Chapter 45 - Embody the tiger, smell the rose.

Lin Yun’s words echoed throughout the tournament grounds.

Rustle!

The nine other victors, Hu Zifeng included, looked at him in disbelief.

Has this sword slave lost his mind?

After what seemed like an eternity of silence, cheers erupted from the crowd. Despite everything the other disciples had seen from Lin Yun, he continued to defy expectations. There was no predicting him. Whatever internal logic or common sense guides the decisions of the average person seemed to have been taken from him at birth.

Lin Yun had brought new life into the Azure Sky Sect, and he shone brighter than anyone around him. Regardless if Lin Yun won or lost in his challenge, he had made a different decision compared to everyone else. Everyone had chosen to lay low for now and not offend any inner disciples. However, Lin Yun had acted differently and stood out!

On the upper platform, Bai Yufan couldn’t stop himself from smiling. Lin Yun had managed to surprise him, something the other inner disciples hadn’t been able to do for some time. This freshly appointed inner disciples exuded an unwavering spirit that Bai Yufan admired greatly.

The other inner disciples were not nearly as happy as their young sect master. They had just been entered into a lottery no one wanted to win. There was nothing to gain. Whoever was chosen would be expected to win. If they did, they would gain neither recognition nor reward; but, if they lost, they would be humiliated and drop to the bottom of the rankings, losing their monthly allowance in the process.

“Excellent! Your courage is admirable and deserves to be rewarded. Win or lose, I will give you one Heart Nourishing Pellet! Now, who would you like to challenge?” said Bai Tianming jovially.

A Heart Nourishing Pellet!

The other victors looked at Lin Yun with a mix of jealousy and regret in their eyes.

“Thank you, Sect Master. Let me see…” Lin Yun said as he calmly surveyed his options.

While everyone else was stunned by his decision, the reality was that the thought that he might offend an inner disciple by challenging them had not even crossed Lin Yun’s mind. This was the perfect opportunity to test how much stronger reaching the seventh stage of the Martial Path had made him and it would give him an idea of what his competition would be like going forward. Furthermore, he had just become an inner disciple so a loss here would do nothing to his rank; but if by some miracle he won he would gain a huge boost to his rank!

As Lin Yun looked for a suitable opponent, his gaze inevitably landed on Su Ziyao. Something deep in his heart fluttered, and he realized this was the first time they looked at each other as equals. For a moment, he considered choosing her just to see if it would bring a change to the characteristic, emotionless expression she was wearing.

Lin Yun chuckled to himself at the thought and turned his attention further down the line, “Senior Brother at the end, I would like to seek guidance from you.”

 “It’s Senior Brother Ma Tianyi!” someone in the crowd roared.

“Lin Yun picked Senior Brother Ma Tianyi?! His cultivation is in the eighth stage of the Martial Path!”

“And he’s achieved greater mastery of the Violet Storm Sword!”

Of all the inner disciples, why did the sword slave have to pick me? Does he think I’m weak? Ma Tianyi thought to himself as his eye began to twitch.

Forcing himself to remain calm in front of the Sect Master, Ma Tianyi replied, “Please!”

Swish!

With that, the two combatants leapt from the upper platform and landed on stage.

Ma Tianyi’s voice was cold as he glared at Lin Yun and said, “I have no idea why you chose me, but I’m sure as hell going to make you regret it.”

“If that’s your goal, you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment. I try not to make decisions I’ll regret. You can start us off,” Lin Yun replied calmly.

“As you wish!”

SSSsssshhrnk!

When Ma Tianyi pulled out his sword, the entirety of his eighth stage aura was released. Along with it, an overwhelming sword aura came crashing down on the stage.

Dragon-Tiger Might!

Lin Yun’s aura surged as he propelled himself forward. Even with his cultivation in the seventh stage of the Martial Path and the Dragon-Tiger Might empowering him, his momentum could barely match Ma Tianyi. He was at a clear disadvantage, but the difference wasn’t so great that he couldn’t put up a fight.

As he approached, Ma Tianyi roared, enveloping himself in a torrent of wind, and lunged with his blade.

Fast!

Empowered by his cultivation the Violent Storm Sword was truly terrifying. Lin Yun began performing the Flowing Wind Sword on reaction. In a vacuum, the Flowing Wind Sword was on an entirely different level the Violent Storm Sword; but Ma Tianyi’s cultivation more than made up for what it lacked.

The gap between them was glaringly apparent. Zhou Yun had barely been able to keep up with Lin Yun’s Flowing Wind Sword, but against Ma Tianyi he barely had a chance to perform it. It took everything Lin Yun had just to defend against the onslaught. He felt like a rowboat lost at sea during a hurricane, desperately trying to stay afloat.

The two were holding nothing back, and the sheer lethality of their exchange kept those watching at the edge of their seats. Hu Zifeng wore a wry smile as he watched Ma Tianyi back Lin Yun into a corner. If Lin Yun failed the challenge, it would cement his reputation as the strongest outer disciple into legend.

