Chapter 312 – The Sword of Reversion
“Qingshan!” Watching as Li Qingshan fell out of the air, Hao Pingyang and Zhang Lanqing both paled in fright.
He Yishi instead eased up. He gazed at Han Anjun on the platform in the distance. As long as he did not interfere, then it would be for the best if Chu Tian killed Li Qingshan, nipping this source of trouble at the bud.
“Yeah, the outcome has already been determined, so why don’t you separate them? Chu Tian is going to kill Li Qingshan!” Hua Chenglu said in a panic as she grabbed Han Anjun’s sleeve.
There were friendships between generations among the Han family and Hua family, and they did not focus on a confucian education, so there was not a lot of courtesy they had to follow.
Han Anjun said, “Let him kill him.”
Hua Chenglu turned to Han Tieyi. “Tieyi!”
However, Han Tieyi seemed to have emerged from the same mould as Han Anjun, even speaking in the same manner. It made Hua Chenglu so furious that she stamped her foot. She arrived on the platform where Wang Pushi and Hua Chengzan stood. However, all she discovered was Wang Pushi staring straight at the centre of the arena as if he was stunned.
Just when she wanted to ask for help, Hua Chengzan pointed. “Look!”
“Look what?” Hua Chenglu looked over with a frown. The barrier from the formation had already dispersed, and the rolling steam gradually drifted apart.
A lustrous edge, three feet long, shone with cold light. The straight blade of the sword extended off in two directions.
One end disappeared into the mouth of a black dragon. That was the guard, while the coiled body of the dragon formed the hilt, gripped within a powerful hand. Li Qingshan had lunged forward, as if he had pressed all of his strength into the sword strike.
He said softly, “If I wanted to kill you, a single move is all that I need.”
The other end had completely stabbed into Chu Tian’s back.
Chu Tian’s face twisted from pain and fear. He did his best to turn around. His eyes were wide open, filled with disbelief. He seemed like he wanted to say something, but blood spurted out instead.
Sword qi was currently devastating his innards. As long as Li Qingshan gently twisted the sword or swung it to one side, Chu Tian would be a dead man.
No matter how great of a genius he was, he was unable to escape the fate of death.
However, Li Qingshan’s hand was still, but it was not because he did not want to move it. He never showed mercy when it came to killing people.
A fair-skinned hand was gripping the blade of the sword with three fingers, severing the killing intent.
Liu Zhangqing stood between Li Qingshan and Chu Tian in an impressive manner. His brows were firmly furrowed, still in shock. He never expected Chu Tian to actually lose, and to lose in such a swift manner, so swift that he had almost failed to save him in time from dying here.
Li Qingshan was very tempted to try to see whether his strength could break free from the grasp of the three fingers and kill Chu Tian here. However, the thought only flashed through his head before he let go of the sword hilt and clasped his hands at Liu Zhangqing.
“School leader Liu, long time no see.”
Outside the arena, the audience went from absolute silence to a complete uproar.
W- what was going on? What happened in that moment?
The pervading mist had failed to influence Chu Tian’s sharp senses. He immediately discovered Li Qingshan.
Li Qingshan knelt on the ground on one knee, as if he was quite heavily injured.
Originally, Chu Tian wanted to say a few words and humiliate Li Qingshan, but he remembered that Han Anjun could interfere at any time, so he swallowed those words again. He directly charged over and launched a palm strike ruthlessly.
With a plop, Li Qingshan was forcefully smashed apart by the Palm of the Five Elements, reduced to a puddle of water.
“Hmph, a pointless struggle before your death!” Chu Tian was slightly taken aback, but he did not care too much. Having used so many techniques already, Li Qingshan must have depleted more true qi than him. Li Qingshan had received a palm strike from him too, so he was like a toothless tiger. He no longer posed any threat anymore.
This thought was severed by an extremely terrifying sword intent. As the mist surged, a huge figure could be vaguely seen as it rapidly approached Chu Tian from behind.
Murderousness filled the air as light and shadows twisted. Li Qingshan appeared.
He moved like a tiger, while his gaze was like a dragon’s.
“Protection of the Five Elements!”
It was already too late for him to turn around. The five-coloured hand returned to Chu Tian and turned into a circular, five-coloured barrier of light. The five colours mixed and fluctuated as the five powers twisted and merged.
It bore the principle of the mutual regulation of the five elements. Earth could contain water, while metal could chop down wood. It completely surpassed any regular protective technique.
This was what Qian Rongzhi had told Li Qingshan.
