Chapter 161 – Eyes Closed and Unseeing; A Hundred Blades Arise
Translated by: bbkgs
Edited by: bbkgs
TLCed by: bbkgs
Sand rose from the ground, akin to an explosion, Chen Chang Sheng suddenly disappeared from sight.
Only a single striking sound could be heard and a distinct sword mark appeared on the wall.
Chen Chang Sheng’s figure reappeared, his position was around 7 metres away from his original position. It was impossible to discern how he had arrived at that location.
He used the edge of his vision for a single glance, seeing that the sword mark left upon the wall was about an inch deep, faintly showing the pale stone within.
This is His Holiness’ Green Leaf World, within a constructed reality, structures here are extraordinarily robust, not to mention, a defensive array was being used in the Tower of Purging Dust.
The seemingly casual sword manoeuvre used by Zhuang Huan Yu had actually managed to leave such a deep scar upon the stone wall, it didn’t take much to imagine the amount of damage it would have done if it had landed on Chen Chang Sheng.
Even if his body’s physical defence was unbelievably high, it couldn’t possibly withstand that move directly.
Luckily, he had never thought of neutralising or blocking that sword manoeuvre, from the start, his intention was to avoid it.
At the moment the blade was drawn by Zhuang Huan Yu, Chen Chang Sheng moved; as the imposing sword flash reflected in his eyes, his right leg had already stepped onto the sandy floor, instantaneously moving.
If the sand-strewn floor could accurately mirror the real world’s night sky, then his initial position would have been the location of the Three Stars Mansion in the Southwestern direction and his current position would be the location of the Neck Mansion in the Southeastern direction.
He cast the sand as a blizzard, borrowing a blizzard’s form and traversing the Twenty-Eight Mansions of the constellations above; his motion technique was erratic and unpredictable; this, was Discerning Steps.
“So that’s Discerning Steps?” said Zhuang Huan Yu, while looking at him calmly, not feeling surprised at his dodging of the sword flash, it was evident that Chen Chang Sheng’s performances in the previous rounds were all known to him.
Chen Chang Sheng didn’t say anything, his right hand continued to firmly grip onto his sword’s hilt, his gaze was slightly low, resting upon Zhuang Huan Yu’s sword bearing right hand.
Zhuang Huan Yu took a step forward, holding out his sword horizontally, his manner was extremely relaxed.
Chen Chang Sheng could clearly see his right hand, which held his blade, gently tighten, the nails turning pale; all signs of impending motion.
Several lines of sword flashes, silently, without indication, cut across a distance of 30 odd metres, arriving in front of him.
Chen Chang Sheng once again moved before the sword flashes arrived, his divine sense focused to a thread, his figure suddenly accelerating. It seemed as if he had taken two steps to the West, yet in the midst of the transition, he had arrived at the rear.
It was still Discerning Steps, this time, he had followed the Southeastern path of the Seventh Mansion.
*BANG* *BANG* *BANG* *BANG*
Several sharp sounds of cutting could be heard erupting from the wall behind him towards the right.
Fragments of stone clattered onto the ground, four distinct sword marks appeared; swift and powerful to the extreme.
Zhuang Huan Yu’s expression remained calm, he stepped forwards once more, shortening the distance between him and Chen Chang Sheng by another step.
Chen Chang Sheng stared at Zhuang Huan Yu’s right hand with stern concentration.
Zhuang Huan Yu’s blade was too swift, too fierce, the battle had only just begun and he had only wielded his blade twice, yet Chen Chang Sheng was already feeling heavily pressured.
A faint sound of praise could be heard drifting down from the second floor.
It was praise for Zhuang Huan Yu.
In the previous rounds of the duelling, Zhuang Huan Yu didn’t meet any strong opponents and had very ordinary performances, not displaying any traits worthy of being the representative of the Capital’s younger generation, this lead to him actually being somewhat overlooked.
However, he had beaten Qi Jian in the past, but then chose to peacefully cultivate at Heavenly Academy, this caused his ranking to remain around tenth on the Proclamation of Azure Clouds. The reason for this was because his aim is Qiu Shan Jun and Qiu Shan Jun was no longer on the Proclamation of Azure Clouds.
The truth is, he considered himself strong enough to rank within the top 3 on the proclamation; even if he was to go against Zhe Xiu, he wouldn’t feel any fear.
