“Oh it’s Brother Lin!” Among the 6 teens, a plump teen holding onto a metal club stood out with a grin on his face. “I was out with my friends so I brought them here for a meal. However, the service and food here were atrocious, so I decided to help Brother Lin in teaching the staff here a lesson.”
“Don’t need to thank me, it is just a small matter.” Tubuo, the plump teen, chuckled as he lifted up his club. Tubuo’s plump physique, fair complexion and his chubby cheeks made him look like one of the three little pigs.
At this point, Donghai could not bear it any longer. “What do you mean by that! How are we going to do business! Who is going to compensate us! Just because we are down now, doesn’t mean you can step all over us!” He exploded and stomped towards Tubuo.
Tubuo took out a silver ingot and smiled, “Don’t worry Brother Lin. Of course Xie Clan will pay for the damages. In fact, my father even offered to buy over this inn. Don’t worry, we will definitely give you a good price. I’ve heard that Lin Clan’s financial status is quite dire now, let the Xie Clan help.”
This was pure humiliation for Donghai and the Lin Clan. Not only did Xie Clan constantly oppressed Lin Clan, now they’re openly trying to take over Lin Clan’s business.
“Damn it! Tubuo, there is a limit to how overbearing one can be!” Donghai roared as he kicked a broken table towards Tubuo.
Tubuo’s widened his eyes as he swung his metal club. With just 1 swing, the table was shattered to pieces.
“Looking for a fight? Xie Clan has never shyed away from fights!” Tubuo signalled the 5 other teens behind him to attack.
Donghai did not care about the numerical disadvantage, he just wanted to thrash the 6 of them into bloody pulps.
As they threw their punches towards Donghai, Donghai continued charging forward.
“One’s Bitter Laugh!”
Donghai executed the first stance of Lin Clan’s secret technique, Scholar’s Ascension. He started waving the fan in his hand as if he was writing a word, the 苦 (Chinese word for bitter) word. As he finished the word, he let out a huge “Ha!” shout.
Suddenly, there were Pak! Pak! Pak! Pak! Pak! sounds and the 5 teens were kneeling on the floor clutching onto their hand. Their wrists had been totally dislocated. As they were groaning on the ground, their groans indeed sounded like one’s bitter laugh.
Donghai continued charging towards Tubuo.
Tubuo let out a huge snort and swung his club towards Donghai. Just as the club was about to hit Donghai, he leapt back.
“Escape? There is no escape!” Tubuo snarled as he leapt towards the Donghai, wanting to close the distance.
At this moment, Donghai’s eyes glittered. Just as he landed, he immediately leapt towards Tubuo. Donghai’s speed coupled with Tubuo’s momentum, Donghai closed the distance between them rapidly.
Tubuo was shocked, it was too late for him to respond. Donghai swiftly delivered a jab towards Tubuo, like how a fencing expert would execute his finishing blow.
A trickle of blood started to emerge from the side of Tubuo’s mouth. There was no explosive force in this jab, but Donghai concentrated his inner strength onto the the point of contact. Donghai’s fan was like a tiny dagger, piercing through Tubuo’s defences. This jab, had already broken several of Tubuo’s ribs and did considerable damage to his lungs.
“You… You…” Tubuo dropped his club as he clutched onto his chest tightly, trying very hard to breathe.
“You all better leave the compensation behind and scram!” Donghai snarled. “Do not think that we Lin Clan are easy pushovers!”
The 5 teens immediately went to help Tubuo up and scrambled out of the building. At the entrance, Tubuo looked back and glared at Donghai. “You better watch out during next month’s Glory Marsh City Competition! Not all of Xie Clan’s youngster is as weak as me.” With this warning, they left.
Donghai collapsed onto the floor letting out a bitter laugh as he surveyed the damages. Muyou and Yiqi were still standing at one corner of the inn, watching silently. They had witnessed how Donghai’s pride and clan was trampled, but they did not know how to console Donghai.
“Lin Clan is pitiful right? We are trampled on by other clans, but we can’t do anything.” Donghai looked at them. Muyou and Yiqi remained silent, they did not know how to answer the question.
“What about the Glory Marsh City Competition Tubuo mentioned? With your skills, you already defeated Tubuo. You can probably get first and help the Lin Clan’s status.” Yiqi asked.
“About that… No chance no chance.” Donghai shook his head. “Among the youngsters in Xie Clan, Tubuo is not even in the top 3. Whereas, I am the strongest youngster in Lin Clan.”
“By the way, what is this Glory Marsh City Competition?” Muyou could not help but to ask.
