Tome of Troubled Times

Chapter 116: A Sword Atop Fourteen Provinces



Chapter 116: A Sword Atop Fourteen Provinces

Yue Hongling, the Second Hidden Dragon!

Many of the people present could not help but hold their breaths in anticipation.

It has already been half a year since Yue Hongling reached second place on the Ranking of Hidden Dragons. Her greatest target when she was training to get stronger was none other than Chi Li!

If Chi Li wanted to humiliate the renowned hidden dragons of the Central Plains, defeating only the top ten would not be able to demonstrate his true abilities. He had to seek out someone from the Ranking of Man or, if he insisted on facing the hidden dragons, he had only two options: Yue Hongling or Cui Yuanyong.

Nobody had ever expected that what seemed like a random gathering hosted by the Cao Gang’s young gang leader would ultimately turn into a showdown between top-ranked hidden dragons involving the honor of different nations!

Chi Li had never thought that he would actually meet Yue Hongling here. After the initial shock, his eyes revealed a wild and ecstatic fighting spirit, “Excellent, excellent. I never would have thought that I would actually get to encounter the Setting Sun, Yue Hongling, in this place!”

Yue Hongling calmly asked, “Were you intending to ascend the Ranking of Man?” Alll 𝒍𝒂test nov𝒆l𝒔 on novelb𝒊n/(.)c𝒐m

“Indeed,” said Chi Li with a slight smile. “To be honest with you... as I traveled southward, I encountered some people who claimed to be ‘on par with those on the Ranking of Man’ or some such. I challenged all of them and killed quite a few of them, but it was all boring. Most of them were just boasting.

“It seems that the Tome of Troubled Times holds some truth. There’s a big difference between those who do make it into the rankings and those who don’t. Those who claim to be on par with people on the Ranking of Man might not even be able to compare to the top hidden dragons. With that said, I believe that you won’t disappoint me, Miss Yue.”

The crowd buzzed with excitement.

Over the past few days, many renowned martial artists who were known to be on the verge of ascending to the Ranking of Man had inexplicably died. It turned out that it was actually all Chi Li’s doing!

While it was true that many of those claiming to be “on par with those on the Ranking of Man” were mostly touted by others, not all of them were mere braggarts.

Daoist Xuan Chong asked, “Did Daoist Huang He also die by your hands?”

“Yup,” Chi Li laughed. “That old daoist talked a big game, but in the end, he was just like the rest. What about it? It was a fair duel. I did not sneak attack anyone. Could it be that the Taiyi Sect is afraid of losing?”

A look of gloom emerged in Xuan Chong’s eyes.

That daoist priest had a good relationship with their Taiyi Sect, and in fact Xuan Chong had come here precisely for the purpose of investigating Daoist Priest Huang He’s death. He did not expect to solve the case all of a sudden. The bigger problem was that he knew very well that Daoist Priest Huang He was not just blown out of proportion. His strength truly was close to those on the Ranking of Man, and he genuinely had a chance at entering the ranking. His reputation was not just for show!

In other words, Chi Li was actually already at the tail end of the Ranking of Man in terms of strength. All he lacked was a formal challenge against someone on the Ranking of Man... He’s only twenty-two years old!

Is he actually going to be able to recreate Xia Longyuan’s legend?

Xuan Chong secretly worried about Yue Hongling... She’s younger and has less experience than Chi Li. Does she have any chance of beating him?

Yue Hongling remained silent and slowly drew her longsword. She pointed it at Chi Li, and said, “This sword is named Evening Glow. It’s three chi, four cun, and two fen long.”

Chi Li held his scimitar and responded with a slight bow. “My weapon is called the Fox Spirit Scimitar. It has the ability to bewitch the mind and create illusions. Do be careful.”

Swoosh!

Yue Hongling’s longsword instantly crossed the hall, heading straight for Chi Li.

With just this one sword strike, everyone was moved. Tang Buqi, who was standing behind Zhao Changhe, had sweat pouring down his forehead, fully aware of the vast gap between his swordsmanship and hers!

If his sword could barely be considered as a little flowing spring, then Yue Hongling’s sword strike was like a setting sun casting its radiant glow across the horizon. Regardless of where the river was, the sunset flow enveloped it, dyeing the water with its brilliance.

Tang Buqi knew that he could not block this sword strike. No, forget about blocking, he could not even see the path of her sword clearly. It was as if there was nowhere to hide as long as he was in this hall.

In fact, he even felt as if as long as he was in this world, there was no escaping this sword strike.

He knew it was not that extreme, and it was just a kind of sword intent that had plunged him and the other swordsmen in a profound state of mind, but this meant that his mind had been seized and he had already lost. In other words, he would not even be able to bring himself to block Yue Hongling’s sword strike.

With the landscape of the setting sun casting its radiant glow over the mountains and rivers, a dark red saber shadow suddenly cut through, like a line that divided the autumn water and the endless sky. Thus, the water remained water, and the sky remained sky.

Everyone in the hall could only see the scimitar crossing paths with the longsword, and it felt as if time and space had momentarily frozen.