The pride of Heavenly Academy naturally had the qualifications to be proud.
Such a proud and youthful expert, facing against Chen Chang Sheng, had actually used Heavenly Academy’s supreme skill, proving that he looked upon Chen Chang Sheng highly and that he didn’t want to give Chen Chang Sheng any chance.
Chen Chang Sheng’s motion technique was too fast, too erratic and unpredictable, if he had an attack to pair with his motion technique, he might really prove a threat towards Zhuang Huan Yu.
Therefore, Zhuang Huan Yu didn’t give him any chance for an attack, directly relying upon swift and fierce sword manifestations, restraining him to an area near the wall.
This was being overpowered by a difference in levels and power, where the strong have an absolute advantage, similar to how Luo Luo had previously crushed that scholar from Scholartree Manor.
The sword was once again wielded, multiple sword flashes once again cut through the air.
Shrill sounds of the air being broken continuously resounded.
Within the tower, golden sand slowly rose.
Sword flashes constantly swept by, akin to flashes of lightning.
Sword marks continuously appeared upon the wall, distinct and deep; as if artisans were currently carving calligraphy upon its surface.
Innumerable footprints appeared upon the sand, some in the West, some towards the East, without any sort of discernible pattern between them.
A whistling sound went by.
Chen Chang Sheng appeared in a location close by the wall, his right shoulder had a light wound.
Tens of sword flashes successively arrived, he had narrowly avoided most of them, but while transitioning from between the Willow and Well Mansions in the Southwest to the Bond Mansion in the Northwest, his True Essence flow stuttered, slowing him for an instant, allowing the sword flash to catch up.
Zhuang Huan Yu pointed his sword towards the floor, appearing especially dignified.
In comparison, Chen Chang Sheng’s upper clothing was covered with sand, which, coupled with his wound, no matter how small it was, combined to make him look a little haggard.
Yet his expression remained calm, he stared intently at Zhuang Huan Yu’s right hand, incredibly focused.
The Sword of Hithering Light is Heavenly Academy’s supreme skill, extremely taxing on True Essence; for something on the level of Discerning Steps, its True Essence consumption, unsurprisingly, was also high.
The reason why Zhuang Huan Yu was so confident, relying upon his sword arts to directly suppress Chen Chang Sheng, was because he trained diligently, had a high talent and his Fated Star was located far away.
Amongst those of the same generation, his True Essence capacity could be considered a pinnacle, even with such depletion, he could completely wear out Chen Chang Sheng and Chen Chang Sheng would not have any method of changing this situation.
“So it’s only to this degree?” he looked at Chen Chang Sheng while asking, his expression serious, without any hint of ridicule.
His mildly weary brows revealed disappointment.
In order to prepare for the Grand Examination, from the start of the Ivy League gathering, he had trained incessantly, preparing for today’s match, even though Chen Chang Sheng’s performance could be considered superb it still made him feel disappointed.
Chen Chang Sheng was breathing rather heavily, with his successive use of Discerning Steps and the pushing of his speed to its maximum, the True Essence in his body that was already deficient, was currently near spent.
Due to his calculations of star positions and footwork, his divine sense had become exhausted, the most troubling thing was, Zhuang Huan Yu’s blade was too swift and fierce, though he could narrowly dodge it, he couldn’t attack his opponent; this would eventually lead to a defeat.
He didn’t want to lose, he absolutely needed to attack.
At the same time Zhuang Huan Yu said those words, Chen Chang Sheng’s right leg once again stepped onto the sand before himself, but this time, he didn’t make use of Discerning Steps, concentrating as much power as he could into his step.
That terrifying strength he had bizarrely acquired after meeting the Black Dragon that night, instantly caused the ground to fissure under his foot, his body became a blur and whistled out.
A loud cracking sound erupted; Zhuang Huan Yu’s blade silently struck out, but the sword flash cutting through the air gave off a clean reverberation.
At this moment, Chen Chang Sheng’s speed was fast beyond imagination, it could be seen that he was on the verge of colliding with the sword flash, but suddenly, he disappeared.
He had actually concealed the motion technique of Discerning Steps within his charge.
Within the sand, his figure flickered by, in an instant, Chen Chang Sheng had arrived before Zhuang Huan Yu.
