Chapter 198: Free For All
After Nai Fan and Xiao Gong’s dishes were judged and the panel of judges were replaced a few times, the contest was officially canceled due to lack of public support because it had become a health hazard for all those picked to be judges.
“Sis I think your poison worked a bit too well.” Ai said in a whisper to Lingqi.
“Perhaps… We went a little overboard…” Yuying said in a soft tone.
While the beauties were busy talking amongst themselves, Zhang could be seen face to face with Nai Fan and Xiao Gong, who both had unhappy looks plastered on their faces.
“That was a complete waste of time… We should have settled things with our fists from the beginning.” Nai Fan complained.
“I agree…” Xiao Gong added.
“If that is what you want then I'm all for it.” Zhang said with a smile as he waved his hand and ignited a ring of fire not too far from where Nai Fan, Xiao Gong and the other contestants of the cooking contest were standing.
Although Zhang had hoped to avoid fighting and resolve things in a more civil and perhaps comical way that would allow everyone to persevere their strength for the arrival of the forces of the Starry Sea Sect.
“Anyone who wishes to challenge me is free to enter the ring. You're all free to use all of your skills and techniques as long as you do not damage the city or fall out of the ring.” Zhang said as he walked into the flickering ring of fire with his arms behind his back.
“Also if you dare to enter the ring then you will have to stake your interspatial ring and allegiance.” Zhang added in a soft and low tone.
“Everyone move in at the same time! Even if we can't instantly defeat him, with our numbers we can tire him out for Lord Nai Fan and Lord Xiao Gong to finish him.” A lesser Saint said as he charged into the fiery rings with a hand full of level ten cultivators.
Before long more lesser saints and level ten cultivators stormed toward the ring as Nai Fan and Xiao Gong stood with ugly expressions on their faces.
“Hmph, to think they believe doing something like this will help us in any way…” Nai Fan said.
“It'll only tarnish our reputations without giving us any added benefits… Like hell, I'll let that happen…” Xiao Gong said as he began moving toward the fiery ring.
Standing in the center of the ring armed with the Falling Moon Sword, Zhang had a wide grin present on his face.
“In the end, I guess this is the best way to resolve matters like this.” He said with a chuckle as his first group of opponents stepped into the ring with weapons draw.
In an instant, blades slashed through the air, fists swung with full force, and spells and techniques were unleashed in a blinding array of attacks all aimed at Zhang.
“Let me remind you, anyone who gets knocked out of here owes me their interspatial ring and allegiance.” Zhang said before the world seemed to slow down around him.
As the blades wielded by a group of level ten cultivators swung down at Zhang, they appeared to slow to a crawl as he effortlessly evaded them all in a fluid motion.
Regardless of how many times the level ten cultivators lashed out with their weapons, they failed to even catch the helm of Zhang’s robes before he sent them flying out of the ring.
Despite having the Falling Moon Sword in Hand, Zhang did not use it and simply performed one kick after the other to deal with the opponents charging at him.
Simply said, for the most part, Zhang felt that none of the people who entered the ring thus far were worthy of being struck by his legendary sword.
Regardless of whether or not they were fools who did not know their limits or brave souls who dares to challenge someone way out of their league, the difference in power between a level ten cultivator and any saint level expert was too vast, so much that some would call Zhang a bully if he used his weapon.
Of course in a real life or death battle no one would dare to utter a word about bullying the weak, but since this was a friendly sparring match, coupled with the fact that all of the losers were going to be his future subordinates, Zhang had to maintain a proper image.
“All do you scram!” Xiao Gong and Nai Fan’s thundering voices could be heard as one of Zhang’s kicks sent another level ten cultivator flying out of the ring.
As a burst of power swept across the fiery ring and the crowd that stood watch a short distance away, all of the level ten cultivators, be they inside the ring or not were all sent flying into the air.
“Now this is more like it!” Zhang said excitedly as two fires ignited within his eyes.
Moments after all of the level ten cultivators were sent flying away, the lesser saints remaining within the ring were left utterly confused as Nai Fan and Xiao Gong entered the ring and began attacking them.
