Now that the first round was over, a rest period began that would last for three incense sticks worth of time. As everyone sat there, the north bank disciples bristled, glaring angrily… at Bai Xiaochun!
The contestants were all itching to begin the second round, in which they would do anything possible to take Bai Xiaochun out. By now, none of them cared whether or not the north bank won in the end; they merely wanted to shed his blood to wash away their humiliation!
“Bai Xiaochun, in the second round, I’m going to make you pay a horrifying price for humiliating the north bank!”
“He should be given to an entire pack of beasts to ease our hatred. This second round will be the most painful experience of his life!”
“Take Bai Xiaochun down! Take this shameless bastard down!”
The north bank cared about nothing but taking out Bai Xiaochun, and that responsibility was given to the eight people who had made it through the first round. Although Ghostfang simply sat there with his eyes closed, the other seven glared angrily at Bai Xiaochun with clenched fists.
They represented all of the other disciples of the north bank, and were now analyzing what they had learned about him from his previous performance. All of them were coming up with their own ways of dealing with him.
“All Bai Xiaochun has are some medicinal pills. As long as he doesn’t have a chance to use them, he can be dealt with easily!”
“He only won because of those medicinal pills. Without them, exterminating him will be as easy as turning over your hand. He’ll definitely be defeated in the second round. Defeated, and defeated ruthlessly!”
As far as Bai Xiaochun was concerned, the north bank disciples were acting like bullies. He’d won, hadn’t he? As for the brutality of that victory… he wanted to say something in his defense, but was worried that if he said the wrong thing, it would only make things worse. Much worse.
“This is ridiculous!” he thought.
As the north bank stewed in their anger, the south bank disciples didn’t say much either. They simply sat there bristling until Ouyang Jie finally spoke.
“Three incense sticks have burned. The second round of the Chosen battles will now begin, and the top six will be selected!
“Of the eleven of you, one will sit out of the fighting and directly enter the top six. The other ten will draw lots and fight each other in twos to proceed!” Accompanying Ouyang Jie’s words, a beam of light shot out over the arena floor, which transformed into a glowing sphere, roughly three meters in diameter. In turn, the pearls in the hands of Bai Xiaochun and the other remaining contestants were tugged toward it. Upon releasing the pearls, they flew directly toward the glowing sphere.
Once inside, new numbers appeared on their surfaces, from one to ten, with one of the pearls being blank.
The eleven pearls began to rotate inside the sphere, moving faster and faster until they were nothing more than a blur.
“A secret magic is at work here to ensure complete and utter fairness,” explained Ouyang Jie. “Not even I can interfere with the pearls. Rest at ease as you take the marbles back to decide the order of fighting.”
Xu Song glared at Bai Xiaochun and then chuckled coldly. “Bai Xiaochun, you’d better pray that you don’t fight me. I’ll crush you like a twig!”
With that, he waved his hand, causing a pearl to fly out into his hand.
One of the other north bank Chosen gritted his teeth and coldly said, “It doesn’t matter who you face, you’re definitely going to lose painfully in the second round!”
With that, he and everyone else, Bai Xiaochun included, made grasping motions to secure their pearls.
Instantly, ten pearls flew out toward the group of contestants.
“I have number three!”
“I’m number seven!”
“I got number one!” When the north bank disciples got their pearls, they announced the numbers. Soon, the order of fighting was becoming clear. After they announced their numbers, they looked ferociously toward Bai Xiaochun.
Eventually, Ghostfang got his pearl and coolly said, “Number nine!”
The north bank disciples soon found that not a single one of their number had acquired the blank pearl. As of this moment, the only pearls left were numbers four and ten, as well as the blank pearl. The north bank disciples began to look nervously over at the south bank.
“I’m number four!” Shangguan Tianyou announced coolly.
“Number ten!” Zhou Xinqi said, her face somewhat unsightly. As soon as the words left her mouth, she looked over at Ghostfang.
By now, everyone’s fighting spot had been determined, with the exception of Bai Xiaochun. Strange expressions appeared on the faces of the south bank audience, especially the Fragrant Cloud Peak disciples, who had been there to watch Bai Xiaochun fight in the smaller competition. Their eyes went as wide as saucers.
“No way….” they thought incredulously.
Even more incredulous than them were the north bank disciples, who so badly wanted to teach him a lesson. Fists clenched, the entire group stared blankly at Bai Xiaochun.
Bai Xiaochun couldn’t keep from looking a bit proud. The pearl in his hand had no number on it whatsoever. At first, he’d thought that he might have seen incorrectly. However, after closer examination, he confirmed that it was indeed blank. Then he looked around and realized that everyone was staring at him, and suddenly, he realized how lonely life could be sometimes…. Flicking his sleeve, he assumed the manner of a lonely hero, staring up into the clouds. Voice cool, he said, “My apologies. I’ll be sitting this round out. If you want to fight me, you’ll have to work hard to get to the next round.”
His words were met with a moment of silence. A few breaths’ worth of time passed, and then the north bank audience erupted into enraged shouting.
“Impossible! Dammit, he’s sitting the round out!? Why did it have to be him, the shameless Bai Xiaochun. Why?!?!”
