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Chapter 181: The Sword Fanatic Ji Juechen

    After another fifteen minutes, Huo Yuhao leaped up energetically and nodded his head at Xuan Ziwen. He was signaling that he was ready to continue.

    Xuan Ziwen couldn't help but wish that there was a metal that was as resistant as Huo Yuhao after he saw how energetic and competitive Huo Yuhao was.

    The third Class 6 soul engineer appeared. He was a male soul engineer, and appeared to be around twenty-five or twenty-six years old. His long, black hair was tied behind his head. He also seemed a little pale, but was extremely charming. However, his eyes lacked energy, and even his movements felt very slow and lethargic.

    Among all the guys that Huo Yuhao had ever met, only Wang Dong could match him in terms of looks. However, Wang Dong's beauty carried a sense of tenderness, while this guy's beauty was built on his aloofness. Huo Yuhao couldn't sense any emotions from this guy.

    He held a short-sword in his hand that was around four inches in length. The sword was entirely black, and had a simple pattern. Nothing seemed very special about it. It even slightly resembled a rod used to control a stove fire.

    However, Huo Yuhao's got goosebumps when he first saw him. Jing Ziyan already posed a danger to him, but this guy appeared to be even more dangerous than her.

    Huo Yuhao's Spiritual Detection was still activated , but it seemed to lose its effect on this guy. He couldn't even sense this guy's soul power.

    "Ji Juechen." Jing Ziyan's introduction was already extremely concise. But his introduction was even more so.

    "Huo Yuhao." Huo Yuhao nodded his head as he looked at him.

    But Huo Yuhao was surprised when Ji Juechen suddenly said, "I signed up at the last minute because of your fist. I found something that I've been looking for in your fist. Please allow me to sense it. Thanks."

    As he spoke, he held his sword with both hands and slowly bowed towards Huo Yuhao. His eyes started to emit a bright light that was filled with passion. Right now, it seemed like only the sword existed in his eyes.

    Two yellow, two purple and two black soul rings rose from his feet.

    When Huo Yuhao saw the look in his eyes, he only had one thought - this guy is crazy. However, his expression turned extremely serious in the next moment. Sometimes, a madman was scarier than ordinary people.

    "Can you wait an hour for me?" Huo Yuhao asked.

    Ji Juechen's eyes were already focused on his sword, but he shouted, "Please!"

    Huo Yuhao sat cross-legged and straightened his body. He entered his meditative state once again.

    Neither of them were speaking softly. Those with sensitive hearing could listen in on their conversation. Although Xuan Ziwen was the referee, he didn't speak as he stood to one side. He also thought that Ji Juechen was a madman. Even the academy and the Illustrious Virtue Hall's students thought the same way.

    Ji Juechen was an anomaly in the Illustrious Virtue Hall. Firstly, he wasn't a soul engineer. But neither was he purely a soul master. However, he was the chief disciple in the Active Control Soul Tool Department.

    His martial soul was a Sword. But it was just an ordinary sword that didn't possess any powerful capabilities. His innate soul power was only Rank 3, and he could barely cultivate.

    However, he fell in love with his sword after his martial soul awakened when he was six. There was nothing except his sword in his eyes. He unleashed his martial soul to cultivate tirelessly every day. No one knew how he managed to increase his soul power. When he was eight, his soul power reached Rank 10. He entered an area filled with soul beasts alone with his sword and only escaped three days later covered in blood. He obtained a hundred year soul ring from a soul beast that he had personally killed. He obtained a soul skill that helped to enhance his soul power like a soul engineer.

    The average soul power of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy's students was above that of Shrek. That was because most of them consumed all types of medicine to increase their soul power. This was extremely effective before they reached seven-ringed cultivations. But at least ninety-five percent of them couldn't reach seven rings because they consumed all these medicines. Reaching Class 5 or Class 6 was already very sufficient for these soul engineers.

    However, Ji Juechen was different from everyone here. He didn't consume any medicine. He only remained here to challenge others, since there were many strong soul engineers in the academy.

