Chapter 22 - Crash!
"The Thirteen Series of Gale Force Blade! Seven Cuts in One Breath!"
Shi Mu's body suddenly began to revolve wildly like a gyroscope, and the long knife in his hand created shadows, one after another, stretching and morphing. Each time he moved the knife, seven shadows of it emerged, eventually creating a miniature mountain!
The mountain, however, was not made of stones but of deadly gleaming blades, and shrill sounds came faintly from the mountain now and then.
Then Wang Tianhao's six fireballs disappeared into the mountain, as quick as shooting stars. Immediately six booming noises exploded from the mountain! A violent heavy rain of sparks fell in all directions, heating up the entire room. The entire area was filled with sparks.
Simultaneously, on the floor of the ring, whizzing noises resounded as hundreds of blade marks were cut into the floor, centered around the spot where the blade mountain had exploded. Each mark was three chi both in depth and length, making a huge circle that appeared to be carved by a ruler[A].
"Peng!" A deafening noise.
As though rammed by an invisible burst of energy, Wang Tianhao tipped over in midair and then thudded down onto the floor. Unable to steady himself, he stumbled back as far as seven steps, meanwhile leaving a trail of seven half-inch deep footprints on the floor.
Once he had finally come to a stop, his face had turned ashen, and his hands, barely managing to hold his spear, would not stop trembling. The front end of the spear used to be imposing, but now it had vanished, or had been melted away by the heat.
All the instructors below stared at the lower part of the melting blade mountain, their eyes unblinking.
Practitioners, including Feng Jun, were more shocked than their instructors, some even holding their breaths.
Finally, when the last shadow from his knife faded from the ring, Shi Mu's silhouette suddenly became visible: he was standing straight, holding his knife single-handedly. The only unusually things were that he was blushing from the heat, and his shoulders and hair were slightly burnt. As for his knife, there were many notches on its edge, as if the knife had been struck repeatedly by some unknown hardware.
But as for Shi Mu, it was as clear as day why his knife had all those notches. It went out of control at the fireballs impacts and thus cut directly into the floor which then pocketed the edge. And this was also why he had left numerous knife marks around him.
"Can't believe you took my six fireballs head on!" After observing Shi Mu's body closely and seeing that he was not badly injure, Wang Tianhao could not believe his own eyes.
"It's all because of my advanced blade art, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to take your last strike." Shi Mu did not look triumphant. On the contrary, at this moment he actually had some reverence for Wang Tianhao.
"Seven Cuts in One Breath! You had gone this far in your Gale Force Blade Art, thus my defeat was certain. But in this match the spear I used was made of ordinary iron, not refined iron, so it definitely couldn't withstand my overwhelming flame. If I had used a refined one, then you wouldn't have been able to stay safe and sound. But I won't break my promise, I'll retire from the match since you've taken my attacks." Wang Tianhao first let out a sigh, then said this in a grudging tone, before he jumped out of the ring as promised, and went straight to the gate of the hall.
"Hold on a moment, Tianhao! Please excuse me." Uncle Xu was flustered at the scene, and after a hasty goodbye, he hurriedly chased after his nephew, leaving other Jin Gang members behind.
Seeing this, the remaining instructors and practitioners could only gape at each other.
It was surprising enough for Shi Mu to have accomplished his Seven Cuts in One Breath; but the result of the challenge was even more surprising!
"Wow...Liu Feng club wins! Shi Mu wins! A young hero indeed! But as Uncle Xu said earlier, now little brother Shi is faced with two choices: one, the fight can be deemed as a winning challenge against Jin Gang club, so you can retire now and fight in the next round; the other, you can remain at the ring and wait for the next challenge from other clubs' practitioners. If no one can defeat you, then Liu Feng club will naturally come first in this year's competition." The military officer ascended again to the ring and announced the result, before he measured Shi Mu from head to toe in a most surprised manner.
