Chapter 324: Early Finals
Translator: Sparrow Translations Editor: Sparrow Translations
Zhu Yi and Xiao Budian both gazed with intense concentration at the light and shadows projected from the opening of the Hidden Dragon Gorge – there, everything that was happening in the Hidden Dragon Gorge was reflected.
Shi Xingyun’s Five Elements Light Dragon defenses continued to shrink, gradually, the Light Dragons could no longer be discerned, instead starting to resemble a pure five-colored barrier, like a large bowl placed upside-down on the ground.
Meanwhile, Tao Yaoyao’s body literally turned into a streak of ceaselessly flowing sword radiance, attacking Shi Xingyun from all directions, hoping to find holes in her defenses and exploit them.
One attacked like tempest and rain, while the other put up a flawless defense. Although the scene appeared one-sided, but both actually demonstrated outstanding abilities; from another perspective, it was not inferior to the previous battle between Song Qingyuan and Gu Lei.
“She’s doing it on purpose.” After watching for a while, Xiao Budian said abruptly. “Shi Xingyun is deliberately forgoing the offensive to focus on defense. With her strength, if she really wants to go heads-on with Tao Yaoyao, she won’t necessarily be on the losing end.”
Zhu Yi nodded, affirming his view. “That’s true, but in that case, with their strength being comparable, it will be hard to determine who will come out on top.”
“If it’s attack versus attack, it would be natural for either to eke out a victory. As long as a slight flaw is exploited by the opponent, it will be almost impossible to turn defeat into victory.” Zhu Yi said slowly. “This fighting style, with plenty of room for surprises and lacking prudence, is obviously not what Shi Xingyun wants.”
Xiao Budian’s eyebrows knitted together. “But this way of completely giving up offense…does she want to seek a draw? If she wants to use this method to win, unless she has other plans, or else, there will inevitably be some sort of mistake the longer the defense is up. After all, the attacker has the initiative.”
The two glanced at each other. As their gazes met, their eyes lit up as they said simultaneously, “Tao Yaoyao’s Aurous Core!”
Xiao Budian pounded his palm with his fist as he said in realization, “So Shi Xingyun was counting on this. Tao Yaoyao’s Aurous Core once suffered irreversible damage – although there are no longer any major issues after centuries of recuperation and her strength was even restored, but after all, something that was once damaged cannot be compared to the original, intact one.”
Zhu Yi nodded continuously. “Exactly. Maybe it is not an issue in short fights, but if the clock drags on, Tao Yaoyao’s once-damaged Aurous Core might crack once again.”
He gazed at the Hidden Dragon Gorge. “Tao Yaoyao’s previous battles all ended quickly; partly because of her strength, and partly probably because she knew that she cannot win a feat of endurance. So for every battle, she went all-out from the start in order to end it in the shortest possible time.”
“Shi Xingyun knows precisely this, and so is determined to use all her powers to defend and allow Tao Yaoyao to attack unrestrained – to wear down Tao Yaoyao brutally.”
“But…wouldn’t Tao Yaoyao see through this? She just swaggers right into Shi Xingyun’s trap like this?” Xiao Budian questioned, perplexed.
Hearing this, Zhu Yi became thoughtful as well.
“Character.” At this moment, Lin Feng said dispassionately from the side. “Tao Yaoyao can choose not to attack – then the two would stare at each other in the Hidden Dragon Gorge, till the end of time.”
“But to Tao Yaoyao, this would doubtlessly be admitting defeat, equal to admitting that she cannot break through Shi Xingyun’s defenses. This woman’s character, being arrogant and extremely competitive, would not allow this.”
“And even if Tao Yaoyao knew about Shi Xingyun’s plan and restrained her temper, refraining from attacking, there wouldn’t be much losses for Shi Xingyun either. They can compete in patience together – Shi Xingyun was prepared to dig in for the long haul.” Lin Feng smiled.
“She don’t even mind defending like a tortoise in its shell – much less competing on who would die of hunger first.”
