Book 8 Chap 3 – Awe-inspiring at the Field
(From translation thread – Translated by slyphiad…)
Once Yanfu attacked with his sword, everyone could tell he was formidable.
No matter the angle or the speed, technique or footwork, all these can be clearly seen in this simple looking sword execution that was moving like a swimming dragon, indeed deserving of his great reputation as a master swordsman.
The most exhilarating part was he borrowed the twisting power of his waist and legs to exert his moving strength, creating a powerful stab that pooled the energy in his whole body, moving as fast as lightning, with no warning sign in advance. It was really instantaneous, seemingly like a volcanic eruption and in the blink of an eye, the sword point arrived only a foot away from the unmoving Teng Yi’s chest .
The crowd imagined themselves in Teng Yi’s position. At the moment, the only path left was to retreat and pull out his sword, but this would only boost the opponent’s dominance, the offensive attacks will come in waves and he may even perish under the sword. In other words, whatever happens, it’s only because Teng Yi’s did not draw out his sword first and thus lost his chance to act first.
A small smile escaped from the corner of Teng Yi’s lips as he swiftly drew out his sword without even retreating a step.
The crowd was secretly alarmed. Guo Xiu’er and Zhao Ya were so scared that they shut their pretty eyes, unable to bear watching the tragic outcome of this hero when he spills his blood.
While everyone was stupefied, Teng Yi drew out his sword to about two feet from the sheath and actually accurately blocked the edge of Yanfu’s sword with his sword handle.
Even if Yanfu was stronger than Teng Yi, but the power emitted from the sword’s edge is incomparable to the power emitted from the flat side of the sword handle, especially since Yanfu’s arm strength simply wasn’t on the same level as Teng Yi.
Ever since Yanfu started to appear in the pugilistic world, he has never seen anyone who from the start could beat an enemy using the sword handle only. He had placed his full power to attack forward, and he could not stop his momentum and was heading towards Teng Yi as if he is throwing himself into his embrace.
Just as he realized his mistake, Teng Yi’s iron fist loomed in front of his eyes.
Fresh blood spurted from Yanfu’s mouth and nose as he stumbled backwards, unexpectedly knocked out by Teng Yi’s left fist, whereas Teng Yi’s sword was only half out of the sheath.
“Clang!”, the sword slid back into the sheath.
Silence reigned on the field, before the swordsmen from the training school burst into loud cheers which filled the whole field, amazed by Teng Yi’s skills and also ecstatic because he had gotten revenge on their behalf.
Li Yuan did not expect that Teng Yi could be as skillful as this, his face turned green as he shouted, “Carry that useless guy out!”
Once this word was out, even Zhao Ya, who was sitting beside him furrowed her brows, could feel that this person, Li Yuan, is an unkind and fickle person, showing no sympathy at all towards a subordinate who has failed.
Yanfu was quickly carried out of the field.
Teng Yi pointed towards Lou Wuxin, “It’s your turn now!”
The crowd’s eyes all fell on Lou Wuxin, waiting to see if he dared to accept the challenge.
Xiang Shaolong is the only one in the field who can predict the result of the fight. After Teng Yi received his instruction from the ‘Mohist Swordplay’s Addendum’, his sword and martial art skills improved exponentially, even he himself couldn’t be sure to win against him, much less Yanfu. This time he laughed out loud, “Brother Lou, if you still have not rested enough to get your breath back, we can ask Brother Dong Luzi or others to fight first.”
Once this was said, there was no way for Lou Wuxin to avoid this any further, he stood up, snorted and walked out towards the field.
Everyone immediately quieted down.
Ji Yanran whispered in Xiang Shaolong’s ear, “I have never seen anyone with such queer sword skills as your Second Brother, he not any more inferior compared to Li Yuan .”
Zhao Mu was instead elated, secretly thinking that it’s no wonder that this “Horse Fanatic” is so boastful, so it turns out that he has a subordinate who can fight against a hundred fighters singlehandedly with his out of the world sword skills.
