Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
“Speak,” Mo Tianxuan said.
Su Yu’s glance swept over Deputy Region Master Xiao. “Dare I ask, Deputy Region Master Xiao, is this a challenge between factions, or between individuals?”
Deputy Region Master Xiao looked at Su Yu and chuckled. “This must be the worldly renowned Master Su. The challenge this time is between factions as well as individuals. Master, do you have any more doubts?”
“If it involves individuals, it will be rather boring without some wagers,” Su Yu said.
“Haha, I’d like to know what Master Su wants to wager,” Xiao replied.
Shrewd light gleamed in Su Yu’s pupils. “I’ve always heard about the opulence of resources of the Heavenly Knife Region. I’d like to ask for a book of unique cultivation techniques that could be coupled with Treasures in the Round Pearl.”
Treasures in the Round Pearl? Everyone was quite startled. People who used such treasures were few and far between. The counteracting cultivation techniques were even rarer.
Xiao slightly furrowed his brows. “My apologies. There really are some exquisite books in the Heavenly Knife Region, but I have never read them before, so I can’t iterate the contents.”
Is that so? Su Yu’s eyes were filled with disappointment.
“Isn’t it simple to obtain those cultivation techniques? I have them.” A rather stern, harsh voice floated forth. It belonged to the jade-clothed man.
An emerald piece of jade was flying toward Su Yu, while shimmering with green light. Su Yu grasped it midair, and looked at the jade-clothed man for a moment, before inserting a wisp of Soul Energy inside.
“A top-grade legendary cultivation techniques, the Meteor Light Stream Formation!” Astonishment flashed in Su Yu’s eyes. The man had just given away a top-grade legendary cultivation technique! Strictly speaking, such accompaniment cultivation techniques couldn’t be considered assaulting techniques, and their real worth wasn’t as valuable as top-grade legendary cultivation techniques. However, they were appreciated for their rarity, and ordinary people stood no chance of finding them. However, this person could retrieve one at will, which was an adequate indication of his extraordinary identity.
The Meteor Light Stream Formation was a strong formation that operated on nine round pearls to raise grand-scale destruction upon the enemies. The power of the formation varied according to the combination of the number, the strengths, and the sizes of the round pearls. If all the round pearls were of the top-grade spiritual artifact level, and the nine-round pearls were successfully arranged, the enemy could be locked and constrained, and forced to endure a continuous attack from the nine-round pearls.
The power was comparable to a blow from a seventh-grade Almighty. It was an immensely strong assaulting formation with great power. Nonetheless, the disadvantage of the cultivation techniques lay in large consumption of Soul Energy. It took painstaking efforts for even a sixth-grade Almighty to activate the formation. Usually, one would experience fatigue and dizziness after just performing it once. If there wasn’t a necessity, no one would perform it.
A bright idea occurred to Su Yu. He couldn’t support the nine-round pearls to perform the great formation with his third-grade Almighty soul, but five pearls wouldn’t be a problem. Moreover, it would be adequate as long as the Underworld Pearl exhibited its effects. Even the All Creation Old Monsters would shed a layer of skin if they took a blow from the Underworld Pearl, let alone the Almighty Divine Masters.
There was only the name and a brief summary on the piece of jade, and there was no other elaboration.
Su Yu’s eyes shone. “What do you want?”
“If I win, I want only one thing from you: ten drops of your blood essence,” the jade-clothed man said.
Su Yu frowned. To martial artists, apart from containing vigor and vitality, blood essence served many other subtle, marvelous purposes. It could be made into the Life Token, for determining one’s status of life. It could also be used to refine certain treasures and talismans. One could even inflict harm upon the blood essence’s owner from a long distance.
Mo Tianxuan narrowed her eyes and stared at Su Yu. “You have to consider this carefully. I know some creepy secret techniques that could control a person from hundreds of thousands of miles away with a single drop of blood essence.” To simply hand over one’s blood essence to outsiders was a great taboo of training
After being reminded of this by Mo Tianxuan, Su Yu pondered it for a moment, and then he nodded lightly. “Sure. How do we start the contest?”