Although Lin Feng’s tone was light, but Zhu Yi and Xiao Budian, as well as Yue Hongyan, Yang Qing, and the others, looked to be deep in thought.
Seeing their expressions, Lin Feng nodded, satisfied. “When your strength exceeds the opponent, you can just crush him with your strength. But when your strength is comparable, or even exactly equal, it is the battle of wills that decides the victor.”
He turned to look at the Hidden Dragon Gorge. “Unless Tao Yaoyao has some way to penetrate Shi Xingyun’s defenses, or else although it appears that she’s the one attacking ceaselessly, the initiative is in the hands of Shi Xingyun.”
“As long as her defenses are not compromised by Tao Yaoyao, even in the worst case scenario, she could get a draw. In fact, looking at this sort of untiring attacks by Tao Yaoyao, her Mana drain is far more serious. Therefore, right now, Shi Xingyun has a higher chance of wining.”
“The problem is, Tao Yaoyao is at her wits’ end – she has no way to break through Shi Xingyun’s defenses.” A smile surfaced on Lin Feng’s face.
As his voice fell, the streaks of light radiating through the Hidden Dragon Gorge suddenly vanished, revealing Tao Yaoyao’s figure. She gazed at Shi Xingyun with an expression devoid of emotion and said calmly, “This match…it is me who has lost.”
She scanned Shi Xingyun from head to toe. “If this continues, it would be time for you to counterattack, wouldn’t it? My Mana attrition is far worse than yours – in an ordinary fight, I would probably come out on the losing end.”
Tao Yaoyao abruptly laughed. “No, you wouldn’t counterattack. As long as I do not stop, you would continue to defend, until you have worn me down completely.”
The barrier formed by the Five Elements Light Dragons dissipated, revealing Shi Xingyun’s yellow-clad figure. She looked at Tao Yaoyao, smiling slightly. “You’re welcome, Yaoyao.”
“Less of that, please.” Tao Yaoyao said coolly, having already exited the Hidden Dragon Gorge in a flurry of white, returning to where those from the Sword of Radiance Sect were standing.
Her juniors all fell into a deep silence, not knowing what to say.
In a sense, Tao Yaoyao’s was an unexpected rout; according to previous expectations, she was even one of the competitive candidates for the top position, a seed candidate that should enter the Top Four at the very least. But she has in fact been eliminated in the Top Four qualifiers – turning out a moderately unexpected result.
Meanwhile, Shi Xingyun, who has always kept a low profile before this Spiritual Conference of Huanghai, enjoyed a huge boost to her fame and support with this victory. Just like Song Qingyuan, Shi Xingyun’s road of advancement was proven to be of great value; both Sang Luohe and Tao Yaoyao were extremely strong adversaries.
Cultivators of the major powers – not just Aurous Core and Foundation Establishment ones, but even many Nascent Soul elders – now saw her in a new light, the gazes directed at her becoming much more serious.
Shi Xingyun returned to the Great Qin Empire lines to see Jiao Junchen laughing. “Tao Yaoyao would definitely find you for a rematch after this.”
“If this time we enter the Ancient Huanghai World, Yaoyao could successfully find the Heavens-Patching Vine to repair the cracks on her Aurous Core, I would definitely avoid her the next time I see her.” Shi Xingyun said, laughing. She glanced at Jiao Junchen. “It’s your turn. Impatient?”
Jiao Junchen nodded easily. “It has been a while since I was unable to stay composed like this. I only just managed to calm myself after writing some calligraphy just now.”
“Oh?” Shi Xingyun smiled. “I wish you a swift victory.”
“As you say so.” Jiao Junchen broke into laughter, and then walked towards the Hidden Dragon Gorge.
At the other side, Zhu Yi bowed to Lin Feng as well. “Master, here I go.”
Lin Feng glanced at Jiao Junchen in the distance and said to Zhu Yi, “This man will be a formidable foe for you. However, a battle with him will benefit you enormously – be careful.”
After a slight pause, Lin Feng said slowly, “Fighting him…spells are just a minute detail. The key is the strategic directions of the Ancient Confucian Mantras – you could try to think about it, and corroborate with your own thoughts and way.”
