Chapter 396 - Not Knowing How
The bluster both men had shown appeared to be a prelude to an earthshaking battle between them, but it seemed to be nothing more than a show of fancy yet useless moves to the other players watching. Although the battles in MMOs were not particularly terrifying, where bloodied flesh flew freely among combatants, the injuries would still visibly spill enough red to serve as an intuitive visual response for the players whenever they took damage.
Thus, it was not uncommon to have blood spurting, be it their own or an opponent’s, after a few rounds of exchanges when it came to PvP fights. But given the way Gu Fei and Eternal Dominion had fought with their punches and kicks, everybody watching the fight instantly considered the duel to be of poor grade since there was an absence of blood to determine the progress of the match.
It was mainly the average gamer that had such thoughts, however, as most of the men from Eternal War mercenary group could comprehend the spirit of sparring the two were feeling, even if only a little. By now, there were no longer just people from either party watching this duel, as other pedestrians and random passersby had noticed that Eternal Dominion was having a duel with someone and had immediately spread this news across all of Luori City.
In Luori City, just a random underling in Eternal War would be able to to fight a 1v3. Whenever Eternal Dominion got involved, he would only be doing so to find some entertainment from the deed, and there was no way anybody would assume he was being serious. For someone who fought as true and serious as Eternal Dominion, it had been a really long time, at least ever since he first established himself in Luori City, when he was required to participate in a fight himself.
The news spread like wildfire, with plenty of players hurrying over to join in the fun and watch Eternal Dominion and Gu Fei face off.
But the current situation caused many of these players to become despondent instead, especially those who came specifically to watch the fight. In their eyes, there was absolutely no way his opponent would be able to retaliate now that Eternal Dominion had taken the initiative to attack.
Everybody had been looking forward to watching Eternal Dominion get his a*s handed to him, yet what they had witnessed thus far was the man arrogantly wielding his four appendages. Everyone wanted to cheer on Gu Fei, but they were also afraid that it would be an open invitation for those mercenaries from Eternal War to greet them with closed fists instead.
In all honesty, Eternal War’s reign in Luori City was not anything particularly brazen or tyrannical, yet at the same time they were not modest or meek in how they acted. The mercenary group truly did not have to put anyone in their eyes, and that was precisely how they acted, so no one really favored Eternal War.
On top of that, considering the business aspect of Mercenary groups as whole, Eternal War possessed such insurmountable strength that the other mercenary groups were all left dispirited. Anyone who had competed against them and lost subconsciously felt as if they had been bullied. All it took was a round of malicious promulgation, and the Eternal War mercenary group got the image they had in the hearts of the players from Luori City.
In reality, if anybody were to grab a random player off the street to ask them for a time when Eternal War bullied said person, 99% of the time the players would not be able to give a direct answer. The feelings these people had towards Eternal War were very complicated. The situation they were in could be used as a case study to understand the feelings the poor would have against the rich when the disparity between the two was too huge.
These outsiders were all disappointed when they saw Eternal Dominion enjoying the limelight once more, and quite a few of the members from Eternal War were unable to see the profundity, revealing a look of jubilation now their leader was taking the initiative.
But Eternal Dominion did not share this sentiment at all.
He had been wielding his arms and legs the whole way in, yet Gu Fei had not fought back, opting to retreat as he kept stepping backwards. Eternal Dominion could tell that throughout this entire procession that Gu Fei have had at least four good chances of counterattacking. He had even went so far as to strengthen his defenses in an effort to avoid being taken advantage of.
In the end, it looked as if Gu Fe did not even have the intention to win as he retreated unhurriedly.
All he did was simple footwork, but Eternal Dominion was livid with how he stepped.
He could easily tell that the footwork Gu Fei was currently using was exactly the same as what he had learned. Every step that Eternal Dominion took forward, Gu Fei was already taking the second step. The moment he took his second step, Gu Fei would quickly complete his third step.
