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Zhang Xuan’s comprehension of Time Quintessence did not induce any pulsations of power, but Tantai Zhenqing still noticed that something was amiss. He could not help but frown.
To him, it was as if the disposition of the head of the Zhang Clan had abruptly changed. The other party’s aura felt even heavier and reined in, creating a feeling of unfathomable depth.
“Time is up!”
The hour ticked by very swiftly. With a flick of Zhang Xuan’s finger, Zhang Jiuxiao awoke from his state of trance. He took a few deep breaths as he consolidated his newfound knowledge before walking over to Tantai Jiankui.
Clasping his fist and bowing deeply, he gestured politely. “Please!”
With a firm nod, Tantai Jiankui suppressed the energy in his body. In the blink of an eye, his cultivation was lowered to Saint 8-dan pinnacle, the same level as Zhang Jiuxiao.
“Let’s begin the duel!” Zhang Xuan said with a wave of his hand by the side.
“Please guide me along!”
Without any hesitation, Zhang Jiuxiao took a step forward before abruptly vanishing. Before anyone realized it, he was already standing before Tantai Jiankui.
With a light thrust of his palm, immense might poured forth from his hand.
“Swift and powerful!”
Initially, Tantai Jiankui did not think very highly of his opponent even after suppressing his cultivation. After all, he was already an Introspective Convalescence realm expert whereas his opponent was only at Saint 8-dan pinnacle.
However, Zhang Jiuxiao’s swift maneuver had caught him off guard, causing him to narrow his eyes in astonishment. He anxiously drove his zhenqi desperately as he swiftly retreated.
Tantai Jiankui could tell that his opponent had not managed to comprehend Time Quintessence yet, but he was not too far from reaching that realm.
To come so close to Time Quintessence within a single hour… was that even humanly possible?
Tantai Jiankui’s reaction was not slow, but Zhang Jiuxiao was simply faster. He abruptly opened up his thrusting palm and flicked his fingers lightly.
Sou sou sou!
Sword qi shot forth from his five fingers simultaneously.
These strands of sword qi appeared to move at a terribly slow speed, but in truth, they were not limited by the constraints of time and space. They would arrive right before its target in the blink of an eye, making it nigh impossible to guard against them.
“This is the highest level of the Zhang Clan swordsmanship! H-he…” Sword Saint Xing and Sword Saint Meng traded shocked gazes with one another.
Even for them, they had to collaborate closely with one another before they were able to execute the highest level of the Zhang Clan swordsmanship. Zhang Jiuxiao had clearly never learned the Zhang Clan swordsmanship prior to this, but he actually managed to reach such a level within a single hour…
Furthermore, it was sword qi shot out from his fingertips and not a sword…
Just what kind of mystical manual did their son impart to Zhang Jiuxiao?
Pu pu pu!
Even though Tantai Jiankui’s retreat was swift, he was still unable to outrun the sword qi chasing after him. That being said, through his sheer battle instincts, he was still able to pull off an ingenious defensive maneuver at the very last moment. As a result, the sword qi only scraped his clothes.
“It’s my turn now…”
Tantai Jiankui had thought that he would be able to defeat his opponent easily and make a huge contribution to the Hundred Schools of Philosophers, but he had nearly sustained severe injuries in just the first encounter. Knowing that it would be foolish to continue underestimating his opponent, his expression turned serious.
Without any warning, he charged forward with astounding speed to launch a counterattack.
Through the augmentation of his temporal art, his movement speed was unimaginably fast. Putting aside one’s naked eyes, it would be impossible to trace his movements even through one’s Spiritual Perception. Before one could even process what was going on, a fist carrying tremendous might would be right before one’s face.
But despite the abrupt counterattack from Tantai Jiankui, Zhang Jiuxiao did not show the slightest hint of fear. Instead, he weaved his fingers before him and created a protective sphere made of sword qi around him, thus successfully defending against Tantai Jiankui’s assault.
At this point, Tantai Zhenqing suddenly shook his head grimly and sighed pitifully. “It seems like Jiankui is going to lose…”
“Going to lose? His opponent might be formidable, but isn’t Jiankui standing his ground?” Nangong Yuanfeng was taken aback by Tantai Zhenqing’s remark.
In his view, the two young men appeared to be equally skilled with one another. In fact, in the face of Tantai Jiankui’s relentless punches, Zhang Jiuxiao seemed to have been forced into a disadvantageous position, unable to counterattack at all. So, why would Tantai Zhenqing say that Tantai Jiankui was going to lose?
“Jiankui’s opponent hasn’t made use of the power in his bloodline yet!” Tantai Zhenqing pointed out.
“This…” Hearing those words, Nangong Yuanfeng widened his eyes before falling silent.
It went without saying that they would investigate the unique abilities of the Zhang Clan before coming to challenge them. In their investigation, they had found that the Zhang Clan was able to ignite their bloodline to bring about a temporary surge in their speed and strength.
Considering how Zhang Jiuxiao was already able to stand toe-to-toe with Tantai Jiankui without igniting his bloodline, it was clear who the victor would be once he did so.