Zhu Yi’s eyes glowed as he smiled. “Thank you for your guidance, Master. I understand.”
The spectators, seeing Jiao Junchen and Zhu Yi one by one walked towards the Hidden Dragon Gorge, all regained their vigor and energy. The four previous battles of the Third Round could all be said to have their highlights – now that it was the most anticipated fourth match, all were enthusiastic and in high spirits.
None of those that could enter the Top Eight were frauds – every single one has their own unique skill. And this battle between Zhu Yi and Jiao Junchen, especially, was talked of as an early Finals.
Even the Immortal Soul elders were paying close attention to this battle – the Gambling Holy Man, Zhuge Guang, for example, projected his voice to the Vivant Joy Holy Man with his Mana. “Of those two little nerds, who do you think will win?”
“Those two aren’t nerds.” The Vivant Joy Holy Man smiled. “Not much needs to be said about Jiao Junchen – he has already consolidated and combined the Confucian classics and universal truths. Nurturing the Air of Righteousness and consolidating himself – to finally realize his own Tao.”
“Even that Zhu Yi, although he cultivates the mantra of the Celestial Sect of Wonders, but there are Air of Literature appearing faintly above his head – but unlike Jiao Junchen’s, which extends into the sky, his consolidated around his own body.”
The Vivant Joy Holy Man shot a look at Zhu Yi and whispered, “In fact, he is also in a phase of nurturing and accumulation right now – once it was released, he shall take the world by storm.”
“I have a feeling, if in this battle, Zhu Yi could defeat Jiao Junchen, it might be his opportunity to release his accumulated strength.”
Zhuge Guang smiled. “But the question is, can he win?”
A smile surfaced on the Vivant Joy Holy Man’s face as well. “Sixty-fourty. Jiao Junchen has a sixty-percent chance of victory – but Zhu Yi has a chance as well.”
The smile on his face faded a little. “To look at it objectively, disciples of the Celestial Sect of Wonders are truly of incredible talent. If Zhu Yi is Intermediate Aurous Core now, then the battle between him and Jiao Junchen – my estimated odds might have to be flipped, with Zhu Yi having a sixty-percent chance and Jiao Junchen just fourty.”
There were much incomprehensible stuff contained within Zhuge Guang’s gaze. “Every Celestial Sect of Wonders disciple is of great talent – but the others are irrelevant. The key is Zhu Yi and Shi Tianhao – these two, their meteoric rise’s effect on the situation is just too unpredictable.”
Hearing this, the Vivant Joy Holy Man did not speak, but a look of affirmation came across his face.
One was a direct descendent of the Shi Clan of the Great Qin Empire, while the other was the son of the Grand Advisor of the Great Zhou Empire, the Marquis of Xuanji – Zhu Hongwu. Although both were estranged from their respective families, but blood was something that was often hard to predict.
While the two Immortal Soul elders were conversing, Zhu Yi has already reached the edge of the Hidden Dragon Gorge and leapt right in.
Within the Gorge, Jiao Junchen sat leisurely on the grass, looking at Zhu Yi with a smile. Seeing that Zhu Yi has entered the Hidden Dragon Gorge, Jiao Junchen waved his palm. The white clouds rolled and tumbled, suddenly forming one musical instrument after anther, floating in mid-air.
There was the bell, the Pan, the Guqin, the Se, the Guan, the Sheng, the Xiao, the Tao, the drum, the Zhu, the Yu, the Yong…together, the instruments played a majestic and beautiful melody.
Among the fog, indistinctly, birds, beasts and divine creatures of white clouds danced.
“Rare to have someone like-minded.” Jiao Junchen sat on the ground and sang an ancient verse, his voice melting together with the tune and the dance.
Poem, music, dance. The trinity, together, formed a powerful composition, seemingly welcoming Zhu Yi’s arrival.
Zhu Yi, seeing Jiao Junchen’s appearance, can’t help but raise his eyebrows slightly. “Dashao?”