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Chapter 79 – From the Wilderness to the Temple
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The crowd finally confirmed that the person Mao Qiuyu was praising was Gou Hanshi, not Chen Changsheng.
Chen Changsheng's having Luoluo use a very commonplace technique was actually the best choice of an opening move. The first to move would wait while the second to move would break, therefore the first to move should act defensively so as to present no technique for their opponent to break.
In Mao Qiuyu's view, this was an excellent choice, but anyone could think of it, so it could not be considered ingenious.
As for the technique Gou Hanshi had responded with, anyone could tell that there was nothing exquisite about it—just how could some small and obscure sect of Donglin County possess some exquisite sword style? However, at this moment it was ingenious because Chen Changsheng was just like everyone else present: he had not seen this sword style before.
To speak in a refined manner, Gou Hanshi's response was like an antelope hanging its horns, leaving no trace to be found. To speak in a coarse manner, he was casually spreading rice seeds over the fields and ceasing to care. As for what this rice paddy would grow come next year, even if it might grow into a field of millet, he had no idea.
(TN: This refers to a myth in ancient China that when an antelope slept at night, it would hang its horns on a tree.)
Then how could Chen Changsheng know?
Embrace the Rain into the Bosom was Chen Changsheng's response.
Although she was just acting out the technique, Luoluo still had a focused expression, her mind completely focused on her whip. This technique was displayed to her satisfaction, to an almost perfect level.
Gou Hanshi said another technique.
Just as before, no one in the crowd knew the origins of this sword technique. Only when some student from the countryside who had passed the Grand Examination's pre-examination called out in shock did the crowd come to know that this sword technique had been developed in some run-down temple in a mountain on the outskirts of Wenshui. In that part of the countryside, it was actually rather famous.
Tang Thirty-Six's complexion was rather unsightly as he thought to himself, I grew up in Wenshui and I've never even heard of this sword technique. Gou Hanshi lives in Mount Li year-round, so just how did he come to know of it?
"Exquisite," the woman veiled in white from Holy Maiden Peak sighed.
Chen Changsheng had Luoluo use the seventh move of the Wind and Rain Sword of Mount Zhong to respond.
Gou Hanshi immediately responded with another technique, once more a sword technique from some remote and tiny sect that no one knew of.
Chen Changsheng once more responded.
In the blink of an eye, Luoluo and Guan Feibai, separated by ten-odd zhang, had used ten-odd techniques. The crowd on the steps did not turn silent. On the contrary, their discussion only grew louder.
The crowd aimed gazes brimming with admiration at Gou Hanshi. To actually know so many obscure sword techniques, he was truly too extraordinary.
Xu Shiji slightly nodded and the Qiushan clan head was pacified once more, both very content with the current situation.
Some people looked at Chen Changsheng and found this youth also quite extraordinary. This was because under his instruction, Luoluo had only used the Wind and Rain Sword of Mount Zhong yet was able to receive all the extremely obscure sword techniques of Gou Hanshi. There were even two occasions where the same technique was used twice, yet two different results were achieved.
And in the eyes of those people, there was still one more extraordinary person: the Fourth Law of the Divine Kingdom, Guan Feibai.
For Gou Hanshi to know so many obscure sword techniques could be attributed to his profound knowledge. The whole world knew that he was well-versed in the Daoist Canon, had extensively read many books, and the Mount Li Sword Sect held countless sword manuals. Although admirable, it was not beyond expectations. However, what did it mean that Guan Feibai was able to display each technique he spoke without hesitation?
This meant that Guan Feibai knew all these obscure sword techniques and that he even had a complete grasp of them!
There were innumerable Daoist techniques in the world, and the sword styles were beyond reckoning. There were some obscure sword styles that no one present had heard before, but he knew them all!
Just how much time had he expended? Just how much perseverance and patience were required?
"The Mount Li Sword Sect truly deserves its reputation. No wonder so many excellent youths have been appearing from it in these past few years…"
Mao Qiuyu gazed at Guan Feibai, his expression complex as he sighed.
