Chapter 525: Challenge [V6C55 – Sorrow of a Silent Parting]
A blue clothed figure appeared on the other end of the passage—proud and cold like snow falling upon lone mountain peak.
“You’re quite smart, he didn’t want to wait at first. But you’re also quite unlucky because I’ve arrived,” said Li Kuanglan.
“Who are you?” Robinson’s expression was solemn. He had never heard of such a character on the empire’s side. A clear expert like Li Kuanglan should’ve been well-known among the dark races.
Li Kuanglan had no intention of replying. His eyes swept past the count and fell upon Qianye. “I never forgot about how you wounded my hand last time. I’m really looking forward to this attack, so don’t waste it on rubbish like him.”
Robinson was furious for he had never suffered such a humiliation before. “I’ll have you know that I’m from one of the oldest sacred-blooded clans…”
“I know, I know... Perth clan, right? I might take it seriously if your Holy Son or a marquis comes, but a fellow without much potential like you is trash in my eyes.”
Robinson spoke no more. He shook his sword and walked over toward Li Kuanglan in large strides. This was a humiliation to his clan name, a dishonor which he must wash clean with blood.
Li Kuanglan raised Cold Moon’s Embrace. Ripples surged upon its edge as a cloud of light blue frost shot toward Robinson.
A flood of blood energy boiled upon the latter’s sword as he roared and charged at the frost energy.
The splendid red deluge was immediately frozen upon contact. The formless blood energy actually transformed into icicles and quickly fell down in sheets.
Robinson’s expression was pale, and the red in his eyes had grown indiscernibly faint. Half his body was covered in white mist which immediately condensed into a thin layer of ice. His blood energy was more or less wiped out during the exchange just now, and even his main body had suffered grave injuries. It was a complete defeat.
Li Kuanglan laughed in the face of Robinson’s dismal expression. He seemed reserved but was, in fact, full of arrogance. “I haven’t even gone all out!”
Robinson found it difficult to even speak. “You! If it wasn’t for that sword…”
“Sword?” Li Kuanglan waved Cold Moon’s Embrace about. “You can’t afford this sword even if you pour out your entire family’s wealth… which means you’re still trash. Otherwise, why didn’t you bring a better weapon to fight with me?”
Robinson glared furiously. He moved his legs forward with great difficulty in a bid to fight it out with Li Kuanglan, but he could only let out a miserable cry just after the first step. Sanguineous flames erupted out from his arms and legs as his blood energy ignited.
“The colossus’... will…” Robinson hadn’t even finished when he fell to the ground in the form of a bloody torch.
Li Kuanglan glanced over at Qianye with an enigmatic smile. “You’re Qianye of the Zhao clan, right? It’s our turn now.”
Qianye frowned slightly as he sized up this unfathomable opponent. He was extremely handsome, and the lack of a soldierly flair, he made up for with his charm. His smile was akin to rippling water, almost as if it could speak and drag one’s soul away.
But one would find, upon closer inspection, that there was no smile in his eyes. The rolling brilliance therein weren’t ripples but sword intent and murderous will.
“You’re from the empire?” Qianye inquired.
Qianye’s frown locked even tighter. “Now isn’t the time for us to fight each other, don’t you think? It’s not too late to fight after we leave.”
“You intend to deal with the dark races first?” Li Kuanglan broke into a laugh. “Such words can only deceive idiots. There is no lack of infighting on either side at any given time. Enough with the nonsense. I, Li Kuanglan, will fight you today whether you like it or not!”
Qianye said no more. He simply grabbed East Peak in both hands and raised it slowly, lighting up all the silver patterns in the process. Li Kuanglan’s sword intent proved that his character was just as stubborn as his martial path. Such a person would hardly change his mind once it was made up.
Li Kuanglan frowned as he watched the restrained origin power upon the blade. The tip of his sword swayed briefly as a tin beam of blue light shot toward East Peak’s edge. “Ding!” It was as though two divine weapons had traded blows. East Peak trembled incessantly amidst a surge of scarlet origin power and drifting golden radiance.
Qianye was greatly astonished. The attack just now was extremely fast, and the tyrannical frost energy nearly shattered East Peak’s origin power. Li Kuanglan’s frost attribute was slightly inferior to Venus Dawn, but the quantity was overwhelming. A mere probe had nearly caused Qianye to drop his sword.
Li Kuanglan frowned. “You’re indeed wounded and quite seriously at that. How are we to play if you can only launch a couple of sword strikes?”
Qianye’s face was expressionless, but in his heart, he was rather curious about Li Kuanglan’s identity. Gauging his current status in a single ranged attack was no small matter. Apart from possessing an ability similar to True Sight, it was also likely that his rank was extremely high.
Li Kuanglan’s frown relaxed soon afterward. “Oh well, I won’t take too much of an advantage. Let’s begin!”
With that, he slashed at Qianye’s throat from afar—he wasn’t the least concerned about the latter’s response. Cold Moon’s Embrace had barely moved when a blue sword radiance arrived before Qianye.
This strike was just too fast. Even Qianye, despite his speed and reaction, didn’t have time to evade. He relied on his basic sword techniques and the instincts he had honed through many life and death battles to barely parry the blue light coming for his throat.
The blue light shattered with a “ding”. It was just a small piece of ice, but it shook Qianye from head to toe and sent him staggering backward. A thin layer of frost emerged on his body, but unlike Robinson, they were all broken down by a jolt of his body. It was as though he had been covered in snowflakes.
