The sound of metal clashing in Wuying Hall never ceased for a moment. Sparks flew as the two weapons clashed. The exchange that shook eardrums was akin to a string on one's heart being plucked, leading to their blood boiling with excitement.
Ancient sword Heaven Shocker, a long sword from all accounts, weaved through the air dexterously. Rather, wielding it swiftly and dexterously was the only option. Tang Ye strung together several swordplay styles in his assault. Tang Ye a vast array of styles at his disposal, an accomplishment that even Ming Feizhen couldn't compete with. In fact, Ming Feizhen couldn't identify all of the styles Tang Ye was capable of.
Tang Ye's swift attacks that were stringed together consecutively painted a tempest of mercury in the air. The winds from the swings emitted cold air. The sword's dance was a splendid sight to behold.
A Hu combatted the variations in Tang Ye's style by sticking to one. He kept his manoeuvres with the huge blade to the absolute bare minimum when defending himself. Though his fighting method wasn't attractive, his exchange with Tang Ye was a long one. Furthermore, in spite of Tang Ye's barrage of attacks that were akin to a raging cyclone, A Hu had yet to suffer any injuries. Such skill wasn't commonly heard of.
What was supposed to be a face-off between the two fuma candidates had evolved into the showgrounds for the two assistants.
Some complimented Tang Ye, praising him for doing his reputation justice as a member of the Seventeen Hidden Dragons. His skills were certainly complimented. Ever since the fight commenced, Tang Ye had yet to use the same technique twice. Thus, there was no doubt that he hailed from a reputable clan. Some compared his dominance to a rainbow, claiming that he would make the large dullard spill blood.
Only those with a certain level of proficiency in martial arts, such as the Emperor, stroked their beards and smiled. They were cognizant of the fact that Tang Ye's fighting strategy would cost him a lot more energy than A Hu. Furthermore, A Hu's tiger fang was overwhelmingly heavy, making it a perfect weapon for murder. It would be unfair and grossly wrong to lump together his defence and attack, for he wasn't defending because he couldn't attack. A Hu was actually collecting energy, waiting for his energy to fully charge up before striking back with knockout might.
Tang Ye knew what A Hu had in store and, therefore, was startled himself. For that reason, he went on the attack with the goal of shutting him down before he, himself, was in jeopardy. However, he not only failed, but had his number of attack options shut down thanks to A Hu's defensive game.
A Hu's techniques appeared dull, but there was the hint of meticulous attention to each and every rough technique that was very hard to spot. His broadsword style didn't reveal any murderous aura, and he didn't attack. Despite that, Tang Ye found it increasingly harder to attack the more and more he attacked. At the point they had reached in their match, defeat was imminent; however, Tang Ye had no way of finishing him. If he retreated at that point, A Hu would finish him with a single swipe. Their fight transcended into a fight between trapped beasts as the two moved and exchanged blows.
In spite of having been in dozens of fights ever since he got started, Tang Ye had never gone so far in a fight. He remarked to himself, "He has already won without batting an eye. His skills are superior to even Fu Xiang."
But nonetheless, now that it had come to that, Tang Ye had to continue on.
As for the other two competitors, their situation was the reverse of their teammates'.
Ming Feizhen took things easy. He adamantly refused to return Jin Wangsun his Golden Crow Moon Eater. He walked along the left side and would pull over to talk. He went to the right side, swung the blade a few times and teased the maids. Then, he went and spoke to Assistant Minister Lu from the Ministry of Works, "Hey, Assistant Minister Lu, your battle at Heavenly Fragrance Garden's front door sure shook up the entire capital. This humble one admires your flower arrangement skills. This humble one is keen on being your disciple. Would you happen to be willing to teach this one"
"That… that… We are all gentleman who have the same taste. I would not dare to be your teacher. We can just exchange tips. Just exchange tips."
"Bastard, take this!"
Jin Wangsun tried to grab Ming Feizhen from behind, only to earn his giddy laughter as he spun around with the blade held behind him. Hesitant, Jin Wangusn didn't dare to touch Ming Feizhen and, thus, had to redirect his hand.
Ming Feizhen grabbed a chicken drumstick from Assistant Minister Lu's table and chomped off a mouthful. Then, he frowned, "Patriarch Jin, what are you doing Why are you stalking me Here, here, have a chicken bone."
Furious, Jin Wangsun's body shook. But alas, there was nothing he could do about the bastard. The Emperor forbade using limbs on the body to attack. As a result, he couldn't inflict harm on Ming Feizhen in the process of taking back the sabre. Ming Feizhen leveraged the rule to behave insolently without misgivings. Whenever Jin Wangsun went to snatch his sabre, Ming Feizhen would move his body in the way. Being taller than Jin Wangsun and having a longer arm span, it was easy for him to keep Golden Crow Moon Eater out of reach. The difference in their physiques created an enormous advantage for Ming Feizhen.
"Big cat! Catch him in a pincer!"
