Chapter 88: The North Bank's Strongest
In response to Zheng Yuandong's words, the disciples from the north and south banks felt their hearts starting to pound, and subconsciously looked up at a terrace on the snow-capped top of Mount Daoseed.
At the same time, four streams of shockingly powerful divine sense flowed out and swept over everyone present.
The streams of divine sense covered all of the disciples, including Bai Xiaochun, causing them to feel as if incredible pressure were weighing down on them. These people seemed powerful enough to kill everyone present in body and soul with little more than a glance. Everyone felt that way, including Bai Xiaochun, Shangguan Tianyou, and even the Chosen from the north bank. All of them trembled under the pressure, and yet at the same time, their eye shone with excitement.
The fact that there would be prime elders observing the battle with divine sense caused all of the competitors' eyes to shine brightly.
"If I can attract the attention of a prime elder, maybe I could be accepted as an apprentice...."
"I definitely need to put everything on the line in this battle!" Almost immediately, murderous auras sprang up from the disciples on both sides.
Bai Xiaochun was the only one who simply stood there blinking.
"Prime elders. That's the same rank as my Master, right? So they're my Sect Uncles...." Bai Xiaochun couldn't help but feel proud of himself. His ranking in the sect really was a bit too high. After a moment of thought, he resolved to go visit his Sect Uncles after the Chosen battles were over.
It was at this point that Sect Leader Zheng Yuandong swished his sleeve, causing a sphere of light to fly out into the middle of the battle arena. It quickly split up into twenty-two pearls, which then flew out to Bai Xiaochun and all of the other competitors.
Bai Xiaochun looked down at the pearl in his hand. "Eleven?"
He peered out of the corner of his eye to see if he could spot what number Shangguan Tianyou and the others had gotten, only to find that they were keeping them hidden.
At this point, a cold voice suddenly rang out from the balcony above. It was not Zheng Yuandong, but rather, Ouyang Jie from the Hall of Justice. "The first battle will take place between the disciples holding pearls number one and two. Please step forward!"
In immediate response, a gaunt young man flew out from among the north bank disciples. His expression was cold and arrogant, and his appearance provoked a cheer from the north bank disciples. Although he wasn't one of the five great Chosen, he was still quite famous.
As soon as he stepped onto the battle arena, he called out, "Liu Yun of the north bank!"
In response, Shangguan Tianyou suddenly flew out. "Shangguan Tianyou of the south bank!"
He stood there, expression icy, looking like an unsheathed sword. Even the words he spoke seemed to make everything colder.
Of course, as soon as Shangguan Tianyou stepped forth, the Outer Sect disciples from the south bank exploded into loud cheering.
The gaunt young man's face flickered; he had never imagined that the first person he would face would be the most famous Chosen from the south bank. Expression unsightly, he took a deep breath and then waved his hand, causing the air around him to distort. At the same time, a huge python appeared, accompanied by an acrid blast of wind. After the python coiled up, it rose nearly three meters into the air.
However, in almost the exact same moment that the young man's wild beast appeared, and before he had time to do anything else, Shangguan Tianyou took a single step forward, his face completely expressionless. Suddenly, he vanished, and when he reappeared, he was right next to the gaunt young man, a sword in his hand, which he placed against the young man's throat.
"You lose," he said.
A cold feeling washed over the gaunt young man, and an expression of shocked disbelief filled his face as he turned slowly to look at Shangguan Tianyou. He knew instantly that he was no match for this opponent. How could he ever have imagined that he would lose so quickly? Head bowed, he collected his giant python and left the arena.
"We already won the first battle! Hahaha! The south bank is definitely going to win this time around!"
"Elder Brother Shangguan can definitely contend for first place!"
The south bank side of the arena was in an excited uproar. As for Bai Xiaochun, he stood there blinking. He hadn't been able to see exactly what Shangguan Tianyou had done, but he could see that he was definitely beyond ordinary when it came to power.
Furthermore, two of the streams of divine sense from the prime elders began to pay closer attention to Shangguan Tianyou.
The north bank disciples were dumbfounded.
"Was that a minor teleportation? Impossible!! What cultivation base does he have? That couldn't possibly have been teleportation!"
"It was void magic. This guy... definitely deserves to be known as the south bank's number one Chosen. Even with a Qi Condensation cultivation base, he can actually use void magic!"
The other competitors from the north bank looked on with flickering expressions. Beihan Lie's eyes flickered somberly. The Gongsun siblings and Xu Song all had thoughtful expressions.
Only the black-robed Ghostfang simply remained in place, his eyes closed.
Before the crowd could calm down, Ouyang Jie's cold voice once again cut through the noise. "Second battle!"
From among the north bank Chosen, a rather pudgy young man stepped out. Smiling broadly, he seemed completely innocent and harmless.
"Xu Song of the north bank," he said to the disciple emerging from the ranks of the south bank.
