Since Starman Iron Sword retaliated with a stab as I extended my arm, I went for his chest, which was the closest target. To my surprise, I felt my energy go straight through him and into a rock behind him. In other words, there were ice mirrors that confused the target, while the heavy snow impaired vision and listening. He steadied his real body but didn’t mount an offence due to the damage I managed to deal.
I dusted the snow off my hands: “Could you let me through, Hero Tan? It will make things easier for both of us.”
“My duty is to stop you. This is the last barricade of Lotus Root Ground, so sorry.”
“Aren’t there six gates? How is this gate the last gate?”
Tan Datong inhaled first then clarified, “The last gate is designed to stop an army, not a minor number of invaders.”
The larger a formation, the more financial and human resources required to maintain it, so it stood to reason that the last two formations were reserved for worst-case scenarios.
“If you can overcome Four Seasons Sword Formation, then you may enter Taihu Sword Island unobstructed.”
“Should you be telling me that?”
“It makes no difference. You will find out if I lose here.”
“You’re implying you won’t be losing?”
“Precisely. Come out!”
Swordsmen from the other gates emerged from the snow around us in teams of four, a total of around four hundred swordsmen. For them to have reached the fourth gate already, they unquestionably took a secret path. The four-season-themed sword formations they arranged themselves in were more complex than the previous ones when viewed as a whole.
This must be the real version of Four Seasons Sword Formation.
“What’s this gate called? Gang-Up Gate?”
“… This is the fourth gate – Starman Frosty Sky Gate. The ice mirrors are the cornerstone of this formation.”
The sword formation hadn’t changed a lot; the formation at this gate that created reflections was what changed it. For every four swordsmen, one of them might be real, while the remaining three are illusions or any other possible numerical combination. Hesitation or stopping to think would leave the target vulnerable to their attacks. As for Tan Datong, he was fast enough to give the impression that there were seven copies of him.
“This sword formation must be your ace. I heard Luo Ming has modified the formation. I’m guessing the ice mirrors are his contrivance. I didn’t realise Four Seasons Sword Formation was actually several hundred.”
“Your formidable skills have forced me to take this step. Please pardon me.”
“No, no, not at all. You have an excellent formation synchronised in attack and defence. With you also leading, it won’t be easy for someone considerably superior to you to breeze his way in.”
If I couldn’t see a chink in the formation with my amazing eyes and godly checkers skills, how would Abels have gotten through?
“Indeed, it is Master’s design. We appreciate your praise.”
“Thing is, you have made a mistake, Hero Tan.”
“May I ask what I am incorrect about?”
“Only someone who can read the levels has the right to speak of them.”
“How does a man speak of strategy when he is fantasising? How does a man know what is outside of a well if he is stuck inside? How can a man know of the ocean’s size when he has not explored it? Do you truly know what ‘high level’ means?”
“Self-presumptuous! Attack! Winter Night. Cold Night. Ice fusion. W-”
I didn’t stop him from completing his recital; he stopped himself when he saw a hundred duplicates of me. Who ever said they were the only ones who could utilise the mirrors?
“Not one of you knows what you’re up against, so how can you talk about levels?”
Mountain Monster had yet to drink the water she boiled for herself when I returned, while A-Lan forgot how to breathe and move when she saw me without a single scratch.
“Bodhi isn’t on this island. I guess we won’t get to see him today.”
The two didn’t give much of a reaction. Therefore, I presumed they predicted that outcome.
“We can travel to Taihu Sword Island now.”
When we returned to the shore, however, our small boat was stuck in ice because the cold on the island froze everything in its vicinity. In the distance, there were innumerous whirlpools of varying sizes on our path forward. Vortexes in a lake are obviously not normal. The reason for them, then, was Luo Sword Manor’s formations somehow altering the water’s behaviour.
“Now I get why Abels got stuck here.” While we were mulling by the shore, I looked up and notified, “We have a guest.”
“It’s Luo Ming,” informed A-Lan, referring to the individual speeding over from hundreds of metres away. “What now?”
Mountain Monster suggested, “We should return inland. By the time he reaches the island, we should’ve found an escape route.”
I didn’t get time to opine for I had to warn, “Stay alert!”
Luo Ming charged up energy in Brave Shine and then whipped his sword in an arc with all his might. A wide red breaker cleaved through the water, elevating the water on either side as if it was going down a lane, as it chased us down!