This was the first time he had gotten so close to Zhuang Huan Yu, close enough for him to finally make an attack against his opponent.
His left hand held onto the scabbard, while his right grasped onto the sword hilt, on the verge of drawing the blade.
It was at this moment, Zhuang Huan Yu’s arrow like brows twitched upwards, his eyes revealing signs of pity, a single fist struck out explosively.
Zhuang Huan Yu’s right hand held onto his sword, while his left was by his side, alas, it had actually been steadily amassing True Essence.
A seemingly casual punch, but it had actually been storing power for an exceedingly long time.
A loud ringing sound rung out, akin to a bell strike.
A powerful force followed his punch and billowed outwards, shockwaves in the air spread out in all directions.
Chen Chang Sheng was sent flying, spinning in the air multiple times, akin to a hurtling boulder, landing upon the ground at some distance away.
A loud cracking sound could be heard and he heavily landed upon the floor, but it wasn’t falling, as his bare feet were the first to touch upon the ground, landing upon the sand; half crouched upon his knees, stably staying in place.
The short-sword was held out horizontally in front his eyes, it was this blade that blocked the punch Zhuang Huan Yu had been preparing for so long.
His hands that were holding onto the short sword lightly trembled, though his strength was great, against a strike that was imbued with such an abundant amount of True Essence, it was still rather damaging.
“So it’s only to this degree?”
Zhuang Huan Yu headed towards him, repeating those words once again, he then said: “This really has made me feel somewhat disappointed.”
Witnessing Chen Chang Sheng’s ability, was one of the most important aims for his participation in the Grand Examination.
From when he was still outside of Li Palace, to the Hall of Zhao Wen, River Qu, then the woodlands outside of the Tower of Purging Dust, seeing the scene of Luo Luo and Chen Chang Sheng together made him feel enraged, then calm; the more enraged he was, the calmer he also became.
Chen Chang Sheng stood up, looked at him and said: “Hit me first before saying anything.”
After these words, his figure once again disappeared.
Sand billowed everywhere within the tower, as if it was a blizzard.
He forcefully wrung out the last of his True Essence reserves, his divine sense calculating the positioning at an unbelievable speed.
Within the blizzard-like sand, his figure flickered in and out of view, sometimes in the East, sometimes in the West.
In just an instant, countless footprints appeared, covering the floor, densely, akin to the myriad of stars in the night sky.
He followed the positioning of the Twenty-Eight Mansions in his movement, his footwork erratic to the extreme, extraordinarily difficult to grasp, as if in the next moment he would appear before Zhuang Huan Yu and deliver a decisive blow.
No matter how fast, swift and powerful the Sword of Hithering Light was, it couldn’t catch up with Chen Chang Sheng while he was in this state.
Chen Chang Sheng did not keep track of Zhuang Huan Yu’s sword, nor did he care for his surroundings, he only concentrated on his own movements through Discerning Steps.
Discerning Steps traversed the stars, making use of the blizzard to cover its tracks, it was sure to eventually arrive before Zhuang Huan Yu.
It seemed to be an exceedingly brilliant method of countering.
Every time the curved sword flashes were about to land upon his body, they would inevitably just brush past his shoulders.
Zhuang Huan Yu’s expression became severe, but didn’t seem anxious.
He couldn’t tell where Chen Chang Sheng’s position was, neither could he predict where Chen Chang Sheng would appear.
Therefore, he closed his eyes.
He wasn’t using his divine sense to perceive Chen Chang Sheng’s position, because even if he was to perceive it, his sword would not be able to land in time.
The Sword of Hithering Light was released from his hand and pierced into the sand covered ground, lightly quivering.
He spread out his hands, dark hair swaying, True Essence exploding outwards.
The Sword of Hithering Light’s quivering immediately became intense.
Several hundred sword forms left the sword, instantly inundating the space within the Tower of Purging Dust.
In the next moment, several sword forms that were in the Northwestern area suddenly stalled.
Chen Chang Sheng was struck by those sword forms; his body heavily pounded upon the wall, then slid down onto the floor, raising a cloud of dust.
Upon his body, there appeared three wounds, blood slowly flowed.
“Right now, I have struck you down,” said Zhuang Huan Yu, opening his eyes and looking at him calmly.