152 Chapter 152
The girl looked at her hand and then at the back of the young man that moved past her. She kind of knew what this act meant, having the old 'texts' to go back to. Zhang Liu had learned it from his Master on one occasion.
It was one of the rare days that he and his sister were allowed to spar with Zhang Dong. Their Master wasn't really taking them seriously and only dodging their attacks while the two tired themselves out, he then gave them some pointers. The 'tag in' came to be whenever he or his sister switched out, their Master told them that it was an old custom. You were supposed to slap the hand of the person you were exchanging before going into battle in their stead.
Back at the center stage Zhang Liu continued walking while staring daggers at his new opponent. He wasn't all that close to the girl that he was exchanging, but he couldn't just stand there and watch this continue. Deng Cai on the other side was just standing there with his hands behind his back. His face went back to being calm and collected, you couldn't see the rage-filled expression that it once had.
The audience tried cheering, it didn't feel right though. The atmosphere in this colosseum was stifling, the Dark Palm cultivators were now out and about. People were even trying to leave but the paths of escape were blocked. Apparently, Yang Kai wanted everyone to watch this show, even if he had to force them to do so.
Zhang Jin could only sit himself back while looking down at the large football-sized battle stage below him. It was too late to call for help at this point, he had missed his chance. There were now many core formation experts around him, if he tried sending a message with his communication jade they would notice it.
He scanned his surroundings, the only people that would be willing to help him if something happened were sitting in the booth together with him. Even then, they only had five core formation fighters with him on their side. The strongest from them being the young master from the Huo clan.
He was the only one that wasn't yet involved in this fiasco, the Dark Palm master didn't interact with him and also didn't seem to want anything from their side. Realistically speaking, there was no reason besides his friendship towards Zhang Dong to help them. Zhang Jin didn't know if he would jump in to help them, their relationship was still kind of vague. They were friendly with each other, but the old man had seen enough paper-thin bonds breaking off at critical junctures.
There were two core formation experts in the room with them now, both in the late stage. Zhang Jin was in the middle stage himself the same as the old Feng grandma. The Feng Matriarch was already at the Great circle along with Huo Qiang, so they could handle themselves. The problem were all the experts that were spread around the area, there were far too many of them. While the old man racked his brain about the way to get out of this situation, his great-grandson was ready to fight.
"Without further adieu, let us start the bout!"
Deng Cai strutted forward slowly while tossing his head backward and shaking his head.
"First I get to face a weak little girl and now a brat."
Cai's words were followed by an arrogant laugh, his nose raised high in the air as if he was mocking his opponent.
Zhang Liu narrowed his eyes while tapping his foot on the ground. His opponent wasn't taking him seriously at all, which made this youth clench his fist tightly. He didn't take the bate and just took on his fighting posture, he would show him his superiority with his actions and not with his words.
"Hah, silent type? How about this... I'll let you make ten moves before I retaliate. You should be glad that this lord is giving you such an opportunity!"
Deng Cai chuckled more and just stood there, his hands running through his long hair as he made sure to strike a valiant pose for the young ladies on the side. Liu just clenched his teeth in response, holding himself back while the other person continued to mock him during this life and death situation.
'Calm down... this is not an opponent I can take lightly.'
The white-haired boy lowered his posture and started pushing his spiritual energy into his legs. He was trying to make the whole process as inconspicuous as possible. If the enemy noticed and predicted where the attack was coming from, it wouldn't bode well for Liu. Luckily his techniques were all of superior quality, his Dao and Qi as pure as humanly possible.
He took his chance, while the older youth was busy with trying to look good he charged forward. A faint afterimage was left behind in his wake, lightning crackled and thunder boomed the moment the young man took off. The abrupt movement startled his opponent, this was what he was aiming for. His lightning charged fist flew forward, most of the people weren't able to see what was happening as it all happened in a matter of seconds.
Sparks flew and the aftershock made the ground vibrate. After the smoke cleared the people could see the result of the white-haired youths attack.
"You surprised me there..."
Deng Cai spoke out, his hand raised to cover his face. Zhang Liu didn't expect this, his fist connected with his opponent, but not with his face. He was stopped by his opponent's forearm that was showing cracks due to the heavy hit it took. Still, this wasn't enough to get through the rocky defenses of this man.
"What happened to giving me ten moves, senior?"
Zhang Liu replied while pushing his hand forward. The opponent promised to give him ten moves, which meant that he wouldn't counterattack or defend himself but just dodge. He had already broken that promise, which was a hit to his pride.
Liu jumped back, evading a kick by a hair's width. His surprise attack had failed, his foe would probably be fully alert now and not give him a second chance. His follow up attack was a hastily created lesser lightning javelin. The technique that looked like a bolt of lightning flew forward only to get slapped to the side by Deng Cai. The earth elemental defensive technique proving quite sturdy and effective in blocking the lightning Qi attacks that this youth was proficient in.
"It looks like the young lord isn't impressed, the attacks of the challenger are proving to be ineffective!"
The Dark Palm Sect young master just sneered, shaking his hand that he smacked the lightning bolt away, the rocky armor quickly reforming around it.
"That tickles, is that all you are capable off?"
