Chapter 260 - Clash of Sword and Fist
The thorns pierced thousands of holes through the body of the giant dragon that was initially wreathed in flames. After a single sad cry, it turned into a blood-red crystal pillar and fell from the sky.
At the same time, Gao Chong’s face turned white. He opened his mouth and spat out many gobs of spirit-blood. At the same time, all the blood-lines on his body vanished, and he seemed a lot less active.
Gao Chong thought for a second, then enunciated slowly as he looked at Liu Ming with an expression of disbelief, “Very good. I didn’t know you were proficient in the way of the sword. Consider this competition my loss. I will abide by my promise. Consider the Mingzhu incident closed. In future, I will also avoid all matters involving you.”
Then he extended one hand and grabbed at the air below him.
A ‘sou!’ sound.
The blood-ruler that laid on the ground now rose toward the sky. With a flash, it turned into a ball of blood-light and landed in his hand.
Gao Chong turned around and left without looking back.
The audience, watching this from below, looked at each other.
Xue Ci’s eyes flashed, and he sighed heavily and said, “I was wondering, Senior Gao. You have only been a Spirit Master for a short time but can already control the Eight-Part Blood Dragon. So, it’s due to that totem’s power. I don’t know the origins of this totem, but it looks like it has very strong enhancing powers to Blood Cultivation Methods.”
Yang Qian also recovered from his shock, and looked at Xue Ci from the corner of his eye and said, “I’m afraid I have to disappoint Elder Brother Xue Ci! This is a low-grade totem used by my sect leader a long time ago, and only has a large enhancing effect on our sect’s Eight-Part Blood Dragon Method.”
Xue Ci, hearing this, said with a smile, “Heh heh, Elder Brother Yang is very careful. Are you afraid that I plot to steal this Blood Method totem?” However, in his heart, he felt a twinge of disappointment.
“Elder Brother Xue Ci, you just need to remember these words.” Yang Qian did not affirm or deny, but replied.
“But the most surprising is still Junior Liu. The sword technique he displayed just now-- I’m afraid that among those present at the scene, not many would have the confidence of taking that blow. At least, I don’t.” The red-browed youth from the Firestorm Way interrupted, although he still stared into the air.
Yang Qian, hearing this, was speechless.
He was also unsure how Liu Ming knew the sword technique of a Sword Cultivator while having a shocking proficiency with it
To another side, the yellow-robed girl said quietly to Zhang Xiuniang:
“Senior Zhang, this Junior Liu’s sword technique is the basic ‘Thousand Swords Combined Into One’ technique, isn’t it? Even though it’s one of the most basic, it definitely is the technique of our sect. And just now I also felt a slight sword intent I did not recognize! How is this possible? Is this Junior Liu also a sword cultivator?
Zhang Xiuniang replied expressionlessly, “I know why this Liu Ming knows sword techniques. But I don’t know about the sword intent in that blow just now. But that’s fine. In a while, I’ll understand how.” She stepped on the floor, and turned into a white pillar and rose into the sky. A flash later, she took human form again and appeared opposite Liu Ming.
Liu Ming had just completed a match and was initially planning to fly into the air. Seeing this, he immediately changed his expression.
Zhang Xiuniang’s eyes flashed coldly as she challenged Liu Ming. “So, in the few years we haven’t seen each other, Martial Brother Liu has really become a sword cultivator. This makes me very excited. We are both sword cultivators, so I even hope that Junior can spar with me in sword techniques.”
Yang Qian, Xue Ci and the others present were stunned.
After seeing Liu Ming’s sword techniques, they were not surprised that Zhang Xiuniang would take an interest. But this woman had issued a challenge very quickly, without even leaving room for breath. This was rather stunning.
Of course, Zhang Xiuniang challenging Liu Ming was also an indication that she acknowledged his ability. It was something to be proud of.
After all, in the many past gatherings, everyone had challenged someone else twice or thrice on average. Only Zhang Xiuniang had only accepted one challenge and had never taken the initiative to challenge others.
The time she accepted a challenge and displayed her overwhelming ability, had extinguished any notion anyone had had of crossing swords with her.
In subsequent gatherings, Zhang Xiuniang had almost completely become an observer. No one dared to make their own life difficult by challenging her. This had made her the first in position among them, in name and deed.
However, Liu Ming did not consider this as something honorable. After looking at the woman in front of him for a while, he shook his head and said,
“If it’s only a competition of Sword Cultivation, my technique is definitely no match for yours. We don’t need to fight.”
On hearing Liu Ming, Zhang Xiuniang’s eyebrow twitched. “Oh, hearing Fellow Liu talk like that-- you admit that other methods are above the sword technique. Very well. Aside from sword technique, feel free to show off all your other methods!” she said coldly, even changing her form of address as she did so.
