Wangcai, Is That You?
I stopped while chasing after Boss to pick up my old nemesis – the inkstone that smashed my face countless times – and stuffed it in my pocket, unsure of why it dropped there.
Wait. Even if I can catch up to Boss now, all I can do is repeat myself. If I say the wrong thing, she might bludgeon me. Plus, Luo Ming is probably crapping out of his mouth right about now. Although I do want to know why he stated all three of the greatest sects have assembled, it can wait. Besides, somebody else can fill me in. My priority right now should be to draw up a map to navigate Repository Island so that I can look into what Luo Ming won’t tell us.
I’d draw attention without a doubt if I suddenly vanished after entering the gazebo given how heavily guarded Repository Island was. I went with the easiest solution, sleeping the guards and dumping them in the lake. Done. No, using Eclipse wouldn’t have made sense since Luo Ming would immediately detect me even though his guards couldn’t.
I moved about using my qinggong. Howbeit, I occasionally had to seal the guards’ meridians using Night Net Celestial Silk to move around because of the tight security. Once I was safe, I would free them. I rinsed and repeated until I had a general idea of the island. As for discoveries… there were none to speak of. Not even secret passages.
I guess there couldn’t be too many people who are informed of the island’s secrets seeing as Luo Ming even fooled his son.
Damn, what is the old fox planning? How do I predict and stay ahead of him?
Suddenly, I caught something similar to a small black animal flit past, puzzling me. I thereupon gave chase, catching up by the side and grabbing it with one hand. I was right. The trembling little guy… was a rodent, one hell of a plump rodent.
“… Wangcai, that you?”
The rodent was too busy trying to escape its catatonic state to answer me.
Su Xiao immediately caught Xiao Huangquan, who the former admired for also being forthright, when the latter started barfing blood and convulsing perpetually. Xiao Huangquan’s injuries came from his own mental wall disrupting his flow of true qi. Su Xiao could feel his left arm going numb as he held Xiao Huangquan up.
“Patriarch Luo, can you help him?” Su Xiao requested.
Luo Ming just smiled; it made no sense to save someone he just put in place using. Butterfly Shadow Shuttle Light. Rain and Dragon Appear with the Clouds. Cold Face, Clear Edge. Sin Weishen. Nobody sided with Su Xiao for they believed Xiao Huangquan deserved it after running his mouth.
Afraid Xiao Huangquan would suffer qi deviation, Su Xiao, in a muffled voice, exclaimed, “I apologise in advance, Elder.”
Su Xiao drew Ancient Cold, spreading his cold energy as he swung it overhead – not in any specific style. The purpose of the draw was to use its sound as a means of negating the attack Xiao Huangquan was at the mercy of similarly to Shaolin’s Lion’s Roar. As if Su Xiao actually cut down on him, Xiao Huangquan’s trembling ceased, and his brows split apart.
“The young m-, l-, uh, that was a tremendous Voice Transmission cancellation method,” someone complimented.
Not all sound techniques were created equal. For example, Shaolin’s Lion’s Roar might’ve helped Xiao Huangquan, but Cold Mountain Temple’s Dawn Bell Dusk Drum would be too mild to have had a positive effect.
While Su Xiao used Cold Mountain Temple’s Voice Transmission style, he employed purely Ming Feizhen’s internal strength system, resulting in his draw also being rooted in the mental cultivation style Ming Feizhen taught him. Su Xiao surprised even himself when his attempt worked out on his first try.
Luo Ming’s gaze alternated between Ancient Cold and Su Xiao’s body to try and deduce the latter’s mental cultivation style. Su Xiao’s physical motions didn’t tickle Luo Ming’s fancy as anyone could perform what he did with a few years of training under their belt.
Luo Ming could reverse engineer the techniques if he could grasp an individual’s mental cultivation style thanks to his understanding of Repository Sword Theory. If he could spar with the target himself to analyse, then he could even deduce their internal style. It was the very trick he used to find the chinks in the styles of those invited, consequently lulling them to the island, though it took him years to gain the strength to perform deductions consecutively. It would take him another five years of studying at his current pace in order to understand the intricacies of his opponent’s style.
It’s almost as if the style goes beyond my comprehension of martial arts. It’s like I’m looking at a black screen no matter how I analyse his draw. It should be impossible for him to utilise such a complex style at his young age. Who… taught him that?
Thanks to Venerable Mianhua using Voice Transmission to help Xiao Huangquan steer his qi back on course, Xiao Huangquan managed to pull himself together in five minutes.
“That was close. This old man nearly died there,” commented Xiao Huangquan. “Luo Ming, you really are something else, huh? Had it not been for this kind kid, this old one would have perished here.”
Luo Ming never let his counterfeit smile leave his face the entire time. “This one was merely pointing out the fact that he never meant any ill will when he invited you. If you were not convinced that you had no answer for those four moves, you would not have taken any damage. As your patience is likely drying up from listening to this one ramble, he shall sum it up for you. The reason for the invitations is simple: you need Luo Sword Manor, while this one needs you.”
Luo Ming had the procedure for delivering the details planned out well in advance. Had he said what he just mentioned earlier, he would’ve riled up a lot of people. Through showing courtesy and then subduing Xiao Huangquan, he forced them to go along with him whether they liked it or not as he added an enigmatic component to the fishy convention.
“It would be arrogant to claim Luo Sword Manor’s swordplay is superior to all of yours, and the same can be said for our swords. If we were to break it down, though, this one would win. As martial artists, are you not inquisitive? Do you not have any desire to win? Do you have no desire to improve? … This one does and with passion.”
“Patriarch Luo, you should just be explicit at this point,” someone demanded.
“In that case, this one shall not hold back. This one found a demanding method to forge an ultimate weapon from the ancient books on blacksmithing. Therefore, this one requires your help to forge it. For that reason, this one has done everything in his power to invite all of you here. This one has not withheld any information. Anyone who aids this one shall be recompensed. If they are the final winner, the divine sword shall be theirs to keep.”
Someone: “Is that the only reason you invited us here?”
“No. The victor must agree to do something for this one… Should they be able to complete the task, not only will they be gifted the weapon, but this one shall also betroth his daughter to them, with half of Luo Sword Manor as the dowry.”