When the young man who was allegedly Bao bi’s great descendent said he’d restrict his cultivation to Bao bi’s realm, he only meant he’d be at the 2nd realm. Since Bao bi was on the bottom of the 2nd realm, that didn’t stop him from locking himself as a half-step into the 3rd realm. That still was technically in the second realm, but when compared to Bao bi, it wasn’t nearly enough. Of course, Bao bi had been defeating opponents that were in the 3rd realm earlier, so in theory, he should be able to fight this man.
Yet, he was superior to all of the other contestants so far, so that restriction didn’t feel like nearly enough. Most of those that had given a piece of themselves to run the One Thousand Demons formation were young and still had a long way to go in their cultivation. This man had already been a heroic elder, and while this avatar was capped, he still had the memories and knowledge of a man much more capable than his age suggested.
It was similar to the situation with Liao An. Her cultivation was relatively low, only at the third realm, but when taking in the experience and knowledge of Midnight or Tigra, it was difficult to say just how powerful she could be. At the very least, she could kill opponents several tiers greater than her, and even threaten the administrator of the One Thousand Demons Formation. She had also moved in a way where the soul of Elder Xaoi didn’t notice her presence, so what she could accomplish if she set her mind to it was unfathomable.
Ultimately, this all meant that despite Elder Xaoi being closer to Bao bi’s current cultivation, he was in a completely different class compared to the previous opponents. Perhaps, if Bao bi had been a normal student, he truly would have no way of fighting or surviving against this opponent. However, when it came to his techniques, they had been created by Tigra and more recently tweaked by Midnight. Furthermore, while he might not have years of cultivation experience, he was still an adult male in mindset. Therefore, after a single exchange between the two, an understanding seemed to form between them.
“I can see I was right in predicting you’d be a worthy opponent.”
“I don’t know about any of that.” Bao bi shrugged. “I just need to get this done.”
The other man’s eyes widened in shock. “Are you stating I am nothing more than a stepping stone for you?”
“Hehehe… I don’t mind a cocky child. Let’s see if your words match your prowess!”
The Elder seemed to misunderstand Bao bi. He saw this as a means to an end, but Elder Xaoi took that to mean he planned to use him as a stepping stone for greatness. This seemed to fire Bao bi’s opponent up, and he immediately came at Bao bi swiftly and brutally.
With all of his wounds healed, Bao bi was in much better shape. He had been exhausted by the time he fought the third realm enemies, and that caused him to quickly earn injuries which further diminished his ability to fight. With all of that seemingly restored, he was able to think more clearly and fight more fluidly.
“Heavenly Xaoi Flurry!” Elder Xaoi growled, using another technique.
“I’ve never learned any moves!” Bao bi cried as he used his movement and palm skills to deflect the best he could.
Of everything that Tigra had taught Bao bi, he had one significant weakness. She had given him a body training method, a movement skill, and a palm skill, but he didn’t have any specific moves. When it was said that his method of fighting was extremely uninteresting, part of the reason was exactly that he had never been taught such things.
It wasn’t necessarily Tigra’s fault. Very few participants knew very many moves. Such special attacks like the Xaoi Heavenly Punch were moves that were connected to the Xaoi Heavenly Fist fighting form. Since Bao bi’s form had been developed on the fly by Tigra, she had never bothered to create any moves for him to learn. It should also be stated that a move didn’t need to be a specific part of your fighting methods. People often took moves from other styles and incorporated them into their own all the time.
Furthermore, for children around twelve, expecting them to have learned any such moves would be unfair. At that point, they would already be considered successful just getting a grasp on cultivation and pushing forward their purification. Their fighting skill really should be below, and so Tigra never deemed it necessary to come up with any techniques. Plus, knowing the level Bao bi would one day need to rise to, all of her focus had been on his foundation, which she helped make as broad as possible.
It was that foundation that now allowed him to block such vicious techniques. As the administrator watched from the safety of his control room, he couldn’t help but sweat slightly. In Elder Xaoi’s frustration, he had started to use techniques that it wouldn’t be surprising an 18-year-old hadn’t mastered yet. Not only was he fighting a child five years younger, and chose to remain an entire realm stronger, but he continued to take every advantage.
The world of martial arts was a ruthless place, and one could say there was no such thing as fairness, especially when it came to the standards an ancestor chose to pass down his legacy but wasn’t this all a bit excessive? Even the administrator who had chosen to go especially difficult on Bao bi for various reasons was starting to feel a bit embarrassed at how hard Elder Xaoi tried to hold onto victory.
The worst part of Bao bi’s lack of skills is that he had no particularly flashy way to cause damage or to change the tides of a battle. He simply fought and deflected, using his erratic movements to avoid being hit and his skill attacks to inflict damage a little at a time. It was a steady way of fighting that slowly weakened and brought down an enemy, but for someone like the Elder, seeing his energy slowly being dwindled was maddening. Both contestants could see that this battle of attrition would eventually side with Bao bi. This couldn’t be helped. He was a real person, while the Elder Xaoi was a shadow with a limited degree of power.
