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Chapter 74 – The Swords of Youths
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Why did the Mount Li Sword Sect want to challenge the Orthodox Academy? Because they had come to propose marriage for Qiushan Jun, but had been stopped by Chen Changsheng. Their dignity had all been lost, so they had to think of a way to recover some of it. Just as Gou Hanshi had admitted, only this way would they be able to calmly depart the Great Zhou Imperial Palace, even if it was only with great reluctance.
According to Tang Thirty-Six's plan, no matter if the Orthodox Academy successively won or successively lost, Chen Changsheng did not need to step forward. Thus, the Mount Li Sword Sect would naturally find it impossible to recover their dignity. Luoluo thought to herself, although this is somewhat…shameless, it also seems very interesting. Thus, she used her silence to represent her support. On the other hand, Chen Changsheng had actually wanted to talk a little with that Gou Hanshi who was said to be well-versed in the Daoist Canon and also say a few words to Tang Thirty-Six, but that fellow had already stepped onto the stage.
The bleak wind chilled the palace as Tang Thirty-Six stood on the plaza, his hand resting against his sword as he looked around. With his handsome appearance that exuded freedom and confidence, the female disciples of the Thirteen Divisions of Radiant Green and Holy Maiden Peak found him extraordinarily splendid. Yet they had no idea that before this person stepped on stage, he had made many very boring and even angering arrangements.
Examining Qi Jian's thin and weak appearance from a distance of ten-odd zhang, Tang Thirty-Six froze. Then he remembered something and turned to Zhuang Huanyu, sighing, "Look at this kid. Just how small was he two years ago? And you still had the nerve to win."
Zhuang Huanyu naturally did not respond, only laughed grimly. His meaning was the same as Chen Changsheng's earlier words: you speak as if you can actually win.
The Divine Kingdom's Seven Laws had the most resounding of reputations, but other than those who had truly met them, nobody would imagine that they had a child like Qi Jian amongst their ranks. When he paid respects to Tang Thirty-Six, his face was clearly rather nervous, even somewhat timid.
Tang Thirty-Six slightly frowned and asked, "How old are you this year?"
Qi Jian replied, "In another two months, I'll be fourteen."
At this time, there was no way Tang Thirty-Six would let Zhuang Huanyu go. Looking at him, he clicked his tongue a few times, then he turned back to Qi Jian and asked, "So young…is it okay to not fight?"
Qi Jian's expression turned a little solemn as he spoke like a little adult. "The academy used Her Highness's identity the elders' promises, and the name of righteousness to suppress others. My senior brother is not present and cannot dispute, but how can the academy be innocent? As his junior brother, I naturally have to seek justice in the name of my senior brother."
Tang Thirty-Six's expression also turned solemn as he refuted, "Wrong! The ones using the orders of the parents and the words of the teachers to suppress others is your group, and you're the one using status to suppress others, attempting to suppress others in the name of righteousness. All these things were done first by your elders; we were just fighting back. As for your senior brother…he wants to marry Chen Changsheng's fiancée, so how could it be that Chen Changsheng is the one mistreating him? Don't forget, the engagement was before this. The White Crane is still right there."
Behind Chen Changsheng and Luoluo, the White Crane was resting its neck on a bronze pillar. In the darkness, its white was extremely striking.
Qi Jian fell silent for a few moments. He chose to speak no more as his small hand gripped the hilt of his sword and slowly pulled it from the sheath.
Just this simple action caused a formidable Qi to suddenly rise.
The thin and weak youth unexpectedly gave off the aura of a grandmaster stepping onto the stage.
The spectators in front of the hall suddenly grew silent. Xu Shiji and the others had strange looks on their faces, and even Mao Qiuyu's expression turned serious.
Prince Chen Liu praised, "The Divine Kingdom's Seven Laws truly are extraordinary."
With a solemn expression, Tang Thirty-Six drew his own sword from its sheath.
