Until now, An Fei had not realized the phenomenon that manifested with each clash of spiritual essence from two practitioners.
When Tang Shiqi’s metal pole slammed onto Fang Man’s fists infused with spiritual essence, a faint, nearly invisible flicker of orange light blazed into life around the two cultivators.
An Fei rubbed at her eyes in surprise and disbelief, her lips parting to reveal a startled ‘oh’ upon realizing that it wasn’t an illusion.
The flicker… could be described as a shockwave, as though the brilliance of the light dissipated after a few centimeters of expansion, the wave continued to traverse the space until it contacted a solid entity.
When the palm and pole struck one another, the compounded shockwaves caused the air around them to vibrate at an intense frequency, distorting the visible atmosphere.
The intensity of the collision between the waves fluctuated depending on the frequency of the attacks between the two practitioners, Tang Shiqi and Fang Man, but the wavelength remained relatively constant.
The faint orange light encompassed the contact point between the fist and the pole, as though displaying the result of a chemical experiment.
“Spiritual essence… when projected outside of the body…” the young girl murmured to herself, her eyes eagerly observing the clash of the two youths on the basin of sand.
“Fluctuations as though a wave… compounded intensity and frequency…”
Taking advantage of Fang Man’s unexpected breath of fatigue, Tang Shiqi balanced his weight onto one end of the metal pole, his feet digging into the sand as he strained his muscles to their fullest.
The youth of the Tang Clan adjusted his grip to the unrestricted end of the pole as he swung a full circle, the metal pole carving a circular path of destruction on the sandy ground.
“Don’t you dare!”
Fang Man roared as his palms swept forth, the fingertips blazing with a dense coating of spiritual essence.
The youth of the Fang Clan nervously swallowed and grimaced in his heart as the steel pole swept towards his palms from below, his teeth gritting in anticipation for the brutal impact.
The fingers failed to latch onto the steel pole, their mission in wrenching Tang Shiqi’s weapon resulting in a complete disaster.
Fang Man’s body was hurled backwards, having received the full force of Tang Shiqi’s momentum without any inhibitors.
Tang Shiqi spun the pole over his heads and shoulders as he charged forth, the sigil trailing behind him seething with a roiling aura as the pole gained increasingly potent angular momentum.
The youth urged the remainder of his spiritual essence towards his legs to generate a final burst of strength, dashing directly before Fang Man’s shocked figure.
The youth of the Tang Clan stomped with his left foot, pivoting with his heel to turn to the right. With his right foot serving as a stabilizer, Tang Shiqi performed a full moon sweep in the clockwise direction, the steel pole extended to its complete range of devastation.
Fang Man didn’t dare skimp on his reserves of spiritual essence, urging the meagre streams of warmth to surge throughout his muscles.
The handsome youth no longer dared to display a contemptuous glare as he extended both of his arms forward, his left shoulder serving as the vanguard as his left hand supported his right arm.
A single fist infused with spiritual essence dared to strike onto the terrifying momentum of a steel pole, and the resounding flicker of orange light emerged onto the Heaven and Earth Arena once more.
Both youths were abruptly hurled backwards as they lacked the necessary spiritual essence to fortify their balance, the collision far too heavy for either of their bodies to handle.
Tang Shiqi dragged himself onto his feet, vomiting a mouthful of blood in the process.
The youth of the Tang Clan staggered as he noticed the gloomy and pained countenance of Fang Man glaring in his direction from a distance of thirty meters.
The steel pole had lost the minimum spiritual essence required to maintain the manifestation, and had dissipated into innumerable particles of hazel light.
In its final departure, however, the pole had crippled the Young Lord of the Fang Clan’s dominant hand, shattering even the bones from the single strike.
Tang Shiqi breathed deeply from his disbelief at the outcome. The youth directed an anxious gaze towards his back, the acrimony in his heart increasing from the disappointment that the sigil had similarly exiled itself from the world.
“Both of them seem to have depleted their reserves of spiritual essence.”
“This… the Heaven and Earth Arena won’t make them fight to the death even after this extent, right? I mean, not even Yan Xiao’s duel had reached such a climax, nor the others.”
