The Yang-Sovereign felt questioning eyes on him, and looked to the side. The Prime Shadow was looking at him with a raised eyebrow, as if asking for this situation to be explained to him.

The Yang-Sovereign chuckled at the questioning look, but didn't say anything.

"When did you plan this…alliance?" the Prime Shadow asked curiously. Matters of alliances, truces, war and whatnot was the domain of the Three Dao Sects. His purpose, and the purpose of the Shadow of Death Guild was to operate in the shadows, dealing with the messes the Three Dao Sects made.

Still, the Prime Shadow was surprised by this move, and wanted to know what the Yang-Sovereign was planning.

"I reached out to the Netherfrost Beasts a decade ago, although they only recently accepted my offering of a temporary truce," the Yang-Sovereign replied. "This isn't a formal alliance, but is only something meant to test the possibility of a future alliance between men and beasts. I figured that if the complete opposites, Yang Humans and Yin Beasts can put aside differences and unite against the devils, that perhaps the rest of both races will follow as well."

"I see," the Prime Shadow nodded, shifting his gaze back to the arena below.

"My instincts gave me warning when I entered your sect the other week," the Prime Shadow said a few minutes later, eyes still on the fight. "Although I wasn't able to pinpoint why. Would you happen to know the reason?"

"The Nine-Petal Yang Lotus," the Yang-Sovereign replied without pause.

"Hmmm? What about it?"

"It's been growing stronger as of late," the Yang-Sovereign answered. "It seems to be going through a maturing phase, evolving in an unknown way. I'm not sure why this is happening, but the lotus is growing in strength as it is doing so. You might have felt that, or might have felt the stronger spatial formations I had built to contain its growing strength."

"I see," the Prime Shadow nodded, "that would explain the feelings I had. "And what of this Yang-Sphere? It feels different from the last time I was here."

"As a matter of convenience, many of the Elder's have started using this Yang-Sphere as their training grounds. We've strengthened some of the spatial formations surrounding the Yang-Sphere in order to accommodate their strength, otherwise they could destroy the sphere entirely," the Yang-Sovereign explained.

The Prime Shadow nodded his head, then focused on the fight below which was coming to an end.

In the seemingly boundless training room, John and Zuri flashed through the sky, battling against each other. Battle arts flew about, and explosions blasted out in all directions, shaking the room with violent intensity.

"What are you doing!" a loud, frustrated shout boomed out within the training room, startling both John and Zuri. They stopped what they were doing and looked over to the source of the voice standing in the far distance.

Naelia, face red and sporting a pout, looked at both of them as if she were a parent scolding their unruly children.

"What are we doing? We're training," John replied calmly as he moved over towards Naelia, who was standing before the open entrance of the room.

"That's exactly what I'm talking about!" Naelia replied with a huff. "Your fight starts in eight minutes! Why are you still here?"

"The first round is over already?" John replied, slightly surprised. He had become completely focused on his training, and had lost track of time.

"Already? It's been six days since the tournament started!" Naelia replied.

"We've been training for six days?" John said with surprise, then looked to Zuri who shrugged and gave him a look of equal surprise. While John had been focused on honing his newly created Arts, Zuri had been using this training session as an outlet to vent her anger and frustrations which had surfaced when John had revealed the identity of her fathers and siblings' killer.

Both had been completely lost in their thoughts, and both had clearly lost track of time. Still pouting, Naelia eyed John up and down as he arrived before her, her eyes going wide a moment later.

"You…you're injured, and exhausted! You should be resting before your fight, not wearing yourself down to the bone!" she exclaimed frantically. John's body and robe was covered in dirt and some blood, making him look like he had just gotten out of a fearsome battle.

"I'll be fine," John said as he wiped his forearm on his face, cleaning some of the blood and grime away. While he was definitely not in his top form, it was still more than enough to deal with his next opponent.

Unconcerned with the time remaining, John walked past Naelia and through the training room exit. With no time to clean himself, he left the room and made his way through the hallways to the stadium seating. Naelia and Zuri raced up behind him to catch up, just in time to watch John hop off the ledge towards the arena below.

The crowd noticed his arrival and burst alight with loud conversations, many shocked and surprised to see John's current condition. It was the first time that any of them had seen a tournament participant show up to their fight so tired and wounded.

John ignored the looks and landed on the arena below, noticing his opponent for the first time. His opponent, most likely John's age or a year older, was a muscular male wearing bright yellow robes, most likely from a Yang-Dao Subsect. Based on the strength of his opponent's body, he figured his opponent was a body cultivator.

The Yang-Dao Elder stood a short distance away, frowning at John's appearance and almost late arrival, although he said nothing as John had broken no rules. The Elder then introduced both fighters to the crowd, with John's opponent getting a much louder roar of cheers. After checking that both fighters were ready, the Elder started the fight.

"The Second Round of the Dao Transformation Tournament, between John Fenix and Helaranth of the Roaring Heart Sect…begins!"

The roar of the crowd greatly intensified as John and his opponent looked at each other. His opponent had looked at John with wary caution, but upon noticing his condition, seemed to have gained some confidence. Their armbands linked, revealing the information of the other. Both cultivation stayed at the Middle Dao Transformation Realm, as his opponent had reached this realm when he was John's age.

"Hmph," his opponent scoffed. "You may be strong, but you are far too confident in your strength if you think you can show up to your battles like this without consequence."

"Is that so…" John mused in an unconcerned manner, taking a step towards his opponent to quickly finish the fight.


His opponent exploded with power, his aura surging high into the sky. John paused to look at him, wondering what his opponent would try to do.


Another loud boom sounded out a moment later, followed by Helaranth's aura increasing in power once more.

"You've completely underestimated me, and that will be your downfall!" Helaranth said firmly.


"My Roaring Heart Sects secret body strengthening art is tied to my heartbeats. Upon activating this art, each heartbeat strengthens my body significantly. At one hundred heartbeats, my strength reaches the level that can stand against those in the top fifty. You've chosen the wrong opponent to underestimate."


John paused and looked at his opponent with a bewildered expression.

"Shocked by the power of this body art?" Helaranth said with slight mockery.


"It's too late to do anything now. With my power increasing with every heartbeat, I'll soon reach a level that you cannot hope to stand against in your current condition."

John's confused expression lingered for a short while, then he sighed and shook his head in disbelief.

"I'm not shocked by your body art," he said, raising his head to look at his opponent again. "I'm shocked by the fact that you would reveal such an important part of your body art. Why would you ever tell your opponent such a thing? You could have drawn out the battle so you could reach your full strength, but why would I let that happen now knowing what I know?"

"I…" Helaranth said, slightly taken aback by John's comment. "Everyone knows what the Roaring Heart Sect's body art does. Besides, just because you know doesn't mean you can stop it."

"Well, I didn't know," John said, shaking his head once more. "But now that I do…"

Helaranth took a step back, ready to react to anything that John did. He needed to buy time to reach his full power, which was the main drawback of his body art. He paused a moment later, eyes going wide with surprise, as did the crowds, as they watched John sit down on the arena in a relaxed manner, as if he weren't in a fight at all.

"Go ahead and power up fully," John said, yawning slightly from a mixture of boredom and fatigue. "I have some new battle arts I recently created. A durable body cultivator is the perfect target to practice them on. Take your time. I'll wait."