart Sutra also eventually landed in the hands of the Hua Clan. Back then, Hua Taixu also depended on this to dominate Yuanfu, unsurpassed by his peers.
The Formless Heart Sutra had no true form—it could directly comprehend the ‘heart’ and essence of various techniques while granting the user a basic ability to mimic others. Emperor Azure’s Formless Heart Sutra was naturally eons away when compared to that of Hua Taixu. After all, he had only cultivated the art for a few days worth of time.
The Nine Ultimate Arts of Grand Xia were: Great Solar Universe Art, Chaotic Art of the Heavenly Devil, Heavenly Swordplay, Golden Dragon Battle Art, Stellar Transposition, Formless Heart Sutra, Seal of Life and Death, Bloodcurse Imprint and Thunder God Slash.
And it simply wasn’t possible for everyone to cultivate the nine ultimate arts. An example of this was the Great Solar Universe Art, only people who had an affinity with fire would be able to cultivate this. The Chaotic Art of the Heavenly Devil was extremely dangerous to cultivate because of the huge backlash, hence not many wanted to risk their lives to cultivate it. Yet, the tyranny of its collective power was unmatched. Among the nine arts, its power only lost out to single-attacks executed with the principles the Thunder God Slash.
The Stellar Transposition was the easiest to master, while the Seal of Life and Death and the Bloodcurse Imprint were only suitable for people with special characteristics or a particular constitution. It was tremendously difficult to master either one of them but once one succeeded, the power gained would be at an unimaginable level.
Of course, for those arts and techniques that were more difficult to master, the user is granted a corresponding equivalent level of power upon achieving true proficiency.
Chen Wang had chosen Stellar Transposition because he already had the utmost confidence in his own attacks. The other ultimate arts didn’t suit him, and Stellar Transposition granted him the ability to attack or retreat instantaneously depending on the situation.
A moment later, Chen Wang appeared in front of Zhan Chen, and the terrifying Great Solar Palm Imprints contained a domineering power as it blasted upon Zhan Chen’s body.
The lava flames akin to the fires from the great sun instantly melted Zhan Chen’s body into liquid. However, Zhan Chen merely looked on impassively—did Chen Wang really think he could defeat him in just a single attack?
Chen Wang might have underestimated him a little too much.
With a malevolent glint of laughter in his eyes, a guzzling sound rang out as the liquid formed into a golden puddle on the ground. Could it be that the indestructible golden body couldn’t stand up to the terrifying sun flames of Chen Wang? Yet at this moment, a figure abruptly flew forwards as a sword lacerated the void, with a speed as quick as lightning.
Chen Wang raised his hands and made a grab in the air. The sounds of the collision rang out as his arms appeared to have been almost severed off. With a howl of rage, that arm formed into magma, grabbing hold of Zhan Chen yet again. As the golden exterior melted once more, Zhan Chen's silhouette retreated rapidly, completely unharmed.
"Swish!" Zhan Chen instantly appeared behind Chen Wang, as a sword light descended from the Heavens. This sword was fused by the energy of the Heavens, as well as the Mandate of Gold, and when it cleaved downwards, golden scars could be seen rupturing the space where it passed by.
"BOOOM!" An astonishing amount of Astral Light flooded the area. Chen Wang executed Stellar Transposition and disappeared, seeming to sense the impending danger, reappearing at the other end of the arena platform.
Turning, he stared at Zhan Chen with puzzlement in his eyes.
Did Zhan Chen truly have an indestructible body?
Every attack that hit him would only affect the exterior of his golden body. It was as though he was truly impervious to damage.
"I truly want to see how many times you’ll use that parlor trick." Chen Wang smiled as soared up in the air, releasing his Astral Soul. The manifestation of a giant sun appeared above his head, augmenting his power. He vanished and reappeared before Zhan Chen once more, gathering the Great Solar Energy within his palms before slamming out, incinerating everything. Zhan Chen responded with his Heavenly Swordplay as he weaved his sword about in an intricate dance. They quickly collided with increasing might, causing sounds of explosions to ring out one after another.
"The two of them appear to be undefeatable. Zhan Chen was blasted ten times, while Chen Wang was also slashed five times. How strong are they exactly?" The spectators furrowed their brows, continuously shocked at the display—they never thought that Zhan Chen would be able to combat Chen Wang to this degree. With that level of power he exhibited, even if he lost to Chen Wang, the probability of him being in the top three ranks would still be exceedingly high.
"I want to see how long you can sustain this." An arrogant voice echoed from above. Zhan Chen’s golden body shattered once again from the overwhelming destructive might of Chen Wang. Although Zhan Chen was powerful, he was still a shade inferior to Chen Wang.
Eventually, under the bombardment of Chen Wang’s attacks, Zhan Chen was forced off the arena platform.