The jade-clothed man laughed. “Haha, generous! The contest is simple, and results can be determined in just a short while.” Two wooden tablets materialized on his palm, emanating the shocking scent of wood element. Su Yu had only ever encountered such a thick and concentrated scent in the Ancient Bronze Forest. The original forms of the wooden tablets were a kind of famous and precious wood, which contained a shocking vitality, only slightly weaker than the three drops of Fountain of Life that Su Yu had obtained.
Mo Tianxuan’s pupils shone with a shrewd light. “Essence wood of All Creations Stage Seven.” The so-called essence wood was, in fact, a material extracted from the very core of the Mu people’s trunks, and it was where the Mu’s essence lay. Usually, the essence could only be preserved if extracted while the Mu were alive, as the vigor would dissipate after their death.
The essence wood was among the hard-to-come-by things of Jiuzhou because the Mu of Jiuzhou were as rare as phoenix feathers. Furthermore, it was trained until the All Creations Stage Seven, which almost matched the mortal fairies. Apart from the Nine Great Prefecture’s Kings, the person who would most likely own this item was the Severed Fairy Cliff Master. He even owned two.
The jade-clothed man explained, “Mu words are different from the human words, which are learned by humans from a young age, familiarized, and eventually mastered. Once the Mu people step into adulthood, their spiritual intelligence is triggered, and their memory inheritance will be activated automatically, allowing them to obtain all memories regarding Mu words! The essence wood contains memories of the Mu people. As long as one instills their own memory of Mu words into the essence wood, it will detect and react.”
He continued, “The more one could superimpose the memory of the essence wood, the more they could resonate with the essence wood, resulting in annual rings. Using that, we could determine which one of us has a broader and more accurate memory of Mu words.”
Su Yu stared at the essence wood. He could affirm the authenticity of the matter about Mu people’s memory inheritance. In other words, the memory preserved in this tablet of essence wood encompassed all Mu words ever. Su Yu only needed to trade the Mu words that he had comprehended by instilling them into the wood, and it would detect them on its own. Annual rings would form on the essence wood based on the strength of the detection. The number of annual rings would directly reflect the disparity between both parties. A shrewd light gleamed in the depths of Su Yu’s pupils, and he nodded. “Let’s begin.”
The jade-clothed man stepped forward and pressed his palm onto the essence wood. Slowly closing his eyes, he silently recalled the Mu words in his memory. Before long, a slight tremor could be seen on the essence wood. An annual ring appeared in the center.
Su Yu walked forward with composure, and pressed his palm onto it as his opponent had done. He began recalling the Mu words in his memory. Soon, the essence wood began to tremble lightly once again, and an annual ring was formed. The competition between the two parties had begun. Both Deputy Region Master Xiao and Mo Tianxuan began paying full attention.
“Sister Wuxin, which one of them do you think is more capable?” Gongsun Wuxie pinned her eyes on Su Yu, half-smiling.
Bing Wuxin replied, “I can’t tell for now, but Su Yuxian has a 90% chance of losing.”
“Why are you so sure?” Gongsun Wuxie was nonchalant. In her heart, Su Yu was the ruthless demonic man who had shaken the entire continent. How would such an intrepid, powerful being be defeated so easily, even if the field of competition was language?
Bing Wuxin said, “It’s simple! The opponent came prepared, they are daring enough to bet with a hundred million crystals, which means they have done absolute preparation! The fairest part of their competition is the essence wood. Yet, the most unfair part is also the two sets of essence wood.”
Gongsun Wuxie was quick-witted, and she understood right away. Blinking her big eyes, she remarked, “Sister Wuxin is saying that Brother Yuxian’s essence wood is problematic.” The most unfair part of this competition was that the essence wood was prepared by the challengers’ party. They were the only people who knew if the wood had problems.
Bing Wuxin nodded lightly and turned to Mo Tianxuan. “Yes, it depends on how our Palace Master Mo responds.”
Both competitors were patiently instilling their memories. The intensity of the essence wood’s reaction on both sides was more or less similar.
Right when they were about to enter a phase of stagnation, Mo Tianxuan spoke, “Exchange the essence wood, and carry on with the competition.”
