Chapter 54: I got him!
Yan Wushi sneered, “You, old bald donkey, are praised as one of the top three martial arts experts, yet you still need Duan Wenyang’s help to kill me. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?”
Zen Master Xueting’s expression remained indifferent. “My reputation and self-respect don’t matter as long as Sect Master Yan dies here today. You cling too much to the external appearances. Maybe you should focus more on the essence.”
Yan Wushi burst into laughter, “If you need an assistant from Tujue, why don’t you just conjure Hulugu’s spirit? What can Duan Wenyang do to me?”
“There’s no need to be overly confident about yourself. When you end up losing your life here today, it will only bring shame to yourself even in hell.”
The person’s movements were not at all slowed down by the talking. In just a split second, the shadows of his whip had already covered the entire sky, blocking all of Yan Wushi’s escape routes above.
Duan Wenyang’s old whip was destroyed in the fight with Li Qingyu and Shen Qiao. The one he was holding right now was a newly made one named, “Ten Miles of Red”. The efforts put into making it wasn’t any less than what was spent on that old one —— in fact, this one was perhaps even more flexible. Under the movement of his wrist and his changing body positions, the whip created a myriad of dazzling phantoms, making others perplexed.
His martial power had apparently improved significantly since their last encounter at the Residence of Su.
A man would continue to improve as long as he was neither stupid nor content with being just ordinary —— their enemies alike.
Duan Wenyang’s whip followed a strange and changeful style with some western bladearts techniques mixed into it. As a combination of both, it appeared so vast and boundless like a never-ending sandstorm blowing straight into people’s faces, drowning them in desperation until they lost all will to fight.
But his opponent was Yan Wushi.
Yan Wushi had no weapon in his hand. He put two fingers together as his “sword” and moved casually between two of the greatest martial experts of their generation. All flower petals and dead leaves turned into thousands of sharp blades under the manipulation of his inner qi, nullifying all of Duan Wenyang’s attacks in an instant.
Xueting didn’t show much expression. In fact, he looked more like a god than those Buddha statues in temples. There was neither displeasure nor fondness on his face, as if he was never affected by the external world.
Even after he saw Duan Wenyang suffer a setback, he didn’t show any surprise or concern. He formed a print with both hands, then slowly pushed them forward. The condensation of inner qi had given the tips of his fingers, which were already exceptionally pale, a faint, almost crystal-like glow. Even his face appeared to be covered by a thin layer of moonlight, making him look as handsome as a jade statue.
The “Acala Prints” had a total of six stances. He had just used three in a row, yet they were proven ineffective on Yan Wushi. Right now, he was forming the fourth and the fifth ones —— the “Immovable Mountain” and the“Serene Smile”.
The former was a defensive move used in place of an attack, while the latter countered the strong with softness. The complicated and changeful prints turned into something extremely beautiful and pleasing in his hands, making people lower their guards subconsciously.
When he released the “Immovable Mountain”, everyone heard their ears ringing, and their heads blanked momentarily. Even the whip in Duan Wenyang’s hand paused for a second. However, Yan Wushi wasn’t affected by it at all —— the man even sneered. Completely ignoring the flower-like print that Xueting had just released was approaching him from behind, his hand reached out for Duan Wenyang’s whip. As if the invisible curtain weaved by layers upon layers of whip shadows was nonexistent, he caught the other person’s whip with his bare hand just like that! He pulled it towards himself and, with a quick twist, he turned around and redirected all of Duan Wenyang’s inner qi back to Zen Master Xueting!
Xueting tapped the ground with his feet and slid several meters back. Despite having to fight two people by himself, Yan Wushi did not retreat but chased immediately after him. For a brief moment, they stood face to face as their palms clapped.
The strong finally met the strong. The inner qi from two grandmaster-level martial experts clashed on a narrow path, and the power it created was terrifying. With a deafening bang, a vortex formed around the two people as if it was going to engulf the entire world. Duan Wenyang felt strong turbulence hitting him right in the face. He had to withdraw his whip and take five or six steps back before he could escape its dreadful impact.
But the two people at the center of the storm remained perfectly still. The debris under their feet was carried up by the inner qi and swirled freely over the sky.
