After saying this, Wu Ning immediately rushed forward.
As he got close to Tianlan, he launched a palm attack.
Tianlan responded by deflecting the palm easily while taking a step back to create space.
He then dashed in with his own palm, which was similarly deflected by Wu Ning.
They continued exchanging blows like this for a long while. Neither one seemed to hold the advantage.
“This… How is this possible?”
“This trash Wu Tianlan… How is he equally matched against Wu Ning?”
“Tianlan is the greatest!”
“Marry me Tianlan!”
The crowd had mixed reactions.
The older cultivators of the clan were shocked by Tianlan’s performance. How could a trash match up with a genius?
On the other hand, even more young ladies were now interested in Tianlan. It was evident that the rumours were wrong.
“He is 12 years old. He should be embarrassed facing a 7-year-old.”
“That’s right. He has been cultivating for much longer than Wu Ning.”
Some of the audience members brought up this point.
“But I heard he has no spirit roots.”
This was the point that they were unable to explain.
“Hm. It looks like they’re both testing the other.”
“Mm. It would be a shame to use full strength against an unworthy opponent.”
Hei and Bai had a different perspective.
Having trained together with Tianlan, they could easily tell he was holding back. They also had the feeling that Wu Ning wasn’t displaying his full ability either.
“I think that’s enough of a warm-up, don’t you?”
Tianlan was getting tired of this testing of the waters.
“I agree. Then let us step it up a level.”
Wu Ning said this as he stepped in for another attack.
This time it was twice as fast.
Tianlan was surprised at the sudden jump. He didn’t expect that Wu Ning was only using half of his strength.
However, Tianlan had been training with Hei and Bai. This level of speed wasn’t anything to be concerned about. Not to mention, he specialised in speed.
He easily dodged the palm attack and countered with one of his own.
Wu Ning was surprised that Tianlan was easily able to match him.
He also dodged Tianlan’s palm and countered with a kick.
The two kept up this kind of exchange for a while.
“… Is this the same Wu Tianlan that we know?”
“And Wu Ning is much stronger than he was during the competition. Was he holding back the whole time.”
The audience was shocked by both fighters. They had thought Wu Ning had shown all he had when he fought that intense battle with Wu Lixue.
The ones who were most shocked were the half-siblings, Wu Lixue in particular.
They had no idea that the gap between them and Wu Ning had grown so big. Not to mention the trash, Wu Tianlan, who they had mocked openly.
Wen Meixue, Wu Ning’s mother, was looking nervous. Wu Ning was her only child and also a crucial component of her plans.
If there was another junior with similar talent, her ambitions would be much harder to achieve.
Unlike most of the audience, Tang Jiao was not watching the match. She was instead looking over at Hei.
Ever since that day two years ago, she had taken interest in him.
Seeing that Tianlan wasn’t the trash he was assumed to be, she had the feeling that there was more to Hei as well.
“It looks like Wu Ning isn’t bad. Coming here might have been worth it.”
Hei liked what he saw. This was much better than the previous fights.
“I agree. Hopefully there is even more to see.”
Bai was also uplifted. She had been regretting persuading her brothers to come here.
The spectators near them were lost for words. It looked like these trashes weren’t just spouting nonsense.
“H-How is young master Tianlan so strong?”
The maid had a million questions in her mind. Wasn’t this the same Tianlan who would spend all day sitting on the bed staring out the window?
As she had the thought, she turned to look at Xiulan. Maybe the increase in Qi she had felt had something to do with their looking out the window.
If that was the case, then surely Xiulan who had been doing so for as long as she could remember, was the greatest of them all.
Xiulan paid no attention to the maid’s gaze. She just continued to watch the fight disinterestedly.
“Is this the fun thing you said may happen?”
She remembered the reason she came here. To be honest, this wasn’t entertaining in the slightest. Maybe if it was a baking contest…
“Ah! No, it looks like the fun thing won’t happen after all.”
Hei was slightly disappointed. He had hoped to see a certain person here but they weren’t.
“Is this all you’ve got?”
After a while of going back and forth, Tianlan was getting bored. He wanted a more challenging fight.
“Hm… Actually, hand to hand combat isn’t my speciality. I mainly practice sword arts.”
Wu Ning found it hard to answer. He was indeed holding back, but to use his full strength would require a sword.
“Oh? Then get a sword. I’ll wait.”
Tianlan was interested. The three had never practised any weapon skills.
Wu Ning got off the stage and grabbed a training sword.
The competition had rows of weapons for those who practised weapon arts.
“Oh? He was a swordsman?”
“This should be interesting.”
Hei and Bai were also interested.
Wu Ning returned to the stage and the crowd cheered. They also didn’t know that Wu Ning was a swordsman.
“It is well known that those who use weapons skilfully are extremely hard to match barehanded.”
“Mm. This is the end of the road for this Wu Tianlan.”
“What are you old people saying? Tianlan is the greatest.”
“How can you say that Father? Tianlan won’t lose to anyone.”
The audience was split between the young ladies and everyone else.
Hei was finding this extremely difficult to accept. What was so special about Tianlan? Wasn’t it him who even allowed Tianlan to gain both his strength and his looks?
