Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Countless eyes fell onto Liu Zong, the lone ranger genius. He broke all nine chess games consecutively as soon as he arrived, before walking up to the Celestial Dragon Chess Game.
“That is Liu Zong indeed. Father claimed that in this generation of the Eastern State, Liu Zong might just rank in the top three, and it is extremely possible that he will become one of the leaders of the Eastern State in the future.” At the moment, the bright eyes of Zhou Ziyi of the Great Zhou Sacred Dynasty fell onto Liu Zong. She looked on, hopeful, not knowing if that proud son from Xihua Sacred Mountain would be able to break the Celestial Dragon Chess Game or not.
Zhou Zichao, Han Jing, Li Mu, Goddess Qingni and the others all looked at Liu Zong.
“I’m here today to try my hand at the Celestial Dragon Chess Game. I seek your guidance, teachers,” Liu Zong said calmly.
“Your reputation precedes you, Liu Zong of Xihua Sacred Mountain. You do look as extraordinary as you’re rumored to be. Please,” Yang Xiao said as he pointed.
Liu Zong took his steps and went onto the Celestial Dragon Chess Game hanging in the middle of the air.
“Please,” Liu Zong said. Yang Xiao nodded and began to place his pieces. His first piece was placed onto the very same spot as when he played against Han Jing before. Liu Zong then waved without hesitation. The power of rules turned into a black piece and fell down onto a spot.
Everyone’s eyes were on the game. Both sides played very quickly. Be it the nine students of the Chess Saint or Liu Zong, none of them showed any hesitation as they placed their pieces. They traded blows intensely and before long, a good number of pieces were seen on the chessboard.
A powerful aura of rules washed all over the chessboard. Liu Zong looked as if he was being surrounded and attacked by nine mighty ones, just standing where he was. Despite his circumstance, he remained composed. His pieces were dropped in a firm, powerful manner. His play style had limitless changes to it, and when faced with nine different play style changes, he had actually come to divide his way of playing into nine different styles to counter his opponents, which spoke volume of his frightening capacity at the art.
“Fame is held by those who are formidable. I’m inferior compared to Liu Zong.” Han Jing had opened his eyes to focus on the game and felt inferior. Many took a look at Han Jing, feeling that he had an extraordinary temperament for being able to admit that in front of everyone. Still, it was not all that humiliating to admit one’s inferiority when compared to Liu Zong. While many geniuses had gathered there, there was no one who would be able to claim themselves superior compared to Liu Zong.
“Manifesting nine different changes in play styles to play against nine top-class players at chess all on his own, and furthermore, every single play style was developed to counter a specific style of his opponent. This Liu Zong fellow must have been trained in a variety of arts,” Sage Wanxiang said softly as he gazed at the game. He had not expected for them to encounter such extraordinary people as soon as they ventured outside the Barren State. Ye Futian was indeed right to have them come out of the Barren State and open their eyes. Only by doing so would the students of the younger generation have been able to develop a greater motivation to further their training. The batch of students of the Holy Zhi Palace who had just emerged from the Sage Hall was the best Barren State had to offer.
Ye Futian nodded. He had been steeped in his training in the art of chess for the past month, but having seen both sides trade blows personally, he was definitely unable to say that he would be able to do better than Liu Zong if he was the one playing the Celestial Dragon Chess Game.
An extremely terrifying phenomenon appeared on the chessboard. Sword aura tore through the space with golden flashes of axes cutting down everything. Multiple matrix-based powers burst on the board, creating terrifying scenes. Liu Zong stood in the middle and remained unfazed. He had the protection of golden light all over him. One was able to vaguely see multiple golden arms extending like a thousand-armed Buddha resisting the pressure from the game itself.
Mo Jun looked at his senior play against the other side quietly, learning Liu Zong’s ways. The level his senior was at was not something he could even dream of. He remembered his teacher saying that Liu Zong had read all kinds of old books and collections within three years after enrolling into the sacred ground. He spent another three years melding his acquired knowledge and putting it to good use. He had an encyclopedic level of knowledge and learned just about all there was to learn, including martial arts, music, chess, literature, and painting. There was hardly anything Liu Zong was not good at. He even went to develop comprehension of Buddhist sutras, deriving the essence of various masters filling himself with knowledge.
