Library of Heaven is Path
1263 Hong Yang
"How is it? It's still not too late for you to back out!" Seeing that Zhang Xuan's face had changed, the middle-aged manager scoffed.
In his time at the Ring of Death, he had met plenty of young scions who put on airs and bragged about their strength. However, when they finally witnessed the brutality on the Ring of Death firsthand, their bodies would freeze in fear.
"There's no need for that." Zhang Xuan shook his head.
What he was shocked at was how lightly a human had taken the life of another, not the bloodshed that had occurred.
In terms of fearsomeness, they wouldn't even come close to competing with the bloodthirsty Otherworldly Demonic Tribe!
Harnessing a killing intent that would leave any ordinary cultivator scrambling away in fear, these Otherworldly Demons would unhesitatingly feast on the blood and flesh of any man! But from the first time he encountered them, Zhang Xuan was already able to take them into committing suicide, so how could a battle between two humans possibly frighten him?
"Not bad, you do have some guts. Go in!" The middle-aged manager was surprised by how swiftly Zhang Xuan had managed to calm himself down, and a hint of approval emerged in his eyes.
Heading down the stairs, Zhang Xuan soon arrived in a room. There were all kinds of weapons in the room, and they were all of Saint low-tier. Perhaps to allow any cultivator to wield them easily, none of them contained any spirit.
"You can freely pick any weapon you would like to use in the ring later. There are no limits how many you can take, so feel free to take anything you want. However, should any of these weapons be spoiled in battle, you are to compensate us accordingly. Also, at the end of your duels, you have to put the weapons you have taken back in its place prior to leaving." the middle-aged manager said while gesturing to the weapons.
"Un." Zhang Xuan nodded. He swiftly scanned the surroundings before making his way over to a saber rack.
There were more than a hundred sabers in here, be it short sabers, long sabers, nine-ringed sabers, single-handed saber, ghost-head saber... The variety of weapons that were available here was truly astounding.
Zhang Xuan lightly brushed through the weapons with his finger before casually picking one that seemed to be slightly heavier. He flicked it a few times, seemingly testing out its handiness, before shaking his head and putting it back down. He repeated the same process for a few other weapons before eventually sighing deeply.
"Forget it, I won't use any weapons!" Zhang Xuan told the middle-aged manager.
"You aren't going to use any weapons?" the middle-aged manager was taken aback.
After witnessing the brutality in the ring, most of those who had registered to fight in the ring would be eager to take as many weapons as they could with them. After all, it might just happen to play a crucial role in helping them out of a critical situation. On the other hand, this fellow actually chose not to take anything with him at all... Was he really that confident in his skills?
"If one's strength is lacking, no weapon can save him." Zhang Xuan replied impassively.
"Alright then." Deciding not to say anything more, the middle-aged manager pushed another door open and walked in. Zhang Xuan swiftly followed suit, and within the room, he saw dozens of cultivators sitting cross-legged on the ground, conditioning themselves in preparation for the battle to come.
Every single one of them carried the stench of blood on them. Clearly, they carried numerous human lives on them.
"Wait here for the time being. We'll call you when it's your turn!" the middle-aged manager instructed before leaving the area.
Left to be, Zhang Xuan began scanning his surroundings.
He noted that while the dozens of cultivators in the room appeared to be cultivating, they had retained a sliver of their awareness out to observe their surroundings constantly, guarding warily against one another. If anyone were to dare approach them carelessly, they might abruptly burst forward to launch a preemptive strike out of self-defense.
A moment after Zhang Xuan found a place to sit, an indifferent voice sounded beside him, "A newcomer to the ring before?"
Turning around, Zhang Xuan saw that the person speaking to him was a young man who appeared to be in his early thirties. There was a crimson saber cut on his face, and blood was still trickling out of it. It was likely to have been inflicted on him not too long ago, such that he hadn't had the time to recover from it yet.
Considering how cold the cultivators in this room were, Zhang Xuan was rather surprised that someone would take the initiative to strike up a conversation with him.
"You can tell?"
"Those who have experienced the ring would have eyes reminiscent of ravenous wolves, ferocious and vicious. There is no way one can survive the savagery that happens up there otherwise. In comparison, you are nothing more than a little tame sheep. How can I not be able to tell?" the scar-faced young man scoffed.
Strength did play a deterministic role in the Ring of Death, but 'viciousness' was also another crucial factor as well!
Not just vicious to one's opponent, but vicious to oneself as well.
