Tsarisiya and Nibaru, both from the Pill Refinery Hall, were said to be the ones who got into fights and trouble the most often. It had only been half a year since they entered the Heavenly Gates, but they had already experienced numerous battles. From the Pill Refinery Hall to the Equipment Refinery Hall, they would initiate one-on-one battles with anyone they disliked. They were pretty notorious in the Heavenly Gates. Frankly speaking, they stirred up more trouble than Wang Zhong, but the masses liked to gossip about the latter who came from a low-level civilization and was of lower status. Bullying the weak and fearing the strong had always been the style of the Heavenly Gates.
Both Tsarisiya and the tree person Nibaru were extremely outstanding in terms of combat power. Many had been won over by them. Also, they were very talented in alchemy too. Their reputation was comparable to that of Celeste, and they were extremely well known among this batch of pupils. Most didn't dare to provoke them.
Jhonas was excited. They seemed to be Boss's friends.
Boss was awesome indeed; even his friends were so cool! A gold Titan and a tree person were standing right there in front of him; he had to take this chance to get to know them! "Guys…"
Jhonas rubbed his hands and was all smiles, walking towards them. However, Tsarisiya just fiercely glared at him with his copper eyes and stuck out his finger warily. "Get away from me. I don't talk to pigs."
Jhonas was instantly petrified as if he had suffered 10,000 points of damage. He cursed silently in his heart. Had pigs offended him in some way? Why was he hating on pigs so much? Boss's friends were not cute at all!
Celeste saw all this happen. She smiled upon thinking about Jhonas and Wang Zhong's relationship. However, when her gaze shifted back to the arena, her face couldn't help but turn serious.
She wasn't surprised at how calm Wang Zhong was when he encountered trouble, just like when he was up against Battier at the Pill Refinery Hall previously. After all, Celeste had seen for herself how Wang Zhong managed to form Perfect Pills. He had the ability to be arrogant. However, this time… Wang Zhong probably knew something about artifacts, but whatever superficial knowledge he had might harm him instead.
Under normal circumstances, a Void Core expert would not be able to exert the full power of a level-6 artifact and might even be exhausted of power from using it. It wasn't necessarily true that one would be more powerful if one wielded a stronger weapon. However, the 10,000 Tempering Soul Armor was a different story. It was a weapon exclusive to the Ghost race, and a Ghost could unleash its maximum power regardless of his rank! This weapon could withstand attacks of up to half a million or even a million Spiritual Energy Value. It even had additional defense protection against attribute attacks. That meant that Wang Zhong's soul attacks and ice ability would have no effect on this weapon.
This battle was going to be very tough!
"Found some helpers?" Gorst smiled, referring to Tsarisiya and Nibaru. This was one of the rare times he spoke.
Wang Zhong didn't respond but just silently stood there. He was waiting for the runic barrier around the Life and Death Arena to be completed and for the Titan supervisor to commence the battle.
"It's a pity that even they won't be enough to save you." Gorst smiled, seemingly teasing Wang Zhong. In actual fact, Gorst hadn't let his guard down at all. The outcome of a true life or death battle depended on many factors, such as in terms of equipment, psychological strength, and whether it was the right timing and place. "I will rip you to pieces, right in this arena and in front of everyone, just like I would rip a 'chicken' apart. I will imprison your soul forever. Oh right, I heard that your little Earthling lover is at the Anoma Club? Rest assured that I will take care of her for you with my own special tricks… Haha. You know what I'm talking about, huh? Although you Earthlings have weak auras, your facial features and body are considered top-notch among celestialoids. Earth women are exactly my type."
Gorst looked Wang Zhong squarely in the eyes, his tone teasing. He was going to completely annihilate this Earthling. He was saying this not because he wanted to vent, but to secure his win in this battle.
Ghosts rarely participated in face-to-face battles as they were more skilled at solving problems with their brains. However, that didn't mean that they were incompetent at physical battles. Once they stood on a Life and Death Arena, their focus and attitude towards the battle were definitely the most outstanding among the entire divine territory. They wouldn't hesitate to use all their power in these sorts of battles. Underestimating their enemy? Even after ten thousand years, a Ghost wouldn't do that.
Nonetheless, Wang Zhong had no reaction, even when Gorst mentioned Lan Daier. His ability to resist others' trash-talking wasn't innate, but cultivated by his surroundings.
From the first day he started his cultivation journey, Simba was there to nag at him all the time. Now, Wang Zhong had reached the point where he would be able to remain calm even if the sky fell.
He didn't mean to look down on Gorst, but in contrast to Simba's trash-talking ability, Gorst's words really had no impact on him.
Wang Zhong appeared to be zoning out and unfocused. In reality, he was condensing his spiritual power, ready to deal an explosive attack anytime.
