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If it were up to Dick, Mack would be called a great talent as he was well accomplished in terms of magic arrays. The problem, however, was that he was also known to be a bloodthirsty butcher with a cruel propensity to kill.

The Cloud Sect valued its disciples’ compliance with the sect’s rules and submission to its strength without having any moral constraints on their behavior. Despite his dislike of the sect’s doctrine, Dick felt powerless to change it. Instead of acting out against it, he would make sure to stick to his own principles when faced with a moral dilemma.

After some pondering, Dick thought to be grateful for Master Yu’s mentorship in Blackrock Peak and it helped him make the choice to not directly refuse his Master’s request. Nonetheless, he could still avoid a full-on fight with Zen by persuading him to surrender—he didn’t want to hurt his rival so cruelly just to win like what Mack did.

A hint of surprise flashed in Zen’s eyes as he never would have expected Dick to be such a righteous man. With a gentle nod and smile, he said, “The Cloud Sect is gathered with practitioners from all over the world. This is a place where the strong speak without any regard for moral conduct. Though many fellow disciples are talented and powerful, many are also as cruel and murderous as beasts. Compared to them, your righteousness is admirable. You’re a diamond in the rough, truly. Still, I won’t surrender to you!”
“But if you don’t give in, I might have to hurt you after I defeat you…” Dick insisted.

Unable to refuse Master Yu’s request, Dick promised him that he would teach Zen a lesson unless he surrendered beforehand.

“Oh, you don’t have to worry about that. After all, we don’t know who will come out the winner before we have a real fight. Besides, even if I start losing to you during the battle, you can pull your punches and leave chances for me to give in. I don’t believe your master would blame you for that,” Zen explained carefully.

Upon hearing his words, Dick replied with a smile. “Well, sounds like a good idea. Alright, let’s get this over with.”

With that, he pulled out an ink brush from his sleeve.
In the world of martial arts, there were many kinds of weapons. Only a few practitioners would choose a pen to specialize with, and among those who did, most of them used a “Judge’s Brush”—a metal pen in the shape of a writing brush, similar to a piercer, and could be used to stab enemies.

As for Dick’s weapon, it had a wooden stalk and a bundle of wolf hair at the tip—a real ink brush.
It was astonishing in Zen’s eyes. Seeing a writing tool be used as a weapon was quite rare.

Still, Zen didn’t dare lower his guard. After all, Dick was a top disciple of the Blackrock Peak—the second strongest peak among thirty-three peaks—and he was undoubtedly powerful, having defeated several people consecutively.
Being a strong contender himself, Zen understood that underestimating his rival would lead to deep regret.

After Dick pulled out his weapon, his black life vitality began flowing from his hands and drifting in the air around him. Gradually, it concentrated together and slowly transformed into a dense cloud of mist before turning into some mysterious black liquid.

When Dick held up his sleeve and dipped the brush into the matter, Zen realized that it was his ink.

His opponent just transformed his life vitality into a kind of magical ink.
Zen’s brows shot up in surprise at Dick’s special weapon. Although he couldn’t tell what his rival was about to do with his tools, he prepped himself for his simple countermeasure—Zen would throw his punches.
In this battle, Zen wanted to exert his physical strength to the most extent and he decided not to make use of his life vitality unless defeating his rival with his fists turned out to be impossible.

In one smooth motion, Zen dashed towards Dick, moving across the short distance until he was right in front of his rival. From either side, he readied his fists and jabbed them towards Dick.

All the disciples of Cloud Sect were already aware of Zen’s great physical power. In spite of the sudden attack, Dick’s expression remained calm in the face of Zen’s aggressive motions and the audience couldn’t help but feel unnerved for him.

Most of the disciples had bet on Dick’s victory while the few who wanted to speculate took the risk of betting on Zen.
If Dick took a beating in the first round, many of the betters would suffer a crushing loss.

Watching Zen approach him aggressively, Dick leisurely lifted his inked brush and pointed his brush at his opponent. As soon as he made the gesture, he suddenly sped up considerably.

In a blink, he wrote a word in the direction of Zen’s left hand that read: “seal”.
The word was written vigorously while also displaying a sense of solemnity.
After he finished with the word, Zen immediately felt all the strength in his left hand disappear, sealed by a mysterious power.

Although one of his fists turned weak, his right fist was still on track, only a few feet away from Dick’s face.

