“Hmph.” Beihan Mingzhi showed Wei Canglang none of the appropriate respect he should receive as an opponent. He even narrowed his eyes and let out a snort… Since he wasn’t trying to hide it, it was clear for everyone to hear.
Wei Canglang frowned deeply, but he didn’t say anything. He let loose his profound energy and transformed the surrounding darkness into thousands of black blades.
Everyone who partic.i.p.ated in the Central Ruins Battle was famous, and Wei Canglang was no exception. The Devil Blade Art he cultivated was extremely brutal in the sense that an inch-long blade could turn an entire mountain into black dust.
Beihan Mingzhi didn’t move a muscle, however. He hadn’t even a.s.sumed a battle stance yet. The only thing moving around his body was a spinning cyclone of darkness.
Staring at Wei Canglang through narrowed eyes, the man suddenly sneered and spoke softly so that only his opponent could hear him, “Weren’t you watching earlier, Wei Canglang? The Southern Phoenix Royal Family is foolishly walking to their own deaths, and the day my crown prince rises is the day the Southern Phoenix dies. You are a reputable warrior, so why did you choose to serve a bunch of idiots as a dog? Are all Southern Phoenix Divine Kings stupid dogs?”
“You!” Wei Canglang grew angry. Level ten Divine Kings were extremely revered beings in the middle star realm, and Wei Canglang had never been on the receiving end of such humiliation before today.
He also knew why his opponent was acting the way he did. As his anger and his frustration grew, he said, “You are courting death!!”
“You think you can say that to me?” Beihan Mingzhi grinned. “Alright, come on then. Show me how much salt you’re worth.”
He folded his arms before his chest slowly and said even more hurtful words to Wei Canglang, “We share the same level, but you are just the stupid dog of the Southern Phoenix. I would be putting dirt on my own face if I attacked first.”
“Crack!” Wei Canglang nearly crushed his own teeth. Furious, he let out a growl and adjusted his expression and posture. The pitch black blade he had just created froze for an instant before an unusual aura flowed out of it.
“Ultimate Devil Sword!?” Shocked cries came from every direction. The expressions of those in the Southern Phoenix battle formation changed as well.
The Ultimate Devil Sword was the strongest devil blade Wei Canglang possessed! Since Beihan Mingzhi had kept his volume to a minimum, no one was able to pick up what they were saying. No one understood why Wei Canglang had suddenly erupted in anger and used his trump card so quickly.
In that moment, the calm, composed Beihan Mingzhi who just said he would be putting dirt on his own face if he attacked first suddenly dashed toward Wei Canglang like a phantom and sent the wave of darkness around him toward his opponent. The Ultimate Devil Sword took several breaths to create, and Wei Canglang didn’t think that Beihan Mingzhi would actually seize the initiative after that taunt. Provoked into a violent rage, Wei Canglang hadn’t set up any defenses to protect himself, so the black cyclone was able to strike him perfectly in the chest.
“You…” Wei Canglang’s eyes widened as Beihan Mingzhi’s scornful eyes pa.s.sed through his vision. In the next instant, he was sent flying straight backwards.
Normally, it took a while for two level ten Divine Kings to decide the victor between them no matter the gap. But Wei Canglang was at his most defenseless while he was enraged and creating the Ultimate Devil Sword, so he wasn’t able to halt his own momentum even after he recalled his profound energy. The man flew straight out of bounds before cras.h.i.+ng heavily to the ground.
Anyone who fainted, surrendered, or was knocked out of bounds was considered to have lost the battle!
“Wei Canglang is out of bounds. Beihan Mingzhi wins!”
The declaration resounded throughout the battlefield. Everyone was dumbstruck for a moment, and most people didn’t even realize what had happened until after the fact.
Lose? Did Wei Canglang lose just like that!?
“This is…” Everyone on the Southern Phoenix Divine Country’s side grew wide-eyed with fear. Nanhuang Mofeng looked like he had just swallowed a piece of s.h.i.+t raw.
The reason he sent Wei Canglang, one of the four strongest profound pract.i.tioners of the Southern Phoenix battle formation was to protect their honor! Even if Wei Canglang turned out to be no match for Beihan Mingzhi, at the worst, it should be a sound defeat.
But one hit… it took only one hit from Beihan Mingzhi to send Wei Canglang flying out of bounds.
It was the easiest, ugliest, and most shameful defeat one could suffer.
“Hahaha, hahahahaha!” The people of the East Ruins Sect and the West Ruins Sect broke the short silence and laughed loudly without restraint. The laughter instantly pierced the Southern Phoenix people’s souls like sharp spikes.