“It is a yearly martial arts competition organised by the Tai Clan, for the youngsters below 18. Various Sects will be present to witness the event. In fact, the main purpose of it is for various families to showcase their youth’s talents, hoping that some big Sects will recruit them. I’ve heard that last year, Celestial Dream Sect recruited the champion.” Donghai sighed.
Muyou’s eyes lit up. “That sounds like fun.”
“Oh ya, you two were looking for weapons martial arts skills. The Panther Guards will also be witnessing the event, and they have an impressive weapons division, with a long history. However, I have never heard of them extending an invitation to any participants before.”
Upon hearing that, Muyou and Yiqi started to put some thought into this competition. After this month, they had realised their training had slowly reached a bottleneck. Although their Inner Strength and Qi had been steadily increasing through practising Grandmaster Hong’s Destroying of Limits and Yin-Yang Qi exercise, they felt that something was lacking. Moreover, they were really bent on learning weapons martial arts skills. It was a good opportunity for them.
“Can we join this event?” Muyou queried.
“As long as you are under 20, you can join. However, each participant must pay a fee of 1 silver ingot. That is why most of the participants are from Medium and Great Clans, not every family can afford this exorbitant fee.” Donghai paused, “However if you two want to join this event, I supposed I can help you ask…”
Muyou raised his hand to stop Donghai. “It’s alright, Yiqi and I can settle the fee.”
Yiqi took out his purse and both of them started to count their remaining money.
“2 silver ingots, 3 silver coin and 50 copper coins… We will be poor again…” Muyou grimaced as Yiqi rummaged through the purse. Both of them looked like small kids trying to dig up their savings to buy some candies.
“Sorry to bother you to help us settle the administration. Here are our entrance fees.” Muyou tossed 2 silver ingots to Donghai.
Donghai grabbed onto the silver ingots and looked towards them. “Don’t worry, with your skills, I can be sure that many Sects will be dying to recruit you after the Competition!”
This one month passed by in a blink of an eye as the 3 of them spent everyday training. Although they could not exchange their martial arts skills, they exchanged pointers and helped each other to refine their techniques.
It was now the morning of the competition and the central area of the city was even more busy. There was a huge make-shift platform built around the arena, to accommodate the audience. The central area looked like it had transformed into a colosseum. Below the platform gathered the excited participants. Tensions were high in the holding area, as many of them were exchanging glares at each other.
At one corner, seated 3 youngsters on the ground. They were Muyou, Yiqi and Donghai. They were ignored by the other participants, and they were quite happy with it.
“Why didn’t you two bring your weapons along? Without weapons, you will be at a disadvantage against other participants.” Donghai was quite puzzled, fighting bare-handed was never a good idea.
“The Martial Arts Skills we know are only for close-combat. If we were to randomly swing our weapons around in this competition, we would only embarrass ourselves. That is why, we really need Weapons Martial Arts Skills.” Yiqi let out an embarrassed laugh, while Muyou could only sigh. When surveying the participants, they saw many cool weapons, even Donghai had a fan as a weapon.
Suddenly, a bell rang and everyone became silent.
An old man stood on the stage and announced, “I am Tai Shan and I thank you all for coming down to witness this event! This year, there are 40 participants. The first round of this competition will be a 4-way fight on the stage. The 40 participants will be split into groups of 4, and only the winner of the 4-way fight of each group will proceed onto the second round. Now let us commence with the first round!”
The audience started clapping furiously, they had been looking forward to this exciting yearly competition. Furthermore, most of them had placed bets on the Great Clans’ participants.
“Group A. Chen Luo, Ding Xing, Luo Ke and Muyou!”
Muyou sprang up and chuckled, “Guess I will be the first one to shine!”
“Don’t end up losing the first round! The 1 silver ingot would have been really wasted.” Donghai warned Muyou, as he simply waved his hand.
As Muyou stood on the arena, he surveyed the other 3 competitors.
“A sword, a spear and a pole…” Muyou shook his head. “And I’m here bare-handed, totally uncool.”
“Look there are the representatives of Chen Clan and Luo Clan! Even the Medium Clan’s Ding Xing is inside. This group will be tough! Who is that youngster going up bare-handed, he will definitely be the first to get eliminated!” The audience were chattering away while the 4 participants went up onto the arena.
Chen Luo, Ding Xing and Luo Ke stared at Muyou and had a very curious expression. They had grown up in Glory Marsh City, so they knew each other. However, Muyou was a total stranger to them.
“Did you left your weapon at the holding area? Do you want to go take it now?” Ding Xing asked politely.
“Errr… No it’s alright, I have no weapons.” Muyou answered sheepishly.
This made them looked even more puzzled. Just who is this youngster?!
“Group A, Battle Start!” The old man shouted and rang the bell.
The first battle had begun.