Xueting stared at Yan Wushi fixedly, his face completely emotionless. A strong feeling suddenly welled up inside him: if he could not kill the other person today, he might not ever have the chance to do so!
Xueting also had the pride of a grandmaster. If the situation allowed, he would rather have an open and fair duel with Yan Wushi all by himself. But he was also responsible for the revival of the Buddhist sects, with Yan Wushi being his biggest obstacle. Only by eliminating Yan Wushi could the Buddhist sects regain their prior status in Northern Zhou. He could not afford to lose this fight. He must win!
Yan Wushi suddenly smiled at him. The smile was inexplicably strange. Xueting couldn’t help but slightly frown.
The next moment, Yan Wushi stopped fighting him. He turned around and threw himself at Duan Wenyang.
At the same time, Duan Wenyang had just raised the “Ten Miles of Red” high above him and was going to swing it at Yan Wushi’s head.
This whip carried the weight of a thousand tons. Because he had exerted all of his inner qi onto it, the whip became a band of bright light.
But he didn’t expect Yan Wushi to suddenly abandon Xueting and start walking towards him.
Walking, indeed. Or casually strolling to be more precise. However, with just a few steps, he was already in front of Duan Wenyang. He lifted his hand, reaching toward that band of white light.
It was a weird move. His hand seemed very slow, but it accurately captured the trace behind those whip shadows —— Yan Wushi caught the “Ten Miles of Soft Red” just like that, without even a scratch on his hand.
The look on Duan Wenyang’s face changed. Before he could react, the other person had already pulled his fingers together, and the whip which had cost Duan Wenyang quite some thoughts to make crumbled under the force of the grip!
“Hasn’t your master taught you that all weapons are meaningless before an absolute expert?”
Yan Wushi’s lips curved into a cruel smile. As he was talking, his hand was already following the whip’s cracks and sliding towards Duan Wenyang’s arm.
An ordinary person would probably be caught by him, but Duan Wenyang was not ordinary. He didn’t waste more time mourning the loss of his whip. The moment the whip was destroyed, he had already released his hand while striking the other one towards Yan Wushi’s chest.
Zen Master Xueting’s attack arrived at the same time. The “Acala Prints” had already reached the middle of Yan Wushi’s back. Despite the fact that Xueting had initiated it after Duan Wenyang, his palm was somehow even faster than the latter’s!
Yan Wushi didn’t move his feet, but his body had already disappeared in front of Duan Wenyang. The latter knew it was probably just a diversionary trick. It was not possible for a person to suddenly vanish so completely without leaving even an afterimage. He didn’t slow down his attack at all.
But his hand indeed missed!
How could there be a lightness so fast?
Duan Wenyang couldn’t believe it.
On the other side, Yan Wushi and Xueting’s hands clapped for the second time.
This time, the force it created was even stronger. Shaken by their inner qi, the trees near them shuddered so violently that they were almost falling to the ground, their trunks cracking at a speed visible to the naked eye.
This time, both Yan Wushi and Xueting took three steps backwards.
Is this man a monster?!
Such a thought suddenly flashed across Duan Wenyang’s mind after he saw the man’s skill and the fight between the two.
He always flaunted himself as being exceptionally gifted, that even his master Hulugu couldn’t have done any better at his age. However, ever since he encountered the monster-like Yan Wushi, he had experienced nothing but setbacks. Back then when he first heard how his martial brother Kunye ended up all battered and exhausted from being chased around by Yan Wushi, he had sneered at the other guy’s incompetence. But now it looked like he wasn’t any better than him.
Was having three top-level grandmasters working together, including Zen Master Xueting who was said to be one of the best three in the world, still not enough to kill Yan Wushi?!
“The move he just used is called Shadow Shifter. One who masters it can reach the state where even the horizon seems just a foot’s distance away. He may appear to be right next to you, while in fact, he has never approached you. His focus has always been on that monk Xueting. Don’t be confused by him.”
A voice sounded next to Duan Wenyang’s ears. The other person had concentrated the sound into a narrow beam so only he could hear it, but Duan Wenyang was no stranger to that voice.
As soon as the voice drifted off, a sword suddenly appeared on Yan Wushi’s left.