Once Eternal Dominion realized this, he quickly adapted and changed to four different sets of footwork.
Arrow Step, Slide Step, Opportune Step, and Ridge Step. These were all compatible with the Fire Dragon Fist style he was currently using.
But in the end, each and every adaptation he had made was seen through by Gu Fei. No matter how Eternal Dominion tried to advance, Gu Fei would unerringly step into the most ideal position, making it seem as if the two men were performing a ballroom dance, the pace of each and every step they made almost conventional. As for Eternal Dominion’s attack, every step Gu Fei took resulted in him hitting nothing but air.
Eternal Dominion felt really helpless, because he knew why Gu Fei could perform at this level.
Aside from having an understanding towards footwork and fist styles, Gu Fei’s movement speed was also superior to his. And this was not just the slight superiority he had over Eternal Dominion’s attack speed, but a substantial increase in his movement.
To Gu Fei, there was more than enough time for him to carefully identify the steps Eternal Dominion was taking and act accordingly.
This was a disparity that the system had created, and it was something which Eternal Dominion had no means to change.
Furthermore, every move that the Fire Dragon Fist style Eternal Dominion was currently utilizing emphasized prioritizing footwork to lead, using the hands to supplement before the body came into play. Gu Fei had accurately pinpointed this particular fact, allowing him to identify Eternal Dominion’s footwork and appropriately position himself afterwards. Eternal Dominion’s attack was naturally neutralized without him even realizing it.
But how could Eternal Dominion not have made sense of all these reasons at this point? He was merely disgruntled. He had hoped that Gu Fei would make an error in judgement the moment he attempted to vary his footwork.
But in the end, he had exhausted the fourth set of footwork, yet Gu Fei continued to accurately step in turn without missing a beat. Eternal Dominion had almost forgotten to attack with his fists as his two eyes glanced lower and lower, staring at the two feet on the ground.
The two feet had suddenly stopped moving!
Eternal Dominion felt a wave of glee in his heart. Was Gu Fei finally stumped and did not know how to react? He raised his head, wanting to punch out, yet he felt something was not right.
Gu Fei was staring at him as well, calmly saying, “You should change your footwork now…”
Eternal Dominion’s head spun. He had only been watching the movement of Gu Fei’s feet all this while, and was not even aware that the fourth set of footwork he had been utilizing, Ridge Step, had already came to an end, naturally forcing him to a stop without him realizing it. He had not consciously decided the next footwork he should be using, yet he had instantly became elated when he saw that Gu Fei’s feet had stopped moving.
He had actually forgotten that his own feet had came to a halt, which was why Gu Fei was not moving as well.
Eternal Dominion found it hard to think...
Eternal Dominion instantly felt beyond embarrassed when Gu Fei calmly pointed this out to him. Even if he had a fifth set of footwork to execute, was there any meaning since he had already made a fool of himself like this?
The others were completely unaware of this crucial fact, all they had seen was the aggressive assault Eternal Dominion had been doing all this time, while Gu Fei had unceasingly dodged and retreated. Everybody saw how calm and collected Gu Fei remained now that there was an abrupt pause in the action, yet Eternal Dominion looked as if he was in great pain.
A round of discussion broke out, especially among the players from Luori City, with Gu Fei now a mysterious entity in their eyes. Just in this short period of time, countless numbers of Appraisals had already landed on Gu Fei, and obviously none of them had managed to make any stupendous discovery to explain this. As for the skill Gu Fei had demonstrated, all these people had seen from the start of the match until now was Gu Fei casually stepping around the field, none of these outsiders could tell the profundity in what he had done the whole time.
Eternal Dominion had wanted to carry on, yet he was actually at a loss as to what he should be doing.
Gu Fei was also in quite the quandary himself.
It was just as Eternal Dominion had thought, Gu Fei had indeed identified plenty of opportunities for him to counterattack while Eternal Dominion was consecutively executing move after move on him; he even had quite a few chances where he could confidently win with a single move, but that would only be possible if he had enough Strength to execute said move.
