May You and Their Sword Never Lose Their Edge
Not a drop of blood fell from Luo Ming’s sword. Instead, they resembled crimson snakes slithering along to the dragon design on the blade and then stopped, dying two-fifths of it red. As if the dragon was enraged enough to spit energy, a red sleeve of energy ran up along the blood, vibrating ever so slightly as though it was asking for more blood. His opposition felt as though their blood was collected in their head, waiting for the sword to harvest.
“What a sinister sword.” Venerable Mianhua had his brows locked tight.
“You misunderstand,” Luo Ming casually amended, still showing obsession with his sword through his gaze. “It is not sinister at all. Its name is Purple Forbidden Enclosure Dragon Slayer, a product of this one’s blood, sweat and tears. Henceforward, it shall be the sword of swords.”
“Is he possessed or something? Even if he’s changed paths and forgotten our ancestors’ teachings, he couldn’t have changed his character, too, could he? He doesn’t talk like that.”
Like Luo Yan, Shen Yiren had a strong suspicion that the sword was influencing Luo Ming to a degree, so she honed in on where the doors of the smithing workshop used to stand: “Poison King, show yourself if you’re not a coward! Get the hell out here right now!”
Poison King was expecting to find out whether the legends surrounding the sword were true, not to be named. Nonetheless, he sneered to himself as he responded, “Mind your manners, girl. This old one is old enough to be your grandfather’s dad. Who are you to criticise him?”
Having achieved her goal – to confirm Poison King’s presence – Shen Yiren turned back to Luo Ming: “Luo Ming, explain the sword.”
“Hohoho, they spent years searching for rare metals, mountains of money and sought the aid of Evil Spirits from Beijiang to forge the divine sword – Purple Forbidden Enclosure Dragon Slayer. The sword core comes from a real dragon, but it’s been contaminated in corrupt qi for twenty years where sword spirit is highest in the world. You could say it’s the coldest, most savage product in the world. It’s perfectly understandable for it to lend its corrupt qi to the sword when he used it for the sword’s core. He’s a very advanced martial artist to remember to temper the sword with blood and not immediately mince all of you. If it were anyone else, they’d already be the perfect character for another slasher story.”
Shen Yiren asked just to test her luck, not actually expecting Poison King to share details. “Not worried your master will hack you for running your mouth?”
“Luo Ming never was this old one’s master. Look at him. Does it look like he can hear this old one? As for the rest of you, it doesn’t matter if you know some secrets since you’ll be taking them with you to the grave very soon.”
The only words that Luo Ming heard were “blood”, “to the grave” and “temper”. They were also the only words that could draw his attention away from his red sword. “Temper the blade… Temper the blade with blood… Three more people,” he mumbled as he swept his bloodthirsty gaze over everyone present.
Luo Yan didn’t duck Luo Ming’s gaze, though he couldn’t control his adrenaline. Luo Ming cracked a smile and questioned, “Brother… how much of your skills do you have left?”
There really wasn’t any room for guessing what Luo Ming implied.
“Even if I only have 1% left, I’ll make it my undertaking to apprehend you!”
Luo Ming did a rapid switch from disillusioned to normal. “Guess there’s no harm in trying…” He pulled his sword back slowly, eyes still on the blade as he muttered, “Don’t you think?”
Luo Yan’s blood blasted out of his chest as though a geyser’s lid was punctured, and he fell to the ground, but not a soul could discern how it happened.
“Father, you… you killed Second Uncle!”
“Strange…” Luo Ming looked to Luo Yan’s blood trickling from the sword instead of the body on the ground. “Why didn’t it work…?”
If “monster” was attributed to people with incomprehensible physical abilities, then it could now also be used to label Luo Ming’s character.
“S-Second Uncle…” Luo Siming discovered Luo Yan’s heart was still okay despite the debilitating injuries suffered.
Because Luo Ming didn’t penetrate Luo Yan’s heart, the blood didn’t merge with Purple Forbidden Enclosure Dragon Slayer. Otherwise, the other explanation would be that Luo Yan had been too weakened for him to be considered a Sword Spirit Realm swordsman.
“Use this.” Poison King chucked Luo Ming a small bottle identical to the two Luo Ming had before.
Luo Ming sliced the bottle open instead of catching it, letting the blood find its way to the dragon.
“Hehehe, that’s Ling Ruoyun’s. I leave the clean up to you, Patriarch Luo.” Poison King couldn’t convince a child he wasn’t aware Ling Ruoyun was Mount Lu Sword Sanctuary’s successor; nobody would believe he didn’t assassinate Ling Ruoyun with another motive in mind, either.
