Book 1: Winds Begin to Blow in Tai Yuan
Chapter 21 – Three People Battle in the Night
“What a powerful domineering attitude.” Meng Fuyao whispered, “Of course you are Zhan Bei Ye … wait, who is Zhan Bei Ye again?”
Yao Xun had already long lost his previous composure, his lips trembling as he shrunk behind a tree. “That fiend has found me …”
Yuan Zhaoxu’s eyes flashed, and suddenly from his robes he pulled out two skin masks, sticking one on Fuyao’s face and one for his own face.
Towards Meng Fuyao’s questioning gaze, Yuan Zhaoxu lifted his eyebrows, “I trust you wouldn’t want to be targeted by this hard-to-deal-with fellow?”
Fuyao hurriedly went to adjust her mask, but the moment she lifted her hand, she felt a gaze shoot over like a sharp sword, shockingly piercing like a needle. At the same time, a low cry exploded out like a lightning bolt – before the sound fell, a gray light shone in the darkness, and a blast of air broke the stillness of the night and sprinted towards the three like thunder.
Meng Fuyao pushed down Yao Xun with a slap.
When Yao Xun fell to the ground, that gray glow had already arrived in front. Within the ephemeral lights could be vaguely discerned a steel black spear with its tip removed. On the spear profused vigorous and abundant true qi, stirring up blasts of gales from far away that didn’t actually shoot in a straight line, but instead came in a covering shock wave, horizontally sweeping past the three people.
What an arrogant attack!
Meng Fuyao lunged forward and drew her sword in a horizontal slap, wanting to use calculated, precise blows to nudge the long spear off-course. Before she had reached it, the gusts from the long spear had already blown her hair loose, fluttering in the air like a flag. Even her eyes could barely open. Fuyao immediately closed her eyes, still stubbornly persisting, her sword ferociously sweeping out.
The clashing of metal rang out, and in the darkness bursts of sparks shot out in four directions. Amidst the fiery blooms a person laughed, cold and fierce. “Who dares to imitate me?” With the sound came the person, his black clothes coiling like dragons, surging forward like an arrow.
Meng Fuyao and the long spear collided, and the roiling essence on the spear immediately rushed towards her chest like enormous tidal waves. Her heart tightened and she staggered back several steps, fighting to breath while her hands and feet numbed, losing the strength to lift her sword again. With the opponent charging forward menacingly, she was scared for a moment. However, she then heard a faint chuckle, and with a flash of light purple robes, Yuan Zhaoxu suddenly soared out.
And it was true soaring – Meng Fuyao had never seen this type of brilliantly fresh and refined body technique. It was just like the mid-air dancing of Ninth Heaven immortals, so graceful and stylish that it was hard to describe in words, yet unlike most other flashy flying arts that couldn’t maintain their speed. He swiftly flew chasing light and shocking lightning, like brightness of stars thousands of light years away arriving at one’s eyes in a flash. When before he was many zhang away, after his figure blurred, he had already reached Zhan Bei Ye’s side.
With a twist of one hand at a fluid angle, silver light immediately shone out in mid-air. Specks of white light, as if a blizzard had just gone past, engulfed Zhan Bei Ye who was flying towards him like a black tornado. Zhan Bei Ye quickly raised his head. In that expanse of incandescent sword light, the glow in his pupils was still bright enough to bring fear. It was like the first rising star at the extreme edges of the western horizon, burning with fire.
Zhan Bei Ye’s voice had the exhilaration that came with meeting a worthy opponent. Horizontally gesturing with his arm, the long spear flew back into his palm, and with another shake the pure white spear tip was already reattached. He shook his arm in a sweep, causing the spear’s glow to explode out two zhang. The attack was sent out late but arrived first, colliding with those thousands of specks of snow.
Even the air was impacted into fine cracks. Those thousands of snow lights were shocked flying, scattering outwards. Hitting onto the surrounding trees, there instantly appeared innumerable small, deep holes with “pa pa pa” sounds, while a streak of formless wind shot across the ground like an earth dragon. Close by, the soil turf was sent flying, with mud splattering in four directions. On the ground surface appeared a deep trench that seemed like it was formed by a huge sword plowing through, directly extending out numerous zhang before disappearing.
After a time, the shattered snow dissipated, and the spear winds stilled.
Yuan Zhaoxu who was shrouded by snow light didn’t retreat at all, faintly smiling while standing on the tip of a section of tree branch. The wind clearly was howling intensely, yet he and his footing on the branch was not shaken by even a hair.
Zhan Bei Ye held his spear while arrogantly standing underneath the tree. The mud and dirt sprayed out by that burst of qi, didn’t even manage to stain a spot on him.
