Chapter 110: Sword Fight
Translator: Translation Nation Editor: Translation Nation
The both of them were using Free Cloud Sect techniques. Zheng Hua Ran started his assault, and charged towards Pei Zi Yun. The sound of the sword swirling in the air was never ending, within a split second, he had launched an assault of three slashes towards Pei Zi Yun. These strokes were flawless and bore the entire essence of his technique. The audience below the stage watched on, clearly impressed as they shouted, "Impressive sword technique!"
The Sect Elders on top were nodding their heads in approval as well. This sword technique was extremely proficient and pure. It was clear that he was almost at the peak of sword ability.
Pei Zi Yun smiled, as he held his own wooden sword up. Similarly, he used a Free Cloud Sect sword technique. However, with just a single stroke, he managed to dissolve the three slashes directed at him, and neutralized the threat instantly.
Zheng Hua Ran was shocked, 'This Sharp Soaring Swallow technique was just an average technique and yet he was able to neutralize my three killing strokes just like that?'
He started to incorporate more moves of the Free Cloud Sword techniques into his assault, and charged straight for Pei Zi Yun. Pei Zi Yun stood still, and calmly flicked his sword and slashed at his oncoming opponent. Instantly, he neutralized the flurry of blows, and cleared himself of the threat with a single motion.
Pei Zi Yun allowed Zheng Hua Ran to make ten moves, and yet he had only responded with a single slash. This was still the Sharp Soaring Swallow technique, "Pu!" Zheng Hua Ran's felt a sharp pain on his wrist, as he dropped the wooden sword in his hand.
Zheng Hua Ran retreated several steps back, as if he had just witnessed the most horrifying thing in this world. He would never have imagined that these decades of practicing sword techniques could be defeated by a simple Sharp Soaring Swallow technique.
Zheng Hua Ran paused for sometime in a daze. When he finally snapped back to reality, he clasped his hands in salute, "Thank you Junior Brother for sparing me. I admit defeat."
As he spoke, he turned around to pick up his wooden sword before leaping of the stage. He bore a look of sadness and defeat.
The Daoist audience beneath the stage were all shocked and found it hard to believe. Everyone knew the proficiency level of Brother Zheng's sword skills. It was unthinkable that he could be defeated. They were all stumped.
"You graciously let me win!" Pei Zi Yun said humbly, before taking two steps forward. He then bowed to the Sect Leader.
The Sect Leader smiled, "Your sword techniques are pretty good. First round, victorious!"
Song Zhi's face was ashen. He sat beside the Sect Leader and observed that the Sect Leader had curled his hands into a fist when Pei Zi Yun was fighting. Song Zhi was shocked, "Even the Sect Leader was intimidated by Pei Zi Yun's skills?"
Yu Yun Jun sighed, seeing how skillful her disciple was, "This disciple's sword techniques is on another level. Clearly, is there no one in his generation that could match up to him?"
Zhao Ning thought to himself, 'Speaking of sword skills alone, not only was he unrivalled in his entire generation, but maybe even among our generation?'
Zhao Ning had watched over Pei Zi Yun for the most part of his journey and knew of the obstacles he had faced while he travelled to the capital. He knew that Pei Zi Yun had slaughtered bandits, the six riders and the pirates. Zhao Ning could see that his strokes and techniques were firm and assured. Zhao Ning knew that the match before was only too easy for Pei Zi Yun. A person who had been involved in a real battle would be able to see how skillful Pei Zi Yun was, and that was indeed terrifying.
Those people who had not been involved in actual combat, or those whose skill levels were much lower would not have been able to see this.
There were many participants in the competition. Some skirmishes lasted for a long time, while others were short and quick. Pei Zi Yun sat below watching on as people competed with each other on the stage.
After some time, Pei Zi Yun noticed that the amount of existing competitors had been reduced by half. He walked to the stage calmly.
His next opponent was another senior brother. Pei Zi Yun looked at him and smiled. With the information from the original owner's memory, he knew that this person was Li Zi Zhi, and was another extremely skilled swordsman, 'What a coincidental arrangement!'
