Chapter 222: The Young Master of the Hades Department
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
Many of the Martial Arts masters heard Zhang Ruochen's words through the clamour of the Martial Market Coliseum and became aware of Huang Li's abnormalities.
"That's not Huang Li in the Coliseum?"
"How can that be? He looks just like Huang Li. There's no way he could be a fake."
"Zhang Ruochen's only saying because he's no match for Huang Li," a disciple of the Yuntai Suzerain said with a snort. "Pay no attention to his excuses; that is Huang Li. I'm familiar with all my fellow elder brothers and would never confuse him with someone else."
Even as all the disciples of the Yuntai Suzerain continued to insist the man in the Coliseum was Huang Li, the strength he exhibited grew more and more powerful. Soon, he had grown beyond even the reach of a second-class genius.
"What shall we do, elder brother?" Chang Qiqi said with alarm. "Huang Li should not be this strong. If this duel goes on, junior fellow apprentice Zhang will certainly die."
When all was said and done, Zhang Ruochen was the top genius at the School of the Martial Market. If he died in the Coliseum of the Martial Market at the hands of the Yuntai Suzerain, the Martial Market School would suffer a heavy loss.
"They both signed the Life and Death Contract to guarantee their duel would be fair," Zuo Lengxuan said coldly, standing off to the side. "If we interfere in their battle without any evidence of tampering, we will become a worldwide laughingstock. The Coliseum of the Martial Market is the property of the Martial Market Bank, after all; we cannot idly break our own rules."
Chang Qiqi glared at him. "Aren't you a disciple of the School of the Martial Market, Zuo Lengxuan?" he asked. "What if this turns out to be a plot by the Yuntai Suzerain to murder junior fellow apprentice Zhang in our own Coliseum?"
"As far as I know, the man on the battlefield is Huang Li," Zuo Lengxuan replied. "I have seen Huang Li before and know his appearance well. There's no way he could be an imposter."
The fight on the battlefield grew more and more furious, while Huang Li appeared to grow more and more powerful. Before long, his cultivation even surpassed that of warriors from the Mid Stage of the Earth Realm.
Each new sword stroke of his was stronger than the last.
More people began to worry for Zhang Ruochen. However, due to the obstructive rules of the Coliseum of the Martial Market, they dared not recklessly help him.
What was Zhang Ruochen to do?
Broadsword light streaked across Zhang Ruochen's chest. His martial robe was sliced open, exposing the Ice-fire Kylin Armor beneath. The tip of the broadsword lightly scraped his armor and sent sparks flying everywhere.
Zhang Ruochen immediately fell back and glanced down at his chest. "Your cultivation has reached the Completion of the Earth Realm. Who are you, really?" he asked in a gruff tone.
"You can perceive my cultivation?" Huang Li said, taken somewhat aback.
Huang Li thought he had concealed himself perfectly. Even martial arts legends from the Heaven Realm could not perceive his true cultivation and Realm.
Little did he know that Zhang Ruochen's Spiritual Power and vision surpassed even the martial arts legends of the Heaven Realm. It was child's play for Zhang Ruochen to pierce his facade and sense his true cultivation.
Zhang Ruochen sensed that Huang Li had a strength that rivaled the Young Lord of Poisonous Spider. Besides Zhang Tiangui and Han Qiu, no one among the younger generation of the Yuntai Suzerain could match his might.
Was he an evil master from the Black Market or Moon Worship Demonic Sect?
After a short lull in the combat, Huang Li launched another series of attacks against Zhang Ruochen, each strike stronger than the previous one.
Zi Qian stood among the disciples of the School of the Martial Market, her gazed fixed on Huang Li. She bit down on her lip and hesitated. After a while, she seemed to reach a tough decision.
"That man is not Huang Li," she said, a determined look in her eyes. "He's probably a killer from the Hades Department. Top killers from the Hades Department can practice a martial technique called 'Silkworm Butterfly Skill', which allows them to change their figure and appearance."
Chen Xier suddenly stood and stared firmly at Zi Qian. "You just called 'Huang Li' a killer from the Hades Department," she said. "Do you have any evidence?"
Zuo Lengxuan glared at Zi Qian. "Ridiculous," he said. "If the Hades Department had this so called appearance-changing martial arts technique, we would know about it. How would you, a mere external disciple, know something we don't? Silkworm Butterfly Skill? I've never heard of such a thing."