Those who were willing to sacrifice their own bodies to launch a decisive blow would stand a far better chance at subduing their opponent as compared to those who expected to walk out of the ring completely unharmed. The young man before him had an air of innocence around him, reminiscent to that of a scion who had never weathered through the harshness of the world before.
"Little tame sheep?" Zhang Xuan was visibly a little amused by the scar-faced young man's metaphor.
So far, he had been treated as a God of Destruction no matter where he went, leaving behind demolished buildings and traumatized minds in his wake. Yet, in the young man's eyes, he was just a little tame sheep?
Perhaps he was really a little too good-tempered.
"Of course! Those who have never stepped onto the ring and undergone the initiation ritual of bloodshed are nothing more than tame sheep! Let me tell you, I have already won six consecutive victories so far! It's just a pity that the seventh opponent is too strong, and I depleted too much of my zhenqi. Otherwise, there's a good chance that I could have very well become a Conqueror of Ten by now!" the scar-faced young man declared proudly.
"Incredible." Zhang Xuan offered an earnest compliment.
Even a genius like Zhang Jiuxiao didn't even get to the six matches. The fact that the young man could win six consecutive matches already bore testimony to his strength and state of mind.
While they were chatting, the door ahead suddenly opened. A powerful killing intent poured into the room, exerting immense pressure on the cultivators within.
"It's him?" Zhang Xuan frowned.
A figure had appeared by the door, and it was no other than the metal-armored middle-aged man who had ripped a person to two on the ring earlier.
This middle-aged man had a towering stature, similar to a metal tower. The thick metal armor that he wore was completely dyed in crimson, and fresh blood was still trickling down the edges of his armor. Such an appearance made him reminiscent of a savage Asura on the battlefield, wedging fear deep into the hearts of others.
"That's the strongest existence in the black market at the moment, Hong Yang!" Seeing that Zhang Xuan didn't recognize the person by the doorway, the scar-faced young man sent a telepathic message over to him to introduce him. "He's also known as the Conqueror of Hundred!"
"Conqueror of Hundred?" Zhang Xuan was taken aback. "He has won a hundred matches consecutively?"
"It's not that. Rather, he has won ten Conquerors of Ten consecutively! The fellows who challenged him had all been ripped into two, as dead as they could get!" the scar-faced young man replied as a hint of fear flickered across his eyes.
He was full of admiration for the strength Hong Yang wielded before him, but the brutal means that the latter used had left him deeply fearful as well.
And very apparently, such a feeling resonated not just within him but the others in the room as well.
Hong Yang slowly walked over to the corner and glared down coldly at the two young men cultivating there, bellowing, "Scram!"
Without any hesitation, those two young men hurriedly got up and scrambled away.
Even when seated, Hong Yang's figure still conspicuously towered over the others. He took out a pill and swallowed it, and his aura began to billow.
On the other hand, the crowd heaved a sigh of relief with uncanny harmony. Those who were in proximity to Hong Yang slowly shifted backward, creating a huge vacuum around him.
"Primordial Spirit realm advanced stage…" Through the aura Hong Yang was emanating, Zhang Xuan was able to clearly perceive his cultivation.
Just like him, Hong Yang was a Primordial Spirit realm advanced stage cultivator.
However, the killing intent that he emanated was truly overwhelming. Even a cultivator of the same realm would experience great mental pressure facing him, even prior to the battle itself.
Activating the Eye of Insight, Zhang Xuan was just about to take a clearer view to the strength of the young man before him when Hong Yang suddenly raised his gaze and looked over.
"What powerful instincts…" Zhang Xuan was slightly startled.
As expected of an existence who had consecutively defeated ten Conquerors of Ten, his awareness of his surroundings was truly fearsome.
It was just an inconspicuous glance, but the other party still sensed the nature of his gaze clearly and even ascertained the direction where it was coming from accurately. With such powerful instincts, it would be nigh impossible to spring a surprise assault on him.
"It seems like life-and-death situations do help to temper a person greatly. Even though Hong Yang's cultivation is at Primordial Spirit realm advanced stage, it seems like he would be a match for even a Half-Leaving Aperture realm master teacher... In fact, if he was locked together with a combat master of equal cultivation realm, it was very likely that he would be the one to survive at the very end!" Zhang Xuan noted.
How powerful one was didn't rely solely on one's strength. How one reacted in face of pressure and danger was of utmost importance as well.
Even though a cow possessed strength far superior to a wolf, if the both of them were to be placed in the same room, the cow was likely to be the one to fall at the very end.
