Chapter 314: Xiao Budian Takes the Stage
Translator: Sparrow Translations Editor: Sparrow Translations
In the second round of the competition among the Aurous Core stage cultivators at the Spiritual Conference, there are a total of eight matches where the Top 8 emerge from the Top 16. Song Qingyuan and Dou Kun’s duel was the sixth match, and the seventh match was Xiao Budian’s.
And his opponent Mu Jihai was coincidentally a cultivator from the Heaven Lake Sect too.
This time, with Song Qingyuan’s impressive comeback, the Heaven Lake Sect’s cultivators who were suppressing their rage could finally hold their heads up high. Every dog has its day, and they retrieved all the pride they had lost to the Royal House of the Northern Tribes.
As for the Northern Tribes’ cultivators, it was their turn to be depressed. To be fair, Dou Kun was already amply cautious and modest, but he still fell into Song Qingyuan’s trap.
The Northern Tribes’ Prince Xian of the Left could only shake his head and admit defeat. With his mastery level, he could instantly identify the standard of Song Qingyuan’s mana mastery with one glance, but if Song Qingyuan creates a spell that he has never used before, Prince Xian of the Left could never have known about it no matter how impressive his abilities were.
This was still different from how Lin Feng saw through Shi Shaogan’s mastery of the Dimension-less Transformation. Lin Feng could actually only identify the possibility of Shi Shaogan mastering a certain spell of the Great Void Sect, but he could not pinpoint which particular spell it was, and could only remind Yue Hongyan to be careful on all fronts.
This was still because the Great Void Sect’s spells and the Secret Manual of the Five Imperial True Dragons that Shi Shaogan used were completely different, so Lin Feng could sniff out some hints.
Song Qingyuan’s Venus of Ice and Fire spell was created after he internalized the Dark Polar Blaze Mantra, which was derived from the same source as the other spells from the Heaven Lake Sect.
If he had continued to conceal this secret, perhaps even Cao Wei would not have known that he mastered such a spell.
That is unless someone like Lin Feng, Prince Xian of the Left, or Cao Wei used their mana to invade Song Qingyuan’s body directly and search his soul.
For the Northern Tribes, attending the Spiritual Conference of Hanhai this time round could be considered a terrible blunder. Their Aurous Core and Foundation Establishment stage disciples may have earned the rights to enter the Ancient Huanghai World, but no one from their sect entered the Top 8 and Top 4 of the Aurous Core and Foundation Establishment categories respectively.
What was even more depressing was that, they lost two key matches at the hands of the Heaven Lake Sect. The Northern Tribes could no longer escape the outcome of being outshone by the Heaven Lake Sect during this Spiritual Conference.
And for the Heaven Lake Sect, having secured consecutive victories against their rivals, all their cultivators were naturally ecstatic, and gazed at Mu Jihai with longing anticipation, hoping that he would continue their winning streak and defeat the Celestial Sect of Wonders, the sect enjoying the most limelight in this Spiritual Conference. This would also salvage the shame of suffering consecutive losses at the hands of the Celestial Sect of Wonders previously during the Foundation Establishment matches.
Xiao Budian warmed up his little arms and legs, and grinned at Lin Feng, chuckling, “Master, I’m off.”
As he said this, he winked his left eye at Lin Feng, cracking a sly grin.
Lin Feng smiled back and nodded at him.
Xiao Budian turned and walked towards the Hidden Dragon Gorge, and on the other side, Mu Jihai also walked out of the Heaven Lake Sect’s camp. He looked a little under the weather, not because his opponent was Xiao Budian, but because Song Qingyuan’s stellar performance was giving him immense pressure.
Having chased after him for so long, Mu Jihai thought he had finally caught up to him, only to realize that he himself was running for dear life while his rival was just strolling leisurely. A slight increase in speed and a short jog by his rival would leave him in the dust again.
This disheartening feeling was driving Mu Jihai insane, and he shot Xiao Budian a highly antagonistic glare. “I always thought you were an eyesore, and today, I can’t stand the sight of you even more.”