While there had been times where Mo Jun grew jealous of his senior, he remained more impressed by his senior than anything else. Mo Jun attempted to mimic Liu Zong for a time but quickly found himself as not having enough mental energy to keep up, and was unable to learn all there was to learn. He gave up eventually, as talent was not something that could be mimicked.
The battle on the chessboard came to be incredibly intense. Violent storms howled everywhere and at that moment. Every piece placed would have given birth to attacks of rules, looking like the forces of nature at work. It was a tremendously frightening scene to behold.
Liu Zong’s expression grew increasingly serious and he no longer looked to be as carefree and nonchalant as before. He focused his gaze on the chessboard and ignored attacks of rules. The entire game had melded into a single entity at the moment and he felt as if he had been wrapped in all of it. Every step became very taxing, and the speed at which he placed his piece turned increasingly sluggish as well.
He finally stopped after quite a while, unable to place his piece. He then said, “Impressive. I admit defeat.”
Yang Xiao waved and the pieces on the Celestial Dragon Chess Game disappeared right there and then. The terrifying phenomenon disappeared and everything turned quiet again. He looked at Liu Zong and said, “It was a very impressive feat for a person who played the Celestial Dragon Chess Game for the first time to get this far.”
Everyone nodded in agreement. No one thought Liu Zong’s defeat to be a humiliating one. He was playing against the nine students of the Chess Saint, after all. The game was also one left behind by the Chess Saint. It spoke volumes of Liu Zong’s strength, being able to get that far. Liu Zong was probably the very best of all who had played the game. His progress was so impressive that no one seemed to be able to surpass him.
“Our Eldest Brother here was right. It was very commendable of you to have been able to come this far. In time, you will be able to break the Celestial Dragon Chess Game. The game is now open to all and will be open for the coming three months until it is broken,” Li Kaishan, second student of the Chess Saint said. It was apparent that he had great hopes for Liu Zong. It was said that he was the one who had invited Liu Zong to come break the game in the first place.
Liu Zong nodded in agreement and walked away from the chessboard, heading towards the corner where Mo Jun and the people of Xihua Sacred Mountain were.
“Senior,” Mo Jun called.
“You should give it a try, brother. The game is an immensely intriguing one. Maybe you will learn something from it,” Liu Zong said.
“Indeed.” Mo Jun nodded and walked towards the chessboard. He ended up being defeated just like his senior.
“Aren’t you going to try it out?” Sage Wanxiang looked at Ye Futian and asked.
“Yang Xiao claims that to break the Celestial Dragon Chess Game, one needs to first learn the ways of the other nine chess game. My current proficiency in the art says that it’s still too soon for me to challenge the game. I will definitely end up defeated if I play it now.” Ye Futian had become an incredibly adept player of chess after spending days learning the art of chess, yet he knew where he stood at the moment.
The Celestial Dragon Chess Game was still not one he would be able to break.
“I’ll go learn more about the other nine games,” Ye Futian said before walking to the chessboard of the first elder.
“You again?” the elder saw Ye Futian and said.
“I seek your guidance, elder,” Ye Futian cupped his hands and said with a smile.
The elder said nothing else, waving his arm and began playing instead. Ye Futian was no longer hesitant. He placed his piece immediately when it was his turn to do so.
That game progressed very quickly between the two of them. The elder’s eyes sparkled after a while and he looked at Ye Futian. He knew before that Ye Futian had intentionally lost in order to learn his ways at chess.
So, he is finally playing for real now? the elder thought. He was interested to see how much Ye Futian progressed.
The elder began taking him seriously. Matrixes began appearing on the game. A golden cauldron seemed to take form soon. However, Ye Futian did not go about breaking his opponent’s formation again and again like he last did. Instead, they traded blows instead. At the moment, he put himself in the middle of the chessboard and was surrounded by starlight. The layers spread out and went on to crush everything standing in their way. He had taken to countering his opponent’s offense with offense, developing a truly formidable play style.
