Chapter 267 – Azure True Essence
Zhang Yanzhao smashed against the martial stage’s protective barrier, the blood within his body tumbling endlessly. Although he had suffered a heavy injury, he was still able to use his saber to prop himself up on the ground, and not fall flat to the floor in a shameless scene.
How could this be!?
Zhang Yanzhao could not believe this. He had exhausted over 50% of his true essence in order to send out the Blood King’s Absolute Murder. The terrifying storm of saber energy that was released still wasn’t able to crush that azure spear light that was several times less than his own! Instead, that spear light pierced through layer upon layer of blood waves, finally striking him down!
What sort of spear light was that?
It was as if it were indestructible.
It was simply too terrifying!
As Zhang Yanzhao looked up and saw Lin Ming, he noticed that Lin Ming was standing exactly where he had been, without a single wound on his body. Zhang Yanzhao had clearly seen that in the split second that the Blood King’s Absolute Murder had reached Lin Ming, that azure spear light had managed to tear open a hole within the blood waves, parting them in half and allowing Lin Ming to dodge most of the attacks. As for the rest of the energy, it had struck Lin Ming but was unable to shatter apart the azure true essence that protected his body.
This kind of weird true essence was too terrifying! Although it didn’t feel too powerful, it was completely immutable.
The entire audience was stunned silent as all of them quietly gazed at the martial stage. Zhang Yanzhao’s final saber had created an extremely powerful force that had exceeded their imaginations. It had even blasted apart the array formation tiles in the center of the martial stage, leaving behind a massive crater that was over a dozen feet deep!
Was this really a showdown of the younger generation? Even a battle between late Houtian realm, or even peak Houtian realm masters would not be able to create such awe inspiring carnage!
At this moment, a thin drizzle of blood began to fall from the sky as if it were a spring rain.
It hit the face, wet and sticky.
After the endless waves of blood were blown apart, their powerful energy had managed to seep through the defensive barrier of the martial stage, forming clouds of blood in the sky. This phenomenon was substantialized by Zhang Yanzhao’s true essence, becoming reality. His true essence manifestation was thick as blood.
Even the group of referee elders were shocked speechless. This was because they had taken Jiang Baoyun as the strongest representative of all the direct disciples, and thus the strongest of the younger generation. His strength was capable of reaching the middle Houtian stage, so they had created a defensive barrier that was able to withstand attacks from a late Houtian realm master. This defensive barrier should be able to withstand a continuous onslaught from a late Houtian realm master without breaking.
Yet Zhang Yanzhao’s true essence manifestation blood waves had actually managed to flow through the defensive barrier; this could only mean that his striking power had reached the standard late Houtian realm master!
What sort of concept was it for a half-step Houtian martial artist to have the attack power of a late Houtian realm master?
This was just too difficult to imagine!
The Blood King’s Triple Murder was just too terrifying a skill!
And what was even more horrifying was Lin Ming; he had actually managed to withstand such a powerful blow and counterattack!
His spear had broken through the blood waves, splitting them in half. Not only was he completely safe, but he had overcome those layers of blood to strike Zhang Yanzhao!
That azure true essence was not too powerful, but its unwillingness to die made one’s heart quicken with fear!
In the Grand Hall, Shi Zongtian glanced at Mu Qinghong, hesitating for a moment. He had caught Mu Qinghong’s violent reaction to what had just happened in the match.
From the start until now, no mighty wave of valorous performance of the Martial Meeting was able to startle the ever-placid Mu Qinghong. Whether it was Jiang Lanjian’s swordsmanship attainments or Mugu Buyu’s Essence Integration boundary, Mu Qinghong had only nodded as she watched without a reaction. To her, all of this seemed common.
But a moment ago, Mu Qinghong, who had always maintained a calm and indifferent expression, suddenly paled, and grasped the armrests of her chair, nearly standing up. This had caused Shi Zongtian a great amount of surprise. Was Mu Qinghong really someone capable of being surprised?
Normally, Shi Zongtian would be very proud that a disciple of his sect would be able to cause a Special Envoy of Divine Phoenix Island to have this expression. But now, Shin Zongtian did not feel happy or satisfied at all. Mu Qinghong had obviously noticed something in particular, but Shi Zongtian hadn’t seen it at all.