    His sword was a piece of Extraterrestrial Meteoric Steel. After obtaining it, he used his own methods to grind and shape this Extraterrestrial Meteoric Steel. After more than ten years, it finally developed the shape of a sword. Using external materials as one's weapon seemed to be the job of a soul engineer, but he did it anyway.

    In the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, he was definitely the odd one out. Jing Hongchen had given him special permission to enter the Illustrious Virtue Hall. As the chief disciple of the Active Control Soul Tool Department, he had the right to choose his opponents. However, he was only allowed one challenge every month, because Jing Hongchen didn't want the Illustrious Virtue Hall and the academy's daily operations to be disrupted

    The students and even the teachers gave him a nickname because of his trait  - Sword Fanatic! Sword Fanatic Ji Juechen.

    No one was willing to interact with him in the academy. That was because he was very silent apart from the challenges he issued. He only cared about his sword. He would even talk to his sword at times. He only responded to those who challenged him.

    He didn't come yesterday because such a sparring competition was meaningless to him. But Jing Ziyan was one of the few friends he had. Jing Ziyan had even defeated him before. She told him that there was a youth from Shrek Academy who was very strong and dragged him to watch today's competition. Indeed, she had lost. But Ji Juechen decided to sign up when he saw Huo Yuhao's fist strike.

    This wasn't allowed. But Ji Juechen barged his way in. The fourth person who was supposed to compete didn't dare to resist when he saw the Extraterrestrial Meteoric Sword.

    Ji Juechen also sat down and placed his sword across his legs. He pressed his hands on his sword before entering a meditative state too.

    The two of them faced each other with a hundred and fifty meter gap between them. The entire Soul Tool Experimentation Area went silent.

    A few in the spectators' stands who knew about Ji Juechen were even gloating. To them, a wicked person would always be afflicted by a similar personality. Ji Juechen was rumored to have defeated a Class 7 soul engineer! Huo Yuhao was in trouble as he faced Ji Juechen.

    Jing Hongchen looked pensive. What did Ji Juechen mean when he referred to Huo Yuhao's fist?

    As he shut his eyes, he recalled Huo Yuhao's frightening fist. He couldn't help but exclaim in his heart. No wonder he's the disciple of the Dragon Douluo Elder Mu! Although the Dragon Douluo has passed away, he left behind someone who could become an Ultimate Douluo. This young man is going to be something in the future. It's a pity he can't be of use to me. Without this exchange, our next encounters' going to be different.

    Jing Hongchen's eyes flashed with a cold light as he thought till here. Shrek Academy's position on the continent was very prominent. Shrek Academy had played an important role during the war thousands of years ago. If not for their help at the critical moment, everything would be different now. While the Crown Prince was disabled, he was much more powerful than the other princes. Since he'd decided to aid the Crown Prince, he needed to do all he could to remove any obstacles.

    "Jiayi, control the crowd." After sensing some commotion from the spectators, Jing Hongchen furrowed his brows.

    Lin Jiayi quickly picked up the sound-amplifying soul tool and said, "Silence. Please give the competitors a quiet environment."

    "This spar is likely to be very exciting. Teachers, please maintain order."

    One hour wasn't short. A layer of white gas drifted from Huo Yuhao's body as he sat there. This white gas was formed from the Mysterious Heaven Technique.

    Xuan Ziwen sensed a refreshing coldness from this white gas. He was also wondering who would win between Huo Yuhao and Ji Juechen. If their cultivations were similar, Huo Yuhao would likely be the victor. Huo Yuhao's twin martial souls gave him a huge advantage. Furthermore, he had demonstrated his immense close-combat abilities in the previous rounds. Xuan Ziwen had seen Ji Juechen's sword before, and was amazed by it. But it was different from the amazement he experienced when he watched Huo Yuhao. Ji Juechen wasn't flexible enough, as he only had his sword. He didn't even possess any long-range capabilities. The soul engineers who beaten him had tried their best to widen the gap with him. They used long-range soul tools to deplete his soul power before beating him. But only those who beat him in close-combat won his respect. For example, Jing Ziyan was one of them. She was once his target, but he lost to her eventually.

    Perhaps they were both affected by the air around them, but their eyes opened at the same time. As their gazes met, they leapt up concurrently.

