Chapter 221: Not Huang Li
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
The Coliseum of the Martial Market had closed after the Black Market and the Moon Worship Demonic Sect alliance destroyed the Martial Market Bank industries in Yunwu Commandery.
The Coliseum of the Martial Market had reopened half a month ago.
However, fewer warriors than before came to fight in the Coliseum of the Martial Market.
The Coliseum of the Martial Market had only recently regained its previous level of liveliness and bustling crowds.
"Do we really need to watch this fight? It's obvious who will win," Huang Yanchen asked.
She sat on the top floor of a tower at the periphery of the Martial Market Coliseum, watching the central space of the Coliseum through an open window.
It was the perfect spot to watch the battle!
A gray-haired old woman and a stooped old man stood behind Huang Yanchen, both of them as still as two stone sculptures.
The Qianshui Commandery Prince had dispatched these two martial arts legends to Yunwu Commandery in order to deal with the Poisonous Spider Club. These two specialists, both more than a hundred years old, were known as the "The Xuan-Ji Duo".
The old woman was called "Fengxuan", while the old man was "Songji".
Since the Evil Warriors of the Poisonous Spider Club had all gone into hiding, they would not be easily found anytime soon. For this reason, the Xuan-Ji Duo was temporarily escorting Huang Yanchen for her own protection.
Knowing Zhang Ruochen's strength, Huang Yanchen naturally thought that he would win this battle for sure. However, there was a huge gap in fighting strength between Zhang Ruochen and the other warriors.
One of them had cultivated to the Completion the Black Realm, while the other had reached the Mid Stage of the Earth Realm.
Despite Zhang Ruochen's peerless talent, defeating Huang Li would be no simple task.
"The School of the Martial Market has joined forces with the Yuntai Suzerain to deal with the Black Market and the Moon Worship Demonic Sect. Why, then, has internal strife arisen between them?"
"You haven't heard? They say this current strife is related to Commandery Princess Yanchen."
"How is the Commandery Princess related to this?"
"When Chen Ruo rescued Commandery Princess Yanchen from her imprisonment in Earth Blaze City, Zhang Ruochen, the Ninth Prince, was nowhere to be seen. Having heard about this incident and how Zhang Ruochen did not dare to break into Earth Blaze City, Huang Li, the disciple from Yuntai Suzerain, called the Ninth Prince a coward unworthy of Princess Yanchen. Enraged by this disciple's criticism, Zhang Ruochen vowed to clear his good name by challenging him to a duel to the death."
"The Ninth Prince is being too impetuous. He has only cultivated to the Black Realm; how will he be able to match an enemy from the Earth Realm?"
"The Ninth Prince was backed into a corner. These rumors about Chen Ruo and Commandery Princess Yanchen have spread far and wide across the commanderies and the facts of the incident twisted into lies and slander. If the Ninth Prince doesn't stand up for himself, how can he keep his foothold in the world of Martial Arts?"
Rumors spread among the warriors in the Coliseum of the Martial Market. Some were talking about Commandery Princess Yanchen and Chen Ruo, some were discussing Duanmu Xingling and Chen Ruo, and others were wondering whether Zhang Ruochen or Chen Ruo was stronger.
Disciples from the Yuntai Suzerain and the School of the Martial Market gathered in the Coliseum of the Martial Market as well. You could cut the hostility between these two factions with a knife.
The Yuntai Suzerain disciples, led by Zhang Tiangui and Han Qiu, numbered forty, half of which were internal disciples from the Earth Realm.
Si Xingkong and Chen Xier led the disciples of the Martial Market School. They had a few more disciples than the Yuntai Suzerain, most of whom were also internal students.
"Though I don't know what actually happened, our kind-hearted junior apprentice Zhang was enraged beyond belief. Damn that Huang Li!"
Chen Xier knew Zhang Ruochen's disposition well; he would never challenge Huang Li to a death match if Huang Li hadn't crossed a line.
