Yun Che landed on the Conferred God Stage and faced Luo Changsheng at close range.
The spectators stand fell silent, but there was none of the tension that was present during previous matches. Although Luo Changsheng didn't exhibit any profound energy, his invisible as a Divine King was the strongest declaration. Inside this field, anyone could sense that Yun Che gave off a petty and low feeling.
The battle between Luo Changsheng and Yun Che earlier was terrible and desperate, but three days later the gap between them had suddenly become impossible to cross. Yun Che was still at the ninth level of the Divine Tribulation Realm, but Luo Changsheng had stepped into a whole new territory. He was completely different from who he was three days ago.
Despite facing Yun Che, Luo Changsheng's expression didn't change one bit. It was almost as if the former was invisible to him.
"..." Yun Che sucked in a deep breath.
"I shan't repeat the rules that you're all clear on by now." Honorable Qu Hui waved his hand and declared, "Begin!"
The moment Honorable Qu Hui said this, Yun Che immediately activated Rumbling Heaven. His profound energy exploded to the peak, and the Heaven Smiting Sword brimmed with weighty power.
However, Luo Changsheng hadn't moved at all. He hadn't even released his profound energy yet. The only thing that changed was his expression as a tiny smile appeared on his lips. "You didn't disappoint me after all, Yun Che. It would be terribly boring if you had surrendered out of fear."
"Hmph." Yun Che narrowed his eyes slightly. "It seems that your capacity for nonsense has grown alongside your cultivation level."
Last time, both participants had engaged each other in intense battle the second Honorable Qu Hui declared the start of the battle. They hadn't traded words at all back then.
"Heh," Luo Changsheng smiled faintly, "that's because you were a real opponent to me. But now? You're no longer worthy."
Yun Che, "..."
"Aiyo, what's with the sudden change of attitude?" God Emperor Shitian glanced at Luo Changsheng sideways.
"A person's nature doesn't change suddenly in a short time," the Brahma Heaven God Emperor said. "It's clear that he has given up on hiding his true power, so why would he continue to suppress his true self, especially considering that Yun Che was the one who delivered him the first humiliation and defeat of his life?"
"That being said, he is a thirty year old Divine King. His head can be up in the clouds, and no one can fault him for being arrogant," the Star God Emperor commented.
Luo Changsheng's arrogant and disdainful taunt surprised every profound practitioner in the spectator stands… Before this battle, Luo Changsheng had never attacked an opponent with his full force or ridiculed them, no matter how weak they were. In fact, he did his best to ensure that they lost with their dignity intact.
Even during the previous battle, he hadn't treated Yun Che with arrogance or disdain, despite looking down on him.
But today, Luo Changsheng's strength wasn't the only thing that had ascended to a completely different level, it seemed. Even his speech and attitude had seemingly undergone a transformation.
Luo Shangchen, Realm King of the Holy Eaves Realm, frowned at this.
"Heh," Yun Che sneered while answering, "it looks like I should've hit your face harder during the last fight!"
Sneering, Yun Che charged straight at Luo Changsheng like a beam of light and slashed.
Luo Changsheng's aura field, attitude and eyes had completely changed. He was still Luo Changsheng, sure, but he also felt like a completely different person to Yun Che.
Luo Changsheng still hadn't summoned his profound energy, and his sheer confidence made Yun Che feel like he was facing down an enemy of bottomless depth. It was a suffocating feeling, but Yun Che's mind still remained as clear as the sky. Luo Changsheng's arrogance and disdain hadn't provoked him to anger, on the contrary… this was a weakness he could use!
The Heaven Smiting Sword was covered in golden, sky scorching flames the instant Yun Che swung the weapon at Luo Changsheng. Everyone knew how powerful the attack was since three days ago, so their hearts unconsciously tightened at the sight of the burning sword. However, their eyes quickly widened in shock in the next instant.
It was because Luo Changsheng had done something incomprehensible. His feet were affixed to the ground, and his right hand was casually held behind his back. He casually raised his left hand and held it in front of the Heaven Smiting Sword.
"Ah!? What is Luo Changsheng doing? Is he going to…"
"But that's Yun Che's slash and the Golden Crow flames. Even if he is a Divine King, there's no way he can…"
The Heaven Smiting Sword slammed into Luo Changsheng's hand, but a dull boom echoed up to the sky and in everyone's hearts, instead of the ferocious explosion everyone had come to expect.
Yun Che's body became frozen in mid charge. His pupils were shrinking rapidly.
Luo Changsheng's body hadn't moved an inch despite taking the attack head on. His left hand was only slightly pushed back by the heavy vermillion blade.
The spectator stands were deadly silent. Countless eyes were widened to their limits. They simply couldn't believe what was happening right before their eyes.
Yun Che's slash was powerful enough to crack the Conferred God Stage itself, and yet Luo Changsheng… had blocked it with just his left hand!
He wasn't even forced to take half a step backwards!
The corner of Luo Changsheng's lips curled up slightly at the sight of Yun Che's shrinking pupils. Slowly, he closed his fingers around the blade, causing the Heaven Smiting Sword's power to crumble and the golden flames surrounding it to die away layer by layer.
"Ah… ah… ah…" Huo Poyun was leaning forwards, and his face was etched with shock. Beside him Huo Rulie wore a serious expression on his face, but had none of the surprise that was aflicting his disciple. As a powerful Divine Sovereign, he was well aware what a Divine King represented, and the impossible gap that stood between a Divine Spirit Realm practitioner and a Divine King Realm practitioner.
Luo Changsheng casually raised his arm with seemingly no effort whatsoever, and yet Yun Che felt like the very pillar of heaven was pushing back against him. No matter how much strength he gathered to his arms, he wasn't able to form any sort of resistance at all. His entire body was pushed back several inches, and the Golden Crow flames surrounding his blade died away completely.