A faint glow surrounded Wang Zhong's body. It was almost impossible to notice it if one didn't look closely. Even while teasing him, Gorst in his 10,000 Tempering Soul Armor was ready for battle too. The spiritual power on the armor appeared to be dim, but it held immense power.
Their actions made the spectators sense one thing. The two of them were placing their emphasis on their battle techniques, looking relaxed but ready to attack at any time.
The Titan supervisor ignored the suspicious glances that Rhode D cast at his beverage bottle, gulping a big mouthful of the drink without scruples. It was rare to see a decent battle between newcomer pupils that was worth anticipating. Even this silent confrontation before the battle started was a hundred times more exciting than some of the battles in the Combat Cultivation Hall previously. The latter couldn't compare to this unfolding battle at all.
The Titan supervisor had always despised Gorst's personality and how the Ghosts liked to use dirty, underhanded means. However, he had to acknowledge Gorst's combat talent. The Ghosts were the best at controlling battle situations. If it were the other newcomers who were in Wang Zhong's position, their mentality would definitely have been affected after hearing Gorst's teasing even if they managed to hold their anger in. However, Wang Zhong's mentality was far stronger than what he expected. Even he wasn't able to sense a trace of fluctuating emotions from Wang Zhong, not even a little bit!
Wang Zhong was way too cold and focused. Only this sort of talent could truly be called a natural war machine, and this had nothing to do with techniques and personal ability.
The runic barrier around the Life and Death Arena was completed at last. This moment seemed to have commenced the battle. Wang Zhong's apparently lifeless eyes changed immediately as his accumulated spiritual power exploded. He didn't choose to be safe and defend first, like he had done in the past. He instantly disappeared from his position, leaving behind a trail of light.
The next second, his palm had already reached Gorst's chest.
He was way too fast!
Even the people who had high expectations for him during his battle with Balor were shocked. Wang Zhong was moving way too fast, and this was extremely unusual for an Earthling. His explosion of spiritual power had improved by a solid tier as compared to his previous battle. He was merely in the Foundational Stage and hadn't formed his Void Core. This was way too unbelievable! The sky seemed to be the limit for this Foundational Stage newbie although he was merely from a low-level civilization.
Gorst had no intention of dodging the attack. His 10,000 Tempering Soul Armor immediately gleamed. A level-6 artifact weapon's instinctive defense was extremely powerful. Not much spiritual power was needed to activate it. Withstanding an attack of hundreds of thousands of Spiritual Energy Value was as easy as ABC. However, Wang Zhong's attack didn't end there.
Spiritual power continually emanated from his palm. The penetrative might of his 3rd Drive's aftershock was the focus of the attack. The power of this stack attack not only lay in the accumulation of pure strength, but it was a continuous offense attack that left the enemy with no time to react. This made it more effective in overpowering the enemy's defense.
However, this killer move that had proved effective every time suddenly lost its magic. It succeeded in penetrating the 10,000 Tempering Soul Armor's defense, yet when it pierced into the enemy's body, Wang Zhong felt as if his attack had the effect of a stone sinking into the vast sea. The enemy's body became translucent, but Wang Zhong could still see the smile on his face, mocking his incapability.
At the same time, a silver hook curved towards Wang Zhong, as if it was already waiting for him to take the bait.
Gorst had a clear fighting method. He would defend first, then attack, and then repeat this cycle. This seemed like a stupid fighting method, but it was very effective. His hook didn't move that fast, but it attacked at the same time as Wang Zhong did.
Wang Zhong's attack was just to test how strong the 10,000 Tempering Soul Armor was. He had already sensed the looming threat coming from behind him.
If this battle was held a few months ago, Wang Zhong definitely wouldn't be able to dodge the enemy's attack immediately after executing his 3rd Drive. As a Foundational Stage, there were a lot of limitations on his spiritual power. Explosive power, energy capacity, and speed were obstacles that were hard to overcome during the Foundational Stage.
However, he had been assisting Lavel in refining equipment for the past few months. Initially, his method of adjusting his spiritual-energy waveband was hindered by the spiritual pressure of the divine territory. Now, he had polished this technique and was extremely skilled at it. There was also a drastic improvement in his spiritual power during the past month.
He could instantly adjust his spiritual-energy waveband now, as if he was switching gear. The power of the 3rd Drive attack had not fully dissipated, yet new power had already gathered in Wang Zhong's lower body. This was why Wang Zhong dared to ignore the counterattack and forcibly attack again.
Using Ghostly Steps, Wang Zhong's figure blurred like a phantom. Several afterimages were mixed up together, making it seem like he was attacking and dodging at the exact same time. He was able to completely dodge the enemy's Soul Reaper Hook in the nick of time. In fact, he was able to position himself such that the enemy was in the way of his own hook attack!
"Childish trick." Pavaro's face was expressionless with a hint of mockery.
