Chapter 43 - Road to Victory

Lin Yun’s blow had sent Zhou Yun clear across the stage. By keeping an eye on the ground as he flew, Zhou Yun managed to right himself just in time and landed on his feet. The momentum of the blow pushed him backwards even after landing, and he was forced to use a hand to stabilize himself. The taste of iron coated his mouth and a thin, red streak ran down from the corner of his lips. The smug expression he had been wearing a moment earlier was replaced by a sickened grimace.

Lin Yun had no intention of letting him recover freely and began executing the Wild Goose Art the moment he sent his opponent flying. It took a single, graceful stride for him to cover the length of the stage. By the time Zhou Yun raised his head to scowl at Lin Yun, the latter was already bearing downo on him with his Ferocious Tiger Fist.

If the fight had been against the likes of Ma Kui or Chen Xiao, it would have ended here, but Zhou Yun was no amateur. He was a martial practitioner in the seventh stage of the Martial Path, after all, and was well seasoned in combat.

“You’re courting death!” Zhou Yun roared when he saw Lin Yun’s fist barrelling towards him. “Golden Serpent Fist!”

Boom!

Zhou Yun’s body began to sway, mimicking perfectly the mesmerizing undulation of a deadly viper. A chilling aura rolled off him as he danced. In the blink of an eye, his arm whipped out and collided with the Ferocious Tiger Fist. A deafening clap rang out as the attacks met, but neither man faltered.

Boomboomboomboomboomboomboom!

The crowd watched in awe as the two exchanged over a dozen blows in a matter of seconds. They had come into this fight expecting a blood bath, but by some miracle Lin Yun was matching Zhou Yun’s strength.

 “Look! Lin Yun’s fist is glowing red!”

“There’s no way! That’s the sign someone has reached the pinnacle of the Pure Yang Art.”

“So that’s how he’s made up for his low cultivation! Complete mastery in the Ferocious Tiger Fist and the Pure Yang Art at its peak. This sword slave is something else.”

On the stage, the furious exchange ended with both men executing their strongest moves. One was like a descending tiger, permeating the aura that belonged to the king of beasts, and the other was like a dancing serpent, permeating a cold, poisonous aura.

 “Golden Serpent Dance!”

“Hundred Beast Wave!”

BOOOOOOOMMMM!!

The attacks countered each other with explosive results. A visible shockwave spread in all directions, ripping the looser boards from the stage and sending them into the crowd. Lin Yun and Zhou Yun both stumbled back five paces before drawing their swords in perfect unison.

Ssshrrnk!

“Convergent Streams, Flowing Winds!”

“Howling Thunder, Flashing Serpent!”

Lin Yun executed the Flowing Wind Sword, becoming akin to a roaring swell of waves as his body oscillated along with each swing of his blade. His movements were as smooth as the wind that gently blew on the stage. No one had managed to learn the Flowing Wind Sword for the past century, and the profundity lay in how smoothly he could control his sword.

Zhou Yun scowled as he executed the Thunderous Serpent Sword, an advanced martial technique of the sect. The movements of his wrist and the tip of his blade seemed dissonant and awkward. To the untrained eye, it might almost seem as if he had only picked up training a few days prior. This was by design.

While uncoordinated on the surface, his movements followed a chaotic rhythm. Through a masterful mix of feints, subversive angles, and syncopated timing, he could confound even a seasoned swordsman. It was clear he had reached greater mastery in the Thunderous Serpent Sword.

His strikes were cunning and agile while still being backed by an explosive power; but before the Flowing Wind Sword, Zhou Yun’s sword was completely suppressed.

The crowd erupted. They could not believe what they were seeing. The fight had been dead even a moment before, when the two men were still unarmed; but now, with swords drawn, Lin Yun dominated the stage.

“Lin Yun has achieved lesser mastery of the Flowing Wind Sword!”

“He’s even managed to exert over 60% of the swordplay’s full potential!”

“And here I thought Zhou Yun’s Thunderous Serpent Sword was amazing! It’s nothing compared to the Flowing Wind Sword!”

“Before today, I never would have thought that a sword slave could execute the Flowing Wind Sword!”

While cries of awe and admiration came from the crowd as they watched Lin Yun perform, on stage Zhou Yun roared as he poured the entirety of his cultivation into his next strike. He drew his blade parallel with his right temple as he pulled his upper body backwards. In an instant, he released the spring-like tension in his muscles and lunged his sword at Lin Yun’s heart.

“Thunder Serpent’s Rage!”

BOOM!

A thunderous roar echoed off the surrounding structures as Zhou Yun released the entirety of his aura. No longer contained, the suffocating weight Lin Yun had experienced earlier swept over the crowd. Cries came from the rows closest to the stage as weaker outer disciples collapsed under the pressure.

Lin Yun, however, stood strong. He had made sure to maintain the Dragon-Tiger Might while he brandished his sword, and he remained unaffected thanks to its shroud of protection.

