Editor: Areth Kyntaul
The Long Sword is Sharp Out of Thin Air. Kuang Tian is Enshrouded in Confusion
Jia Yunfeng snickered and said, “You said you would give me ten free moves, but you nearly lost your life. Do you think you still have a chance at winning with my men as part of the equation? What is the Emperor to you? Why have you come to his rescue with complete disregard for yourself?”
Ming Feizhen glanced at the Emperor then answered in an entertained tone, “Because he’s a good Emperor. He’s not the best, but everybody has some misfortunes. You need to learn how to carry those burdens.”
“Save the pointless drivel and big talk. If you want to save the Emperor, ask my Beyond the Heavens Edge first!”
“Wrong. You’ve got it all wrong.”
Ming Feizhen shook his head, bringing his long-white hair along. His white hair oddly shone in the darkness.
“Your plan to overthrow the Emperor brings countless troubles, yet not a single benefit. If you weren’t Kuang Tian, I might’ve rescued the Emperor without fighting you.”
Jia Yunfeng frowned a little, “What does that mean?”
“Thirteen years ago, your sect leader, in other words, your shifu, asked my shifu and me to do him a favour. He asked us to bring a lost young man back to his senses. He believed that the young man was Hua Shan’s hope in the future.”
“At the time, I had my own troubles, so I just taught him a lesson and considered the favour done. But that wasn’t the reality. The young man looked like he had realised his wrongs and went back on the right path, but he still had obstacles in his heart. And he still does now.”
Ming Feizhen swept his gaze over the Jia Yunfeng who was taking pride in the fact that his skills had improved significantly.
“Jia Yunfeng, your current expression is the same as the one you had thirteen years ago. You’re still drowning in your pursuit of power and unable to pull yourself out. You made your shifu’s good intentions and efforts go to waste.”
“Do not spout nonsense, you chicken!”
Beyond the Heavens Edge swung through the air. A blue light like a flash of lightning cut the snow and wind between them.
Jia Yunfeng shouted, “My shifu was old and over the hill, with no accomplishments for his entire life. If it were not for me, Hua Shan would not be what it is today! After my accomplishments today, Hua Shan will rise and be revered like your Mount Daluo!”
“What’s so bad about living a free and carefree life? How is your shifu in any way inferior to you? You’re busy all the time. You’re the League of Assassins’ lap-dog when you’re the leader of a sect. You think that makes you awesome?”
“What nonsense!” Jia Yunfeng’s stared intently. His murderous intent filled his eyes, “Joining the League of Assassins was just a means of improving my swordsmanship. You’re no longer a match for me. Your provocations are useless against me. You are delusional if you want me to spare you.”
“As I said, you’re wrong. You’ve got it all wrong.”
What looked like a red flame lit up in the eyes behind the mask. The eyes were not what a human’s eyes looked like.
“Thirteen years have gone by and yet you haven’t changed at all. You sacrificed everything for yourself. You looked down on your shifu, yet you’re completely confused, unlike he was. You’ve been staggering through your journey these last thirteen years. You became the sect leader, then became an assassin, and even went and worked as the orange prince’s lap-dog. It gives the impression that you’ve done a lot, but really, it’s just a mess. You’ve improved your skills and killed plenty of people. However, you’re still that kid from back then who hasn’t grown up. You sacrificed precious things you won’t be able to compensate for with your whole life, all for your so-called improvement.”
“Shut up.” Jia Yunfeng got infuriated. He aimed his sword at Ming Feizhen, “Keep talking, and I guarantee you will spill blood in five steps.”
“Your shifu was right about one thing. You truly do have decent talent for martial arts. If you can get away today with your life, I guarantee with my head that you will go down in history as one of the greatest swordsmen.”
Jia Yunfeng snickered, “So you are suggesting that I will not leave this place alive today?”
Ming Feizhen didn’t reply. He kept silent, as if he were mocking his opponent with a smile, as he concurred with what Jia Yunfeng asked.
