Chapter 84: Battling Zhang Zhenshan Again
A strange look flashed through Zhang Zhenshan's eyes as he saw the flame-wreathed spear stab towards him. Previously charging forward, he came to a sudden halt then immediately used the Ice Treading Steps. He dodged slightly to the left, avoiding the extremely powerful spear thrust.
Glacial qi swirled around Zhang Zhenshan's twin palms; the pair of Icesilk Gloves that Bai Yunfei had previously damaged had actually been repaired. Without giving any warning, he suddenly glided forward across the earth and moved close towards Bai Yunfei. His twin palms struck out, one aimed at the face, the other at the abdomen!
Bai Yunfei launched himself flying backwards, delivering a backwards spear-blow to block the upper palm while kicking out with his left leg to strike against the lower palm. Borrowing from the collision force, he somersaulted backwards. Before he even landed, he brandished the spear and struck out yet again.
Zhang Zhenshan had wanted to continue to pursue and attack, but his path was blocked by this spear. His only choice was to once again dodge before charging forward. By now, Bai Yunfei had already landed on the ground. He didn't change his stance; instead, he sent it piercing forth once more!
Zhang Zhenshan dodged past the blow while striking out with his left palm, slapping it against the body of the spear, pushing it to one side. He then took a half-step back with his left leg to steady himself, then formed his fingers into a claw as he clawed towards Bai Yunfei's spear-holding left hand.
Bai Yunfei stepped to the left, dodging while also pulling away his left arm to one side, avoiding Zhang Zhenshan's claw. He hurriedly took several minute steps. In a very brief period of time, he actually completed a full circle, his Firetipped Spear spinning with him and sweeping towards the enemy's waist.
Zhang Zhenshan knew that his opponent had a very nimble agility technique, but he hadn't expected it to improve this much compared to last time. There was no time to dodge; all he could do was step slightly to the side, then use both arms crossed over each other to block this strike.
Smash! The spear slammed against his arms, letting out a dull thudding sound. Zhang Zhenshan frantically retreated backwards, and as he did he felt as though his arms had been struck by a blazing branding iron. In fact, a hint of a scar had been left on him from this blow.
He circulated the ice-type elemental energy within his body to dissipate the blazing energy. He just barely had a chance to find his footing before Bai Yunfei once more struck at him, not pausing at all. That wave of heat once more surged towards him!
Spear-shadows were flying everywhere, and palm-shadows folded in on themselves. There were continuous thudding sounds as the waves of heat collided against the icy qi, and craters began to appear in the earth beneath the feet of the two contestants.
A serious look appeared on the faces of the onlookers as they watched the two fight unceasingly. It seemed as though the two were on par with each other. Yu Fei and Liao Cheng began to frown, and their gazes fluctuated as they followed the movements of the two fighters. They hadn't expected Bai Yunfei's attacks to be so ferocious...and by the looks of it, Zhang Zhenshan was actually engaged in more defense than offense!
Yan Xi's eyes, hidden beneath his black robes, were flashing. As he watched Bai Yunfei's actions, he mused to himself, "Is this truly power that has come from using a soul technique to forcibly increase one's level of power? His attacks are fluid, and there's no indication at all that he's being harmed by any sort of backlash. His movements, his punches...they are clearly soul techniques of tremendous power! What is his status, exactly? And that spear; according to what Yu Fei said, it should be a low-grade Earth-ranked weapon, but..."
Right at this moment, the two fighters simultaneously struck out with their right arms against each other, one using his palm, the other using his fist. As their blows collided, they both retreated right away. However, after Bai Yunfei took two steps back, he stabilized his footing, then launched himself forward, not resting at all as he once more stabbed out with his spear!
Zhang Zhenshan felt amazement in his heart. He knew that this must be due to the Goldsilk Soul Armor; otherwise, there was no way his opponent could have almost ignored the effects of the attack, stabilizing himself with two fewer steps than Zhang Zhenshan himself needed. By now, Zhang Zhenshan had already retreated next to a willow tree and had dissipated the power of Bai Yunfei's punch, but the spear-tip of the Firetipped Spear had already pierced towards his eyes!
Resigned, he had no choice but to focus on defense yet again. He retreated backwards with hurried steps while dodging backwards to the right.
The Firetipped Spear grazed past Zhang Zhenshan's shoulder, thrusting deep into the thigh-thick willow tree behind Zhang Zhenshan with absolute ease.