    At this point, Xuan Ziwen didn't need to announce the start of the round.

    They didn't burst towards each other immediately. They stared at each other from a hundred fifty meters away, and stood in their positions quietly.

    An invisible pressure started to bear down in the Soul Tool Experimentation Area. Ji Juechen wielded his sword with both hands, and his six soul rings surfaced. A streak of sharp aura shot out from his body. His entire person seemed to fuse with his sword at this instant.

    Fusing his soul into his sword. This was Ji Juechen's cultivation method. His martial soul was converted completely into force, and wasn't a physical entity. It had fused completely with his Extraterrestrial Meteoric Sword. He was the sword, and the sword was him. They were inseparable.

    That sharp aura originated from his swift and fierce sword intent.

    The Extraterrestrial Meteoric Sword let out a slight roar as he injected his soul power into it. The tip of the sword seemed to be shaking slightly. Ji Juechen's aura surged. Once this sword was unleashed, there was bound to be trouble.

    Huo Yuhao didn't move as much as him. He stood there quietly, and his arms were wide open to his sides. He slowly clenched his fists. Distorted rays of light started to shoot out from his body.

    White, yellow, purple, black and red. Five different colored soul rings intersected and flashed on his body. It wasn't possible to differentiate which were real and which were fake.

    An azure-green radiance shot out from his backbone. His clothes couldn't conceal the intense light. Azure-green light also extended from his left arm, while his right arm dimmed. It was wreathed with a dark-golden radiance.

    A bright golden light shone from his eyes, revealing his dominant aura. There was a purple sparkle amidst the golden light.

    Huo Yuhao enhanced his soul power, soul bones, and soul rings to their highest level in the face of a strong opponent. The hour of meditation allowed him to unleash his full potential at this point.

    Against Ji Juechen, he had many ways to deal with him. But he wouldn't use his own soul skills. That was because he could clearly sense that this battle with Ji Juechen was his best opportunity to increase his mastery of the Sovereign's Descent that he had inherited from Elder Mu.

    Ji Juechen mentioned that he wanted to see Huo Yuhao's fist that he had used against Jing Ziyan. He wanted nothing else but the fist. Ji Juechen also revealed his sword intent in front of Huo Yuhao without holding back. They were going to decide this duel using the simplest method. They were also competing in the simplest of things.

    At this point, Huo Yuhao's aura was much inferior to Ji Juechen's. His aura wasn't as condensed as his opponent's. Against the sharp sword intent, he was easily brushed aside. Ji Juechen's aura also ballooned and put a lot of pressure on Huo Yuhao.

    Huo Yuhao's left leg made half a step to his left. Just as the sole of his foot was about to land on the ground, a muffled sound was heard. Following that, an frightening intent erupted from his body. This intent was extremely strong, and resisted the sword intent that was already closing in on him. Huo Yuhao managed to counteract the situation immediately.

    An illusory light projection also appeared behind Huo Yuhao, and an illusory image of the Ice Jade Empress Scorpion surfaced subtly on his back. That's right, Huo Yuhao used the soul beast aura from the four hundred thousand year Ice Jade Empress Scorpion to make his aura even stronger, and resisted the swift and fierce sword intent.

    Ji Juechen's body jerked slightly, but the look in his eyes became more resolute. His six soul rings flashed, and he held his sword with both hands. The tip of the sword was pointed toward the ground, and that side of his body was slightly forward. His legs were still. He was facing Huo Yuhao laterally.

    His sword intent transformed once again. It turned from swift and fierce to vicious. His powerful aura shrank and clashed with the aura that Huo Yuhao had unleashed. It managed to force Huo Yuhao's aura into retreating slightly.

    Intent! Fist intent! I need my own intent, not the Ice Empress' intent.

    Huo Yuhao felt something in his mind breaking apart in the face of this tremendous pressure. A sobering effect caused him to be jolted awake at this instant.

    The few powerful beings who were slumbering in Huo Yuhao's spiritual sea woke up at the same time. They were shocked as they saw the golden ocean that surged. The immense spiritual power released a bright golden light, and the entire spiritual sea was transforming greatly.