Ming Feizhen stood in place and gestured for Jia Yunfeng to come at him with his finger.
“Keep showing off.”
Once he was done speaking, Jia Yunfeng immediately sprang into action. He flew through the air like an eagle. He slashed with all his might and speed, like an arrow piercing through from the netherworld. That was a variation of Hua Shan’s Cradle Head Blue Stone Nine Swords. His variation on it made it a terrifying attack.
Once the strike was thrown, he shouted, “Catch this!” But the element of surprise was blatant to see.
Jia Yunfeng was very satisfied with the move. His ten moves against Ming Feizhen had significantly improved his skills more than ever. The coordination between his eyes, hands, body, and strength was perfect without thinking, whether he was stabbing or slashing. He was already at the level of a master.
His long-sword was powerful like an arrow. He had yet to break the sound barrier, but it was overwhelming as it was. So, when combined with his moves that were sudden, it was virtually impossible to defend against.
However, this powerful thrust of his missed its target.
Ming Feizhen didn’t even budge. However, his long sword appeared as though it missed his body.
Jia Yunfeng wasn’t the only one to be surprised. Even Princess Hongzhuang, the Emperor, and everyone else watching was bewildered. Other than being surprised, their gazes also showed that they thought it was absurd. This sort of technique in swordplay is referred to as a thrust. The most important requirement of executing a thrust was to ensure precision. While the way a thrust is performed varies from school to school, precision is the key regardless of style. As such, it’s a technique that is only used after thousands upon thousands of times of practice. One’s eyes and hands must be coordinated. Done right, it’s harder to miss than hit.
Jia Yunfeng was a sect-leader and Hua Shan’s swordplay was renowned throughout the world, yet he missed a big target like Ming Feizhen? There was no other way to describe it other than absurd. It’s akin to seeing a marksman that shoots with great precision missing an apple in front of him. It’s just unbelievable.
Jia Yunfeng was baffled. He stepped back and then used Falling Geese again.
Ming Feizhen moved his neck sideways just ever so slightly, causing Beyond the Heavens Edge to stab straight past him, missing its target. Jia Yunfeng grunted. He then pulled his sword back which acted as a second attack. Ming Feizhen didn’t look like he dodged. He just shifted his head to one side slightly and the sword struck thin air again.
Jia Yunfeng felt like he got dumped into freezing waters. Outsiders didn’t understand what he was feeling, but he knew.
What transpired couldn’t be any more familiar to him. It had been his nightmare for thirteen years. He never thought history would repeat itself after he had improved his skills so much.
While he started to panic to himself, he continued to swing his sword. His divine blade was like the light emitted by snow. But regardless of how brilliant his techniques were, Ming Feizhen could seemingly evade his strikes by a hair’s breadth.
“I told you. You got it all wrong.”
Jia Yunfeng tried utilising the move he used before again, but it was still in vain. He was certain his skills had not diminished, but he couldn’t make sense of why all of his techniques were ineffective.
Jia Yunfeng started to panic because the situation was too abnormal. Most importantly, his ability to sense qi was completely failing him. He was never able to detect Ming Feizhen’s movements right from the beginning. It didn’t appear as though he moved, but even if he wasn’t moving at all, this wasn’t how things should’ve been. Jia Yunfeng’s sensing barrier had been set up all around Ming Feizhen. It felt akin to a rock with no pulse to react.
Ming Feizhen seemed to have something on him that denied access to sensing him and figuring him out. It was like a thin layer of mist surrounded his body. That layer of mist from the past had appeared. He thought he had closed the gap, only to find out the gap between them had in fact increased.
*The words used for “thrust” when describing it translated literally is more like “shot”. In English however, we don’t say we shot our sword unless you literally mean that. Instead, we use descriptions to describe the thrust being fast. In Chinese as used here, it’s possible to separate them as two different phrases.