The ground shook, Feng Liena covered her face with the sleeve of her robe as she looked at what was happening inside the barrier bubble. She saw Zhang Dong receiving a devastating right hook right to his face. His face was bounced backwards and it looked like it would leave his neck and fly into space while he staggered. The residual shockwave from the devastating stroke tossing up a storm as even the sturdy floor was slowly showing a sign of cracks.
Zhang Dong shook his head a bit as he looked back at his opponent who was grinning widely. He was bleeding from a cut lower lip, the blood slowly dripping down onto the floor and his clothes. He looked quite happy though, moving his hand backwards and then crossing his hands over his own chest as he smirked.
Matt looked at the Sin of Pride, not really sure how the situation turned this way. He was having a good old fashioned slugfest with the guy. The man wasn't blocking and neither was he, they were having a competition of strength and resilience. Something was pushing him forward though, the more he saw the demon man smirk and smile the more he wanted to slam his fist into his face.
Another devastating blow landed, the opponent slid backwards yet again his jaw even getting dislocated as he lost a tooth from the exchange. Matt didn't rejoice though as the fist that he hit the man on the face was hurting like hell.
'Go down you fuck!'
He screamed internally while his enemy moved back into place, he could dodge the fist, he could putt out his sword or use some tactics, yet something was compelling him to power through it. Did he suffer some kind of status effect that was making him so prideful, or was this how he really was deep down inside? He wasn't sure, but he thought that he would lose dignity that he thought that he didn't have if he gave up before the other person did.
Soon thirty minutes had passed and the two were just going back and forth, hitting each other. More and more they ended up on the ground, but both of them kept standing up burning passion in their eyes. If Matt didn't know better, he would think that he turned into some kind of meat-headed protagonist that never gave up. Always having to face their enemies in a fair fight, their will unbroken.
While the two were continuing their punch out, the other cultivators looked at them with mixed feelings. Most of the men kind of understood why the Zhang Patriarch was sticking to this approach, while the girls thought that he was an idiot for getting pulled into the enemies rhythm. Though all of them agreed on one thing, the man was really resilient none of them felt like they could take one of those punches and be able to get up as well as he did.
"Do you think he can win it?"
"I'm not sure, they look equally matched... what monsters..."
"They have been at it for an hour, is their stamina infinite?"
"Let's hope the boy manages, don't think any of us can face that monster..."
The people chattered while standing close to the barrier, they had gone around it hitting it in various placed wondering if they could help Zhang Dong out. They didn't find a weak spot that they could slip in though, this barrier would probably hold off a nascent soul master. They could only twiddle their thumbs and wait for the silver-haired man to win this.
'Ah damn, my face hurts... is my nose broken? Will my teeth grow back if I lose any...'
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He staggered backwards falling onto his ass, his opponent huffing and puffing as he was showing signs of fatigue. Well, not like he was better off though, he was bleeding from his nose and mouth only thanks to reaching the great circle in his body refining he was surviving this somehow.
'Think my body is harder than his, but he has a stronger healing ability...'
He would knock the Sin of Pride further back, breaking some bones in the process as his face was all bloody by this point. The problem was that after they switched turns, the man would start healing up and his broken jaw, chipped teeth all grew back into place. He, on the other hand, didn't suffer as much damage but it was slowly accumulating.
'I guess that's was his plan, force me into a battle of attrition that I can't win. But did he think that I would last this much...'
The boss monster wasn't grinning as much now as he was before, the two had been punching each other for over an hour now. Both of them had dishevelled hair and bloodied clothes, but the Sin of Pride was looking slightly worse than Matt was. He also stopped taunting him after each hit, he would shout some cocky phrases here and there but he was dropping the act now, his brows furrowing as Matt moved back into place with his fist ready to slam into that face one more time.
Matt gathered more energy into it, he still had some left in his tank as he was smart enough not to go full throttle from the get-go. This looked like a turning point, or just a scheme of the other man to make Matt show his cards. Though he didn't think that would be the case, as going by the theme of Pride the Sin of Pride should be too prideful to pull any sneaky tricks on him
The fist shined in a blue hue, lightning energy filling the space around him as Zhang Dong applied his condensation skill along with his avatar form just targeting his fist. Thunder resounded through the area as his wide fist smashed into the enemy's nose, shattering it on contact. The man's arms and legs remained stationary while his body was pushed back which made it looked quite comedic. The boss monster flew back, making a nice arc as he hit the throne that he was sitting on at the beginning of the stage.
The last punch took quite a bit out of him, his hand spasming and his veins bulging due to the condensation techniques side effects. Luckily the enemy wasn't moving for some reason, he looked like he was sleeping on that throne with his head slumped forward.
"Umm... I win?"
He raised his fist upwards while being slumped forward and barely standing up on his own two feet. Matt was close to passing out himself, he wasn't sure how many punches to the face he took but he hoped that he didn't get permanent brain damage now. He slowly walked over to the passed out Sin of Pride, not knowing if this was over or not. When he was leaning down, the man suddenly opened up his eyes which made Matt stumble back and almost fall on his butt once more.