Hearing this, the spectating crowd came to their senses. The students of the Ivy Academies, especially the students of the Heavenly Dao Academy, felt thoroughly ashamed.
Just then, there was a sudden change in the match.
With Gou Hanshi's voice, Guan Feibai's sword techniques suddenly shifted from those obscure sword techniques to the most commonly seen sword style of the profound orthodox method.
This sword style was the Mountain Gate Sword of the southern sects, frank and upright, brilliant beyond compare.
This was also the sword style Guan Feibai was most skilled at. In the continent's current generation of youths, when solely considering mastery in this sword style, Qiushan Jun was undoubtedly ranked first, and he was second.
Seeing those suddenly majestic sword techniques on the plaza, seeing the longsword firmly proceeding through the darkness, the crowd finally turned silent.
Many people knew of this sword style, and quite a few had learned this sword style, but to be able to practice this sword style to this level, to perfectly display its sword intent without using true essence? Not a single one of them could do it.
Tonight, Guan Feibai had done this, at the same time giving those young students on the stone steps in front of the palace hall a good lesson.
According to Gou Hanshi's voice, Guan Feibai proceeded with the Mountain Gate Sword, instantly increasing the pressure on Luoluo. For the first time, her still-childish face revealed a hint of graveness. There was nothing strange about her opponent's sword style, but following after those obscure sword techniques, a very peculiar tempo had been created.
She had been using the Wind and Rain Sword of Mount Zhong, the Rising Flurry to Descending Mount Dong, preserving her own tempo, but with her opponent's change, her tempo was disrupted and she vaguely felt herself being pulled into her opponent's tempo.
She had to make a corresponding change to escape her opponent's tempo.
How should this change be made?
Guan Feibai's sword seemed to hold the power to set fire to the plains, striking at the night, as he gazed expressionlessly at her.
It was her turn to use a technique.
Luoluo felt the pressure, and Chen Changsheng felt an even greater pressure. He had not expected for Gou Hanshi to, at a moment that no one had expected, go from the remote counties and forests straight back to his sect's mountain gate. For a moment, he was caught somewhat unprepared.
Gazing across the plaza at the calm Gou Hanshi, he was forced to admit that this person truly was extraordinary.
In battles between cultivators, what was important was real power. The 'real' was true essence, while power was a more complex concept. It could be sword techniques, cultivation method, magical treasures, and it could also be one's psychological state. It was like playing chess: regardless of how thick the pieces were, in the end, what mattered was the changes in the state of the board.
To change straight from the Seven Star Sword of a remote province to the Mountain Gate Sword, to return from remote lands to the temple, this sort of change of tempo was extremely tough and sudden. Even more frightening was that this sort of sudden change had greatly intensified the sword intent of the Mountain Gate Sword, all the way until it seemed to condense into real power. Just what sword technique could be used to break it?
It was an extremely simple change, yet it contained Gou Hanshi's unfathomable intellect and experience.
Chen Changsheng knew that he was on the verge of losing. He had also become well-versed in the Daoist Canon as a child, and in the Orthodox Academy's library, he had read relentlessly, yet the time he had to formally touch upon cultivation was not more than a few months. In terms of both knowledge of various cultivation methods and fighting experience, he was still far from Gou Hanshi.
He did not want to lose, and wanted even less for Luoluo to lose because of him.
Perhaps it would be difficult tonight to win over Gou Hanshi, this genius who seemed to have a grasp over all the world's cultivation techniques, but he at least did not want to lose.
At this moment, his preserving such confidence had not much to do with that Dao which he had cultivated since he was a child—following his heart—because he believed that Luoluo was stronger than Guan Feibai.
So first of all, he could not lose to Gou Hanshi in terms of techniques.
Countless Daoist scriptures appeared, the books on cultivation from the Orthodox Academy's library and those sword style manuals constantly appearing before his eyes, ruffled by the ever harsher and more imposing sword wind. The sword techniques used by the past experts and their experiences transformed into pictures and flashed past.
Which technique should he use?