“Shitou, get away from here.”
Shitou blankly backed off a tad.
Jiang Chen took a deep breath, took apart Punished and drew out a thin purple sword from within. The forger seemed to intentionally leave the criss-cross patterns on the blade as if to symbolise destruction.
Jiang Chen assumed his stance and invited engagement with a hand gesture. Rather than look ready for a fight, it looked as if he was asking for a spar. “This is a swordplay I created. It’s called ‘Autumn Lock’.”
Jiang Chen smiled. “The most important part of swordplay is reflecting and analysing. How can someone passionate about martial arts pass up an opportunity to learn from someone of your calibre?”
Jiang Chen flicked his blade with his left hand. At first, the echo was nothing special. Howbeit, it clearly wasn’t normal when the echo never ended, while his own aura grew stronger – dominant to the point that it seemed capable of overtaking Tianhu’s.
Jiang Chen was more than happy that Tianhu didn’t budge from his spot as it gave him time to build up to his peak. And, at long last, Tianhu budged. He gave up sitting to lie down on the step in a comfortable posture for a nap. He opened his fan to gently fan himself and took his eyes off Jiang Chen entirely.
Jiang Chen’s aura dropped at a blinding rate. “Impressive.”
Jiang Chen advanced without waiting for his energy flow to reach his desired destination. Not even Jiang Chen could work out how Tianhu punctured a hole in his flow to interrupt his qi flow. Regardless of how he did it, it was a convincing sign that wasting another moment was just wasting energy. Considering Jiang Chen’s internal energy was inferior, as well, the more time that passed, the more trouble he’d be in.
With every step he took, Jiang Chen brought along a leaf. As though he was the master of nature, he turned the collected lush leaves into fallen autumn leaves. Not even the creator of “Drought Demons” ever realised his discipline could be taken to such a deadly level.
The way Jiang Chen’s purple blade flitted through the hail of crusty leaves bore a strong resemblance to Shen Yiren’s final thrust. However, his intent, spirit, power and technique left Shen Yiren’s version in the dust.
“It’s true I have a love for fighting. At one point, I was happy to kill every adept in existence if I had the chance, but then I’d be lonely. That’s why I never followed through with the thought. You, on the other hand, share a similar thought, and you’re trying to follow through.”
Jiang Chen smiled. “Actually, our thoughts aren’t remotely similar.”
“Indeed. You care about your country and people, so you want to take revenge for your country. You have many goals. I have but only one. Why?”
It didn’t sound as though Tianhu sought an answer or was even asking someone a question he cared for; it just sounded as if he was voicing his own confusion. It would be hard for people to fathom why he of all people would talk about wanting to kill everyone, but his reason for abandoning the thought was even more perplexing. Perhaps he was mentally where nobody else was. Mayhap he was standing atop some hill that allowed him to see what others couldn’t.
“Why have you not started your own group to achieve your grand ambition instead of serving as the imperial court’s lapdog?”
“That’s why I said we’re different. Your idea of fighting is exchanging ideas, analysis and physical competition. In contrast, a fight is just that to me, a fight. Blood and blood, wounds and wounds, death and death. My definition isn’t as complicated, and it shouldn’t be.”
Jiang Chen couldn’t respond as his power had peaked, yet he still struggled to gain ground. He was only an inch away from his target, yet his freaky blade wouldn’t slide forward even a fraction of an inch between two fingers.
“Your thrust ticks the form box, but what does it matter if you can’t find your target? If you want to kill me, then imbue the thought into your thrust. You want revenge?”
The distance between the tip of the purple blade and its target gradually increased.
“I’m not interested in martial arts, but I know about you. Why don’t you utilise your clan’s swordplay when it’s so good? I didn’t see any signs of Gongsun Clan’s swordplay at the location you fought Huang Yuzao, either. Did you forget the swordplay?”
Aware that he wasn’t going to be able to outmuscle Tianhu, Jiang Chen released his hold on his sword, while Tianhu kept the blade afloat between his two clamps.
“What’s this? Punished?” Tianhu threw aside the sword without sparing it a glance. “I’m not Huang Yuzao. I won’t be soft on you or anyone else.” Tianhu immediately followed up with the same palm strike he caught Jiang Chen with the first time, except he meant violence this time.
The silent man usually beside Jiang Chen jolted violently. Life and vigour filled his blank eyes. He vaulted over the two adepts and brought a big shiny cudgel down on Tianhu.
The silent man finally looked happy.
“Now this is an interesting fella.”
Blue and white energies extending into the heavens pushed up against each other similar to clouds and sunlight fighting for the dominant position.