Zhang Liu was truly surprised, his opponent's defenses were nothing to scoff about. He was managing to make the defensive technique crack here and there, but he wasn't going through it with his regular attacks. For now, he jumped back and tried to reorganize his thoughts, hoping to think of a better strategy.
Before he could do that though, he felt that something was off. He could see his opponent move one of his hands upwards, his palm opened wide. Warning's started shooting off in his head prompting him to quickly use his movement technique. He dived to the side while Deng Cai clenched his palm together into a fist. The moment he did that the ground under Zhang Liu's feet shifted as if it was trying to encase him in sand and rubble.
The only thing that was caught was Liu's faint afterimage, the little aftershock not really doing anything to the lump of earth that was now in that place.
"You bugs are really good at evading... but how long can you keep this up?"
Deng Cai moved both his hands forward, his fingers started moving in a sort of random fashion. Suddenly pillars of sand burst through the rocky battle stage. They looked like elongated tentacles with a pointy tip on the end. The tips were different than the rest of the technique's 'body' it was composed of hard rock which had a razor-sharp edge to it.
There were multiple of those popping out from the ground and they quickly surrounded the white-haired Zhang Clan cultivator. He quickly utilized his lightning steps, his feet were shining in a blue light each step he took thunder was heard. His opponent didn't give him much time to react as the earth tendrils quickly sped towards their target.
Zhang Liu utilized his dodging skills to his fullest, the audience was on the edge of their seats as they saw the elongated sand tentacles shoot out from various places. They all had one task, to pierce this white-haired youth. Flight was impossible for someone in this realm, so the earth-based attacks were proving effective as Liu was having trouble gathering his thoughts and was only able to dodge.
Luckily he was nimble, his cultivation technique was immortal graded and his Dao was a superior one. Running out of spiritual energy before his opponent wouldn't be something that would happen in this situation. Deng Cai's techniques were quite advanced and in the heavenly grade, still they paled compared to what Zhang Dong passed onto his disciple.
Seconds turned to minutes and the youth was still standing, the dark palm young master's face full of smugness slowly cracking as it switched to one of anger. No one had ever been able to keep up with him for this long while he was taking things more seriously. This technique that he was using was fierce and used up a lot of spiritual energy but his opponent didn't suffer any damage besides a couple of cuts to his robe.
'How can that trash keep up with my Sand Dragon Spears so well, he should be drained of his energies by now...'
Evading the hundreds of spear-like tendrils wasn't a simple task. The fast that Zhang Liu was still out there with minimal damage was a great achievement of its own. Yang Kai was just looking at the fight and he also was looking slightly ticked off. Why was his disciple still playing around with that insignificant worm?
"Cai, what are you doing, finish this already!"
The youth's master slammed his fist down, his aura exploding outwards which sent shivers down everyone's spine.
Deng Cai just looked at Zhang Liu that was still jumping about, his eyes bloodshot after he got called out by his own Master.
"How dare you make me lose face in front of my master, Die!"
Due to his masters egging on Deng Cai decided to charge into the fray. His barrage of sand spears continued while he himself utilized the previously used movement technique to gain momentum. He couldn't let his master get mad at him, he would be severely punished and maybe even deprived of cultivation resources.
This might have not been the best decision though. His ranged technique got sloppier as Liu noticed the amount of those blasted sand things decreasing to a more manageable number. He could see his enemy charging in like a mad bull, the rocky armor around him increasing in density while the ground cracked with each step he took.
'It's that technique.'
He already saw this move before, he knew that it was unwise to let the opponent gain momentum as the power of this skill increased with the rise in energy. So he did the opposite thing that Deng Cai was expected and bolted right at him.
"Fool, you are courting death!"
Cai sniggered at the idiot that was charging in his direction. He was very confident in his defensive capabilities, even more in them than he was in his offensive ones. No one of a similar realm had ever been able to damage his rock armor, he was assured that the moment the two clashed he would snap that Zhang clown in half.
People in the audience stood up ready to see the two clash. Most of them were of the opinion that the poor white-haired kid didn't stand a chance. They expected him to be pummeled into a ripe tomato after this exchange or maybe getting out of there with his evasion skill at most.
But then something strange happened. The youth started changing, his whole body started to glow in a deep blue light. Sparkling electricity was getting shoot out in various directions as the youth changed to something that looked more like an elemental being made from pure lightning energy.
This change was followed by a bright light that blinded most of the people looking at the exchange. A resounding boom of thunder quickly followed the flash of light along with a residual shockwave that activated the protective barrier that was protecting the people outside the battle stage.
The people took a few seconds to regain their senses. They all hurriedly looked to the spot that the clash happened only to gasp in surprise. There Zhang Liu stood, looking quite lofty while lightning energies and fluctuations of his superior Dao emanated from his form.
Deng Cai, on the other hand, was quite far away, right at the edge of the tournament platform. He was just sprawled out, his upper body leaning against the barrier that kept him and his opponent locked inside. He looked to be out cold, his left cheeked seamed to be caved in and he was missing some teeth. He was bleeding profusely from his mouth, the gem on his forehead looked to be cracked and his eyes were vacant.
The whole area went silent, the people couldn't even cheer out for the winner as they knew that the Dark Palm sect wouldn't take kindly to this. The only thing that could be faintly heard was the crackling of lightning and the gnashing of teeth that was coming from Yang Kai's VIP booth.