“Heh heh, your Highness, a demonstration between the heirs doesn’t affect the greater picture. The princess is of a higher status, and wields great power. Many large and small matters are awaiting your attention, why be bothered with these small things?” Long Yinye smiled faintly, and could actually so speak boldly and with confidence in the presence of Princess Gouyu.
“Huh. Do you think I have no eyes or ears, nor have an idea of what’s going on here? Ever since Jiang Chen appeared, all of you have jeered and mocked him, backing him up against a wall, undoubtedly to make Jiang Chen embarrass himself. The so-called dukes of the first rank of the kingdom have this breadth of mind? Afraid of the competition posed by those beneath you, and thus must use these methods to oppress the competition?” Princess Gouyu had snatched at the opportunity to argue a point to death.
Her string of words made Hong Tongtian force a wry smile.
“So the princess had been listening from the shadows for quite a while. Then you should’ve heard clearly that it was Jiang Chen who issued the challenge, not others.” Long Yinye shrugged his shoulders.
“Yes, I also remember that it was Jiang Chen who first proposed the idea of a match. He said it was to provide entertainment for everyone.”
Hong Tiantong spoke with a bit more authority since he had others backing him up. “Your Highness, it’s not that I’m starting something, but that this Jiang Chen truly is a bit outrageous. We were only joking with him when the first words out of his mouth were to have a competition, as if his Jiang family really is something.”
These so-called nobles were each more shameless than the other. They were the ones who first instigated matters, but provocation had turned into a joke in their mouths, and Jiang Chen’s counter had turned into starting a fight!
Princess Gouyu was similarly at a loss for words and she looked at Jiang Chen.
Jiang Chen rubbed his nose, smiling, “Don’t look at me Princess. I don’t like to argue. Since Hong Tiantong says I’m outrageous, then I really will be outrageous. Everyone is prone to outrageous behavior when they’re young. Your Highness can treat it as a good show.”
“Excellent, such simple and direct words, I like it!” Long Yinye was overjoyed to see that Jiang Chen was stubborn and reluctant to admit defeat. He had been truly worried that Jiang Chen would take advantage of the circumstances to find a way out and avoid the competition.
Seeing that Jiang Chen sought face, Long Yinye immediately added fuel to the flame, “Your Highness, both sides are willing. Surely Your Highness will not put a dampener on things?”
Princess Gouyu took a careful look at Jiang Chen and saw that he continued to sport that lazy, small smile. She felt a bit irritated, thinking I brought up the demeanor of a princess to rescue you from a siege, but you continued to climb up someone else’s pole. Don’t you know that this is a trap?
“A match, a match!”
Those in the surrounding crowd, here for a good show, started a noisy clamor.
From ancient times to present, those watching a good show were unafraid of things getting out of hand. They didn’t care that if someone was injured on either side, they might be unable to pass the exam later.
What did these things matter to people who were here for a good show? The bigger things got, the more of a show they could watch!
“You there, are you ready? Someone is looking down on the personal guards of the four great families. Don’t lose my face when you’re in the ring!”
Hong Tiantong purposefully lectured in a loud voice.
Jiang Chen smiled faintly, “Do you hear that? That’s the rhythm of wanting to make you suffer thoroughly. I shouldn’t have to say much more about what you should do?”
After this period of time, these personal guards were well acquainted with Jiang Chen’s personality. The calmer his smile was, the hotter the flames of his anger were most likely burning.
This wasn’t mentioning that this Hong Tiantong had just insulted Guo Jin. This was equivalent to insulting their band of personal guards, and humiliating their master.
When the master is shamed, the subject dies. They were well aware of what this battle represented!
“When we’re in the ring later, don’t lose your position. Guo Jin, you must contain yourself no matter what they say.” The always reticent Xue Tong actually spoke up then.
“Xue Tong, you’re the calmest. You should be the leader in this time’s battle.” Ke Mu suggested.
“I concur.” Shen Yifan said.
“I too agree.” Wen Ziqi said in a soft voice.
The Qiao brothers didn’t care at all about matters like a leader. They just wanted to rush in and beat someone to vent their feelings of frustration.
In their eyes, the people in front of them were all bastards. The young duke had bestowed upon them the grace of rebirth, and these people dared to provoke the young duke. What were they, if not bastards?
“Brothers, let’s go! Us’ns will thrash these animals!” Qiao Shan roared out, as his enormous axe danced, taking large strides into the battle ring.
Qiao Chuan dragged his copper rods as he followed close behind.
Guo Jin and Wen Ziqi followed shortly thereafter.
What looked like a disorderly and messy order of entrance actually encompassed the mysteries of the “Eight Trigram Assimilation Matrix”. Except, in the eyes of those who didn’t understand this formation, these eight people appeared entirely without cooperation, and didn’t look the slightest bit a team. It basically looked like a motley crew with no discipline.
Hong Tiantong laughed. How could Jiang Chen have dared raise a hue and cry with this kind of team. He would make use of the opportunity today to thoroughly subdue Jiang Chen’s spirits. The most perfect result would be to beat these fellows until they had serious wounds all over, making them unable to take part in the succeeding exams.
If Jiang Chen couldn’t pass the exams, that meant he’d failed his attempt for the position of first rank.
This was the best way to suppress the Jiang family.
If he was able to suppress them in this way, then those of Soaring Dragon were sure to look at Hong Tiantong with fresh eyes!
Hong Tongtian became more excited the more he thought, and threw a glance at the eight personal guards. These eight guards stepped into the ring like wolves and tigers, spreading out and encircling Jiang Chen’s guards.
At this moment, Long Juxue seemed to be thinking of other matters. She retracted her unexpected glance from Jiang Chen and walked next to Hong Tiantong, speaking lowly, “Don’t underestimate your foe. This Jiang Chen knows every sort of wicked guile, it’s necessary that you be on your guard!”