It seemed like some kind of illusion was invading Yue Hongling’s consciousness, and they did not know what she saw at this instant, but her gaze remained calm, without even a hint of disturbance.

She flicked her longsword, and the scimitar, which had easily caused Xuan Chong to stagger and retreat earlier, could not stop it. The tip of her sword swiftly arrived right before Chi Li’s throat!

A look of admiration flashed in Chi Li’s eyes. It was hard to tell what kind of footwork he used, but he moved as if he had teleported and was instantly at Yue Hongling’s side, his scimitar slashing toward her throat.

Fast, simply too fast... A strange scimitar paired with a strange movement technique!

The sword and saber clashed, and the two of them stopped and turned to face one another.

In that swift moment of their exchange, people could only hear the sharp sounds of metal clashing against metal. Those with slightly weaker cultivation were unable to even perceive the rapid exchange of moves between the two. It was all a blur to them, and they could hardly make out any details.

Even Zhao Changhe had a hard time following their movements.

Yue Hongling had held back quite a lot when they were sparring, but she was not holding back at all now. In the end, she was at the eighth layer of the Profound Gate. It was not a level that he could fully understand while only being at the fourth layer.

However, he could tell that Yue Hongling’s hands were trembling slightly as if she was at a disadvantage in terms of raw power during their intense exchange.

Chi Li had probably not reached the ninth layer of the Profound Gate yet, but he was likely on the verge of it. He likely had a bit more accumulation than Yue Hongling...

His reputation as number one on the Ranking of Hidden Dragons was well-deserved. The Tome of Troubled Times never made mistakes in its rankings!

He was the top of the younger generation, in terms of both potential and strength!

Chi Li looked back at Yue Hongling, with admiration flashing in his eyes once again. “Throughout my journey, there were very few who had the same or even lower cultivation that were able to make me feel the threat of death. Miss Yue, you are truly unique. I genuinely admire you.”

Yue Hongling said lightly, “Likewise.”

But then, Chi Li’s tone suddenly changed and his next words only reached Yue Hongling’s ears. “But a prominent figure from the Central Plains like you cannot continue to live in this world.”

Following those words, he swung his scimitar once more.

The visual perception of the crowd became distorted once again. There was a strange arc that seemed to circle tens of thousands of li, yet reached its destination seemingly instantly. This bizarre spatial illusion made people feel suffocated and their minds went numb. It felt impossible to comprehend this mysterious and profound circle.

A glimmer of sword light blossomed at the center of the circle, instantly dispelling the mysterious feeling.

The sword emitted a chilling brilliance that eclipsed everything in its path, rendering the world colorless.

Concepts of space and trajectory became completely irrelevant, as the sword’s only goal was to take a life. It was just like in Batu’s battle with Tang Buqi earlier, but reversed. At this moment, it was Yue Hongling who was fighting for her life!

Yue Hongling’s voice sounded in Chili’s ears, and she repeated herself, “Likewise.”

A prominent figure from the Central Plains like you cannot continue to live in this world.

A hero from a foreign land like you cannot continue to exist.

Chi Li truly admired Yue Hongling’s bravery and decisiveness. He found it hard to believe that she was actually managing her own against him!

Is she really a woman?

At this critical moment, a violent burst of energy erupted and crashed right in-between the two fighters carrying the force of a mountain.

It was a large saber that was about four or five chi long. It did not matter whether it was the Setting Sun or the Grasslands Fox Spirit, anyone who did not dodge this saber would be cleaved in half.

Clang!

The longsword and scimitar made light contact before flying back in opposite directions. Meanwhile, the massive saber landed precisely between the two fighters, forming a barrier that seemed to span the entire distance between heaven and earth.

Onlookers could clearly see that there was a clear sword wound on Chi Li’s ribs, and blood was flowing freely from it.

At the same time, Yue Hongling’s left shoulder looked like it had been nearly split apart by the scimitar and was similarly dripping with blood.

Both sides were wounded!

If it had not been for the timely intervention of the large saber, both of the top-ranked hidden dragons might have met their end together!

Chi Li looked at the wound on his ribs and whispered in admiration, “In this vast Central Plains, encompassing fourteen provinces... Only this sword stands out among the younger generation.”

Yue Hongling did not reply to him. Her beautiful eyes remained fixed in the direction from which the saber had been thrown.

There, she saw Zhao Changhe with a stern expression.

What’s with the grim look on your face? Is it because I was willing to put my life on the line against someone? What’s your problem? Don’t you realize that with the tension we had there, both of us may have accidentally swung our weapons your way? Do you not fear for your own life?

Chi Li also turned to look at Zhao Changhe, his expression a little strange, “Brother, you are quite courageous. Are you not afraid of death? Oh, could it be because...”

Everyone else also realized what had happened just moments before. Without the timely intervention of the saber, the fight may have resulted in fatalities.

The person who had thrown the saber had displayed remarkable insight, but he clearly did not fear becoming the target of the two fighters. It really did seem like he did not value his own life.

It was only then that people suddenly remembered something.

Specifically, they remembered the rumors of Zhao Changhe secretly having a crush on Yue Hongling...


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