This wasn’t just a competition of origin power, but rather, it involved him breaking through the icy shackles with his powerful physique. Li Kuanglan’s eyes lit up. “Interesting!”
Cold Moon’s Embrace was swung several times in the blink of an eye, each slash as quick as lightning. Blue light filled Qianye’s eyes as the sword energy arrived before him. No number of sword techniques and predictions would be effective against such a frequency of attack. Qianye simply closed his eyes—he stopped looking at the dazzling radiance and relied solely on his instincts to deflect them.
East Peak waved back and forth in Qianye’s hand in a rather awkward and disorderly manner. But as it happened, he managed to block all of the incoming sword energy.
“Excellent swordplay!” Li Kuanglan praised.
He advanced with his sword raised, each step taking him ten meters forward, and soon had his blade at Qianye’s nose.
This move was virtually indefensible. Qianye had East Peak tightly in his grasp but had no way to compete against Li Kuanglan in speed. He simply ignored the incoming stab and swung East Peak at the man’s waist. This was a move that would end in mutual destruction. Li Kuanglan would stab through Qianye’s head, but he himself would be slashed through the waist.
Li Kuanglan suddenly let go of Cold Moon’s Embrace and swatted East Peak with his hand. This caused the lightless heavy sword to swerve to one side as though it had been pressed down by a great force. His movements were as agile as lightning, as smooth as the flowing rivers and clouds. His hand, after launching the palm strike, resumed its grip on the thrusting sword. It was as if the blade had never paused its advance.
Qianye exerted power from his wrist and, borrowing from the momentum of Li Kuanglan’s palm, sent East Peak toward the ground. There, he swung the blade sideways toward the latter. Li Kuanglan’s legs might not remain should East Peak so much as graze them.
After weighing the pros and cons, Li Kuanglan had no choice but to take a step back and evade the incoming sword. But how could he be pushed back so easily? He reached out to guide Cold Moon’s Embrace amidst the shifting footwork. The blue sword of ice left his hand once again, this time, spinning through the air and slashing toward the back of Qianye’s head. At the same time, he tread forth once again after evading East Peak and attacked Qianye with his bare hands.
At this moment, Li Kuanglan and Cold Moon’s embrace were like two coordinated experts attacking Qianye together from different directions.
Qianye paid no heed to the icy blade falling upon him. Instead of pulling back, he threw himself at Li Kuanglan and exchanged a dozen or so moves before sidestepping the assault from behind. Along the way, Qianye folded his hand backward and moved East Peak into a horizontal parry. It was as though he had eyes on the back of his head.
Li Kuanglan didn’t relax at all and immediately went after Qianye. He tapped Cold Moon’s Embrace lightly just as his silhouette was flashing past and actually sent the sword toward Qianye in a spinning slash.
This was a battle Qianye had never experienced. Li Kuanglan and Cold Moon’s Embrace would split off from time to time, the latter spending more time out of its owner’s grasp than within. But no matter how he touched Cold Moon’s Embrace—be it with his fingers, shoulders, or even his sleeves—it would always slash at Qianye from unimaginable angles as though it had gained sentience.
At this moment, man and sword had transformed into two separate entities. They surrounded Qianye and attacked him from all sides, effectively suppressing his space for variation and evasion.
Qianye responded steadily, attacking and retreating naturally within the small space. He wanted to knock down Cold Moon’s Embrace on several occasions, but the movements of this man and sword were simply too fast and too bizarre. He was never able to form a complete counterattack.
Perhaps Li Kuanglan was even slightly inferior to Zhao Jundu in terms of technique. He had yet to reach a state of consummation like the latter, but he was simply too fast and his crystal sword, too sharp. His origin power was also very deep, and its attribute was strange, to say the least. Qianye could hardly make use of the openings even after finding them—thus, his openings were no longer openings.
The two exchanged hundreds if not thousands of blows in the span of a breath. A plethora of secret combat arts blossomed like flowers in Li Kuanglan’s hands. The constant display was almost stifling.
Qianye’s combat style was relatively coarse and unadorned. All he used were variations of the military combat techniques and basic sword arts. Most of the time, they couldn’t even be considered techniques because he seemed to be blocking and punching randomly.
However, this seemingly clumsy method managed to block all of Li Kuanglan’s attacks, albeit barely. Even when there were times he couldn’t block, he would use a mutually destructive move to force Li Kuanglan into defense.
At the height of their battle, Li Kuanglan and his sword were like two masses of blue light which revolved around Qianye, their torrential assault akin to the endless flow of the Yangtze River. Qianye, on the other hand, stood tall and unmoving like a mighty boulder in white-water.
“Great swordplay! This move is excellent! How interesting!” Li Kuanglan praised repeatedly.
After reaching a point of intoxication in battle, Li Kuanglan flashed back and stood ten meters away. He gazed at Qianye in a leisurely manner, without even a drop of sweat on his forehead. Qianye, however, was panting heavily, his face pale and his aura much weaker than before.
Li Kuanglan suddenly asked, “Why do you look like you just damaged your foundations?”
Qianye remained silent. He stared fixedly at Li Kuanglan as he placed a hand on the heavy sword sticking into the ground at an incline.
This was the most terrifying enemy he had ever encountered. Even Zhao Jundu might be inferior to him because of the difference in rank and weapon, yet he was only about Zhao Yuying’s age.
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