A Hu had finally gained the upper hand against Tang Ye. Upon hearing the command from Jin Wangsun, he instantly responded. He turned and charged over with his blade raised. Being tall, his strides were wide. With just two steps, he had reached Ming Feizhen's side.
Ming Feizhen, however, calmly smiled, "Perfect timing."
As soon as Jin Wangsun saw the grin surface on Ming Feizhen's face, hesitation overtook, and he changed his mind. He frantically shouted, "Stay back!"
A Hu was stupefied by the command but halted in his tracks. He sensed a sword aura approaching his body. Hence, he spun around and slashed! Like a thin wave, Tiger Fang sent Tang Ye back with a single mighty strike. Though the slash was considered a finisher, the audience felt it was a pity, while the Emperor shook his head.
A Hu had taken the upper hand in his match with Tang Ye and only needed to finish the trapped Tang Ye. Had he finished Tang Ye, Ming Feizhen wouldn't have had any reinforcements, subsequently allowing them to seize the victory. Unfortunately, Jin Wangsun let his emotions get the better of him and, consequently, fell for Ming Feizhen's ploy. It was a question of intellect, not martial skill.
Keeping an indifferent expression, A Hu exchanged blow after blow with Tang Ye once again. He had lost the upper hand he had before, but he didn't gripe, opting to remain silent.
Jin Wangsun ignored A Hu's predicament and focused on cursing to himself, "Sly Ming Feizhen! Had I actually sent Big Cat after you, I'd take on that Tang Ye with my bare hands while Big Cat dealt with your strange movement style. My movement isn't necessarily inferior to Tang Ye's, but you've got Golden Crow Moon Eater, so I would be at a disadvantage even if we fought. You damn sly **!"
Blinded by his rage, Jin Wangsun ignored the people around and thundered, "If I don't show you why I'm not to be trifled with, you're going to look down my Gold and Silver Sect!"
Taking in a deep breath, a burst of golden and ruby colours appeared on his face. Clearly he was utilising some sort of special style!
"Oh," exclaimed the Emperor, wearing on a look of surprise. "Golden Crow Moon Eater Manual! I heard Gold and Silver Sect's martial arts' uses that as its foundation before integrating countless more styles. That said, it supposedly depends on one's level of cultivation. The fact that his face is glowing golden and ruby indicates that he has already mastered the highest level. When I got acquainted with his father back then, Patriarch Jin was already a middle-aged man, yet still hadn't achieve the level Jin Wangsun is displaying. Not bad! Not bad!"
After saying that, however, he looked puzzled, "I did say you can't fight with your bare fists, though. He can't transform his hands into spears, rods or staffs even if he does use Golden Crow Moon Eater Manual."
With a chuckle, the prime minister explained, "Your Majesty, your subject heard that the most formidable aspect of Golden Crow Moon Eater Manual is not the effect on the body, but the fact that all techniques learnt can be put to use by its user without any repercussions. Patriarch Jin might be trying to use a style beyond our imagination to win the contest."
"Oh Such a style exists"
Once Jin Wangsun finished charging, he smashed through the air with a palm thrust that could be compared to a snake shooting out of a cave. It couldn't have been any more obvious that his style had completely changed. Ming Feizhen was able to discern that it was powerful enough for him to have to reveal his true skills if he were to take the strike head on with his internal energy. Subsequently, he needed to evade.
Nevertheless, Jin Wangsun's palm strike didn't end there. The force of his strike seemingly spawned fangs seen on a venomous snake and snatched up a small plate from Assistant Minister Lu's table. Jin Wangsun then reversed the direction his right hand travelled, yanking the plate back and then sending it over towards Ming Feizhen with a palm strike as if it was a hidden weapon.
The plate was actually hurled with enough force to be damaging if it made contact. Ming Feizhen instinctively swung Golden Crow Moon Eater to shatter the plate. Though the swing was swift, there was nothing about it to qualify it as a martial arts technique. But nevertheless, the moment Ming Feizhen swung, he suddenly found himself struggling to steady his grip on it, thereby losing his grip. As he did with the plate, Jin Wangsun used the suction force produced from his palm strike to pull the blade over to himself.
As a martial arts enthusiast, the Emperor was naturally excited to see supreme skills. The Emperor loudly laughed, "Daluo's Empty Palms! That's one of the world's Five Palm styles!"
What made Daluo's Empty palms amazing was commonly spoken of. One of the skills that made it amazing was its ability to grab things without direct physical contact. Mount Daluo also taught another palm style known as Moon Weaving Palms, which encompassed the same skill. However, it prioritised grace instead. In fact, it was the easiest palm style to recognise once used. As such, there was no question that the style Jin Wangsun employed was Empty Palms.
After Jin Wangsun snatched back Golden Crow Moon Eater, Ming Feizhen immediately flung the chicken drumstick in his hand over to Jin Wangsun but was stopped by the force of Jin Wangsun's palm technique. Having caught it with the air, Jin Wangsun sucked it out of the way.
