Zeng A’niu was awe-inspiring, radiating with sword Qi. The seven cultivators fled from him wherever he passed by. No one could stop his edge. They all channelled the Divine Talisman of Great Creation and conjured various powerful figures and vicious beasts to stop him, but they were all cut down in a single stroke, thrown into utter disorder.
These guys sure are surprisingly weak!
Li Qingshan could clearly sense that whether it was the swordsmanship or the battle style of the conjured Zeng A’niu, they all resembled his, which allowed him to understand something new.
Words were limitless. He could write a character as powerful and as clever as he wanted to, but when he truly conjured the character, they were limited by two aspects. One was the amount of power of belief, while the other was the author himself.
No matter how wonderful and extraordinary a person’s imagination was, it could not surpass the limits of what they knew. If a novelist did not even have an inkling about swordsmanship, then even if they wrote a supreme swordsman, the character would only be an idiot with the sword if they were conjured. No matter how realistic the characters seemed, they were not living creatures after all, just projections of the novelist’s imagination.
Like how even an omnipotent god could not create a rock he could not lift, novelists were unable to write characters that surpassed their imaginations. They might have been life-like in the novels, but their true colours would show once they conjured them through the Divine Talisman of Great Creation.
This was exactly the problem that the seven cultivators faced. They lacked battle experience, so while the characters they conjured possessed a cultivation at Foundation Establishment, their battle prowess was a mess. As a result, despite also using the Divine Talisman of Great Creation, the Zeng A’niu that Li Qingshan conjured was able to gain the upper hand while facing seven other people.
Li Qingshan refused to waste any time. He flew into the air, turned around, and leapt down. The remaining seven people did not even know the most basic coordination, let alone proper teamwork. They were scattered apart by Zeng A’niu. In Li Qingshan’s eyes, they were basically riddled with openings, almost no different from facing against them one by one. He threw three punches and two kicks. With that, another two people fainted and were out of the battle.
“Five!” Li Qingshan extended his open hand, about to finish off the remaining two people as well in a single stroke.
“Stop, no more! You win, okay?” The two remaining actually forfeited and admitted defeat. Within the hubbub, they directly left the stage.
Li Qingshan waved his hand, and Zeng A’Niu dispersed like mist. Because he had never been killed, he did not use up much power of belief.
“Victory to Li Qingshan of the Clear River prefecture for the exhibition match between the schools of Novels!”
“We did it!” Liu Chuanfeng waved his fist fiercely. Just like that, the Cloudwisp association would be able to spread across the entire Ruyi commandery. Sun Fubai stroked his beard and smiled.
The surroundings erupted with a roar of admiration. Although Wang Luocheng and the seven others appeared rather disheveled under Li Qingshan’s attacks, they were still eight Foundation Establishment cultivators after all! They were not eight newbies. Li Qingshan had managed to defeat them without using any arcane artifacts or techniques, and he had achieved victory so easily. It was unbelievable.
Gu Yanying said to Si Qing, “Looks like he hasn’t achieved his objective! Did you expect this result?”
“That’s because his opponents are far too weak. Although they’re all Foundation Establishment cultivators, he’s on an entirely different level. Even if you double the number of opponents he’s facing, the results won’t change. Even if a tiger has its teeth and claws removed, it's still not something a herd of sheep can defeat. He truly is a genius worth treasuring!”
Si Qing actually admired Li Qingshan from the bottom of his heart.
Gu Yanying furrowed her brows slightly before easing up. As it seemed, Si Qing had made up his mind about finishing him off. If he were not Northmoon, this truly would be quite troublesome. Who would emerge victoriously in the end from this fierce struggle?
She did not have high hopes for Si Qing, but she did not feel that Li Qingshan could deal with Si Qing. At their realm of cultivation, determining victory or defeat was easy, but determining life or death was difficult. The present situation would probably last for a very long time, until Northmoon showed an opening and was killed off, or he possessed the strength where he no longer had to fear the Great Xia empire’s revenge.
On the side of the stage, Wang Luocheng woke up under the treatment of the school of Medicine, sitting on the side and regulating his condition. He raised his head, only to see Liu Chuanfeng striding over slowly. He pointed at them and swaggered around on his high horse.
“Hmph, you group of despicable people might be crafty and treacherous, but under this school leader’s power and influence, you’ve still ended up yielding in submission! You really have been asking for this! From today onwards, I am the leader of the Greater Cloudwisp association. Do any of you have any objections?”
Li Qingshan might have won, but he felt slightly embarrassed right now for some reason. Like everything else, he had to maintain a bottom line and not go too far. If you strut around before them like this, wouldn’t everything fall apart if you piss them off and they refuse to cooperate with you anymore?
But to his surprise, Wang Luocheng immediately stood up and flattered him with a smile. “Yes, yes, yes. We tried to stop the unstoppable, and we completely overestimated ourselves. These puny tricks are obviously ineffective against junior brother Li, as well as senior brother Liu. When you take control of the Cloudwisp association in the future, please take good care of us, senior brother Liu!”
The other defeated school leaders gathered over too and congratulated their association leader Liu Chuanfeng.
Li Qingshan was taken aback. These guys who wrote novels truly were absolutely spineless. Little did he know that it was primarily due to his efforts. Even now, Wang Luocheng was still shaken up from the clash earlier, so where would he find the courage to stand up against him? He was the kind of person who would never be convinced until he fought, and he would be absolutely convinced after he fought.