His opponent was not Lu Tianlei or one of the other famous Chosen. He was from the group of secretive disciples who had only unleashed his power in the qualifying round. He had a long face, and wasn't very good-looking, but he was aware that the person he was facing was one of the north banks' five great Chosen.
"Zhou Feng of the south bank," he said. Taking a deep breath, he began to rotate his cultivation base. Performing an incantation gesture, he summoned a flying sword. However, before he could send it flying out, a derisive gleam appeared in Xu Song's eye, and he pushed his hand out in front of him.
Rumbling could be heard as a rift opened up directly above Zhou Feng. Then, cracking sounds could be heard as a gigantic crocodilian beast lunged out with lightning speed and gobbled him up in a single bite.
His flying sword lost its connection to spiritual power, and clattered down onto the ground.
"Fighting against Archway Peak disciples and ignoring the air above your head? How very disappointing." Chuckling, Xu Song turned and walked out of the arena. When he waved his hand behind him, his beast opened its mouth and spat the unconscious Zhou Feng out in front of the stunned disciples of the south bank.
Unsightly expressions could be seen, and a few gasps rang out. As for Lu Tianlei and the other Chosen, their hearts trembled.
In sharp contrast, the north bank disciples were cheering loudly.
Bai Xiaochun was shaken at how terrifying the north bank people were. Their control over beasts was horrifyingly advanced.
Soon, the third battle began. The competitor from the north bank was one of their five great Chosen, Gongsun Wan'er. When she saw that her opponent from the south bank wasn't Zhou Xinqi, but rather one of the other random disciples, she looked a bit disappointed. Waving her hand, she had her seven-colored phoenix spit out a seven-colored mist.
When the seven-colored mist enveloped the south bank disciple, he suddenly seemed to go insane. Howling in rage, he began to strike wildly around him, as if fighting an invisible opponent. A moment later, he simply passed out.
From beginning to end, all Gongsun Wan'er did was wave her delicate hand. Afterward, she floated off out of the arena. The crowds from the south bank looked fearfully over at the north bank disciples, clearly shaken.
"The only people who can fight Chosen are other true Chosen." The south bank disciples looked over at Shangguan Tianyou, hope shining in their eyes. Quite a few also looked at Bai Xiaochun the same way.
Bai Xiaochun immediately lifted his head high and stuck his chest out. Inwardly, though, he was terrified by what Gongsun Wan'er had just done.
"That wench is even more incredible than Zhou Xinqi," he thought, his mouth going dry.
Next, the fourth battle began. Lu Tianlei flew out into the arena, surrounded by flickering lightning. His opponent from the north bank was the young man in the black robe who hadn't opened his eyes the entire time. At long last, his eyes opened, and he walked calmly out into the arena.
Strangely, no one from the north bank cheered for him at all. Strange expressions could be seen on the disciples' faces, and as for the other Chosen, they simply took in deep breaths.
The crowd from the south bank was a bit shocked by this. As for Lu Tianlei, he kept his eyes glued on the young man.
The young man stood there quietly, face absolutely expressionless. When he spoke, his voice didn't seem to contain even a hint of emotion. "Ghostfang of the north bank."
"Lu Tianlei of the south bank!" Lu Tianlei took a deep breath. Well aware that he was facing the number one Chosen from the north bank, his eyes began to shine with the desire to do battle. "I'm not going to hold anything back. Even if I tire myself out so much I can't keep fighting, it will be worth it!"
Eyes burning with fighting spirit, he let out a powerful shout, causing the sparks around him to explode into a lake of lightning that expanded thirty meters in all directions.
At the same time, Ghostfang calmly pointed up into the sky. Instantly, black clouds began to seethe overhead. When the disciples from the north bank saw that, their expressions flickered, some with fear.
Howling, Lu Tianlei charged toward Ghostfang, surrounded by lightning.
Ghostfang, however, didn't even respond. He simply stood there, and even went so far as to close his eyes.
"Are you looking to die?!" Lu Tianlei roared, feeling somewhat humiliated. After all, self-respect was critical to Chosen. With another roar, he caused the lake of lightning to redouble in size, and burst with even more power than before.
However, before he could even get close to Ghostfang, the black clouds up above were seemingly ripped apart, and a claw-like ghost hand reached out. It was enormous, like a huge column stretching down from the clouds, rushing toward Lu Tianlei with incredible speed and shocking pressure.
Even before it reached him, Lu Tianlei began to tremble, and then coughed up a mouthful of blood. The lightning around him shattered, and his feet sank into the ground, sending cracks ripping out in all directions.
Blood spurted out as wounds opened up all over him, and blood also oozed out of his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. He tried to struggle, but it seemed useless. Soon, his vision began to fade.
The terrifying ghost claw caused the disciples of both the north and south bank to be filled with terror. Their internal spiritual energy seemed to have been removed from their control, and their souls felt like they would be ripped out from their bodies.
