Chapter 220: Arranging the Duel
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
Since they disregarded Zhang Ruochen's feelings, he had no intention of continuing to exchange sly insinuations with them. He would tear into them with blunt, honest words.
Zhang Ruochen stared at the disciple of the Yuntai Suzerain, the smile on his face belying the cold look in his eyes. "You're nothing but an outsider," he said. "You have no business prying into our internal affairs."
The disciple of the Yuntai Suzerain was at a loss for words.
"Don't take it personally, Ninth brother," Zhang Tiangui said. "Huang Li just wanted to address the differences between you both. As the eldest brother on the Western Campus, you should be more gracious towards your fellow elder."
The disciple named Huang Li snorted in a cold tone. "I've heard much about the Ninth Prince's talent," he said. "With his extraordinary swordsmanship, he's earned the right to be cold and arrogant. I visited this palace as a disciple of the Yuntai Suzerain to offer heartfelt words of counsel, only for the Ninth Prince to give me a tongue-lashing. I cannot swallow this humiliation, and I refuse to let others think that the Yuntai Suzerain fears the School of the Martial Market. For these reasons, I now formally challenge the Ninth Prince."
Zhang Tiangui glanced at Huang Li with satisfaction. Huang Li had said exactly what he wanted to hear.
Now then, how would Zhang Ruochen react?
The moment Zhang Ruochen agreed to duel Huang Li, he would be checkmated.
If Zhang Ruochen won the duel, everyone would gossip about his intolerance. He would be the man who vented his anger on a palace guest who only wished to offer him well-intentioned advice concerning Commandery Princess Yanchen.
If he lost, everyone would call the so-called eldest brother of the Western Campus a paper tiger, a weakling whose bark was bigger than his bite.
Either way, Zhang Tiangui's victory was guaranteed; he could ruthlessly crush and humiliate Zhang Ruochen in a single blow, while also using this as an opportunity to verify his suspicions about the Ninth Prince.
You could call this wonderful scheme an act of 'killing two birds with one stone'.
Naturally, Zhang Ruochen knew all about Huang Li's intentions.
"How about it? Does the so-called eldest brother of the Western Campus dare to accept my challenge?"
Noting Zhang Ruochen's silence, Huang Li continued to provoke him. "I expected the Fifth Prince to be at a loss for words, but I never thought the royal Ninth Prince would be such a coward," he said with a smile. "Perhaps you hid yourself away because you were too scared to enter Earth Blaze City."
"Fine, then!" Zhang Ruochen said. "How can I decline such an insistently offered challenge? I have one condition, though."
"Name your condition," Huang Li, happy that he had finally enraged Zhang Ruochen.
"The Royal Palace is not a suitable place for this fight," Zhang Ruochen said. "We should host it outdoors. I heard that the Coliseum of the Martial Market has recently been renovated and re-opened. We shall hold our duel there three days from now...if you still have the courage to follow through on your challenge."
"The Coliseum of the Martial Market..." Huang Li exclaimed, glancing towards Zhang Tiangui.
When you entered the Coliseum of the Martial Market to fight, you had to sign a Life and Death Contract.
Huang Li had only cultivated to the Mid Stage of the Earth Realm. He was not sure whether he could defeat Zhang Ruochen; what if Zhang Ruochen revealed hidden strength and killed him in the Coliseum of the Martial Market?
"Ninth brother, you two are only crossing blades!" Zhang Tiangui said. "There's no need to take this to the Coliseum of the Martial Market."
"You are wrong, seventh brother," Zhang Ruochen said. "This is no ordinary spar. Brother Huang's words have made this a quarrel between the Yuntai Suzerain and the School of the Martial Market, with both their reputations on the line. Since Brother Huang issued this challenge himself, this duel should be a fair fight on equal ground so that there will be no doubt about the legitimacy of his defeat. Isn't that so, Brother Huang?"
Huang Li glanced at Zhang Tiangui again. Zhang Tiangui nodded his head. "Fine!" Huang Li said in agreement. "I accept the Ninth Prince's terms. Three days from now, we shall fight in the Coliseum of the Martial Market."
"If you have no more business, I will leave now," Zhang Ruochen said.
The Ninth Commandery Princess departed with Zhang Ruochen.
After arriving at the Jade Palace, the Ninth Commandery Princess smiled. "You made me nervous for a moment," she said. "I was so afraid you would fall into their trap. Luckily, you were clever enough to see through their scheme and turn it back on them. On that note, ninth brother, how powerful is Huang Li? What are your chances of winning?"
"Huang Li has cultivated to the Mid Stage of the Earth Realm and is a master of well-honed martial arts," Zhang Ruochen said.
"What? His cultivation has reached the Mid Stage of the Earth Realm? What should we do?" The Ninth Commandery Princess said, her voice filled with tension. "Ninth brother, why did you accept his challenge if you knew about his cultivation? What if...?"
"Since I know his cultivation," Zhang Ruochen said with a smile, "I'm sure I can defeat him...or kill him."
Ninth Commandery Princess felt a surge of relief that she hid behind a cold gaze. "They've gone too far today," she said. "If we don't deter them, who knows how they will try to slander you in the future."
"Don't take this small matter too seriously. Keep practicing hard and continue down your own path." Zhang Ruochen said, patting the Ninth Commandery Princess on her shoulder before walking inside the palace.
The Ninth Commandery Princess was invited to come dine with Concubine Lin, while Zhang Ruochen entered the Time and Space Spinel to continue refining the Three Leaf Holy Clover.
