Aura blasted him in the face, filling the entire palace with terrifying light.
That sheer cold seemed to entire his body through the floor and penetrate his very bones. Wave after wave of cold energy slammed into him.
The way Ye Zichen saw it, he could watch even mountains crumble without batting an eye, but now….
What was going on?
A ruler-level great emperor, someone on par with Emperor Hades?
As a mere sixth stage sky supreme?
Without even finishing his dharma body?
This was no different from an adult, one who loved working out and was covered from head to toe in muscle, one could break rocks with his bare fists, bullying a newborn infant who hadn’t even learned to walk yet!
Did he have any shame?
Ye Zichen really wanted to point to Xue Yang and ask that exact question.
Off to the side, Su Yiyun was baffled too. If Ye Zichen went up against a ruler-level expert, he didn’t have even the slightest chance of success.
He subconsciously glanced at his master, Emperor Hades, but it seemed like the emperor was in favor of this.
“There’s no need to be afraid. This emperor won’t bully a small-fry like you. When we fight, I’ll repress my cultivation until its three stages lower than yours. That is to say, I’ll fight as a third-stage sky supreme. Furthermore, I won’t use any divine artifacts, nor will I use any battle arts that exceed the third-stage sky supreme level. So long as you can defeat me, you can take the Xuan-Yuan Sword with you.”
Xue Yang’s tone was flat, but even after all those concessions, there was no guarantee Ye Zichen had any hope of victory.
Even if Xue Yang suppressed his cultivation, he had a ruler’s instincts, and battle instincts honed through millions of battles. That was more than enough to defeat Ye Zichen.
“Master,” Su Yiyun tried to argue with his master.
“Xue Yang and I discussed and decided upon this together.” Emperor Hades glanced at Ye Zichen, his eyes glinting dangerously. “The Xuan-Yuan Sword is no ordinary divine artifact, especially now that it’s unsealed. More and more people will now discover it. If Ye Zichen can’t even overcome Xue Yang when he’s suppressing his level, what will happen he encounters unrestricted diviners and rulers? There’s only one possible result: death! If he’ll die anyway, he might as well just leave the Xuan-Yuan Sword here.”
“No ‘buts.’” Emperor Hades coldly interrupted Su Yiyun. “If he wants to take the Xuan-Yuan Sword with him, he must overcome this trial.”
“Emperor Hades, don’t take this too far. I am the spirit of the Xuan-Yuan Sword, and I’ll follow whoever I like. It’s not up for you to decide if I stay or go.” Even Xuan-Yuan Xiang got involved.
As the others argued, Ye Zichen and Xue Yang stared at each other. They didn’t look at Emperor Hades, but they could still hear his words.
Although Emperor Hades sounded a little heartless, Ye Zichen knew he was telling the truth. Xue Yang was suppressing his cultivation boundary, but on the outside, those who wanted to steal the Xuan-Yuan Sword wouldn’t be so friendly as to grant Ye Zichen a fair fight.
If he wanted to take the Xuan-Yuan Sword with him, he had to get through Xue Yang.
He was still just a sky supreme, and his combat experience wasn’t particularly plentiful. His hope of besting Xue Yang was minuscule…
But he couldn’t back down.
“Alright, I agree.”
Xuan-Yuan Xiang was still arguing with Emperor Hades, but she stopped to glare at Ye Zichen, then pressed her hands to his forehead. “You don’t even have a fever, so why are you spouting such nonsense?”
Ye Zichen took her by the hand and smiled. “It’s not nonsense. I meant it. Emperor Hades is right; this is a trial I must overcome. I agree to fight; where do you want to do it?”
When he saw Ye Zichen take Xuan-Yuan by the hand, Emperor Hades knit his brows, but he nevertheless replied, “right here.”
The palace suddenly underwent an earthshattering transformation.
The glorious building disappeared entirely, replaced by a nigh-endless plain with dense underbrush.
Clouds floated through the blue sky, and clear winds brushed past their cheeks.
Xue Yang approached until he was around ten meters from Ye Zichen.
“I have already repressed my cultivation boundary to the third-stage sky supreme level. Out of consideration for the qualitative gap in our strength, you don’t actually have to defeat me. So long as you can endure one hundred of my attacks without falling, you pass.”
Xuan-Yuan Xiang narrowed her eyes and approached, then curled her lips at Xue Yang. “You think you’re all that?”
With that, she dove into the Xuan-Yuan Sword. “Teach him a lesson! Just looking at that geezer irritates me,” Xuan-Yang Xiang transmitted into Ye Zichen’s sea of consciousness.
“Are you ready?” As soon as Xuan-Yuan Xiang entered the blade, Xue Yang asked.
Ye Zichen nodded forcefully, then hefted his sword.
In the blink of an eye, Xue Yang disappeared from his line of sight. When he reappeared, his leg was swinging right towards Ye Zichen.
Ye Zichen held his sword to his chest to defend himself, but vast powerful coursed through the sword and into his body.
Ye Zichen flew through the air and thudded to the ground hundreds of meters away.
“Take this seriously. If I were anyone else, you’d already be dead.” After sending Ye Zichen flying, Xue Yang didn’t chase after him. Instead, he stood in place and chastised him.
Ye Zichen wiped the blood from his lips and crawled to his feet. His eyes flashed…
This time, he wouldn’t defend anymore. He chose to attack instead!
Xue Yang lived up to his reputation as a Great Emperor. Despite his temporarily lowered cultivation and complete lack of a weapon, he broke through Ye Zichen’s attack with ease.
He casually plucked a handful of leaves, then sliced at Ye Zichen.
Even though Ye Zichen readied his defenses, the waves of divine power transmitted through the leaves broke past them in thirty rapid-fire attacks. They passed through the Xuan-Yuan Sword and slammed into his body.
“Cough!” Ye Zichen felt a sudden sweetness at the back of his throat before coughing up a mouthful of blood.
Ye Zichen wiped his mouth and staggered.
This was just thirty attacks, but he was already reaching his limit. A hundred hits? Impossible?
“Don’t give him the chance to attack. The gap between your true powers is too huge, and his comprehension of the dao is far deeper than yours. Even if he’s a third stage sky supreme now too, given his comprehension alone, even a diviner would fall before him, never mind another sky supreme,” Xuan-Yang Xiang transmitted to him once more.
“I know.” Ye Zichen nodded gravely. He naturally knew all that, but Xue Yang’s defenses were too strong. Even though it looked like Xue Yang was just standing there casually, there were no visible gaps in his defenses at all.
He was like an iron wall; not even wind could slip past him. Ye Zichen’s offenses were nowhere near strong enough to stop Xue Yang’s onslaught of attacks.
“If that’s all you’ve got, you’d best leave the Xuan-Yuan Sword in Emperor Hades’ palace.” Xue Yang looked down at him disdainfully.
Ye Zichen narrowed his eyes, licked his lips, and said, “Wishful thinking!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter