Book 2 Chapter 25 - Old Cloth Strips, Black Long Blade
Self Defense Freshman Dormitory, Tang Ke who was sitting outside on the corridor coldly shot Lin Xi a look, immediately saying without any leeway, “I do not agree.”
“Lin Xi, normally, I’ve always felt like you were much smarter than all of us, yet today, why are you this foolish, agreeing to fight him?” Before waiting for Lin Xi to respond, he added, “Even though Qiu Lu looks like he is weak, during Teacher Tong’s testing, he pulled the bowstring back seven finger lengths. This is to say, the amount of time he has spent as a cultivator is roughly the same as myself, at most a bit inferior to me in terms of martial skill.”
Lin Xi looked at Tang Ke extremely innocently, speaking in a rather wronged manner, “But back then, there were so many people watching! If I didn’t agree, I really wouldn’t have any face left, you know…”
“No face? Turns out you actually cared about this?” Tang Ke took a deep breath, resisting his urge to smack Lin Xi. When he thought about all the things that happened in the border army, his heart couldn’t help but become ice-cold. “Lin Xi.” He looked at Lin Xi, saying with a serious voice, “I had at least three friends in the border army who, just like you, were unwilling to accept reality, or, because of their grudge against others, wanted to prove themselves, but in the end, not a single one of them survived.”
Lin Xi was immediately stuck in a situation where he didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “Come on, don’t be that serious… actually, I…”
Originally, he wanted to say that he had confidence, but Tang Ke cut him off. “Lin Xi, do you know the real reason why I am not willing to return to the border army? I don’t fear death, it’s not that I can’t stand the biting of the pests hidden in the mountain forest, nor do I find the fear of potential arrows penetrating my body at any time unbearable, I just don’t want to see my good friends die anymore, die while I can only watch helplessly.”
“Do you know what it feels like to have a friend on your back, someone you wish to save, but his body instead gradually becomes cold? Do you know how it feels to watch as the blood trickling from his mouth congeals?” Tang Ke looked at Lin Xi, his expression pale, his body also couldn’t help but tremble.
Lin Xi’s playful heart immediately vanished.
He looked at Tang Ke. Compared to his shriveled and skinny self when he first entered the academy, Tang Ke was now much sturdier, but because he chewed his food especially carefully, the muscles on his face were more defined than others, making the shape of his face a bit square, couldn’t be considered handsome. Meanwhile, his short hair that was already starting to grow a bit was bound behind his head, facing upwards, making him look much more incomparable and wild compared to ordinary academy students.
He was still like a long blade from the border army, giving off the feeling that he was dangerous and quick to resort to violence. However, when Lin Xi looked at Tang Ke, he knew that this young man’s heart was much softer than many golden spoon youngsters.
“Okay, I promise you that when I head out with you in the future, I will definitely be more careful, I won’t die before you.” Lin Xi patted Tang Ke’s shoulder, and then seriously said, “Actually, what I wanted to tell you was that in reality… it’s not that serious either. There is still a high chance that I can defeat Qiu Lu tomorrow.”
Tang Ke took a deep breath, shaking his head and saying, “Lin Xi, the difference in cultivation isn’t as simple as you are imagining. Even though the black armor restricts us, his strength is still greater than yours.”
Lin Xi looked at him, suddenly quietly saying, “I am also on the list.”
Tang Ke was immediately stunned. “What did you say?”
Lin Xi patted his shoulder, repeating each word quietly. “I. Am. Also. On. That. List.”
Tang Ke was stupefied once again.
“Actually, after I defeated an opponent today, based on my own suspicions, my strength should be roughly equal to Qiu Lu’s now.” Lin Xi knew that he had to explain some things sooner or later, so he quietly spoke by Tang Ke’s ears, “Associate Professor An taught me some things that were extremely useful.”
“You really withdrew from the valley with five emblems twice in a row?” Tang Ke was finally convinced that Lin Xi wasn’t joking.
“Of course it’s real.” Lin Xi laughed. Suddenly, his eyes brightened, because he recalled that Tang Ke should be one of the most formidable individuals among Green Luan Academy’s new students. Tang Ke always carried that black blade too, so he should be able to learn quite a few things from him too, right? Moreover, Lin Xi originally planned to practice some archery and swordsmanship before meditation cultivation anyway, as such, he immediately said excitedly towards Tang Ke, “How about we go out and practice a bit?”
“The academy prohibits private battles… but if it isn’t out of conflict, there shouldn’t be any issues.” Tang Ke also became curious. Lin Xi, who he always thought to be extremely fragile, actually already withdrew with five emblems twice in a row? He himself only did it three times.
“You… why do you also have…” When he saw what Lin Xi brought out from his room, Tang Ke even more so released an exclaim of admiration.
What Lin Xi was carrying was a black border army long blade!
“I asked Lecturer Mu Qing to get me one.” Lin Xi said with a chuckle.
While looking at the rather proud Lin Xi, and then at the border army long blade in his hands, Tang Ke released a deep breath, a bit speechless as he looked at Lin Xi. “Now, I really believe you.”
