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Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Zhexiu gazed at the fog of snow covering the bridge and the rays of light within it, then said, "It truly is the case."
No one refuted him. If it was said that the cultivation Chen Changsheng had displayed on the path of the sword had shocked the crowd into extreme sorrow, the level of cultivation Xu Yourong displayed had shocked the crowd into speechlessness. Just as Tang Thirty-Six had said to Chen Changsheng in the Plum Garden Inn, she had always been someone that made other people speechless.
From the moment the battle started, Xu Yourong had held a firm grasp over the situation on the Bridge of Helplessness. The storm stirred up by Chen Changsheng's sword seemed powerful, but it had still been shattered in the end. If Chen Changsheng could be said to be unimaginably powerful, then just what level was the ever-calm Xu Yourong at?
Sword intent assailed the stone bridge, sword energy pressured the formation, the foggy snow and misty rain flew everywhere, and light confronted the flowing water.
The masses on the two banks of the Luo River could only see the beautiful sight of rain and snow as well as the indistinct battle occurring within that seemed like something from myths. They didn't understand the significance of what was going on and incessantly cheered and shouted. On the other hand, the people on the great ship continued to grow quieter, especially those important figures standing on the bow of the ship.
Because they could see everything.
The stone bridge was between heaven and earth, the rays of light traveled between heaven and earth, and all the sword styles that existed between heaven and earth seemed to appear on the stone bridge.
At their current levels of cultivation, Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong could not be considered top experts. On the great ship alone, there were no less than ten people that could easily defeat them. However, the powers of comprehension and cultivation in the path of the sword they had displayed in this battle could be described as close to perfect. This also indicated that they both possessed a nigh-unimaginable potential. As long as nothing too out of the ordinary occurred, every one of these people at the bow of the ship would eventually be surpassed, one by one. As expected, the youngest Holy Maiden of the south in history and the future Pope were extraordinary.
At some point, Xue He had walked to the foremost position on the bow of the ship. As he watched the battle on the bridge, his emotions grew increasingly complex. The hand caressing his severed arm had long since ceased. In the chilly air, his hand seemed to wield a nonexistent blade, as if anxious to join in this battle. Suddenly, his expression changed. In the snow and rain, in those incredibly complex sword slashes, he had seized upon a scent very familiar to him. It was not the scent of a sword, but that of a blade. Just why was that?
Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong were clearly both using swords, so why had blade intent appeared on the bridge? It was an awe-inspiring and dangerous blade intent! Xue He suddenly remembered that Chen Changsheng was using Wang Po's path of the blade and felt he understood the reason. He no longer contemplated this problem and continued to immerse himself in the battle before him, attempting to obtain even more insights.
Standing on the bridge, Chen Changsheng did not sense any blade intent. The first reason was that this match was far too tense and it was difficult to get distracted. The second was that he was one of the participants in the battle. Finally, the most important reason of all was that the blade intent sensed by Xue He actually did not originate from his or Xu Yourong's sword, but rather…whenever his and Xu Yourong's sword intent blended together, an extra scent would also be created.
If he had been able to sense this detail, perhaps he would have understood some things.
Regretfully, he was not able to sense it. His sight and mind were completely placed on the countless rays of light in the snow in front of him. His spiritual sense worked at high speeds to constantly calculate, his Intellectual Sword constantly slashed to hold off the frightening Sword of Great Light and push it back beyond the line.
He didn't know how many sword techniques he had used yet, only that he had not yet used every sword style there was between heaven and earth. Persisting was very painful. In Xunyang City, he had only been able to use the Blazing Sword several times. Today, he had already used it several dozen times. The true essence provided from igniting the plain of snow had long since been consumed. At the moment, he was completely reliant on the lake outside his Ethereal Palace.
But he was not concerned. The facts were proof that his seven days of preparation had been of use. That Xu Yourong was able to learn the Sword of Great Light was beyond his expectations, but those divine and solemn sword techniques that seemed both like a great ocean and also like dewdrops had never been able to break through the line across the center of the Bridge of Helplessness. In addition, he also believed that Xu Yourong would also not be able to last for too long.
When Xu Yourong's true essence was no longer capable of sustaining the Sword of Great Light, it would be his chance to counterattack.
However, for some inexplicable reason, there was this faint feeling in the depths of his heart that didn't want things to end.
Because at the moment, he was very happy.
Even though the Intellectual Sword continued to press his spiritual sense, the Blazing Sword continued to consume his true essence, and the Stupid Sword continued to torture his mind, he was still very happy.
Just like if one was playing chess and suddenly encountered an opponent of similar strength and outstanding level.
It was also like drinking wine and then suddenly encountering a companion who had a similar tolerance for alcohol and that you could drink and compose poems with.
Or perhaps it was like discussing the Dao and meeting a deskmate with kind words and an appearance that was not at all disgusting.
As he gazed at the bright figure of the young woman in the snow, Chen Changsheng felt these sorts of feelings.
He even felt like he had returned to the Garden of Zhou, back to the snowy temple in the plains, chatting with that young woman.
Soaking in the pleasure.
Merry and lively.
He even felt that, in the snow, Xu Yourong should be thinking the same.
Yes, Xu Yourong was also thinking this, but her thoughts were much clearer than this.
Xu Yourong did not think about a chess opponent or drinking partner. She went straight to that night in the snowy temple.
For this battle on the Bridge of Helplessness, he and she had prepared for an entire seven days.
More than three hundred sheets of paper filled with calculations and writing and seventeen star charts were in this foggy snow and misty rain, within these slashes of sword intent.
Right now, they were playing chess, having a talk, doing battle.
