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A blade without its sheath, will display the brilliance of its edge.
Zhuang Huan Yu’s sword cut through the air, no longer having any kind of restraint; wielding a fierce True Essence and thrusting towards Chen Chang Sheng’s body; a brilliant green light emanated from its tip and a whistling sound could be heard.
The sand vestiges once again rose from the ground, dancing around the arena.
Chen Chang Sheng used Discerning Steps, his figure suddenly becoming indistinct and drawing out a stream of afterimages, encircling Zhuang Huan Yu, the sword short in his hand was akin to a staff, continuously striking out.
It remained a barrage.
Zhuang Huan Yu didn’t have any fear and his sword manoeuvres were spectacular.
Though his attacks were overly wild due to anger, his defence was still flawless; it could be seen that he wasn’t perturbed in the slightest.
No matter how fast Chen Chang Sheng’s steps were, or how straightforward and severe his strikes, he couldn’t find an opening, nor create one. Conversely, Zhuang Huan Yu’s sword manifestations became increasingly composed.
Countless sword flashes, akin to a formless net, caused Chen Chang Sheng’s steps to become progressively harder, even if he wanted to distance himself, it would no longer be an easy task.
Chen Chang Sheng could tell what Zhuang Huan Yu’s intention was – he wanted to use this type of sword art to eradicate the advantage Chen Chang Sheng had with the speed of his motion technique, causing it to become a simple contest between manoeuvres and True Essence – Chen Chang Sheng made a decision without any hesitation.
Chen Chang Sheng’s motion technique suddenly adjusted, his speed increased to a bewildering degree, taking three steps towards the right and appearing on Zhuang Huan Yu’s other side.
Zhuang Huan Yu twisted his wrist and thrusted outwards, a sword strike that was spectacular beyond words; it directly swept Chen Chang Sheng’s short sword out of the way, following the momentum to pierce towards Chen Chang Sheng’s throat.
Chen Chang Sheng was suddenly in danger, yet his expression didn’t change, that’s because he had already moved within Zhuang Huan Yu’s sword flash.
Now, neither could evade.
He sidestepped and allowed the Sword of Hithering Light to cut into his shoulder, the short sword in his hand directly slammed towards Zhuang Huan Yu’s face.
Zhuang Huan Yu shifted the Sword of Hithering Light, using the sword’s hilt to meet the blow, at the same time, he crossed his steps, holding the blade flat out to once again thrust towards Chen Chang Sheng’s throat.
In but an instant, the battle had undergone an enormous change.
Incessant sounds of clashing once again resounded within the tower; this was the sound of two swords coming into contact, but this time, in comparison to the first bout, the sword cries were unremitting, as if they would continue for eternity.
White air masses continuously formed and then exploded, disappearing; whether Chen Chang Sheng or Zhuang Huan Yu, they had both decided to determine who would be the victor.
*CHA* *CHA* *CHA*
Three sounds of something splitting erupted.
Two sounds of solid strikes resounded.
The drizzle came to a stop; wet sand fell upon the floor. Chen Chang Sheng and Zhuang Huan Yu suddenly separated from each other, retreating a distance of around 30 odd metres and then coming to a stop.
Chen Chang Sheng had been pierced three times, coupled with the previous sword wounds, he now had a total of six wounds crisscrossing his chest; blood streamed out, a disturbing sight.
Zhuang Huan Yu had been struck by Chen Chang Sheng’s short sword twice, his right shoulder was slightly caved in; blood was overflowing and his complexion was abnormally pale.
A blade’s edge is unmatched, while a staff is but a blunt weapon. Exchanging three sword strikes for two blows from a staff, no matter from which perspective this was looked at, with the last exchange, it should be Zhuang Huan Yu who had gained the upper hand.
If Zhuang Huan Yu’s opponent was anyone else, suffering those three sword strikes, they would have sustained heavy injuries and be unable to continue battling.
Chen Chang Sheng did not collapse.
Zhuang Huan Yu wanted to pit manoeuvre against manoeuvre with him; sword against sword; True Essence against True Essence.
Chen Chang Sheng’s counter was even more severe, directly exchanging move for move; sword for sword; wound for wound.
This was the method Liang Ban Hu had used against Tang Thirty-Six, a strategy formulated by Gou Han Shi.
It had been used by Chen Chang Sheng against Zhuang Huan Yu in this critical match.
Chen Chang Sheng had always been someone that is willing to learn and was good at learning. Not to mention, for him to dare to use this method, it showed that he had an absolute confidence in his True Essence and defence, that they were, at the very least, stronger than Zhuang Huan Yu’s.