Ever since he was a child, he had been famous for his talent and had always been proud and cold. When he came to the capital from Wenshui and entered the Heavenly Dao Academy, he was still so.
He knew that Qi Jian was the strongest opponent he had ever faced amongst his peers, and he knew that the profound techniques imparted by a sect like the Mount Li Sword Sect would be much stronger than the techniques passed down in his clan. If he studied in the Heavenly Dao Academy for two years, he might have a real chance of surpassing the Divine Kingdom's Seven Laws.
But tonight, he still wanted to win.
He lowered his head to the ground and saw that in the crack in the stone next to his shoe, a blade of grass was growing.
He looked back to Qi Jian and said, "Come."
With a solemn expression, Qi Jian replied, "Please!"
The voice was still echoing through the quiet night air in front of the hall when that blade of grass in the crack suddenly bent backwards as if about to be snapped apart.
Gusts suddenly stirred as two blurred figures lunged towards the center of the plaza.
Tang Thirty-Six and Qi Jian met, as did the swords in their hands. Countless harsh winds howled and danced around their bodies, blowing against their clothes, causing them to snap about like some torrential rain was falling upon the ivies outside the Li Palace!
Two swords met in the darkness, reflecting the starlight, a stream seeming to run across their surfaces. They were undoubtedly not ordinary swords.
"The Wenshui Sword!"
A person recognized the sword in Tang Thirty-Six's hand. That sword as bright as a mirror, able to reflect the stars, was surprisingly the clan sword of the Wenshui Tangs: the Wenshui Sword!
The Tang Old Master had actually passed the clan's sword over to Tang Thirty-Six to carry with him to the capital. This was a sign of just how much he doted on his grandson, a sign of what great hopes Tang Thirty-Six was bearing, and it was also a sign that the Tang clan had already decided to pass the clan into Tang Thirty-Six's hands!
Some people were shocked because of the Wenshui Sword, but others were more moved by the sword in Qi Jian's hands.
The sword in the thin and frail youth's hands was pitch-black and emitted no light. It didn't even have an edge and was somewhat wider than an ordinary sword. It looked not like a sword, but an iron ruler. Yes, this sword was the Iron Ruler!
The Iron Ruler Sword was the Relic Sword belonging to the elder of Mount Li's Discipline Hall.
The Mount Li Sect Master had actually allowed Qi Jian to take this sword and travel the continent. From this, one could see what expectations he had placed on his final disciple!
The Tang clan's sword versus Mount Li's sword: just which was the stronger?
This was what the spectators of this battle wanted to know the most.
At least for the moment, neither of these swords showed any sign of losing.
Tang Thirty-Six and Qi Jian simply did not hear the shocked cries of the crowd. Their minds were entirely on their swords.
With the intersection of these two swords as the line, two half-arcs of light appeared in the night sky, enclosing the youths within as they struggled against each other.
These half-arcs reflected the many stars in the darkness of the night sky, countless dangerous undercurrents of energy running beneath them.
Innumerable strands of energy shot from the tails of these arcs to behind the pair, tearing through the air.
The stone beneath their feet was completely unable to withstand this rending. With gouts of shattered stone and teeth-aching clattering, ten-odd cracks appeared on the stone plaza, quickly spreading out from the center like a spider web.
Mao Qiuyu, Principal of the Heavenly Dao Academy, lightly raised his brow. With a wave of his sleeve, an extremely pure Qi completely enclosed the stone steps in front of the palace hall.
He was of the few experts in the world, his sobriquet Two Sleeves in the Breeze. All his cultivation was in the brushing of his sleeve. No matter how fierce Tang Thirty-Six and Qi Jian's battle, it would be unable to involve the spectators on the stone steps, but he paid no attention to the people in the plaza.
With a cry, the White Crane flapped its wings and took flight. It soared through the darkness and came to rest on the roof of Weiyang Palace.
Jin Yulu stood in front of Chen Changsheng and Luoluo.
Xiao Songgong gripped his sheath and gave two low coughs.
