Chapter 29: Zu Yan
Translator: Irene Editor: Pranav
A thread of fire had been ignited under Ai Hui's feet.
Ai Hui's expression changed slightly as he instinctively dodged to the side. At that instant, with a smooth flip of the opponent's palm, Ai Hui's former location was set ablaze.
The contestant had not anticipated Ai Hui's quick reaction, which ultimately led to the unexpected failure of his well-disguised attack.
Ai Hui, who had just barely managed to escape the column of fire, shot into the air like a cannon's projectile and charged towards his opponent. The latter was an expert in long-range attacks and had much stronger elemental energy; only by getting closer would Ai Hui stand a chance to win.
If Ai Hui's previous attack had been soundless with hidden killing intent, then this lunge had thoroughly displayed his imposing and incomparably sharp bloodlust.
Sensing that Ai Hui was rapidly approaching, the opponent instinctively tensed up. This was precisely Ai Hui's strategy-to launch a psychological attack; any trace of panic from the enemy was favorable to him.
However, his opponent then made a very strange move: he got into a handstand position.
Lou Lan, who had been watching carefully, broke out in a cold sweat. This was bad!
At that moment, the opponent's palms became enveloped in a blazing ball of flame. The dark red fire spread through the air like flowing kerosene.
Lou Lan felt that the scene was familiar; he had seen it somewhere before, but he could not recall anything due to his extreme nervousness.
"Flaming Heavenly Spider Transformation!"
A member of the audience cried out in alarm.
"Oh my god! Zu Yan came!"
That remark caused quite a stir within the audience. Everyone was pleasantly surprised.
Zu Yan was an expert from Central Wind City. Although its school district was a year ahead, it was the nearest city to Central Pine City, and hence experts from both sides were quite familiar with one another.
Zu Yan's base level was not considered high as he had only activated two palaces; however, he had quickly risen to fame once he had succeeded in learning the absolute art [Flaming Heavenly Spider Transformation].
Elemental energy techniques had been in development for over a thousand years, but there were only a few which could be acknowledged as absolute arts. Absolute arts formed the foundation of a family clan; for example, Zu Family Clan's [Flaming Heavenly Spider Transformation] was created only after generations of esoteric perfection and gradual, continuous improvement.
However, when compared to the skills of the supreme manuals that had been passed down from the Cultivation Era, these absolute arts could be considered very young and new. Every family clan within the Avalon of Five Elements knew this exceedingly well, and hence no one dared to show disrespect and ignore their ancestors' contributions.
Since the Zu Family's lineage was predominantly predisposed to the fire attribute, this absolute art perfectly suited them. However, due to the exceptionally high level of understanding that was required, mastering it was extremely tough, and so the number of descendants of each generation of the Zu family who had managed to successfully learn [Flaming Heavenly Spider Transformation] had never exceeded three. This had been the situation for many successive generations; unfortunately, it was like an ironclad law which never changed.
[Flaming Heavenly Spider Transformation] was very hard to comprehend, but once it was understood, along with constant perfection and accumulation of elemental energy, one could smoothly become an expert.
Zu Yan was the first amongst his generation to understand [Flaming Heavenly Spider Transformation].
The Zu Family was a prominent clan of the Avalon of Five Elements, and the name of its greatest genius was naturally well-known far and wide. Therefore, as soon as the spiderweb-like fire net had lit up the stage, Zu Yan's origin had been swiftly recognized.
The audience started to grow increasingly excited; it was not often that they could witness a fight with a talent like Zu Yan. They were full of curiosity; to be called an 'absolute art,' exactly how powerful was [Flaming Heavenly Spider Transformation]?
The manager of the training hall was smiling so much that his chin could not be seen. The appearance of an expert like Zu Yan was a big boost to his business. They were just missing Shi Xueman; if only he could invite her from the nearby Shi Clan Training Hall, then the doorstep to his training hall would be broken from being trampled on by the throngs of people who would come to watch.
Everyone was holding their breaths and gaping at the scene on the stage. They were waiting to witness the magnificent show that Zu Yan was about to put on.
Ai Hui's attack was as fast as lightning; the moment Zu Yan had gotten into the handstand position, Ai Hui's fist was already flying through the air.
Zu Yan's heart trembled. His opponent's reaction had been much faster than he had expected. With both his palms planted firmly on the ground, everything within his surroundings was under Zu Yan's control, and he could clearly sense the power of Ai Hui's punch. His opponent did not use any elemental energy, but the force of this blow was so outstandingly powerful that he could only have launched such a ferocious attack by compiling all of the energy from throughout his whole body.
If this punch made contact...
Zu Yan felt that it would be best not to try.
His reaction wasn't slow either. With a slight drop of his wrist, his body curved backwards like a bent bow. With a burst of energy from his waist and abdomen, he tensed his right, pencil-straight leg and filled it with elemental power. The blaze rose dramatically, and like a flaming heavy axe plummeting down from the heavens, it filled the air with a red color.
A fist and a leg violently collided. Bang! An explosion rang out, and sparks could be seen flying through the air.
Ai Hui only felt the rebound of an enormous wave of energy before he was sent soaring backward. Zu Yan also retreated with his palms by many huge steps before stabilizing himself.
Lou Lan was suddenly jerked back into reality, and without thinking, he rushed towards Ai Hui.
Zu Yan coolly looked on as his opponent's sand puppet saved his master. The raging energy and blood inside of his chest only soothed after a while; Ai Hui's earlier punch was similarly unpleasant for him. He had really not expected that his opponent would have such strength.
What was the most bewildering, however, was that his opponent did not engage any elemental energy in his attack!
Throwing such a fierce punch with just pure muscle strength-who was he? Was there such an expert in Central Pine City?
Could it be that he, too, was an expert from another city who came because of the news?
Central Pine City's blind battles had become well known in the vicinity and being so close to Central Pine City, Central Wind City was naturally interested in the battles as well. Although the training halls within Central Wind City had already started to organize a few battles, they fell behind in terms of creativity. When people had time for leisure, they would take the short trip down to Central Pine City for some entertainment.
While Zu Yan was pondering over Ai Hui's identity, the flying Ai Hui had already been caught by Lou Lan.
Ai Hui looked a tad pitiful. His right hand was hanging down unnaturally by his side, and his fist was even burnt black. It was evident that the exchange had been quite damaging to him. Without even needing to check, Lou Lan could distinguish that Ai Hu's right arm was broken.
Lou Lan remorsefully blamed himself. He had boldly claimed that he would assist Ai Hui, but he had not been of any help at all. However, Lou Lan honestly had no idea how to handle Zu Yan. Although he had recognized [Flaming Heavenly Spider Transformation], it was of no use to the battle. Due to his lack of combat experience, Lou Lan was unable to come up with any solution at this time.
Ai Hui was like a battle god in the eyes of Lou Lan, but even then, he was not the enemy's match. There was now only one solution.
"Let's surrender," Lou Lan said honestly.
Contestants that were on the stage could not hear noises from outside, but the members of the audience could clearly hear everything that was being said onstage.
The audience roared with laughter upon hearing Lou Lan's words.
"Hahaha! Is this a sand puppet?"
"Hahaha! This is the first time I've heard a sand puppet persuading his owner to surrender. Haha! Too funny!"
"I can't stand it anymore, no, let me laugh, hahaha..."
"Hey hey hey, you are a sand puppet! You're not supposed to submit even if it means death. You're supposed to sacrifice yourself and give your owner a chance to live! Hahahaha..."