This result undoubtedly created a commotion below the ring.
Although most of the practitioners were impressed with Shi Mu's earlier performance, they knew well that his energy was reduced after that bitter fight. Furthermore, even if Shi Mu was not badly injured, his strength would not hold much longer in the next fight, plus his weapon had been ruined in his earlier fight. But according to the conventional rule, if Shi Mu decided to take the next challenge without a rest, he would be denied of the chance to have a new weapon.
Hearing this, some instructors, including Feng Lengchan, also grew upset.
"Brother Li, why not ask Shi Mu back and let him rest a bit. As long as he can have a new weapon, we, the Liu Feng club, will definitely win the competition." The red-faced instructor Min finally perceived the difficulty of the choice, and then hurriedly asked for Li Canghai's to call Shi Mu back.
"No need, I know this little guy better than anyone else. At the a moment, even if he is commanded to retire, he won't listen. " Li Canghai smiled bitterly after a deep breath.
Indeed. Right now, in the ring, Shi Mu made his reply without hesitation,
"Since I'm already here, then I won't quit until I'm defeated."
"Well then, the challenge shall proceed." The officer nodded with a look of approval.
The practitioners below began to mutter to each other, and no one dared to make a challenge, due to his conditions. Winning such a match would earn dark looks from people, and they would say, "you just took advantage of Shi Mu's state." Such an embarrassing prospect made most of them flinch. Li Yunfeng and Sun Jun exchanged a look of astonishment, gaping at each other, as if they were in a daydream.
"Hehe, then let me have the honor of seeing Brother Shi's techniques."
Just then, Feng Jun went forward through the crowd, with a sneer, and leaped up into the ring. He stretched his arms and then pulled them back to his sides: the fists were now in a pair of black iron gloves! The knuckles were fixed with fine steel so that he could move his fingers freely as he willed.
"Fist art? Good, I've been wanting to fight with my fists as well." Shi Mu narrowed his eyes.
"Such a coincidence! I also practised the Wind-Blowing Fists, and I..."
"Humph, stop talking and start fighting! Take my first punch." Shi Mu snorted coldly and moved, his arms stretched out in a blur, smashing into his opponent.
Feng Jun was enraged by Shi Mu's sudden move, so he wielded his arms bluntly, welcoming the coming fists with his two iron gloves. He punched into Shi Mu's two bare fists.
Crack! Crack! Two crisp sounds.
It was Feng Jun who was screaming in agony, his body forced back instantly at an overwhelming speed. After colliding with Shi Mu's fists, the black gloves expanded like a billow! Subsequently the two gloves exploded like confetti, showing his bleeding hands underneath.
"The accomplished level! You should have reached the accomplished level in the Stone-Breaking Fist!" After a shrill, Feng Jun cried out his astonishment, as if having seen a horrible monster.
But at this moment, Shi Mu continued to pursue his prey, lowering his body, he approached Feng Jun and pounded him, with strong winds being stirred up by his fierce movements.
Feng Jun's hands were already badly mutilated by then, completely defenseless at the coming fists, so he could only squat with a howl. Suddenly, the part of his skin not covered by clothes, all turned to blackish grey in an instant, and he looked as if he was wearing heavy black armour!
This time Shi Mu pounded heavily on Feng Jun's stomach, and the blackish grey skin vanished in an blink of the eye, while Feng Jun's body was sent flying backward for five zhang[B], slamming into the ground and stirring up a large amount of dust.
Then, the hall turned so silent that one could hear a pin drop.
[A] - This is a type of sword-like weapon. Imagine a sword, you have a handle, but at the other side, where there should be a point, it is flat. (it looks like a measuring ruler with a handle [note, these can be any size, but are generally the size of a claymore]) Rulers can have sharp edges, but they don't have to. (so It might be a blunt weapon or it might be a slash weapon, it could also be both)
[B] - This is a little over 16 & ½ meters. Now that's what I call a punch. XD