"There's a reason you've never heard about this technique; only the top assassins of the Hades Department have access to the Silkworm Butterfly Skill. The essence of this skill lies in transforming into a butterfly or reverting into a silkworm. The silkworm and butterfly share the same origin but take on different forms. Once you master the Silkworm Butterfly Skill, you can casually shift around your skeletons, muscles, and meridians to transform into whomever you please. I am certain the Huang Li on the battlefield is actually Zi Yinyang, the young master of the Hades Department. He's the only person among the younger generation of the Hades Department who has practiced the Silkworm Butterfly Skill."
The moment Zi Qian revealed the existence of Zi Yinyang, the top killer in the Hades Department, she was prepared to have her identity exposed. She was even prepared to die, here in the Coliseum of the Martial Market.
But she had no choice. Only revealing the truth would convince the others that the man on the battlefield was not Huang Li. If she did not do this, Zhang Ruochen may well die in the Coliseum of the Martial Market.
Zi Qian continued speaking: "Elder brother, senior sister apprentice Chen; please believe me! The Huang Li on the battlefield must be Zi Yinyang. He intends to murder Zhang Ruochen in the Coliseum so that he can collect a massive bounty and stir up conflict between the Yuntai Suzerain and the School of the Martial Market in a single stroke!"
Si Xingkong and Chen Xier met each other's eyes and nodded in unison.
Si Xingkong rushed into the Coliseum arena and yelled in a loud voice: "Please deactivate the Coliseum array! That man on the field is not Huang Li, but one of the top assassins from the Hades Department."
As Si Xingkong entered the Coliseum arena, Chen Xier stared intently at Zi Qian. "Keep an eye on her," she told two of her internal disciples. "Don't let her escape."
Chen Xier was a very clever woman. How could she not be suspicious about Zi Qian, an external disciple who displayed such familiarity with the Hades Department?
Whatever Zi Qian's reasons were for revealing the secret of the Silkworm Butterfly Skill, Chen Xier would not let her leave.
Atop the arena platform, Huang Li glanced towards the edge of the arena and noticed Si Xingkong standing there. He smiled coldly: "They've already found me out? Now that the cat's out of the bag, I must kill Zhang Ruochen before they take down the array."
Huang Li stared at Zhang Ruochen, a cruel, murderous look in his eyes. The aura emanating from his body grew ten times stronger. His skin turned coarse and chapped, his figure grew least three meters taller, his arms thickened, and his face became even harsher.
The appearance of "Huang Li" morphed wildly as he became a completely different person.
At that moment, the disciples of the School of the Martial Market finally trusted Zi Qian's words.
"Zhang Ruochen, ranked thirty-seventh on the Board of Bounty Hunters; I, the young master, shall claim your head!" "Huang Li" said, laughing gleefully as he swung his Bluedragon Broadsword towards Zhang Ruochen.
This slash was much, much stronger than the previous attacks!
If Zhang Ruochen had truly only cultivated to the Completion of the Black Realm, he could do nothing but die.
Off the battlefield, some people recognized him and cried out in astonishment: "He's one of the top seven masters among the younger generation of the Black Market, the Young Lord of the Hades Department. He is Zi Yinyang."
"It really is Zi Yinyang. D*mn it!"
Huang Yanchen stared down at the arena, anxious for Zhang Ruochen's safety. "Hurry and rescue Zhang Ruochen, Fengxuan," she promptly told her bodyguard. "Don't let Zi Yinyang kill him."
The gray-haired old lady behind Huan Yanchen immediately rushed out to the scene. Unfathomable strength burst from her old, stooped body as she punched the Inscription Array surrounding the arena platform.
A sonorous voice arose from the crowd, a voice like distant thunder that made the earth shake: "This is a battle between the younger generations. As an old generation master, why do you interfere?"
In that moment, a man in black emerged from the shadows in the blink of a eye, face hidden behind a ghastly-looking mask. Standing on the edge of the fighting stage, he threw his palms forward.
The strikes of these two martial arts legends from the Heaven Realm collided, violent waves of Genuine Qi radiating from the point of impact.
Countless young warriors within the Coliseum of the Martial Market were lifted by this powerful breeze, scattered and tossed back into the walls.
