Chapter 395: Others May Forsake Me, I Cannot Give Up on Myself
However, the difference between strength was oftentimes not something that could be bridged by passion.
Setting aside the fact that Chu Xinghan had no intention of detonating his own spirit ocean, even if he did do as Master Shuiyue had commanded, he probably wouldn't have been able to fight back against Jiang Chen.
This was because Jiang Chen’s defense amongst his peers was absolutely heaven defying.
His soft armor had been combined with the Redscaled Firelizard scale, and he’d trained the “Nine Transformations of Demons and Gods” to the third level, so the natural defenses of his body were also incredibly strong.
No matter how strong the explosion Chu Xinghan would unleash, it’d be hard for him to injure Jiang Chen.
Chu Xinghan was sixth level spirit realm, just like Jiang Chen.
But it was obviously that these two sixth level spirit realms were on completely different footings.
Chu Xinghan’s strength ranked amongst the top of the Shuiyue faction, but he wasn’t part of the elite in the Purple Sun Sect, much less than the four great sects.
Therefore, although his aura flared powerfully and was quite dominating, to a true expert like Jiang Chen, this kind of fighting style was actually easier to handle.
This was because that his desperate stance was revealing simply too many flaws.
“It looks like Chu Xinghan truly has no standing in the Shuiyue faction at all. Even when I killed that Hai Tian in the earth quadrant, Master Shuiyue reacted like a crazed demon. However, when she sent Chu Xinghan up to fight with his life on the line, I see no regret or care at all. It’s as if this disciple is a pawn who can be discarded at any time in this old woman’s eyes.”
When his thoughts traveled here, Jiang Chen became quite disdainful of Master Shuiyue’s vision. Apart from having a good eye for unearthing talent, how this old woman had raised Chu Xinghan was absolutely unsatisfactory.
From the way that Chu Xinghan was putting his life out on the line, it seemed that he was returning the gratitude he felt from Master Shuiyue’s efforts spent in raising and cultivating him.
Even so, he refused to go against his principles and detonate his spirit ocean and take Jiang Chen down with him. It could be seen from this that he was someone with principles.
He was someone who could give his all in everything he did because of the strong faith he held in his heart.
The strong dao heart of a person like this was absolutely not something that a vainglorious, arrogant girl such as Long Juxue could measure up to.
It was a pity that Master Shuiyue could not recognize the true gem in front of her. She could only see Long Juxue’s innate constitution and ignored the truth that there was malleable talent beside her.
As he thought of this, Jiang Chen rather admired Chu Xinghan a bit more.
This was someone who could be molded.
Jiang Chen had dispelled several of Chu Xinghan’s advances as these thoughts flashed through his mind.
His advantages over a peer of his level were simply too much. Chu Xinghan’s sword techniques were sophisticated, and that he’d likely be able to put up a good fight if he met someone like Lei Gangyang.
Although he would definitely lose in the end as well, he wouldn’t be as resigned as he was at the moment.
Those not participating in the match may not have been able to tell, but Chu Xinghan was more aware than anyone else that although he was delivering his attacks above his usual level, Jiang Chen was still coolly composed and hadn’t used his full strength.
He hadn’t even used a weapon yet.
“Jiang Chen, kill me if you are going to. Why toy with me?” Chu Xinghan was depressed as he sent a message over.
However, he didn’t slow down the movements of his hands.
“Chu Xinghan, I respect you as a good man and thus, I will make an exception for you in not killing you.” Jiang Chen responded faintly.
Chu Xinghan’s momentum was like a mad tiger as his sword aura criss crossed through the skies, crashing down upon Jiang Chen like lightning.
“Jiang Chen, I have succeeded in obtaining what I wanted and have long since held a death wish. What need do I have for your mercy?”
Jiang Chen easily called upon his methods as he continuously dispersed Chu Xinghan’s attacks, sending the message back, “It’s easy for one to die on the path of martial dao and difficult to live. You, Chu Xinghan, are a real man. Even if you’re treated as a discarded pawn, even if others give up on you, that doesn’t give you the reason to give up on yourself. When you reach the grand martial dao in the future, your own face will burn in embarrassment when you look back on your decision you made today!”
If Jiang Chen wanted to defeat Chu Xinghan, he could do so with no effort at all in this moment.
However, he hadn’t done so. He’d kept on parrying the moves because he could tell that Chu Xinghan wanted to die. If he didn’t dissuade him on this notion, this person wouldn’t live anyways even if he didn’t kill him in the ring.
He must have to draw forth the confidence to make this fellow live on, make him understand the meaning of life.
Chu Xinghan exhibited loyalty and filial piety to Master Shuiyue. He thanked her with his death, and these were his principles. Jiang Chen rather admired this.
But Master Shuiyue’s character was obviously not worthy of a man such as Chu Xinghan dying for her.
“Chu Xinghan, you must know that your body, skin, and hair all come from your parents. You have the will to die, but have you inquired your birth parents if they wish it so? Although loyalty demands death, have you taken a look to see if the person you die for is worthy of such? Are your actions proper for the cardinal principle of righteousness?”
“When men live in this world, we must lead a dashing and free life, and die a worthy and spectacular death. If you die in such a cowardly and pathetic manner, you might think that you’ve become a martyr, been elegant and unrestrained, and able to do your mentor proud. But have you thought whether or not you can face yourself in dying in such a fashion? Can you face your own heart, the one that has always yearned for dao?”
“The path of martial dao is a heaven defying action to begin with. Fate is in your hands. Even the heavens cannot control my destiny, much less others! I only ask you one question. When you die, will your master shed a single tear for you? Will Long Juxue feel a moment’s pain for you?”
Each of the questions in this successive string rang in Chu Xinghan’s mind like a loudly tolling bell.
