Chapter 88: Blade
When Chu Huailiang was alive, he had a nickname — White and Black.
“White” referred to his white Sky-Rending Blade, while “Black” referred to the blade that Cloud Leopard was wielding at the moment.
This blade’s name was Darkness Extermination. It had been forged with the metatarsal bone of the Southern Sea Dark Shark King as a base and was supplemented with Chaos Gold mined from the Northern Sky Mountain. As a result, it contained the boundless hatred of the Dark Shark King within it.
If a person was struck by this blade, the Dark Shark King’s killing intent would surface and begin devouring the victim’s life force. Because this intent was invisible and difficult to detect, the blade had been aptly named Darkness Extermination. The blade’s corrosive properties were almost impossible to defend against, even if one possessed Heart Walls.
However, there was one critical flaw with the blade — because the hatred within it was too great, anybody with a powerful consciousness could easily sense it. Su Chen could clearly sense it, and that Seventh-Ring Arcana Master could sense it as well. The obvious response, then, was to not let the opponent touch you no matter what.
But Cloud Leopard was incredibly swift. His blade flowed like the wind as it slashed towards his opponent repeatedly, its motions incredibly simple and direct.
He had grown up on the street, where a person’s status was determined by their fighting ability. He had never learned any orthodox combat methods, so his fighting style was naturally very much influenced by street brawlers. Even though he was flying through the sky and controlling his movements with Origin Energy, his movements were just as annoying to deal with as always.
In comparison, this Seventh-Ring Arcana Master was obviously raised differently.
There was no way he was a real Hunting Wind Bandit; rather, he was most likely some noble of high status. Even in combat, he appeared to be trying his best to remain graceful.
He wielded a jade green staff inlaid with rubies. With each wave of his staff, a similarly-colored jade green light would envelop his body. Shortly afterwards, countless vines would snake out from his body, blossom, and cause flower petals to rain down from the sky. The scene was incredibly beautiful and enchanting; even if each petal was infused with a dense killing intent, anyone who saw them would feel no threat.
Cloud Leopard, however, was like a wild boar that was tearing up this flower garden. He rampaged brutishly through these flowers, killing many of them. However, there were so many flowers that, when coupled with the fact that they regenerated after being destroyed, the wild boar couldn’t eliminate all of them no matter how hard it thrashed about.
Even so, Cloud Leopard continued to dart around violently, Darkness Extermination unleashing streak after streak of black light.
In response, the Seventh-Ring Harpy continued to summon petal storm after petal storm, the cyan energy carrying a strange quality with it. Under normal circumstances, this storm of petals would drastically reduce an opponent’s speed, but Cloud Leopard’s Arcana Reversal Technique allowed him to push through the storm without losing any speed. As he continued to agilely leap through the air, the Seventh-Ring Arcana Master was forced to divert more and more attention to his retreat.
In that sense, Arcana Masters were quite skilled. Their teleportation skills and evasion techniques were quite incredible. Any Fifth-Ring Arcana Master or above would have one or two such teleportation techniques in their arsenal, which was very different from most humans. Su Chen’s Whitetower Teleportation would definitely be considered a rare skill amongst the human race. But to the Arcanists and their heirs, these kinds of escaping Arcana Techniques were relatively common.
However, merely escaping was not enough. Taking advantage of the space created by evading attacks and then counterattacking was their key to victory.
Arcanists were used to fighting on the move. The Seventh-Ring Harpy unleashed a constant barrage of petals, and his staff continued to call down illusory beasts that snarled and snapped at Cloud Leopard. These beasts were mostly projections of real beasts that had been repeatedly summoned via an Arcana Technique. They rushed through the storm of petals, howling ferociously.
The Seventh-Ring Arcana Master’s use of the storm of petals to obstruct Cloud Leopard’s movements while simultaneously attacking him with the beast projections was quite beautiful, but the combination was also filled with an incredibly potent killing intent.
However, Cloud Leopard still continued to charge forward!