Zhuang Huan Yu didn’t collapse either, though his complexion was now extremely pallid.
Their bodies were covered in blood; separated by a distance of over 30 metres, they silently observed each other.
It was silent within the Tower of Purging Dust.
The personages by the second floor window also maintained silence.
This match naturally wasn’t much to them, but Chen Chang Sheng and Zhuang Huan Yu had displayed composure and courage that far exceeded those of their age group, this made these personages feel slightly moved; their current silence, was possibly a display of respect towards them.
Silence, also represented tension.
Which of them was the winner?
Outside of the tower, it was also silent.
The examinees outside of the tower were actually even more nervous than those within, being even more anxious to know as to who had won the match.
From after Chen Chang Sheng and Zhuang Huan Yu’s entrance into the tower, their gazes had remained upon that tightly closed door.
As with the many matches that had already happened, the examinees couldn’t see what was happening inside the tower, they could only rely upon the sounds emitted from the tower to guess what was happening.
The tower’s silencing array had frequently lost its effectiveness from the third round onwards, this was because the participating examinees were increasingly strong and their battles increasingly intense.
This match was also as such, not long after the door closed, the examinees heard a shrill and forlorn sound of the air being split apart, they knew that it was the sound of a sword, but didn’t know as to if it was Zhuang Huan Yu’s sword, or Chen Chang Sheng’s.
After that, they heard a muffled sound, as if someone was striking a bell within the tower, someone speculated that it was probably the sound of a fist imbued with True Essence.
Events following this became rather strange.
This was because the tower suddenly became quiet, but outside of the tower, there were the sounds of cicadas crying and the temperature even rose slightly, as if they had entered Summer.
After this, the cloudless skies above suddenly poured down with rain, that rain didn’t touch a single inch of land outside of the tower, only falling within, looking akin to a waterfall.
Then, the sound of swords once again arose, unceasingly, until finally, everything became quiet.
The match had probably ended, who had won and who had lost?
The three people from Orthodox Academy were the most anxious, the atmosphere around the woodlands was stifling.
Xuan Yuan Po stared at the tightly closed door with wide-open eyes, constantly clenching his hands together, his forehead covered in sweat.
Luo Luo had her eyes closed, her small hands were clenched into fists in front of her, quietly praying for Chen Chang Sheng.
Tang Thirty-Six continuously paced to and fro, with his hands behind his back, his lips faintly moving, muttering something.
He hadn’t asked Chen Chang Sheng what his plan was, or where did his confidence come from, he knew that Chen Chang Sheng must have some sort of preparation for this match, but he also clearly understood how strong Zhuang Huan Yu is – Zhuang Huan Yu is the senior pupil of Heavenly Academy and a figure he had always sought to surpass.
Only by being slightly closer, could one properly make out the words he was quietly muttering to himself: “Too optimistic… too optimistic, we trust him too much, how could he possibly win? How could he possibly win? You definitely have to win this you stupid person, but, how can you possible win?”
It was at this moment, that the tower’s door was pushed open.
All the examinees turned their sights towards it.
Luo Luo opened her eyes, full of hope and concern.
Tang Thirty-Six stilled his steps and his muttering, but he didn’t look, he didn’t dare to look.
The first person to walk out of the tower, was Chen Chang Sheng.
His body was covered in blood, his feet were bare and his clothing in tatters. Sand plastered his entire body, causing him to resemble a beggar even more closely than in the previous rounds.
The paved area remained silent, because it still couldn’t be confirmed as to who had won this match.
Guan Fei Bai was the first to walk out of the tower after a similarly intense match against Zhe Xiu, yet he had lost.
It was at this tense moment that Chen Chang Sheng suddenly turned around and headed back into the tower.
The duel had already ended and he had already exited the tower, why did he turn around again? Everyone was stunned, not understanding what was going on.
Not long after, he once again came out, this time, he had a pair of boots in his hands.
A brand new pair of boots.
A weird cry suddenly erupted from the match grounds; that weird cry was from Tang Thirty-Six.
He had seemingly not looked, but in truth, he had kept watch using his peripheral vision.
He continued crying out weirdly while rushing towards Chen Chang Sheng.
Luo Luo let out a long, drawn-out breath and lightly patted her chest, her face was full of joy and remnants of the previous stress.
Xuan Yuan Po didn’t understand, scratching his head and asked: “What’s going on?”
Luo Luo replied: “Sir has won.”