Up on the balcony, the sect leader and the others looked on with flickering expressions.
"For thousand of years, no one has been able to successfully cultivate Ghosts Haunt the Night. I can't believe this kid's cultivation has reached this level!"
Xu Meixiang's face suddenly fell. "Not good!"
Without another word, she flew down toward the arena floor at top speed. She arrived in the blink of an eye, whereupon she waved her hand at the ghost claw. Massive rumbling sounds echoed out as the ghost claw was pushed back. However, it didn't collapse.
Blood sprayed out of Lu Tianlei's mouth, and he collapsed into unconsciousness. Had Xu Meixiang been any slower, he would have been crushed into a bloody pulp, killed in body and soul.
Face darkening, Xu Meixiang looked over at Ghostfang.
"You little delinquent. You might have outstanding talent, but you're far too ruthless. Trying to kill a fellow sect member right in front of us? Are you looking to die or something?!"
Ghostfang stood there silently for a moment, an odd expression developing on his face, almost as if he weren't sure exactly how he should react.
"I just didn't realize he would be so weak," he said, sounding very sincere. With that, he turned to leave the arena floor.
Xu Meixiang frowned and looked back up at the balcony above, seemingly a bit apprehensive. Finally, she gave a cold snort, picked up Lu Tianlei, and left. Lu Tianlei would not be able to continue fighting, and in fact, his injuries would take quite some time to recover from.
The north bank looked on silently, just as the south bank did.
Ghostfang walked back to the same spot he had been standing in, looking very lonely as he closed his eyes again.
After a long moment, the disciples of the north bank recovered their composure and began to cheer a bit.
"Nobody from the south bank is a match for us at all. We're definitely going to win!"
"They lost three battles already. The first one was just a fluke. I bet they'll lose all the rest of the battles too."
In response to the taunting of the north bank, the south bank disciples could only stare furiously. The north bank... was simply too strong.
The south bank had won the first battle, but lost the following three. The top Chosen Lu Tianlei had almost been killed, and by now, the south bank disciples no longer harbored any thoughts of securing their revenge.
Shangguan Tianyou glared angrily at Ghostfang. Inwardly, he was trembling, and even felt profound terror rising up in his heart.
He wasn't the only one. The other Chosen from the south bank, even Zhou Xinqi, were deeply shaken. Even if the only person the north bank had on their team was Ghostfang... they would still wipe the south bank away.
"That was beyond the power of Qi Condensation.... Not even a peak lord could wipe out that ghost hand. Wasn't that... one of the ten secret magics of the Spirit Stream Sect, one of only two that can be considered rare to the extreme... Ghosts Haunt the Night?"
"The only thing that can compare to Ghosts Haunt the Night is... the Waterswamp Kingdom!"
Bai Xiaochun had a very serious expression on his face, and his heart was pounding. Ghostfang's power left him jumpy to the extreme.
Eventually, the fifth battle began. The competitor from the north bank left the south bank disciples feeling as bitter as ever. He was one of the five great Chosen, a person who struck most others cold in the heart... Gongsun Yun.
Within his black robe, only his yellow eyes were visible, with insects crawling in and out of them. As he walked out, one of the south bank disciples steeled himself and prepared to fight. Before he could even introduce himself, though, Gongsun Yun's yes flickered coldly, and he waved his sleeve. Instantly, a buzzing sound could be heard as innumerable black bugs flew out toward the south bank disciple.
No matter how the south bank disciple fought, it was useless. He was soon covered with insects; none of his defenses could protect him at all. Soon, they began to bite into him as if to bore into his flesh. It was a shocking sight that not even the crowds from the north bank were used to seeing.
"I concede!!' cried the south bank disciple. He had the feeling that a single thought on the part of his opponent would cause the insects to devour him.
Gongsun Yun's eyes flickered scornfully as he turned to leave. The black bugs receded like tidewaters, landing on Gongsun Yun and crawling up into his sleeves.
When Bai Xiaochun saw all of that, his scalp went numb. Even Zhou Xinqi and Shangguan Tianyou felt their hearts sinking.
The rest of the south bank disciples couldn't help but ponder that the north bank seemed too powerful to even contend with. In their minds, the Chosen battles were already over.
"We're really going to lose...?"
"The north bank... is so strong!"
At the same time, the north bank disciples were elated.
"It's like I said before. They won the first battle, but will lose the rest!"
"South bank? What a joke. They'll always be beneath the north bank."
"Thirty years ago the south bank only got one disciple into the top ten, and it looks... like it'll be the same this time!"
When the south bank disciples heard such talk, they wanted to offer retorts, but couldn't think of anything to say. The humiliation they felt was overwhelming.
After Gongsun Yun left the arena, Ouyang Jie's voice could once again be heard. "Sixth battle. Would the disciples with marbles eleven and twelve please step into the arena!"
Bai Xiaochun took a deep breath as he looked down at the number eleven marble he held in his hand.