Chapter 257 – Shield of Thunder
The last person of those 20 was naturally Lin Ming.
Compared to the 19 disciples in front of him, Lin Ming was extremely ordinary. He came from an ordinary family and lived an ordinary life. Yet Lin Ming aroused an enormous interest from everyone.
In particular, the upper echelons of the Seven Profound Valleys. They had already been briefed on all of Lin Ming’s information. For a 16 year old to have such a performance in the Total Faction Martial Meeting was rare even in the last 200 years!
At this time, the sun hadn’t risen. Dawn was just around the corner, and yet there were already crowds of people gathered on the square of the Seven Profound Valleys’ Grand Hall.
The various elders of the small sects in the Seven Profound territory, the 16 group leaders of the martial cultivation families, the various Martial House Masters and nobles of the 36 countries, and other great characters were gathered in the square. Any of these characters would be grand figures if placed within a small country; their existence itself would earn the admiration of millions. But here, these people weren’t even allowed to sit in the front row, much less go into the Grand Hall.
“This year’s Total Faction Martial Meeting should have the most skilled disciples in nearly the last three centuries!” In the audience, Huoluo Nation’s Martial House Master Luo was sipping some tea. As the Martial House Master of a large country, he had been given preferential treatment. He had a table by his side, some tea to drink, and also some dried fruits to nibble on.
“Hehe, definitely. Didn’t Divine Phoenix Island send out a messenger? They really are giving face to our Seven Profound Valleys. Usually Peacock Mountain brags so much, but they’ve never had someone from a fourth-grade sect attend their own Martial Meeting!”
“Divine Phoenix Island?” Martial House Master Luo stirred his tea as he slowly said, “I heard a rumor from someone that Divine Phoenix Island came here for a specific reason, not to especially watch our Total Faction Martial Meeting…”
“Hm, I don’t know. Hey, what rank do you think your Huoluo Nation’s Wang Mu will reach?”
“Uh…” The sudden question caused Martial House Master Luo to nearly choke on his tea. Wang Mu had ultimately failed to even enter the second tier, and what distressed him the most was that Huoluo Nation also had to compensate with their Seraphic Pond…
The sun finally began to rise over the horizon. The referee of the final tournament was already standing in the center of the martial stage. This person had a cultivation at the middle Xiantian realm, and was also one of the Inner Court elders of the Seven Profound Valleys.
“I won’t repeat the rules of the competition – they are the same as the group stage qualifiers. There are altogether 30 people in the first tier finals. Everyone will have at least 29 matches. Those with the least points at the end will face a challenge from those in the second tier with the most points. This means that you may or may not still be in the top 30 ranks.
“Now, let the finals begin!”
The elder referee’s voice was very loud and clear; the entire mountain valley resounded with his voice.
“Lin Ming, do your best and try hard to enter the top 10. If you’re up against an opponent you cannot defeat, don’t try to be brave and get yourself hurt.” Qin Ziya repeatedly advised Lin Ming as they headed to the contestant waiting area. Although it was against the rules to kill or disable your opponent, if the strength of the two contestants were similar, then they would have to fight the battle with everything they had. In such a situation it would be very difficult to control one’s strength, and it wasn’t uncommon to be severely injured.
Lin Ming moved towards the contestant waiting area and sat patiently in a chair. The first match soon began. A core disciple and a non-seeded player walked on stage. Although this was a fierce competition between two individuals, the audience seemed to be a bit disappointed, they most wanted to watch a match between the direct disciples.
As the battle on the stage was intensely unfolding, Lin Ming saw an extremely handsome and good looking man walking over to him. This stylish and suave looking man was holding a fan, and had a hint of a disdainful sneer on his face.
Lin Ming furrowed his eyebrows, he didn’t recognize this person.
“Are you Lin Ming?”
“I am Ouyang Zifeng, a core disciple of the Seven Profound Valleys’ Acacia Faction.”
“I don’t think I know you?”
“…It doesn’t matter whether or not you know me, it’s enough that I know you. Because of you, my little brother will miss his chance to participate in this important Total Faction Martial Meeting.”
As this handsome young man said this, Lin Ming suddenly remembered back to his time at Desert Flower Hall. He had been dining with Qin Xingxuan when a fight had broken out. In the end, he had used his Samsara martial intent to injure an Acacia Faction disciple whose last name was also Ouyang. So it seems he was this person’s younger brother.
However, at that time Lin Ming had actually gone very easy on him. The reason that Ouyang Ziyun had been injured so heavily was because he wasn’t able to control his own ability – the Purple Flame Bone Lance. After his ability was broken, the true essence that he had gathered caused a backlash which resulted in him being injured.
Feeling Ouyang Zifeng’s reckless and sharp hostility, Lin Ming coldly said, “The reason that your little brother was injured so miserably was because he tried to use an ability he couldn’t control and got struck by his own backlash. It has nothing to do with me.”
“Nothing to do with you? Humph, if it wasn’t for you attacking him, how could my little brother lose control of his Purple Flame Bone Lance!!?”