Xiao Budian glanced at him and said, “Battling you would be so boring.”
Mu Jihai’s eyes were seething with rage as he heard Xiao Budian continue, “How about we make a bet? Or else it would be too mundane.”
With that, Xiao Budian flipped out the Tiger Soul Golden Plate in his palm and chuckled, “I place this as my bet. Do you dare to play with me?”
In principle, the rules of the Spiritual Conference of Hanhai state that the competing sides can only rely on their own mana mastery and Abhijna to battle, and any magic items or talismans used cannot be of a stage that exceeds the user’s current mastery level.
Hence, taking Xiao Budian and Mu Jihai’s Aurous Core match for example, Nascent Soul stage magic items and Purple Soul Charms are prohibited.
The Tiger Soul Golden Plate can be used, but Xiao Budian has never used it before, and many have never known that he possessed such an item.
The golden plate was producing roars from the Demon Tiger Soul Essence and formidable demonic energy waves, which made Mu Jihai stare at it with longing eyes. He hummed, “This is nothing. I heard that you have a Nascent Soul stage item. If you lose, you’ll give it to me.”
Xiao Budian scoffed, “If I win, will you give me a Nascent Soul stage item too?”
Mu Jihai regretted saying what he said immediately. Even though he had the mastery level of the advanced Aurous Core stage, and his sect supplied abundant resources without restrictions for talented disciples it treasured, he still did not possess a Nascent Soul stage magic item.
Among his peers in the Aurous Core stage, only Song Qingyuan yields a Nascent Soul stage magic item.
With that thought in mind, Mu Jihai felt even worse, and he glared at Xiao Budian more menacingly than before. “I heard that every Aurous Core stage disciple in the Celestial Sect of Wonders owns a Nascent Soul stage item, despite them only having the mastery of the beginner Aurous Core stage. How ridiculous!”
Upon hearing their exchange, the spectators outside the Hidden Dragon Gorge all gazed at Xiao Budian with great envy.
Possessing Nascent Soul stage items at the beginner Aurous Core stage, what amazing luxury is this?
But then, most of them quickly recalled that Lin Feng’s three outstanding Aurous Core stage disciples in the Celestial Sect of Wonders – Xiao Yan, Zhu Yi, and Xiao Budian – each own a Nascent Soul stage magic item.
Such munificent treatment made every worthy young disciple drool in envy secretly.
Mu Jihai snorted, and took out a gorgeous box. He lifted the lid to reveal an ice blue crystal flower, with the ice flower’s surface still dancing with blazing crimson flames.
“This is the Zhuyan Ice Flower, which can balance the mana forces of ice and fire.” Mu Jihai said solemnly. “It doesn’t have to be ice and fire; this flower can balance any two completely opposing forces.”
He stared at Xiao Budian. “Ignoring your Nascent Soul stage item, at least the value of this flower would not be lower than that of your Golden Plate.”
Xiao Budian’s eyes flickered, and he smiled, “Sure, it’s settled then. I’ll bet with you.”
With both sides going head to head inside the Hidden Dragon Gorge, Lin Feng did not laze around outside, and instead went to find Cao Wei.
“With our disciples engaging in such a leisurely game, would Sect Master Cao like to bet with me as well?” Lin Feng looked at Cao Wei with a forced faint smile. Cao Wei’s expression remained the same as he gazed at Xiao Budian inside the Hidden Dragon Gorge and said slowly, “No hurry about that. The Geocentric Fire Lotus and the Nine-Circled Ice Orchid are already on the way there. We shall bet after our old debts are paid.”
“I don’t like to owe people things.”
Upon hearing Cao Wei’s words, a few other Immortal Soul cultivators looked puzzled. Zhu Muguang muttered to himself, “This is too strange. The winning party would allow the other to bet further even with existing debts.”