“Clang,” Lou Wuxin pulled out his sword and a.s.sumed a stance, yet he didn’t immediately attack, quietly studying his opponent’s sword movement and techniques. Teng Yi faced the sky and laughed aloud, his right hand holding the sword handle, stepped forward and looked as if he was going to pull out his sword.
Lou Wuxin felt awestricken by his imposing manner and actually took a step back, so that a gap of seven to eight steps still remained between them. Teng Yi dashed like lightning forward towards Lou Wuxin’s left side, the long sword slid back in and then out of the sheath again, creating the unbelievable illusion of countless seemingly real sword sparks, looking like an attack but yet not an attack, and poisonous snakes in a pit, rearing their heads and sticking out their tongue so thatat any time, it could fiercely attack its enemy with one bite, but it would definitely be a merciless killing move.
Xiang Shaolong slapped his thigh and cheered. This move that Teng Yi used was based on defending in order to attack, beyond doubt that it has reached perfection, completely utilizing the essence of Mohist Swordplay’s Addendum.
Lou Wuxin was completely baffled by the opponent’s sword movement, even though he shouted and a.s.sumed a fierce posture but in the end he still moved back a step, everyone could see that he had been intimidated.
When master swordsmen were pitted in a battle against each other, how can one constantly retreat.
With wondrous instinct, Teng Yi’s sword suddenly moved widely, changing from defending to attack into attacking to defend, waving his long sword seemingly like a rainbow, accompanied by refined and intricate footwork, dashing forward to Lou Wuxin’s left, taking him by storm.
“Clang!” Lou Wuxin strenuously tried to block Teng Yi’s sword, which has reached perfection regardless of technique, posture, strength or movement. Teng Yi sneered, “Is this all you have?”
The long sword slid out, and quickly morphed into a sweep.
Lou Wuxin raised his sword in trepidation to block, only to be swept away by Teng Yi and there was no way he could retaliate at all.
Not one of them from Li Yuan’s side that didn’t turn pale, for it must be known that Lou Wuxin’s arm strength is the best amongst them all but it turned out that this “Long Shan” can easily beat him.
By this time, everyone knew that Teng Yi plans to subdue and humiliate this person in terms of strength.
Zhao Ba was ecstatic, but also secretly alarmed. He was always self-a.s.sured that his strength was unbeatable, but now looking at Teng Yi’s might, he realizes that there will always be others who are better.
Le Cheng who was sitting at the back moved forward, “Your family warrior’s superhuman strength was just astonishing, I won’t be surprised if it’s comparable to Xiao Weimou.”
Xiao Shaolong secretly snickered, if Le Cheng knew that Xiao Weimou was killed by Teng Yi, who knows what would he think about it?
History is being repeated again. Earlier it was Fu Jianyin who was beaten senseless by Lou Wuxin till he cannot retaliate at all and ultimately lost; this time it’s Teng Yi slowly pressing forward, making Lou Wuxin sweat with effort, continuously retreating.
This Lou Wuxin can be considered as awesome as he could ward off Teng Yi’s unfathomable 25th sword stance before he lapsed and thus creating a flaw in his defense.
Teng Yi moved forward like a lightning kicking his lower abdomen.
Lou Wuxin scrambled backward holding the sword, curled up on the floor from the pain. Besides moaning, he had no more energy to get up anymore.
The crowd was awestruck by this terrible sword move that all have forgotten to cheer.
Li Yuan completely lost face. After ordering someone to move Lou Wuxin, he saw that everyone and that Long Shan’s eyes are on him, he secretly groaned. If he joined in the fight, even though he might not necessarily lose, he didn’t have the confidence to get the upper hand, but at this time the situation is such that there’s no other way out so he snorted, “So Mister Dong has such a skillful subordinate, from this we could infer that Mister must also be an expert, why don’t we use this time to play a little bit, so as to avoid others speaking badly of me for taking advantage of your subordinate when he is tired from all the fighting.”
Even though his words sounded reasonable, but everyone knew that he is in fact extremely wary of Teng Yi.