There was no panic on Gorst's face at all, and he didn't even need to change his course of attack. Unlike normal artifacts, the Soul Reaper Hook targeted one's soul and wasn't affected by vision tricks or direction changes. It turned 180 degrees and was able to follow closely behind Wang Zhong's real body despite the fact that he used Ghostly Steps.
Wang Zhong was fast in dodging, but the enemy's subsequent attacks swiftly followed as if he hadn't dodged the attacks in the first place. The enemy countered all changes by remaining unchanged. Lao Wang's signature 3rd Drive and Ghostly Steps seemed useless under the power of the enemy's artifact. Wang Zhong merely attacked first to test the waters, yet he had already become the passive side in this battle.
Wang Zhong's eyes gleamed. Ghostly Steps was a technique to confuse the enemy and didn't directly increase his movement speed. As he felt the enemy's attack reaching him, he kicked his legs and suspended himself in mid-air. While hanging upside down in mid-air, he infused spiritual power in his palms and fiercely clamped them together, clasping the Soul Reaper Hook between them.
With a low humming sound, a dim white light gleamed at the part where the Soul Reaper Hook came into contact with Wang Zhong's palms.
It was like an electric shock and a roar at the same time. Wang Zhong felt his whole body go numb. His body split into two afterimages at that moment…
"That's not an afterimage." Pavaro frowned. "His soul had almost been jerked out of his body!"
The sudden massive vibration made it impossible for Wang Zhong to keep his palms clasped together. Taking this chance, the Soul Reaper Hook effortlessly slapped Wang Zhong's chest in a vicious manner.
It was more evident now. Everyone could see that while Wang Zhong was sent flying into the air, a "white shadow" almost flew out of his body. It was intertwined with his real body and floundering around. A deep buzzing that made everyone's ears tingle echoed across the entire arena. It was a result of Wang Zhong's soul vibrating so much, to the extent that it almost detached from his body.
Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud!
Wang Zhong stumbled around eighteen steps backwards before finally regaining stability.
He still had that calm expression on his face. However, it was no secret that after his palms and chest came into contact with the Soul Reaper Hook, his soul had suffered great damage although his physical body appeared to be fine.
The Soul Reaper Hook was an artifact specially created to complement the Ghost race's soul attack. It was specifically targeted towards the soul. Although it was just a level-7 artifact, it was a killer weapon that was impossible to defend against after it was combined with the Ghost race's soul-absorption skill. Many experts that had battled with Ghosts before knew this very well. One shouldn't expect to be able to dodge a Ghost's Soul Reaper Hook. It chased the scent of one's soul and was immune to distractions. It was not something that could be avoided with flashy techniques.
The only way to counter it was with an artifact of the same level. It was impossible to forcefully bear the impact of the attack with your soul. Even a Void Core expert wouldn't be able to withstand the power of a level-7 artifact that specialized in soul attacks.
It was true that this Earthling possessed elemental spirits, but that didn't mean that his soul was powerful. Elemental spirits choose their masters based on the potential of their souls, not how powerful they were at that moment. Otherwise, based on the elemental spirits' standards, no Void Core expert could ever expect to gain their favor.
A smile appeared on Gorst's face. Wang Zhong was pretending to be calm, but Gorst knew that his soul must have been damaged. Even if his soul was stronger than that of an average Void Core and could still remain intact for a while, this attack would at least distract him and make it harder for him to focus…
After this battle, some might say that Gorst had an unfair advantage, but he didn't care about that. Being able to crush his opponent without expending any effort would bring about the feeling of ultimate enjoyment.
He didn't rush to attack immediately. Although they only exchanged blows once, Wang Zhong had already fallen into an absolute disadvantage in terms of both offense and defense. Since he had full control over the battle situation, Gorst didn't mind showing off.
"How are you feeling? How many more attacks can you withstand?" Gorst smiled and asked, just like an elder questioning a child.
Wang Zhong took in a deep breath. A mysterious smile appeared on his face.
It seemed that the Void Core experts were exaggerating about the power of the Soul Reaper Hook.
The moment he came into contact with the Soul Reaper Hook, an inevitable stiff feeling washed over his body. His soul felt severely shaken, but this attack that everyone deemed to be impossible to counter was actually one that dealt him the least damage.
A soul was the foundation of one's cultivation journey. Its power depended on the strength of one's will, one's experiences, and various factors. This was the weakness of Void Core experts in the divine territory who had just started their cultivation journey. However, for those from the mortal world who overcame countless obstacles just to enter the divine territory, their soul power was the only thing they were better at in terms of divine territory standards.
Furthermore, this was Lao Wang that they were talking about. His soul was getting detached from his body? He was already used to that when he was in Tianjing. The exaggerated image of Wang Zhong's soul leaving his body wasn't a big deal at all.