When these ten-odd cracks reached these two, they suddenly stopped and found it impossible to continue forward.
Seeing this sight, the spectators were somewhat dumbfounded and shocked.
One was a long-renowned young expert while another was one of the legendary Divine Kingdom's Seven Laws, and they were both ranked on the Proclamation of Azure Sky. They both displayed a power beyond their age, but this was not enough to astonish the crowd so. What shocked them was the current situation.
Before the start of the fight, everyone believed that although the Wenshui Tangs were a great clan of one thousand generations, their inheritance was most certainly lacking when compared to Mount Li. In terms of only techniques and fundamentals, Tang Thirty-Six should have been inferior to Qi Jian, but since he was still older and had begun to cultivate earlier, he should at least have more true essence.
No one imagined that when these swords clashed, these youths competed in terms of quantity and purity of true essence, yet Qi Jian was not one bit inferior!
Many people did not understand why this was the case.
Tang Thirty-Six himself was well aware of the reason.
Even if he and Qi Jian possessed the same talent, the Purification and Meditative Introspection methods of the Mount Li Sword Sect would be stronger than the Tang clan's. After long years of cultivation, even the smallest differences would ultimately become vast discrepancies.
And there was still one more crucial factor.
He was lazier than Qi Jian.
Although he had engaged in continuous and bitter cultivation over the past few months for the sake of the Ivy Festival and to challenge Zhuang Huanyu, not even visiting Chen Changsheng…it was just a few months.
He was the scion of a great clan, and just as Zhuang Huanyu had said, was born with a golden spoon in his mouth. Every since he was a baby, he had been doted on by the Old Master, lived a beautiful and blessed life. When his cultivation became just a little tough, his grandmother would blame the entire clan, so his maids would think of ways to have him slack off…
And the disciples of the Mount Li Sword Sect had all grown up impoverished, Qi Jian no exception. Even if Tang Thirty-Six used his butt to think, he would still know that Qi Jian's diligence in cultivation was certainly far above his own. Disregarding the fact that Qi Jian was still two months off fourteen, he had definitely spent more time in meditation than Tang Thirty-Six had…
A clang suddenly rang out in the night sky.
The wind became erratic, as did those half-arcs of light reflecting the stars.
If it were a pool of water, it would be like some person had thrown a rock into this pool.
This was the first time the Wenshui Sword and Iron Ruler Sword had parted after they had met.
Then they clashed once more.
Instantly, the two swords clashed several dozen times.
The clang was the sound of swords clashing. Because it was too fast, too close together, the sounds blended into one.
The clang instantly rose up and then ceased. The wind instantly died.
Two figures suddenly parted and then quietly stood. It was just as before, separated by ten-odd zhang.
Tang Thirty-Six lowered his gaze to the ground.
At this time, the winds had calmed and the swords had ceased, and that blade of grass had long since stood back up.
But before, the blade of grass was beside his shoe, while now, it was in front of his shoe.
Tang Thirty-Six raised his head to look across at Qi Jian and realized that this thin and frail youth was still standing at his original position.
He commented, "I originally believed that no matter what, I've still eaten two more years of meals than you, so at worst, I should be about the same as you. I didn't expect that I would retreat half a step."
Qi Jian looked back at him and seriously asked, "Do you want to concede?"
Tang Thirty-Six felt like he had received an enormous humiliation, replying, "Do you think that I'm such a boring person?"
Qi Jian was somewhat mystified, asking, "Then why did you make that comment just now?"
Tang Thirty-Six solemnly answered, "I was making a self-criticism…in the future, I truly can't be this lazy."
Behind him, Chen Changsheng agreed, "It's truly not right."
Qi Jian sincerely responded, "For you to recognize this is excellent."
"But that's a matter for the future. Tonight, I still have to win against you."
Tang Thirty-Six's clothes seemed to slightly swell, and his eyes seemed to faintly glow.
Qi Jian's expression turned slightly apprehensive. Calming his mind, he waited.