Her voice contained a certain kind of mighty power. The two of them who were striving to recall experienced an interruption to their thoughts at the same time.
Deputy Region Master Xiao frowned. “Palace Master Mo, that’s not a good idea, is it?”
Mo Tianxuan replied detachedly. “It’s fine. The essence wood was brought by you, and you know best whether the two sets of essence wood have problems. Before the competition just now, your expert didn’t give my side the opportunity to select the essence wood. He began the competition right away after choosing one on his own. Of course, I have a reason to be suspicious that there’s an incongruity between the two sets,” she said. “Besides, throughout the competition, if any incongruity is found between the two essence wood tablets which could affect the outcome, the challenge will be stopped immediately.” Mo Tianxuan announced this without leaving any room for argument.
Despite his reluctance, Deputy Region Master Xiao nodded. “Rest assured, the essence wood has no problem at all.”
Then, both parties exchanged their essence wood. The little episode was to ensure the fairness of the competition. The competition began again. The annual rings on the essence wood of both sides increased steadily.
Mo Tianxuan watched in silence. The benefits involved in this competition weren’t the topmost priority. Their reputation was the most important thing. A hundred million crystals and 500 shops were indisputably shocking, but reputation was of utmost importance. If they lost the battle, the Red Blood Palace would end up as a laughing stock. In the Blessed and Heavenly Lands where signs of chaos were growing rampant, any matters that could ruin the faction’s image must be taken seriously.
Worse still, Tianya City was situated at the border between both parties. It was a place which the military houses fought to conquer. They had gone to great lengths to eliminate them through the sacrifice offering. If they managed to reconquer a part, it would be extremely difficult to oust them again.
The speed at which the annual rings on both sides grew were almost the same.
Su Yu divided his focus. Catching a glimpse of his opponent’s annual rings, he was inwardly stunned. The faster the annual rings grew, the faster and the more accurate his memory was, indicating a larger number of words. Su Yu had already recalled more than half of his Mu vocabulary, yet his opponent still managed to keep pace with him.
Three-quarters of the time had passed, and the two parties had reached the last stage of their competition. Su Yu had finished recalling all the simple, easily memorized Mu words. The remaining ones were the ancient words. What astounded Su Yu was his opponent’s speed, which was not much different from his.
The main hall had fallen into silence. People could not take their eyes off the changes in the annual rings. Everyone was holding their breath. It was obvious to them that both parties were equally capable.
Deputy Region Master Xiao’s had a solemn expression. According to the jade-clothed man, there couldn’t possibly be a being on the Jiuzhou continent who had greater mastery of Mu words than him. However, Su Yu was not in a position of disadvantage at all. In fact, he was even leading slightly. Both sides had achieved 60 annual rings.
Finally, a short while had passed.
Su Yu had finished recalling all the Mu words in his memory, and 66 annual rings had appeared altogether. However, Su Yu’s face fell when he saw his opponent’s annual rings were still expanding continuously! It was illogical. Their speeds of recall were about the same. It was not likely that his opponent’s impetus wasn’t even dwindling after Su Yu had finished recalling.
People’s expressions were changing dramatically. Su Yuxian can’t beat his opponent! The thought occurred to many. Mo Tianxuan’s face darkened. If the opponent was cheating, she could announce the invalidation of the competition. However, it seemed as if her own representative was incapable. All the elders of the inner sanctum looked gloomy and demoralized, as if the sky had fallen. There would be nothing left of their reputation once the influences of the Heavenly Knife Region re-entered Tianya City. It was like getting a slap on their own faces. They had plundered the shops of the Heavenly Knife Region via Mu words. Now, theirs were being deprived by the Heavenly Knife Region in the same way. Such deliberate humiliation made their faces fall.
“Palace Master, there’s a deception with the competition. All Mu words have been recalled, now he’s recalling other memories that could resonate with the essence wood, instead of authentic Mu words!” Su Yu said with cupped fists.