“How could he be so lucky!? Out of eleven people, I can’t believe that he gets to sit the round out!! How could someone like him have luck like this!? It’s preposterous!”
“I can’t take this. What an absolute show-off! I HAVE to take him down!!”
The north bank disciples had intended to wash their humiliation clean with violence, but now that Bai Xiaochun was sitting the round out, they very nearly coughed up mouthfuls of blood. It was almost like they had just tried to punch Bai Xiaochun in the face, but ended up striking nothing but air. Frustration fermenting inside of them, Xu Song and the others stared at Bai Xiaochun as if they wished they could rip him to pieces right then and there.
Even the south bank disciples looked on with odd expressions, unsure of what to say. It was already obvious that the north bank disciples wanted to fight Bai Xiaochun more than anything else, so it wasn’t even necessary to ponder how they felt regarding this sudden development.
“That’s nothing!” blurted out a random Fragrant Cloud Peak disciple. “Back in the minor competition, Sect Uncle Bai… sat out for two rounds in a row!” When the people sitting around him heard that, their eyes went wide with disbelief.
“This happened to him before? Sect Uncle Bai’s luck… is unbelievable!”
Bai Xiaochun cleared his throat, and yet again assumed the posture of a lonely hero. Looking over at the north bank side, he slowly shook his head. That, of course, made the north bank even angrier.
However, getting angrier didn’t change the situation at all. They had no option but to stifle their feelings as the second round of the Chosen battles began.
Unfortunately, without Bai Xiaochun fighting, the entire affair was a lot less interesting. Furthermore, the south bank only had two disciples in the mix, which meant that three of the battles would involve disciples from the north bank fighting each other.
The first battle was just such a situation. Gongsun Wan’er fought one of the other north bank disciples, and defeated him effortlessly. The defeated disciple trudged off of the arena floor, looking over his shoulder at the south bank side, mixed emotions playing across his face.
The second battle saw Shangguan Tianyou take the field. Luckily for him, he didn’t face one of the top Chosen, but another random disciple, whom he defeated as easily as blowing some dust off of his shoulder. The south bank audience breathed sighs of relief. At least… they had secured victory in one fight.
Next, the north bank again fought itself in the third and fourth battles. Although the fighting was intense, the fact that the south bank wasn’t involved at all ensured that the disciples that were from there simply looked on silently.
In the final battle, Zhou Xinqi walked out with a serious expression on her face. Although the south bank disciples cheered, they weren’t too optimistic about the outcome of the battle.
After all, Zhou Xinqi’s opponent… was the terrifying Ghostfang, who had almost killed Lu Tianlei with the single wave of a finger.
After stepping out onto the arena floor, Ghostfang curiously asked, “Between you and that lightning guy, who’s stronger?”
Sensing that his intention was not to humiliate her, Zhou Xinqi answered honestly: “Elder Brother Lu is a bit stronger.”
“How about this….” Ghost replied quietly. “I used seventy percent power last time. This time, I’ll only use forty percent. You probably won’t get killed by that.” Those who could hear him looked on with bitter smiles, convinced that Ghostfang was being honest.
Zhou Xinqi took a deep breath and then performed a double-handed incantation gesture. Instantly, countless blue sparks appeared around her, forming numerous blue flying silks. The flying silks then merged together into something that resembled a huge flower, that pulsed with a powerful gravitational force!
“Plant Transformation Incantation!” When the crowd from the south bank saw the Plant Transformation Incantation being used, their eyes glittered. Although it wasn’t quite on the same level as Ghosts Haunt the Night or the Waterswamp Kingdom, it was one of the ten secret magics of the sect.
It was a unique magic that used plants against the enemy, with numerous variations that made it enigmatic and unpredictable. When Li Qinghou used it, he could create a world of plants and vegetation 50 kilometers wide. The final upgraded version of the secret magic had another name… Magic Plant Soldiers!
Using the magic was such a drain on Zhou Xinqi’s energy that her face went pale. She knew that she wasn’t a match for this opponent, but in her world, it wasn’t an option to just concede without trying.
The wave of her hand caused the blue flower to tremble, and then grow larger at a rapid rate, simultaneously shooting toward Ghostfang. It almost looked like the flower was opening wide to consume him.
It was a spectacular sight that instantly attracted the attention of Bai Xiaochun, who found the magical technique particularly interesting. However, it was at this point that Ghostfang looked up calmly and then waved his finger.
This time, he didn’t wave his finger at the sky, but at Zhou Xinqi. The air next to him began to vibrate, and a huge black ghost claw appeared, which quickly clenched into a fist!
The huge fist filled half of the arena floor, and was so big people couldn’t see anything else. It smashed into the blue flower, which trembled and then collapsed into ashes. The ghost claw, however, didn’t stop. It continued on as if nothing had happened, smashing directly into Zhou Xinqi.
A massive boom echoed out, and blood sprayed out of Zhou Xinqi’s mouth as she tumbled backward. She was knocked out of the arena floor, and when she finally ground to a halt, she coughed up eight mouthfuls of blood. Face pale, she looked up with a stubborn gleam in her eyes to see Ghostfang turning and walking away.
Everything was silent except for the gasps that echoed out….