    "Ice Empress, give me protection." The Skydream Iceworm spoke, and golden light rings started to spread out from his body.

    One of his nine golden light rings was crushed. After that, it consolidated again to form an entity that resembled a golden sun. This golden sun directly flew above Huo Yuhao's spiritual sea and seemed to completely combust. Golden light expanded in all directions.

    The Ice Empress also revealed her original formed in the spiritual sea. She lifted her pincers, and a dim azure-green light projection was revealed. She and the Skydream Iceworm were engulfed within this projection. No matter how ferocious Huo Yuhao's spiritual sea was, it couldn't impact them.

    Electrolux appeared beside them silently. As he saw the combusting golden sun above the spiritual sea, he revealed a slight smile on his face.

    "I didn't expect the change to be so quick and vast. Good, good, good!"

    The Skydream Iceworm also appeared to be very excited. His chubby figure twisted as he was protected by the Ice Empress. The remaining eight golden soul rings on his body also flashed with waves of golden light.

    A beautiful, white figure flashed into being for a moment. This figure seemed to mutter a sound before disappearing.

    Huo Yuhao wasn't clear on everything that was happening in his spiritual world. He was in a very special state now. He could only feel his soul power and spiritual power that was unleashed under the control of his mind combining at a terrifying speed.

    A great teacher could provide shortcuts for his students. In this world, there was hardly anyone who was a better teacher than Elder Mu; former Master of the Sea God's Pavilion, Ultimate Douluo and Dragon Douluo.

    The Sovereign's Descent was the reason why Huo Yuhao's soul and spiritual power had combined.

    Elder Mu once told Huo Yuhao that the Sovereign's Descent was a path on its own. It combined one's spiritual and soul power; it was a special path that involved creating one's own soul skill. To an ordinary soul master, he could only cultivate it when he became a seven-ringed Soul Douluo. It was only then that his spiritual power could complement his soul power. However, this wasn't necessarily the case for Huo Yuhao. He was a spiritual-type soul master. But Elder Mu could only guide him to this path. He had to decide how he wanted to walk this path, and to what extent he wanted to walk it.

    Huo Yuhao used his talent and hard work to control the Sovereign's Descent before Elder Mu passed on. Elder Mu was very comforted by this, but he told Huo Yuhao that combining one's soul and spiritual power was very rare on the continent. Even he did not know how far Huo Yuhao could progress down this path. He hoped that Huo Yuhao would seize every opportunity to improve. When he could make the Sovereign's Descent one of his soul skills, he would become one of the best soul masters.

    At this point, Huo Yuhao was in a magical fusion state. The tremendous pressure he was under unlocked his potential and caused him to improve significantly. His Eye of Destiny had already opened on its own. Fortunately, a layer of intense light was already shining around Huo Yuhao's body, thus, no one could see what he looked like. Otherwise, he would've been exposed.

    Ji Juechen continued to face Huo Yuhao laterally. Right now, he was extremely shocked. Only he knew how frightening Huo Yuhao was at this point.

    He had already reached his limit as he unleashed his sword intent at Huo Yuhao, but it was like moths flying into a fire, and also resembled waves hitting an immovable boulder. His sword intent couldn't touch Huo Yuhao at all.

    Ji Juechen knew he couldn't wait any longer. His method of using his aura to take Huo Yuhao down was completely useless now. If he waited any longer, his confidence would collapse first.

    Ji Juechen suddenly lifted his head, and there seemed to be two bolts of lightning in his eyes that were targeted at Huo Yuhao.

    In the next instant, his entire body became like a queer streak of light. He stuck close to the ground as he approached Huo Yuhao.

    It was a light ray that glided across the ground. It was extremely fast. Without the help of any soul tool, this was the fastest speed a six-ringed Soul Emperor could reach. Even an agility-type soul master couldn't compare to him at this point.

    Ji Juechen's upper body seemed slightly slower compared to this light.

    He held his sword with both hands and turned his body slightly. The short sword swept out. While his action seemed very simple, he was very dangerous as he performed it. His action was very slow, but it was completed in one go.