Meng Fuyao stood many zhang away, her emotions surging while she fixedly stared, thinking of that exchange of blows just now. She had always vaguely thought that the “Breaking Nine Heavens” fourth layer that she had broken through with Yuan Zhaoxu’s borrowed inner strength, seemed to contain no depth to it when she used it. She had known that it was because using borrowed strength to break through would never be as stable as using one’s own strength, but she bitterly racked her brains for a solution to no avail. Now however, as if because of the battle between opposing powerful cultivators tonight, she suddenly saw the exit, the dawn of enlightenment. That type of well-roundedness – that flaring and tyrannical, yet flexible and skillful form of attack – wasn’t that the true meaning of the fourth layer, “Revolution”?
Her thoughts became unclear, and with a willing of her mind her whole body’s true qi automatically began to circulate through her meridians. Within that half-meditating state of mind, she faintly heard Zhan Bei Ye roar in laughter, “Good, this is it! Fight again!”
Startled, Meng Fuyao hurriedly tried to gather her concentration to observe again. All of a sudden, she felt the air by her side tense and her vision go dark, as if something had shot past her with extreme speed. She even could feel that when it brushed past her shoulder, a faint pine smell swept past, and her cheek seemed to have been flicked by some soft, smooth thing, cold like silk fabric.
Someone went past her side? That fast? Was it a person or a ghost?
Meng Fuyao subconsciously tried to reach out and grab it, but she only felt air. The other’s shadow was like a specter, strange and enigmatic, with a twist already nearly in front of Zhan Bei Ye. Fuyao vaguely heard a word, “Go!”
In the next instant, the person had already exchanged over ten blows with the Zhan Bei Ye who had heard the shout and immediately turned.
Fuyao gaped. She only saw the person use body movements even more swift and agile than Yao Xun, so fast that it seemed like the whole forest was filled with his after-images. The whole person had transformed into thread of smoke, a wisp of mist, and was everywhere and nowhere at the same time. He didn’t use his hand to grasp his sword at all; an extremely thin and long, strangely constructed sword was attached horizontally to his elbow. Only a half cun long section of the dark blade extended out from the end of his elbow, following his streaking figure to unceasingly swallow and bite like a poisonous snake. He also completely forwent any type of large scale, powerful cleaving techniques. All of his techniques originated from that cun long section underneath his elbow, and all of his attacks were issued under close combat. Stabbing, piercing, slicing, cutting – like mist or flowing water, every single one quick and fierce.
Zhan Bei Ye also seemed to be unable to adjust to this strange combat style for a time – with someone charging into the close space around him, his long spear had also lost much of its effectiveness. In just that moment of time, that faint dark shadow brazenly charged forward and shot past Zhan Bei Ye’s body, a brilliant flash coming from under its elbow.
Bloody light scattered out.
Dark red blood splattered into the darkness of the forest, staining one’s vision red.
However, Zhan Bei Ye’s eyes glowed even brighter, burning with an intense inferno. He suddenly slammed out a palm, the furious burst of air not even that person dared to confront head-on, retreating three steps back. Taking advantage of the moment of retreat, Zhan Bei Ye shook his arm in a fling, throwing the long spear far away. The spear drilled into the ground with a “duo” sound, entering three chi, and in the vibrating sound of the pole Zhan Bei Ye slowly licked the fresh blood on his arm. With a sudden quieting, he chuckled, “Tai Yuan actually has crouching tigers and hidden dragons!”
The smile had not faded before his war cry sounded out again. This time without any weapons at all, Zhan Bei Ye used his body as his sword, and blasted forwards like a turbulent gale!
With a whoosh sound, Yuan Zhaoxu dashed down from the branch. With a left and right lift of his hands, he pulled up and left with the two who were still dazedly watching the fight. Meng Fuyao was unwilling to go, repeatedly turning back her head. “What are you doing?”
“Didn’t they tell you to leave? Why keep lazing around here?”
“It’s an awesome battle, missing it will be so wasteful! Yuan Zhaoxu, don’t stop me, I’m going to look, my martial arts might benefit from it.”
Zhaoxu didn’t retort, only smiling while stretching out his hand in a motion like he wanted to pet Meng Fuyao. As expected, Fuyao immediately turned her head towards him.
Only then did Yuan Zhaoxu continue, “If you stay longer, once Zhan Bei Ye extracts himself there will be trouble. Don’t think that just because Black Magic wounded Bei Ye, he has grasped victory. He doesn’t understand that person. Zhan Bei Ye gets fiercer facing stronger opponents, and whomever makes him see blood, he will definitely battle them unceasingly. Black Magic won’t be able to get any advantages tonight.”
“What do you know …” Meng Fuyao discontentedly grumbled, getting halfway through before she suddenly widened her eyes, saying in shock, “Black Magic? That was Black Magic? That number one under the heavens, the bloodthirsty assassin? He came?”
Yuan Zhaoxu slightly turned his head, and in that moment something strange flashed through his eyes. After a long time, he softly said, “What should have come, has already long arrived …”