Xiang Shaolong waved to Teng Yi to come back to the stand, before standing up slowly and replying calmly, “Regarding my skills, Brother Li should already have a clear understanding of my level from your family warriors, but how can listening be compared to watching. Since Brother Li is in a mood to play, I would of course love to accompany you.”
Li Yuan did not expect that he’d be willing to fight, and his joy plummeted.
This time, besides the men on Li Yuan’s side and Teng Yi, everyone else was worried for Xiang Shaolong. Li Yuan is known as Chu’s number one famous swordsman, just by looking at Lou Wuxin and the others’ skills, they can all deduce his formidability. Dong Kuang, this ‘Horse Fanatic’, wasn’t well known for his sword skills, so it’s not too hard to imagine who’ll win or lose.
Ji Yanran was anxious to the point where her brows all furrowed together, if Xiang Shaolong lost, even though Li Yuan wouldn’t dare to publicly kill him, but he will definitely injure or maim him.
Xiang Shaolong took off his precious sword Bloodwave and gave it to the person beside him as he smiled at Li Yuan, “How can we follow these youngsters and compete with our lives. We can dispense with the armor, but we will still use wooden swords to exchange pointers and hold our strength in check, all should be carried out in the spirit of a friendly compet.i.tion.” Even though Li Yuan was reluctant, he couldn’t openly show his desire to kill his opponent, so he smiled calmly, “Since this is Mister Dong’s suggestion, I will naturally agree.”
Xiang Shaolong secretly grinned, he is someone who’s used to using wooden sword. Just on this point alone, Li Yuan is destined to lose. After accepting the wooden sword and testing the weight, despite it only weighing about 70% of his Mohist sword, it’s still much heavier than the average iron sword.
Li Yuan used both hands to wave the sword around, pondering if he could just blind the other party in one eye, it would be most ideal.
Xiang Shaolong suddenly shouted, “Master Zhao, let’s play some drums to add to the atmosphere!”
While everyone was stunned, the drummer responsible for this had already started drumming like a violent rain producing earth-shaking drumming sounds.
Li Yuan’s handsome face turned cold and ruthless as he held his sword and stood erect. With his tall and graceful stature, and suave appearance, he truly had an extraordinary posture.
Xiang Shaolong placed his sword in front of him, staying as still as a mountain, both eyes shining sharply like eagle, focusing on the opponent.
The both of them stood facing each other, immediately revealing the air of an expert. Everyone was filled with tension, antic.i.p.ating the coming storm, for that moment everything was silent.
After spending the past six months training intensely, Xiang Shaolong has changed from being blindingly brilliant to being calmly unwavering, even someone like Zhao Mu and the rest who had seen him fight several times in the past couldn’t link through his movement that he is the Xiang Shaolong of the past.
Ji Yanran is an expert swordsman, with just a glance she can see that Xiang Shaolong’s casual stand has the aura of an immovable mountain. She was inwardly surprised, could it be that the last time they fought, he didn’t fight with all his might? She could never have guessed that his improvement in swordplay was all due to finding the Mohist Swordplay’s Addendum.
In Zhao Zhi’s eyes now, there is only Dong the Horse Fanatic who has that natural, graceful bearing of a hero, to the extent that even the handsome looking Li Yuan seems to pale on comparison.
Zhao Ya looked at Li Yuan, and also looked at Xiang Shaolong. She felt that although both parties had their own powerfully attractive qualities, Xiang Shaolong’s uniquely alluring enigmatic and mysterious quality is something that Li Yuan cannot give.
Guo Xiu’er felt something altogether different.
Li Yuan was truly the ideal husband of her dreams, talented in both literature and martial arts. He is dignified and graceful, at the same time he has status and power. Despite knowing that he’s a playboy, but that’s the way of all men, so she could only resign herself to this fate and obey her father’s command to marry this Lord.
But the appearance of Dong Kuang allowed her to experience the lure of another type of man, unrefined and straightforward yet revealing a thrilling wisdom and extraordinary thinking, making her willing to be conquered by him. This dilemma of choosing between them is making this young girl’s heart disconcerted, unable to make a choice.