Even the Southern Phoenix profound pract.i.tioners who came to watch the battle felt embarra.s.sed on their behalf.
There was an explosion as Wei Canglang leaped back to his feet. It was clear from the small trace of blood trickling down the corner of his lips that he hadn’t suffered too much damage, but the shame and anger he was feeling were so terrible that they distorted his whole expression. “Beihan Mingzhi, you…”
“Enough!” The Southern Phoenix Divine Sovereign interrupted suddenly. No one could accept a loss like this, but a loss was a loss, and acting like a sore loser would only increase one’s humiliation and the disdain of others even further. “Your opponent didn’t break any battle rules at all. If you cannot accept this result, think on exactly how you lost this fight.”
“...” Wei Canglang gritted his teeth and glared at Beihan Mingzhi. The only thing he got in return was a scornful gaze. It was as if his opponent was saying through his eyes, “You really are a stupid dog.”
It took nearly all the willpower he ever had in his life, but he managed to restrain himself from fighting Beihan Mingzhi to the bitter end regardless of the cost. Hunching his back and bowing his head, he returned to the Southern Phoenix battle formation and took his seat.
Northern Chill City was the unshakeable ruler of the Central Ruins Battle, and they were normally too proud to use such petty methods. Today’s situation was clearly different, however… not only did Northern Chill City want the Southern Phoenix Divine Country to lose, they wanted them to lose in the most miserable and ugly fas.h.i.+on possible!
“It’s not your fault,” Nanhuang Mofeng said as he shot Nanhuang Chanyi a cold look. He had power, status, and seniority over Nanhuang Chanyi, but he normally restrained himself from excessive behavior because the latter was now the Crown Princess. Right now though, not a shred of respect could be seen in his eyes or heard from his voice. All he had left for her was icy pressure. “Chanyi, the punishment dealt to a sinner of the Southern Phoenix… you had best be prepared.”
Nanhuang Chanyi continued to stay silent.
The Southern Phoenix Divine Sovereign shot Nanhuang Mofeng a look, but didn’t say anything. It seemed like he was agreeing with the old man.
“Heh, are all Southern Phoenix’s peak Divine Kings this fragile?” Beihan Mingzhi shook his wrist a bit while sneering disdainfully, “How disappointing.”
Not only did he humiliate the Southern Phoenix in the worst way possible, he ridiculed them openly right after the fact. Everyone on the Southern Phoenix’s side was grinding their teeth in anger, but they weren’t in a position to vent out loud. Instead, they consciously turned toward the silent Nanhuang Chanyi and glared at her… Whatever respect and admiration they felt for her earlier had all turned into blame and anger.
A partic.i.p.ant from the West Ruins Sect leaped into the air and landed on the battlefield right after Beihan Mingzhi was done speaking, “Han Shao of the West Ruins Realm is pleased to meet you in battle!”
His entrance nailed down the order of this year’s Central Ruins Battle.
“This one knows that he’s no match for Brother Mingzhi, but he’s certain he won’t be taken out in one hit at least.” Han Shao delivered a proverbial slap right across the Southern Phoenix Divine Country’s face while chuckling.
“Superfluous words are unnecessary on the battlefield,” said the Northern Chill Divine Sovereign, but he was almost smiling, and there was a look of concealed praise behind his expression.
“Haha, please!” Beihan Mingzhi said with a laugh.
After that, Beihan Mingzhi and Han Shao fought, the power of the great Divine Kings clas.h.i.+ng mightily against one another. It was as if the Central Ruins Battle truly started with this fight, not the joke that was the previous one.
A long fight later, Beihan Mingzhi won to no one’s surprise.
The East Ruins Realm was the next side to send a partic.i.p.ant. Their choice was Zhong Yanfeng, an outsider the East Ruins Realm had hired and a level ten Divine King who dominated the western realms.
Beihan Mingzhi had exhausted quite a bit of power fighting Han Shao earlier, but Beihan Mingzhi still had some slight advantage. Still, it wouldn’t be an easy win, and he would be almost completely spent after this.
After the East Ruins Realm was the Southern Phoenix Divine Country.
If the Southern Phoenix Divine Country sent in another level ten Divine King, victory was all but certain. They would be able to save some face like this.
However, Zhong Yanfeng didn’t attack Beihan Mingzhi. Instead, he shot Northern Chill City a look before smiling, “This one seldom left the East Ruins Realm, but he has heard of Brother Mingzhi’s prowess. There is no way this one will be able to beat you, so I surrender.”
The current winner of the Central Ruins Battle must accept the challenge of others. Even if the challenger lost, they would still be able to deplete the winner’s profound energy. That was why almost no one had surrendered during the Central Ruins Battle.