Together with the sword came a few isolated zither notes.
The dense purple sword light roamed around in the air, acting in perfect harmony with the sound of the zither. The sound, using the zither as a medium and taking the opportunity that Yan Wushi was completely focused on fighting Xueting, broke right through the inner qi which Yan Wushi had cautiously constructed to protect his body. Having originated from the same source, the shared foundation of their demonic martial arts allowed it to quickly find the other person’s hidden weakness.
The instant the weakness was revealed, the sword light came just in time, tearing the space and aiming right at Yan Wushi!
“The Fundamentals of Phoenix-Qilin has a flaw. The better one gets, the more fatal this flaw becomes. Yan Wushi has already reached the ninth stage, and this flaw is exactly what’s keeping him from perfecting it. If we want to kill him, now is the time!”
Guang Lingsan’s voice sounded loud and clear, but no one saw where the person was. Maybe he had arrived a long time ago and had been hiding all this time, waiting for the right time so the enchanting effect of his zither could be maximized.
Out of everyone present, if there was one person who had the right to comment on Yan Wushi’s martial arts, it had to be the sect leader of the Mirror of Arts Sect who was also a member of the Demonic sects just like him.
The purple sword light darted forth unstoppably and pierced right through Yan Wushi’s clothes. His back was instantly soaked in blood.
Yan Wushi humphed, “A bunch of useless people. I’m tired of playing with you all!”
He turned around and pushed away Yu Ai’s sword. The Saintly Principle Sword swung slightly to the side but still managed to charge towards Yan Wushi.
The zither melody suddenly turned from subduing to enthusiastic!
Guang Lingsan shouted, “There’s the weak point of his Demonic Core!”
Before he finished the last word, another person appeared from the other direction, greeting Yan Wushi with his fierce strike!
At the same time, Zen Master Xueting’s hands were busy forming the last seal, the final stance of the “Acala Prints” —— Fire of Karma!
The fire was like a vast, boundless sea of red lotuses, and the raging flames were its tides, ready to burn all the absurdity in this world.
Yan Wushi’s meticulous, perfect inner qi finally showed a small slit.
The fire permeated it slowly, gradually expanding the cracks. In the end, it suddenly tore it apart and went straight for the Demonic Core, pulling it up by the roots!
In the next second, five fine, slender fingers stamped right on Yan Wushi’s chest.
A trace of blood came out of the latter’s mouth.
But his expression also turned ferocious. He flung his sleeve towards Xueting. The powerful inner qi rushing out of it forced the latter to dodge. Xueting leaped half a step back.
This half a step was all Yan Wushi needed. He turned around, grabbed the sword which was still buried inside his body and gave it a hard twist. Just like when he smashed Duan Wenyang’s whip, the Saintly Principle Sword immediately shattered to pieces! Yan Wushi curled his fingers into a claw shape and went straight for Yu Ai’s face. Within a mere instant, the two of them had already exchanged a few dozen moves. Right at this moment, however, Dou Yanshan happened to strike another palm, and it successfully hit the unguarded spot on Yan Wushi’s back.
I got him!
Dou Yanshan didn’t think it would work and was delightfully surprised by this sudden turn of events. He had used all of his martial power on that attack. There was no way Yan Wushi could come out safe and sound after taking a firm hit like this.
Having the strikes from Zen Master Xueting and Dou Yanshan lay the cornerstone greatly reduced the pressure on Duan Wenyang and Yu Ai’s side.
Even though Guang Lingsan never showed his face, the contribution of his zither could not go unnoticed. In fact, he was the one who discovered Yan Wushi’s weak point that was left by the qi deviation after the man’s last fight with Ruyan Kehui, and it was this discovery that allowed them to directly nail Yan Wushi’s core.
Seeing that Xueting didn’t follow up with the initial success but only watched from the side, Dou Yanshan stopped too and asked, “Master, why did you stop?”
Xueting replied, “Yan Wushi and I each have our own political stands, but there’s no personal grudge between us. This ambush is a must, but it is against my own will. No matter what, a rival like him deserves respect, not death in such a place.”
