Chapter 218 - The Battle (Part 1)
"Many thanks for Elder Ye's recognition. I will absolutely give it my all." Hu Chunniang knew that Zhang Xiuniang had praised her with Elder Ye in secret and bowed, speaking with great delight.
If she were able to serve as Elder Ye's sword cultivation disciple, the benefits would be endless.
"For this competition, other than the two from my sect - Hu Chunniang and Xiu Niang - how about we choose the remaining three disciples from your Barbarian Ghost Sect. After all, Tian He hasn't brought too many Spirit Apostle Level Disciples with them this time." Ye Tianmei turned and said to Master Lei.
"Do not worry, Elder Ye. In addition to the four Spirit Masters, we have also brought more than ten Spirit Apostle Disciples from my sect, all of great strength." Master Lei trembled slightly before answering respectfully.
"Very good. In that case, choose the best three among them, and in a moment they will join the other two - Xiu Niang and the other - in facing the enemy." Ye Tianmei spoke without much additional thought.
Master Lei naturally voiced his agreement in response, then turned around and barked the order.
A moment later, the ten-odd inner-circle disciples standing behind the bone boat stepped forward and lined up side-by-side.
These disciples were all of different ages - the youngest was just in his twenties while the oldest was forty or fifty - but their auras were all extraordinary.
With a glance, Liu Ming realized that he recognized one of them. It was none other than Du Hai.
Of course Du Hai saw Liu Ming as well, but only gave a slight nod in his direction, and showed no further emotion.
"As you have heard, the continuation of our two sects rests upon this competition. I must choose the strongest among you to go to battle. Feng Long, Du Hai, Bai Congtian - the three of you will go to battle!” Master Lei gazed over the disciples before speaking with a sense of finality.
Liu Ming and the two others with him immediately bowed forward in response.
The disciple called Feng Long was a large man of forty years of age. Seeing that he was unfazed by these words, one could tell that he was not an ordinary disciple.
Liu Ming let out a sigh secretly in his mind.
Originally he had planned for the support from the sect to arrive, as this would then cease to be a problem for him to tackle on his own, but he never imagined that as those ranking as high as Crystal Level Spirit Masters would be involved, and two at that. It meant that he would inevitably need to take further action.
"The three of you, listen up! Put your best foot forward in this competition against the Sea race, and the sect will reward you handsomely. But if you put your own lives before our cause and bring dishonor to the sect, I will have no mercy in punishing you." Master Lei spoke, face darkened.
Liu Ming and the two others, scared, voiced their assent immediately.
Master Lei flew the three of them onto the bronze flying chariot.
"These are the three disciples you have chosen from your Barbarian Ghost Sect...mhmm, all Late Spirit Apostles, not too shabby! You lot have one job, and it's simple - tie up the enemies for as long as possible and let Xiu Niang take care of them one by one, the members of the sea race." Ye Tianmei gazed over Liu Ming and the two others, as he spoke lightly.
Though Du Hai and Feng Long did not know who this so-called Zhang Xiuniang was, under the gaze of a Crystal Level Spirit Master like Ye Tianmei, even if they had wanted to say "no," they wouldn't have even made it to "n."
Liu Ming also nodded silently.
"Okay good. It's almost time. You all get your auras ready, the battle is about to begin." With one last line, Ye Tianmei turned from the five combatants to face the skinny man, who was hovering in the air elsewhere.
She saw this Crystal Level Master of the sea race, sitting cross-legged at the front of the white jade boat, eyes closed in a state of repose, looking downwards and appearing to have a clearly thought out plan for the battle.
Seeing this, Ye Tianmei let out a cold laugh.
At this moment, the thick blue light barrier enveloping the palace suddenly became hazy, transforming into spiritual sparks which dispersed and disappeared.
In a flash, six figures on clouds shot up from among the figures inside and shot through the air toward the jade boat.
Squinting, Liu Ming was able to make out the silhouettes clearly.
One of them was that Divine Secret Goddess. Among the other five were a beautiful woman with a head adorned with pearls and jade, a middle-aged servant with an ordinary face, a giant two meters tall, and a middle-aged man clad in yellow robes. The last of the five was a hazy figure shrouded from head to toe in blood-colored light.
Seeing this, Liu Ming felt a slight wave of apprehension in his heart.
While he couldn't place the others, he identified Empress Dong and the Emperor Xuan Zhi with one look.
As they were the most prominent people in Xuanjing, he had seen their images in relevant materials long ago.
"Hail Third Uncle!"
Empress Dong dropped onto the deck of the jade boat in one swoop, immediately bowing before Third Red.
"Hmph, silly girl of the Dong house, you have completely failed this time. If you hadn't sent word of Xuan Zhi's trace of royal bloodline, my red scale clan wouldn't have gotten involved with your green scale clan. But if what you say is true, could royal blood really run in this child's veins?" Third Red first spoke lightly before fixing his eyes on Xuan Zhi and asking slowly.
"Don't worry, Uncle Third Red, I am one of the sea race. How could I dare to make false claims in a situation like this? Xuan Zhi, extend your arm." Empress Dong first answered respectfully before directing her voice towards Xuan Zhi.