The surrender of Zhong Yanfeng caused an uproar, but the spectators quickly realized what was going on and turned to shoot the Southern Phoenix Divine Country pitying looks instead.
“Hahaha.” Beihan Mingzhi laughed loudly. “Brother Zhong’s broadmindedness is truly admirable. Beihan shall accept this favor.”
“Zhong Yanfeng surrenders. Beihan Mingzhi wins!”
As it turned out, Northern Chill City wasn’t their only tormentor. The West Ruins Realm and the East Ruins Realm were taking turns stepping on their face in public as well… With just a few words, Nanhuang Chanyi had managed to drop the Southern Phoenix Divine Country from heaven to h.e.l.l.
Everyone from the royal family to the spectators of the Southern Phoenix Divine Country was ashen-faced and furious. But… what could they do to change this?
The Southern Phoenix Divine Country sent in their second profound pract.i.tioner. It was yet another level ten Divine King.
Unfortunately, Zhong Yanfeng’s surrender meant that Beihan Mingzhi had a lot of energy left. Not only did he defeat the level ten Divine King, he even left them with serious injuries.
Four sides were competing in the Central Ruins Battle, so the side that could only enter the battlefield again after the next three matches were over. This continued until all sides except one had lost all ten partic.i.p.ants.
This was a battle between peak Divine Kings, and it was about as epic and exciting as it was expected to be. Every Divine King got to show off their skills, and the spectators were boiling with excitement and wonder.
However… everyone noticed that something was off.
Northern Chill City’s overall strength remained the best of all realms. Their profound pract.i.tioners lingered on the battlefield for the greatest amount of time, and they lost the fewest matches. The East Ruins Realm and the West Ruins Realm’s shared a similar number of victories and losses.
But the Southern Phoenix Divine Country...
Every time it was the Southern Phoenix Divine Country’s turn, Northern Chill, West Ruins, and East Ruins found ways to make it so that the victor had more than enough strength left to torment their challenger.
The first fight… the second fight… the third fight… the seventh fight… the eighth fight...
Every single fight was a loss to the Southern Phoenix Divine Country!
Historically, the Southern Phoenix Divine Country was the weakest side in the Central Ruins Battle, but there were some fights that they won. This time was completely different. Not only did they lose every single fight, the losses were either incredibly ugly or miserable.
Northern Chill City, East Ruins Sect, West Ruins Sect, and Nine Lights Heavenly Palace… any one of these sects had more than enough power to overcome the Southern Phoenix Divine Country. Just because Nanhuang Chanyi decided to turn down Beihan Chu’s marriage proposal, they had worked together to trample the Southern Phoenix Divine Country completely...
Even though there was no prior agreement, it was obvious that the three sides were working together to make the Southern Phoenix Divine Country lose every fight in this Central Ruins Battle!
They wanted the Southern Phoenix Divine Country to leave an unprecedented mark of shame in the history of the Central Ruins Battle, and the Five Nether Ruins itself!
No one was surprised that Northern Chill City would react this way, but did the Southern Phoenix Divine Country owe a blood debt to the East Ruins Sect and the West Ruins Sect as well?
No, of course not.
In a world where strength was king, and power decides everything, who wouldn’t want to trample over a weakling who was destined for ruin and curry favor with an expert that will soar to the nine heavens?
Northern Chill City had always been the strongest realm, but they obviously weren’t worth this much respect... until Beihan Chu entered the “Northern Region Heavenly Sovereign Ranking” that was. If they could get close to him and win his goodwill, then no amount of shamelessness was too much.
The Central Ruins Battle was still ongoing, but everyone on the Southern Phoenix’s side had lost all interest in the proceedings happening before them. In fact, not a peep had come out of the Southern Phoenix Divine Country’s barrier since a long time ago.
Even the last couple combatants on the Southern Phoenix Divine Country’s side had lost all will to fight… If there was a choice to escape this battle, they would’ve done so already.
“Hmph, how terribly boring,” Qianye Ying’er muttered to herself with her eyes closed… It was a bit unfair to her put her through this, seeing that she was a former peak Divine Master, and this was a cheap show put together by a bunch of lowly Divine Kings.
Yun Che still hadn’t said a word. In fact, most of his attention was on Nanhuang Chanyi all this time.
It was because the culprit behind the Southern Phoenix Divine Country’s “downfall” was acting far too calm.
“Seen enough yet?” Nanhuang Chanyi said suddenly before turning to face him.
This was the first time she said something after the Central Ruins Battle officially began.
“...” The corner of Yun Che’s lips curled slightly before he answered, “Next time, get naked before you ask me that question!”