That others have forsaken you is not a reason for you to give up!
You have the will to do, but have you asked your birth parents to ask if they wish for you to die as well?
Can you face yourself dying like this? Can you face your dao heart?
Will your master shed a single tear for you? Will Long Juxue experience even a moment of heartache for you?
Chu Xinghan’s aura faltered and his desire to die faded with Jiang Chen’s every question.
Death was easy.
But why must he die for Long Juxue? It would be an act of loyalty to die because of a word from his master, but that would be foolish loyalty.
Just like Jiang Chen had said, would his honored master shed a single tear?
Chu Xinghan truly did want to think of the good, but when he thought of his honored master’s frosty face on that stage, her heartless reminder, Chu Xinghan’s heart trembled.
In that moment, all the shadows cast upon him from various emotions, relationships, grudges, and favors were cleaved away cleanly, as if a bolt of lightning had flashed through them.
A scene of bright clarity greeted his eyes.
Chu Xinghan’s dao heart was firm and his side clear. He was one with great intelligence.
When he had a moment’s comprehension, it utterly dispelled all of what he had been agonizing over.
Indeed, his gratitude to his master was as monumental as a mountain, but there was time aplenty to pay that back. Why must he express it in the method of ending his own life?
Chu Xinghan retracted his sword’s aura and fell backwards, saying lowly, “I concede.”
When these two words were voiced, Master Shuiyue’s face beneath the ring changed greatly. Chu Xinghan had conceded the match? This was completely against her wishes!
Long Juxue laughed coldly and added fuel to the flame, “Your disciple didn’t view this person wrongly at all. This Chu Xinghan is indeed someone who complies in appearance yet opposes in heart to the honored master.”
Master Shuiyue’s face was stricken as she ground her teeth silently, a cold expression appearing on her features.
Chu Xinghan presented himself in front of Master Shuiyue after leaving the ring. He knelt with a single knee on the ground as he spoke with an assertive tone, “Honored master, your disciple is inept. I have tried my best, but cannot beat my opponent.”
“Have you tried your best?” A violent light dawned in Master Shuiyue’s eyes. “Chu Xinghan, you appeared to obey but secretly ignore me in the end, do you still view me as your honored master in your heart? Do you still remember the twenty years I’ve spent raising you?!”
“Your disciple remembers well his gratitude towards the honored master.” Chu Xinghan said remotely.
“Then why didn’t you do as I said?” Master Shuiyue’s aura flared.
“There are too many sycophants by the honored master’s side, and too few who truly have your interests in mind. If I leave the honored master just like this, then there will be none who serve the honored master genuinely in the future. Your disciple wishes to repay the honored master for the long term…”
“Shut up!” Master Shuiyue’s body shook in her anger, the flames of fury burning in her eyes. “You lust after life and fear death, and yet you have so many excuses to show for it? Dare you say that you are the only loyal person in my faction?”
Long Juxue was also highly incensed. Chu Xinghan’s words were pointing fingers at her as well, saying that she was a sycophant and not someone who was truly good to Master Shuiyue.
This was a light that shone on her true thoughts, and an action that revealed her scars.
“Honored master, this person defied your orders and is a traitor. Your disciple will end him for you!”
Long Juxue’s slender eyebrows knitted together as she sent a force from her palm, slamming it down on Chu Xinghan’s chest.
Her actions had been exceedingly swift and ferocious.
Chu Xinghan was just beginning to react when he was struck by the blow. His body flew out like a kite with a broken string as he landed viciously on the ground, his status unknown.
Master Shuiyue hadn’t thought that Long Juxue would suddenly make a move either.
There was faint surprise in her eyes that was quickly replaced by indifference. “You made a move on my behalf to clean our house of traitors. That is just as well!”
Eldest disciple Ceng Shi was standing behind Master Shuiyue as the muscles on his face twitched slightly. A look of fear flashed through his eyes.
His relationship with Chu Xinghan was ordinary, but he had sympathy for his own kind, and when he saw that Long Juxue had dared assume so much power, he too was shocked.
He realized that he might end up just like Chu Xinghan.
Long Juxue’s expression was aloof, with just a hint of a vague smile on her face. Her eyes raked lightly over Ceng Shi’s face.
Ceng Shi was frightened and actually didn’t dare meet her gaze.
“Honored master, your disciple will go over and see if he’s dead.” Ceng Shi felt uneasy and wanted to change the subject.
Master Shuiyue waved her hand. “What’s the point? He defied orders and such is the equivalent of betraying his master. What’s dead is dead, what are you looking at?”
Ceng Shi had no response for that as he returned to his position. A complicated look flashed through his eyes and no one knew what he was thinking bout.
Seed number five, Lian Canghai from the Precious Tree Sect, took the ring next. Lian Canghai had yet to make it into the top four, but his strength wasn’t any less than that of Luo Xi of the Myriad Spirit Sect and Shi Yunyun of the Flowing Wind Sect.
He was ranked number five due to his score.
Indeed, once Lian Canghai took the stage, he displayed his strength as the first genius of the Precious Tree Sect. He defeated his opponent with almost unquestioned dominance.
Lian Canghai’s match was something that Lei Zhiyang and Long Juxue wouldn’t pass up.
After all, they were fated to meet sooner or later. Understanding one’s opponent was just as important as understanding oneself.
When Lian Canghai disembarked from the ring, one of Master Shuiyue’s disciples suddenly called out, “Eh, Chu Xinghan’s gone!”
Master Shuiyue and Long Juxue all looked over in astonishment. There were only a few bloody traces where he’d fallen earlier, but no sign of Chu Xinghan.
“How is this possible?” Master Shuiyue and Long Juxue all ran over.
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