Dou Yanshan sneered in his head. He thought to himself, ‘If you’re as noble and virtuous as you claim to be, then you shouldn’t participate in this at all.’ But he didn’t show any of it on his face and only admired him with a smile, “Master, you really show the demeanor of a true expert!”
Xueting seemed to know what was passing in the other person’s mind. He replied coldly, “Chairman Dou should know this: even if we kill Yan Wushi, you still can’t get back that piece of the script he destroyed.”
Dou Yanshan chuckled, “Yan Wushi has stirred up trouble for the entire world. His death will probably bring everything back to peace, and the Buddhist sects can thrive once again. Speaking of which, I still need to congratulate you for it!”
While they were talking, Yan Wushi was hit by another palm. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to leave, but because his weak point had already been revealed, his mind was now hampered by the sound of the zither. The two hits he had taken earlier also inflicted internal injuries, causing his martial power to decrease drastically. Now, under Yu Ai and Duan Wenyang’s pressing moves, his defensive inner qi finally collapsed, and another two more palms hit his body.
Of course, Yu Ai and Duan Wenyang weren’t doing much better. One of them broke his sword and had taken three strikes on the chest. He took a few heavy steps backwards, his face ghastly pale, and finally collapsed onto the ground. The other one lost his whip and was also internally injured with some broken ribs as he spat out several mouthfuls of blood.
Surprisingly, with a situation like this, Yan Wushi still had enough strength to escape. His body turned into a series of afterimages. The look on Dou Yanshan and Guang Lingsan’s faces changed simultaneously, but it was already too late for them to stop him.
At the same time, Xueting disappeared from where he was. He pushed his lightness skill to its best and stopped Yan Wushi midway. The “Acala Prints” forced Yan Wushi to take the enemy head-on, and as a result, he lost the final chance to escape. However, Xueting had retreated more than five steps this time. His face suddenly turned extremely red then extremely pale the next second —— he was forcing himself to swallow back the blood welling up to his mouth.
Yan Wushi burst out laughing.
But the laughter stopped abruptly as he spouted a mouthful of blood.
Dou Yanshan quickly moved in, striking a hand right at the Baihui Acupoint on the top of Yan Wushi’s head!
Yan Wushi finally fell to the ground.
Zen Master Xueting frowned. In the end, he decided not to say anything.
He watched as Yan Wushi’s eyes slowly closed, chanted the Buddha’s name one more time, put his hands together and bowed. Then he turned around and left without another glance.
Yu Ai and Duan Wenyang were both seriously injured. Seeing that Yan Wushi had no way to survive, they also left one after the other to treat their wounds.
Dou Yanshan lowered his body and examined the corpse carefully. After confirming that the other person had indeed stopped breathing, a smile finally appeared on his face. He said to Guang Lingsan who had just walked out holding a zither in his arms, “Congratulations, Sect Master Guang! The day for you to unify the Three Sects is just around the corner.”
“Thank you for your kind words. Are you certain that Yan Wushi is dead?”
“Of course, my hand just crashed his skull, plus his internal organs are probably ruptured and still bleeding from the many strikes he took earlier. There’s no way he can live.”
Guan Lingsan smiled, “There is one set of martial arts practiced among the Demonic sects called the Nether. It allows one to sacrifice their own health and enter a state similar to a feigned death before they completely lose the opportunity to live, thus preserving a slim chance of survival. The only problem is that one has to suffer extreme pain while practicing it, and it isn’t very useful during normal times, therefore few are willing to learn it.”
Dou Yanshan asked, “Are you worried that Yan Wushi may have also practiced such martial arts?”
“The main action has already been taken. There’s no harm in being more careful with the cleanup.”
He walked towards Yan Wushi and reached for the latter’s wrist.
A sheathed sword stopped him.
The body of the sword was so simple to the point of being almost crude. There was nothing extraordinary about it, except the four seal characters engraved next to the hilt —— “ Grieving Celestial Sword”.
Guang Lingsan’s expression changed. He didn’t even know when the person appeared.
“He may have made many enemies when he was alive, but he’s still a grandmaster of his generation. The dead deserve the greatest reverence. Isn’t your action a little inappropriate to a respected opponent?”
Dou Yanshan squinted his eyes and announced the arriver’s name, pausing after each syllable.