Now that the both of them are finally competing to decide their superiority, would it help her make a decision? During this warring period, everyone knows martial art, sword skills has long become the standard in judging someone’s skills. An expert swordsman will naturally be regarded as important and admired.
Li Yuan and Xiang Shaolong stared at each other unwaveringly, and said in a frosty manner, “Brother Dong’s horse rearing skills are unparalleled in this world, I really would like to see whether Brother Dong’s sword skill is comparable to your horse rearing skills.”
He lowered his body to a.s.sume a stance, waving the sword and pointing at Xiang Shaolong, repeatedly shaking.
Everyone in the audience broke out into cold sweat on Xiang Shaolong’s behalf, no one had expected that Li Yuan’s sword skills to have reached such high levels. Even when using the wooden sword, he’s still able to create ingenious changes, confusing the audience to the point where one can’t be sure where the attack will be coming from.
Xiang Shaolong was still standing stiff like a pillar, the corner of his mouth revealed a mysterious smile as he blandly replied, “What are you waiting for, Brother Li?”
His words were imbued with strong confidence, everyone can clearly feel that he’s not even a little bit intimidated.
Li Yuan definitely proved himself to be worthy of being Chu’s number one swordsman, he wasn’t at all provoked by these words. He smiled and swiftly attacked. When Xiang Shaolong raised his wooden sword, pointing at him diagonally, he retreated and returned to his previous position when they were facing each other, the distance between them totally remaining unchanged. It can be seen from this how precise Li Yuan’s footwork was. Just based on this point, Ji Yanran’s earlier conclusion that Li Yuan’s sword skills were above Xiang Shaolong was definitely not without evidence.
Zhao Zhi was thinking that if Xiang Shaolong’s sword skills is on par with that Long Shan, these two people together would be enough to carry out the secret task of a.s.sa.s.sinating anyone. She can’t help but feel resentful towards Xiang Shaolong’s heartlessness.
Teng Yi concentrated on watching both of them, with their swords drawn and poised to attack. He was originally confident that Xiang Shaolong would undoubtedly win, but when he saw Li Yuan’s expertise when testing the water and his intricate and harmonized footwork, he couldn’t help feeling a little bit worried.
On the contrary, the one with the most confidence was Xiang Shaolong himself, not because he was underestimating his enemy, but because he had entered the state of Mohism protection, a state where there are no others and no self, yet at the same time his opponent’s intent cannot escape his observation at all.
He knew that Li Yuan is luring him into attacking first, but he was totally unmoved. If both sides are not striking at all, the one who will lose face wouldn’t be this ‘Horse Fanatic’ but the arrogant Li Yuan who had made his boast earlier.
While training in the 21st century, they really focused on the psychology of warfare and he is currently applying what he has learnt, intending to strike at Li Yuan’s weak points based on his character.
After facing each other for awhile, sure enough, Li Yuan couldn’t endure any loss of face and got impatient. He gave a cold snort, single-handedly lifted his sword overhead and leapt forward. As the long sword was about to violently strike Xiang Shaolong, his left hand grabbed the sword handle as well, and the power was intensified as now he is wielding the sword with both hands instead.
Even though many disdained Li Yuan, but on seeing this outstanding move, everyone can’t help but be impressed. Furthermore, this move was extremely severe and violent, gathering the power in the whole body’s strength to the arms. If Xiang Shaolong raised his sword with one hand to block, then it very possible that this single move will determine the winner.
Xiang Shaolong still looked as calm as still water. He only raised his brows, turned his wrist, and actually used only one hand to block Li Yuan’s move.
Ji Yanran was so astonished that her heart was beating rapidly, her slender hands rose to cover her gasping mouth that was about to scream.
In the past, she had fought both of them separately so she naturally understood that their arm strength were comparable. But this time Li Yuan is using both hands to attack and he has the added power from the running momentum so it’s not hard to know who would be stronger.
Ai! How can Xiang Shaolong be so reckless?
Everyone there can only hear the swooshing of Li Yuan’s sword cutting thru the air and could tell the ferocious power behind it, all couldn’t bear to see the happening of another tragic ending.
Li Yuan saw Xiang Shaolong trying to block with a single hand and was secretly happy so he intensified his strength into the strike.
