One Who Possesses Immense Power Fears Nothing
“Hahaha!” The guy attired in black brazenly entered with utmost confidence. “I’m truly intrigued. You’re far cleverer and braver than I gave you credit for, Brother Wu, leaving a sign to invite me here despite knowing I wouldn’t show mercy.”
Even though I had my back to him and was seated, he casually ambled with his hands behind his back instead of quickly ending me. “You not going to run this time?”
I casually tossed my scribble onto the ground. “The first time we met, you were out for my head. Just now, you weren’t. Since you don’t wish for my death, you must want to talk. Why should I be scared of a chat?”
“Hahaha!” He imbued his laughter with bloodthirsty qi, making my ears feel as though needles pricked them. “A fine young man you are. Let me grant you an opportunity. Tell me: do you truly know who I am?”
“I learnt of your existence from Kuanggu Sheng. All I know is that you hail from a mysterious organisation.”
He increased the volume of bloodlust he leaked. “Don’t even think you can fool me. Your attempts to be smart will only make your death more painful. Did you never see anything from my skills?”
“Are you referring to your Pure Yang One Qi?”
In the martial world’s previous generation, whenever martial arts was the topic at hand, “Three Fists, Five Palms, Supreme Sword and Two Broadswords” was a phrase that would always be mentioned.
Although “Supreme Sword and Two Broadswords” might’ve given the impression that they referred to martial arts disciplines, they actually referred to the three most outstanding people with the sword and broadsword. Speaking of “Supreme Sword”, yes, that referred to my shifu, though I was of the opinion that the “sword” part was a misattribution. Nevertheless, there was nothing I could do as everyone believed it was right. My shifu’s swordplay honestly wasn’t anything special; he was truly elite at deception. He actually talked his way to his title as the Supreme Swordsman. I myself couldn’t believe I couldn’t dispute it.
One of the broadsword wielders in “Two Broadswords” referred to Demon Sect’s Blade Demon, and one of them referred to my shifu’s father-in-law – Elder Brilliant Broadsworder. The two of them deserved every ounce of adulation showered upon them. If they were to ever face off, regardless of how steep the price for a ticket was, I’d definitely pinch a ticket to watch it.
At this point, the three of them were pretty much retired. My shifu not daring to show his face was only natural considering his mountain of debts. Blade Demon, who was always an introvert to begin with, completely disappeared after Ximen Chuideng’s fall. Not even I knew if he was dead or alive. As for Elder Brilliant Broadsworder, he was an elder I sincerely respected.
Elder Brilliant Broadsworder self-proclaimed himself “Fifth in the World”, asserting that only four people in the world could beat him. I couldn’t tell you who those four individuals for, but I admired that breadth of mind and judgement. We once merrily shared a hundred drinks (a hundred jugs) at a wine store before. Not only could he hold his liquor well, but he was also the man who could dine and dash faster than anyone I’d ever met. As you might expect, it was hard to see him even if you wanted to when he was so fast.
In contrast to those three, “Three Fists, Five Palms” were far more active. Howbeit, this phrase didn’t refer to eight people but eight extremely advanced martial arts disciplines, specifically boxing and palm disciplines. Among the “Five Palms”, Mount Daluo’s Empty Palms and Beggars’ Sect’s Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms were included. Pure Yang One Qi was one of the revered boxing disciplines despite not having “boxing” or “fist” in its name and a single “punching” technique.
“Pure Yang One Qi” was a discipline that offered internal and external development through the development of Innate Pure Yang true qi. At the pinnacle, one would have a potent, bright energy that could plough through almost anything. Its most valuable facet, though, lied in the words “One Qi”.
An internal discipline taken to an advanced level would add attributes to one’s internal energy, such as density and sharpness. When it came to evaluating who was more advanced, speed of churning and efficiency were the measuring sticks.
In a fist fight, nobody could throw an attack with 100% power whenever they wanted because it took time to mobilise internal energy, and proficiency was also a factor in that equation. Thus, for a full power blow, one needed some time to prepare the fuel for it. Nobody was going to stand there and let you load up. As such, the ante would be upped gradually, which was why it often took more than a hundred exchanges before anyone was throwing at maximum power. By extension, that was when you could accurately tell who was more advanced. The more advanced fighter would be able to churn out their internal energy quicker.
All else being equal, if one person always needed to collect their energy before they threw, while their opponent could throw at full power without needing that time, then the latter was clearly superior. Take the same two people and give them the same amount of time now. If one could only muster up 30% of their full power in a minute, while the other could muster up 60% in the same minute, then a victor was only a couple of exchanges away.
Pure Yang One Qi was categorised as “Three Fists” as it was the ultimate method of unleashing power. It taught the practitioner to develop pure yang true qi from beginning to end, ensuring the initial phase and final phase aligned. Through its qi-moulding approach, the practitioner could deploy 100% into every strike. For that reason, they said of it, “One who possesses immense power fears nothing.”
