Chapter 456: Zeus and Taiji

    Chapter 456: Zeus and Taiji

    Qi Mu was downtrodden. He felt worse than he did after the loss to Titan. Everyone knew how big a difference there was between their Disciplines - it was disgraceful! His second transformation was enough to protect him from harm, but these strikes would eventually wear him down. So, to protect himself, he was forced to use his energy-intensive third metamorphosis! The wolf's muscled figure shrunk again, but there was a distinct change in his aura.

    Qi Mu's defenses were quite powerful in his third metamorphosis. Even against Titan he hadn't taken much damage. He even had a chance to come back. Lan Jue's weaker attacks shouldn't be able to cause any trouble.

    But the stress of maintaining this had begun to burn away at his blood and affect him physically. He'd have to finish this fight in a hurry - he couldn't hold it for long.

    The lightning vanished, and Lan Jue did not press the attack. He leapt back to increase the distance between them, gone in a flash and appearing at the far end of the field.

    But as quick as he was gone, a flash of angry red was back in his face. It was the crimson energy of a claw swipe, raking at his face from above. The speed of Qi Mu's third metamorphosis was ludicrous. He was so furious with Zeus that he fully intended to end him right there. The full strength of his force Discipline, as well as his person loathing was behind the encroaching blast of power.

    Lan Jue held his arms before him in bowed arcs, his right hand on top and his left on the bottom as though cradling a watermelon. In the hand above a white light flickered, which was mirrored by the vacuous black energy in his bottom hand. Golden tendrils of lightning danced between them.

    The energies grew until they met and began to swirl in to one another. They created a vortex of black and white, with an orb of golden electricity in the center.


    Metatron shot to his feet. His hard eyes glared flagrantly at the ring below.

    Him? Is this the one that dared shame the Pontiff's Citadel?

    Yes! No wonder he sensed something familiar when he saw him fight. Was it not just the same as the other one who stole in to his home? Jue Di's disciple had left any permanent damage - he hadn't harmed anyone - but he had succeeded in thoroughly embarrassing the entire hierarchy. He stole away an asset, which was a heinous affront. They'd put a strangle order on the news, but everyone with power in the West knew all about it. Their reputation had suffered.

    But the one he'd faced had been much stronger. If this was the same man, though, Qi Mu wouldn't be a problem.

    Back on the field, Qi Mu's attack had found its target. The red light tore right through the strange vortex but did not break it. Lan Jue dodged nimbly to the side, and where he had stood a deep groove appeared in the floor.

    Qi Mu just gaped at him. Never in a thousand years would he believe that this weakling would simply knock aside his full might! Some trickery had saved the masked man from being slashed in two.

    The murderous light in the Wolf King's eyes flared. He raced forward, a flash of bloody red, and was in front of Lan Jue before he could blink. Jagged claws reached for his head, as fast as red lightning.

    Lan Jue's hands shot out, smooth as water. He slid backward with the claw, keeping it at length, retreating and directing his opponent's deadly swipe to the side. If the first time he'd avoided the wolf was a fluke, this one could not be. The full speed and strength of the third metamorphosis was a terrible force to behold. Qi Mi, though, felt it was all wrong.

    The Dark Citadel's representative reared back and lashed out again with both claws. Their deadly arc cut off Lan Jue's retreat.

    Zeus' eyes narrowed behind the mask. The golden lightning around him crackled louder, and the conflicting powers of black and white swelled in his hands. His palms stretched out to gently guide the deadly claws, while Lan Jue deftly maneuvered between them. Qi Mu's arms crashed together and Lan Jue danced out of harm's way.

    "Bang!" There was a burst of sound, and Qi Mu nearly lost his balance. The pain in his hands was blinding.

    "Taiji!" The Terminator's voice thundered through the arena. His pitch had risen sharply. The Gourmet sat beside him, holding tightly to Jun'er.

    The little one was busily clapping her tiny hands. "Daddy is the best!"

