Only three people realized that Yang Ying had drunk something. Liao An tensed slightly. Even though she had expected things to end this way, she still worried about her disciple. The elder who was refereeing the fight was on the edge of his seat. He had never expected taking out a single disciple in the youngest group would be as troublesome as it had ended up for him. The last person to notice was Bao bi himself. On the stage, he was in a unique position where he could see the other boy’s sleight of hand better than most.
That said, Bao bi had no clue what he was drinking. His mind immediately went to spiritual medicine. From what he understood, spiritual medicine was allowed during this competition. Bao bi had personally been fed some after ending up bloody from that pressure platform. If he was allowed to recover, then anyone should be allowed to recover. Admittedly, this was in the middle of a match, but the announcer had been clear that you could win by any means necessary.
It was only a few moments after Yang Ying hid the bottle and returned to a fighting pose that the potion started to affect him. He let out a cry, and that turned into a growl. The other children watching thought that he was throwing a tantrum, but Bao bi was instantly on guard. This was because there seemed to be some kind of odd fluctuations of spiritual energy. Something was happening to the boy and it wasn’t normal.
Dian Ai also opened an eye, as she felt a spiritual disturbance as well. However, she didn’t have the same control of spiritual energy as Bao bi, so while she could feel it, she understood even less about what it meant. Since it wasn’t her fight, she quickly resumed her meditation.
As for Yang Ying, his entire body felt like it was on fire. Every cell was burning at once, and it was a pain like he had never felt before. He would have been panicked, except that this was a pill given to him by the Xaoi sect. They wouldn’t be maliciously targeting Yang Ying, right? He was one of their most outstanding disciples. Why would they hurt him in such a way? It never even occurred to him that they were trying to get him to hurt Bao bi in a similar method. After all, at the end of everything, they were just children.
The burning situation felt like an inferno that needed to be released. If Yang Ying wasn’t able to expel that energy, he would explode. As for the means of dispelling that energy, it fell on Bao bi naturally. He lunged forward, his movements amplified by several times using the spiritual energy. This time, he moved far faster than Bao bi. His hand struck out, aiming to stop Bao bi’s heart. Bao bi just managed to bring up his hands and block the attack, but he was thrown back several feet.
“Die!” Yang Ying shouted, foam at his lips.
He attacked again, but Bao bi was already moving to avoid it and managed to avoid him this time. Although Yang Ying was faster and stronger, he wasn’t used to that speed and strength. As soon as he moved, he had to carry out his movements to the end. This gave Bao bi the time to make preemptive movements and avoid him. He wasn’t just trying to keep his distance though. Bao bi was looking at the other boy, or more specifically his rampant spiritual energy.
To Bao bi, it looked like a spiritual magnet existed within Yang Ying, the spiritual energy in him was being drawn into his body, even though his body had no way to process it. Typically, spiritual energy moved into a spiritual void. It liked to fill negative space. Bao bi had come to understand it a bit like air. When tier was a vacuum, air would flood in to fill that vacuum naturally. As you trained, you opened up more space and thus more spiritual energy entered your body. It wasn’t under the fourth realm, the mortal condensation realm, that someone was able to condense that energy.
This was ultimately how the immortal body was built. In the first realm, the body was purified. All impurities were expelled until someone had a perfect mortal body. This was why it was called Mortal Purification. In the second realm, Mortal Origin, the dantian was created and connected to the veins, allowing profound energy to be circulated through the body. Mortal Maturation involved opening up the qi gates and increasing the flow rate and quantity of spiritual energy. It was only after all of those steps one could think of Mortal Condensation. Yet, Ying Yang, who was still in the first realm, was having spiritual energy pulled into his body.
He only had a primordial dantian at best, and it was being engorged with profound power forcefully. At that rate, his spiritual veins and dantian could be damaged. This could cause permanent damage to his cultivation. No, at this rate, it could even be a danger to his life!
The time it took Bao bi to come to this conclusion was only a few seconds. Yang Ying had recovered from his last attack and was already beginning another one. He seemed to be transferring his rage and anger into increasing brutal and destructive attacks. Had Bao bi been one of the other children, he might have panicked or been overwhelmed by the brutality Yang Ying was showing. What the elder who gave Yang Ying the pill couldn’t possibly have known was that he had the disposition of an adult, and he had already analyzed the situation on his own.
“If I try to forcefully suppress him, he could end up dying.” Bao bi spoke to himself.
He may have felt that the other boy deserved a lesson for his ruthless behavior, but at the end of the day, Yang Ying was still just a child. Bao bi wasn’t the kind of man who would allow a child to be hurt if he could help it. He was sure that if it was Jiang Bo or even Liao An, they would put down Yang Ying brutally, but Bao bi had his principles.