As expected, the winner was still Chen Wang.
Chen Wang’s level of strength was evidently higher, yet Zhan Chen’s ability was too strange, it seemed as though he was impervious to death. This was why he’d managed to extend the fight for such a long time.
But if the others had faced Zhan Chen instead, would they be able to defeat him? Nobody knew.
The second battle: Si Qiong vs the black-robed figure.
This was also a battle that filled the hearts of the crowd with anticipation. When Mu Feng battled Si Qiong, that fight created an immense commotion among the spectators after they discovered that Si Qiong was actually skilled in soul attacks. And from the looks of it, other than Mu Feng, who was incredibly skilled in the venom arts, nobody else was capable of injuring Si Qiong to such a degree.
Devil-might enveloped the Heavens and Earth as the black-robed figure stepped up onto the arena platform. He unleashed everything he was capable of the moment he stood on the stage—he knew that Si Qiong’s strength was too overwhelming, his soul attacks too fearsome.
Si Qiong had a lanky figure, he stood upright as he radiated sharpness, brimming with overwhelming confidence.
"Chaotic Art of the Heavenly Devil? A mere five slashes from the Nine Slashes of Underworld won’t be enough to fight against me," Si Qiong calmly spoke, he had a thorough understanding of the nine ultimate arts. He knew that if the Chaotic Art of the Heavenly Devil was cultivated to the limits, it would be so powerful that it could be said to be an unrivalled art. Yet, the black-robed figure only had a cultivation base at Yuanfu, so he wasn’t able to fully display the terrifying might of this cultivation art.
The Nine Slashes of the Underworld worked in this manner. Each successive slash would be stronger than the last, and when all eight slashes were unleashed, their collective power would gather together before the devil as it descended from the skies, shattering the earth and annihilating all before it.
The devil-might covered the skies, darkening the Heavens. Lightning flashed as the devilish clouds whistled, akin to the roar of a demonic dragon.
A devilish sabre appeared in the hands of the black-robed figure, exuding such might it was as if a demonic dragon had really been sealed inside it. The black-robed figure then advanced forward, showing no fear even when faced against Si Qiong.
Fighting against someone proficient in soul attacks? The black-robed figure had to end this as soon as possible, otherwise if his soul were to be damaged, the consequences would be too fearsome to contemplate.
Si Qiong’s lips moved as sound waves of a strange melody drifted out from his mouth. That was the Soul Suppressing Melody.
The black-robed figure’s silhouette flashed, as he struck forth with the first slash. This move effectively shattered the sound waves apart.
He didn’t hesitate, and immediately followed up with a second slash, chopping right at Si Qiong’s face.
"Bzzz!" Astral light erupted as Si Qiong vanished from view, appearing right above the black-robed figure. His mastery over Stellar Transposition was already at an extremely proficient level.
Si Qiong’s finger pierced out as an evil, black-colored qi penetrated through the void and slammed into the black-robed figure’s body.
At the same time, the third slash was unleashed, smashing forth with incredible might.
Astral Light erupted forth once again as Si Qiong disappeared. This time around, he appeared behind the black-robed figure as his lips continued moving. He then pierced forwards with another finger attack.
The black-robed figure screamed in agony, yet his devilish sabre continued on its path, and with an added twist, shifted its trajectory to a horizontal slash instead.
However, Si Qiong disappeared once again. This was the third time he executed Stellar Transposition and each time he’d used it in rapid succession. This made the spectators sigh in shock—Si Qiong was simply too powerful, the continuous usage of his art must have exhausted an astronomical amount of Astral Energy in his Yuanfu. Although the distance he moved was short, no one should be able to sustain the consumption rate of Stellar Transposition for this long.
Hence, for the next attack, Si Qiong pierced out with five fingers, like a claw aiming to clutch at the head of the black-robed figure.
Yet, abruptly, the black-robed figure’s silhouette disappeared.
He had totally dematerialized, as though he was never there. The place where the black-robed figure stood, only a long, black robe remained.
"Mhm?" Si Qiong frowned, following which, a hand suddenly appeared, grabbing onto him as a terrifying underworld energy, so cold that it pervaded the bone, gushed into him.
"Bzzz." With a slash, akin to a sabre, Si Qiong’s other hand chopped out. Fresh blood sprayed in the air before the black-robed figure finally retreated. Si Qiong rapidly moved backwards only to see the black-robed figure dashing off the platform, disappearing from the stage as he instantly sat cross-legged onto the ground.
"His soul has been damaged."
The hearts of the spectators involuntarily clenched, an injury to the soul was extremely difficult to cure. The black-robed figure’s soul had been damaged, and lost to Si Qiong.
The contender, Si Qiong had proven to be terrifying beyond measure—he was definitely capable of matching Chen Wang in the battle for first ranker!
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