Chapter 286 – Closing the Curtains on the Final Act
Many people regretted that they hadn’t placed bets on Lin Ming to win. They all had limited foresight. When Jiang Baoyun had displayed his amazing strength to the crowd, they thought that Jiang Baoyun had a high chance of winning. Then when Mugu Buyu had revealed his Essence Integration boundary and True Essence Force Field, they thought that Mugu Buyu would win.
Now, Mugu Buyu had been completely eliminated by Lin Ming, so they in turn transferred all their support to Lin Ming.
A voice coldly said, “The battle hasn’t been fought, no one knows the outcome. Perhaps Lin Ming might not defeat Jiang Baoyun!”
“Mugu Buyu’s most terrifying aspect lies in his defensive power. Lin Ming Ming’s attack power had exceeded even a peak Houtian master, so he was able to suppress Mugu Buyu. But Jiang Baoyun is different. Jiang Baoyun’s most terrifying aspect lies in his attack power and speed. If Lin Ming’s attack can’t reach Jiang Baoyun, then the loser will absolutely be Lin Ming!
As the person said this, everyone began to feel that this was a very rational and justified reasoning.
Among masters, they were often able to equally restrain each other in different aspects. Mugu Buyu and his puppet were very slow. To Lin Ming, he was a perfect target.
But Jiang Baoyun was different.
His sword speed reached the pinnacle!
His movement speed reached the pinnacle!
His attack strength reached the pinnacle!
He was a completely different type of master than Mugu Buyu.
Like this, the final result of that battle became confusing once again…
As the crowd discussed amongst themselves, Lin Ming was also playing out the battle between him and Jiang Baoyun in his imagination. He once had full confidence in himself, but until now, he still hadn’t seen or experienced Jiang Baoyun’s true and total strength, and he didn’t know the cause for Jiang Baoyun’s confidence.
“It’s a pity that my Flame Essence is too small and weak right now. Otherwise, I could combine thunder and fire – it would be much easier to deal with Jiang Baoyun…”
The Flame Essence within Lin Ming’s Heretical God Seed was much more formidable than it was in the past. However, it didn’t have an enhancement in its essential nature; it remained the lowest of the low-grade human-step Flame Essences.
After recently using some fires from another Flame Essence to build up his own, along with collecting some information, Lin Ming was able to summarize many experiences and thoughts he had.
Normally, for a martial artist’s Flame Essence (such as the Southern Wilderness Fire Worm Shaman’s Eternal Flame, or the Refiner Faction Huo Yanluo’s Abyssal Flame) once its grade was decided, it would never be able to be promoted to a higher grade. For instance, once a medium-grade human-step Flame Essence was born as such, it could never again be improved.
Even if one collected all sorts of rare and precious materials to enhance it, it would only cause the Flame Essence to grow stronger within Flame Essences of the same level; it would never have a qualitative evolution.
It was just like raising a dog. One could feed a dog good meat and good bones, allowing it to grow stronger every day. But no matter how strong this dog became, it would never become a tiger.
A higher-grade Flame Essence was only a bit different. For instance, an earth-step Flame Essence would start off as a mewling tiger cub. After first acquiring it and not having fed it any anything, it would naturally be inferior to a good grown-up dog. But in the end, a tiger was a tiger. Even if it was fed rotten meat every day, it would eventually grow up and become a beast that a mere dog could not deal with.
As for Lin Ming’s current Flame Essence, even if placed among the dogs, it would be the weakest and most pathetic puppy of all. Yet the difference was that it could continually grow, and even change its essential nature. In the future, it could become a tiger or transform into a dragon. When that happened, its true terrifying strength would burst out.
If he wanted his Flame Essence to have a qualitative change, it could only happen by devouring other Flame Essences.
As for everything else, even the highest fire-attribute materials like the feathers of the Vermillion Bird could only increase the strength of the Flame Essence within its grade; they couldn’t cause the Flame Essence to be promoted to another level.
Because of this, Lin Ming had kept and hadn’t used most of the Vermillion Bird feathers that he had obtained by tricking Mu Qianyu’s Saint Beast mount, the cute Little Flame.
