At the face of this belligerent, untamed cyclone-like Celestial Chi, Ye Chen immediately focused his attention on the deepest part of his consciousness.
At this critical moment, the only thing he could do was to rely on the Flying Dagger's help!
A loud chime echoed through as the Flying Dagger in his mind vibrated at an intense speed. In a millisecond, an unbridled tidal wave of Celestial Chi once again broke out of the Flying Dagger. It temporarily loaded Ye Chen's body with its hallmark Celestial Chi so much that the overwhelming pressure automatically neutralized the power difference between Sixth Stage Celestial Chi and Fifth Stage.
Amidst the chaos, there was a glint in Ye Chen's eyes.
Rumbling Thunder Burst!
Ye Chen braved his palm at Ye Kongyan's incoming impact before a loud crash was heard, like a low m.u.f.fled rumble of thunder. Then, a silhouette backed away from the point of impact, his footsteps heavily stomping on the ring as he stumbled.
How did that even happen? The crowd gasped coldly as they strained their attention toward Ye Chen who stood firmly in the middle of the ring. The only one knocked backward was Ye Kongyan, while Ye Chen stood tall and still as if he had been nailed onto the battleground.
Ye Chen, the fighter who was merely at the peak of the Fifth Stage had managed to knock out a Sixth Stage fighter like Ye Kongyan!
This had completely changed the clansmen's long-held understanding of martial arts power difference.
Sitting near the altar, towering above most of the clansmen, Ye Changxuan, Ye Zhantian and the rest were just as surprised. As martial arts savants of their own rights, they knew from first-hand experience that the power gap between the Fifth and the Sixth Stage. To describe it in a more concrete way, the gap between those particular Stages was a sea apart. Yet, a Fifth Stage Ye Chen had managed to completely overpower a Sixth Stage Ye Kongyan!
Who would not be moved by such a miraculous feat?
'I had no idea that the Flying Dagger's Celestial Chi is this potent!' Ye Chen thought, fascinated. Not only did his powers spike by multiple folds whenever he triggered the Flying Dagger, but he could also close the sewide chasm between the Fifth and the Sixth Stage — he had completely overtaken Ye Kongyan in terms of brute force!
Feeling the same yet strange Celestial Chi swirling within every fiber of his body, Ye Chen could hardly contain the amazement and joy in him.
Ye Kongyan was as pale as paper. After all these efforts to boost his Celestial Chi up to the Sixth Stage, he still fell short of Ye Chen's level. Now, whatever sense of superiority he had in his mind had been cruelly wiped clean in an instant, while doubts and hopelessness rushed in and displaced the vacuum formed by that loss of confidence. He was so a.s.sured that he was just one step away from becoming the Successor Patriarch, yet the distance between him and his dream was suddenly torn so much farther apart.
'Am I losing? I refuse to accept this! This can't be it! You can't possibly be stronger than me – no one else should be the Successor Chief but me!'
All of his repressed lividity and hatred toward his rival suddenly broke through the coc.o.o.n of his mind as a flash of bloodl.u.s.t channeled through his eyes. With a quick circulation of his Celestial Chi, Ye Kongyan's right hand suddenly darkened into a dangerous color of black!
'You'll die — now!' Ye Kongyan howled in his heart with all the fury he had and thrust himself straight at Ye Chen.
Upon seeing his son's action, every color of Ye Moyang's face was drained. There was no way he could stop Ye Kongyan in time!
"Don't you b.l.o.o.d.y dare!" Ye Zhantian shot up from his seat in a mix of rage and shock, but the distance between the ring and himself was too far for him to make it in time to stop them. He shot Ye Moyang a terrifying glare as he bellowed, near-hysterically, "Ye Moyang, what kind of travesty did you teach your son?! If anything happens to my boy, you and your son will die the same day he's gone!" At that moment, Ye Zhantian's true Pressure blasted out from his body.
