Chapter 268 – Abyssal Flames
“I… admit defeat…”
During the fourth round of the tournament, Lin Ming’s opponent chose to directly admit defeat. This was already quite rare for anyone that managed to enter in the finals. Even if they faced one of the several direct disciples and knew perfectly well that they would never win, they still played out a symbolic battle. Many of the disciples purely came to experience the strength of the direct disciples and exchange moves with them.
As for Lin Ming, he could have been described as a complete unknown before the Total Faction Martial Meeting. Because of this, there weren’t many people that were interested in exchanging blows with him and ultimately end up disgracing themselves.
Lin Ming won with ease. Afterwards, it was time for Fang Qi to step on stage. Fang Qi finally ended his streak of bad luck; he managed to face a disciple who wasn’t too strong or too weak, and he ended up winning via overwhelming superiority.
Fang Qi ended the match with the fastest speed he could muster. It was as if here were trying to use this method to announce to the audience that he wasn’t weak, it was just that his luck was bad and he met two abnormal fellows.
As the matches continued one at a time, they were either unequal matches or the two contestants were relatively weak, so there wasn’t much anticipation in the audience.
It seemed as if the fourth round would end with no great waves occurring, but in the last game, there was actually a relatively shocking match that was announced, “Huo Yanluo against Mugu Jirong!”
Up until now, these two had experienced complete victory.
Han Yanluo was the direct disciple of the Refiner Faction, but Mugu Jirong was the second ranked disciple of the Puppet Faction.
This was a battle between a direct disciple and a second ranked disciple, and yet the audience favored Mugu Jirong!
Although Huo Yanluo was a direct disciple, the Array Faction and Refiner Faction had always been the two factions with the weakest combat potential. This was because a person had limited time and energy, and the disciples of these factions had to invest an excessive amount of time and effort into learning refining and array skills. This would inevitably affect their own strength.
In the general opinion of the audience, Huo Yanluo was on the same level as Fang Qi.
By comparison, Mugu Jirong may have been a second disciple, but he originated from the secretively formidable Puppet Faction. With only Mugu Buyu in front of him, the strength of this Mugu Jirong also had to been abnormally strong!
This match had a separate bet within the gambling house. Huo Yanluo’s odds were 1:3, but Mugu Jirong’s were 1:1.4.
From the very start of the match, Mugu Jirong brought out three puppets. Two of them were corpse puppets, and the last was a mechanical puppet created from materials.
As the three puppets attacked together, Han Yanluo quickly found himself surrounded and in danger.
Mugu Jirong smiled with a strange ‘jejeje’ sound. Although he hadn’t yet reached the Essence Integration boundary, he was still more than enough to deal with some Refiner Faction disciple.
Within several moves, Huo Yanluo was forced into a dead end!
“Jeje, the Refining Faction is just so weak. You can’t even beat me, but you think you can take on my Senior-apprentice Brother? Let me send on your way!”
The mechanical puppet’s four arms took out shining long knives. But the other two corpse puppets also began to revolve true essence throughout their bodies; they were planning to attack Huo Yanluo from three different angles!
This was a sure-kill situation!
At this critical moment, Huo Yanluo’s pupils flashed with a dazzling red light, it was the color of fire!
“Abyssal Flames, explode!”
It was as if Huo Yanluo’s body detonated and massive red crimson salamanders ran out from his body, directly streaking towards the three puppets!
A nightmarish blazing heat wave broke out, and the three puppets were washed in flame. The two corpse puppets were instantly burned to charcoal, and the last mechanical puppet was left half burned in fire!
Even the stone tiles underneath Han Yanluo melted, turning into magma!
Mugu Jirong was shocked, how was this possible!?
Even from a distance of over a hundred feet away, he could still feel that scorching hot heat wave; it was no different to a massive tsunami, flowing without end. He didn’t doubt that if he hadn’t withdrawn his true essence to protect his body, then even his clothes would have been instantly burnt away!