As Lin Ming was thinking about Jiang Baoyun’s combat strength and where his weaknesses could be, in the Grand Hall, several of the Seven Profound Valleys’ elders were watching Lin Ming and talking about him.
That battle earlier had simply given them too great a shock.
It wasn’t just Shi Zongtian, but also several other elders who had noticed the coiling dragon steel needle. They realized that it wasn’t a true material object, but rather something that was condensed and formed by pure energy.
The Sword Faction Great Elder’s deep eyes flashed. He lowered his head as if he were hesitating for a moment, and then slowly said, “If this old man hasn’t misread with his dull eyes, then that should be some sort of instrument that was congealed from pure thunder origin energy… this sort of thing isn’t something that even a thunder-attribute Xiantian realm powerhouse could have. It’s unbelievable that a Pulse Condensation boy can actually have this sort of thing…”
“Elder Jiang, don’t tell me you believe that little brat Lin Ming was actually able to condense that steel needle? What a joke and a half!” The Zither Faction Sovereign coldly snorted, obviously viewing Elder Jiang’s opinion with utter disdain. “It is impossible for a Pulse Condensation period child to condense a pure energy weapon, even if they were at the height of all talent! That requires an incomparably thick true essence to condense, and also a heaven gifted thunder origin energy fusion compatibility. He would need to purify the thunder-attribute energy and then condense that origin energy into a weapon. Lin Ming’s talent is barely enough, but he absolutely does not have the required true essence! If he does, then he can just forget about the tournament and come right up here; I will give my position to him!”
The Zither Faction’s old woman said all this in a chilling tone. She continuously beat Lin Ming’s face, diminishing and dismissing him. She really held no love, or even had a decent impression towards Lin Ming.
This was because no matter what faction Lin Ming joined, it was impossible that he would join her Zither Faction. If he joined another faction, then that was equivalent to gaining another powerful rival. This was something that she understood in her heart, and thus her impression of Lin Ming continued to worsen.
Elder Jiang faintly smiled. Lin Ming would not join the Zither Faction, but there was a high chance that he would join the Sword Faction. The sword and spear and many similarities that could help each other, and although Lin Ming couldn’t practice the sword arts, there were still many true essence revolving cultivation methods that he could use. Moreover, the Sword Faction had the most abundant resources.
Like this, the Sword Faction would have three great talents in Jiang Baoyun, Jiang Lanjian, and Lin Ming. Thinking this, the smile on Elder Jiang’s face grew wider and wider. He stroked his beard as he said, “Even if it wasn’t condensed by Lin Ming, it’s also very extraordinary that he can control a Xiantian level origin energy weapon.”
“It’s only good luck, nothing more! He just hit the jackpot when he stumbled into some Xiantian master’s inheritance! With this opportunity, he would naturally be able to make leaps and bounds in a short period of time. But after this period, all of it will disappear.”
Hearing the cynical taunts of the Zither Faction Sovereign, Mu Qinghong suddenly coldly interjected, “There are countless lucky opportunities that can be found in the Sky Spill Continent. However, there are only a few people that can obtain them. What they lack is not luck, but ability, courage, and wisdom!”
Mu Qinghong was well aware of just how Lin Ming managed to come by his Purple Flood Dragon Divine Thunder. He had rushed to the summit of Thundercrash Mountain with just a Bone Forging cultivation. He even snuck into the Flood Dragon’s lair and managed to obtain the Magnetic Birthstone. This courage and fearless bravery was not something that could come from any average person.
This was also a point that Mu Qianyu had extremely admired in Lin Ming. There were countless talents and geniuses within the Sky Spill Continent. However, the number of true high-level powerhouses was actually very low in number. This was not because everyone else had insufficient talent, but because they lacked wisdom, understanding, perception, and an incomparably firm heart of martial arts.
Mu Qinghong had a lofty status. Hearing her say these words of praise, the Zither Faction old woman didn’t immediately respond. Shi Zongtian smiled, mediating between them, “What Fairy Maiden Qinghong meant is that opportunities only present themselves to those that are prepared. Every lucky chance has an accompanying risk that corresponds to the rewards! There is a fine line between obtaining this lucky chance and dying a beggar’s death.”
As the elders discussed these matters, several other matches had already passed on stage.