Li Zi Zhi had seen how easily Pei Zi Yun had disposed of Zheng Hua Ran and was filled with anticipation. He himself was very familiar with the skills of Zheng Hua Ran due to their frequent duels. And yet he could never pull off something like that. He would never have been able to defeat Zheng Hua Ran with such simple strokes. Furthermore Zheng Hua Ran had unleashed his ten signature moves and yet had been neutralized without much effort. His palms started to sweat. He felt extremely nervous.
From afar, Yu Yun Jun and several other Elders were observing the fight that was about to take place. Zhao Ning looked at the scene before him and laughed, "Li Zi Zhi is hesitating. It looks like he will not be able to hold on for long."
Hearing Zhao Ning speak, a white bearded Elder sighed, his eyebrows twitched, "Junior Sister Yu is such a good Master, to have produced a disciple of such standards. My disciple is not his match. However, I hope he would put up a good fight."
"After you!" "After you!" As the Elders were speaking, Pei Zi Yun and Li Zi Zhi were exchanging pleasantries and bowing to each other as a show of respect.
Once they were done with formal introductions, they drew their swords. They stood close to each other, both poised to strike. Without testing the waters, Li Zi Zhi started charging at Pei Zi Yun. With unimaginable speed, he had combined his strokes smoothly to produce an assault that was astonishing. As he was charging towards Pei Zi Yun someone below shouted, "Brother Li's Six Forms of Wind Slashing is indeed formidable!"
Seeing such skills, Pei Zi Yun could not help but sigh, "Such good sword techniques!"
After he paused to admire the skills shown by his opponent, he reacted and swung his own sword in defense. He used the same Sharp Soaring Swallow technique to meet Li Zi Zhi's offense. Both their swords collided in mid air, as Pei Zi Yun managed to defend himself successfully against his six strokes.
They both jumped backward as their swords peeled away from each other. Li Zi Zhi then started to use another technique, The Welcoming Visitor. This particular sword technique was extremely advanced and consisted of seven moves combined into one. The people behind could identify his moves and were astonished, "This technique is one of the most advanced within our sect. It seems like brother Li has already mastered it."
Some other Daoists among the audiences thought to themselves, "With such a powerful technique, how will Junior Brother Pei defend himself? Would he use the same simple technique again?"
They then noticed that Pei Zi Yun broke out in a smile, and defended himself with a simple stab. Several members of the audience found it incredulous that he would again resort to such simple tactics to overcome an advanced technique. However, their smiles froze when they realized that Pei Zi Yun's sword technique was still the same old Sharp Soaring Swallow, albeit with several adjustments. In fact, it was the same technique but with incredible precision, as he had taken it to a whole new different level. At this point, the seven transformations of the Welcoming Visitor technique were rendered powerless. Both their swords met again once more with a dull thud.
When Zhao Ning saw this, cold sweat started to form, "Pei Zi Yun was using simplicity to overcome and break through the complexity of advanced moves. Seeing the way Pei Zi Yun had been on the defensive, it was evident that he was trying not to embarrass his opponent by winning too quickly. If I'm not mistaken, he will counter attack in the next move."
Li Zi Zhi then gave a shout of determination as his sword whirled in a flurry of moves, as he charged towards Pei Zi Yun once more. Pei Zi Yun raised his own sword and stabbed forward. In the next instant, a wooden sword could be seen flying up into the air. Pei Zi Yun then took a step back and bowed, "Senior Brother went easy on me."
"Junior Brother Pei really has some impressive sword techniques. Senior brother is no match for you." After some time, Li Zi Zhi sighed and turned around before leaping off the stage.
"Junior brother Pei is indeed an expert at sword techniques! If not, he wouldn't have been able to achieve such a major achievement for our sect." A Daoist beneath the stage spoke out loudly and met with much approval. Someone else then shouted out, "That's true. If you noticed, the strokes exchanged were all extremely clean and precise. Brother Li's sword techniques are known throughout the entire sect as one of the best. And yet he had lost like this. It's really hard to believe."
