There was a definite possibility that Lin Yun’s body would explode, but he was powerless to stop the reaction. All he could do now was wait patiently as his body slowly digested the beast core.
Embody the tiger, smell the rose.
Despite the mighty power surging in his body, he kept his heart calm. Unfortunately, this proved increasingly difficult as reaction only continued to get stronger. His sense of time had become distorted as he focused his whole attention on what was happening inside his body. Two days had passed already without him knowing.
The mid-year test, the Azure Sky Sect’s annual tournament, had begun. The plaza was packed to the brim with people. The disciples whose lots had been drawn first were already fighting on stage.
The Azure Sky Sect had a total of two to three thousand outer disciples, and all of them had gathered for the test. The atmosphere was electric as disciples put their hopes and dreams on the line. This test decided where they would rank. Some would rise, some would fall, and some would even be given an opportunity to become an inner disciple.
A large crowd had congregated near the main stage located at the center of the event grounds. Most gathered were outer disciples who had either already finished their matches or were waiting for their next one to start.
On stage, senior outer disciple Liang Wenbo stood beside the judge. He normally kept a low-profile, but he had not been able to hide the fact that he had reached the sixth stage of the Martial Path. No one would underestimate him. While he was formidable and well respected, Liang Wenbo was not the reason people flocked to this stage.
“Is it true that Liang Wenbo is fighting Lin Yun?”
“That’s what I heard. Liang Wenbo drew Lin Yun’s name, but apparently no one’s seen him.”
“What’s wrong with that guy? How can you be late for the greatest event of the year? Won’t he be disqualified?”
Rumours began to spread quickly.
Liang Wenbo was growing more impatient by the second. Turning to the judge, he asked, “How long do I have to wait?”
“Half an incense’s time. If Lin Yun isn’t here by then, he will be disqualified and you will move on to the next round.”
Liang Wenbo scoffed, “Once a sword slave, always a sword slave,”
Everyone stared anxiously at the incense as they waited. It was down to its last centimeter and Lin Yun had still not shown.
“Looks like I win this round,” Liang Wenbo said with a smug smile. But as he spoke, a commotion broke out from the back of the crowd.
Every head turned just as a white-robed man with delicate features walked calmly towards the stage. Lin Yun had just barely made it in time.
He pushed his way through the crowd and jumped on stage. When he got into position he apologized to Liang Wenbo and the judge, “Sorry for being late.”
Liang Wenbo was visibly upset. He had been forced to wait the maximum possible time without being awarded a victory.
“According to the rules, you were late, but not late enough to be disqualified. You will be allowed to continue participating in the mid-year tournament,” the judge clarified. “However, due to your tardiness, you must let three moves go to your opponent.”
“Fine with me,” Lin Yun nodded.
When Liang Wenbo heard that, a faint smile rose to his lips,“That’s a rule? I’ll take it!”
Turning to Lin Yun, he said, “I heard you managed to defeat that idiot, Chen Xiao. Well I got knews for you, punk. I don’t plan to give you the same opportunities he did. I don’t plan to let you lay a finger on me! Today, on this stage, in front of this crowd, I’m going to give you the beating of a lifetime. I’m going to show these people what you’re really made of. They’ll be mopping your true colours off the stage when I’m done with you!”
Liang Wenbo’s arrogance sent the crowd into a frenzy. If the tension in the crowd was a smouldering fire, Liang Wenbo’s words were gunpowder. It took the judge nearly a minute to calm the crowd down enough so that the men on stage could hear him.
While a little dramatic, Liang Wenbo was qualified to speak those words. He was a senior among outer disciples. His cultivation had reached the sixth stage of the Martial Path and he had achieved perfection in his Drifting Leaf Sword.
“That’s weird, why didn’t Lin Yun bring his sword along?” asked an onlooker.
“I heard that he managed to use the Flowing Wind Sword, a technique that no one could practice for the past thousand years. Who knows if those rumours are true, though.”
“Wait, what?! Come on! I’m only here for the Flowing Wind Sword!”
“Um, excuse me.. It was the last hundred years, not the last thousand.”
“Those rumours are probably exaggerated. If he had actually made progress with the Flowing Wind Sword, there’s no way he’d leave his sword behind. Who would handicap themselves like that during the mid-year test?”
In the fraction of a second between when the Judge yelled start and the bell tolled, Liang Wenbo brandished his sword in a lightning fast quick-draw attack in hopes of catching Lin Yun off guard. His strike carried the swiftness of the wind itself. The sword brushed past Lin Yun’s nose, barely an inch away from him. Lin Yun had barely gotten out of the way.