She grasped at the air behind her, and the snow-white longsword leaped from its sheath and landed squarely in her hand.
She readied the sword in front of her and did not execute any special hand signs, but an icy blast of air shot into the sky. Under this influence, the surrounding air froze into crystal snowflakes and began to whirl and dance around her.
Zhang Xiuniang seemed to have gotten ready to strike at Liu Ming no matter how he replied.
Thoughts flew through Liu Ming’s head on seeing this. His expression somber, he exhaled:
“Since Fellow Zhang says this, then let us talk further after crossing swords.”
Following which he also did not stand on courtesy. With a wave of the Cyan Moon Sword in his hand, the dense collection of sword-images once again appeared in front of him. A blur later, al the sword-images had collected together into one. With a loud ‘hong’, an enormous ray of sword-light shot forth.
Where the cyan light touched, there were faint screeches in its wake, as if its power were at least a third larger than before.
“Good timing. I’ll let Fellow Liu see what real sword technique is!” Zhang Xiuniang, observing the astonishing presence of the enormous sword-light, murmured with some joy. She readied the snow-white longsword in her own hand. The surrounding crystal snowflakes rushed forth onto the sword’s blade. Cold air rolled, white and blinding.
A ‘pu’ sound rang.
Zhang Xiuniang tossed the snow-white longsword out. Under the force of the sword technique, it became a snow-white ray that shot forth and crashed into the enormous sword-light opposite.
The two colors of sword-light, cyan, and white, intertwined. But something stunning happened.
The white sheet nudged the intimidating cyan light only slightly, and the light immediately shattered with an explosive sound.
Zhang Xiuniang clenched her fist and pointed a finger into the air.
From the white sheet, an enormous snow-white sword image appeared with a flash. It circled once, then shot toward Liu Ming.
It was as quick as lightning. A blur later, it appeared right in front of Liu Ming, and a gust of bone-chilling wind that swung downward.
But Liu Ming did not dodge. Silver flashed in his eyes, and with a loud shout, he moved his arm. It shone gold and shot out toward the longsword. He seemed not afraid at all of his fist being cleaved open by the blade.
Seeing this, Zhang Xiuniang’s brow twitched. She did not halt the flying sword in the distance, and the flying sword came down sharply on the golden fist.
A loud ‘hong’!
About a foot from the white sword, the golden fist emanated a cloud of black fog and unclenched and re-clenched. An indescribable energy rushed forth from it, and became a dizzying blur and exploded open.
The snow-white longsword shuddered once. The sudden indescribable force sent it flying. It rolled several hundred feet at once, then clattered to a stop.
But the longsword still flashed furiously, and let out soft humming sounds, as if it had definitely been injured.
Zhang Xiuniang’s face also turned momentarily white but quickly recovered her usual expression. She gave Liu Ming a long look and waved one hand in front of her.
The snow-white longsword returned with a flash and landed squarely in the sheath at her back.
“Fellow Liu, you’re really extraordinary. I hope that next time, I will have a chance to learn from you. Junior Feng Luan, let us leave,” she said lightly then called the yellow-robed girl behind her, and left the courtyard on a cloud.
Below, Feng Luan heard this; she hurriedly made her apologies to Yang Qian and the others, and leaped into the air and followed.
In the blink of an eye, the two women of the Heaven Moon Sect had left without a trace.
Some of the others on the ground were also stunned.
It had already shocked them when Liu Ming defeated Gao Chong with one stroke not long beforehand. Then, now he had broken through Zhang Xiuniang’s Flying Sword tactics with one fist. This left them aghast.
Liu Ming, in the air, had an expression as serious as a pond of water. He slowly retrieved his gold fist that he had swung and seen that the top golden part of the punch shattered slightly. In addition, there were some blood traces.
Just now, he had not had to make contact to send the hovering sword flying. But the sharp hostility radiating from the sword had caused some surface injury on his fist.
This made Liu Ming secretly shocked at the strength of Zhang Xiuniang’s flying swords.
When he had returned his fist to his sleeve, his fingers loosened, and revealed a round bead engulfed in black fog.
It was the First Yuan Heavy Water Bead!
It turned out that Liu Ming had had the courage to use his own fists to meet the Flying Sword because, in addition to having full confidence in the layer of Glazed Magma Metal on top, he also had the Heavy Water Bead in his fist.
Due to the protection of the Heavy Water Bead, he could use the strength of his entire body to its full extent, and could even strike back at Zhang Xiuniang’s flying swords.
“Seniors, I’m a little tired today, and will go back first.” Liu Ming’s face changed expression. He cupped his two hands and said with a smile to the audience below.
The gray cloud at his feet rose, and he turned and left.