The Signs of Battle. A Deity Descends. (Part 4)
Ambling onto the scene, Empyrean Zha flicked his sleeve to disperse the dust from the rubble and then, with one hand holding his sword behind his back, announced, “Empyrean Wuliang.”
Luo Siming cried, “Reverend Zha, thank god you’re here. This trespasser is formidable. Please help us drive him off. Wait. Is that not Second Chamberlain’s sword, Rhododendron?”
Reverend Zha stroked his beard: “This one retrieved this sword from a black bear. The black bear was innocent. This one used his benevolent virtue to show the bear how to turn over a new leaf and let it go.”
That must be why Reverend Zha was nowhere to be seen during my fight with Luo Yan. We’re lucky to have him with us.
Little did Luo Siming and Zha Pi know that Ming Feizhen was merely controlling Zha Pi from a distance using Shadow King String to avoid Yu Feiyuan. Zha Pi remembered sending Ming Feizhen a desperate signal for hope with his eyes as the five rushed toward him, only for his last hope to pass him a sword and pat him on the shoulder, saying, “It’s all on you now.” Zha Pi immediately yelled back, “You’re not going to screw with me in this situation, are you?!”
Zha Pi felt energy gushing through him out of the blue and, in one casual swing, generated a shockwave that sent the five flying. Still feeling so much true qi swelling himself that he’d explode if he didn’t get it out of his system, he then swung his sword again, shattering everything around to smithereens. The five who attempted to assassinate the empyrean where thereupon buried underneath the rubble of the building he blew them into.
Owing to Zha Pi’s lousy martial arts background, he couldn’t store much true qi in his body, forcing him to release what was excessive. That was why he had decimated almost half of the estate by the time he met up with Luo Siming. In retrospect, Zha Pi did more damage than Luo Yan did.
(Is this how people at the summit feel? As the only one who fathoms it all, the only one without any challenges… Is being invincible really so lonely? It’s like I’m all alone in a world where only I can s-)
“Don’t start horsing around! Because your foundation sucks, you’ll destroy all of your meridians if you attack a few more times!” Ming Feizhen warned straight into Zha Pi’s mind.
(Huh?! Where are my meridians?!)
“Don’t panic. You can’t use that destructive power again. There’s an alternative, though. Your body won’t hold up if I control your body to speak, so you wing it. I’ll help out if you get stuck.”
Zha Pi finally trusted Ming Feizhen could help him slay any deity from heaven or devil that crawled up from hell, so he could smile confidently: “Do you not think trespassing, fighting and destroying someone else’s property is disrespectful?”
“Uh…” Bodhi pointed to the rubble. “Weren’t you the one who did all that?”
“Are you claiming you didn’t put a hole in the roof?”
Bodhi looked around: “Which roof, the one you tore down?”
Zha Pi stomped: “Empyrean Wuliang! Are you going to lie to a god?!”
“I am innocent, though.”
Yu Feiyuan shook her head: “It wasn’t him.”
Luo Siming cupped his mouth with both hands: “Reverend Zha, I do not think it was him.”
Ming Feizhen: (“I don’t think it was h-”)
(Enough! I get it! I was just going with the flow, okay? Actually, why are you helping him, Big Bro?!)
(“I have a feeling that helping you would be undermining justice.”)
Reverend Zha continued, “Since we cannot reach a consensus, let us let our fists do the talking?”
“What do you mean we cannot reach a consensus? How is the conclusion not clear enough?” questioned Bodhi.
Of course, Reverend Zha Pi pretended he never heard the question and tried imbuing his sword with true qi but couldn’t find the invincible feeling from before even after finishing his Tai Chi Sword taolu, bewildering those watching on as to whether he was warming up before the big fight or performing his cool down after decimating half of the estate.
(Big Bro, why haven’t you fired a shot? I’m running out of moves.)
(… Can’t fight him using that method. It’s too troublesome to fight him. I don’t intend to have you fight him.)
Zha Pi lowered his sword awkwardly.
(Why didn’t you say so sooner! That was embarrassing!)
(I thought you were warming up.)
Zha Pi cleared his throat and then aimed his sword at Yu Feiyuan, smiling with animosity: “It seems you also had a hand in destroying the roof, Miss.”
“I did,” replied Yu Feiyuan.
The beaming Zha Pi had his eyes on Yu Feiyuan first thing upon arriving, so he was more than eager to fight her and, hopefully, cop a touch.
(Big Bro, she’s smok-, strong. Let’s intimidate her with a big slash.)
(… Because I don’t want to. If you’d like to die as quick as possible, by all means, challenge her. Their style erases any trace of their body. Most of the people who collect the remains of the dead from fighting their members don’t collect their corpse but blood.)
Reverend Zha instantly turned his attention to Bodhi and fronted again: “You would dare trespass when this is where this one had the honour of befriending Young Master Luo?”