    As the Extraterrestial Meteoric Sword slowly swept forward, a huge depression that was several meters wide was formed. This depression extended with Ji Juechen as he moved, becoming deeper and deeper.

    When Ji Juechen's body shot out, he seemed to be guided by the air around him. Huo Yuhao also moved at this moment.

    He took a step forward with his left leg, but didn't burst out like Ji Juechen. When his left leg landed on the ground, the entire Soul Tool Experimentation Area resonated with a deep rumbling sound. Xuan Ziwen lost his balance, and almost fell down.

    Huo Yuhao made a half-turn. He didn't have a sword, but he had his fist. He didn't use any soul skill or his Darkgolden Terrorclaws. He relied solely on his right fist.

    However, his right fist had turned completely golden at this moment. It was a gold that looked condensed, heavy, all-engulfing, and completely dominant.

    The two of them seemed to have practiced together. When the pitch-black sword finished its sweep, Huo Yuhao completed his turn. His golden fist collided with the tip of the Extraterrestrial Meteoric Sword.

    Xuan Ziwen staggered back two steps, shocked. When the fist and sword collided, he felt the surrounding air collapse as everything became distorted and unreal. Even though it was only for an instant, he knew he wasn't seeing things.

    Jing Hongchen had already stood up from his seat in the main spectators stand. He was stunned when he realized that he couldn't understand the true meaning behind the collision. The impact force wasn't too impressive, but he could sense that it wasn't just a simple collision, an immense aura had been released. While there weren't any flashy soul skills shown, there was something unclear and incomprehensible to him in it.

    A second after the collision, a reverberating boom sounded out.

    BOOM!

    Fissures appeared in the ground, which started to collapse. The fissures extended out from the two fighters for almost thirty meters.

    Huo Yuhao and Ji Juechen were also thrown back. Ji Juechen held on tightly to his Extraterrestrial Meteoric Sword. The area between his thumb and index finger started bleeding profusely.

    Huo Yuhao's entire right arm was covered in blood. He was thrown back twice as far as Ji Juechen. After landing, he staggered another seven to eight steps before stabilizing himself.

    Did he lose? Many of the spectators wondered.

    From the verbal abuse on the first day, to the thirty consecutive victories, to today's defeat of Shen Musu and Jing Ziyan, the students from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy had no choice but to admit that Huo Yuhao was very powerful. They wondered who was strong enough to defeat him. Now, they seemed to have gotten an answer.

    But Huo Yuhao wasn't as frantic as they thought he would be. He didn't move after he stabilized his body. Although he was breathing rather heavily, his eyes were still filled with golden light. As he lifted his right hand, he quietly looked at his bright golden fist. He didn't utter a word.

    Ji Juechen didn't move after he landed on the ground. He wasn't forced as far back as Huo Yuhao. He didn't stagger or spit out blood, either. However, his gaze wasn't as sharp as before. He even seemed like he was in a trance. He didn't even appear to realize that his blood was seeping down his sword from where the skin had split on his hand.

    The two of them just stood where they were, neither showing an intent to take action. If not for the fact that the ground between them had cracked almost two meters deep, it would've looked like nothing had happened.

    Xuan Ziwen slowly recovered from his shock. He was the closest to the two of them, and thus had felt it the most. He had clearly sensed an immense force appear in his mind, threatening to tear his spirit apart. That was why he retreated in shock. He was a little fearful at this point, even though he was an six-ringed Soul Emperor and a Class 8 soul engineer.

    Huo Yuhao and Ji Juechen weren't powerful enough to give him such a feeling. This meant that it didn't originate from soul power or pure spiritual power. It was a strange force that Xuan Ziwen had never experienced before, which shocked him the most.

    The golden color on Huo Yuhao's right fist slowly disappeared. At this point, it was possible to see several wounds on his right arm. Once the golden light disappeared, fresh blood could be seen flowing. His entire right arm was stained blood-red.

    But Huo Yuhao wasn't bothered by it. He pressed down on his right arm with his left hand, and the blood flow stopped. He sealed his right arm with ice before sitting down. He shut his eyes and started to meditate.