"Buahahaha, It's my loss!"
The man smacked his thigh like he was having a jolly good time, though he was looking quite awful as Matt had destroyed quite a bit of his face during the punching contest.
"Congratulations oh Prideful one, you may receive your reward now!"
Suddenly he started turning into small spiritual lights like the other summoned monsters when you defeated them, his face still showing a dumb grin.
"Hope you can entertain me again when we meet anew. Enjoy your reward while you still can, prideful one"
Matt didn't get to ask about what he meant with that as he soon vanished and the barrier surrounding the area vanished. This wasn't over as the throne opened up and a small chest rose up from the sitting spot. It wasn't a large chest, something that you would use to store some jewellery at most. After opening it up he found a strange black cube inside.
[ ??????????????????????????????? ]
'What is this?'
The system couldn't analyze it and it was extremely hard, even when he gripped it with all his strength the thing wouldn't budge a muscle.
'Maybe it's some kind of key? Guess I should watch out for cube-sized holes.'
He shrugged and placed it in a side pocket of his robe, but just after doing that he collapsed to his knees. He didn't think his injuries were that bad, but the moment he felt the relief of beating the enemy his body started shutting down. He slumped forward, face planting on the throne out cold while his companions rushed in to check upon him.
He suddenly woke up while resting on a large leather couch, books around him as he was back in the library building.
'Ah, guess I'm not dead... but my face still hurts...'
He stood up and found Feng Maling studying some kind of occult looking book.
"Oh hey, how long was I out?"
He asked without thinking much, but the woman ignored him her eyes focusing on the thing in front of her as if it was something required for living.
'Wait... how long was I out...Fuck!'
He knew that this was the last level, it looked different than the previous ones. But this meant that he was out for an unknown amount of time and didn't get to copy any textures down, he might not make it in time. He started quickly running and poking the scriptures, realising that they were mostly in the heaven grade. On this level, there were both cultivation manuals and ones for crafting and pill making. The amount was less than on the lower levels but he didn't know how much time he had left, he had to copy them down as soon as he could.
'Wasn't there supposed to be some kind of reward as well?'
While Zhang Dong was shuffling through the books, his clan members were still stuck in the fortress. They had spent a whole month at this location and it looked a lot different than before.
Firstly, the shape of it wasn't square anymore or at least the outer walls changed. They had been spending their days killing a monster wave each day, the stronger the monsters the more points they earned for clearing them out. The cultivators figured out how the treasure map in the form of the hologram worked and had placed an octagonal wall, that surrounded the old square ones.
On the new wall, there were other weapons there beside the ballista. There were cannons placed lined up on the walls, shooting out blasts of condensed energy. They required specialised ammunition that was carried over by the Qi condensation cultivators. At the spots where the walls connected to each other stood defensive towers, more cannons and ballistas being placed there. Inside of them, there were people, wielding some weapons like rapid firing spirit crossbows that they also could exchange for points.
It looked like they were doing fine on the outside having constructed a larger fortress that was there before, but the atmosphere in the control room was a bit different.
"We used up all of the resources on repairing, the next wave will be starting in an hour, it's going to be worse than the previous one..."
One person proclaimed while glancing at the hologram of the fortress, the number of points being in the single digits, the amount not enough to buy even the simplest self firing weapon.
Zhang Zhi, Huo Tao, and Feng Daiyu looked tired, they had been actively participating in defending the fort, it wasn't strange for the walls to crumble and they having to bunker back behind the ones deeper inside.
"The number of core formation beasts in increasing, there was one more this time around too, it almost got through the inner walls."
"That formation that your Zhang Clan possesses is really astonishing, Brother Zhi."
Huo Tao declared while rubbing his beard, the Huo clan had long thrown out their misgivings about the other cultivators here. After having thought for a month everyone realised that they had to work together, otherwise they would all surely die. There was some tension in the beginning, even some deaths due to some misgivings, people fighting each other out of stress. Luckily the people somehow managed to get past that first hump, mostly due to the Zhang Clan listening to their Patriarch order and not retaliating as much and instead trying to work it out together.
Teamwork had a limit though, the ferocious beasts were getting stronger and stronger even though they could fortify this base of theirs, they were slowly faltering. Something was coming, past the 90th wave, the time of rest had decreased each time. This would be the 100th one, and they were expecting something big.
"Final wave will commence in 5...4...3...2...1..."
After the robotic voice resounded everyone gulped hard, the people that weren't injured were manning the walls and towers looking out into the distance. The terrain was already destroyed, the ground bulldozed by all the previous monster waves. Soon people heard thumping noises coming from the distance soon enough four giant silhouettes could be distinguished each monster larger than the other as they came from all sides.
From the East came an azure dragon it was floating slightly above ground as it moved forward. From the south flew a vermilion bird, spewing fire as it charged forward. From the west, they saw a white tiger charging right at them while up north was the largest beast a black tortoise lumbering towards them, the immense shell it had didn't look like it could be pierced by anything.
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