Si Xingkong, his hair disheveled, laughed as he dangled a wine gourd in his hand. "I'm afraid that the Black Market and the Moon Worship Demonic Sect set this trap to drive a wedge between our schools," he said. "They benefit for as long as the School of the Martial Market and Yuntai Suzerain are divided by internal strife."
"Elder brother, " Chang Qiqi said, "do you think the Evil Warriors of the Black Market and Moon Worship Demonic Sect will show up today?"
"Hard to say!"
Si Xingkong swallowed a mouthful of wine from his gourd and squinted. "If I was one of the seniors from the Black Market and the Moon Worship Demonic Sect, I would definitively launch an attack," he said with a chuckle. "That way, I could damage the Yuntai Suzerain and the Martial Market School by hurting their young geniuses. Junior fellow apprentice Chang," he said, "go remind our junior sister and fellow apprentices to stay vigilant. There may well be a fierce battle today."
Chang Qiqi was somewhat shocked. "Do you want me to inform the Yuntai Suzerain?" he asked. "We are a united front, after all..."
"That won't be necessary!" Si Xingkong said, smiling and shaking his head. "Zhang Tiangui is no fool; he definitively has plans of his own, so we don't need to worry about him. I am, however, interested in that junior fellow apprentice. I'm not sure whether he can defeat Huang Li."
Chen Xier knew that Zhang Ruochen had already broken through into the Earth Realm and become an internal disciple. "When Huang Li picked a fight with junior fellow apprentice Zhang, he sealed his fate," she said, smiling slightly.
A loud clamour rose from the Coliseum of the Martial Market. Huang Li stepped onto the arena platform ahead of Zhang Ruochen.
Chen Xier's brow furrowed. She searched for Zhang Ruochen among the crowd in the Coliseum of the Martial Market but failed to find him. "What's going on with junior fellow apprentice Zhang? Where has he gone?" she asked. "Did something happen?"
"No! Something's wrong!" Xi Xingkong said, spitting out the words.
"What's wrong?" Chen Xier asked.
Si Xingkong's eyes were firmly fixed on Huang Li as he entered the Coliseum. "There's something...strange about Huang Li," he said, shaking his head. "I'm not sure what. Hopefully I'm just being a worrywart!"
Chen Xier also glanced down at Huang Li, a person he had spared little thought for. As young warriors from Devil Martial City, they were both familiar with each other.
Though Huang Li had made great strides in his cultivation, he still hadn't acquired enough power to be notable.
Not long after, Zhang Ruochen and the Ninth Commandery Princess rode their battle beast into the Martial Market Coliseum under the protection of the imperial guards.
A riot of sound washed over the Coliseum of the Martial Market.
Zhang Ruochen's sharp eyes swept across the Coliseum of the Martial Market, focusing on the direction where his associates from the Martial Market School stood. He nodded to them before signing the Life and Death Contract. Step by step, he ascended to the arena platform and stopped in front of Huang Li.
A shield array gradually shimmered into existence, forming a spherical barrier of light around the edge of the arena.
Under the protection of the light shield, the warriors watching the battle would not be harmed by the power the two warriors would unleash.
At the same time, the Inscription Array would prevent warriors outside the arena from interfering with the battle.
The Inscription Array would not disappear until one of the two fighters gave in.
Huang Li wielded a Bluedragon Broadsword about three meters long and wore a scarlet five-class Genuine Martial Armament suit of armor. He glared at Zhang Ruochen with keen, sparkling eyes.
Without saying a word or giving his opponent time to prepare, he suddenly swung his broadsword at Zhang Ruochen.
Huang Li gripped his broadsword with both hands, each finger curled around the hilt. As he strode steadily forward, he activated all the inscriptions on his Bluedragon Broadsword using his Genuine Qi, calling forth a mighty knife energy.
Light erupted from the blade, stretching three meters up into the sky.
Zhang Ruochen was still finding his footing when he collided head-on with the surging blade-wind. Radiant blue light filled every corner of his vision, carrying with it a deadly aura of murderous intent.
"Something is wrong with Huang Li!"
