Scrap (Part 2)
“Dragon Claw” was the ultimate external discipline among all external disciplines in existence. And, after Yijin Jing and Bone Marrow Cleansing Manual, Dragon Claw was the third most elite Shaolin discipline.
Fang Xiaoyu exclaimed, “It really is Dragon Claw, and that was one of the nine techniques, ‘Dragon Fang’.”
Dragon Claw consisted of nine techniques, which were taught to nine strictly selected Shaolin monks. The duties of those nine high-ranking monks were to uphold justice and protect the monastery.
Bai Zhiqing recognised the discipline, but he was more concerned about how an orthodox discipline ended up in the hands of a cold-blooded murderer. When he turned around to his wife, she nodded and stated, “It is not passed on to outsiders.”
Lady Bai was more known for her perceptive eyes than her combat skills. She could tell if someone was just flashy or if they were truly skilled, so Bai Zhiqing had absolute faith in her judgement.
Hong Jiu wiped away his smile. “Shaolin’s disciples have isolated them in their temple for years. Fang Xiaoyu is one of the few exceptions. What’s your story? How did you learn Dragon Claw?”
Dragon Claw was a difficult discipline to learn. Judging from Darkcloud’s performance, he had no less than twenty years of training. Lady Bai’s statement indicated that he learnt it from a legitimate Shaolin source.
Despite having turned heads and made some people apprehensive, Darkcloud wasn’t celebrating as he was forced to pull out Dragon Claw. He’d have rather avoided using it if he could help it because he and Squall would have Shaolin on their tails if Shaolin found out he had learnt their skills. He, however, had no choice if he wanted to beat Hong Jiu. Nevertheless, there was a perfect solution to the new problem, and it didn’t require any extra labour. All he had to do was kill all the witnesses. As a bloodthirsty murderer, the realisation only excited him. “Why should I waste my breath on someone about to die?”
“I guess you have a point,” responded Hong Jiu. He tore off his sleeve to wrap his wound, but blood still leaked through.
Wounds inflicted through Dragon Claw were the hardest to nurse; even if the wounded sealed their accupoints, the bleeding wouldn’t stop. Darkcloud nearly managed to reach Hong Jiu’s shoulder bone. Consequently, though Hong Jiu could still move his arm, he had lost more than half of his maximum capacity.
Hong Jiu took a big breath. “I was never planning on sparing any of you. It makes no difference whether you can use Dragon Claw or not.”
“Your mouth certainly still is big. Who lost just now?”
Hong Jiu grinned back. “We young people don’t remember things from so far back.”
Hong Jiu swung Hunt at Darkcloud.
Darkcloud was experienced enough to realise that Hong Jiu had only graduated from learning the broadsword during their last round. There was no way Hong Jiu’s broadsword skills were remotely as dangerous as his palm skills.
He thinks he can beat me with the element of surprise? Fool. Without your Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms, you’re just a foolish brute with a blade. I gave you hints twice. Don’t blame me for your own stupidity.
Since his secret was out, there was no point in Darkcloud holding back anymore. Every time he finished an attack, a howling wind would blow from the point where his hand finished. Hong Jiu had a sharp weapon in his hand, yet he didn’t dare to block any of the attacks.
Hong Jiu had to drop and roll to barely avoid getting caught with the first two attacks. The follow-up claw attack forced him to reduce the power with Empty Palms. In just three attacks, Hong Jiu had been in much more danger than in the previous round.
In the past, Darkcloud could end a fight as soon as he utilised Dragon Claw. This was the first time he could have some fun before killing his target. “If you surrender now and become my disciple, I’ll spare you.”
“Really? Do you really not realise you’re about to die?”
“Fine!” Darkcloud turned it up another notch.
Hong Jiu lifted Hunt overhead and then hurled it away.
“Now that’s more like it.”
Hong Jiu placed his hands together and performed “The Dragon is Seen in the Fields” off both hands to stop Darkcloud’s strike. Alas, his defence fell after deflecting just the first attack under Darkcloud’s pressure. Hong Jiu knew full and well that defending didn’t win fights; he needed a straightforward attack to stop the pressure and capture a win.
The two locked in the heat of battle didn’t seem to realise how strong the gales they produced were. To the audience, it looked as though they were standing inside a tornado. Darkcloud had pretty much devoted all his resources to focusing on what was right in front of him and what he was doing.
Darkcloud changed his approach again. As soon as he did that, what resembled a dragon took form inside the tornado – Dragon Fang. In response, Hong Jiu uncorked “Dragon Soars in the Sky” to stop the force from reaching him. Unfortunately, Darkcloud still managed to touch Hong Jiu, and blood was spilt.
Right after Darkcloud cracked a smirk, a silver bolt flashed down between them, smashing into the Dragon Fang. In the same instant, blood spurted in every direction. Nobody could understand what happened until the violence came to a halt.
Hunt was planted in Darkcloud’s head as though it tried to dig Darkcloud out of his grey robes.
Hong Jiu took a heavy step and pulled out his shiny broadsword. “I told you that you were dead, but you didn’t believe me.”
Valley of Yearning’s fossilised members burst into cheers.
Master Qi had her hands over her mouth in disbelief. Watching him use the technique they created together to win gave her a warm and fuzzy feeling. Regrettably, she couldn’t celebrate.
Hong Jiu had two wounds, the second of which was the worst. Darkcloud didn’t have enough time to exert his energy, but the claw wound on Hong Jiu’s chest was no joke. The white smoke coiling up from Hong Jiu’s skull proved he had expended an excessive amount of strength.
“You shall pay for my senior brother’s life with your own!”
Before Hong Jiu could react to the threat, Bai Zhiqing had zipped past to trade thrice with Squall.
Once they split, Bai Zhiqing yelled, “If you want to hurt any of them, you’ll have to get through me first.”
Squall scoffed, “Old Bai, you’re as weak as a starving beggar, so why don’t you bug off? Oi, brat, are you going to fight or not?!”
Bai Zhiqing grabbed Hong Jiu’s hand and, whilst helping him recalibrate his qi flow, whispered, “You got through the first round. Take a break.”
Hong Jiu took a few breaths and then opened his eyes. He gave Bai Zhiqing a head bob of appreciation before taking three steps forward. “I’ll maul you, too!”