Zhang Zhenshan's eyes lit up. The opponent's spear had been trapped in the tree! To pull it out again would cost a moment of time. Zhang Zhenshan was just about to halt his backwards motion, planning to us this opportunity to seize the initiative...but just as this idea flashed through his mind, he felt a sudden feeling of shock flutter through his heart, because he saw the look of delight appearing in Bai Yunfei's eyes!
"Damn! It's that..."
He didn't even have a chance to complete his thought. Just as the look of amazement appeared in Zhang Zhenshan's eyes, an earth-shattering sound interrupted him!
The secondary effect of the Firetipped Spear, the fire explosion, had been activated!
A red light could be seen coming from within the trunk of the tree. In the next instant, the tree crumbled with a cacophonous shattering sound. No splinters of wood flew about, because when the Firetipped Spear stabbed into the tree and blew it up, the shattered parts had been instantly burnt to ash. The crown of the tree, however, was sent flying outwards. It landed hundreds of meters away, amongst the members of the Glacial School, causing a bit of panic.
In the instant the fiery light appeared and the enormous explosion could be heard, Zhang Zhenshan immediately, frantically retreated, not hesitating in the slightest. His Ice Treading Steps were used to the limit, but he was still unable to move faster than the wave of heat that was sweeping towards him from the front! As Zhang Zhenshan frantically retreated, his also crossed both his arms to protect his head.
As the heat wave struck forward, he felt as though blazing knives were slicing past his body. Even breathing became difficult for a moment. However, as he flew backwards, the 'pushing' power of the heatwave helped him retreat slightly faster.
"The air waves caused by the explosion are already so powerful...if I were to be struck head-on by it..." This thought flashed through his mind, and cold sweat began to pour down his head and into his robes, wetting them.
The power of this fire explosion was far greater than the power in the past. In fact, even Bai Yunfei himself was stupefied momentarily. Upon seeing Zhang Zhenshan retreat in a sorry manner, a look flashed through Bai Yunfei's eyes as he once more shot forward towards him! His right hand released its grip around the spear, allowing it to fall into his left hand. He then spun the spear behind him to gather circular momentum, then once more gripped it with his right hand and once more delivered a powerful thrust with it!
Faced with this new attack from the spear, a look of astonishment appeared on Zhang Zhenshan's face. The trepidation he felt towards this Firetipped Spear was now many times greater than it had been in the past. He filled both his legs with soulforce as he once more frantically retreated, just barely dodging past the spear. However, due to his excessive haste as he moved, his movements became slightly unbalanced. Bai Yunfei charged forward, spinning around and borrowing the power of the centrifugal force to send the Firetipped Spear towards Zhang Zhenshan with a sweeping blow. The spear struck Zhang Zhenshan on the waist, knocking him towards the left.
Agony radiated outwards from Zhang Zhenshan's waist, nearly causing him to vomit up a mouthful of blood. By the time he had neutralized the power of this blow, Bai Yunfei's next attack was incoming as well!
The two once more engaged in a flurry of attacks. However, unlike the last time, Zhang Zhenshan was able to launch fewer and fewer assaults; he was almost completely forced on the defensive!
Yan Xi frowned slightly as he watched from outside the dueling grounds. His gaze flickered from the battling Bai Yunfei to the Firetipped Spear in his hands. A look of surprise had flashed through Yan Xi's eyes when the Firetipped Spear's strike had turned explosive. As he continued to watch, the look of surprise in his eyes grew increasingly strong, as well as an increasingly and extremely deep level of puzzlement.
"No mistaking it; that's a high-grade Earth-ranked soul artifact! But...Yu Fei clearly said that it was a low-grade Earth-ranked artifact. Was he lying to me? But he shouldn't have been; there's no way he could be so stupid. In other words...previously, the spear was indeed just a low-grade soul artifact..."
Suddenly, Yan Xi's eyes suddenly lit up, as though he had thought of something that was completely inconceivable. For the first time, a look of astonishment appeared on his face. "Was it because of the advancement in power? There's only one possibility...forging through flame elemental energy! The Crafting School!!!"
Yan Xi's eyes were flashing. The more he thought about it, the more convinced he was that his idea was correct. "That's right. This is the only possibility! Only those of the Crafting School who are advancing the power of their souls are willing and able to lessen the amount of energy drawn forth by their essence fireseed, using it to instead temper and refine their soul artifacts! Only the inner sect disciples of the Crafting School are capable of this!"