“Then what you are saying is that I should extend my neck out and let your little brother attack me however he wants? What if I wasn’t strong enough and couldn’t deal with the Purple Flame Bone Lance? Wouldn’t I be burned to ashes? In Desert Flower Hall, I didn’t even bother him or provoke him, and yet he had to use the Purple Flame Bone Lance which he could not control in order to kill me. If he really killed me, then the most severe punishment would be getting grounded for a month or two. But if I killed him, then I must pay with my life. How arrogant and domineering must you Seven Profound Valleys disciples be!”
Ouyang Zifeng laughed viciously and said, “This world has only been decided by strength! Those who are strong make the rules! I am stronger than you, thus I make the rules!”
“You think you are stronger than me?”
“You’ll find out soon enough. Our match is the fourth, it will soon start!” Ouyang Zifeng said as he turned and strode away. He had already looked at the competition schedule ahead of time, and knew that he would encounter Lin Ming in the first round.
At the time that Ouyang Zifeng left, the match onstage had already come to a conclusion.
“Second match, Zhang Yanzhao against Yan Yandong!”
As the referee’s voice fell, the audience members that came from the 16 martial cultivation families let loose ringing cheers. Zhang Yanzhao was the final representative of all 16 martial families. During this Total Faction Martial Meeting, he had already reached the top 20; he had great chances of reaching the top 10!
His opponent Yan Yandong had already lost two matches in the second group stage. Against someone who was still undefeated, even though the match hadn’t yet ended, the results were already expected.
Zhang Yanzhao extracted the thick saber he had strapped to his back. Yan Yandong pulled out a small array flag. As he waved it, a hundred golden symbols flew into the air.
“Demon Locking Array!”
The golden symbols flew towards Zhang Yanzhao like a locust swarm. Zhang Yanzhao took a sudden step forwards, and his entire body exploded with sound, “Dragon Tiger Slayer!”
His saber slashed out, its momentum like a dragon and a tiger. The surrounding true essence in the air stirred together like a raging storm of destruction, and those golden symbols that flew in the air were like snowflakes that fell into a furnace – they instantly melted away!
The first saber strike destroyed Yan Yandong’s array, and the second saber strike broke apart Yan Yandong’s bodily true essence protection. The aftermath from that strike was already enough to angrily send Yan Yandong flying backwards.
Yan Yandong’s bodily true essence protection had been cleanly broken apart, but he himself wasn’t injured at all. Obviously, the degree of strength control that Zhang Yanzhao possessed was extremely formidable.
The different in their strength was just too great.
“Zhang Yanzhao is truly fierce!”
“I think that our 16 martial families’ Zhang Yanzhao isn’t any worse than the direct disciples of the Seven Factions!”
The ones who were speaking were the disciples of the 16 martial families. As they spoke up, a Seven Profound Valleys disciple that was sitting at their side contemptuously smiled and said, “That’s only because you haven’t experienced the strength of the direct disciples for yourself. If Zhang Yanzhao met Ouyang Ming or even Jiang Baoyun, then he would be defeated in five moves.”
“Five moves? Heh, I really want to laugh! You Seven Profound Valleys disciples brag to the point of not knowing what you’re talking about.”
“Wait and see for yourself, then don’t end up crying!”
The Seven Profound Valleys disciple curled his lips and didn’t speak any further.
At the third match, there wasn’t anyone important.
Fourth match, Lin Ming against Ouyang Zifeng!
Ouyang Zifeng was the third ranked disciple of the Acacia Faction, and he also was undefeated from the group stages.
Lin Ming was naturally undefeated too. But, in the opinion of the general audience, Lin Ming may be a genius, but the difference between him and one of the seven direct disciples was simply too great. During the qualifying stages, Lin Ming had defeated Jing Chanyu in two moves. However, this didn’t really raise anyone’s opinion of him. After all, Jing Chanyu didn’t have much chances of ending up in the top 20. Thus, defeating Jing Chanyu didn’t mean much.
However, the upper echelon of the Seven Profound Valleys was watching this match with rapt attention, eyes glued to the stage. They were especially looking forward to seeing Lin Ming in action. This Lin Ming was just too young!
In particular, the Seven Profound Valleys Valley Master Shi Zongtian had already ordered an investigation into Lin Ming’s entire last three generations of family. After receiving the report back, Shi Zongtian was simply startled out of his mind. Lin Ming had actually come from an extremely ordinary background, and he was a typical common martial artist. It was simply inconceivable that he could have such amazing results!
After Ouyang Zifeng walked onstage, many disciples began to immediately cheer, especially those female disciples who didn’t have much talent for martial arts, they screamed until their voices were hoarse and could scream no longer. Because of their limited martial talent, they always vainly dreamed of marrying a core disciple. However, the core disciples of the Sword Faction and Refiner Faction pursued their martial arts path wholeheartedly, and most simply weren’t lured by the pleasures of the flesh. There was just no chance of these girls being able to attract one of them. Thus the disciples of the Acacia Faction were the most sought after.
Compared to Ouyang Zifeng, there were far less cheers for Lin Ming. There just weren’t that many disciples of the 36 countries present.
Ouyang Zifeng and Lin Ming stood 100 feet apart from each other.