What kind of fire was this?
Was this… a Flame Essence? Even a normal Flame Essence wouldn’t have such amazing power; it could only be… a high-grade Flame Essence!!!
Han Yanluo, a mere peak Pulse Condensation martial artist, was actually able to absorb a high-grade Flame Essence?
At this time, the audience watching the match was stunned, there were many among them that had a great understanding of Flame Essences.
“Heavens! Abyssal Flames! A medium-grade human-step Flame Essence!”
“It’s also the highest among all the medium-grade human-step Flame Essences. One needs to be at least at the peak Houtian realm in order to absorb such a flame essence!”
“How did Huo Yanluo manage to absorb this?”
As the disciples of the Seven Profound Valleys discussed this, the disciples of the Refiner Faction’s eyes were particularly blood-red!
A Flame Essence was something that they longed for in their every dream. Let alone a medium-grade human-step Flame Essence, even a low-grade human-step Flame Essence was something that they could only ever hope for in vain!
“Do not envy him, envying him is useless. Huo Yanluo’s father is the Sovereign of the Refiner Faction. This medium-grade human-step Flame Essence was definitely placed within Huo Yanluo’s body by the Refiner Faction Sovereign using some sort of special technique. For instance, if he had let Huo Yanluo suppress the Flame Essence in advance by soaking in Glacial Ice Divine Spring Waters, and then resting on a Polar Jade Bed. If he had these things, he would be able to absorb the Flame Essence with only a cultivation at the early Houtian realm. Although Huo Yanluo is only at the peak Pulse Condensation period, his talent is quite amazing. He has a sixth-grade fire origin energy fusion compatibility, an early Houtian realm cultivation limit isn’t something that can stop him.”
“Glacial Ice Divine Spring? Heavens! I’ve only ever heard about something like that. It’s said that a single vial takes 50 or 60 thousand true essence stones! Yet it was only used to let Huo Yanluo absorb the Abyssal Flame several boundaries early. This is just too extravagant a cost!”
“Don’t complain, who told you not to have such a great father? Then again, Senior-apprentice Brother Huo’s talent is just too amazing. Even if we had the same resources given to us, do you think we could do anything about it? We might have already been burnt to toast by the Abyssal Flame!”
“Ah! That is a medium-grade human-step Flame Essence! I don’t even expect to be able to build up my Hollow Flame Essence to a 500 year rank in my life. In the future, I would be content just to have a low-grade human-step Flame Essence…”
In the Grand Hall of the Seven Profound Valleys, the Sword Faction Sovereign smiled as he turned to Huo Yanluo’s father Huo Xuan, and said, “Old Huo, you really invested a lot this time!”
The Sword Faction Sovereign already knew that Huo Yanluo had absorbed a Flame Essence, he just didn’t know that it was the medium-grade human-step Abyssal Flame.
“Hehe, don’t mention it. I already wasted over an entire year of time in order to help my useless son absorb the Abyssal Flame.” Although Huo Xuan seemed to complain, his entire face was all smiles. Obviously, he was very satisfied with his son. He had done all of this in order to have his son amaze the world at this Total Faction Martial Meeting. Although it would be difficult to take first place, he should still easily manage to reach the top 5. There was even a glimmer of hope to reach the top 3.
To the Refiner Faction that was normally weaker in combat, this was already a very good result.
“I heard that Yanluo’s fire true essence has reached a sixth-grade fusion?” The one was asking was a Sword Faction Great Elder.
Huo Xuan’s face was red with delight and pride. He waved his hand and said, “Medium sixth-grade, far from satisfactory.”
Ignoring his family background, the fact that Huo Yanluo was able to absorb a medium-grade human-step Flame Essence with his peak Pulse Condensation cultivation proved that he had a prodigious talent! If it wasn’t because of his sixth-grade fusion, then no matter how many resources Huo Xuan invested in him, it would still be useless.