The Free Cloud Sect Daoists spectating all sank into deep discussion. It took sometime before the reality of what had happened set in, and everyone admired Pei Zi Yun. However, there were some who were afraid, "This person's sword techniques are so amazing. How can we hope to compete against him in future?"
The Sect Leader stood beside several Sect Elders. At this point, he was laughing, "What impressive sword techniques. Junior Sister Yu, you've really acquired a good disciple."
"Congratulations Junior Sister Yu. Based on this sword competition, it seems like your disciple is at least among the top three." A Daoist stroked his beard as he spoke. When Zhao Ning heard this, he burst into smiles. How good would it have been if he'd accepted this person as his disciple back then. It was only that when Zhao Ning checked up on his spiritual potential, it was thin and didn't amount to much. Hence, he had given up on Pei Zi Yun. Who would've imagined him to turn out this way? It must've been that he had overlooked this young man.
When the second round of competition began, the time waiting to fight on stage was reduced significantly. Before long, Pei Zi Yun carried his sword as he walked up the stage once more. The Elder said, "The third match begins."
"After you!" "After you!"
Immediately after this person stepped on the stage and exchanged pleasantries, Pei Zi Yun could hear the whooshing of his sword as he charged towards Pei Zi Yun. The first stroke was directed at Pei Zi Yun's chest. He deflected the blow at once, and heard his opponent shout out before delivering six swift stabs. His strokes were extremely vicious. Although it was just a competition, Pei Zi Yun felt like his opponent was out for his life. When the audience looked on, they all furrowed their brows.
'This person must be Yue Ning. Although his sword techniques were on par with Li Zi Zhi, this person was Song Zhi's man. At this point he wished to save Song Zhi from losing his spot, and wanted to suppress all the hype and glory surrounding me.'
Pei Zi Yun smiled, and followed along with his strokes, matching every single blow with a defensive parry. Instead of counter attacking whenever he had the chance, Pei Zi Yun allowed him to execute all his moves before neutralizing it at the final seconds. He could hear people on the upper deck shouting. This man's attacks were becoming more and more vicious. It felt almost like a duel to death.
The Elders on the upper deck were becoming more and more displeased, as they bore worried and anxious looks. All of a sudden, Pei Zi Yun counterattacked as his sword moved in a blur. With a soft shout, Yue Ning's sword left his hand and dropped to the ground. Pei Zi Yun immediately took a step back and bowed, "Senior Brother went easy on me."
This person was undaunted. Seeing that Pei Zi Yun had retreated and was off his guard, he leapt high up into the air and charged towards Pei Zi Yun. This caused the crowd beneath to shout out in objection, as others remained silent, petrified. Clearly this man did not want his face any more.
Pei Zi Yun retaliated by thrusting his sword forward, "Chi" The sword connecting with the attacker's right shoulder. Yue Ning fell to the ground and cried out in pain, blood was flowing from his wound.
The Sect Elders immediately called for them to halt as someone rushed forward to inspect the severity of his injuries. The Elder looked extremely unhappy and berated Pei Zi Yun, "Why did you use so much strength in your attack?"
Pei Zi Yun received the scolding and wasn't bothered by it. He then replied, "Senior Uncle, I thought that the match was over, and thus was not prepared. When he attacked I acted in self-defense, and accidentally used more strength that I meant to. I beg for Senior Uncle's forgiveness."
Deep down however, he was smiling. Although his outburst did not seem very powerful, the strength he put into that attack had destroyed the muscles beneath his skin. This man would never be able to compete in a sword fight in future.
Since you wish to lay your body down on the line for your master, I shall cripple you for life. Pei Zi Yun gave another bow before retreating.
The following matches led to the final moments of the competition. They were down to the final three. Yu Yun Jun hurriedly went up to him and said, "It's okay. Do your best to bring me the glory of winning first place."
"Yes, master." Pei Zi Yun bowed.
Seeing how Pei Zi Yun disposed of all his opponents so cleanly, the Sect Leader smiled at the Sect Elders around him. With such pure skills, even the most skillful member within the inner circle of Free Cloud Sect would not be able to best him. Sword techniques were the primary way of defending the Dao. Everyone had their different views on this.
The time for the final three to compete against one another. The three of them stepped onto the stage to draw lots.