“Lord Nai Fan what are you doing? We are on your side!” A lesser saint cried as a palm strike landed on his abdomen and sent him smashing into the ground outside of the ring.
“The lot of you will only serve as nuisances in our fight, so all of you scram!” Xiao Gong roared as a long spear made purely of white jade, with a distinctive looking tiger head carved near its tip, appeared in his hands.
After hearing Xiao Gong’s words, one after the other, the lesser saints who know what was good for them, began exiting the ring on their own accord.
Before long only Zhang, Nai Fan, and Xiao Gong remained in the ring, standing at the tips of an invisible triangle, staring at each other in long silence.
“Go beat them up, darling!” Lingqi’s voice coupled with the voices of the other beauties could be heard, shattering the instilled silence with their cheers.
As the beauties continued cheering their husband on and the crowd watched on anxiously in intrigue, an intense battle ignited.
Instead of a two on one battle like most expected, a three-way struggle began as Xiao Gong’s spear snaked about through the air and lashed out at both Zhang and Nai Fan. In the meantime, Nai Fan’s scimitar unleashed dozens of blades of essence that gave off low hum before leaving deep gashes on the ground after cutting into Zhang and Xiao Gong’s after images.
“Gravity…” Zhang muttered in a low tone as he activated the Rising Moon Sword’s power and unleashed a suppressive pressure on both Nai Fan and Xiao Gong, subtly slowing down their movements.
“Increase!” Zhang said as he suddenly quickened his movements and charged toward Xiao Gong, who hadn't really been affected by the Rising Moon Sword’s power very much at all suddenly felt an unbearable weight press down on his shoulders and made his scalp tingle.
However, before Zhang managed to come within striking distance, Xiao Gong uttered an ear piercing roar as his body began to grow massive in size. In a fraction of a second, Xiao Gong’s childlike frame morphed into that of a giant’s, causing the white colored jade spear in his hand to look like nothing more than a beautifully decorated toothpick.
“Frostfang Spears! Expand and impale!” Xiao Gong said as a second spear identical to the spear already in his hand appear and grew massive in size.
“Shit…” Zhang cursed as he leaped backward, avoiding Xiao Gong’s two tree sized spears.
“Dodging is futile!” Xiao Gong laughed as the tiger heads carved on the Jade spears seemed to come to life and two pure white beams of energy were shot at both Zhang and Nai Fan.
Much to Zhang’s surprise, the air began to chill as he felt his spine shiver while a thin layer of frost began forming on the soil beneath his feet and snowflakes started to form and fall from the moisture-saturated air.
From the effect that the beams of energy had on the surrounding area alone, Zhang knew for a fact that if he allowed beams of energy to even slightly touch his body then the consequences would be dire.
As the beams of icy energy closed in, Zhang’s Abyssal Cape fluttered despite there being no wind and two serpentine shadows shoot out from the darkness at blinding speeds.
With their maws wide open and fangs barred, two Abyssal Serpents intercepted Xiao Gong’s attack resulting in a burst of glittering ice dust and shadowy specks.
Using the shimmering ice dust and shadowy specks as cover, Zhang appeared in front of Xiao Gong and unleashed a storm of sword strikes.
One after the other, Zhang’s sword strikes were met with Xiao Gong’s spears thrusts before Nai Fan appeared out of thin air and joined the fray, swinging his scimitar wildly unleashing blades of sword energy everywhere.
Slowly but surely the battle between Zhang, Nai Fan and Xiao Gong continued to intensify and escalated to the point where Yuying let out a sigh and erected a three layered barrier around them.
Only once Yuying’s barrier was erected and after it had managed to block a few of either Zhang’s, Nai Fan’s or Xiao Gong’s attacks did those spectating feel more at easy. Had it not been for Yuying then perhaps a portion of the crowd would have gotten injured or had already fled the scene due to the fear of being caught in the crossfire.
“Singularity!” Zhang roared as a powerful suction force appeared in the form of a small black speck in front of him just as Xiao Gong’s icy spear shot out toward him.