“There there, Brother. Maybe someone will love you one day.”
Bai saw that her brother was in distress. She tried to console him.
“So you are saying no one loves me? How wonderful…”
This was the final blow. Hei could bear no more. Even his little sister was so cruel.
“Well, it’s not like I was looking for love anyway…”
“Look, Brother, they’re about to resume the fight.”
Feeling Bai’s nudging, Hei turned toward the stage where Tianlan and Wu Ning were standing opposite each other.
“Let’s see what you’ve got.”
Tianlan was excited.
Wu Ning’s aura had changed after he had wielded a sword.
Wu Ning got into a sword stance and took a deep breath.
He then suddenly stepped forward and performed a downward chop.
This attack was much faster than his previous attacks.
Tianlan jumped diagonally backwards to avoid the sword, to which, Wu Ning responded by taking another step and performing a horizontal slash.
This attack was even faster than the chop and caused Tianlan to become alert.
As soon as his foot contacted the ground, he swiftly stepped back, narrowly missing the sword.
After creating some space, Tianlan entered his fighting stance.
“Oho! Look at that. The match just became far more interesting.”
“Right. It looks like Wu Ning has developed his sword skills to a high level. He is even able to force Big Brother to fight seriously.”
The stance Tianlan took was a sign that he was taking his opponent seriously.
“What do you mean serious? He’s just standing there.”
One of the spectators near them couldn’t resist speaking out.
What kind of serious stance involved standing relaxed with one’s arms by their sides?
“Stop speaking and just watch.”
Hei was disinclined to inform the audience. He was more interested in observing Wu Ning’s sword skills.
-Tap. Tap. Swish.
Tianlan used his opening move, and swiftly appeared behind Wu Ning already having launched a punch to his back.
Wu Ning responded by rotating while performing an upward slash with his sword.
The action was swift and smooth as if he had known exactly where Tianlan was.
“Wow. Does he have some kind of sensory ability?”
“Mm. The way he was able to accurately locate Big Brother, showed awareness. It’s unlike the way you defend using pure speed.”
“Mm. I wonder if it is a natural trait or if he practised it.”
Hei and Bai were impressed by Wu Ning’s abilities.
Tianlan quickly evaded the sword and came in for a punch while Wu Ning’s sword was still rising.
In response, Wu Ning changed the angle of his sword and dropped it down, managing to block Tianlan’s fist with the sword’s hilt, using the force of Tianlan’s punch to bring the sword edge back down towards him.
Hei was impressed by these moves.
This was the beginning of an entirely different battle. It was clear that both parties had been holding back during their previous exchanges.
“When did Wu Tianlan and Wu Ning get so strong?”
“This is the best fight I have ever seen!”
The audience was excited by the exchange. They never expected to witness such a fight during this competition.
“They’re both displaying strength similar to what can be seen in the externalisation realm.”
“Mm. For youths their age, this is quite impressive. Especially Wu Ning.”
“Looks like our Wu Clan has some geniuses this time.”
Everyone was discussing the battle that was continuing to increase in intensity.
The half-siblings were quiet during this time. They now realised that they were nothing much.
“Hm. Looks like they’re about even. Who do you think will win, Brother?”
“It depends how far Tianlan is willing to go. If he doesn’t aim for weak points, he will probably get tired first.”
Just as Hei said this, both fighters stopped their exchanges.
“It looks like you were right.”
Wu Ning said this as he lowered his sword.
“Right about what?”
Tianlan didn’t know what Wu Ning was talking about.
“Do you remember what you said to me back then?”
“Mm. I asked you why you were still training so hard, even though you had no spirit roots.”
“Oh? And what did I say?”
Truthfully, Tianlan didn’t remember this at all.
“Even the least talented can become the world’s strongest!”
Tianlan’s face dimmed. He didn’t want to hear those words now. The least talented can become the world’s strongest? Maybe if your name is Wu Bai. I’m also adorable darn it!
“You know, the one who said those words to me was Hei.”
Wu Ning remembered telling Hei the story of how Tianlan had inspired him to work hard in his training. Now he comes to find out that he was speaking to the source of the very words that inspired him.
Both boys turned to look at Hei.
“Eh? What’s this?”
Tianlan and Wu Ning were speaking quietly such that Hei and Bai couldn’t hear them.
“Do you want to fight me as well?”
This was all Hei could come up with.
Hei stood up and was ready to go down to the stage. He also wanted to have a go against a swordsman.
“No, that’s not it.”
Tianlan quickly answered. He and Bai had already discussed this. If at all possible, they would not let Hei fight with other people. He didn’t know how soul-crushing it was to face a tiny mountain.
“Everyone, a special guest has arrived.”
All of a sudden, an elder came out onto the stage and shouted this.
Hei was a little hopeful, he was waiting for something like this.
After the audience quietened down, the elder spoke again.
“Pay your respects to the patriarch.”
As he said this, a man walked into the stands and sat. Everyone around him moved away, making him the centre of attention.
Hei turned to Xiulan and noticed her gripping her gown tightly.
“It seems like the fun thing is going to happen after all, Mumu.”