"It's not a bad power." Luo Changsheng looked sideways in Yun Che's direction. There was actually pity in his eyes, "You actually managed to hurt my hand my a little. You deserve praise for this."
His tone was praising, but he was without a doubt ridiculing and looking down on him. Luo Changsheng's lips curled slightly again before he gave the Heaven Smiting Sword a small push.
An invisible, tremendous strength hit Yun Che through his sword, causing him to shudder and back away at least a dozen steps in panic before he managed to stop himself. His vital energy and blood were in turmoil, and his mind even more so.
The Heaven Smiting Sword… was blocked… with one hand...
Although Yun Che had never fought against a Divine King before, he knew very well just how wide the gap between two great realms was. That was why he dared not underestimate Luo Changsheng in the slightest.
It was a tentative attack, true, but it had contained almost his full power. He was so sure that his sword was powerful enough to keep even a Divine King on his toes...
He had never even dreamed that Luo Changsheng would be able to block it with one hand so easily.
Yun Che's breathing was rapid and uneven… How can this be? He may have ascended to a new great realm, but he's still just an early stage Divine King! How can the power gap between Divine Spirit Realm and Divine King Realm be so huge!
If even Yun Che was shocked, the spectating youths were even more so. The Snow Song Realm disciples and Huo Poyun couldn't say anything at all.
Three days ago, Yun Che and Luo Changsheng had fought each other almost until their last ounce of strength and last drop of blood. Then Luo Changsheng entered Divine King Realm, and… How could a single step widen the gap so much!?
Luo Changsheng didn't attack Yun Che. Still standing leisurely with his right arm behind his back, he smiled lazily and lifted his left arm once more, "Come, let us continue. Show me how far you can struggle, and please, please don't disappoint me too much, okay?"
Right now, he looked like a kind god who was delivering an oracle to a lowly mortal.
Yun Che slowly regained control of his breathing as golden flames burned around the Heaven Smiting Sword even brighter than before. He leaped up into the air, concentrated all of his strength inside the weapon, and swung it right down on Luo Changsheng's head.
He refused to believe what had just happened seconds ago. He refused to believe that Luo Changsheng was powerful enough to block the Heaven Smiting Sword barehanded, just because he had ascended to Divine King Realm.
Luo Changsheng remained motionless despite facing a far deadlier strike than before. He acted to grab the Heaven Smiting Sword with his left hand.
The impact still sounded as dull as ever. When Luo Changsheng grabbed the Heaven Smiting Sword, the terrible power surrounding the weapon suddenly struggled like it was trapped inside an inescapable cage. It faded away swiftly before it could detonate outward, and the Golden Crow flames extinguished one after another as well.
"!!!!" Once again, Yun Che was shocked beyond words. Again he backed away from Luo Changsheng in panic before exploding into a deadly horizontal sweep.
Bang bang bang bang bang bang bang...
Every time Yun Che swung the Heaven Smiting Sword, his attacks grew fiercer and more violent than before. As a result, the fire on the Conferred God Stage spread further and further. But no matter how many times the Heaven Smiting Sword slammed into Luo Changsheng's hand, and no matter how ferociously the golden flames burned, Luo Changsheng remained perfectly untouched. He didn't take a single step away, nor did he use anything but his left hand to block all of Yun Che's attacks. Not a single trace of the sword's might or golden flames had come into contact with his body. His hair was the only thing that was dancing to the wind.
"..." The Snow Song Realm disciples were frozen like statues. For a long time, no one could say anything at all.
"This is the strength of a Divine King." Huo Rulie sighed quietly once more. "This is why I never wished for you to become a Divine King before you were a hundred years old, Yun'er. It's so, so hard to become a Divine King that it wouldn't surprise me at all if you're stuck at the peak of Divine Spirit Realm for the hundreds of years to come."
"After all… those who succeed will transform from a 'mortal' into a 'king'."
"Yun Che is probably going to give up soon now that he's witnessed the giant gap between him and Luo Changsheng," Yan Juehai said. "While it is possible to bridge a normal gap using the element of surprise or tactics, there is simply nothing anyone can do against an impossible gap like this."
Mu Bingyun, "..."
Again, Luo Changsheng had pushed Yun Che and his sword far, far away with his left arm, and again Yun Che forced himself to come to a stop before launching himself into a downward swing once more… this time though, Yun Che suddenly vanished just before the attack could land before appearing behind Luo Changsheng like a ghost.
"Destroying... Sky... Decimating... Earth!"
The sword's power suddenly climbed to a whole new level and slammed into Luo Changsheng's back with destructive power.
A dull boom shook the very sky itself, but the sword didn't land on Luo Changsheng's body because a thin yellow barrier was standing in the way. Although the barrier looked slightly dented, it successfully kept the Heaven Smiting Sword at bay and protected Luo Changsheng from all harm.
"..." In that moment, Yun Che felt like his heart had dropped into the abyss.
Luo Changsheng turned his head halfway towards the back before saying slowly, "I probably should tell you that I completed my breakthrough two years ago. I could've become a Divine King then."
Yun Che, "..."
"But my master was worried that I might earn the jealousy of others, so she applied a restriction to me and lowered my profound energy to the peak of Divine Spirit Realm. That's why you were able to beat me by luck three days ago." Luo Changsheng narrowed his eyes slightly as a cold glint passed through his eyes, "That means the only reason you were able to beat me was because I couldn't use my full strength back then. You didn't deserve to be my opponent from the start!"
When the final word slipped out of his mouth, the yellow barrier suddenly exploded and slammed straight into Yun Che.
Yun Che instantly flew backwards like he had been struck by a giant hammer. His face was pale when he landed on his feet, and a trail of blood poured down the corner of his lips despite his efforts to hold it back.