Nonetheless, Dick’s expression remained the same. In another swift motion, he dipped his brush in ink once again and wrote: “defend”.
Compared to the former word, this one was much thicker and heavier in form.

With unstoppable momentum, Zen smashed his fist into the heavy word which seemed to have taken on a real, solid form.
When he hit the object, Zen’s face visibly changed.
Knowing that Dick was in the Illuminating Soul Realm, Zen didn’t bother to save his strength and employed ninety percent of his physical strength and all the power in his dragon scales. Even with all that strength combined, the huge word written with Dick’s life vitality ink didn’t even budge.





After four punches, a crack finally formed on the huge word that acted as a shield. With another strike, Zen shattered it to pieces.
Simultaneously, Dick had already taken several steps backward. With a stroke of his brush, another “defend” appeared in front of him. Continuously this time, he dipped his brush in the ink and wrote the “defend” word in the air a number of times until he was surrounded by it.

“This is my ‘defense song.’ It can take on the damage five times before it breaks, no matter how powerful your attack is.
As for that word which seals the strength in your left hand, it’s my ‘seal song.’ It can stop you from exerting your strength or life vitality, so your left hand will remain useless for some time,” Dick explained the defense he arranged.

His short lecture left Zen dumbfounded. Generally speaking, it was malpractice for a refiner to tell his enemies about his own skills and their functions because his enemies would be able to come up with countermeasures with the information given. It was because Dick was so confident about his own power that he was open to detailing his skills. Moreover, his righteous moral standard demanded a straightforward attitude and behavior even in front of his enemies.

“Seal song?”

When he swung his left arm, Zen could feel how torpid and sluggish it had become. The “seal” word’s influence seemed to have shut off the whole arm’s strength.

“Right. You won’t be able to break it but don’t worry. The seal’s effect will fade in two hours,” Dick added slowly. Although they were in the middle of a battle, his quiet expression suggested they were in an academic environment instead.

“I can’t break it? Are you certain?” Zen asked, raising an eyebrow.
He exerted the power of the Emerald Crystal in his left arm with his mind. Suddenly, the effective power against enchantments burst out and flooded into the word around his hand. After a few seconds, a red crack appeared on the word before it completely broke the word to pieces and vanished in thin air.
“What?” Dick’s eyes flashed in astonishment. “Good job! Well, it seems that I was exaggerating. Although you’re only two steps into the nature level, you have a very powerful means to stay in the winning streak. I’ll admit I’ve underestimated you but that’s just a small portion of the fight. Let’s continue!”

With the eight “defend” arranged around him as his defense, Dick dipped the brush in more ink and wrote “kill” three times in a row before giving the command, “Go now.”

With that thought, Zen raised his fists and rocketed towards the words.
Over the course of the battle, Dick proved to be a troublesome rival for Zen. With all the spells of defense he set up around himself, Zen had to attack several times before smashing through a single shield. Still, even if he was able to, Dick could easily replace the words while the defenses were under attack.

Even with solely his ‘defense song, ‘ Dick was nearly an invincible enemy for Zen. As he dealt with Dick’s ‘kill song, ‘ Zen’s mind was distracted with thinking of how he could successfully break through the other’s defenses.

When he punched the first “kill” approaching him, he immediately felt a great counterforce from the solid word. Instantly, the huge word suddenly exploded and the impact pushed Zen backward.

Standing in the center of the field, Zen lost his balance under the immense power and his body was knocked from the ground only to be smashed against the enchanted barrier around the area.

Although the enchanted barrier was a part of the Cloud Sect’s great array and could supposedly take an enormous amount of damage, when Zen knocked into it, the barrier visibly trembled under the pressure.
All the enchanted barriers had their limitations of impact they could take in while maintaining their shape.

Naturally, with the counter force of Zen’s punch paired with the power of Dick’s spell, the force had approximated the limitation of the barrier and a crack already started to form in its corner.

The referee was left astonished having noticed the damage. Enchanted barriers were meant to separate the competition field from the auditorium and protect the audiences.

No one would have expected the barrier to split from the force of a single attack between the two rivals. Zen and Dick’s opposing strengths were beyond anyone’s imagination.

Given the uncommon occurrence, the referee looked at an old man sitting in the auditorium—an elder of the Cloud Sect. Understanding the referee’s questioning look, he simply waved his hand. Life vitality began flowing from his hand and injecting into the barrier which then became intact again.
After the hard crash into the barrier, Zen slid down the surface. For a moment, he sat quietly on the ground, downcast because of the blow he just took.


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