With the tip of Xiao Gong’s spear lodged into the singularity, Zhang quickly moved to the side and slashed downward, leaving a long streak of blood across the scales on Xiao Gong’s massive arm. As a small river of blood gushed out of Xiao Gong’s arm, a bellowing cry accompanied it along with a thrust from his other spear.
“He’s not your only opponent!” Nai Fan’s voice could be heard as Zhang’s sense began to tingle, prompting him to leap backward and land not too far away.
“How did he get so close without being picked up by my divine sense???” Zhang questioned in his mind as he narrowly evaded Nai Fan’s sword strike that created what could only be described as a small ravine in the ground.
Before Zhang could even come close to fathoming an answer for his question, Nai Fan appeared beside him and slashed sideward across the air at blinding speeds.
Left without even a moment to consider his options, Zhang acted solely upon his instincts, propelling himself up into the air by creating an Abyssal Serpent. Acting as both a stepping stone and a body double for Zhang, the Abyssal Serpent was soon cut into two and faded away into nothingness after appearing for only a fraction of a second.
However, Zhang was not out of the woods yet, because an instant later Nai Fan appeared beside him once more while Xiao Gong’s spear could be seen being thrusted through the air also.
“Singularity! Repel!!” Zhang said as a black speck appeared and intercepted Xiao Gong’s spear while a pulse of energy was released from the Rising Moon Sword, pushing Nai Fan away.
Much to the awe of the audience, a dozen Abyssal Eagles spawned from the shadow of Zhang’s cape and swarmed around Xiao Gong while Zhang charged after Nai Fan while standing atop an Abyssal Eagle that was considerably larger than the rest.
Closing in upon Nai Fan, Zhang quickly realized that his speed was severely lacking. After being pushed away by the power of the Rising Moon Sword and as Zhang closed in, Nai Fan managed to still himself in my air and disappear into thin air, leaving but a flickering afterimage that quickly faded away.
Unlike his battle with Lord Long Feng, where Zhang was able to fully utilize the powers of his heavenly treasures, Nai Fan and Xiao Gong constantly attempted to deliver damage to both him and each other, preventing Zhang from gaining proper breathing room.
If he focused his attention fully on Nai Fan then Xiao Gong would move in for the kill and vice versa for if he focused his attention on Xiao Gong rather than Nai Fan, making it difficult for Zhang to do anything besides dodging and occasionally attempting to attack.
“I wonder what his true form is, he's moving so fast…” Zhang thought as he watched Nai Fan moved about from one location to the next, leaving behind dozens of after imagines in his wake.
“Think fast!” Nai Fan’s laughter echoed into Zhang’s ear the sound of a blade slicing through the air followed suit.
“Buzz off you pest!” Xiao Gong’s roar also soon flowed into Zhang’s ear as an icy beam of energy was shot at Nai Fan whose blade was inches away from touching Zhang.
Although Zhang would have evaded Nai Fan’s attack one way or another, the fact that it was due to Xiao Gong’s intervention that ruined a seemingly perfect opportunity to secure victory, Nai Fan’s rhythm was shattered and he was left utterly stunned after nearly being turned into a popsicle.
Zhang was soon also on the receiving end of one of Xiao Gong’s icy beams, but of course, unlike Nai Fan, he was properly prepared and a wall of Abyssal Beasts spawned from the dark depths and shielded him from harm while creating a black mist of shadowy particles upon being their destruction.
Without uttering a single word and with a single though Zhang made seven thin sized slits through space appear and form a circle around Xiao Gong’s massive body. Then in a flash, the gleaming crystalline blade of the Rising Moon Sword shot forth and pierced through the thick layer of scales covering Xiao Gong’s body.
Before long, seven geysers of gushing blood erupted and slashed onto the icy ground as Xiao Gong bellowed in pain from Zhang’s attack.
“Go home and cry to your mother!” Nai Fan’s voice could be heard as a massive scaly leg shot out from the black mist created from the destruction of Zhang’s Abyssal Beasts and kicked Xiao Gong out of the fiery ring.