Elaborate Assassination Plan (Part 6)
One performed blade work too fast to see the blade’s form. His opponent weaved through his thrusts and slashes too quick to look real. Before the beads of that sweat flew, fell and split into miniature forms of its former self, they had put metres between.
The initial grunts and curses gradually softened until there was but silence. No words could’ve expressed the hostility they harboured more accurately than their gazes.
The gales generated at the end of a slash were pushed back with the force of a counter palm. The broadsword wielder switched his techniques of choice before they became old, slicing apart the deflected gales in a circular motion that provided offence and defence simultaneously. If his opponent were to drop his guard, the broadsword wielder could’ve ended his opponent at any moment. Despite knowing that, his opponent advanced to slam his hand on the back of the broadsword.
The ear-splitting winds that blew past their ears indicated that they were ready to die taking their opponent down. As if they had rehearsed beforehand, though, the broadsword wielder swung out to the side. At the same time, his opponent fired energy up and down simultaneously, scattering their energy into each other while they took three steps back, respectively.
Whenever one went to attack, the other would counter instantly. Thus, there was no time for either of them to blink. If their brain or body was half a beat slow, they’d already be a corpse. Despite their lives being at stake during those two hundred exchanges, neither of them was afraid, tense or even breathing erratically. The reason they could fight the way they did was attributed to the fact that their skills were learnt from the same person, the man who once led them – Shang Bieshi.
To be semantically correct, Shang Bieshi adopted Tiangou and Kuanggu Sheng. When he met Tiangou, the latter had already lost every motion besides the desire to destroy things. As for Kuanggu Sheng, he was on the verge of death after escaping a rough fight. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say they joined him simply because their only alternative home was hell.
Shang Bieshi wasn’t fond of prodigies. Usually, schools would base disciple selection on several criteria since expecting an army of prodigies was wishful thinking. Jiang Chen took a different stance. Instead of teaching everyone the same curriculum, he chose to teach his subordinates based on their aptitude.
Given Kuanggu Sheng’s decent basics, Jiang Chen gave him an internal strengthening manual. During his time posing as a rich man in Beijiang, Kuanggu Sheng had the opportunity to learn from numerous elites. He didn’t have some big noble cause in mind, but his ambitious personality was enough to convince Shang Bieshi to impart advanced internal disciplines to him. As a result, Kuanggu Sheng was able to push the limits of his mish-mashed internal disciplines.
Taking Tiangou’s personality into account, and the fact that he’d just be a vengeful murderer without him, Shang Bieshi only taught Tiangou three broadsword moves. For Tiangou’s purposes, those three moves were enough. If there were plans to start something new, those three moves would still suffice. And, as Shang Bieshi assumed, those three moves were enough for Tiangou to avenge his brother and climb the ranks to become one of the Seven Stars within a matter of years.
It went without saying that Kuanggu Sheng and Tiangou continued honing their skills, as well as got to know each other much better, ever since Shang Bieshi went missing.
“How will you make it up to Jiang Chen… if you kill me?” They were done feeling each other out, so Kuanggu Sheng couldn’t help asking.
Tiangou’s breathing started to pick up as he tightened his grip and widened his eyes. “Killing you is the best thing I could do for Mr. Jiang Chen.”
Aware that words would no longer serve any practical purpose, Kuanggu Sheng lowered his hands as he summoned all his might. “Remember our last fight?” he asked as he shut his eyes.
Although he hadn’t forgotten it, Tiangou didn’t answer. Their first fight occurred after Shang Bieshi’s disappearance, and it was an intense one.
“Well deserved,” Kuanggu Sheng remarked that day in front of everyone.
That day, without wasting a second, Tiangou, who was standing beside Kuanggu Sheng, roared as he smashed his fist flush into Kuanggu Sheng’s face.
Shang Bieshi had no desire to pursue authority or get rich, yet he created Fiends’ Genesis, an organisation notorious for looting. He was usually a gentleman, but he could scare off demons once he started killing. He had no interest in ruling the martial world, yet he had a hobby of provoking elites in the martial world.
Kuanggu Sheng only ever cared for himself. He coveted fame, prestige, power and anything else that would prevent him suffering again as he once did. Tiangou understood Kuanggu Sheng’s disagreement with Shang Bieshi’s views arose from his personal pains, but he wouldn’t allow Kuanggu Sheng to insult Shang Bieshi as Shang Bieshi was more important than his own life from the day he swore fealty to Shang Bieshi.
Even though twenty-one years had passed since their savage fight, Kuanggu Sheng could still taste the blood in his mouth.
Tiangou lowered his body, then sprung up, both hands on his hilt, ready to execute the final move he was taught. Kuanggu Sheng intently watched Tiangou swing down from above.
Ming Feizhen’s evaluation was correct. Considering Kuanggu Sheng’s superior internal strength and diverse repertoire of techniques, he tipped the scales in his favour against Tiangou slightly. In a life-and-death battle, nonetheless, superior thinking processes or a stronger will to win were enough to erase that slight advantage.
Kuanggu Sheng knew strategy wasn’t Tiangou’s strong suit, and he knew what Tiangou’s ace was. No matter how many new techniques or moves Tiangou might’ve innovated in the past twenty-one years, when he desperately needed to win, he would only ever utilise one of the three moves Shang Bieshi entrusted to him. This particular one, he had seen more times than he could care to remember.
Kuanggu Sheng subtly moved, changing the position of his limbs in space enough for Tiangou to miss. Following a vigorous turn of his body, Kuanggu Sheng landed atop the back of Tiangou’s broadsword and thrust both hands at Tiangou’s chest!