And Hong Yang was this very wolf. Or perhaps, it might be more accurate to call him a ravenous tiger instead. Anyone who dared to come close to him would be ripped apart by his sharp fangs.
"Newcomer, scram to the side. Don't you know this is my seat?" While Zhang Xuan was busy assessing Hong Yang, a cold voice suddenly sounded above him.
Raising his gaze, he saw that one of the two young men chased away by Hong Yang earlier standing before him.
"Is your name inscribed anywhere here?" Zhang Xuan replied nonchalantly, not intending to make a move at all.
To scramble fearfully in face of Hong Yang yet stomp right up to him just because he appeared to be a newcomer... A typical bully, huh?
"Oh? The newcomers seem to be getting quite cocky nowadays, huh?"
"Qian Xu, it seems like you don't have much of a presence anymore!"
Seeing how Zhang Xuan refused to move, retorting back even, the cultivating crowd slowly opened their eyes to watch the commotion before them in interest.
"You say that my name isn't inscribed here? Hehe, since you wish it so, why don't I have it inscribed for you right now!"
The young man named Qian Xu didn't expect that a newcomer to dare affront him like that, and his eyes narrowed menacingly. A dagger abruptly appeared in his palm, and he swiftly swiped it right toward Zhang Xuan's forehead.
His movements were fast and devoid of any hesitation. It was as if the person he was attacking wasn't a human but a mere tree branch.
If that dagger were to be plunged into Zhang Xuan's head, there was no doubt that it would cause instantaneous death.
"You want to claim my life over a trivial matter like this?" Zhang Xuan scoffed coldly.
It was one thing if there was an irreconcilable grudge between both of them, but to attempt to take his life just because he wouldn't give up his seat... It seemed like the young man really thought nothing about a human's life!
Even in this world, where strength reigned mighty, such actions were truly abhorrent.
Displeased, Zhang Xuan raised his finger and fend off the other party's dagger.
His finger struck the blade of the dagger, and with a metallic ring, the Saint low-tier artifact abruptly broke into two.
"Oh? It seems like our young newcomer over here has the strength to back up his words! No wonder you dare speak so conceitedly before me!" Seeing that his weapon was broken with a single flick, Qian Xu slightly startled for a moment. However, in the next moment, he licked his lips as an excited gleam flickered across his eyes.
He had thought that the other party was just an amateur whom he could crush easily, but it seemed like it wasn't as easy as it seemed. Nevertheless, as a veteran of the Ring of Death, Qian Xu still had confidence in his capabilities.
Several more daggers abruptly emerged in Qian Xu's hand, and with a swift flick of his wrist, they came flying toward Zhang Xuan from the top, middle, and bottom.
The top dagger was aimed for the right eye, the middle dagger was aimed for the heart, and the bottom dagger was aimed at Zhang Xuan's thigh.
Abrupt and swift, it would be difficult for even a genius like Zhang Jiuxiao to fend against such an attack in the nick of a moment.
"You have quite a hand, don't you?" Zhang Xuan remarked impassively.
As expected of one who had been through multiple life-and-death battles, his killing skills had indeed been refined to an exceptional level. The trajectory of the daggers was aimed in a manner such that avoiding one of them would result in the other two plunging right into one's body.
Such an attack was of limited effectiveness against Zhang Xuan.
Zhang Xuan swept his hand in a half arc before him, and all of a sudden, the three daggers were already caught between his fingers. Despite the intense trembling of the daggers, they weren't able to struggle free from his grasp.
"Newcomer, you have successfully piqued my interest!" Seeing that his second attack was resolved by the other party so easily, killing intent surfaced in the depths of Qian Xu's eyes. Just as he was about to make his next move, a voice suddenly sounded in the room.
"Primordial Spirit realm advanced stage, Zhang Xuan! You will be faced against an opponent of the same cultivation realm, Meng Fuxing!"
"It's my turn." Paying no heed to Qian Xu, Zhang Xuan stood up and began making his way over to the ring.
"You think that I will allow you to walk out just like that after provoking me? Just how easy do you take me to be?"
Seeing that Zhang Xuan was leaving, Qian Xu flicked his wrist once more, and amidst a freezing burst of air, two daggers shot forth for the back of Zhang Xuan's heart.Just to highlight, the ages wrote as descriptions in the story are based on appearance instead of true age. Depending on when you advance your cultivation, you could be much older than you appear to be. For example, a person who has reached Saint realm by 20 years old would only appear to be in his thirties when he's roughly 120 years old.