Joy of Life - Chapter 237[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:47:46]
Chapter 237: Damp Firewood and Cheap Shots
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The sword tip buried itself deep into Xiao En’s left shoulder for an instant before being pulled out, trailed by a stream of blood that was anything but graceful. At his age, even the amount of blood in Xiao En’s body was visibly less than that of a younger person.
Friar He, with his sword across his chest, floated back!
Xiao En sat on the ground, his withered right hand holding onto a branch as thick as one’s forearm. Before Friar He’s sword made contact, the old man somehow, giving up his left shoulder, struck the branch down hard at Friar He’s shin from a seemingly impossible angle.
The front end of the branch had been smashed to pieces, demonstrating how powerful the blow had been.
Feeling a sharp pain, Friar He’s already pale face turned even whiter. While his right hand still steadily held onto his sword, his left leg started to shake.
With his ninth-ranked might, Friar He had thought it would be easy to kill a severely-weakened old man. Even though that old man was none other than Xiao En, who had been so terrifying years ago, Friar He believed he had made adequate preparations. It was now clear, however, that the old man proved to be much more unpredictable than Friar He imagined.
Coughing, Xiao En said, “My legs were broken by that brat Fan, so I had to land a hit on your leg, even if I failed to break it—”
Before Xiao En finished, Friar He attacked again. His sword meandered like a dragon around Xiao En, who was trapped sitting on the ground. Now Friar He had completely stopped underestimating his opponent. Instead, he became careful, as if facing a grandmaster.
Friar He’s swordsmanship, violent and fierce like a dragon, was completely different from the more commonly-seen sword styles. Supposedly, it was taught to him by some foreigner north of the mountains. While some parts were diluted, it matched perfectly with Ku He’s teachings, which benefited him greatly.
Xiao En, on the other hand, only had a stick, and he was unable to move.
Even so, Xiao En’s stick began to move like the tongue of a venomous serpent, jabbing out occasionally, forcing Friar He back. But Friar He began to arouse his zhenqi, filling the air with a buzzing sound. Ultimately, that stick in Xiao En’s hand could not hold.
The sword and the stick clashed, with the latter was shaved down into a rain of slivers.
Xiao En reached out, grabbed another stick, and jabbed diagonally to the right, intercepting Friar He’s deadly strike.
Xiao En had brought with him a bundle of firewood. However, he would eventually run out of those damp branches.
Some time passed, and the temperature started to rise as the sun began to cast down its merciless rays. Xiao En was bleeding, his tattered shirt covered in slashes. On his chest were some deep wounds. But the old man had lost too much blood. His wounds were turning pale.
Around Xiao En, the ground was covered by a dense layer of fly wings and legs. Those insects had been drawn by the scent of blood, only to be sucked into the torrent of sword strikes and cut to pieces.
Friar He stood about five steps away from Xiao En, his pale face slightly flushed. His right hand, holding onto his sword, finally started to tremble. He didn’t have an easy time either; strikes from Xiao En’s sticks turned Friar He’s black shirt into rags and gave him numerous wounds. More terrifyingly, the areas around those wounds were embedded by wooden splinters.
“Come out, that Fan brat won’t be coming.”
Friar He gulped, not expecting the old man’s desire to live to be so strong. Seeing that Xiao En was almost finished, and that the expected man from Southern Qi was still nowhere to be seen, Friar He finally called out his comrade.
Xiao En weakly gave a look at the new enemy. “Ku He keeps on sending out a bunch of young whelps. He wants this old man to lose face.”
The newly-appeared foe approached. In his hands were a pair of curved knives. Terrifyingly, the knife blades were covered in many thin spines; they looked like Friar He’s wounds.
He silently saluted Xiao En and said, “Mister Xiao, under His Majesty’s strict order, I could not make a move when Haitang was escorting you to Shangjing. Today, with your escape, I am forced to do this. Mister Xiao, I hope you understand.”
Xiao En laughed coldly, “So it turns out Ku He’s disciples also learned his bluffs; I though as much. You pretend to be all honorable on the surface, but deep down you are as wicked as can be, only looking to kill me. Why pretend to be so innocent?”
This new enemy was Lang Tao, Ku He’s head disciple and the emperor’s martial arts teacher. Hearing Xiao En speak badly of his master, he wasted no more words and crossed his wrists. The two curved knives in his hands became two masses of black light, aiming towards Xiao En’s head!
