Chapter 31: Fight!
“Final match of the training,” said Grand Elder Ouyang, looking encouragingly at Meng Hao. “Meng Hao and Wang Tengfei. The victor shall be promoted to the Inner Sect.”
Everyone stared at Meng Hao as he leapt up onto the platform. Wang Tengfei opened his eyes and casually stepped up. Conversations erupted amongst the Outer Sect disciples.
“Meng Hao really dares to step onto the platform. His Cultivation base is pretty good, and he did kill Han Zong, but this is Elder Brother Wang he’s fighting. He really doesn’t know his own limitations.”
“There will always be stumbling blocks on the path to power. This is just a little pebble that Elder Brother Wang has to walk over on his rise to the top.”
“I remember when he snatched a magical item that Elder Brother Wang had given someone as a gift. When Elder Brother Wang took it back, he was like an ant in front of him.” Conversations filled the air, filled with ridicule. It wasn’t that everyone felt great enmity towards Meng Hao, but rather, in their hearts, Elder Brother Wang was someone you just didn’t mess with.
“If he dies under Wang Tengfei’s hand, it won’t be easy to get his bag of holding,” thought Shangguan Xiu, frowning. He looked at Meng Hao.
Even as everyone in the crowd sneered at Meng Hao, once again putting him at odds against the world, suddenly, a shrill, clear voice suddenly rang out.
“Go Meng Hao! You’re gonna win! The next Inner Sect disciple will definitely be Meng Hao!” It was Fatty, shouting out from down in the square in his cracking, teenage voice.
The jumble of voices reached Meng Hao, but they seemed very far away. He stood there calmly, staring coldly at Wang Tengfei. Meng Hao knew that from the moment he had entered the world of Cultivation until now, he had never faced a more powerful opponent. This would be his most difficult battle yet.
But he wouldn’t shrink back. He would fight. He would attack. There are some things in life that a man must do, because of dignity.
The scene from that day continued to play out in his head, and he absentmindedly rubbed his bag of holding.
Inside were the ten blood-stained fingernails he’d plucked out of his palms.
Wang Tengfei stood there calmly, giving a cool look to Meng Hao. His eyes were placid, as if he were looking down at an insect. He looked just like he did that year.
He waved his right hand as if he were flicking away a bug, and in front of him a spinning whirlwind appeared, about as tall as a person. It whirled towards Meng Hao.
Meng Hao’s eyes gleamed. He had nothing to say to Wang Tengfei. Everything he wanted to say could be said with swords, magic, and this most fierce battle in all his 18 years of life.
He stepped forward, lifting his right hand and sending a Wind Blade screaming toward the whirlwind. It radiated a savage wind as it flew forward.
He slapped his bag of holding, and twenty flying swords flew out in a line. Some seemed to be bent, unable to fly straight, but their sword auras glittered blindingly. He lifted a finger on his right hand and pointed. The twenty flying swords became a rainbow as they shot with immense power directly toward Wang Tengfei.
The dazzling sword auras were like rain, and as their combined power shot toward Wang Tengfei, the whirlwind slammed into them. An explosion reverberated through the air as the whirlwind was torn open. The flying swords, now directionless, were suddenly sucked up into the whirlwind. From a distance, it looked as if the whirlwind had transformed into a vortex of swords. But the whirlwind was growing weaker, and looked as if it would fall apart at any moment.
Wang Tengfei’s expression didn’t change in the least. He walked forward, and the power of his Cultivation base, at the peak of the sixth level of Qi Condensation, burst forth, forming into an unprecedented spiritual pressure. The fingers of his right hand moved in incantation patterns, and a thin, sparkling strand of water shot toward Meng Hao.
This was not a technique of the Reliance Sect, but rather Wang Tengfei’s clan.
Seeing this, Meng Hao unhesitatingly popped a Demonic Core into his mouth. With his left hand, he called back the flying swords from within the vortex. They flew back to him unsteadily. With his right hand, he formed movements with his fingers to summon a Flame Python, a dozen or more meters long. It charged toward the Water Thread, roaring so loud that it seemed as if a tempest had struck.
“Water-Wind, slay!” said Wang Tengfei. Although he didn’t look scornful, his calm expression was the same as it had been that day when he almost crippled Meng Hao’s Cultivation base, confident and filled with disregard.
As soon as the words left his mouth, the glittered Water Thread melded with the whirlwind to form a massive, rapidly spinning column which then dropped down toward Meng Hao.
The twenty flying swords spun to block the descending column, and a boom rang out as the swords scattered. Some of them even broke to pieces. Meng Hao had already retreated to the edge of the platform. In front of him remained a large stain of water as wide as a hand and approximately nine meters long, frightening in appearance.
A line of blood appeared on Meng Hao’s forehead. It slowly oozed down his nose, giving him an even more savage appearance.