Who knew Xiang Shaolong could suddenly change from blocking horizontally to flicking his sword up, heavily pushing aside his opponent’s move that was bearing down on him with the weight of a mountain. The hard block changed into deflecting the enemy’s blow using its own momentum.
Li Yuan watched helplessly as a surefire move was deflected to the side by Xiang Shaolong, and it went off target a little to only chop down towards the empty spot where Xiang Shaolong’s left shoulder used to be.
Cheers reverberated around the field.
Even Zhao Ya and Zhao Zhi, these two beautiful ladies who hated Xiang Shaolong, enthusiastically clapped their hands and cheered. Luckily, this time Li Yuan cannot afford to be distracted, or else he would have died of anger on seeing this.
Everyone thought that Xiang Shaolong will take this advantage to attack first, who would have guessed that he would instead move back a step, his wooden sword moving in a bizarre and mysterious path, moving backwards and forward in front of his body, floating and waving around randomly.
Even with Li Yuan’s sword skills and experience, he still cannot determine which moves are true and which are fake. With no alternative, he was forced to retreat but tried to look as if he is arranging a forbidding defense. However he is not as commanding now as he was before.
Teng Yi felt relieved, knowing that Xiang Shaolong had guessed correctly that in Li Yuan’s had wanted to impress Ji Yanran with his martial prowess so he purposely made him lose face, provoking him into being more impatient and reckless so that he’ll lose his advantage. He’s truly brilliant in strategy.
Ji Yanran is no longer worried about her lover, her eyes were shining with love and affection, looking at Xiang Shaolong’s vigorous body emitting an imposing aura and indomitable charm.
The autumn sun was shining high above the sky upon the field filling it with life.
There’s another person who cannot ‘refrain himself from liking’ Xiang Shaolong, which is Lord Long Yang. From the first moment he saw this stout and forthright man, ‘his’ heart was stirred. Now that he witnessed his splendid sword performance, his heart was sent into disorder and he was secretly determined to captivate Xiang Shaolong into becoming his love slave.
On the other hand, those family warriors under Li Yuan were so astounded they remained silent, they couldn’t believe that even with Li Yuan’s amazing sword skills, he still couldn’t even get a little bit of upper hand.
Li Yuan forced himself to concentrate, the wooden sword slashed up and down, forming his second attack.
Xiang Shaolong returned to his original spot, standing still like the mountain, not even moving a little bit.
Now, no one would think that he was too self a.s.sured and belittled his opponent.
Li Yuan softly said, “Who would have thought that Brother Dong is such an expert, be careful!”
With a diagonal forward attack, he moved around towards Xiang Shaolong’s back in an instant.
Not only did Xiang Shaolong not turn around to receive the attack, instead he quickly moved forward towards Li Yuan’s last position before turning around, the wooden sword pointing at the opponent, his steps steady and his bearing confident, with the posture like an erect mountain. One look is all it takes to know that he did not flounder at all despite his enemy’s tactical attack.
Li Yuan missed his intent and landed at Xiang Shaolong’s original spot and it seemed like the two of them made an agreement to exchange places.
The spectators didn’t dare to take a breath, afraid that it might influence both parties on the field who are caught in a deadlock.
Xiang Shaolong wasn’t without his own difficulties, for it is hard for him to go all out and fight. If he did not rein himself, it would be difficult to conceal his moves and it may even trigger the memory of those who have seen him fight in the past. By then, even if he killed Li Yuan, the loss will still outweigh the gain.
Li Yuan saw that both his moves has failed and lost his patience. He waved his sword to attack again. The sword point trembled like lightning, relentless, ruthless and flawless.
Xiang Shaolong knew that he was anxious for victory and was secretly delighted. Just before the sword touched his body, he coolly deflected to the side. The move was truly as calm as an immovable object yet as swift as an escaping rabbit. Besides, his movement was suave and unrestrained as well, thus attracting the cheers of others.
Li Yuan saw that he was evading the attack and happily thought there was hope. He shouted and waved the sword quickly.