The man in black wearing the ghost mask blew Feng Xuan away with a single strike. Afterwards, he cackled and amplified his voice by channeling Genuine Qi. "Warriors of the Black Market," he said loudly. "It is time to act. Exterminate the young disciples of the Yuntai Suzerain and the School of the Martial Market!"
Upon hearing the words of the man in black, the Black Market warriors hidden among the crowd immediately launched their attack, striking out at the disciples of the Yuntai Suzerain and the School of the Martial Market.
Fengxuan slid to a halt thirty meters away from the battlefield. She stared at the man in black. "Who are you?" she asked hoarsely.
The man in black clasped his hands behind his back, body radiating a bitter cold Qi. He laughed behind his ghost mask. "I am the new master of the Black Market," he proclaimed, "newly appointed to handle the affairs of our black market in the Yunwu Commandery. Call your Songji down here! You're no match for me alone, and I'd like to witness the power of the Xuan-Ji Duo for myself!"
"This old lady's more than enough to deal with the likes of you!"
Fengxuan darted to the side, her body moving with a speed that exceeded even sound. In the blink of an eye she rushed towards the Black Market Master and struck at him with her fist.
Who would have thought a lady as old as her could emit such powerful strength?
"The space is too cramped. Let's fight somewhere more open!"
The Master of the Black Market stamped down on the ground with the sole of his foot. He exploded upwards like a cannonball, soaring over the roof before flying out of the Coliseum of the Martial Market.
Fengxuan immediately pursued him using a footwork technique.
The Black Market had assigned as many masters as they could to this operation. Though they had only sent three martial arts legends from the Heaven Realm, their evil masters from the Earth Realm and Black Realm swarmed beyond counting.
Si Xingkong fought against a Heaven Realm assassin from the Hades Department, a battle that had already moved far outside the Martial Market Coliseum. If not for the loud, earsplitting sounds of their blows, you wouldn't even know they were still fighting.
Fights between martial arts legends in the Heaven Realm were astonishing lethal, far more so than the battles between warriors of the Earth Realm. Only warriors as powerful as Si Xingkong could stand up to the martial arts legends of the Heaven Realm.
The commander-in-chief of the Poisonous Spider Club, Hua Minggong, had also shown up in the Coliseum of the Martial Market, desiring to capture Huang Yanchen once more. This time, however, Songji, Huang Yanchen's escort, stood in his way.
"If you dare to harm our Commandery Princess this day, Hua Minggong, I will kill you," Songji said.
"There are many masters from the Black Market and the Moon Worship Demonic Sect around us," Huang Minggong said with a laugh. "Do you really think you can fight them all?"
Songji and Hua Minggong, two masters of the Heaven Realm, began their battle. In just a moment of hand-to-hand combat, they had burst through one of the walls and rushed outside.
The Martial Market descended into chaotic warfare, drowned in the flash and ringing of cold steel.
Though the Coliseum array had been deactivated, Zi Yinyang still continued his assault on Zhang Ruochen. He chased after Zhang Ruochen, swinging his broadsword continuously in an effort to take Zhang Ruochen's life.
Zi Yinyang's martial cultivation was almost comparable to that of Hua Qingshan, the Young Lord of Poisonous Spiders. However, Zi Yinyang was more adept at assassin skills than Hua Qingshan. Each of his attacks was a killing blow, leaving Zhang Ruochen with no margin of error for survival.
Zhang Ruochen released his Space Domain and continued to employ his Shadow of the Royal Wind Dragon, forming nine phantom images he used to repeatedly evade Zi Yinyang's strikes.
"Nine-fold Elephant Power!"
Zhang Ruochen hurled forth five palm strikes in rapid succession, overlapping all five of his palm prints to create an eruption of power five times stronger than that of an individual strike.
Zi Yinyang blocked with the flat of his sword. He felt an earth-shattering power pouring from Zhang Ruochen's palms that shook the Bluedragon Broadsword in his hands and sent it flying out of his grip.
The Bluedragon Broadsword flew over thirty meters away and stuck into the ground point first. The broadsword blade still hummed like a bell, emitting an ear-piercing ring.
Zi Yinyang stumbled ten steps back before managing to regain his footing. He stared at Zhang Ruochen in astonishment. "Such a powerful palm technique," he said. "You're hiding your real strength as well, aren't you?"
Off in the distance, Zhang Tiangui also observed Zhang Ruochen's palm technique. A slightly cold expression crept across his face. "So it is Zhang Ruochen," he thought.
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