'N-ninth Stage! He… he's a Ninth Stage master now!' Ye Moyang felt his heart sank into a bottomless pit.
Ye Zhanlong and the rest, too, bolted up from their seats in a panic as if their hearts were hanging by a thread.
The technique that Ye Kongyan had just unleashed was the most malicious and evil of all Ye clan techniques — the Shadow Storm Talon. About a few hundred years ago, a Ye clansman created a technique whereby a person, after infusing one hand with Celestial Chi of dark and venomous properties would attack by striking their hand into the opponent's body. The least the technique could do was to heavily damage the opponent's entire system of meridian channels but at worst, it could be fatal!
If a pract.i.tioner used the Shadow Storm Talon on a pract.i.tioner of the same Stage as him or her, the only ending for the receiver would be instant death. So what else could happen to Ye Chen if he was struck by Shadow Storm Talon, considering the fact that his Celestial Chi was one Stage lower than Ye Kongyan's?!
Those who practiced the Shadow Storm Talon automatically stonewalled themselves with the side-effect of uncontrollable anger and bloodl.u.s.t. Driven mad, the very founder of Shadow Storm Talon even murdered three of his very own clansmen successively with this very technique, thus being declared as a traitor of the clan. He was later hunted down by his former clansmen and while escaping to the Lianyun Mountains, he fell from a cliff to his death. His legacy — the discourse on Shadow Storm Talon — was then locked out from public sight, with a strict ruling that forbade anyone from practicing this technique barred under the most desperate circ.u.mstances.
Yet, somehow, Shadow Storm Talon was still being practiced by someone in the clan! Now, if it was being used to fight the sworn nemeses of the Ye clan, it could perhaps be overlooked. However, Ye Kongyan was using it on his fellow kin now!
Murdering people of your own clan was the worst sin for any clan member to commit!
This was also why Ye Zhantian and others had panicked. If Ye Chen, out of his ignorance to the deadliness of Shadow Storm Talon had chosen to engage by physically meeting Ye Kongyan's venomous palm, he could die!
Ye Kongyan's blackened palm was hurled toward Ye Chen. The attack was accompanied by sharp, stinging gales that reeked of malice. Seeing what was coming for him, Ye Chen was instinctively possessed by a sudden sense of grave foreboding.
'What is this technique?'
A thought raced through Ye Chen's mind but he knew that whatever it was, he better react without pulling his punches!
'Primordial Thunder Body!'
There was a racket of buzzing sounds as if something was being electrified. The Celestial Chi within Ye Chen's body externalized and materialized into a color of pale golden-yellow coat on the surface of his skin, like a set of golden armor. He gave a low howl, "Rumbling Thunder Burst!"
With Primordial Thunder Body availing his strength, the impact of a single Rumbling Thunder Burst was now greatly amplified to an inconceivable degree!
With this, Ye Chen blocked Ye Kongyan's Shadow Storm Talon with one hand and swung his other palm neatly on Ye Kongyan's chest. Like a kite with its string suddenly severed, Ye Kongyan was blown backward as he hit the ground, at the edge of the ring which broke his momentum. Blood gushed out from Ye Kongyan's mouth.
The boy, struggling, looked up from the ground and shot Ye Chen one last look. It was the eyes of pure hatred, like a viper before its strike. Then, with his face ashen, Ye Kongyan slumped heavily onto the ground.
Ye Chen could feel an unknown, cold sensation course through his body, h.e.l.lbent in destroying his meridian channels. Alarmed, Ye Chen triggered the Flying Dagger so that the torrents of Celestial Chi that was poured into his system could swallow every ounce of that dangerous venom until not a fraction was left.
Fortunately, he wasn't hurt. Ye Chen may not know of the technique Ye Kongyan had used on him but he could tell that it must have been something very serious just by studying his father's, as well as others' reactions.
