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(With just one punch(1)

No one was talking around the ring whereas before, it had been noisy. Everyone's mouth gaped open as if they could swallow a basin.     

Nory's eyes sparkled. Although he was excited about the strength Zen was going to show before the fight, and he was convinced that Zen could win against the short man, he had no idea that Zen would do so with just one punch.   

It had taken Zen only one punch to defeat a man who was half-step into the nature level!     

All eyes reflected horror.     

Even the black-robed inner disciples of Drizzle Peak, who had come to watch the battle, looked astonished.     

"Glenn, what do you think of his strength?" asked a black-robed disciple.   
"He has shown such power, and he's only at the marrow refining level," analyzed Glenn cautiously, who was also dressed in a black robe. "Then it won't be long before he is promoted to an inner disciple..." He then paused briefly before correcting himself. He said, "No, not only that. If he becomes a nature creature, Ronald Su would probably lose his Number one rank among the inner disciples to him... "    

"He is so awesome?!" cried the black-robed disciple, his eyes widening.     Glenn shook his head and replied, "I can't judge his strength with this one blow. But I dare say that's just the tip of the iceberg. Maybe... You and I are no match for him."   

 "We're no match for him?" echoed the other black-robed disciple. His expression conveyed the bewilderment he was feeling. "We are nature creatures now. We can take advantage of our vitality to manipulate our energy into weapons. Our means of attack far exceed those of a man at the marrow refining level. How come he... "  

"I don't know," Glenn interrupted with a shake of his head. "I just feel that way."    "Wow... "   

 After a while, all the outer disciples of Drizzle Peak recovered from the shock and began to cheer.     

Zen had demonstrated more power than they imagined he had.    

 However, these outer disciples were aware that this victory did not mean that Zen would win the whole challenge. 

    After all, Zen had to battle with three other strong disciples from Vulture Peak later, and presumably, each would be more powerful than the previous contestant.     

It didn't matter. Zen had saved Drizzle Peak's reputation! Although Drizzle Peak ranked last from among the 33 peaks, everybody who was its disciple, valued the collective honor of the peak.   

It took a lot of courage for Zen to stand up for Drizzle Peak at such times.   

  The faces of the twenty or so disciples who had come from Vulture Peak, darkened.   

  They sent four men through the crowd to drag the short man out of the rubble, and carry him back to their side. But the disciples of Drizzle Peak took advantage of the situation and caused trouble. 

Mischief glinted in their eyes as they jostled each other so that the disciples from Vulture Peak had a hard time getting the short man back.     

Zen walked along the edge of the ring to the people from Vulture Peak and shouted, "Vulture Peak, who else wants to fight me?"    

Who else wanted to fight him?     

Zen put this question in a flat tone of voice, but what he said actually was subtly aggressive.   

His words implied that he had already defeated one person and that his next opponent would also meet the same fate.    

 This sentence was more pernicious than Tan's and the short man's rambling sarcasm!    

 His question was like a hard slap to his enemies' faces.   

  "Humph, you, a guy at the marrow refining level, how dare you be so arrogant? I'll challenge you!"    

A man stepped out from the disciples of Vulture Peak. He was big and burly, and his white robe bulged with his taut muscles.     

The strong man sprang to his feet and fell on the ring like an iron tower. When his feet touched the ring, he deliberately launched his life energy, which resulted in a depression in the ring. This was quite shocking to see as the ring was made of refined iron. All of a sudden, the entire battle ring shook and thundered with tremendous momentum. It was clear that he was trying to show off.   

"I'm Keith Hu, ranked ninth at Vulture Peak!" The strong man, though keen to show his force, was upright, and not sarcastic like the short man had been.   

  Since Keith Hu was polite, Zen cupped his hands toward him in return. "I'm Zen Luo, no ranking at Drizzle Peak," he introduced himself briefly.     

"No ranking?" Keith Hu paused for a moment and then realized that Zen had been recently admitted to Drizzle Peak. If that was the case, then it was normal for him to have no ranking. "Well, let's start now!" he exclaimed.   

  Keith Hu then roared and channeled his life energy. The result was clear—his muscles doubled in size.    

 Then came the sound of cloth tearing. 

  His snow-white robe representing his identity as an outer disciple was torn because of his expanding muscles. 

Standing in the ring, he looked like a giant, and his horrifying explosive power could be seen from his size.    

 Seeing this scene, the outer disciples of Drizzle Peak felt anxious for Zen. 

    Vulture Peak was indeed much stronger than Drizzle Peak.     

Zen had just beaten one guy, and here stood another who looked more powerful than the last. Keith Hu was only ranked ninth at Vulture Peak. The disciples from Drizzle Peak wondered how formidable their top-ranked outer disciple would be.     

"I have no other merit but great strength. If I lose control of my force, your body might be smashed to a pulp. You'd better think again. I will accept if you surrender now!" said Keith Hu with a serious look.  

   Zen observed his face and realized that Keith Hu was sincere. It was for Zen's sake that he asked Zen to surrender. 

  "No, thank you anyway," Zen refused with a laugh.     

"Then, be careful!" Keith Hu took a deep breath and charged at Zen, like a wild, ancient beast.    

 "Thump, thump, thump..."    

a deafening sound accompanied each step taken by Keith Hu.    

 As the saying goes, a man of great strength can defeat ten men of martial arts. Keith Hu's attacks did not involve tricks or false moves, because he wanted to surpass Zen based on his power alone.

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