Bai Yufan sighed inwardly. Lin Yun couldn’t even retaliate against Ma Tianyi. He had high hopes for Lin Yun’s future, but the difference between them at present was too great.

At this moment, Wang Ning sneered, “I don’t know why Ma Tianyi is going easy on the sword slave. If it were me out there, I’d have crippled the rat in three moves!”

“Just as I thought, all those victories went to his head.”

“Did he really think that he was on par with Hu Zifeng?”

On the stage, Lin Yun’s unyielding determination was clear in his expression. Excitement blazed in his eyes. He had chosen the perfect opponent!

Ma Tianyi’s expertise was exploiting weaknesses Lin Yun didn’t even know he had. Lin Yun could sense his comprehension of the Flowing Wind Sword progressing rapidly. In the end, he had to be courageous enough to fight in order to make improvements. If he did not fight with Ma Tianyi, how would he get a grasp on how powerful the Eighth Stage of the Martial Path was?


Half an hour later, Lin Yun was covered in wounds. Although they were all superficial, it still made him look horrifying. His clothes were dyed in his own blood as Lin Yun barely held on while he gritted his teeth.

When Ma Tianyi saw the unyielding expression on Lin Yun’s face, his rage slowly exploded. This sword slave wasn’t giving up! Despite knowing that he had no chance, this sword slave was still holding on! Was he trying to embarrass him? Every single sword he threw out, Ma Tianyi could sense the mockery in the eyes of the other inner disciples growing.

As time ticked, the two of them had already exchanged over a hundred moves. Up on the platform, the ridicule in the eyes of the inner disciples slowly changed into shock. As for the outer disciples, they were beyond shocked.

Wasn’t Lin Yun a little too strong? Although Lin Yun was in the disadvantageous position from the beginning, he had held on for over a hundred moves!

“You’re the one who forced me!” Ma Tianyi had a trace of rage in his eyes when he saw that Lin Yun wasn’t going down after so long.

Rustle!

In a split second, the sword aura permeating from Ma Tianyi grew as he flipped his wrist. In the next moment, he stabbed out a total of 81 swords as violent gales blew from all directions and enveloped Lin Yun.

There wasn’t any blind spot in his attack, and it was the offensive move of the Violent Storm Sword — Omnidirectional Wind!

Reflective Shadow!

Lin Yun retaliated with an offensive move of the Flowing Wind Sword with a solemn expression.

Clang! Clang! Clang!

For a moment, the stage was buried in the afterimages of swords.

Pfft!

After the swords clashed, the result was immediately revealed.

As Lin Yun threw out blood from his mouth, he was staggering to keep his footing after he came back onto the ground. Up on the stage, Bai Tianming knitted his brows as he could sense a terrifying killing intent in that brief moment. However, that killing intent had quickly vanished, so no one else had sensed it aside from him.

Ma Tianyi still stood without any expression on his face as blood dripped down from the hand that he held his sword with.

Drip! Drip!

The surroundings were all silent, with only the sounds of blood dripping onto the ground echoing by everyone’s ears. It was the first time Ma Tianyi was hurt in his battle against Lin Yun. But anyone could tell who was more injured among the two.

“You’ve lost!” Ma Tianyi spoke out gently as he looked at Lin Yun, who was struggling to keep himself standing.

Lin Yun didn’t even have the time to wipe the blood by his lips as he supported himself with his sword and squeezed out a heartbreaking smile, “Why are you so certain that I’ve lost? After all, I’m still holding onto my sword.”

“But I don’t think that you have any odds of defeating me.” Ma Tianyi wore a mocking smile. Lin Yun couldn’t even stand firmly on the ground, so how could he keep on fighting?

“Indeed, I might seem rude to challenge you with my previous identity as a sword slave. But nothing is for certain, and who can predict the future? There are many unpredictable futures in life, and I still have a single move in me. Please, grant me your guidance!”

As a breeze blew on Lin Yun’s hair, his face that was drained of blood still appeared unyielding!

A moment ago, Lin Yun was still barely on his feet, and in the next moment, the stunning might of a tiger exploded from his body. It was like a tiger roaring towards the sky, and at this moment, Lin Yun’s sword moved. His aura was that of a ferocious tiger, but it was gradually guided by his Flower Burial Sword, and the two contrasting auras began to fuse under his attack.

When Ma Tianyi saw this scene, he had a smear of shock through his disdainful expression when he suddenly felt a terrifying aura coming from Lin Yun. The aura represented unsatisfiable ambition and torrential rage. At this moment, Lin Yun was like a demon who had come from hell…

But when he moved, all he saw was a flower, a rose on the tip of Lin Yun’s sword. In the next moment, boundless sword aura suddenly exploded from the tip of Lin Yun’s sword.

Where do the flowers bloom?

Embody the tiger, smell the rose.

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