Twenty flying swords had been able to shake Han Zong, but this was Wang Tengfei, and he hadn’t even used any magical items yet, merely some techniques that Meng Hao had never seen before. Thankfully, Meng Hao had been able to evade death. Were his Cultivation base at the fifth level of Qi Condensation, he would not have been able to dodge.
“Wang Tengfei has powerful latent talent,” thought Shangguan Xiu, “and has a lot of experience using the powers and abilities of Qi Condensation. Even someone of the seventh level would have a tough time with him. Meng Hao is definitely going to die.” His frown deepened as he looked at Meng Hao, and his eyes shone with murder. However, he still didn’t know how he would retrieve Meng Hao’s bag of holding after he died.
Wang Tengfei seemed as calm as ever when Meng Hao evaded his attack. It was as his attack had been a mere afterthought. If an elephant wants to crush an ant, and its first step misses, the second will not. He gave a beautiful, indifferent smile then took another step forward, raising his right hand and waving a finger toward Meng Hao.
As soon as he waved his finger, Meng Hao heard a buzz from the surrounding audience. It reminded him of that day when he had stood against the world. Wang Tengfei had used one finger attack to bind him, one to destroy his jade pendant, one to take away the gourd bottle, and one to attempt to cripple his Cultivation base.
A powerful fighting spirit shone in Meng Hao’s eyes. He had been humiliated by Wang Tengfei’s finger attack, but he was a different person today. Even though he hadn’t made up his mind to register for the Inner Sect training, but had rather been forced to sign up by circumstances, he had been prepared to do so for some time. In the past month, most of his time had been spent learning how to sacrifice a bit of dexterity to be able to control large amounts of flying swords.
As Wang Tengfei’s finger descended, Meng Hao slapped his bag of holding, consumed a Demonic Core, and then began moving his fingers in incantation patterns. Suddenly, the ten or so remaining flying swords began to tremble, then suddenly lifted off the ground and flew back toward him from all directions.
They rotated around his body, and he lowered his hands, then pointed toward Wang Tengfei. The flying swords shot out with shocking speed, screaming toward Wang Tengfei.
At the same time, more flying swords appeared from within his bag of holding, until his limit was reached. There seemed to be enough to break down a city wall. With frightening power, they filled the sky, flying toward Wang Tengfei’s finger attack.
An explosion rattled the entire Outer Sect as twenty flying swords collided with the invisible power emanating from Wang Tengfei’s index finger. Amidst the explosion, the twenty flying swords twisted about, some of them shattering into pieces. They had successfully blocked the finger attack.
Blood seeped out of Meng Hao’s mouth and veins of blood filled his eyes. He consumed another Demonic Core. His killing intent flared, but he still hadn’t spoken a single word. That was just his personality; the more he wanted to kill someone, the more furious he became, the quieter he would be.
Wang Tengfei looked as placid as ever, as if he didn’t give a care in the world that Meng Hao stood in front of him. Only he could be filled with such arrogance and disregard.
Taking another step forward, he made his second finger attack.
This was the attack that had shattered Meng Hao’s jade pendant. Meng Hao didn’t bother to spit the blood out of his mouth. He swallowed it. Fingers flickering with incantations, he sent the remaining scattered flying swords shooting toward Wang Tengfei in another attack. Then, surprisingly, he severed his control link to the swords, letting them fly forward with their own inertia.
He slapped his bag of holding, and suddenly more sword auras appeared, another twenty, forming a second wave that whistled forward. This was a sword rain that contained nearly forty flying swords in total!
Meng Hao knew that this tactic had its weaknesses. The flying swords wouldn’t be dexterous, only fast and sharp. His opponent wouldn’t find it difficult to avoid an attack. But Meng Hao was betting that considering his opponent’s vast arrogance, he would most likely not try to dodge.
Even if he did try to dodge, Meng Hao would be ready. He had naturally considered this possibility, and was prepared for it.
The scene that was unfolding could only be described as an epic battle. For Cultivators practicing Qi Condensation, it was something seldom seen. In the entire State of Zhao in the past several hundred years, there had never been such a battle between two people of the sixth level of Qi Condensation!
Meng Hao had plenty of flying swords. After his experience on the black mountain, he had put a lot of thought into his use of battle magic. With the help of the Wind Blade, he could control large amounts of flying swords. However, it took a lot of spiritual power, and he could only summon twenty each time. Furthermore, his Cultivation base only permitted him to exercise basic control, enough to shoot them forward. He couldn’t move them nimbly in the air, or cause them to change directions. He essentially sacrificed the dexterity of the flying sword and focused on its ability to fly.
As such, he could use even larger groups of them, the same way an ordinary person might just throw objects in succession. Except, he wasn’t using his hands, he was using spiritual power to ensure their forward movement. As long as he had enough swords and his spiritual power didn’t run out, he could pay the price.
Wang Tengfei didn’t use Reliance Sect techniques, because he disdained the Reliance Sect and their techniques. He used techniques of his powerful Clan, enabling him to gain an edge on his peers.