To the disciples watching, the sword had just appeared in Liang Wenbo’s hand. His movements were too fast for their eyes to follow.
To everyone’s surprise, Liang Wenbo had begun the fight with his full strength. He would take full advantage of the three free attacks against Lin Yun he had been given. As per agreement, Lin Yun was not allowed to retaliate.
Feeling the aura that permeated from Liang Wenbo, Lin Yun could tell that he had been on the verge of the seventh stage of the Martial Path for some time.
As his aura poured into his sword, Liang Wenbo’s sword momentum sped towards its upper limits. At a tricky angle from below, the long sword sliced upwards, bringing a cutting gale with it.
The strike sliced through the front of Lin Yun’s robe, barely missing his skin. This passivity was proving troublesome, but rules were rules. Lin Yun could only hope his chance would come soon.
“Liang Wenbo is terrifyingly strong AND he has a three-move advantage! Lin Yun is in trouble!”
“Liang Wenbo’s cultivation seems to be approaching the seventh stage of the Martial Path as well. No wonder he was so arrogant before!”
“The Drifting Leaf Sword is so ferocious in his hands!”
In only two moves, Lin Yun was on his back foot.
“Drifting Leaves! Go down!” Liang Wenbo roared as he executed his third move.
He lunged his sword at Lin Yun with all his might. As if summoned by the display, a raging tempest tore through the crowd. The violent blast whipped through robes and hair as it carried a cloud of dust on stage.
From afar, Liang Wenbo’s sword truly looked like a leaf drifting in the wind.
The crowd roared at the spectacle. They were witnessing the work of a master.
But just when everyone thought that Liang Wenbo’s stab was sure to connect, Lin Yun launched himself into the sky, landing six meters away at the very edge of the stage. The Wild Goose Art had saved him yet again.
“Damn it!” Liang Wenbo cursed furiously. Blinded by rage, he let his internal energy burn with reckless abandon. He poured dangerous amounts of strength into his swing, sending a veritable cyclone at Lin Yun in hopes of knocking him offstage.
Before Liang Wenbo saw the results of his last strike, he heard Lin Yun’s voice through the dust cloud, “That’s three moves.”
Liang Wenbo became unhinged. He charged at Lin Yun wildly, sword at the ready. But Lin Yun had been waiting. Just as Liang Wenbo was about to enter the haze, it vanished. More accurately, the cloud of dust had dissipated from the force of Lin Yun’s incoming fist.
Thunder came from Lin Yun’s bones as his fist sped towards his opponent. Liang Wenbo went weak as his aura was smothered by an oppressive malice. Lin Yun’s aura was also in the sixth stage, but it was permeated by sickening bloodlust that writhed all around him. This unique killing aura was unlike anything a martial practitioner could produce.
Before Lin Yun’s punch, Liang Wenbo’s momentum crumbled. It was a punch that could not be blocked, containing the might to crush everything.
Before his body could fall, Lin Yun struck him again. The horrifying crack of Liang Wenbo’s ribs breaking could be heard from the back of the crowd as he was launched across the stage. His mind didn’t register the second hit until he was already air-born.
As Liang Wenbo’s body returned to earth, Lin Yun was there to greet him with another devastating blow. Those in the audience would go on to say that, in that moment, Lin Yun became the very embodiment of a ferocious tiger, the king of all beasts, as he pounced clear across the stage to meet his prey.
Hundred Beast Wave!
Lin Yun looked in Liang Wenbo’s eyes as his attack connected. The confidence of the man who had taunted him before the fight was gone, consumed in its entirety by unmitigated horror. Lin Yun almost felt sorry for him as he flew into the crowd.
When Liang Wenbo’s body finally came to a rest, Lin Yun faced him and cupped his hands together, “Thank you for your guidance.”
Lin Yun used one to break Liang Wenbo’s momentum, the second to break his ribs, and the third to break his spirit.
After watching Liang Wenbo lose despite having an overwhelming advantage, it was hard not to see his arrogant words from before as some sort of prophetic joke.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Thyaeria: Well that's embarrassing for our Liang Wenbo there.
Seel: While I was editing this, I couldn't stop picturing Liang Wenbo as some jacked up WWE wrestler. I decided to lean into it a little and have some fun with his prefight speech to Lin Yun. I would suggest looking up "Randy Savage Cream of the Crop" on youtube or something and then reading through that exchange again in his voice.