Su Xiao stretched his eyes and mouth in front of the open hostility exhibited. It didn’t take long for the gravity of his predicament to dawn on him. Song Chi clearly waited for Tang Ye, Ming Feizhen and Shen Yiren to leave the picture before hunting him down.
Against someone as evil as Song Chi, there were only two options – fight or flight. Su Xiao predicated his selection on three criteria.
Number one, fight only if winning was guaranteed. Erroneously measuring one’s opponent was common, but it was scary to go up against someone who you clearly knew you had no chance against.
Number two, if winning wasn’t feasible, then fight if there was backup, such as having Tang Ye around.
Number three, if winning wasn’t possible, but the opponent was unbearable, fight him.
Su Xiao knew he wasn’t Song Chi’s match from the day he watched Song Ou take back Vermillion Hall, but he still didn’t back down. Now that he had a task, he didn’t have the courage to be as reckless as that day. Nevertheless, he was somewhat accomplished in the realm of recklessness and fooling people, though he never had a knack for coming up with plans on the spot.
“Y-y-you intend to hit me?”
For a moment, Song Chi wasn’t sure how to react because it was the first time somebody asked him that question when he was about to throw hands with them. “Uh… yes.”
H-he’s serious about this.
“Wh-where are you going to hit me?”
“Why do you need to know?”
Su Xiao mumbled, “I need to find something to cushion the blows…”
Song Chi: What the hell did he grow up on?!
Ever since Song Chi had a degree of mastery over his clan’s broadsword skills, he favoured a strategy of utilising hostility to bait opponents in for a counter. If his opponent was Tang Ye, like any other elite fighter, Tang Ye would’ve reactively done something to avoid harm. Song Chi would’ve used the reaction as a means of measuring his opponent’s capacity and initiated a counter of his own. He had great success with the strategy even against opponent’s who were otherwise superior to him. Su Xiao was the first person to not bite the bait. At the same time, though, it meant Su Xiao’s internal strength was solid enough to resist the pressure of his hostility. It just didn’t make sense.
Su Xiao’s combat experience could be counted on two hands. He would unlikely react in any meaningful way if someone swung a blade at him, let alone be able to understand what hostile qi implied.
“Hmph, let’s see what tricks you’re up to!”
Via a twirl of his wrist, Song Chi generated a breeze that pulled Su Xiao downwards to break Su Xiao’s base. From there, he would finish the job with his broadsword. Fearing for his life, Su Xiao shut his eyes as tight as he gripped Ancient Cold and waited with bated breath.
Song Chi: What the heck?! How advanced is this l-, guy’s internal strength?!
While Bai Yumo wasn’t accomplished as a martial artist in the martial world, her skills with a broadsword weren’t a joke. Now that he was face to face with Su Xiao, Song Chi reasoned that he underestimated Su Xiao when he expected Bai Yumo to win. Boy, was he wrong. In reality, Su Xiao’s kindness, uncompetitive nature and obedience to Ming Feizhen’s instructions, in addition to his memory and aptitude for Buddhism, made him the prime root to feed Yijin Jing to. After all, Yijin Jing, like other Buddhist disciplines, required those traits of their practitioner.
Had Song Chi gone straight to physically attacking Su Xiao, he wouldn’t have broken a sweat. Trying to subdue Su Xiao in an internal contest was his mistake.
“Are you trying to start a fight? Do you realise you are in Daren Academy?”
Su Xiao glanced over in the direction of the person who came to his rescue. “He Shi!”
He Shi nodded. “That is this one’s name.” He confidently strode over with his brows so tightly knitted together that he could’ve squashed a fly between them, placed a hand on his head and shook his head. “To disregard morals in broad daylight, what a disgrace. What is going on? Are you trying to start a fight on Daren Academy’s grounds?”
Su Xiao wasn’t familiar with He Shi as a person and didn’t know what the latter was up to, but he never recalled He Shi having this sort of confrontational personality, and his memory was absolutely correct. If He Shi tried to confront Song Chi, Song Chi would have it out for him. Hence, he feigned ignorance to avoid complications.
Song Chi simpered. “Why pretend you don’t know who I am?”
“Okay, allow me to rephrase that: this is Daren Academy, not Yangzhou’s Song Fortress. Leave your tyranny for when you go home!”
“He Yingyang, Principal Huang’s pet. I was never impressed with many students here prior to my arrival, but you were one of those who impressed me. Since you like choosing teams, how about joining mine? You suffer under Li Muye, do you not?”
“Li Muye has a lucky chance. You don’t even have that much. Join you? What for? To become your fellow criminal?”
“You have a spine. I like it. Don’t forget what you said today if you fail in the exams.”
“I shall not. If any conspiracy were to ever be brought to light, I’ll be first on the scene to arrest you.”
“Haha, we’ll see, won’t we? Anyhow, I don’t believe you’re at liberty to get in my way today. He’s not a student or personnel of this academy in any shape or form. It’s none of your business if I kick him out, is it?”
Song Chi’s initial plan was to injure Su Xiao so that Su Xiao’s right to compete would be revoked. Since he couldn’t achieve that, his last option was to trump up a reason to have Su Xiao pre-emptively eliminated.