He suspected that the azure true essence was what Mu Qinghong was surprised about, but as for what secrets it held, he did not know.
He searched his own memory for information on this azure true essence. Was it a special sort of martial intent? Or… could it be… True Essence Concept?
Thinking this, Shi Zongtian’s heart began to quiver. If it really was a True Essence Concept, then that was simply heaven defying. There were exceedingly few people that were able to comprehend a True Essence Concept. These people were beyond the rare among rare. This Concept that Lin Ming seemed to have understood looked like the legendary eternal True Essence Concept where true essence grew endless, refusing to die, nearly immortal.
But was this really possible? He was still in the Bone Forging stage, and yet he had comprehended a True Essence Concept. Not only that, but it was the legendary eternal true essence!
Mu Qinghong noticed Shi Zongtian observing her. Knowing that it was a breach of conduct, she smiled and asked, “Does Valley Master Shi have anything to say?”
Shi Zongtian was slightly stunned, and then he smiled and said, “Nothing, I was just laughing at how stupid and shoddy my judgment of the Seven Profound Valleys’ disciples has been. There was such an unpolished jade in my land and yet the first one to discover this was actually the vaunted Saintess. The Saintess’ eyes are like an all-seeing beacon, it’s no wonder that Divine Phoenix Island has been thriving this past millennia!”
Shi Zongtian’s words were filled with a trace of discontent; he was obviously dissatisfied with Divine Phoenix Island reaching their hands out so far. As for that azure true essence, there was no point in him taking the initiative to ask, Mu Qinghong was just too clever to reveal anything.
“Haha, all of the uncut jades in this world will belong where they are destined for. What does Valley Master Shi think of this?”
Shi Zongtian’s complexion immediately became ugly. He icily said, “Fair Maiden Qinghong’s remarks are simply too biased! Only those uncut jades that are ownerless will find their way to whoever they are destined for. As for those uncut jades that already have a master, it is best to take them up and personally polish them.”
“Valley Master Shi, isn’t Lin Ming not even a disciple of your Seven Profound Valleys? My family’s Young Mistress merely had a fateful encounter with Lin Ming, but didn’t take him away. In this matter, Divine Phoenix Island has already showed extremely patience, doing everything humanly possible. Why must Valley Master Shi be so unbecomingly hostile?” Mu Qinghong said with a light ‘humph’.
As Shi Zongtian heard this, he suddenly paused. It was true that he was a bit nervous and thought that Divine Phoenix Island was trying to poach someone from him. But, he also wondered, if Lin Ming’s talent was so amazing, why would Divine Phoenix Island let him go? He would be a top-tier talent even with a fourth-grade sect.
But as he thought about it some more, if Divine Phoenix Island really came to dig in his little corner of land, there was no reason to do all of this. They could have already taken him away with irresistible offers and promises.
Shi Zongtian said, “I apologize if I offended Fairy Maiden Qinghong. It’s just that to a small third-grade sect like mine, a peerless genius is truly too important. With a peerless talent, it might be that several hundred years from now, my Seven Profound Valleys might possibly reach the turning point of becoming a fourth-grade sect! Because of this, I was just a bit too excited and aggressive.”
Although it seemed like too much of an exaggeration to claim that the power of a single person could cause a third-grade sect to rise to a fourth-grade sect, there was still some truth in it.
If Lin Ming could reach the peak Revolving Core realm and then hire some capable individuals, this might be possible.
A peak Revolving Core master seemed as if it were an incomparably distant goal. Yet with Lin Ming’s trivial peak Bone Forging cultivation, he was still able to compare to a Houtian realm master. In the future, there was a glimmer of hope that he could reach the peak Revolving Core realm!
Above the martial stage, Zhang Yanzhao had already smothered the restlessness within his chest with true essence. He wiped the blood from his mouth and sullenly smiled, slowly shaking his head.
“I admit defeat.”
His three sabers had consumed over 70% of his true essence, and he even had the support of a low-grade Earth-step treasure saber! In comparison, Lin Ming hadn’t even used up 10% of his true essence, and he only used a medium-grade human-step treasure spear.
In that situation, Lin Ming was even able to counterattack and wound him. This disparity between them was just too great.