The spectators were all bewildered when they heard what he had to say. The essence wood wasn’t problematic. What was causing problems was the user himself. The jade-clothed man must have had more memories that could result in resonance with the essence wood, which he used to counterfeit Mu words. He probably had not expected that there would be someone who comprehended all Mu words. It had compelled him to jumble in other memories to increase the number of annual rings after he had finishing recalling all the words he knew.
Mo Tianxuan’s creased brows relaxed. She cast a cold stare at Deputy Region Master Xiao. “Do you want me to call a stop to it?” Her overtone was that this competition should be declared invalid due to the counterfeit.
Nonetheless, Deputy Region Master Xiao’s expression was calm and composed, as if he had come prepared. He smiled. Xiao said, “Palace Master Mo, we have come to terms about the competition rules. Whoever resonates more with the essence wood is proven to have a wider and more profound comprehension of Mu words! We never agreed that the resonance had to come from Mu words. That’s only a part of it,” Xiao said.
Upon hearing that, everyone was enraged.
“Don’t you feel ashamed as the prestigious Heavenly Knife Region, playing games of words?” Master Ghost chastised in a stern voice.
They thought they were competing about the mastery of Mu words, but in the end, the Heavenly Knife Region had secretly manipulated the concept to make the competition one of creating resonance with the essence wood. There was a whole world of difference between the two.
“What now? The prestigious Red Blood Palace can’t even take a defeat?” Deputy Region Master Xiao said. “First, we did not cheat. Second, we did not deceive! It was you who didn’t grasp the rules of the competition. Now you’re putting the blame on us? Aren’t you afraid of ending up as a laughing stock if this is made known to the public?”
The crowd was furious, infuriated by the unjust nature of the competition. Mo Tianxuan waved her hand, gesturing for them to quiet down. The look on her face was no calmer than the other elders’. Iciness was spitting from the depths of his pupils. If she reneged on her promise and announced the competition invalid, the Red Blood Palace would lose all of its prestige and reputation. If she kept her promise and admitted defeat, the Red Blood Palace would be utterly humiliated, losing all respect. Whatever the outcome was, the Red Blood Palace would suffer severe consequences, losing both the competition and its people.
In terms of rationality, the latter would make more sense. Reputation could be regained, and the shops that were despoiled could be taken back again. But lost prestige would throw hurdles and obstacles in the Red Blood Palace’s path, leading to a steep decline of their influence in the Blessed and Heavenly Lands. The adverse impact would be far worse than just losing 500 shops and some respect. Therefore, if there was no other option available, Mo Tianxuan would choose the latter, to admit defeat.
The elders’ exasperation couldn’t be appeased when they knew the Palace Master’s decision. “Shameless!” The fire of fury from the elders was soaring, and they were sorrowful at the same time. Their accidental carelessness had led to such a hefty loss.
Deputy Region Master Xiao was smiling placidly like he always did. “Haha, calm down everybody. As the saying goes ‘wisdom only comes with experience’. After this small disadvantage, you’ll avoid big losses in the future. Isn’t it delightful?” His gloating only intensified their fury. However, as they got more furious, the contemptuous and mocking look in Deputy Region Master Xiao’s eyes intensified.
“Deputy Region Master Xiao, you’re saying that as long as resonance with the essence wood is formed, any tactics are applicable, right?” Su Yu asked.
Xiao thought for a moment before answering cautiously. “Only limited to the use of your memory. Other tactics will be considered against the rules.”
Su Yu nodded lightly. “Great, if that is the case, I’d like to continue. I hope you don’t regret too badly afterward.” Speaking of memories relevant to the Mu race, Su Yu had the memories of the Tree God during the Desolate Evil Jungle. His recent memories included the “Book of First Heavens”, which had a primitive word of the Mu race, the origin of all Mu words. To the Mu race, both memories were extremely intense and significant. The extent of resonance that could be created was hard to predict.
Deputy Region Master Xiao’s heart thumped a little. As he stared at Su Yu’s placid face, an ominous feeling crept into his heart.
Su Yu placed both his hands on the essence wood once again, and said calmly, “Carry on.”
All of a sudden, the gloom on the elders’ faces changed drastically as the scene unfolded before their eyes.