The only people I could name who were capable of throwing with 100% power at free will were Divine Realm adepts. Anyone who had yet to enter Divine Realm would unlikely be able to achieve that even if they were only half a step away. If, however, one practiced Pure Yang One Qi, they could develop the ability to throw at maximum power just as Divine Realm adepts could without having to achieve Divine Realm status. I had no idea how that worked for the reason that it was a discipline only developed more recently. People who claimed it was created around the same time as Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms were crapping out of their mouths.
Among the many people who hated Pure Yang One Qi was my shifu even though it was his first creation in his younger days. Between fifteen and sixteen years of age, he pursued a pure yang internal discipline. When it came to guaranteeing no mistakes were made along the way of learning internal disciplines, earnestly solidifying the foundations was the only option, so there were no shortcuts. Shifu didn’t like the fact that progress came so slow, but he didn’t want to change the training method. That motivated him to find a means of accelerating the process.
Shifu’s ability to beat opponents stronger than him in his younger days was credited to his deadly extrapolation skills from shallow knowledge, fast learning, mental flexibly to defuse any dangers, and catch his opponents with full-power shots before they could. It didn’t matter if they were superior to him at their peak. While they were still warming up, he’d come out of the gates at full velocity, so he rendered the gap meaningless.
Nobody benefited from Pure Yang One Qi more than Mount Daluo. By the time Shifu was allowed to leave the mountain, he barely even used Pure Yang One Qi. When he mentioned it to me, the old bugger told me he had forgotten the majority of it, so teaching it to me would be risky. I can’t believe I actually believed him.
If you even stopped to think for a split second, do you think the risk would be setting a foot in a coffin, on average, fifteen times a year?! So, you might be wondering why the discipline would be shared in the pugilistic world. Well, according to Shifu, he taught a few military friends of his thirty years ago, and then they went on to establish themselves in the pugilistic world. After I did my research, the old bugger tore apart his manual and exchanged page by page for alcohol at brothels. That led to his meeting with my first shiniang, who challenged to him to a drinking contest because he rubbed her the wrong way, which then led to their one night st-, one lifetime of love.
Huh, sounds like Mount Lu Sword Sanctuary actually have a good reason to despise us… Ah, whatever, his fault for running into my shifu.
Anyhow, the discipline could be integrated with any weapon. The reason it became considered a boxing discipline, though, was due to the initial students in the pugilistic world being boxers. When they passed it down, they passed it down as part of their boxing. Despite it being categorised as a boxing discipline, nevertheless, it still had the honour of innovation.
It was improbable for this guy to be acquainted with my shifu. Despite him having learnt Pure Yang One Qi, he had a long way to go before he could claim he mastered “One Qi”. My most-likely-correct guess was that he picked up a page from a brothel.
Truly befitting an organisation of perverts, even your martial arts knowledge comes from brothels.
“Hmm, is it truly possible to achieve that sort of level from Pure Yang One Qi…?” he muttered in a tone full of hope. He then shook his head and exhaled a big breath. “That was enlightening. I take it you were bluffing when you claimed to know who I was, in that case? That certainly was clever of you, Brother Wu. No wonder why you can control your environment in spite of your injuries and fake identity. You’re on a completely different level to the hubristic lass.”
The lass he mentioned was none other than the Zero imposter. There was nothing to be surprised about given how long he’d been posing as one of their allies. Nobody knew Zero’s identity or gender, so “Zero” was legit no matter what gender was assigned to Zero.
So he knew I was posing as Wu Ping. Why does it seem like this disguise of mine has failed to deceive any considerable number of people?
“My match against Lang Qing must’ve exposed me.”
After recovering from his flinch, he gave me a thumbs up. “Correct on first guess. You really are clever. To tell the truth, had you not exceeded Wu Ping’s level, I never would’ve suspected you. After all, Tiangou and Kuanggu Sheng’s battle misled me until then.”
Had he known I was the captive earlier, he wouldn’t have made an attempt on my life the first time. Hence, he didn’t approach me with bloodlust the second time. It wasn’t after he fled the second time that I realised he wasn’t hostile whatsoever until I mentioned Pure Yang One Qi.
“Since I know you’re not Wu Ping, and you know I am not on Fiends’ Genesis’ side, I believe a man of your astuteness should know the purpose of my visit. I followed your marks to find out if we might be able to collaborate.”
I certainly had qualms working with the perverted organisation, but it was the only option among my limited options. It was painfully difficult to escape alone, but the rat most likely sneaked out dozens of times already. All that was left was to hear what he wanted my help with. “Hmph, there’s still one thing I don’t understand. If you don’t explain it, I’ll always bear a grudge.”