    Jing Hongchen said something to Lin Jiayi softly. Lin Jiayi stood up quickly and rushed to find Xuan Ziwen. He whispered, "Teacher Xuan, who's the winner? Did Huo Yuhao lose?"

    Xuan Ziwen laughed bitterly. "Honestly speaking, I don't know. I can't judge who the winner is."

    At this moment, Ji Juechen's body trembled a little. After that, he lifted his head and looked over. His face was abnormally pale, but he had an unprecedented look of excitement in his eyes. "I've lost."

    After he admitted his loss, he looked at Huo Yuhao once before staggering away. He couldn't walk straight, and almost fell down as he left the Soul Tool Experimentation Area. He only managed to leave with Jing Ziyan's support.

    Ji Juechen lost? How did he lose? The students in the spectator stands started whispering to one another.

    At this point, Teacher Fan Yu walked briskly into the Soul Tool Experimentation Area. He approached Lin Jiayi and Xuan Ziwen and said, "The sparring has to end here."

    Lin Jiayi was a little stunned before he asked, "What? Why?"

    Fan Yu pointed at Huo Yuhao and said, "You're also a Class 8 soul engineer and a Soul Douluo. Didn't you realize that Huo Yuhao has entered a deep meditative state?"

    After Huo Yuhao sat down, he immediately entered deep meditation. As he sat there, he was as still as a sculpture.

    "Conscientious State of Deep Meditation?" Xuan Ziwen exclaimed softly.

    Fan Yu was a little helpless as he laughed bitterly, "I'm afraid so. This kid can't be compared to an ordinary soul master. Apologies for causing such trouble. Please help me tell the Hallmaster that the sparring has to cease here. I believe that the Hallmaster has roughly achieved his goals for this competition. But I need to borrow this ground for a while. Yuhao can't be disturbed during his deep meditation. I'll stay here to watch over him."

    Xuan Ziwen nodded and replied, "I know about this. I'm his teacher now. I'll stay with you to watch over him. Director Lin, I'll need you to deal with Hallmaster."

    Lin Jiayi furrowed his brow, but still nodded. He quickly returned to the main spectator stand. Nothing was going according to plan. Who could have expected Huo Yuhao to experience such changes? He had even entered deep meditation!

    Jing Hongchen was also puzzled after receiving this news. However, a tinge of worry rose in his mind after a while. On the surface, he had managed to achieve everything he had in mind for this sparring competition. From the teachers' feedback, the students' reaction to the competition was very positive. They were all discussing how they could better defeat soul masters, and how they could deal with soul masters. It was expected that the students would be more motivated to cultivate after this sparring competition was over.

    But how much did Huo Yuhao benefit? He must have gained some considerable improvement after clashing with Ji Juechen, which was why he had entered the Conscientious State of Deep Meditation.

    Jing Hongchen was a little annoyed as he shook his head. Whatever it was, his grandchildren were still in Shrek Academy. No matter how much he wanted to deal with Huo Yuhao, he still had to consider the safety of his grandchildren. He could only comfort himself that Huo Yuhao was still young, and wouldn't affect the future of the empire. Since he could achieve such progress at the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, what could Jing Hongchen's grandchildren achieve at Shrek Academy?

    Jing Hongchen felt better after he thought through this point. He quickly instructed Lin Jiayi to announce the end of the sparring competition. Huo Yuhao had ended the competition with thirty-three consecutive victories. No Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy student had managed to beat him. But the rest of the sparring couldn't continue. The students who had wagered on him losing before the fiftieth round got their money back.

    ------

    After one day, Jing Hongchen received good news. After Ji Juechen left, he had also entered deep meditation. He was in the same Conscientious State of Deep Meditation as Huo Yuhao. At least he had managed to save some face for the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy.

    But no one expected Huo Yuhao to remain in his meditative state for as long as he did.

    When Fan Yu and Xuan Ziwen decided to protect Huo Yuhao, they asked someone to lay the foundation for a huge tent to be pitched. However, Huo Yuhao still hadn't woken up from his deep meditation after seven days. His entire body was already covered in dust.

    The two teachers had no choice to pitch a huge tent around Huo Yuhao without affecting his meditative state.
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