Though Xuan Zhi's face was somewhat pale, upon hearing these words he immediately raised an arm.
With a flash, Empress Dong cut a small hole in Xuan Zhi's arm with a sparkling, translucent dagger. With another thrust of her hand, a small ball of blood flew out from the wound. Using Fa Li, she turned it into pearl and guided it into her hand. She then stepped forward and offered it to the skinny man with two hands.
Expressionless, Third Red took the ball of blood, stuck out his tongue and gave it a lick.
"Impressive - there is a strain of royal blood within it. Though it is not especially pure since he is a mixed blood, it was still worth it for me to make the journey here. Regarding the competition - Divine Secret has already filled you in, correct?" Third Red's expression gradually relaxed as he asked.
"Divine Secret Sister has already filled us in, about how we will compete with human cultivators in order to be able to leave here. She has also instructed us on the methods we will use to win. As such, I have no further opinions on the matter and will defer completely to Uncle Third Red's commands. I simply have pity for those common folk who came with me." Empress Dong nodded her head, though she spoke with some hesitation.
"There is nothing to be done there. After all, your plot was exposed and you were trapped here by the enemy. Still, these folks' sacrifice was not made in vain - bringing back a member of our race with a royal bloodline certainly counts as atonement for your sins. Alright, it's time for you and the others to battle. But you must ensure that Xuan Zhi remains safe." Third Red spoke lightly.
"Yes - I know what to do." Hearing these words, Empress Dong bowed once again before rising.
Then, after another quick discussion, the five of them and the Divine Secret Goddess flew to the front of the main gate of the palace.
At the same time, Liu Ming, Zhang Xiuniang and the others flew up into the air and then descended in succession.
The others stayed put.
"Too many competition rules will bore us all. In the amount of time allowed, neither side can leave the square in front of the main palace gate; all techniques and talismans are allowed; as long as you vanquish or kill all of your opponent's, you win! Fellow Ye has nothing further to add, I take it?" Seeing the members of both parties standing in the square in front of the main palace gate, the skinny man asked Ye Tianmei.
"Sounds good - I have no further comments!" Eyebrows arched at the tip, Ye Tianmei answered without further thought.
"In that case, let the battle begin," said the skinny man quietly.
Though he spoke softly, his voice rang through to Liu Ming and the others perfectly clearly, as if he was standing next to them and speaking directly into their ears.
Whether it was Master Lei or the Sea Race on the jade boat, they all shot their gaze downwards with a “shua”.
There, Liu Ming, Zhang Xiuniang and the rest were spread out in a line and observed their opponents across from them.
“That guy looks to be the most dangerous. Let me take care of him first.” Speaking lightly, Zhang Xiuniang glanced over Empress Dong and the others, her gaze finally fixating on that hazy silhouette completely covered in blood-colored light.
As soon as she pulled out the snowy-white sword hanging from her back, she took a large step towards the bloody figure.
Seeing this, Liu Ming and the others had nothing more to say, and each approached the enemy closest to them.
Across from and not too far from Liu Ming was none other than the giant two meters tall.
Seeing Liu Ming approaching, a ferocious expression appeared on the giant’s face. He immediately tugged on his sleeve and pulled out a pill, which he immediately put in his mouth.
Though he was still a distance away, Liu Ming was nonetheless able to see the pill’s form clearly and was somewhat surprised.
“You know this pill’s name; I guess I don’t need to say much else. Die.” The giant swallowed the pill and his veins started to throb intensely. An astonishing aura explosively flared up around his body simultaneously.
With a mere turn of his hand, the giant impressively produced a long crimson club out of thin air, and a simple motion of his two arms turned it into a violent gust of wind.
Brows raised, Liu Ming contorted his body and flew along with the wind like willow leaves.
On the other side, Hu Chunniang and Du Hai were sparring with Empress Dong and the middle-aged servant, respectively.
Hu Chunniang clutched a sparkling, translucent dagger in each hand. With a single wave, they transformed into several dagger silhouettes which flew at the enemy, hacking through the air as they went.
Empress Dong carried a yellow shield – neither gold nor wood – in one hand, and an immaculate piece of white jade in the other.
She used one of them to create a deep yellow light barrier, and with a wave of the other, several white flower silhouettes appeared. Both were defense totems and using them in succession, she was able to block all of the dagger silhouettes.
After pulling out the sword he was carrying on his back, Du Hai’s entire body transformed into four or five light silhouettes, encircling the middle-aged servant and hacking at her wildly.
The middle-aged servant clutched a light green tortoise shell. Out of thin air she conjured a thick light barrier to shield herself, causing the daggers of light all around to stand stock still.
As for the middle-aged disciple named Feng Long, he was battling Xuan Zhi, the former emperor of Da Xuan Country.
But before Feng Long had raised his hand and released three identical black bone awls, across from him Xuan Zhi hurled a flashing silver glyph in his direction.
With a boom, the glyph became hazy and turned into silvery white shark figure, violently chomping in Feng Long’s direction as it zoomed towards him.
Terrified, all Feng Long could do was to hastily employ one of the awls, which transformed into a sphere of black light and surrounded him, temporarily fending off this extremely ferocious white shark figure.