He began to realize that if he kept going like this, he would end up losing. Naturally, he had long forgotten the entire reason he had started the fight was to test Bao bi. Now, it was a matter of pride, and he didn’t want to have his name besmirched – even if he was long dead, and the only people who would know of his failure were the administrator and Bao bi, that was enough to make him go all out.
Up until that point, he had kept his profound energy in reserve. After all, it wouldn’t be fair to use spiritual energy against Bao bi who had only just broken into the second realm. In the elder’s mind, he would have had no chance to work with spiritual energy, and thus would be particularly susceptible to it. If he wanted to win, then he needed to end the fight immediately, and so he pulled all of his energy and began his final attack. If Bao bi could survive such an attack, then he would have no choice but to concede defeat.
As the administrator saw him, he immediately stood up in shock. He had recognized the trademarked technique that Elder Xaoi was using. It was called the Xaoi Heavenly Break. Such an attack didn’t just hurt the enemy, but it was aimed at temporarily surpassing the limits of the user’s body. It caused a significant backlash. Had Elder Xaoi been a person, this attack had the potential to damage his cultivation. In his current state, the attack would merely weaken him to the point where he’d never be able to perform such a test again.
The administrator couldn’t figure out just what was going through Elder Xaoi’s mind. However, he was in no place to interrupt or educate the elder, and could only sit back and watch as the scene unfolded. Had the maneuver truly been dangerous, he might have taken drastic actions. However, the most likely result was that Bao bi would be killed and thus sent out of the pagoda, and then Elder Xaoi would fall into a deep sleep that he likely wouldn’t wake from. The administrator supposed that this result wasn’t too bad, although it was a shame that Bao bi would lose the chance to receive whatever legacy the elder had. In his mind, Bao bi had earned it at this point.
After watching the two battles, his respect for Bao bi had increased substantially. Bao bi’s sin when he first entered the pagoda had been completely forgotten, and if any elder happened to come by and ask him, he would have given the young boy a glowing endorsement. Clearly, not only should the boy be allowed in, but he should also be given a lion’s share of the resources. The administrator had also seemingly forgotten his previous theory that Bao bi was merely a plant from another better clan. After getting the acknowledgment of the elder, he had already decided Bao bi was a Xaoi sect disciple in his heart.
Bao bi could sense something off about the air, and he could feel the sudden surge of power as Elder Xaoi came at him with this one last desperate attack. However, Bao bi didn’t have any counter to it. He instinctively could feel that this was going to be a big one, and he realized that if he defended, he’d only be severely wounded. His best bet was to respond with his own best attack. That was merely a Wind Phantasmal Palm strike, but with all of his spiritual energy pumped into it.
It was true that Bao bi had not worked a lot with spiritual energy, and his newly formed dantian didn’t have much spiritual energy. Instead, that spiritual energy existed within every cell of his body, hidden from plain sight but accessible at any moment. Up until that point, he had not used up much spiritual energy at all. He had been told to conserve it for when he was desperate. He had needed to use some of it when he finished off the third realm guys, but even then, he had held back a bit. That energy had all been restored when he was healed, and at that point, in the battle, he hadn’t used much at all.
His ridiculously strong constitution is what had sustained him up to that point. Most disciples in his realm didn’t have the kind of control or ability to use their spiritual energy. During a fight, it’d constantly leak from them, and every attack and defense would have just a bit of spiritual energy mixed in. They had assumed that his resilience and fighting spirit had been the result of a large quantity of spiritual energy and a powerful dantian.
They weren’t wrong that he possessed both of these in spades, but they had assumed he had been using them from the beginning. Thus, as his energy began to grow explosively, putting far more power into his palm than anyone could predict, Elder Xaoi could only balk in wide-eyed wonder.
Their attacks met and an eruption exploded out. This wasn’t noticed outside, but the smallest of cracks had formed on the pagoda. The administrator flew into a panic, quickly putting up shields and dispersing energy as the two attacks met. Bao bi’s palm was like an anvil, and Elder Xaoi’s attack was like a hammer. It was anyone’s guess which would break first.
However, after a few uncertain seconds, it became clear that Bao bi had an abundance of spiritual energy that Elder Xaoi couldn’t match. He looked on, a small smile forming on his lips as Bao bi’s palm moved forward. Elder Xaoi’s arm shattered, and he was thrown back, slamming into the ground twenty feet away. Bao bi wasn’t completely unharmed by such a brutal hit though. He was also tossed back, flying into a spin and landing hard on his stomach.