Zhang Yanzhao felt as if Lin Ming was a towering mountain that pierced the heavens, it was too difficult to hope to reach him.
“Well fought.” Lin Ming cupped his fists together in respect and then put away his Heavy Profound Soft Spear.
“Lin Ming, victory!”
With the announcement of the referee, the Second Elder of the Zhang Family exhaled a heavy breath. He muttered, “This child is simply a dragon within a deep pool; Yanzhao didn’t lose without just cause!”
Although Zhang Yanzhao had lost the match, the Zhang Family had managed to show their power and influence. Zhang Yanzhao’s final saber was able to compare to a late Houtian master’s all-out attack, it was enough to shock the entire audience.
Since he lost to Lin Ming in that situation, he could only blame it on his own ability being inferior.
When Lin Ming returned to the contestant waiting area, many of the other contestants were unconsciously looking at him. Some had complex expressions, some looked jealous, some looked fearful, some looked excited, and some even looked appreciative.
During the third round of the tournament, Lin Ming had stepped into the spotlight, leaving a deep impression on the audience’s minds – not unlike the mummy Mugu Buyu who had comprehended the Essence Integration boundary.
Of course, this only meant that Lin Ming had caused a shock within the audience’s minds that was equal to Mugu Buyu, it didn’t imply that his strength was on par with Mugu Buyu.
In the opinion of the majority of the audience, the Essence Integration boundary that Mugu Buyu had reached was a realm that could only be reached by a Xiantian master. Mugu Buyu’s strength likely exceeded even Jiang Baoyun’s, and he had become the number one master of the seven direct disciples.
This point could be seen from the gambling house
Before Mugu Buyu had revealed his Essence Integration boundary, Jiang Baoyun’s odds was 1:1.6. As for another popular favorite, Ouyang Ming, his odds was 1:4. At that time, Mugu Buyu’s odds was also 1:4.
But after Mugu Buyu revealed his Essence Integration boundary, his odds had plummeted down to 1:1.8. As for Jiang Baoyun, his had risen to 1:2.5. And as for Ouyang Ming, his odds rose to 1:6.
With these odds, there weren’t many people that bet on Ouyang Ming. Even the disciples of the Acacia Faction mostly bet on Mugu Buyu.
It was worth mentioning that Lin Ming had finally appeared on the list of possible champion candidates. In his first appearance, his odds were 1:12. These odds were already quite good. As for Zhang Yanzhao, his odds were 1:35.
In the audience, Qin Xingxuan suddenly heard Lin Ming’s true essence sound transmission in her mind.
“Ah! Lin Ming, are you alright?”
The scene of Lin Ming fighting within those waves of blood kept repeating within Qin Xingxuan’s mind, cause her heart to wildly dance. One reason was that she had been extremely frightened and worried.
As for the second, that was due to the young and precocious feelings that were budding within a young girl’s heart, which caused her heartbeat to accelerate.
Lin Ming’s voice was playful. “Go to the gambling house and bet 300 true essence stones that I will win, I’ll buy them. If you don’t have enough true essence stones, you can borrow some from Martial House Master Qin. Later I’ll return the true essence stones to you.”
“300 true essence stones?” Qin Xingxuan gasped in surprise. Even though she came from a wealthy family, this number was just too startling; this was 300,000 gold! Listening to Lin Ming’s words, he believed he had a very high chance of winning. If he really did win, then he would win 3600 true essence stones!
3600 true essence stones was 3.6 million gold taels! Even to the Marshal Quarters, that was an inestimably large sum of money! It had to be known that the yearly expenses of the Marshal Quarters only amounted to two or three hundred thousand gold taels.
“Mm, that’s right, 300 true essence stones.”
The amount of true essence stones that Lin Ming needed in order to cultivate now was no small number. These many years the Seven Profound Valleys had sucked up who knew how many resources from the surrounding countries. This amount wasn’t even enough to cover interest.
Because this gambling house was started by some disciples with an elder backing them, Lin Ming wanted to bet one or two thousand true essence stones and have them compensate several tens of thousands of true essence stones in one go.
However, the ones who managed the gambling house were only personal disciples, they couldn’t necessarily repay.
“3600 true essence stones… that should be equal to several months of expenses for these personal disciples, they should be able to repay it.”