A warm feeling engulfed Hong Tiantong’s heart upon receiving a beauty’s reminder next to his ear. How he wished to fan and burn the flames of his ardor, and fight for Long Juxue to the end!
In these ten short days, Jiang Chen’s guards had only comprehended twenty to thirty percent of the “Eight Trigram Assimilation Formation”.
But, under these circumstances, twenty to thirty percent of the formation’s mysteries was enough.
After all, grasping sixty to seventy percent would enable them to directly battle against several true qi masters.
Grasping twenty to thirty percent and with eight acting as one, that would enable them to barely handle a true qi master. The combined fighting abilities of Hong Tiantong’s personal guards paled far in comparison to a true qi master.
The lowest level of training for a true qi master was ten meridians true qi.
Their highest level was merely eight levels true qi.
Of course, it wasn’t the thing to do to speak in generalities for a group battle like this. The victor would still depend on improvisational reaction.
On Jiang Chen’s side, the calm Xue Tong was coordinating the formation with the Qiao brothers providing a fierce offensive. Although the connections of the formation were a bit stiff, it didn’t fall into disarray.
For someone coordinating a formation for the first time, not falling into a disorganized mess was equivalent to success.
Particularly in a large scale pitched battle like this – if you kept order and successfully threw the other’s tempo into disarray, then that would be a huge success.
Although, Hong Tiantong’s side did indeed occupy the advantage of being preeminent amongst his kind with the eight meridians true qi, but apart from that, his team had no advantages at all.
Three of seven meridians true qi?
Jiang Chen’s personal guard were all of seven meridians true qi.
In this way, Hong Tiantong’s personal guard became more and more lacking in self confidence the more they fought. The eight meridians true qi practitioner had been giving off a majestic looking air in the beginning, attacking with force, teasing in all directions.
But he discovered, tragically, that after a while any two of his opponents could form a small team after quick communication and dispel his attacks.
And, their formation that seemed messy and disorderly, actually enabled any two or three people to form a small team at any time. They could attack if they advanced, and could defend if they retreated.
The “Eight Trigram Assimilation Formation” combined the power of eight into one, drawing aspiration from the eight cardinal directions. This power could be broken and could be united, going through endless iterations of changes.
Those assembled had thought that it would be a scene of Hong Tiantong’s band crushing their opponents; who knew that the situation would be completely upended after a few rounds.
Particularly that eight meridians true qi practitioner, he was complaining incessantly without ceasing at this point.
The Qiao brothers and Guo Jin, three people with extremely high offensive power, had formed an attack team and were crazily focusing their attention on him.
The other three seven meridians true qi practitioners were entangled by the three sword users Wen Ziqi, Ke Mu, and Bi Yun.
Shen Yifan’s spear thrust and swept in grand movements, partnering with Xue Tong, and easily handled the other four who were of six meridians true qi.
And, the most ingenious part of this formation was that the small teams weren’t isolated from each other. Their every step and every move could take concerted action together, or rush to the rescue of each other.
In the beginning, those not in the know of the formation’s mysteries couldn’t make sense of it. They only thought that the eight had great cooperation. As the battle dragged on, those with expansive knowledge could seem to read something from the situation.
Except, the mysteries of this formation were exceedingly complex, how would they be comprehended with a mere few glances?
Suddenly, the eight meridians true qi practitioner gave a ghastly yell as Qiao Chuan’s bronze rods landed solidly on his back. Fresh blood spewed from his mouth as his spine was directly broken into several pieces, and he flew back like a kite with a snapped string.
The fighting spirit of the others immediately dissipated with the fall of the eight meridians true qi practitioner. The flames of fury in Guo Jin’s heart had obviously not been dispelled yet. Light danced from his blade as he removed the right arm of a person of seven meridians true qi.
Qiao Shan was unwilling to lag behind as he waved his great axe and chopped towards waist level. A slightly chubby, relatively slower, seven meridians practitioner was chopped in two at the waist, blood and flesh flying everywhere.
Hong Tiantong’s band disintegrated in the span of a moment as cries of agony filled the air.
“Stop, I concede, I concede the match!” When Hong Tiantong reacted, pain filled howls had already sounded out a few times.
He took another look at the scene. Two had died in battle, another two were deeply wounded, and one of them was missing an arm. The remaining three were all injured and had pale faces drained of blood.
If Hong Tiantong had been just a bit slower to call out, then this match would have surely ended in complete annihilation of his troops.
Qiao Shan grinned broadly and shouldered his large axe, laughing, “Happiness, great happiness! Who else remains unconvinced? Come on in and let’s play.”
Guo Jin’s blade pointed as he said to Hong Tiantong, “You with the Hong surname, you insulted my father. Even if you’re one of the four great dukes, I will have my revenge on you for this slight sooner or later.”
“You… Jiang Chen, your subordinates dared to be so cruel in an exhibition match!” Hong Tiantong was at a loss for words. He had never thought of this scene developing.
Jiang Chen spoke faintly, “If I recall correctly, someone said that one would be responsible for his own consequences if something untoward was to happen?”
Hong Tiantong’s face had been drained of all blood, and his heart hurt so much that it was like blood dripped from it when he thought of the fact that a great half of his personal guards had been destroyed, indicating that he would be unable to pass this particular exam of the first rank.
Once he thought of the disastrous consequences of this, Hong Tiantong’s eyes grew bloodshot as he became like a mad tiger. “Jiang Chen, you have ruined my affairs, you must pay for this!”
Long Yinye flung a slap onto his face just as he was about to make his move. “Idiots that can’t afford a loss, move to the side!”
A large slap was directly fanned onto Hong Tiantong’s face, flinging him out a distance of several meters.