“Oh? And that is?”
“Why did you keep trying to frame me when you knew I was an imposter? Why did you deliberately visit the exit to mislead Zero and Ouyang into assuming I was trying escape?”
“Frame you? I never did… Oh, I know what you mean now. I visited the exit to figure out how to get out. Running into Ouyang and Zero was purely a coincidence. How did I frame you?”
“Is that so?”
Wait, doesn’t that mean…
“So… you want to work with me on…”
He smiled. “Indeed, I’d like to work with you to get out of this place.”
Only my eyelids moved.
… Doesn’t this mean you don’t know how to get out?! So all those visits and fiddling with the contraption was because you’re also stuck?! My goodness gracious me. Whoever sent you in as a spy needs to be fired, and you need to have some shame. How are you even fulfilling your duty if you can’t get out, you joke? Give me back my hope and time spent designing plans!
Nevertheless, having help was better than doing it alone. As I rubbed my face, I questioned, “So, how do you want to do this?”
“Haha, you seem to have mistaken something.”
“And that is?”
He stepped closer and cracked his fists whilst letting me know he could crush me with his aura. “First of all, start showing me respect instead of speaking so casually. Secondly, semantically, it’s a collaboration. Technically, you’re following my orders. You seem to have forgotten that might makes right here.”
I shrugged. “And you seem to have forgotten I beat Lang Qing.”
“Hahaha, you underestimate this one.” He pointed to the holes. “You relied on a formation to defeat him, no?”
“Your point being?”
“I once had the honour of learning formations from an expert, so I’m erudite on the topic. How else did you think I escaped the encirclement? It was laughable watching you try to catch me with a formation. Brother Wu, you made a miscalculation!” He vigorously whipped his sleeve, propelling himself several metres sideways and then cleanly landed.
“Eh?” He immediately stepped left thrice but didn’t drop.
He was definitely educated on formations. He managed to take three more steps than the others before tumbling eighteen times, and he went down face first.
Following an awkward silence, he chuckled as he picked himself up.
You don’t need to act tough, buddy. The expert who taught you might’ve been an expert in quotation marks, but my shifu is a true expert.
I tossed him a small red porcelain vial. “Eat the pill, and I’ll help you out.”
Refusing to spare the vial a glance, he responded, “I… would rather die than live with humiliation.”
“You best honour that.” I took out a cylindrical object and aimed it at him.
“What’s that in your hand?”
“This? It’s called needlerain.”
“You think I’d believe that nonsense?” As soon as he saw me start turning it, he cried, “Okay, okay, okay!” and picked up the vial. “What is this drug? What are the ingredients?”
“Just an organ destroying drug. Unless you consume the antidote every seven days, your organs will rot.”
“What is the meaning of this? You intend to control me?”
I kept turning the device. “Just rotten organs, no biggie. A true man doesn’t fear death.”
He immediately lifted the vial to his mouth to swallow a pill.
“Good. Wait there. I’ll get you out in a tick.”
He shook with anger for a while before he calmed down. “How… did you get your hands on a needlerain?”
“This is Kuanggu Sheng’s. What makes you think I could afford this thing?”
“Kuanggu Sheng’s? Didn’t he…”
“Yeah, he emptied it out, so there’s nothing in this.”
I think he licked his lips and pursed them following the second round of awkward silence.
“… You lied to me?”
“No. You consumed the pill before I was done talking.”
He turned his back to me and hammered the ground. Rather than say he was vexed, it was more of him feeling sorry for himself. I sorted out the device on my hand without paying him any attention.
“You think this is enough to control me?”
“You have any other tricks up your sleeve?”
He put a palm over his fist and held them up. “You really are a reclusive elite. I admit I was careless. Howbeit, this formation is only enough to confuse me for a while. I have figured out its transformative nature. Your poison won’t activate for now, will it?”
He moved in a manner that created the impression of him sending clones in different directions.
That side’s where…
… the wall is… Why do all of you refuse to listen and insist on crashing into a wall?
Unlike Lang Qing, he didn’t get angry. “… I see,” he remarked, surveying the formation with a hand pinching his nose. “Brother Wu.”
“… Can I have a hand?”
“Sure.” I extended a hand to pull him out.
He politely fixed up his attire once he was out, although he was caked in dirt. “Brother Wu, you have my respect. You are the boss from now.”
“I like your attitude. Should’ve adopted it sooner, though. Brother Yuan Kou, it’s out of character for you to go in circles like this.”
“Man, it’s just that I…” I tilted his head. “Hmm?”
“What did you call me?”
“Brother Yuan Kou.”
“H-how did you, how, you, ar-re you a monster?! H-how did you, how exactly, aaaaaah!”
I don’t like to talk behind people’s backs, but I saw a trace of tears in the veteran’s eyes.