Zhang Ruochen felt ill at ease. Something about Huang Li's presence felt strange; for that matter, why was Huang Li attacking so eagerly?
Zhang Ruochen had little time to think about this. He immediately responded, stepping left to escape Huang Li's attack.
Huang Li's broadsword techniques were subtle and uncanny. He pursued Zhang Ruochen with a grim resolve and swung his broadsword towards Zhang Ruochen again.
"How did Huang Li's broadsword techniques become so subtle?"
Zhang Ruochen felt he had previously underestimated Huang Li. Judging by the broadsword technique he was displaying, he had at least reached the Advanced-Stage Realm of the 'Follow your Heart' broadsword movement .
Though the cultivation Huang Li displayed remained at the Mid Stage of the Earth Realm, his broadsword techniques were astonishing. Few warriors in the Earth Realm could reach such a realm.
For the time being, Zhang Ruochen decided not to reveal all of his strength. Suppressing his cultivation to just below the Earth Realm, Zhang Ruochen made a probing attack.
"Dragon and Elephant Return to Earth!"
Zhang Ruochen planted his feet and channeled all the power of his physical body and Genuine Qi through the center of his palms. Suddenly, his palm rushed towards the blade of the Bluedragon Broadsword.
The power of the Dragon and Elephant Prajñā Palm was not to be trifled; after all, its strength rivaled the mid-class martial techniques of the Spiritual Stage.
The roar of dragons and howl of elephants emanated from Zhang Ruochen's palms.
A wicked light flashed in Huang Li's eyes. The corner of his mouth turned up. A vibration traveled up his arms and into the Bluedragon Broadsword, which began to give off a piercing cry.
Zhang Ruochen felt a strong power pouring off the Bluedragon Broadsword that shocked his arms numb and sent his body hurling back.
Huang Li withdrew as well, taking nine steps back before he managed to regain his footing.
Han Qiu of the Yuntai Suzerain could not conceal his surprise. "How could Huang Li's broadsword techniques become so powerful?" he asked.
The disciples from the Yuntai Suzerain who stood on the sidelines shook their heads in astonishment. They had never seen Huang Li perform broadsword techniques of this power.
Since he hadn't performed outstandingly in the internal school of the Yuntai Suzerain, he was only seen as an ordinary genius.
If his broadsword technique had grown powerful enough for him to fight battles two realms beyond his level, he should have long since attained the rank of second-class genius, if not half a rank higher. He could not have reached such a level without drawing the attention of other warriors.
Han Qiu stared at Zhang Tiangui, wondering what kinds of secrets he had hidden from her.
Zhang Tiangui, his expression grim, shook his head. "I'm as much in the dark as you are," he said to Han Qiu. "Huang Li may well have concealed his true cultivation up until now."
He really didn't know what was going on. He had noticed something abnormal about Huang Li, but he did not want to discuss it in detail. Instead, he fixed his gaze on the two people fighting each other in the Coliseum.
The higher Huang Li's cultivation was, the better he could discern Zhang Ruochen's true strength.
"No wonder that you're ranked first in the Western Campus; you can even withstand an attack from my broadsword. But how about this attack - 'Broadsword Slaughters the Saint'?"
Laughter escaped from Huang Li's lips. He twirled his broadsword around in his hands like a windmill, generating a huge vortex ten meters in diameter. The howling wind from the broadsword swirled around his body, generating numerous broadsword shadows.
The broadsword shadows then drew together, radiating a harsh, dark blue light that fell on Zhang Ruochen's head.
This attack was at least three times stronger than the previous one in both speed and power.
The howling of dragons seemed to echo through the air.
Zhang Ruochen's pupils consticted. He stared intently at Huang Li's broadsword wind. The clues finally came together in his mind: "You are not Huang Li!"
Despite all the effort his opponent had invested in masking his features, Zhang Ruochen's Spiritual Power was mighty enough for him to notice the inconsistencies. Huang Li's bones and muscles, as well as his meridians, had changed.
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