“Yet the losing party would rather clear their previous debts first before betting, and not use a new one to counteract an old one.” Zhu Muguang thought to himself, “If I were Cao Wei, I’d definitely make the bet, and if I win, I’d use it to clear off all my previous debts.”
Upon hearing Cao Wei reject the offer, he smiled even wider and nodded, “No worries, I can do so anytime.”
Inside the Hidden Dragon Gorge, Mu Jihai clasped his hands together to summon a spell. Flames as white as glaciers appeared out of nowhere and surged towards Xiao Budian like a torrent of water. This was the Icy Blaze, the signature Abhijna of the Heaven Lake Sect.
Upon witnessing this sight, the spectators were inevitably slightly disappointed.
Although they were both Heaven Lake Sect cultivators, Mu Jihai’s first attack was far less impressive and spectacular compared to Song Qingyuan’s. They all knew that those capable of summoning the Icy Blaze were among the best of the Heaven Lake Sect, but after watching Song Qingyuan’s battle, they couldn’t help but be slightly let down.
Especially since Dao Yuting, in the Foundation Establishment stage, had previously demonstrated top-notch spells and Abhijna like the Burning Ice Spell and the Song of the Volcano.
But Xiao Budian, who was in the middle of the battle, would not underestimate Mu Jihai just because of this.
Xiao Budian has always kept Lin Feng’s words in mind: when dealing with any enemy, always disparage his strategy but don’t underestimate his combat skills.
Furthermore, Mu Jihai possessed the stature that prevented others from belittling him. His mastery of the Icy Blaze Abhijna has reached the acme of its power, in a completely different league from Dao Yuting and Fang Zhong in the Foundation Establishment stage.
Ignoring the gaps between them in mana mastery, and comparing just how accomplished their Abhijna was in the Icy Blaze, Dao Yuting was like a child compared to Mu Jihai, while Fang Zhong was so inferior that he was like an animal that just learned how to walk.
Having specialized in this spell for hundreds of years, Mu Jihai naturally internalized every aspect of the spell. Even a few Nascent Soul grandmasters in the Heaven Lake Sect don’t necessarily surpass him in their familiarity and competency in the Icy Blaze Abhijna, much less any other Aurous Core cultivators.
They may exceed him in power, but not necessarily so in terms of skills.
Outside the Hidden Dragon Gorge, Song Qingyuan, who had already returned to the Heaven Lake Sect’s delegation, was grinning as he watched Xiao Budian and Mu Jihai’s battle. He muttered to himself softly, “He probably can force his opponent to use the full extent of his strength, right?”
A Heaven Lake Sect disciple beside him chuckled, “Those disciples of the Celestial Sect of Wonders are acting so pompously because they haven’t faced you yet, Big Senior. You’ll clinch the top spot in this Spiritual Conference for sure.”
Song Qingyuan casually waved his hand and smiled gently, “That’s still too early to say. The Great Qin Empire’s Shi Xingyun is very tough to deal with.”
“Besides, I have yet to determine the true mastery levels of Shi Tianhao and Jiao Junchen of the Great Qin Empire. Hopefully, I can do so in the following matches.”
“But the other competitors are indeed not worth my concern.” Song Qingyuan said frankly, “Tao Yaoyao may be strong, but her personality has flaws which can be easily exploited. Gu Lei of the Purple Clouds Sect is also not bad, and is capable of entering the Top 8, but he’s no match for me.”
“The Dual Sword Combination of the Sun Moon Sword Sect has its extraordinary points, but it’s not hard to deal with.”
His gaze landed on Zhu Yi for a second, and he laughed softly, “That man is very formidable indeed, but I already found a way to deal with him. In his previous match against Huo Ming, even though he secured a swift and clean victory, he already exposed his final ace in the hole.”
“If I’m paired with him, I’ll definitely destroy the myth that the Celestial Sect of Wonders is undefeatable with my own hands.”
As he said this, Song Qingyuan gazed at the Hidden Dragon Gorge again and mumbled, “Now, let me witness the strength of another disciple from the Celestial Sect of Wonders.”