Xiang Shaolong laughed aloud, drawing out his wooden in a flash, turned around and flew forward, continuously blocking the opponent’s five sword strikes without retreating a single step. His defense was as solid as an iron bucket, while his every move contained possible hidden changes thus causing Li Yuan to be hesitant about advancing rashly.
The clash of the wooden swords rang continuously non-stop.
The crowd was so focused on the fight that they forgot to cheer for their own side, only seeing both parties’ sword skills soaring powerfully without constraints, fluttering and flashing indefinitely. Not only were they marveling at Li Yuan’s unparalleled moves, but also astonished at Xiang Shaolong’s unfathomable moves.
Zhao Ya felt that this Horse Fanatic is just like his character, unfathomable. Judging from his appearance, anyone would have guessed that Xiang Shaolong is a proactive person and who would have thought that in actuality it was the other way around.
Even though Li Yuan is always the initiator of the attacks, yet his opponent’s defensive yet seemingly offensive moves is restricting him the use of the full strength of his skills. At the same time, the opponent displayed a strong will and tenacious power and he cannot help but feel discouraged. This is also the negative aftereffect of his two failed attacks; otherwise he wouldn’t have this feeling of discouragement.
His sixth attacks haven’t come out and yet the opponent’s wooden sword suddenly created numerous shadows, confusing him such that he has no idea where the attack will be coming from. Li Yuan was alarmed and naturally he retreated.
Xiang Shaolong laughed out loud, placing the flat side of the wooden sword on his shoulder, appearing calm and composed, said to Li Yuan who has retreated close to ten steps away from him, “Brother Li’s sword skills are indeed ingenious, I think that it will be extremely difficult for me to win, let’s just quit while we’re ahead and call off the battle at this point, what do you think, Brother Li?”
Li Yuan stood frozen on the field, his handsome face flitted between turning red and pale. Even though it was still not clear who will be the winner and the loser, but everyone saw that all of his three attacks were nullified by this Horse Fanatic, how can he lift his face up again?
But if he insist on continuing the fight, firstly, it will show his lack of bearing, even more importantly, he had lost his confidence and all of his fighting spirit had been dispelled.
While he was still hesitating, Guo Kai, who was worried that Xiang Shaolong will really injure Li Yuan, stood up, “Let’s consider this fight is a draw, today is indeed an eye opening experience for all of us.”
Li Yuan secretly hated this but he had to maintain a smiling front, accepting other people’s congratulations together with Xiang Shaolong. Ji Yanran greeted Xiang Shaolong and said tenderly, “Mister Dong, from today onwards, you can be considered equally brilliant in both horse rearing and sword skills. I wonder if you would be willing to visit the place where I’m putting up for the moment to take care of my sick horse?”
Everyone who heard this envied him.
Although she’s using to the horse as an excuse, but her invitation came publicly after his incredible performance of martial prowess so everyone knew that this peerless beauty known for her heart of stone is no longer concealing her feelings towards this Horse Fanatic whom had stirred her heart.
The other three girls who were rushing to congratulate Xiang Shaolong, felt snubbed as Ji Yanran s.n.a.t.c.hed their chances and quietly withdrew.
Li Yuan was the one who felt the worst. Originally he thought that today he would be able to impress everyone during the martial arts compet.i.tion, instead he ended up with two of his famous subordinates seriously injured, while he himself could not win the fight, which is a total loss of face. The hardest hit was Ji Yanran is actually making giving an invitation to his biggest rival right in front of his eyes. His felt a strong hatred and hurriedly left with his subordinates.
Zhao Ba was ecstatic and said as he pulled Xiang Shaolong and Teng Yi, “No matter what, I want to invite both of you to become our honored guest instructors. Please do not decline!”
Zhao Mu sighed, “If Mister Dong and Brother Long was here a year earlier, that fellow Xiang Shaolong would not be able to leave Handan alive.”
Xiang Shaolong and Teng Yi exchanged glances, both felt very amused.
Amongst all the uproars, Xiang Shaolong finally was able to extricate himself to leave with Ji Yanran under everyone’s admiration gaze.