Suddenly, Xiao En let out a wild roar!
His pure inner qi, which he had trained for nearly fifty years, erupted at this instant. Utilizing impossible angles, Xiao En pushed out with both his palms flat into the path of Lang Tao’s attack. If his palms were to come together, Lang Tao’s wrists would be crushed immediately.
A layer of flesh on the back of Xiao En’s hands was taken away by the spines on those knives, but at the same time, Xiao En’s palm strikes closed in.
Lang Tao was still expressionless. He let go of his knives and pushed out with his own palms. The two pairs of palms, with an age difference of thirty years, violently met each other. There was nothing fancy about it; it was a pure contest of power.
Lang Tao, being Ku He’s head disciple, was in peak condition. Xiao En, however, was not, having suffered for many years in prison. In this contest, Lang Tao had the advantage.
Having beat back Xiao En’s attack, Lang Tao shook his wrists. His knives flashed again, this time aiming at Xiao En’s shoulders. Lang Tao’s knives were attached to his wrists by thin chains!
The two knives reflected the red sun above. They looked exceptionally terrifying.
Xiao En, who was close to death, unexpectedly gathered more strength. His eyes rolled up, he bent his middle finger slightly and raised it up towards the sky, blocking the bottom edges of Lang Tao’s hands!
At this moment came the sound of a flurry of wind. A shadow rose up from the grass nearby and charged directly at the pair locked in combat!
Friar He had been waiting with his sword ready, waiting for Fan Xian’s appearance!
Grasping the hilt of his sword with both hands, Friar He, without any unnecessary moves, slashed vertically down!
The sword seemed to be cleaving apart the air itself.
But Friar He did not know his target was among the most impressive in the world when it came to dodging. The incoming shadow twisted awkwardly in midair, and, without any leverage, avoided the sword like an actual flickering shadow!
As explained before, having been struck too many times by Wu Zhu in the past resulted in Fan Xian being difficult to hit.
His attack missing the mark, Friar He felt a pressure in his chest as the sounds of numerous objects flying through the air approached his face. Friar He forcibly withdrew his sword and made three horizontal slashes, knocking down most of the thrown weapons. Only after they hit the ground did he discover they were stones.
He forcibly withdrew his sword. His blood vessels pounded. Blood rushed up to his throat and he forced it down. During this slight opening, three black shadows zoomed down at his head!
Presently, the two of them were too close. Friar He flicked his wrist up and the tip of his sword knocked into those three black shadows with extreme accuracy. However, his last strike was off just so slightly, and the crossbow bolt did not change its direction too much. It brushed past Friar He’s thigh and landed in the grass!
That was close! Only now did Friar He realize just how tough it was to deal with Fan Xian. He turned around, his face full of shock.
When he dodged Friar He’s sword, Fan Xian also paid dearly for forcing his body to twist in midair. Although Fan Xian was fortunate in having wider meridians than the average martial artist, he still couldn’t stop blood from rushing to his heart. His zhenqi collided in his meridians as if about to tear.
Fan Xian did not have a martial artist’s discipline, and, while he was still in the air, blood came spraying out of his mouth. As miserable as that looked, it was able to clear his meridians.
At this moment, Lang Tao’s terrifying knives had already penetrated deeply into Xiao En’s shoulders!
Fan Xian let out a strange cry. Still in the air, he drew the halved saber from his back and slashed at the back of Lang Tao’s head.
As if having eyes there, Lang Tao swiftly withdrew his knives, the tips of which met Fan Xian’s blade about sixteen centimeters above the hilt—the blade’s weakest point.
With a clang, the already-halved saber broke again. However, Fan Xian still swung down the sorry remainder of his saber with brute force and broke off all the spines from Lang Tao’s knives.
In that brief instant, Fan Xian discarded his blade, redistributed his qi, and threw a punch.
Two blows of his most adept cheap shots rushed toward Lang Tao’s temples like two dragons. Fan Xian wasn’t at all paying attention to the fact Lang Tao’s knives were directly in front of his abdomen. He knew that, when facing such a high-ranking master, he must be steady, accurate, and merciless, denying himself and his opponent any opportunity of escape.
Lang Tao abruptly turned his head around, a cold light flashing in his eyes. Crossing his palms, he caught Fan Xian’s fists, their powerful qi clashing. Fan Xian’s ineffable and overpowering zhenqi and the zhenqi that Lang Tao had cultivated with Ku He finally met head-on in that moment.