Two masters that also represented the pinnacle of attack power faced each other in Huo Yanluo and Zhang Yanzhao. Huo Yanluo’s Flame Essence turned out to be superior, breaking apart Zhang Yanzhao’s Blood King’s Triple Murder. This caused the audience to exclaim in surprise. The Abyssal Flame’s power was truly terrifying. If it wasn’t for the lightning attack that Lin Ming had released, then the Abyssal Flame would be the most powerful move of this year’s Total Faction Martial Meeting.
After that was Fang Qi against Mugu Jirong.
After Fang Qi had lost his Golden Light Array Flag, he could have been considered at the lowest spot of the 11 people. However, Mugu Jirong wasn’t much better. When he fought against Huo Yanluo, three of his puppets had been burnt to cinders by Huo Yanluo, and as a result his strength had greatly decreased.
These two could be said to be comrades-in-suffering, fellow losers that had lost a great deal of their strength. After a tough battle, Mugu Jirong was finally able to defeat Fang Qi. This victory had basically established that Mugu Jirong would be tenth, and Fang Qi would be eleventh.
The 23rd round was Zhang Yanzhao against Huan Xiaodie. Most of the crowd favored Zhang Yanzhao and were more optimistic of his chances. However, what happens during a match can often surprise. Huan Xiaodie created illusion after illusion and was able to cause Zhang Yanzhao to strike empty air. Afterwards, he was defeated by Huan Xiaodie’s counterattack.
Like this, eighth and ninth place were also settled. Zhang Yanzhao had taken his Blood Wave Saber to participate in this Total Faction Martial Meeting and had only reached ninth place. This result was much worse than what the Zhang Family elders had hoped for. It could only be said that this year’s Total Faction Martial Meeting simply had too many extreme talents.
After the 24th round ended, the referee team decided to temporarily postpone the matches between Lin Ming, Qin Wuxin, Jiang Lanjian, Jiang Baoyun, Mugu Buyu, and Ouyang Ming for three days. The other contestants’ matches would carry on as usual.
Because these six people had amazing combat strength, the martial stage’s protective array formation had to be repaired and strengthened. Also, Jiang Lanjian had been severely wounded and Mugu Buyu’s puppets had been seriously damaged, greatly decreasing both of their combat strength. If the matches continued, it would be impossible for them to display their full potential, thus the decision was made to delay the matches.
Lin Ming was indifferent to this decision. In the top 11, there was only one person he hadn’t yet fought, and that was Jiang Baoyun.
This would be his final battle.
For three days, Lin Ming was specifically arranged by the Seven Profound Valleys to stay in a quiet room that was built over an opening in the land pulse.
The feature of the opening in the land pulse was that there was origin energy that gushed forth from the ground. The heaven and earth origin energy here was twice as rich compared to other places in the Seven Profound Valleys. As for comparing it to Sky Fortune Kingdom, the difference was simply like heaven and earth.
At the same time, what Lin Ming ate was spiritual fruits and vegetables. These foods contained rich heaven and earth origin energy that was even purer than what was served at Desert Flower Hall. Lin Ming suspected that the food he ate was valued at over 100 true essence stones. If this was converted to gold, that would be 100,000 gold taels! To eat 100,000 gold taels in a single sitting was mind boggling. The entire yearly expenses of the Crown Prince’s offices wouldn’t even be able to cover a few meals. Lin Ming just couldn’t imagine how much gold was being spent on food.
But since the food was supplied free of charge, Lin Ming naturally obliged and opened his belt and belly wide to eat as much as he could. Since the Seven Profound Valleys had plundered so many resources, he ate with a clear and satisfied conscience.
In these three days, Lin Ming didn’t go out. He stayed in his room meditating and cultivating. Under the support of the ethereal martial intent, the Blue Miracle Pill efficacy and the heven and earth origin energy he got from eating the spiritual food were completely absorbed by him. Slowly, his early Pulse Condensation period cultivation became increasingly consolidated.
These three days quietly passed.
As Lin Ming sat in his room after a full night of mediating, his eyes slowly opened. In that instant, his pupils flashed with thunder.
Today was the true final day of battle. As for Lin Ming, he only had a single match, and that would be his battle against Jiang Baoyun.