TLer Notes: Knife/Saber will now be translated into Blade
Chapter 38 - The Roaring Eagle
"Nhmmm? What a clever child to be able to detect me from such a distance." A cold mocking voice rang out from behind a tree before a figure flashed in the darkness where emerged a man in a decorated uniform. He was none other than the sole HouTian warrior in the Wu hunting group and carried a weapon in his hand.
A cursory glance at the weapon made Shi Mu's expression darken in fury. In Wu Tong's hand was his purple steel bow which he had left earlier! So it turned out that this HouTian warrior had actually been here since the beginning, even bypassing the fight quietly to steal the bow! The reason why he had not attacked yet was because one, the bow required a force of at least a thousand jin and two, Shi Mu had taken all the remaining arrows with him in his backpack, leaving Wu Tong unable to make a single shot even if he could manage to open the bow using his real qi.
"Your gracious Excellency, for a bow you cannot even open, you would sacrifice all of your men's lives?" Shi Mu tightened his grip of the Sun and Moon Daggers in his hand as he asked in a cold sarcastic voice.
"Hmph. Their deaths are just a reminder that we, the Wu family can buy and use trash servants as we wish! Truly, the last thing I expected was that you would manage to obtain purple steel bow! And to use it with skill! Even I, Wu Tong, began to feel threatened by your dirty tricks. In hindsight, those servants' lives cannot compare to this wondrous bow. So now, make your choice: offer your life in servitude to me, or die here like a dog." Wu Tong said in the world's most indifferent, magnanimous tone.
"I have always heard that a practitioner, in front of a HouTian warrior's might, would have no other choice but to bow their head or to break their back trying to resist the indomitable difference in power. But! I have yet to see it myself!" Staring fixedly at Wu Tong, Shi Mu answered with a fierce tone.
"Haha! So I am so surprised to hear of a mere practitioner who dares to challenge the heavens! I'm starting to wonder if I should call you a brave fool or an ignorant frog. Come! Let me teach you a lesson how you, a fledgling practitioner, should behave in front of a true HouTian warrior!" Wu Tong was at originally dumbstruck by Shi Mu's challenge, but soon bursted out laughing, as he threw the bow away to grasp his sword.
"Peng!" The huge bow sunk into a large tree's trunk like a knife gutting a pig, one end swallowed by the tree by several chi lengths, while the other end shook and thrummed with a low humming noise. The uniformed Wu Tong's hand flashed as his soft sword became straight and solid as it left his scabbard and his body leaned forward to narrow the distance between him and Shi Mu.
Other than the slight narrowing of his eyes, Shi Mu did not show any sign of being flustered at all. As Wu Tong quickly approached, Shi Mu suddenly tightened his grasp and seven blade shadows were thrown out.
"Seven cuts!! So it's true then, your Wind-Blowing Blade Art is truly exquisite! But today is your unlucky day, for there is someone even faster than you." Wu Tong uttered a low shout and shook his sword. In an instant seven shadows were also produced by him, dispelling Shi Mu's blade shadows before they had a chance to gather and become one. As the sword and blade shadows clashed together, an eighth shadow broke through, dispelling the chaotic energy as it flew towards its target, Shi Mu's heart!
"Eight cuts in one breath!" Shi Mu swallowed his astonishment before focusing his concentration on his blade art to shatter the incoming eighth shadow. A thunderous noise resounded as the two clashed, while an brutal energy rippled out at lightning speeds from Wu Tong's sword to Shi Mu's hand. Shi Mu felt his shoulders trembled uncontrollably, his body forced back a half step and his hands turn numb due to the strike.
On the other side of the collision, Wu Tong did not escape unharmed by the huge force rebounding from his sword. A trace of surprise flashed across his eyes, but quickly disappeared as he resumed his attack by moving his wrist in a unique pattern. Instantly the upper end of the sword became as flexible and agile as a viper, slithering to bypass Shi Mu's blade before darting directly to Shi Mu's throat. This attack was so fast that most warriors would only see a streak of cold light flashing from Wu Tong's sword.
However, how could Shi Mu's ability ever be compared with most warriors. Was there any other warrior with a better eyesight? Undoubtedly no. But still, his heart beat vehemently at the sudden attack and his back break out in cold sweat, as all he could do was to turn his neck abruptly to his side. The streak of cold light was successfully barely dodged, caressing Shi Mu's face leaving a shallow wound behind.
Shi Mu was enraged. He rotated his body and struck out with his arms quickly, throwing out continuous shadow blades towards his enemy.
Wu Tong snorted with contempt at Shi Mu's movements before releasing a terrifying force from his body. He held his sword with both hands as he dashed toward Shi Mu's blades.
"Mountain-Crushing Triple Strike!"
Three loud noises resounded as three strong sword shadows that were visibly much stronger than the previous ones, swept away Shi Mu's blade shadows in an instant. Shi Mu stumbled as his rhythm was disrupted and his body forced backward three steps. The hand that had been holding the blades were now badly injured, and blood was gushing out wildly like a spring.
In the past, he had always been the one oppressing other practitioners with his superhuman physical strength; but now, what had happened? He was crushed the same way he used to crush others. So it was the most reasonable reaction when he trembled with irresistible rage and terror. He thought to himself that the energy swirling through Wu Tan's sword must have been real qi. That qi was the supernatural force that overwhelming outclassed Shi Mu's bizarre physical strength. If so, it was indeed miraculous! If he had not possessed that incredible physical strength, he would have been just a bloody smear on the ground by now.
When Wu Tong saw that the three strikes had not overwhelmed Shi Mu, he was quite taken aback. While he did not suffer as much as Shi Mu, his hands that held the sword were now sore and numb rendering him unable to perform the same technique again.
"The Stone Monkey Bloodline was always considered the most useless bloodline in the HouTian level, but it can impressively reinforce a practitioner to withstand a force of a thousand jin. Judging from our fight so far, it seems to be true. But if you think your bloodline can help you fight a HouTian warrior, you are quite wrong." Wu Tong tried to suppress Shi Mu's momentum by his suddenly leaping up and pouncing towards Shi Mu like a huge eagle as he stretched his arms and rotated it once while in the air.
Shi Mu was momentarily caught unguarded by this eagle-like movement, but soon recovered by causing his longer blade to stir up a large streak of cold light to disrupt the attack.
"Peng!" Wu Tong's sword collided heavily with the edged blade, which sent him springing upward again before he made a second pounce. Like the first time, Shi Mu forcefully took the attack again with his edged blade. This time, the two fighters struck against each other seven or eight times in a dazzling display of deadly martial force, one spun in midair like a smith's forging hammer while the other on the ground unyielding like a tree in a storm. Each strike would send Wu Tong's body upward again, like a weightless flower following the wind's whimsies. While Shi Mu compressed tighter and tighter after each strike, the enemy's sword growing heavier and heavier with each rotation. His hand experienced more and more pain, and his feet had sunk half chi into the earth from the pressure.
"Haha, bastard, what do you think of my Roaring Eagle Art? How many more strikes can you take? You'll have no regrets dying at this HouTian technique!"
Wu Tong's wild laughter came from the air, when his silhouette rotated again before he struck out with his sword sending shadows down to Shi Mu like a tumbling waterfall.