Time was precious, and he had to seize every minute and second he could to practice.
Zhang Tiangui residence in the palace was brightly lit.
"Eldest brother, what should I do if Zhang Ruochen has reached the Earth Realm and tries to kill me in the Coliseum of the Martial Market?" Huang Li asked anxiously.
If Zhang Ruochen had only cultivated to the Completion of the Black Realm, Huang Li was confident he could compete with Zhang Ruochen.
But what if he had reached the Earth Realm?
Zhang Tiangui looked completely calm. "What are you worried about?" he asked Huang Li lightly. "You are a peerless genius who has cultivated to the Mid Stage of the Earth Realm. Even if you are no match for him, it should be easy enough for you to escape the battle. Am I wrong?"
"No. It's just..."
Huang Li was still worried. After all, Zhang Ruochen had managed to defeat Xun Guihai. If they were going to fight to the death, Huang Li had good reason to fear Zhang Ruochen.
When Huang Li uttered all his provocations, he never thought Zhang Ruochen would actually dare to kill him.
A decisive battle in the Coliseum of the Martial Market was something else entirely.
Zhang Tiangui took out a bronze medal and passed it to Huang Li. "This is a Formation Shield refined by an array master," he said. "You only need to infuse your Genuine Qi into the Formation Shield to activate its inscription; the energy will condense into an array shield which will block blows for you. If Zhang Ruochen's cultivation has truly reached the Earth Realm, using this Formation Shield will save your life."
"Thank you very much, elder brother!" Huang Li said, heart overflowing with happiness. He knelt on the ground and kowtowed to Zhang Tiangui before accepting the bronze medal.
Now that Huang Li had the Formation Shield, he no longer feared Zhang Ruochen.
"Leave me!" Zhang Tiangui said with a wave of his hand.
Once Huang Li left, Zhang Tiangui clutched a hand to his chest. A stinging pain rippled through his innards.
"Damn! I never thought Si Xingkong's cultivation would be so powerful. He defeated me even through I've already reached the Completion of the Earth Realm. It's a pity I only practiced the Six Mysterious Martial Arts. If I practiced the most powerful exercises of the Yuntai Suzerain -- the Holy Universe Reaching Skills -- Si Xingkong wouldn't stand a chance!"
Zhang Tiangui slammed his fist down on the desk. With a creaking sound, the rosewood desk was reduced to a fine powder.
Although the Six Mysterious Martial Arts were inferior class exercises from the ghost level, they were not complete exercises and couldn't be compared to the Holy Universe Reaching Skills.
Among the young generation of the entire Yuntai Suzerain, only Han Qiu, the daughter of the Master, practiced the Holy Universe Reaching Skills. To gain the Holy Universe Reaching Skills, Zhang Tiangui had to first reach Han Qiu.
Although he couldn't practice other exercises right now, this warrior would gain the opportunity to do so after he surpassed the Completion of the Heaven Realm.
Then he could pursue other exercises and extend himself into other realms of practice.
Zhang Tiangui was determined to seize the Holy Universe Reaching Skills, all for the sake of his future plans. His objective was not merely to become a martial arts legend; he wished to exceed the status of martial arts legend and reach the legendary Sacred Realm.
Luckily, Han Qiu currently had fond feelings for him. One could say that she and her Holy Universe Reaching Skills would be easy meat for Zhang Tiangui.
"The Qianshui Commandery supported the marriage between Zhang Ruochen and Commandery Princess Yanchen. I have to win over Han Qiu and gain support from the Yuntai Suzerain. With my superior talent over Zhang Ruochen, the title of Elder Prince would be good as mine."
Zhang Tiangui took a deep breath. Six hues of light gushed from his body as he started healing.
Nine days passed in the Time and Space Spinel.
Over these last nine days, Zhang Ruochen spent a mere four days refining two sprigs of Three Leaf Holy Clover and practiced the Dragon and Elephant Prajñā Palm for the remaining five days.
Zhang Ruochen sought to leave at least 20,000 palm prints with his strikes every day.
By practicing this palm technique, he not only trained his palms, but also refined his body and stirred up his blood. Once he finished his refinement, he infused all the efficacy of the Three Leaf Holy Clover into his body.
Once the nine days passed, Zhang Ruochen clearly felt that his cultivation had greatly improved and that his physical quality had strengthened a bit. Even the speed of his palm strikes had quickened.
"With the Dragon and Elephant Nine-fold, I could overlay five palm prints together to create a burst of strength five times as powerful. If I concentrated five bursts of strength into a single palm strike with my current cultivation, how powerful would that strike be?"
Because Zhang Ruochen had assumed the identity of Chen Ruo when he went to Earth Blaze City, he had not used the Dragon and Elephant Prajna Palm then.
As Zhang Ruochen, he could now use it as he pleased.
"Three days have passed on the outside. It's time to go to the Coliseum of the Martial Market. I may as well test my palm technique on Huang Li; since Zhang Tiangui wants to test me with Huang Li, I shouldn't leave him unsatisfied."
Zhang Ruochen excited the internal space of the Spinel, immediately left the palace and went to the Coliseum of the Martial Market.
News about the upcoming duel between Zhang Ruochen and Huang Li had spread all over Yunwu City and caused quite a stir, thanks to the efforts of certain busybodies.
There were even whispered rumors that the duel between these two people had something to do with Commandery Princess Yanchen. Perhaps the extremely beautiful Commandery Princess Yanchen would make an appearance at the Coliseum of the Martial Market.
Those warriors were filled with anticipation for this fight.
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