“Consider it done,” Luo Ming asserted.
“Pyscho!” Shen Yiren drew her sword and thundered, “Valiant heroes, Luo Ming can no longer be considered human. There is no need for honour when dealing with his kind!”
Everyone armed themselves, though it would never be clear if that was to protect themselves or to starch Luo Ming. Whatever the case was, they just stood their ground. They weren’t afraid; they just didn’t know how to strike when Luo Ming just stood there without any openings. As for Shen Yiren, she couldn’t stop worrying about Ming Feizhen to devote all of her resources to combating Luo Ming.
“What in the blazes is everyone standing there for? You all waiting for nature to knock him out or something?!” Hong Jiu launched the first strike – a massive palm strike.
“Be careful, Young Chief!” Elder Jia yelled, prompting others to join him as the follow-up unit.
Luo Ming shaved Hong Jiu’s shockwave faster than the human eye could follow, barely giving Hong Jiu enough time to brake in time. Hong Jiu subsequently had to pull his head back to keep it on his shoulders as Luo Ming swept his sword around. Their exchanges went by so quick that Elder Jia had to swallow the profanity that came to his tongue when he thought Luo Ming caught Hong Jiu.
Hong Jiu never deluded himself into believing he could defeat Luo Ming; trading didn’t even cross his mind. Hong Jiu focused solely on Luo Ming’s shoulders as nobody can strike without moving their shoulders; try to throw a punch or a kick without them moving.
Having sparred with Ming Feizhen so many times, Hong Jiu knew better than to trade with Divine Realm martial artists and to refrain from attacking unless necessary. Hong Jiu actually had more experience against a Divine Realm fighter than Luo Ming did.
The pugilists coming up from behind uncorked a united attack, forcing Luo Ming to deal with them, thereby giving Hong Jiu a window to escape out of range.
“Hero Hong, what do you suggest we do now?” Shen Yiren inquired.
“Stall him! I don’t know what he did to mess with Leader, but we need to buy enough time for him to come up.”
“You… believe Feizhen… is still alive?”
“Why you asking the obvious? He’s Tathāgata’s descendant. You think he’s that feeble?”
“It’s pointless to kill you people,” Luo Ming remarked insipidly.
Hong Jiu waited for an opening to throw another palm strike, only to run into Feng Jian’s blade that forced him to move his hand. The four had just come to since their fight with Yu Feiyuan, when they witnessed everyone attacking their mentor together.
“It’s pointless to kill you people.” Luo Ming shifted his line of sight to the young man shielding him in front. “Not bad.”
Feng Jian’s intuition sent him a warning, compelling him to spin around and see Purple Forbidden Enclosure Dragon Slayer making a beeline for Yu Jian. Realising what Luo Ming’s intent was, Feng Jian launched himself at Yu Jian, pushing her out of the way. Even when the sword had run through his chest, he only cared about confirming her safety. As she looked up at Feng Jian, Yu Jian finally understood everything.
Yu Jian finally understood why she’d sometimes meet Feng Jian’s eyes when she looked back, why he wouldn’t look at her when speaking to her, why he was able to show up on time whenever she was in trouble, why… All the “whys” finally clicked for her. He never said it with his lips, but his heart told her too many times already and loudly, just as his sword.
I heard you. I heard your feelings for me…
“This is a necessary sacrifice,” stated Luo Ming.
For the first time, when Feng Jian turned back to Luo Ming, there was hatred, anger, persistence, sorrow, but there was also sympathy and pity.
A gentle breeze brushed his face. It had been ten years since he set foot in the Central Plain. Nevertheless, he was still the honest and determined young man he was before he left home, the youth who silently ran as fast as the wind.
Feng Jian fought with the frigid sensation spreading into his bones to express, “Shizun… may you and your sword… never lose their edge.”
The wind took the young man’s dreams to another place and then stopped.
… Luo Ming just stood there without any openings – In essence, it’s the same as standing in one spot with both hands up by your side, sometimes barely even turning when the opponent circles around. While the person is full of openings, it’s quite obvious they’re drawing you in to attack, and they have so many options that you don’t know how to attack without getting caught by the counter.
Trading in fights – Just in case we’re not clear on this, trading means you accept getting tagged and its consequences to tag them back. For instance, you might put your weight into your front leg, taking a kick to it so that you could throw a counter jab/hook with your lead hand.