If they could continue in this way, it would naturally be great, but it was simply an impossibility.
The fallen snow had all crumbled, the fallen rain had all transformed, the surface of the stone bridge had been crushed into a spiderweb of cracks, and the Luo River below the bridge was covered with countless scales.
Both Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong had walked to the end of their respective paths.
The young woman's figure was still in the snow, extremely close to the center of the bridge, but her footsteps were now much heavier.
Chen Changsheng's swordplay had also changed, gradually becoming more sluggish. It was no longer as swift as it was at the beginning, and even began to feel a little unpredictable.
The snow all fell, the fog suddenly dispersed, and the Bridge of Helplessness suddenly became clear and bright.
On the bridge, two figures met.
Like a chess game in its final stages, only the last two moves were left. Inevitably, victory and defeat would be decided.
Like a drinking party come to an end, small yellow flowers falling upon the scattered courses, incredibly somber and desolate.
In a blizzard, people would retreat to a temple, where only the ashes before the statues of gods still retained any warmth.
The white gauze fluttered. Xu Yourong's eyes were filled with sacred light, like the stars on the star compass.
Chen Changsheng seemed to lightly raise the sword, the point of the sword piercing through the snow that had begun to fall once more. The snow seemed just like the three hundred pieces of paper back at the Orthodox Academy in his room were dancing in the air.
Xu Yourong seemed to float up, like a god descending upon the world. With her sword imbued with light, she stabbed at Chen Changsheng.
Intellectual Sword, slash.
Temple sword, sever.
At this very moment, something happened that no one expected.
Chen Changsheng had originally been holding the hilt of his sword with both hands. Now, he released the grip of his left hand and extended it towards that temple sword which was flying through the snowy sky.
What did he want to do? Even if his body had been washed in dragon blood and was stronger than a body obtained from perfect Purification, it was still a body of flesh and blood. How could it resist the edge of the temple sword, let alone the temple sword that carried Xu Yourong's Heavenly Phoenix true essence and a boundless light? Even a powerful expert like Mao Qiuyu would not dare use a single hand to receive this strike!
Chen Changsheng's action was very casual, very natural, just like a hand reaching out to take a book from a bookshelf.
Of course, he wasn't relying on his left hand to block the temple sword.
He just wanted to create a connection to the temple sword.
Besides the light on the temple sword and the snowy air, the place his fingers extended towards also contained a faintly discernible connection.
The temple sword had originally been a sword he had brought out of the Garden of Zhou!
He was extremely familiar with the temple sword's sword intent; how could the temple sword not recognize his Qi?
In the Garden of Zhou, the Sword Pool had reappeared and ten thousand old swords had followed him into the battle, the temple sword included. All of these swords were his companions, his fellow soldiers. In battle, how could a fellow soldier turn on another? In the moment of life and death, how could one's companions not hear one's cries for assistance?
An unimaginable ripple of Qi appeared on the Bridge of Helplessness!
In the air, the temple sword began to fiercely shudder and then flew towards Chen Changsheng.
Flew, not stabbed, because it had no hostility, much less killing intent!
The Sword of Great Light was abruptly dispelled!
Then something even more shocking occurred—Xu Yourong actually seemed to have already calculated this outcome!
Her right hand maintained its grip on the temple sword, using the energy to fly forward. Her white dress danced in the air, her figure blurred as she withdrew those myriad rays of light, and she arrived directly in front of Chen Changsheng. If Chen Changsheng had not, in the final moment, used his spiritual sense to stir the temple sword, then no matter how fast Xu Yourong's movement techniques were, she could not possibly have been so fast and broken through his Stainless Sword!
Chen Changsheng had calculated for seven days.
She had also calculated for seven days.
There was a squelch.
Perhaps it was because his control over the temple sword had come a little too late, or perhaps it was because Xu Yourong was still the Holy Maiden and even though she had only been reunited with the temple sword for seven days, her control over it was stronger than Chen Changsheng had imagined. Or perhaps it was because something happened that both sides had not expected.
The temple sword stabbed into Chen Changsheng's left arm, sending out a spurt of blood.
Then, the temple sword fell into his hands.
The wind and snow began to stir once more, whistling along as if even the world was rather amazed.
For some reason, Chen Changsheng's actions became a little slow. The Stainless Sword in his right hand that had originally traced such fine and exquisite slashes began to deviate.
With an unhurried breeze, Xu Yourong extended her slim forefinger. With a seemingly slow, but actually incomparably fast speed, it thrust towards the space between Chen Changsheng's eyebrows.
If this were a normal finger, it would have been simply impossible for it to threaten Chen Changsheng's life. Although his body bathed in dragon blood could not resist the famous swords on the Tier of Legendary Weapons, that didn't mean its defense could be broken by a single slim forefinger. And yet, for some reason, his mind suddenly felt that he was in incredible danger, that even his life was on the verge of being lost.
Xu Yourong's fingertip held a speck of light, like that of a firefly, but stored within was a limitless energy.
No one could be faster than her finger.
At least in those battles of hers, no one other than Nanke was fast enough to catch up to the speed of this finger.
The body lacks the wings of the bright-colored Phoenix, but our hearts are spiritually linked like the rhino and its horn.
(TN: This is a line from an untitled poem by the Tang Dynasty poet Li Shangyin. The poem is romantic in nature, this line meaning that though the lovers cannot meet, as they do not have wings, their hearts are linked. In ancient China, there was a mythical three-horned rhino. One of these horns was called the "Heavenly Path Horn" which, if cut open, would reveal a white line that ran from the head to the tail of the rhino. The second part of this line is a reference to this myth.)
This was the Rhino Horn Finger!