The academy normally didn’t prohibit moving around. Moreover, starting from Green Luan Academy students’ second year, they could train outside for some coursework, which was why Green Luan Academy really was vast but sparsely populated. If one wanted to find an open, unmanned place to brandish a long blade, it really was too easy.
After making their way past the wooden path that extended across the center of this peak, Lin Xi and Tang Ke who both had a black long blade on their backs stopped on a small uncultivated slope.
Green Luan Academy was at the peak of Heaven Ascension Mountain Range to begin with, the bright moon and stars all especially large and bright. Under the bright moonlight, Tang Ke was completely concentrated on Lin Xi, while Lin Xi was also single-mindedly focused on drawing his blade. Following the things An Keyi passed down to him, he took a step, and hacked out, the non-reflective black long blade starting to spin at his side.
The moment Lin Xi’s blade was released, Tang Ke’s eyes were already filled with shock and respect. As the empire’s greatest holy land, the strength of some of its lecturers and professors truly reached a level unimaginable to outsiders. The motions Lin Xi displayed right now seemed extremely proficient in his eyes. Each slice of the blade, each step, each movement of the arm and wrist, the feeling they gave off was like a blade that spun in midair, and then every single movement the body made was merely to add speed to this blade’s movement. This made it so that with Lin Xi’s current strength, every single flick possessed extraordinary speed.
He could imagine that if this was accompanied by powerful soul force… in that weak looking bookworm-like associate professor’s hands, hacking out like this, just what kind of terrifying speed and power it would display!
Lin Xi who had completed many attack movements breathed heavily as he asked Tang Ke. He wiped away the sweat from his forehead, and then added, “Teacher An said this cutting method of hers, if speed is pursued, then the essence is that the moment after it makes contact with the enemy’s weapon or body, one needs to borrow the recoil force, thus making the blade move even faster. It is just like a skipping stone on a water surface, allowing the skipping stone to quickly bounce out again after it makes contact with the water surface.”
“In our army, this type of blade skill is already enough to be considered god tier skills.” After remaining silent for a long time, Tang Ke looked at Lin Xi and said, “The speed at which I release my blade right now is at most about the same as yours, my experiences cannot be compared to hers at all, so if I give random suggestions, it might instead have opposite results. The only thing I can help you with right now is to tell you,from your blade momentum, if I use the words some people from the border army would use… it might be useful when you need a life gambling strike.”
“Useful when I need a life gambling strike?”
Tang Ke held his own black long blade in hand, undoing the old and sturdy cloth strips around the blade handle, one end wrapping tightly around his own arm, one end around the handle.
After completing these preparations, Tang Ke released one strike towards the space before him, and then delivered a second strike.
Lin Xi’s attention was completely concentrated. He could tell that Tang Ke was imitating his own movements. Precisely on the third strike, Tang Ke’s movements suddenly became much more fierce than before, completely forgetting about their effects on the next attack, fiercely stabbing out. At the same time, the long blade in his hands flew out.
The speed at which the blade flew out was even faster, whistling through the air. However, after shooting out, it descended again, gripped in Tang Ke’s hand.
Tang Ke, who had the blade in hand, looked at Lin Xi whose brows were tightly furrowed, not saying anything to prevent himself from disturbing Lin Xi’s train of thought.
“This is the life gambling strike one makes when one feels like they cannot injure the opponent… by letting go, not only will it become more fierce and faster, it can also increase the reach a bit. The enemy might think that you can’t do anything, but will instead be cut down by you…” Lin Xi thought while slowly saying this.
Tang Ke nodded, starting to undo the sturdy old cloth strips from the sword hilt, saying seriously, “This training valley isn’t like the border army’s chaotic battles, there won’t be too many people attacking you from all sides. That is why once this blade leaves your hand, you don’t need to reach the level where you can immediately retrieve it afterwards… this is merely a small trick used by non-cultivators in the border army. As a cultivator, there are much greater methods in the future, so you don’t necessarily need to waste time on this. What you have to take note of is that when we encounter opponents in the training valley, they are all covered in black armor, which is why this strike must strike them in comparatively weaker areas, or else once the enemy counterattacks, you will lose your chance to turn things over.”
Lin Xi nodded. “I get what you’re saying.”
“This is for you.” Tang Ke handed the old cloth strips to Lin Xi. “The training valley doesn’t allow people to bring in weapons, but this isn’t considered a weapon, if you wrap it around your arm, the lecturers won’t care. The first day I went inside, I also had it wrapped around the black armor.”
“Thanks man… let me give it a try, teach me how to tie it a bit tighter so that it doesn’t fly out too far after leaving. Otherwise, even if I knock the other party down, by the time I find my blade again, they’ll have already caught their breath. That would really suck.”
Mu Qing stood on a bell tower rooftop not far away, silently watching Lin Xi and Tang Ke’s training, a trace of a warm smile appearing on the corners of her lips. “I hope you two can always remain good friends like this.” In her heart, quite a few of her own joyful and beautiful memories resurfaced.