What resembled charcoal fluffs descending was actually musky coal. The sky resembled a dust and smoke bomb’s testing ground. The only light in the vicinity was the burning flame ravaging everything on the mangled ground connected to the cauldron.
Luo Ming, now outside of the ring, choked on the debris’ particles when he inhaled, but he couldn’t fight his hunger for oxygen as it was his brain’s only way of confirming he was alive. Notwithstanding the heat emanating from the cauldron, he felt as if he was incarcerated in an ice block. He wasn’t scared, but his body remembered the nightmare from ten years ago when he witnessed the cauldron soar.
“Oh?” Ming Feizhen was still standing on the other side of the floating particles. “Still alive?”
Luo Ming’s legs jolted against his will. Despite how many years he had sharpened his reflexes, it hadn’t forgotten its primal survival instincts. Even he was startled to learn that his subconscious could only see one viable decision.
Ming Feizhen closed in with confidence written on his face: “Ten out of ten for escaping in that situation.”
Luo Ming understood what Ming Feizhen meant. That sort of wild, aggressive attack could stun one in spot. Had his body not moved on its own, Luo Ming would already be cinders or smithereens below the cauldron. That said, Purple Forbidden Enclosure Dragon Slayer also deserved credit for saving its owners life.
Luo Ming, having cleared up his thoughts, held his breath and walked away with his head down.
There’s no winning. Not the slightest chance.
“Hoh?” Ming Feizhen watched Luo Ming no differently to a man watching someone take a beating for their entertainment.
Although Luo Ming wasn’t hurt or tired, his determination had been uprooted and hurled into a bottomless pit.
He’s a monster. There’s no beating him.
Luo Ming only had one thought going through his mind: “I have to get out of here.” He could feel the shaking in every step. Upon feeling a force holding him back – not Ming Feizhen – he glanced down to Purple Forbidden Enclosure Dragon Slayer.
Slaying a dragon was its wish. Rare metals were its bones. A sovereign’s arrow was its heart. The condensed qi of a hundred battles was its nerve. It was the sword of swords and rightfully proud. Hence, Luo Ming could feel it protesting to be let go of for it refused to serve someone who’d run away.
Even you… are going to betray me?
Like an inescapable nightmare creeping up from behind, Luo Ming could hear rhythmical steps inching closer. This place was no longer Luo Sword Manor; it was Nieyao City ten years ago. Every step Ming Feizhen took would gouge out the fear carved into Luo Ming’s bones.
Ten years… I haven’t changed at all. Nothing has changed at all in these ten years. Improving my swordplay has been but a specious endeavour. I haven’t overcome my fear at all. This time, though, my sons won’t be there to save me, nor will you be, huh, Feng Jian?
Luo Ming stopped running as there was no reason to run. So what if he absconded with his life today? He’d still just be a snack for the beast in Nanjiang. If even a swordsman’s sword shows disdain for him, he’s only wasting oxygen.
Luo Ming turned back, fear still crippling his legs: “… I’m a swordsman. If I must die… I will die without letting my sword rust.”
The sound of the golden blade on the black blade sounded akin to blunt weapons. Luo Ming gave it his all, illuminating his blade in the brightest energy yet. He was not going to let his swordplay embarrass his best sword, either.
“Still have new moves up your sleeve at this point… Luo Sword Manor’s patriarch’s swordplay truly is profound.”
Where have I heard something like that before?
Ming Feizhen flashed a corner of his white pearls: “Profound isn’t synonymous with ‘strong’.”
Luo Ming then saw a starkly contrasting black whip. Ming Feizhen’s might was a force to be reckoned with, but his ability to harness oceans of energy onto a single blade was even more frightening.
There was no deadlock. The proud golden dragon soared toward the ether and landed somewhere unbeknownst to Luo Ming. Though the black blade stopped an inch from his skull, his soul was shattered. The fear that sliced through severed his connection to his body.
“… What in the world is it?”
Having smashed into Luo Ming’s prized sword several times, Ming Feizhen’s blade didn’t even have a scratch on it. Luo Ming never felt as though he hit a sword, either. Looking back on it, he could only describe the sensation as hitting an unbreakable weapon.
“At least… tell me its name.”
“Mm… I forged it. The seven characters carved onto it are my grandmaster’s wisdom for me to bear in mind. The first two characters are the name of the weapon.” Ming Feizhen strapped his weapon to his sash and elaborated, “Its name is Forgiveness,” and then left.
Luo Ming juddered: “… Matchless since birth. Where possible… show forgiveness… What arrogance.”
Luo Ming’s eyelids and body fell.
Forgiveness – Just in case this happens (and I have a feeling it will), the name Forgiveness doesn’t take into account context. By that I mean that the characters in Chinese might have a more apt English translation in English, such as “lenience”, “forgiven”, “mercy”… I can’t think of any word that will encompass all possible meanings in all contexts in English. If you can provide one with rationale, hit me up. Also, although Ming Feizhen says the first two characters are the name, in English, it’s the last word.