On the martial stage, it was unexpectedly difficult to suppress the flames that burnt the puppets. Mugu Jirong watched helplessly as his mechanical puppet was almost entirely burnt away.
It had to be known that the main body of the mechanical puppet was created from fire resistant Purple Smoke Wood. It wouldn’t melt even if placed with darksteel magma, and yet it had instantly been burnt by the Abyssal Flames.
As for the puppet skeleton, it was made from high-grade human-step treasure Aged Gold. Even the heavy profound soft silver that was used to create the elastic joints melted away. The power of this medium-grade human-step Flame Essence was obvious.
Didn’t this mean that most treasures of martial artists would also be melted by the Abyssal Flame if they didn’t have true essence protection?
“Huo Yanluo, I will remember you!” Mugu Jirong retrieved the leftover pieces of the mechanical puppet into his puppet bag. He stared at Huo Yanluo with vulture-like eyes, “I acknowledge that I have lost this match. But next time, I will have you pay back everything you owe me, plus interest!”
Huo Yanluo’s thick eyebrows furrowed together. He coldly said, “You still act in such a sad manner even though you lost. Just who do you think you are?”
“Humph!” Mugu Jirong coldly snorted and then turned around to leave the stage.
Before Huo Yanluo could say anything, he suddenly discovered that Mugu Buyu was staring at him from the side of the martial stage, his pair of beady eyes just like a venomous snake gazing at its prey.
Han Yanluo felt as if a chilling breeze touched his body. But knowing that he had the Abyssal Flame, he was not afraid of Mugu Buyu any longer. What other tricks could he play once all of his puppets were burnt down?
Thinking this, Han Yanluo regained his confidence and stared back at Mugu Buyu without fear.
The Puppet Faction hated showing weakness the most. Now that Huo Yanluo had ruined Mugu Jirong’s three puppets and thus greatly reduced his combat strength, Mugu Buyu would certainly be looking forward to avenging this loss.
“Huo Yanluo, victory!”
As the referee elder made his announcement, the audience resounded with vibrant cheers. Although many of the Refiner Faction disciples still had some envious thoughts, they acknowledged Huo Yanluo’s talent and were sincerely convinced by him. Since Huo Yanluo was the direct disciple of the Refiner Faction and had also defeated a powerful enemy, this was naturally worth cheering for.
The Refiner Faction was usually on the losing side, and yet this time they had created such a magnificent scene, how could they not be proud and exultant?
“We’re really seeing such fantastic scenes in these finals. Before it was Mugu Buyu and Lin Ming who stole the scene, and now this time it’s our Refiner Faction’s turn!”
“Ha! Now that Senior-apprentice Brother Huo has a medium-grade human-step Flame Essence, he should be able to stop Lin Ming, Huan Xiaodie, and Qin Wuxin. Although, I just don’t know how he will compare to someone like Mugu Buyu or Jiang Baoyun. Even if he’s not their match, that means he’s still guaranteed to reach the top 5, or he might even be able to fight for the top 3!”
“This time our Refiner Faction will really gain some face.”
In the contestant waiting area, Lin Ming stroked his chin; he hadn’t expected that Huo Yanluo would actually display a medium-grade human-step Flame Essence and cause such a great stir.
‘It seems that a Flame Essence and Thunder Soul are much more valuable and precious than I had first assumed. If I remember correctly, Mu Qianyu said that the Purple Flood Dragon Divine Thunder was a low-grade earth-step… luckily, Mu Qinghong came to the Seven Profound Valleys, otherwise I fear that I wouldn’t be able to display the Purple Flood Dragon Divine Thunder. Now that I have the support of Mu Qinghong, I can use any ability I wish. The more strength I show, the more resources I will be able to obtain!’
As Lin Ming was thinking this, he suddenly heard the referee announce, “Sixth round, first match! Lin Ming against Jiang Lanjian!”
Jiang Lanjian? Lin Ming was completely surprised. He didn’t think that he would meet Jiang Lanjian so soon!