The real problem came with Yang Ying’s speed and strength. Bao bi was only just able to keep away from him. He could barely factor any time to think, let alone create a plan to disarm his opponent. Furthermore, as the fight continued, more people seemed to be getting a sense that something was wrong. The elder was extremely agitated. He had expected Bao bi to quickly get overwhelmed. What boy wouldn’t have such confidence after winning earlier? Why did he suddenly start avoiding Yang Ying’s attacks? If this match continued any longer, then some of the others might start to notice Yang Ying’s wildly fluctuating spiritual energy and start to ask questions or intervene. He’d lose his chance to end Bao bi, and possibly even get caught and lose honor for the Xaoi sect too.
The elder realized that he was going to have to step in. There was a technique that he knew. He had never used the technique before, but he was desperate in this situation. The technique allowed him to temporarily take over the body of something else. It was intended to take over the mind of animals, but the rampant spiritual energy surging through Yang Ying had already caused him to lose the majority of his faculties anyway. This was why Bao bi hadn’t been defeated already. He was able to act strategically while Yang Ying was attacking violently like a wild animal.
If Yang Ying could control his body, even for a second, he could put all of the boy’s strength into a killing blow. If it was a strike that killed them both, then it was even more worth it. He waited for the opportune time, and while that was going on, Bao bi’s mind was also fast at work. He finally came up with a means of disabling Yang Ying. The only problem was that it could potentially cause Bao bi to lose the match. He wouldn’t just lose the match, but he’d likely pass out. At that point, he’d be unable to continue.
Bao bi already had enough victories to be accepted into the Xaoi clan, but that goal was a means to an end. He wanted to use his status to protect and recover his mother. If he managed to win the competition, or even take the place of an inner disciple, he’d have enough status to find and free his mother from whoever chose to be his enemy. He might even have the ability to get revenge on them, although Bao bi wasn’t interested in such a thing. Yet, if he saved Yang Ying, it’d cost him the match, all to protect a boy who had already proven to be unbearable.
“Kill him!” The elder sent a message that only Yang Ying could hear, edging him to make a final brutal attack.
The elder also carefully inserted some bloodlust into that message, causing Yang Ying to lose even more of his reason and attack without any reservation. Yang Ying’s body exploded out with profound energy, exuding power that only a second realm could manage. He combined his explosive strength with his best technique, a sure-kill technique. Neither the elder nor Yang Ying would hold back a single bit. Originally, they just needed him to fail, and even after he already reached a stage of passing, he could technically still survive with crippled cultivation, yet this attack wasn’t aimed to cripple him, but to take his life.
Bao bi could feel the attack coming, and he had a couple of ways to evade it. Liao An had been expecting him to evade it, so when he suddenly chose to take it head-on, it was the first time she became alarmed. Their two bodies met, and there was an eruption of power as Yang Ying’s fist met Bao bi’s palm. Their spiritual energy collided too. Bao bi released all of the energy from all of his cells at once, desperately countering the collected energy that had swollen within Yang Ying only to be released like a bomb.
Both energies were wildly different. Yang Ying’s energy was volatile and out of control, and it was entirely focused on Bao bi. It was sharpened like a knife and intended to pierce through Bao bi’s defenses to take his life. Bao bi’s energy was calm and controlled, but it wasn’t a pure defensive shield-like one would expect. There was a bend to it, a give that allowed the aggressive energy being erupted from Yang Ying a place to inject itself into Bao bi.
On the surface, this looked like Yang Ying was overtaking bao bi, and Jiang Bo, his sister, and everyone else watching waited with held breaths as the moment passed. The result seemed inevitable. Bao bi would fail and be brutally hurt if not killed. Only Liao An could see through what was happening, and it spoke to how advanced Bao bi’s spiritual control was that only she could see what he was doing.
He was trying to excise the energy from Yang Ying like a demon, absorbing the force and then expelling it away, leaving the other man unharmed. It went against everything Liao An had taught Bao bi, but it still wasn’t enough to move her to action. She had to let her disciple make mistakes, after all. Bao bi would learn when Yang Ying still wanted him dead that there was no such thing as kindness in this world. One simply could not go easy on their opponent, or even try to protect them. Yang Ying would likely hate Bao bi forever, and only become an even worse threat later on as he sought vengeance.
Liao An knew this, but she still planned to let it happen. However, that was before the elder decided to step in as well. In that moment of collision, the elder found a chance. Even though Yang Ying was going to win, the elder had been driven made with his intent and didn’t want to leave things up to chance. Thus, he went along with his plan, intending to use Yang Ying as a puppet and finish Bao bi off for good. Liao An wasn’t the one who moved though. In her current body, she still felt confident in being able to take our an elder, but she couldn’t do it secretly or quickly enough. Rather, her true body, Tigra, who was an astronomical distance away, was still face enough to intervene. That was merely the level difference between the two of them.
If someone had been looking at Liao An at that moment, her eyes would have suddenly dulled and her body became limp. Far above them in a powerful artifact the size of a floating castle, Tigra’s eyes flashed open. The elder had sent out his spiritual force. He had already committed to creating a suicide event for both students. Yet, just as his essence reached Yang Ying, he felt a sudden pressure on him. It was an ancient pressure. It felt greater than time and more ancient than the world, and it had focused on him.