Time passed by quickly. The exhibition matches passed by one after another. The mechanisms of the schools of Mohism, the buddhist dharma of the schools of Buddhism, the divination of the schools of Yin-yang, and so on all broaden everyone’s horizons, allowing the sect cultivators to witness the heritage and strength of the Academy of the Hundred Schools.
A month passed in the blink of an eye. The last match was an exhibition battle between the schools of the Military. Although they all used their full strength, it seemed more like a battle of goodwill than a battle to death. In the end, the disciples led by Han Tieyi emerged victorious, which also brought the Exhibition Matches of the Nine Prefectures to a satisfactory end.
All they were waiting for now was Si Qing’s final speech, and this grand gathering of the cultivation community of the Ruyi commandery would come to an end. Under everyone’s gaze, Si Qing stood up on the Soaring Clouds terrace again and said loudly, “The exhibition matches this time have allowed me to witness the specialities of the various schools and prefectures…”
After giving routine praise to the cultivators of each prefecture, he explained the great significance of the Exhibition Matches of the Nine Prefectures this time. Li Qingshan was bored out of his mind from the speech, but Han Qiongzhi was reluctant for this to end, almost wishing for the exhibition matches to continue like this forever. She gazed at the Soaring Dragon terrace.
“Northmoon doesn’t seem to be there!” Meanwhile, she studied Li Qingshan’s expression. During this time, Li Qingshan told her about many of his secrets and his matters of the past, which did indeed make her think of many things.
“He has probably left!”
Li Qingshan said. Where was he supposed to find all that time to waste on Si Qing? He had made his clone bid farewell and leave a long time ago so that he could continue refining bodies of water. If it were not for the sake of getting his original body out of trouble, he would not have appeared at all.
However, before he bid farewell, Si Qing came up with a strange request. He wanted him to send over some daemons and night roamers to take part in the Exhibition Matches of the Nine Prefectures. He said it was for the sake of increasing communication and pacifying their relationship, and he promised many benefits on top of that.
Li Qingshan did not know what wicked scheme Si Qing was thinking of, but under the principle of disagreeing with his opponent over everything, he did not agree to it in the end. He could obtain all these benefits from Gu Yanying anyway, and he still had to worry about being screwed over, so there was truly no point for him to waste any more words on Si Qing.
However, Li Qingshan could vaguely sense that the Exhibition Matches of the Nine Prefectures this time would not end so easily.
Sure enough, as Si Qing spoke, he suddenly changed the topic. “The only pity is that our fellow cultivators from the sects could only serve as spectators and could not participate. Even for the cultivators from the various schools, most of you could not participate, which took away a lot of the glamour. As a result, I’d like to add another event after the traditional exhibition matches. All cultivators can participate and benefit from it!”
Si Qing spread his arms and announced in high spirits with his jackal-like voice. He was slightly excited. Li Qingshan could sense that his expression right now was very different compared to when he rambled earlier. It definitely was not an act. His heart sank slightly. Here it is!
The cultivators below the terrace all discussed. “More competitions? And everyone is supposed to participate?” “There are so many people, so how will it work out? If it’s one against one, who knows when we’ll be done!” “Who cares? As long as there are benefits up for grabs!”
Everyone looked at one another, including the Golden Core cultivators on the Soaring Dragon terrace. They had no idea what Si Qing was thinking. They all waited for Si Qing to announce how the last competition would be carried out while thinking of various different things.
After exchanging glances with E Dan and Jia Zheng behind him, Si Qing took out the Dragon Arena and tossed it onto the stage below. First, he roughly introduced the general situation with regard to the Dragon Arena before announcing the rules of the final competition.
All cultivators who were willing to participate could collect a specially-made medal. They differed depending on their respective cultivations, and the medals were split into various levels. Each metal represented a cultivator’s achievements in battle. What the cultivators needed to do was try their best and steal the medals in the hands of others
The competition would last for a total of ten days. After the ten days, the Dragon Arena would open up again, and the cultivators would be able to use the medals in their possessions to exchange for resources like spiritual stones and so on.
It was a battle royale between tens of thousands of people!
Li Qingshan understood what Si Qing was thinking now. As it turned out, this was his objective for Northmoon to send people over. What was he trying to do? Was it merely to fulfil his twisted hobbies? It probably was not as simple as that!
And, would the cultivators of the various sects and schools truly do as he wished and take part in this battle royale?
Immediately, a Golden Core cultivator objected, “Your highness, a competition like this might be inappropriate compared to the peaceful exchanges that have always been proposed by the Exhibition Matches of the Nine Prefectures!” Even a Golden Core cultivator from the Academy of the Hundred Schools disapproved of this. “We’re proper cultivators, yet we have to fight one another like gu insects in a jar? This is outrageous!”
The other cultivators all kept their opinions to themselves. Gu Yanying exchanged glances with Si Bao, vaguely guessing what Si Qing was trying to do—he wanted to refine the Dragon Arena into an Asura Field!
Asura Fields were similar to Gates of Hundred Ghosts. They were a secret treasure connected to the Asura realm of the six realms of saṃsāra. To open a Gate of Hundred Ghosts, it required a place piled up with corpses like Burial Mound mountain, followed by the careful arrangement of formations.
To refine an Asura Field, it required establishing a great battlefield, where powerful cultivators could fight against one another mindlessly. The violent killing intent and battle intent conformed with the Asura realm, and an Asura Field would descend.
When the founding emperor conquered the nine provinces, he had created a few Asura Fields of various sizes in the process. The first Dragon Arenas were replicas of Asura Fields.