Ouyang Zifeng sneered and said, “I heard that you can control the power of thunder. I advise you not to try and hide any cards in your hand, and to use whatever moves you have when you can. Otherwise, you won’t have the opportunity to.”
“I never intended to hide any cards. I just use what I need to when I need to.”
“Haha, you are also arrogant beyond arrogant! Up until now, there has only been one person who has managed to force me into using my sword. I wonder if you also have the ability to force me into using my sword?”
As Ouyang Zifeng said this, he traced his spatial ring and took out a blue longsword. The sword was inserted into a scabbard that was made from snake skin. It looked simple, but it exuded a very light true essence fluctuation. Obviously, this scabbard was some sort of extraordinary treasure.
Lin Ming faintly smiled. Force you to draw your sword? Let’s see if you can force me to draw my spear!
Samsara martial intent!
Lin Ming’s eyes suddenly turned into two black vortexes. He was trying to come to a deeper understanding of his Samsara martial intent. Even if he didn’t expect his Samsara martial intent to defeat his opponent, he would still use it in order to gain some more insights into his martial intent.
Ouyang Zifeng had already expected that Lin Ming would use a soul attack. With a sneer, the scabbard in his hand began to fiercely tremble, and the sound of a wailing ghost cry began to emit outwards. A massive number of green ghosts suddenly emerged from the sword blade and circled around Ouyang Zifeng. These ghosts seemed to be formed of a chilling air, as if they were enough to freeze a person’s soul.
As Lin Ming’s soul attack struck, it was completely blocked by these ghosts.
Peng peng peng!
As a ghost was stuck by the soul attack, it would inflate like a balloon and then burst apart. But as this ghost died, a new one would emerge to take its place. Lin Ming had killed over a dozen ghosts with his first attack, but he still hadn’t been able to harm Ouyang Zifeng.
“Humph! Although the power of my soul force is inferior to yours, your soul attacks are useless against me! These ghosts are condensed from the Yin Qi that I’ve refined within my body. Every time you disperse one, they will just re-enter my body. After they are nourished by my true essence, they will reform endlessly!
“If you can only use soul attacks, then you truly disappoint me.”
As Ouyang Zifeng said this, a purple flame began to cover his entire body, as if his body was drowning in an inferno. This flame sprang dozens of feet high, and soon Ouyang Zifeng was completely enveloped within it. What was strange was that this purple flame wasn’t burning hot. Instead, it exuded a bone chilling energy. The tiles underneath Ouyang Zifeng’s feet began to ice over, spreading out with him at the center.
“Purple Flame Bone Lance…” Lin Ming easily recognized this ability. Back at Desert Flower Hall, Ouyang Ziyun had also moved this move, and thus he had suffered a major loss.
“My little brother used the Purple Flame Bone Lance and was defeated by you. Now, I will let you have a good look today and the true might of the Purple Flame Bone Lance!”
The purple flames on Ouyang Zifeng’s arm condensed into a purple bone lance. From it, the sounds of wailing ghosts and tormented spirits echoed out. With Ouyang Zifeng’s cultivation, he was able to display the true abilities of the Purple Flame Bone Lance.
The bone lance shot out, quick as lightning! Blurred flames followed in its path, creating the afterimage of a trailing tail of burning purple fire! A loud explosive sound pierced the air mixed with the weeping sounds of ghosts, scratching upon the eardrums of those nearby.
Lin Ming was directly pierced by the bone lance!
The audience didn’t even have time to respond. Ouyang Zifeng fiendishly grinned. You want to dodge this move? You are too naïve!
The ‘Lin Ming’ that was pierced by that bone lance suddenly dissipated into shadow, it had only been an afterimage. At the same time, the bone lance suddenly changed directions, chasing Lin Ming’s shadow!
Ouyang Zifeng cried out, and suddenly the bone lance split into 12 shards. These 12 mini bone lances pierced towards Lin Ming from all angles – they could not be avoided!
“Ahh—!” The martial artists from the 36 countries couldn’t help but cry out in alarm. Qin Ziya was even more nervous, both of his hands were clenched together until they were white. In this level of confrontation, any accidental move and one could be seriously injured or even crippled!
Peng peng peng peng!
The 12 mini purple flame bone lances simultaneously struck Lin Ming, and a massive pyre of purple fire screeched into the sky; it was just like a gloriously blooming purple rose!
Ouyang Zifeng’s lips curved up in a dark smile. All of the martial artists from the 36 countries were nervously waiting with breath abated.
Qin Xingxuan’s hands were covered with sweat; as to what the limit of Lin Ming’s power was, she did not know.
However, after the purple flames faded away, Ouyang Zifeng’s smile faded along with them.
Lin Ming was firmly standing on the martial stage, not even his clothes had been burnt. Around his body, massive purple snakes of electricity crackled as they writhed around his body, dancing, coiling, completely surrounding him.
Ouyang Zifeng’s face suddenly sank.
To use the power of thunder as a shield!?
If Lin Ming could use the power of thunder to block his Purple Flame Bone Lance, then that proved that Lin Ming’s thunder origin energy fusion compatibility had reached an extremely high level. It was enough to break his Yin Qi and threaten him.