“Still… for Tang Shiqi to display such might, that martial arts technique must be extraordinary. He must have looted it from a prominent sect!”
The spectators watching from the stands broke into another round of discussion as they gazed upon the two youths who had depleted their potential for combat.
Fingers were pointed towards both Fang Man and Tang Shiqi, as though the distinction between their status and reputation was no longer present.
The number of greedy and malicious glances shone on the Third Young Master of the Tang Clan increased by a drastic proportion, as though Tang Shiqi had transformed from a capable fighter of the Body Tempering Realm to a weakling sheep.
Some dared to leap over the thin barrier separating the spectators and the contestants to rob the mysterious technique from the youth, only managing to quail their ambitions upon glancing at the stony countenances of the Heaven and Earth Arena guards.
But… what were the managers of the arena intending to achieve in this circumstance?
The elder of the Heaven and Earth Arena walked to the center of the arena to display an awkward expression on his wizened countenance.
The elderly man seemed to be at a lost as he continued to mull over his thoughts in silence, disregarding the tens of thousands of eyes boring holes into his robes.
“We… of the Heaven and Earth Arena declare this battle… a draw!”
“A draw!? Tang Shiqi clearly won, since he hasn’t received any injury whilst Fang Man has a crippled right hand!”
“No way, even the Heaven and Earth Arena that refused to give face to the powerful clans is playing servant to the Fang Clan?”
“How despicable! The two of them may have depleted their spiritual essence, but Tang Shiqi still holds a considerable advantage!”
The crowd of spectators erupted into dissent as numerous shouts and cries cascaded over the people’s ears, clearly disagreeable regarding the elder’s decision.
Many seemed to have intentionally forgotten their previous mockery of Tang Shiqi, rising to the youth’s defense with an ardent cry, flourishing their burning souls with a mighty heave.
The elder’s voice boomed over everyone’s heads, eviscerating the ruckus with a single word. The spectators simultaneously slumped in their seats at the warning contained within, be it a cultivator or mortal.
They didn’t dare antagonize the Heaven and Earth Arena on a personal grudge!, even so a grudge that didn’t belong to them!
“The two of you, do you accept this judgement?”
The elder turned to face the sitting Fang Man and Tang Shiqi, his wizened countenance glimmering with a dangerous aura.
The two youths gulped in silence at the imposing pressure brought on by the elderly man’s aura unleashed to the maximum.
“I… I agree with the elder’s judgement.”
Fang Man was the first to speak, his left hand tenderly clutching at his crippled right hand.
The youth of the Fang Clan struggled to retain a placid countenance as the waves of pain surged through his heart, the crushed bones searing into his nerves as though ascending flames from the eighteenth plane of hell.
Tang Shiqi remained silent, his lips distorted into an uncomfortable grimace. The youth stared at his hands with a glum expression, clearly dissatisfied with the conclusion imparted by the formidable elder.
“Young man, if you dare reject this elder’s goodwill, we of the Heaven and Earth Arena will not hesitate to pry your mysterious secret from your soul.”
An impossibly quiet transmission of information infiltrated Tang Shiqi’s soul, displaying the elder’s intention in clear characters for the youth to gawk at.
The Third Young Master of the Tang Clan gulped in fear, hurriedly lowering his head to mask his severe indignance.
“I… agree with the elder’s judgement.”
The words forced out of Tang Shiqi’s lips resolved the tension boiling the atmosphere of the Heaven and Earth Arena, causing many to heave a sigh of disappointment and relief.
The spectators groaned in their hearts at the pacifistic and weak resolution of what appeared to be a major conflict between two budding youth’s and their sore pride, but deigned to remain obedient underneath the mighty influence of the Heaven and Earth Arena.
If only Tang Shiqi stood in defiance – that would constitute a major drama worthy of emphatic appreciation!
Taking advantage of the depressed and dejected countenances of the spectators as they reluctantly arose from their seat to depart, An Fei slipped away from the stadium at the swiftest pace she could muster.
The young girl ignored the startled squawks of the raven as she waded through the stagnated sea of people congesting the staircases dispensing into the Peaceful Road, utilizing the <Steps of Underlying Shadow> to maximize her efficiency.
After all, she had an experiment to commence!