Ye Zhantian immediately rushed himself into the ring and grabbed his son's right hand. His brows furrowed a little. No matter the amounts of Celestial Chi he injected into the young man's body to inspect his wounds, the effort was akin to pouring water into an ocean. He could not detect any feedback from his own Celestial Chi at all, which meant he could not even detect Ye Chen's Celestial Chi Stage.
"Chen, are you alright?" Ye Zhantian asked in concern.
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"The Chief advanced a stage?! Really?"
"Didn't you hear Zhanlong say it? If he said so, it must be true!"
"Now that the Chief has joined the rank of the Former Chief, we have two Ninth Stage masters with us now! We don't have to fear the House of Yun anymore!"
"My most sincere congratulations, Chief!"
The clansmen bowed immediately before Ye Zhantian in deference. The older generations of the clan were even more touched as they cried happily at the emergence of two Ninth Stage fighters within the clan after many years. More than anyone, these senior generations knew what it meant to have two Ninth Stage masters in their clan at the same time.
Although Ye Changxuan was powerful, he was also very old; he could have pa.s.sed away at any given moment. Therefore, placing the duty of protecting the family onto someone like him was not as insured as one would have hoped for. Now that Ye Zhantian had proven himself to be just as powerful, all of the dismay the clan had felt due to Ye Moyang and Ye Kongyan's fiasco had all dispersed.
A Ninth Stage fighter would always serve as a threat to the enemies of the family. n.o.body would dare lay a finger on the House of Ye because they fear the wrath of a Ninth Stage master!
Ye Changxuan, Ye Zhanlong and the rest leaped onto the ring as well.
"Uncle," Ye Zhantian addressed Ye Changxuan solemnly.
The old man nodded and smiled. "Congratulations on attaining the Ninth Stage! I can already feel my burden as the guardian of the family lessen by half because of it!" Then, quite abruptly, he turned to Ye Chen and asked, "Chen'er, did you use Primordial Thunder Body to defeat Ye Kongyan?"
As Ye Zhantian had been too preoccupied with any harm that might have befallen Ye Chen's body, he had forgotten about this. Now that Ye Changxuan reminded him about it, Ye Zhantian recalled that at the very moment Ye Chen defeated Ye Kongyan, the young man's body was coated in golden-yellow light — that was the unmistakable color of the Primordial Thunder Body. Could it be that Ye Chen had indeed mastered the technique?
However, that could not be possible, could it? He had only given the secret discourse to his son a few days ago! This would mean that Ye Chen had mastered an advanced technique — so advanced that Ye Zhantian himself had to take three years to actually succeed in performing it — in a span of a few days!
Finding himself becoming the subject of everyone's antic.i.p.ating stares, Ye Chen knew that he could no longer hide it. So, he nodded and said, "Yes. The technique I used was indeed the Primordial Thunder Body!"
Hearing his confirmation, the crowd drew in a sharp breath.
The process taken to master the Primordial Thunder Body had always been arduous: one must be in at least Celestial Chi Seventh Stage or above to start, and secondly, not everyone could truly master it. The only three users in the family were Ye Changxuan, Ye Zhantian, and Ye Zhanlong; not even Ye Zhanxiong had managed to perform the technique. Yet, joining these advanced masters now was Ye Chen, who was only at the peak of the Fifth Stage.
"Oh, Big Brother, you've been playing favorites, haven't you? Teaching Primordial Thunder Body to Chen'er without letting us know!" Ye Zhanlong slapped Ye Zhantian's shoulders as he said, his expression joyous.
Ye Zhantian gave him an awkward smile. "I didn't teach him at all. I gave him the secret book detailing the technique just a few days ago. All I had hoped that it might provide him insights in his cultivation, but little did I expect the boy to even master it!" As one who had trained with that technique before, Ye Zhantian knew from experience just how difficult it was to execute Primordial Thunder Body. That was why he had not expected Ye Chen to perform it at all!
"You only gave it to him a few days ago?" Ye Zhanlong and the rest asked pointedly as they once again glued their attention to Ye Chen. This time, their stares reflected absolute astonishment.
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