Only two female constables and two of Red Prince’s guards were present at the small hill outside the city to witness the duel. Administrator wasn’t counted since he was one of the involved parties.
As Administrator was writing, “This old one has an eighty year old mother, a wife and son. Sadly, a misfortune has befallen this old one.” Red Prince snatched the sheet from him and ripped it up, griping, “What are you doing? Do you think I’m going to lose?”
“This old one feels the deal is inappropriate!”
Red Prince had no retort for it was his loss that jeopardised Administrator; all Red Prince could do was offer sympathy. “Worry not. I won’t lose.”
“It is not a question of winning or losing. If people hear of this, it will hurt this old one’s name…”
“Fret not. Once I win and get fulfil my wish, I will find a way to clear your name.”
“You mean this old one’s reputation will only be cleared if you also fulfil your wish?”
By the time Empress Dowager returned, Red Prince submitted his marriage proposal, decided on a date, completed all the formalities and sealed the deal, years would’ve gone by. By then, Administrator’s reputation would be unsalvageable.
“Wh-what are you saying?! Wh-what marriage? When I said get what I meant, I meant…” Red Prince stole a glance at Ming Suwen and then softened his voice. “… I just wanted to go watch a show with her. Marriage is a long way off.”
“… All this just to watch a show?” asked Administrator.
Administrator: Are you freaking kidding me?!
“Is… that really the extent of it?”
“I… I… If possible, it would be perfect if we could have some wonton soup after the show.” Catching Administrator grounding his teeth and exhaling heavily from his nostrils, Red Prince snapped, “What’s with that look?! Why are you looking down on me?!”
Administrator shook his head as he sighed and went to sit on a rock. “Have your duel, and then do what you must. This old one is busy; please leave him alone. He took out a new sheet and began writing, “This old one has an eighty year old mother…”
Opposite them, Ming Suwen performed hip circles and other movements to warm up. The two accompanying her joined her as they had nothing else to do.
Lan Kelan twisted her torso whilst voicing, “Sister, why did you agree to the duel? If you lose…”
Ming Suwen replied, “If I lose, then so be it.”
Chu Yinghua moved from her spot to cover Ming Suwen, lest the thirsty men see the latter’s legs as she moved. Alas, solving that problem created a dilemma: she now either had to let them gawk at her in Ming Suwen’s place or let Ming Suwen be the victim.
“What about the stakes…?”
“What stakes?” Ming Suwen asked with a stoic face. “We are public servants. The imperial court does not approve of gambling, you know?”
This is the first time I’ve seen someone so righteously shameless…
“I have only been eating recently. If I don’t exercise, I’ll get fat. I’ll just consider it some exercise and a way to kill time.”
Truthfully, Ming Suwen wanted to get rid of Red Prince as quick as possible so that she could be reunited with Ming Feizhen.
Red Prince locked eyes with his opponent. “Ready?” he asked as he slowly drew his sword from his sheath. “Chilin here is the treasure passed down in my clan. What weapon are you going to use?”
Ming Suwen waved her empty hands: “Right here.”
“I can’t fight an unarmed opponent with a sword.” Red Prince sliced a bamboo tree and chucked his sheathed sword to a guard. “I shall use this as my weapon.” Red Prince adopted a neutral stance that rendered it impossible to read his intent. “Make your move.”
Ming Suwen was within striking range by the time Red Prince finished his sentence, drawing an arc with her arm and releasing at the right moment for a violent snap. Red Prince stabbed her open hand with his bamboo stick from a dead stop, also finishing the transfer of energy upon impact.
Ming Suwen performed a back hand, whacking the bamboo off trajectory without direct contact. She was going to advance on Red Prince while he had to deal with his horizontal force when she felt a need to torque aside, avoiding the returning bamboo.
Ming Suwen was able to redirect Red Prince’s force a tad, but he remedied it using more force.
“… That was Mount Daluo’s Moon Weaver Palms.”
He’s a totally different man when he’s wielding a sword.
“Watch out now!” Red Prince started targeting accupoints, which would be a gentleman’s way of fighting, yet he threw each strike with intent to harm.
Ming Suwen had long gotten used to employing styles Mount Daluo didn’t teach to avoid causing trouble. Moon Weaver Palms is also an internal style, which means it doesn’t consist of combat techniques. For Red Prince to discern her background based on her intent alone, his ranking was clearly not something he bought. Since he already figured her out, she saw no point in hiding her skills any longer.
Their colleagues – and subordinates – had never seen the two go so hard before. Red Prince might’ve been clumsy with words, but he wasn’t clumsy with a sword.
Red Prince finally found Ming Suwen’s ribs. What appeared to be his force sending her reeling was actually the afterimage she left behind, however. Ming Suwen had already gotten away by the time Red Prince thought he caught her.
Red Prince stopped pressing attacks to give himself time to analyse. While Ming Suwen had brilliant movement, it was clear he was dictating the direction of the match.
“Shadow Clone… You must be a direct disciple of Mount Daluo.”
All the skills within Heavenly net Sacred Records were designed for practical combat, many of which were unorthodox in thought, and the Shadow Clone discipline was no exception. If there was a sure-fire formula to forge a proficient fighter, Heavenly Net Sacred was it. The onus of practicing was on the individual, of course. The real challenge was understanding what the eyes saw. Hero Shenzhou had an express method of learning the disciplines within Heavenly Net Sacred Records, yet his only disciple learnt it using the opposite way.
Forcing me to use Shadow Clone so soon, he’s tougher than I thought.
“… You left two openings when you moved. If we were to repeat the same exchange again, I will defeat you.”
Ming Suwen may base her actions on whims, but she never blindly moved. She routinely used her analytical abilities to figure out her opponent and then utilised the best strategy for the context to win. This time, she made the mistake of underestimating the strongest member of the imperial family.
… violent snap… and energy transfer – For those who know, it’s that snap at the end of your strike. For those who can’t imagine it, think about throwing a punch as loosely as possible (entire body) and then contracting every muscle in the body right before the moment of impact.
Completing the energy transfer from your feet all the way up to your striking limb at the right time is a sign of lots of perfect practice. Without practice, the nervous system can’t connect everything to do that. Using an extreme example to illustrate, imagine going outside and being expected to throw a standing back full (back flip with a 360 rotation at the top) right off the bat. Chances are you’re not going to land it because you need to vault, turn the torso, pull the hips under, kick toes over as your wrap your arms in then extend your legs to catch your landing after flipping and spinning. This => https://www.instagram.com/p/CIPRA5tJQ4B/
Easy on paper, hard to actualise in real life.
Striking accupoints is a gentleman’s way of fighting – An equivalent in real life would be striking with taps as opposed to full pelting someone. If the sparring opponent respects reality, they will treat the tap as getting hit/stopped. If not, you get those jerks who just march forward, and you have to hit them hard back so that you don’t get hurt.