This daoist is nuts, but his skills are insane, while I’m still injured. Screw it. I don’t back down from nobody.
“Hahaha, I took disrespect to the max when I trespassed. Might I ask how you will teach this mere human a lesson, Empyrean?”
(He reacted just as you assumed he would. Big Bro.)
(He’s no pushover, and you won’t stand to gain anything if you fight him. I can tell he doesn’t harbour any desire to keep fighting, but that girl won’t let him go. Shake him up a bit mentally so that he leaves on his own accord.)
“Slow down. The heavens are virtuous. Let this one share a story with you. This one was wandering elsewhere months ago and decided to head to the border of Nanhai when he recalled an old friend he hadn’t visited in a long time.”
“This one caught up with The Old Man of the South Pool over some tea.”
“Are you making fun of this one?!”
Who would believe Zha Pi met up with the daoist deification of Canpous, the brightest star of the constellation Carina?
“We also talked about the imminent tribulation the mortal world would be confronted with. It is also what I discussed with Earth God last time.”
“Enough!” Already disgruntled about being held up, Zha Pi’s tripe pushed Bodhi over the edge. “Let’s see if you can stop this with your nonsense!”
(Wh-wh-what do I do?)
Zha Pi felt true qi violently coursing through his body, spurring him into action. To counter the quick one two shockwave punches, Zha Pi ran his hand down the blade of his sword and then flicked the tip, startling everyone with the loud twang. Zha Pi then performed an overhand chop from roughly thirty metres away from Bodhi.
Bodhi rocked as comparably to a man caught in a giant wave, stunting his advance. Evil Eminence Scripture’s style allowed him to turn any force in his favour regardless of how subtle that force may be, so slippery surfaces or surfaces that moved under pressure didn’t merely gave him something to extra to think about, yet the volume of roiling qi was best compared to a waterfall belting against him, moving him back several steps against his will through daft acceleration until he could impose his will on the ground again.
“Th-that’s not swordplay! That’s voodoo crap!”
Everyone present could agree it wasn’t swordplay because no swordplay worked that way. The four pugilist realms were Perfection, Void Piercer, Manifestation and Divine Realms. Swordplay, in contrast, went from a standard sword to imbuing one’s sword (Sword Qi), harnessing the qi into a glow (Sword Energy) and then materialising a sword out of qi (Qi Sword). Swordsmen couldn’t push into new territory no matter how much they further developed their internal energy or refined their swordplay thereafter. Next was the mental side of the equation, which different sects had differing views on. As an example, Shaolin’s method was to subject themselves to lives of strict discipline, believing consistently subjecting themselves to harshness developed the psychological traits necessary to see further growth. Once they developed enough mentally and spiritually, swordsmen attained what was known as Sword Spirit Realm.
The foundation to harnessing one’s qi into a glow on their sword was imbuing their sword with qi, which Edge Realm internal energy developed when one begins to develop their internal strength. Mould your qi for one cycle, and you have a qi-enhanced sword, a symbol that you have learnt to combine your external environment with your internal energy. In essence, being able to imbue qi into one’s sword was the pugilist’s version of true qi development. If a sword enhanced with qi is the wind, then the glowing energy is a blade.
I can tell from the way the old bugger holds his sword that he hasn’t even reached Sword Energy Realm. I’d dare say he doesn’t even know a complete swordplay taolu, yet I can’t name anyone with his brute strength. It feels like I’m in a tornado! It doesn’t hurt, but I can’t move against this pressure.
Cheeks distorted due to the gale, Bodhi shouted, “What swordplay is that?”
“Your ignorance shows. You don’t recognise Quanzhen Sect’s… Elephant Swordplay? Elephant, elephant, why is your trunk so long?”
(Big Bro, are you sure that line is part of the sword manual? I’ve never seen you read a book!)
(That’s the only line I could think of I the spur of the moment.)
Meanwhile, Luo Siming grabbed pen and paper from somewhere to note the line down, mumbling, “Elephant, elephant, why is your trunk so, what?”
Yu Feiyuan kindly informed, “… Long.”
Elephant Swordplay my foot! It’s clearly Mad Dog Swordplay, refusing to get off me!
Rather than say Zha Pi wouldn’t let up, it was more a case of Bodhi having no counter. If Zha Pi’s swordplay was good enough to conjure a qi sword and execute the same technique, Bodhi would’ve been smithereens the moment it grazed him.
Wait a second. This sword qi is familiar… Oh, I recognise it now.
“Interim Patriarch Yu, I had no idea Empyrean Zha is your husband. No wonder why he’s so angry.”
While everyone’s eyes were wide, Yu Feiyuan frowned and corrected, “Don’t spout nonsense. My husband is a disciple of Mount Daluo. My husband’s name is Ming Feizhen!”