"It's like a mosquito bite to me." Wang Zhong turned around, wisps of cold air emanating from his palms. The temperature of the surroundings seemed to have dropped by dozens of degrees suddenly. Frost could be seen condensing in the air within half a foot of his body. "Doesn't feel like much," he said casually.
"You're just acting cool!"
The spectators who were monitoring the battle intently couldn't help but curse. He was about to die, yet he was still acting cool? Even Pavaro, the number one pupil of the Combat Cultivation Hall, and Tsarisiya, who had reached the Solid Core Realm in the Pill Refinery Hall, would not dare to say that being struck by a Soul Reaper Hook was akin to a mosquito bite.
Tsarisiya couldn't help but murmur to Celeste who was beside him. "Sister, don't say that I didn't help your lover out. I feel like he is getting more annoying the more I stare at him!"
Celeste was rather amused. Initially, she was rather worried, but for some reason, she felt at ease after hearing Wang Zhong's words. As for how Tsarisiya used the term "lover", Celeste was long used to how nonsensical he was. Anyway, there was nothing going on between Wang Zhong and her, so she didn't really care about that comment. "Maybe he's telling the truth?" She smiled.
"Bullsh*t! Even I don't dare to say that. Are you trying to say that I can't compare to him?" Tsarisiya said with contempt. "The Ghost race's Soul Reaper Hook is pretty annoying to deal with."
"Hahaha! You are the most arrogant low-level civilization I have seen, but your arrogance should be backed up by power!" Gorst laughed heartily. "I doubt your little blast of cold air is enough to even ice a drink!"
Gorst was laughing so much that he almost cried. He thought that Wang Zhong would at least be somewhat self-aware and have a few trump cards. After all, he lived in the same dorm with a descendant of the Babi family, who were known for their equipment refinery. If he was in Wang Zhong's position, he would have exploited this benefit and asked for more artifacts from Jhonas.
However, Wang Zhong was trying to counter his 10,000 Tempering Soul Armor with an elemental attack. Was he mad?
Wang Zhong didn't reply to him. The ice power that he condensed in his palms had reached a maximum output, and the extreme coldness cleared his mind. His figure blurred, and everyone sensed that there seemed to be some reason behind his arrogance as his movement speed was still as swift as before. The two soul attacks that the Soul Reaper Hook inflicted on him didn't seem to affect his state too much, as if his soul hadn't been damaged at all.
A chilling glow flashed across the arena. Wang Zhong left behind a trail of extremely cold blasts of air, drawing a silver trajectory in the air. He was heading towards Gorst like an arrow aimed at a target.
It appeared that Wang Zhong wouldn't accept defeat until death stared him in the face.
Gorst sneered and ignored the blasts of cold air. He had already infused his Ghost power into the Soul Reaper Hook. Unlike the previous attack, the Soul Reaper Hook was gleaming with a silver light now and overflowing with power. Regardless of whether this Earthling was putting on a false show of strength or whether his soul was really extraordinarily resistant to attacks, Gorst didn't intend to let him off easy. He was going to end the battle with this attack!
The silver light collided with the chilling blasts of cold air, tearing each other down and causing an explosion. The entire arena was overwhelmed by a white light, and a thick fog enveloped it.
Once Wang Zhong's condensed ice power came into contact with the enemy's body, it seemed to have encountered a nemesis as its concentrated energy dissipated in an instant. The extremely low temperature of the surroundings didn't increase immediately, but Wang Zhong could no longer condense his ice power. It was diffused in the air by an odd law-energy. Although everyone could clearly sense the bone-chilling temperature in the arena, the diluted ice power couldn't cause any damage to the experts, or even make them feel uncomfortable.
"This is why it is impossible to counter the 10,000 Tempering Soul Armor." Celeste looked grim. "Unless they can undergo qualitative change, elemental attacks won't have any effect on that armor…"
"Wang Zhong won't be able to break through the enemy's defense." Tsarisiya shook his head. "Challenging Gorst without making special preparations beforehand was not a wise choice on his part."
As soon as he said that, fire sparks suddenly appeared in the white fog enveloping the arena. Just as Gorst was feeling pleased with himself, Wang Zhong suddenly emerged with flaming fists, zooming through the fog to arrive in front of Gorst.
Bang bang bang bang…
Wang Zhong's fists that carried strong fire spiritual power slammed onto Gorst's body. Raging flames blew the white fog away at once, turning the hazy Life and Death Arena into a sea of flames!
Everyone felt as if their vision was warped. What the hell was happening?
Dual element affinity?!
That was considered rare even among superior races, yet a mere Earthling possessed this talent. This was way too unfair!
But on the other hand, this showed how ignorant this Earthling was. Although he racked his brains and schemed so much, he didn't understand that his dual element affinity was of no use here.
The 10,000 Tempering Soul Armor could withstand both types of elemental attacks!
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