"Yu Fei is an absolute idiot bastard! He actually dared to claim that this person doesn't have any background! He was previously just a Soul Warrior, but was already in possession of powerful soul artifacts and soul techniques, and he also knew the secret method by which fire essence can be used to temper soul artifacts...his status in the Crafting School is definitely not low!" Yan Xi frowned as he pondered frantically. "Although I don't know why and how he ended up being attacked and pursued by this puny Glacial Sect without anyone from his own school helping him...it's best not to have any conflicts with him. The intricate plans our school has have no margin for error. I was just sent here to ensure the recruitment of a few small schools; we absolutely cannot offend the Crafting School right now."
As Yan Xi pondered mentally, yet another change occurred within the ongoing battle.
One wrong move would result in an advantage being lost; an advantage being gained could cause a cascade of successes!
A serious look was on Zhang Zhenshan's face as he completely focused on defense. Bai Yunfei, on the other hand, was happily fighting to his heart's content! In the past, when Zhang Zhenshan had been in a weakened condition, the only thing which Bai Yunfei had been able to do was flee. But in this battle, Bai Yunfei actually had seized the upper hand!
After exchanging dozens of blows, Zhang Zhenshan's left arm and left part of his waist had both been sliced open by the Firetipped Spear, which had left behind two bloody wounds. However, the 'explosion' effect hadn't occurred, but despite that, each time Zhang Zhenshan had been struck by the Firetipped Spear, he could feel the specter of death brushing past him.
He had thought that this would be an easily won battle, but at this point, it was his opponent who was suppressing him. All he could do was defend in a rather haggard fashion. Zhang Zhenshan's face grew increasingly unsightly, and the hatred and rage in his eyes grew stronger and stronger as well. As he once more dodged, so as to avoid the enemy's spear from striking his left shoulder, the anger in Zhang Zhenshan's eyes transformed into mutter madness.
He was the exalted leader of the Zhang clan, and an Elder of the Glacial Sect! And yet, today, he was being completely suppressed by a person of the younger generation who just a few days ago he had been chasing after. What's more, this person was the culprit who had killed his son! No father should be forced to bury his own son!
"Brat, don't be so smug! I'm going to take your life as compensation for my son's!" Zhang Zhenshan had a look of madness in his eyes. Faced with another attack from the spear, he actually didn't dodge; instead, he lifted up his left hand and grabbed the spear! The Icesilk Gloves on his hands were completely unable to withstand the sharpness of the Firetipped Spear, and blood immediately began to flow from his hand. It was as though he had grabbed a blazing iron with his bare hands, and a crackling sound could be heard. However, he completely ignored these things. His hand around the spear's tip, he pushed it to the side, then slid backwards as he moved straight towards Bai Yunfei. His right palm was glowing with glacial qi, and he struck viciously against Bai Yunfei's chest!
Zhang Zhenshan's madness had caught Bai Yunfei completely off-guard. In addition, the secondary effect of the Firetipped Spear did not trigger this time either. That brief moment of stupor caused Bai Yunfei to be hit dead-on by the Glacial Palm, and he was sent flying backwards.
Zhang Zhenshan's left hand still remained tightly clamped around the Firetipped Spear. Leaping forward, he actually moved at the same speed as Bai Yunfei, delivering yet another palm blow to Bai Yunfei, this one to the abdomen!
The qi and blood within Bai Yunfei's body were flowing about chaotically. When he saw the enemy palm strike descend, a vicious light flashed through his own eyes. He didn't defend at all, instead using a leg to kick towards Zhang Zhenshan's left hand, which remained clamped on the Firetipped Spear.
Thud! His flank was struck by the palm, but Zhang Zhenshan's grip on the spear had been kicked loose. However...Zhang Zhenshan completely ignored his mangled left arm, instead launching a third blow against Bai Yunfei, who was falling towards the ground in a frantic retreat!
After two successive Glacial Palms, Bai Yunfei could taste blood in his throat, seeking to come out. He watched as Zhang Zhenshan moved towards him yet again. His Firetipped Spear could not be unleashed right now. His arm trembled slightly, then the Firetipped Spear vanished. His right hand formed into a fist, instantly moving to block in front of his chest. The third palm strike of Zhang Zhensham slammed directly against that gleaming red bracer.
This time, Bai Yunfei just shook slightly, seeming to have taken no damage at all. However, before he was able to stabilize himself, Zhang Zhenshan launched yet another ferocious attack against him!