After a few moments and a groan, he made his way to his feet, but Elder Xaoi was in a state where he was no longer able to win. Coughing painfully, Bao bi stumbled his way up to Elder Xaoi. However, he felt no desire to finish him off. By the look on Elder Xaoi’s face, it was clear he had accepted defeat as well.
“I gave it my all, and still I was bested.” Elder Xaoi wasn’t able to hide just a bit of bitterness.
It was true that he had been planning for this, but just because someone planned for their defeat, didn’t mean they couldn’t feel complicated about it finally coming to pass. The young would truly outdistance the old. He was thinking something like that.
Bao bi gave a nod. “It was a good fight.”
He didn’t know what else to say in the situation. This was supposedly a distant ancestor of his, but the man was now sitting as a broken pile of his former self. Bao bi had beat him to a bloody pulp. Was this really okay? Wouldn’t he suffer some consequences from this? It seemed like this world followed the belief of karma, so if that was the case, wasn’t beating up your elders a karmic no-no?
“Bao bi.” The man nodded. “You will do well in the Xaoi sect.”
“Yes.” Bao bi responded, still not sure how he felt about it. “In that case, I’ll be going.”
“Farewell, Bao bi. Progress well, and use what I’ve taught you wisely.”
Bao bi frowned, not sure what this old man thought he taught him, but he still lifted his hand and waved. A moment later, he disappeared, being sent out of the pagoda. A moment later, the administrator appeared next to the beat elder.
“He is really something.” The elder nodded a slight tear in his eyes.
“Yes.” The administrator agreed, but then glanced at the other man uncertainly. “Um… didn’t you have some kind of inheritance to teach him? Wasn’t there some gift?”
The elder glanced over at the administrator. At first, his expression was questioning, but then it slowly turned to horror.
“Agggh… that’s right! I needed to teach him the first book of the Xaoi Heavenly Canon! I also had several powerful techniques to leave him!” The man cried out. “Bring him back! Bring him back!”
“I can’t! He already left!” The administrator cried out in a dumbfounded voice.
“Already left? What are you saying?”
“Unless he comes back in of his own volition, I have no way to contact him.”
“Y-you useless formation! Send a message to the elders or something.”
“Th-they don’t usually contact me. Maybe once a decade I’ll be able to pass on a message.” The administrator admitted, touching his fingers together nervously.
He tended to inflate his position. Although he often spoke of honor and working for the sect, he was mostly a ghost to those cultivators who made up the sect. They only interacted with him when they did routine maintenance on the pagoda, and then they mostly treated him like a mindless diagnosis machine. Most of what he learned came from the chatter he overheard while they were passing by. The administrator was truly a nobody!
“Gaaaah! All of my legacies, all of my abilities… all of it will be lost!” He began to tantrum, seeming completely unlike the cool and collected elder he had portrayed himself as.
He was just a shadow of his former self, so it could be expected that this version of him wouldn’t be everything the original man was. This version turned out to be forgetful and just a tad childish.
“Elder, get a hold of yourself!” The administrator tried to soothe the rampaging elder.
He finally got a hold of himself and gave a long sigh. “It is fine. He seems to have done well for himself so far. I guess he’ll just have to find his lucky chances in the future. It is a shame though, no one will know his talent. I just hope this doesn’t hold him back from reaching his true potential.”
They weren’t wrong. Although, they didn’t need to worry about his potential at all. Part of the reason Midnight had created such a test for him was exactly to push him to his limits and determine what were the weaknesses in his education. She had been watching his entire fight from her place in the palace above the planet. As soon as she heard of the Xaoi Heavenly Canon, she had already helped herself to a copy and looked through all the methods and techniques.
The Xaoi Heavenly Canon was not a bad skill set. It truly did come from the heavens, although it was a technique suited for a low to the mid-tier heavenly realm at best. Still, on such a lowly planet as that, it was sufficient to build up the entirety of the Xaoi sect. As for the Xaoi Heavenly Fist, it was merely a bastardized version of the more powerful form, suited for the lowest of the low. Such things made a lot more sense to Midnight now that she saw them.
Having now assessed Bao bi, she could easily see that his largest weakness was a lack of proper skills. She didn’t blame Tigra though for failing to develop these. She had focused on the foundation as she should have. Midnight pulled out various parchments she had collected from the Midnight Palace library and then began to go through them, working on creating new techniques that suited Bao bi and made advantage of the foundation Tigra had started.
“Take control of Liao An while I’m working on this.” She declared and left without any other indication.
“Ahh!” Tigra barely managed to snatch control of Liao An before she face-planted on the floor.
She could only sigh helplessly at Midnight’s lacking attentiveness. However, she also knew that when it came to techniques, there was no one better than Midnight. Bao bi didn’t need the legacies or inheritances of anyone. He already had the support of the highest-order legacy all along. When he had finally mastered these techniques, he might even be able to jump two realms in fighting!