Tigra was likely a hundred times older than the so-called elder, but if she had known her pressure was described by him as ancient, then she likely would have wiped him from existence at that moment. It truly was a scene that had lasted only a moment. Not even a blink of an eye had passed, yet the elder had completely abandoned his attempt to kill Bao bi.
At that moment. he felt Tigra’s pressure, he felt the hand of something far beyond his comprehension. He felt the emotion of displeasure, and he knew that he was causing that displeasure. He had been judged by heaven and he had been found wanting. However slight that moment was, it was enough that the elder broke. His ambition for cultivation crumbled in an instant. When there were things out there so powerful and so capable, what was the point of him even trying anymore? He was already getting up there in years. His cultivation had slowed long ago. He’d never reach the apex of even his local chapter of the clan, let alone become someone of notable repute.
As for his fear of the higher-ups, what fear? How could a mouse fear a cat after encountering a lion? The elder had already experienced a fear beyond anything. It was a fear that went beyond life and death. It was the kind of fear that told him even if he died, his soul could be pulled from the afterlife and further tortured if a being like that desired it. He wasn’t completely wrong. A moment later, Bao bi received all of Yang Ying’s attack, unperturbed by the elder. The jolt to his system was extreme, and he was sent spinning.
“Bao bi!” Jiang Ying Yue couldn’t hold back her worry and let out a cry.
Bao bi’s rotations looked worrying, but they were done on purpose as a means of excising the excess energy. As he spun, he also sent a vortex of profound energy up into the air. If the explosion of profound energy hadn’t gotten anyone’s attention before, this did. The fight had just ended on the eldest group’s platform, and the celebratory clapping was suddenly interrupted by a burst of energy that shouldn’t have been possible from the youngest group. After all, profound energy needed the second realm, and only Dian Ai was in the second realm. On top of that, this amount of energy was something more likely to be seen at the end of the second realm, not the start.
Bao bi completed his spin, landing outside of the platform. He stumbled before falling over. He very nearly passed out as well, but he managed to just keep from losing his power. He believed he had expelled all of the energy coming from Yang Ying. However, Yang Ying still had the medicine in him, and no sooner had the energy been expelled safely than more energy started to swell.
However, things were different this time. A man suddenly appeared from nowhere. He wore long grey robes and had a thick beard. He kneeled and put his hand on Yang Ying. As soon as he did so, Yang Ying passed out. Bao bi was able to tell that the man was absorbing Yang Ying’s profound energy and dispelling it. He was doing the same thing Bao bi had done, but where the force slammed into Bao bi and just containing it had taken everything he had, the elder was able to dispel it all without a blink.
More of the spectators began to realize something was happening on the 1st platform, and there was some muttering. The winner of the first platform appeared to be Xie Mingyu, but this had been expected. He was in the Mortal Maturation realm at only sixteen and was the top MVP of the entire event. He also had a high chance to make the inner disciple position, which was very rare for an initiate.
“What has happened here?” The old man in the center immediately turned to the elder residing over it.
He was still recovering from the sudden feeling that crushed his spirit. He quickly shook his head.
“I-I’m sorry, my attention slipped.”
“This boy appears to have ingested a Profound Absorbance Strength potion. Do you have any clue where he could have come by such a thing?” The man continued.
Although the elder had been the one to give it to him, the boy himself was unconscious and couldn’t defend himself. The elder would never admit it out loud to someone as high-ranking as the man before him. He quickly shook his head in denial.
The man picked up Ying Yang and then snorted. “You will spend a week aiding Master Wen in beast training. I suggest you spend that time reflecting on your failures.”
The elder turned white, but he nodded. “Yes, Master Li.”
The fate given to him was one no one would wish upon their worse enemy, but it still could be considered light considering his failure.
Master Li gave a single nod and then looked in Bao bi’s direction. “Are you in need of aid?”
At that point, Jiang Bo and Jiang Ying Yue had both come to Bao bi, and they helped him stand up. As he got to his feet, he gave the other man a look. Master Li seemed to have a stern disposition, but his eyes were kind.
“I exhausted my profound energy, but I’m unharmed.” Bao bi declared.
His words caused waves of a surprise to move through the group around him. He had just admitted he had profound energy.
“Another 2nd realm disciple in the youngest group. This is truly a good year for the Xaoi sect. You may take your rest for the remainder of the matches. You’ll be given a special exception to participate in the inner disciple match. It will be a good experience for an up-and-comer.”
“Thank you, sir!” Bao bi nodded, but his friends had already let him go.
They were as shocked as everyone else now. Bao bi was in the second realm. It had been confirmed by one of the higher-ups of the Xaoi sect. Dian Ai, who had been ignoring just about everything that happened in their fight, had even spared him another look. Suffice it to say that those intending to keep him from entering the sect could no longer make their move.