Pei Zi Yun reached his hands in and pulled out a stick. When his opponent drew Pei Zi Yun, he forced a laugh and said, "I admit defeat!"
This man had seen Pei Zi Yun's sword techniques and knew that he was not a match for Pei Zi Yun and thus conceded before even fighting.
"Pei Zi Yun"
The pair wanted to win the glory of attaining the winner status of this competition. When they stepped on the stage, they bowed to each other politely before drawing their swords slowly. The tense atmosphere started to build up on the stage. The audience beneath looked on silently, everyone holding their breaths.
They moved into position abruptly, circling each other. Zhao Yi then said, "Junior Brother Pei, do not hold back against me."
As he spoke, the sound of his sword whirling through the air could be heard, his sword darted towards Pei Zi Yun. Pei Zi Yun felt the intensity of his strokes and parried it away. Zhao Yi slashed forward once more towards Pei Zi Yun. Every single stroke was heavy and extremely precisely. Pei Zi Yun was forced to retreat several steps.
"Elder Han, Zhao Yi's sword techniques have improved by a notch since the last time." Yu Yun Jun smiled and said.
"Elder Yu, your disciple has already grasped the essence and core of the Free Cloud Sect sword techniques. With just a single stroke he could overwhelm all of his opponents. It's indeed frightening. His future is immeasurable." Elder Han said as he twirled his beard.
The cultivation of Daoists was of foremost importance. Anything in regards to improvement have to be pursued unrelentingly. The spoils of victory was only a bonus.
Pei Zi Yun retreated several steps more. At this point however, Pei Zi Yun went on the offensive, "Chi chi chi" Zhao Yi had been hit three times by Pei Zi Yun's sword.
"Shoulder, chest and heart!" Zhao Yi stepped back, his chest glowed. The first blow to his shoulder would've broken his shoulder immediately. The second blow would've split open his stomach and cracked his rib cage. The final blow would've cost him his life. His face turned pale, he was completely disheartened. After sometime, he then saluted, "Thank you Junior Brother for your pointers."
"I do not dare to offer you pointers!" Pei Zi Yun bowed, "Senior Brother Zhao went easy on me."
In actual fact this person's sword skills were extremely proficient. Pei Zi Yun could not afford to hold back and thus had to defeat him as soon as possible.
"The Great Competition has been won by Pei Zi Yun effortlessly." The spectators had seen the amazing display by Pei Zi Yun and knew that he was on a different league. At first, they had thought that he his proficiency was due to his constant refinement of his techniques. Later on, they realized that reaching the highest pinnacle of a swordsman was just a matter of reaching the crucial point in his battles. They were all stunned by this revelation.
Realizing that such a talent had landed himself in Free Cloud Sect, the Sect Leader and the Elders were all delighted and yet were mystified. Feeling a myriad of strange emotions, the Sect Leader paused before standing up "For this sword evaluation, Pei Zi Yun has emerged victorious!"
He then stepped forward and encouraged Pei Zi Yun, "Only after you open the gates to heaven will you be granted a spot among the Core Disciples!"
He then started encouraging all the other participants of the competition. Hearing this, all the Elders looked at each other and were surprised. Although the rules of the sect was that a disciple would only be permitted to become a Core Disciple after opening the gates to heavens, there were many exceptions to this rule. Pei Zi Yun had achieved a great contribution to the sect and was a clear genius. Why didn't he announce for Pei Zi Yun to become a Core Disciple?
Furthermore the group of Elders had decided and agreed beforehand, that should Pei Zi Yun win this competition and ace the evaluation, it would be a good enough reason to break the rule and make an exception. Now that he had obtained first place, and had achieved a great accomplishment for the sect, he deserved to be an exception to the rule and get promoted to Core Discipline status. Why did the Sect Leader go back on his word?
Yu Yun Jun's face was seething with anger, as she gave a cold harrumph.
Apart from two or three Sect Elders who were chatting happily with the Sect Leader, the rest of the Sect Elders looked extremely unhappy. Seeing the tense scene before him, the Sect Leader managed a weak and forced smile.