With Golden Crow Moon Eater lingering in limbo, Ming Feizhen lunged over to snatch the sabre again. The exchange was rapid enough to elude the audiences' eyes. However, both used their aces with one using spectacular palm skills and the other, his wits, but no victor was decided in the split-second exchanged.
The Emperor clicked his tongue and remarked, "You know, this is quite the spectacle. Golden Crow Moon Eater is Gold and Silver Sect's key treasure, yet ended up in the hands of a disciple from Mount Daluo. Meanwhile, Empty Palms, which is Mount Daluo's supreme style passed down in the sect, ended up being learnt by Gold and Silver Sect's Patriarch Jin. Did they mix up their curriculums"
Jin Wangsun flaunted his smug look. He learnt Empty Palms in Night Fortress' manual that he stole. Though it was called Empty Palms 2.0, it certainly produced incredible force and worked a miracle for him in the fight. Being able to give Night Fortress' master a taste of his own medicine felt delightful for Jin Wangsun after all the trouble he copped!
Ming Feizhen, however, just looked at Jin Wangsun's smug look without a word.
Jin Wangsun poised himself, intending to unleash Empty Palms again.
"You didn't actually learn Empty Palms."
Jin Wangsun froze. It finally clicked for him; he realised Ming Feizhen used Voice Transmission to speak.
"Don't go thinking that you can fool me with your tripe…"
"The two styles actually share the same origin, which explains why there will be people who'd misunderstand that you mastered Empty Palms. If you don't master the entire manual, people might really think the style you mastered was Empty Palms," explained Ming Feizhen. As he spoke, he took a big stride forward. "Unfortunately, your Golden Crow Moon Eater Manual is superb, and you learnt too fast. You've already reached the highest level. Therefore, your true qi can't help but react to something."
Jin Wangsun wasn't going to buy the story. He aimed at Golden Crow Moon Eater and struck out with Empty Palms.
Ming Feizhen shifted left and right, evading in a manner that wouldn't arouse the suspicion of the people present. A Hu had managed to shake off Tang Ye at that point and turned his attention to Ming Feizhen by swinging his blade at Ming Feizhen's back. Left with no option, Ming Feizhen evaded into the line of Jin Wangsun's Empty Palms attack.
Owing to Ming Feizhen's positioning, he walked a very thin line. On his right was A Hu; on his left was Jin Wangsun's incoming palm strike. Behind him was Elder Statesman's table. The hungry elder statesman's chopsticks were en route to his mouth, but he stopped his hand when he saw Ming Feizhen approach. He froze in place when his eyes made contact with Ming Feizhen.
The sabre in Ming Feizhen's right hand inevitably shifted into the range of Jin Wangsun's sucking technique as a consequence of his positioning. Sadly, the suction force couldn't be evaded. To jog some memories, Jin Wangsun had offended his future in-laws and, therefore, was eager to butter up them. He exclaimed, "Elder Statesman, watch this. Wangsun shall demonstrate an excellent technique for you to admire!"
Jin Wangsun viciously went for to grab the sabre, but ended up grabbing onto the pork shoulder in between the elder statesman's chopsticks…
Furious, Elder Statesman blew his beard and shot Jin Wangsun a glare, "You little bastard! What do you want this old one to see!"
Ming Feizhen burst into laughter. He swung the sabre in hand, gently sweeping it underneath the hands of the two and shaving off a piece of pork shoulder. Then, in his mouth the slice of pork went.
"Uhm! Delicious!" Ming Feizhen exclaimed to himself.
Ming Feizhen grinned. With a light spin, he escaped his two attackers. Jin Wangsun, to the contrary, looked lost for what to do. In his hand was a greasy chunk of meat, while his body stiffly fell forward toward the elder statesman. He probably wanted to get away. Alas, he put too much force behind his palm strike, thereby piercing through the chunk of meat and heading straight for the elder statesman. Fortunately, he terminated his output to avoid splattering the elder statesman's face. His shaking body illustrated his rage.
"Wh-What palm style did you say this was"
"I call it The Shoulder Belongs to Me Grand Art. It was god's creation intended to be used for snatching braised pork shoulders. It's totally normal for you to choose a pork shoulder over a sabre. What, you didn't know that"
Jin Wangsun's glare read, "Piss off! What sort of **ty named style is this!"
Ming Feizhen rolled his eyes to say, "Never forced you to learn it."
Time was up. The Emperor examined the competition field. A Hu and Tang Ye fought to a draw, but there was a definitive victor between Ming Feizhen and Jin Wangsun. Although Jin Wangsun won in terms of martial prowess, it was dismantled by Ming Feizhen's wits. Jin Wangsun had no reason to object to his defeat.
"The winner of round one is Ming Feizhen!"
As soon as the Emperor declared the winner, Jin Wangsun's enraged voice followed, "Wangsun objects! His identity is questionable."
Following that, Jin Wangsun shot Ming Feizhen a fuming glare, "Since you don't know what's good for you, you cant hold a grudge against me for exposing you!"
MKRL theme song with translation =>
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