Torrential Winds swirled around Lin Yun as he stared down Zhou Yun’s attack. In his hand Flower Burial began rotating at incredible speeds. Just as Zhou Yun’s sword was about to connect, Lin Yun swung his sword upwards and executed Wind Assembling, deflecting the incoming blade as Flower Burial’s momentum carried him skyward.

Clang!

The force of the parry swatted Zhou Yun aside as if he were nothing. He was launched clear across the stage, bouncing several times before lazily skidding to a halt close to where the elders were seated. He stared up at the sky in a daze as he absentmindedly checked for feeling in his sword arm.

Just as he was coming to, Lin Yun descended from the heavens. After parrying Thunder Serpent’s Rage, Lin Yun had used the remaining momentum of Wind Assembling to stay on the offensive. He had no intentions of letting Zhou Yun recover and readied an attack as the distance between them closed rapidly.

Lin Yun’s landing shook the entire stage. When the dust settled, Lin Yun towered over Zhou Yun, stopping his attack a milimeter from Zhou Yun’s chest.

“You’ve lost,” Lin Yun said calmly as he looked down at Zhou Yun.

“I lost, huh? Why don’t you stab me?” Zhou Yun sneered.

“Sure thing.”

Cries came from the crowd as Lin Yun grabbed Flower Burial with both hands and plunged it into his opponents chest.

Clang!

The crisp sound of metal scraping against metal rang out as Lin Yun’s strike slid to the side. Had torn open Zhou Yun’s clothes to reveal a set of glistening armour underneath.

“Profound Artifact!” called out several members of the crowd.

An agitated murmur swept over the audience and some outer disciples shook their heads in disapproval. Wearing armour in a fight against someone with weaker cultivation? How shameless could Zhou Yun be?

“Die!” Zhou Yun roared with laughter as he grabbed for Lin Yun’s ankles. The profound artefact made him practically invincible. Victory had been his from the start.

Lin Yun grimaced slightly when he saw the armour, but he did not panic. Empowering himself with the Wild Goose Art, Lin Yun brought his Flowing Wind Sword into greater mastery and executed Reflective Shadow.

Swish!

Zhou Yun grabbed for Lin Yun but caught only air. When he looked around, he found himself lost in a sea of blades. The cyclone of swords whipped all around him. Swords began darting back and forth above his head, leaving after images as they travelled. He could no longer see outside the vortex and had no way of knowing which swords were real.

SSsshhrrrnk! TSSSCH!

Lin Yun burst from the deadly typhoon and landed in a graceful slide, sheathing his sword before he came to a complete stop. The satisfying click of Flower Burial locking into place signalled the vortex to dissipate. Dazzling flecks of reflected light danced playfully on stage as each sword shattered before drifting away like petals in the wind. At the same time, a crimson mist burst from Zhou Yun’s extremities as hundreds of wounds opened simultaneously.

The haunting beauty of the scene faded as Zhou Yun struggled to his feet.

“I’ll kill you!” he roared as he rushed Lin Yun. Each step brought excruciating pain. He wanted nothing more than to lie down and sleep until he had forgotten this day ever happened but giving in now would mean accepting defeat.

When Zhou Yun came into range, Lin Yun spun around and kicked him in the chest. His limp body was like a sandbag as he bounced across the stage.

“Son!” cried Zhou Yun’s father as he jumped from the upper platform to catch his son.

His look of concern slowly transitioned into rage as he surveyed the damage to his child’s body. Bloodlust poured from him as he raised his eyes to Lin Yun.

“You pathetic little sword slave, how dare you be so ruthless! I’ll slaughter you!” barked Zhou Yun’s father. The Elder became completely enrage, forgetting his position as he charged Lin Yun in front of the crowd of outer disciples.

The sudden aggression startled Lin Yun and he stumbled over his feet as he instinctively backed away. Of all the things that could have happened, he had never thought an Elder would be shameless enough to attack him. He was completely unprepared.

But just as started losing his balance, a whinny came from below the stage and the Dragon Blooded Horse leapt to his side

Boom!

 “Perfect timing, bud!” Lin Yun laughed as Lil’ Red’s thick body stopped his fall. Without missing a beat, Lin Yun unsheathed Flower Burial and joined Lil’ Red as he charged Zhou Yun’s father.

With the combined force of Lil’ Red’s demonic aura and Lin Yun’s Dragon-Tiger Might bearing down on him, Elder Zhou realized he had no way to deal with the pair while his son was still in his arms. After a moment of hesitation, Elder Zhou chose to back off rather than risk injuring his boy further. Humiliated, Elder Zhou hung his head as he slowly made his way back to the upper platform.

Cheers erupted from the crowd. Lin Yun and his horse had just forced a Sect Elder to back down!

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Thyaeria: I've been trying to get back into gaming. Does anyone have any MMORPG to recommend?