Unfortunately, Strength just happened to be the one aspect that Gu Fei lacked since he was a Mage. Thus, he could only watch helplessly these opportunities slip by time and time again. Eternal Dominion thought Gu Fei did not wish to attack, when the truth of the situation was not an issue of Gu Fei not wishing to, but not being able to. If he were to counterattack at any point and fail to penetrate Eternal Dominion’s defense due to his lack of Strength, it would most likely result in Eternal Dominion defeating him in an instant instead.
Even though Gu Fei had clashed with opponents who possessed Strength well beyond his own plenty of times in Parallel World, Gu Fei had always relied upon the technique of borrowing the strength of his opponent as his own to resolve each fight. It was just not a viable option in the current situation.
First, Eternal Dominion was not a normal opponent. He was also a martial expert well versed when it came to his control of Strength; Gu Fei could not simply redirect his strength at his whim.
Second, Eternal Dominion was using the Fire Dragon Fist style, which was already a style that utilized softness to subdue force, a kung fu technique that applied the enemy’s own strength back on themselves. Attempting to borrow strength from such kung fu would be far too heaven-defying, and Gu Fei did not underestimate Eternal Dominion to such an extent. From Eternal Dominion’s use of the Fire Dragon Fist style, Gu Fei could already tell that his opponent could already tell that Gu Fei would have to achieve victory through skill alone as a result of his lack of Strength, which was why Eternal Dominion had decidedly opted to use this particular fist style that had a myriad of transformations, flexible and clever in execution.
If Eternal Dominion were to continue using this particular fist style to match Gu Fei, Gu Fei would really be at a loss as to how he could turn out victorious as long as Eternal Dominion did not make any mistakes on his end. He really doubted Eternal Dominion would be so foolish as to switch to a more ferocious and sharp technique that gave Gu Fei the chance to free-form. Gu Fei immediately realized that if he was really looking to spar with a true martial artist online like this, he would actually still be facing quite a few limitations.
Now that both men were standing still without saying a word, the crowd that had been waiting for blood and yet saw none had grown impatient as well. Most would not have dared to make a sound, but why would such conventions apply to the lady Svelte Dancer? She was the first to instantly yell out at Gu Fei, “Stop dawdling! Hurry and insta-kill him already! Isn’t it about time you logged off?!”
What could Gu Fei say now that this was shouted out like that? But it was Eternal Dominion who suddenly started as he quickly glanced at the time and immediately straightened up. “Look at the time, why did none of you speak up?”
Many players within Eternal War instantly began to panic.
“That’s all for today. If the opportunity arises, I’ll be sure to seek your advice in the future!” Eternal Dominion hurriedly bade farewell to Gu Fei and quickly led his mercenary group away, running towards the designated log off point.
“What’s going on?” Gu Fei was still in a daze when he received the system prompt about a friendship request from Eternal Dominion. Accepting it, he sent a message over in passing, “What’s the matter?”
“Night sessions! Night sessions!” Eternal Dominion replied.
Gu Fei instantly understood what had happened. The morning and night sessions were the two time periods where a martial practitioner like themselves would mainly be training. Because they needed to sleep at night and work during the day, there was almost no other time period for them to squeeze in time to practice. The pressures of a modern lifestyle were just too great! Because no one could earn a living through practicing martial arts, training became both a waste of time and effort in the current day and age. It was no wonder the descendants of martial families like his did not view kung fu favorably.
Gu Fei sighed repeatedly as he thought of this. The habit of having morning and night sessions was originally nonexistent when he was at home, but ever since he took up his job as a teacher, he too had also begun to arrange for such periods. This quest with Traversing Seas had caused Gu Fei to neglect those night sessions for several days, as he went through them slovenly each time. Thankfully, the quest had ended successfully today.
“Looks like I should do a proper night session as well,” Gu Fei said to himself.
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