“Furthermore, while it might appear that he has been forced into a defensive position, did you notice that he’s gradually improving throughout the course of the battle? Initially, he could barely stand his ground against Jiankui’s punches at all, but he’s already able to return three out of ten punches now… Slowly but surely, he’s familiarizing himself with his newfound strength. In fact, it seems like he might even be intentionally going easy on Jiankui just to make use of this opportunity to refine his control and further his understanding of temporal arts!” Tantai Zhenqing said with a helpless smile.
As much as he hated to acknowledge it, this was the truth.
Previously, when he heard that Nangong Yuanfeng had failed with the Luo Clan, he had thought that it was utterly ridiculous for something like this to happen. But after witnessing the prowess commanded by the young talents of the Zhang Clan, he realized that the Master Teacher Continent had already become a formidable force that they could not afford to underestimate anymore.
The Hundred Schools of Philosophers had guarded the world from an isolated dimension for tens of thousands of years, remaining completely oblivious to the developments of the outside world. Before they even knew it, they had already become like
frogs in a well
Hearing Tantai Zhenqing’s lamentation, Nangong Yuanfeng turned his gaze to the duel once more. Indeed, Zhang Jiuxiao’s movements were becoming smoother and smoother over the course of the battle. Very soon, he was already able to retaliate against seven out of ten punches.
At this point, it was very clear that the tables were turning on Tantai Jiankui.
In a momentary lapse between Tantai Jiankui’s attacks, Zhang Jiuxiao took a step forward and pushed a powerful punch through the other party’s defenses. If the punch really connected, the other party would sustain severe injuries.
Flustered, Tantai Jiankui hurriedly retreated as he exclaimed, “I admit defeat!”
He had not expected such an outcome at all. However, it was already apparent to him that his opponent had grown to a level beyond his means to deal with. He no longer stood a chance at victory.
On the other hand, hearing Tantai Jiankui’s surrender, Zhang Jiuxiao retracted his fist and halted his offense. Placing his hands behind his back, he gazed quietly at the crowd from the Hundred Schools of Philosophers, seemingly waiting patiently for his next opponent.
“Teacher, allow me!”
Sensing Zhang Jiuxiao’s subtle provocation, another young man from the Hundred Schools of Philosophers stepped forward.
“Your strength is only slightly above Jiankui’s. If Jiankui was unable to defeat him, you won’t stand much of a chance either,” Tantai Zhenqing said with a shake of his head.
In truth, the fighting prowess of his four disciples did not differ too much from one another. While the young man who had just stepped forward commanded a higher understanding of temporal laws, it was still insufficient to defeat the current Zhang Jiuxiao.
Even if they fought, there was little doubt that the duel would end in his disciple’s defeat.
Realizing the same as well, Nangong Yuanfeng suggested, “Why don’t you try to suppress your cultivation and challenge him?”
Tantai Zhenqing pondered deeply for a moment before glancing at Zhang Xuan. Looking at the young man’s impassive face, he released a deep sigh before shaking his head. “Forget it! A loss is a loss. Even if I step forward, I doubt that things will go our way!”
To be honest, he did not think of Zhang Jiuxiao as a threat to him at all. He was confident of defeating the young man with ease… but the problem was that Zhang Jiuxiao’s defeat did not translate to the Zhang Clan’s defeat!
The head of the Zhang Clan had pulled off the ‘Memorization Through Spiritual Perception, Recital of a Thousand Books’ and even raise his student’s comprehension of temporal laws to a level surpassing that of his disciples within an hour…
A person who wielded such capabilities could not possibly be weak.
If he made a move, the head of the Zhang Clan was bound to make a move as well. In the end, the outcome would still be the same. In the worst-case scenario, he might even be given free transportation through the Master Teacher Continent, just like what had happened to Nangong Yuanfeng back at the Luo Clan.
Since the odds were not in his favor at all, there was no need for him to humiliate himself unnecessarily.
Without much hesitation, Tantai Zhenqing clasped his fist and said, “We’ll admit defeat!”
Seeing that the other party had admitted defeat right after a single battle, Zhang Xuan clasped his fist back and smiled. “Elder, I’m grateful for your leniency toward my student!”
He had fully expected Zhang Jiuxiao to be able to defeat Tantai Jiankui eventually… However, he did not think that the other party would make such a dignified admittance of defeat.
Even Nangong Yuanfeng had struggled for quite a bit before being forced to admit defeat.
“A loss is a loss; there’s no leniency here to speak of,” Tantai Zhenqing replied. He flicked his wrist, took out Ancient Sage Zi Yu’s inkstone, and tossed it over. After which, he clasped his fist and said, “Farewell!”
After taking the inkstone, Zhang Xuan grabbed the floating Temporal Mirror and glanced at it before tossing it over to Tantai Zhenqing. “Your mirror!”
Tantai Zhenqing took the mirror before leaving together with the others. In the blink of an eye, he had already disappeared from view.
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