No matter what technique his opponent threw at him, Cloud Leopard’s response was to charge ahead, slashing through everything in his path. His movements were incredibly simple, sharp, and effective.
The petals were ripped to shreds, and beast blood spilled everywhere.
Even as the flowers in the sky bloomed and withered, Cloud Leopard continued to advance relentlessly.
The Seventh-Ring Arcana Master soon realized that, no matter what kind of technique he used, he was completely unable to obstruct this youth’s advance in the slightest.
He constantly advanced, the gap between him and his opponent shortening with each passing moment.
This was because the Harpy needed to do too many things — he needed to attack, defend, delay, and retreat all at the same time. On the other hand, Cloud Leopard only needed to attack. Even if the opponent was a Seventh-Ring Harpy who was incredibly agile and could deftly activate all his skills, such an opponent could not compare to someone whose only thought was to advance.
The Harpy was thus forced to change tactics and give up on attacking.
The shooting stars flying through the air were the first to disappear.
However, he quickly discovered that that was not enough. His speed was still inferior to that of his opponent, so the next thing he gave up on was obstructing Cloud Leopard’s movements. After all, his opponent had the Arcana Reversal Technique anyways, so no amount of obstruction would be effective.
The storm of petals gradually began to grind to a stop as well.
This allowed him to place even more attention on teleporting away, so the distance between him and Cloud Leopard should have started closing much more slowly.
However, he soon discovered that that was still not enough. Cloud Leopard’s attacks only grew fiercer once the storm of petals stopped. Even though his opponent’s speed had gone up, Cloud Leopard seemed to also get faster, and the gap between the two of them continued to slowly close — just not as quickly as before.
Finally, the Harpy was forced to give up on even the beast projections.
This was finally enough to stop the gap between them from closing any further, but then he discovered that, because he had completely given up on counterattacking, the situation had devolved into Cloud Leopard chasing after and hacking at him while he continually tried to escape. It basically looked like a Light Shaking Realm human was forcing him to run around like a little squirrel.
This was simply too ugly!
What kind of Harpy was he?
A Seventh-Ring Arcana Master!
That was already superior to a Light Shaking Realm cultivator, and close in strength to a Spirit Burning Realm cultivator. How could he possibly stand being chased around like this by a Light Shaking Realm cultivator?
Cloud Leopard hadn’t managed to wound him yet, and had actually been quite badly wounded by the attacks he had suffered while trying to close the gap. Strictly speaking, he was at a disadvantage. However, outsiders would only see the great Seventh-Ring Harpy, Thousand Heavens, being one-sidedly chased around by a human Light Shaking Realm cultivator. The shame he felt was blatant for anyone to see.
Harpies were arrogant by nature, and Harpy nobility even more so.
Thousand Heavens was no exception. It was impossible for him to accept this kind of outcome.
As the anger in his heart surged, his body began to glow a lambent green color.
Under the luminescence of the green light, all the living organisms around him began to rapidly wither and decay.
That was the name of Thousand Heaven’s Arcana Technique.
Calling it a “world” was a bit of an exaggeration, especially since its area of influence was only a thousand feet. However, it was more than enough to deal with any opponent who was foolish enough to try and engage in close-quarters combat with him.
Harpies hated close-quarters combat, and they had many different and useful techniques for protecting themselves.
He believed that, in the end, that the best defense was a good offense.
His real defense was this Withered World. Any living organism that drew close to him would begin to wither due to the mystical effects of this skill.
The Withered World essentially created a sphere of death around him. It was so powerful that its power greatly exceeded what a Seventh-Ring Arcana Master should have been able to unleash. In this sphere, even inanimate objects could die, including rock, metal, clouds, and even the air itself. Everything would seemingly dissolve into nothingness, let alone most humans.
If there was any flaw to this skill, it was that it couldn’t discern between friend or foe.
Even its user would be affected by it.
But that didn’t matter.