The pieces of both sides slaughtered each other on the board. Violent rumbles came from the chessboard, forming terrifying power of storms. The storm of stars permeated the space. When Ye Futian placed his next piece, the power of stars burst into extremely overbearing power and crushed the cauldron. The pieces of that old man crumbled right there and then on the board, which then disappeared into nothingness one after another. The old man’s expression looked rather pale as he stared at the board.
“It has been a pleasure, elder,” Ye Futian cupped his hands and said. The elder lifted his head and took a look at Ye Futian, then nodded slightly. The youngsters are truly frightening. There is simply nothing I can pick on with Ye Futian’s play style now.
Ye Futian walked to the next game beside the one he just played and ended up victorious as well.
Ye Futian played one game after another just like Liu Zong did a while ago. He broke eight games consecutively. It was not until the ninth game that he was subjected to immense pressure, but he was eventually able to break the game nonetheless.
Many looked at Ye Futian, astonished. While there were many mighty ones gathering at Chess Peak that day, few were capable of breaking all nine games. Ye Futian had managed to become one in the handful of people who could, and it was only natural that he caught the attention of everyone present.
“He is Ye Futian, Palace Lord of the sacred ground of the Barren State, and he came to his current position as a noble. He broke six games consecutively when he first came to Chess Peak playing in an extremely ugly manner. But that was probably due to someone behind him directing his moves. He has trained his moves at Chess Peak for the past few days and he never won a single game, yet today, he actually broke all nine games,” someone said as they looked at him with surprised eyes, feeling his case to be an intriguing one.
“There was probably someone guiding him as he learned, and probably some mighty one from the sacred ground of the Barren State. But it was nonetheless a commendable feat to be able to break all nine games using proper play styles. It is obvious that he truly learned how to play chess and made frightening progress in the art.”
“This noble Palace Lord from the sacred ground of the Barren State is intriguing indeed.” Many talked amongst themselves.
Ye Futian did not go straight to trying his hand at the Celestial Dragon Chess Game after he broke all nine games. He went back to his seat and sat cross-legged instead, pondering in a serious manner. He had run into some trouble with the ninth game and it took him great effort to break through. He came to learn something from those troubles.
There were many who attempted to break the chess games afterward. There were people challenging the nine games as well as the Celestial Dragon Chess Game. However, the Celestial Dragon Chess Game remained an immutable one.
Everyone’s attention, including Liu Zong’s, was caught every time someone went to challenge the Celestial Dragon Chess Game. He remained observant of the game. He suddenly came to develop some thoughts.He closed his eyes and ran simulations in his mind. His eyes flashed after a while and he looked in Yang Xiao’s direction, asking, “Given that the Celestial Dragon Chess Game was laid out by nine people, is it possible to have nine people break the game simultaneously?”
“It is possible.” Yang Xiao nodded.
“Is there anyone who will be willing to break the game with me?” Liu Zong looked at the people around him and asked.
Mo Jun stood out and said, “Let me give you a hand, senior.”
“Very well.” Liu Zong nodded.
“I’d like to try as well,” Han Jing said. He admitted that he was inferior compared to Liu Zong, but he, nonetheless, had some attachment to the Celestial Dragon Chess Game. As such, wanting to try it out with Liu Zong.
“We shall participate as well,” Zhou Ziyi said. Zhou Zichao, beside her, nodded slightly.
Li Mu, Goddess Qingni and others joined one after another. Eight top class players gathered around quickly.
“Would you be interested in this attempt?” Liu Zong turned his eyes to Ye Futian. Ye Futian’s actions in breaking the nine games caught his attention. He did not care how Ye Futian was able to do so and whether or not Ye Futian was being guided by someone. He cared only about the outcome.
Ye Futian took a look at Liu Zong, before smiling and saying, “Very well then.” He did not mind joining forces with the others to see what changes awaited them at the game.