    The older generation of Adepts close enough to hear the words Taiji were startled. For the elders, surprise was replaced with fear. They knew what that word meant. It was utterly inconceivable that they would witness it here, used by this seemingly weak young man.

    Back in the day, when Jue Di was attacked by the collected strength of the Alliances, he had used this martial art to protect himself. It was said that when one's Taiji mastery reached protogenic levels, no harm could come to them. The forces of Taiji, the forces of the universe, would inexplicably cast all dangers to the side. The nine strikes of Taiji were very strong, but that was not the whole nature of the art. It was a product of ancient China, the birthplace of all martial arts, and taught the practitioner to best the unyielding with softness. Very few practitioners ever really understood the essence of Taiji.

    Qi Mu's third metamorphosis gave him the power of a ninth ranked Adept, furthering the gulf between him and Lan Jue. Still, every attack was parried, diffused, or avoided. The harder he hit, the more potent his opponent's Taiji defense.

    Waves of energy rippled through the ring as though they stood in a pool. They spread out from Lan Jue to undermine any attack the Wolf King tried to pursue. Thirteen times he swiped at the masked man's face and missed. Lan Jue eventually stepped away from the insidious energy, but when Qi Mu tried to pursue his body resisted. His face darkened like a bruise.

    "Ugh!" The Wolf King spat out a mouthful of blood. He staggered backward and finally could sustain his third form no longer.

    Lan Jue watched him calmly from a few steps away. "You're hurt. If we keep this up it may cause lasting damage. Are you sure you want to go on?"

    Utter disbelief was written on Qi Mu's face, but he knew Zeus was right. If he kept it up he may eventually win the fight, but at the cost of his health. He snarled, bearing his lupine fangs, then stomped out of the ring.

    He's lost... Qi Mu, the Wolf King, has lost to Zeus! Titan had his challenger in the Monarch, who shared two victories. He'd displayed trickery and tactics before, but his victory today was pure skill.

    Taiji masters renounced all worldly pleasures. In the end, their task is to spread their knowledge.

    Even Jong Yongye, the new darling of the tournament, watched Lan Jue carefully and with interest. Xuanyuan Shishi was the same. He exchanged a glance with Jong Yongye, and a nod of the head.

    Group One was nearly decided. The next fight would be Lan Jue and Titan, and no one dared discount Lan Jue after what he'd done to Qi Mu. No one could say for certain Titan wouldn't meet the same fate.

    Mo Xiao heaved a long breath. She had an odd look in her eye, and looked at the Terminator with a little uncertainty. "Your Majesty. You mentioned Taiji... the martial art that Jue Di was known to use, from the former era?"

    The Terminator look at her and nodded. His face was sour, and he did not speak. For Adepts - and for Paragons especially - the name Jue Di was taboo.

    Hua Li watched with scrunched brows from the VIP booth. "What is Mo Xiao doing? What the hell is she thinking talking him up right now?"

    "Now don't say I didn't warn you, A-Li," Chu Cheng instructed. "I've always said that Mo Xiao has something against A-Jue. Who the hell knows why, but you've got to handle that business. We're brothers, don't avoid it."

    "Yeah I know... but I had no idea Lan Jue's Taiji skills were at this level," the rock star praised.

    Chu Cheng pulled a sour face. "Qi Mu's just an idiot. See if it were me, I'd blast him in the face with an inferno. See how he deals with that."

    "Funny," Hua Li mused. "I'm pretty sure you aren't in the quarter finals and he is."

    Chu Cheng went rigid, then pretended like he hadn't heard.

    Group Two fights were about to begin; The Pharmacist versus Qian Bian. Chi Tianjiao versus Jiang Yuan.

    Nothing unexpected happened, and they finished as without any upsets. Qian Bian could do nothing in the face of the Pharmacist's overwhelming strength. Her attacks were so oppressive he didn't even have a chance to shift in to his weapon forms. He managed to block seven attacks before succumbing.

    Chi Tianjiao seemed shaken to her Core from the Pharmacist. She wasn't even able to mount a defense against the necromancer.
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