Withered World was not invincible. Even though its corrosive power was impressive, it could still be resisted, with the efficacy of one’s resistance being determined by the technique one used.
Thousand Heavens had learned and used Withering World for many years, and he was very clear about its corrosive properties. He began to apply barrier after barrier to himself.
No one was better than him at this. After all, this was a technique that he had personally created.
By relying on this technique, he had managed to defeat expert after expert.
This battle would not be an exception either.
“Be proud that you were fortunate enough to die to my Withered World!” Thousand Heavens proclaimed darkly as he unleashed the might of the Withered World to its greatest extent.
The withering energy began to spread, fully enveloping Cloud Leopard. A moment later, smoke began to rise from his skin, indicating that the withering energy had started corroding his skin and would soon slowly spread into his body.
Even so, Cloud Leopard completely ignored its effects on him and continued to advance.
Up until this point, he had never managed to even touch Thousand Heavens. However, he was still continuing to madly pursue no matter what Thousand Heavens did. Thousand Heavens couldn’t slow him down by even a half step.
The withering powers could corrode Cloud Leopard’s body but not his will. The more he fought, the higher his killing intent surged. It was as if he didn’t know what the words “fear” or “retreat” meant. His speed and lethality continued to increase even now.
Thousand Heavens discovered to his shock that his opponent was still getting faster and faster.
Grey smoke continued to pour out from his body, elongating and stretching out behind him like a long tail made of smoke.
Darkness Extermination arced through the air repeatedly, constantly pushing Thousand Heavens back.
“No!” Thousand Heavens stared at his opponent in shock as he pushed Withered World to its utmost limits.
Since he was focusing most of his attention on activating and fueling Withered World, his speed had obviously decreased, and Cloud Leopard was able to close the distance even more rapidly.
However, he judged that Cloud Leopard would definitely die before even getting close to him!
He would definitely die!
At least, that was what Thousand Heavens thought.
As he watched Cloud Leopard continually close in with a determined expression on his face, Thousand Heavens felt his heart tremble.
His confidence began to wither as well.
Perhaps he shouldn’t have tried to decide the fight in a direct confrontation with his opponent!
After all, noble Harpies weren’t suited for direct fights anyways.
He hesitated, unsure of what to do in that moment. As a result, the withering energy actually weakened, allowing Cloud Leopard to close in even more quickly.
Thousand Heavens knew that the situation wasn’t looking good for him. However, he no longer had any time to escape. He could only redouble his efforts and try to disintegrate his opponent before his opponent reached him.
Cloud Leopard finally slowed down yet again. The corrosive power of Withered World was wounding him quite seriously, and even his strength was beginning to decline.
However, he continued to resolutely slash out with his dagger.
Slowly but surely, he began to close the final stretch separating him and Thousand Heavens.
Thousand Heavens watched as the dagger drew ever nearer to him, the threat of death imminent.
He couldn’t stop himself from raising his magic staff and unleashing a green barrier to cover himself.
In that moment, he couldn’t control his instinctive reaction of switching from offense to defense in order to try and save himself.
Darkness Extermination slashed through the sky, slamming into his barrier.
This single attack was equivalent to thousands of attacks.
His barrier shattered as Darkness Extermination plunged into Thousand Heavens’ midsection.
A single blade strike!
A single blade strike was all it took.
Cloud Leopard had been struck by him thousands of times and had only managed to land this lone dagger strike at the very end.
Thousand Heavens, however, trembled as the flow of life in his body came to a sudden halt because of the blade’s effects.
“No!” Thousand Heavens howled in despair.
He could sense his own life force rapidly leaving his body.
“Too much hesitation and indecisiveness. I admit that you are very strong, but your will is simply too weak. You lost because you lacked resolve!” Cloud Leopard declared faintly.
He pulled out the dagger.
As he unsheathed the dagger from Thousand Heavens, Thousand Heavens’ body began to rapidly corrode, eventually turning into a nondescript ash that floated away with the wind.