Deep within the night in the bamboo forest, light and shadows danced about as Qian Rongzhi moved her vermillion lips, telling him about the power of the Palm of the Five Elements.
“If you can’t get through his Protection of the Five Elements, you won’t be able to defeat him.”
“I will win.” Li Qingshan gave her a simple description of this reality, even though he was not confident he could pierce this five-coloured barrier.
The path of slaughter had never been about who had more true qi or who could use stronger techniques, which was why he provoked, why he mocked, why he triumphed, and why he was defeated. All of this, every little part of it, was preparation for this moment.
After a fierce battle, Chu Tian had depleted quite a lot of his true qi too, and he had lowered his guard too. As a result, Li Qingshan used the Glazed Mirror of Invisibility to hide himself and immediately concealed all of his aura before casting out a bait using a water clone.
All of it was for this sword strike.
Without any hesitation, Li Qingshan poured the hundred or so strands of sword qi in his dantian into this strike.
The sword qi collided with the five-colored barrier, and the sound of glass shattering rang out. The tip of the sword tasted blood as sword qi surged into Chu Tian’s body.
Victory was determined in an instant.
Liu Zhangqing glanced at Li Qingshan deeply as he patted Chu Tian’s chest. An abundant amount of righteous qi rushed into Chu Tian’s body, forcing out the sword.
The sword shattered mid-air.
Li Qingshan rubbed his chest. Chu Tian’s Palm of the Five Elements really was impressive. Even now, his arm and chest still ached. If it were not for his extraordinary toughness, the outcome would not have been determined so easily.
Liu Zhangqing frowned even harder. Originally, he wanted to force out the sword qi too, but the sharpness surpassed his imaginations. Even under his righteous qi, it managed to linger tenaciously.
With how heavily injured Chu Tian was, it would probably come with a great loss of cultivation. Liu Zhangqing raised his head and looked at Han Anjun. He used his gaze to question why the referee had not prevented this from happening. As the leader of the school of the Military, his reactions were definitely much faster than Liu Zhangqing. He could have prevented Chu Tian’s injuries altogether.
“I’ve already said.” With a swish, Han Anjun vanished from the platform and appeared before Li Qingshan, demonstrating that he was indeed capable of something like that.
Suddenly, Hua Chenglu understood what Han Anjun had meant earlier by, “Let him kill him.” It was not Chu Tian killing Li Qingshan, but Li Qingshan killing Chu Tian, and he would not interfere with it.
Liu Zhangqing let out a great sigh. Chu Tian was just too good at offending people. Originally, Han Anjun’s responsibility was to prevent any major injuries or deaths during the battle, but Chu Tian had yelled out, “If I want to kill you, no one can stop me.” Such words were akin to slapping him across the face.
Han Anjun passed eight thousand spiritual stones to Li Qingshan. He even patted his shoulder and said, “Nicely done, though you’re still a little rough in some aspects of battle. You’re welcome to come take a look at my school of the Military in the future.”
All the spectating military disciples widened their eyes. Rarely did they ever hear their school leader praise a person like that, not to mention speak such a long sentence. This was basically the utmost glory. He had already gained the recognition of the school of the Military.
Han Anjun had spent many years of his life waging war, so he possessed a sharp sense for all battles. When Chu Tian arrogantly declared that he wanted to kill Li Qingshan, he had already guessed the outcome of the battle.
It was purely due to the difference in their mental states. One was arrogant and conceited, in a hurry to destroy his opponent, while the other was extremely calm, moving methodically. Out of the countless battles throughout history when the weaker side triumphed over the stronger, there were far too many examples like this. If a calm and collected person was bold enough to take the initiative and challenge a person stronger than him, he would definitely possess some confidence.
Now, the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple where the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus, do many calculations lead to victory and few calculations to defeat, let alone no calculation at all?1
Afterwards, Han Anjun watched on like he was appreciating a classic battle. Li Qingshan’s army was nowhere near as powerful as his opponent’s. He used raids to the flank of the opponent in the beginning before confronting the enemy head on, finally feigning defeat and baiting the enemy into a land of no return. The three hundred sacrificial soldiers rushed out, straight into the enemy general’s tent, claiming the general’s head. He was unable to express his praise for how refined the calculations were.
Li Qingshan said politely, “Yes, general.” Although Han Anjun’s cultivation was not the highest among the school masters, he believed the one standing before him would be the one to survive to the very end if a chaotic battle really did erupt among them.
Han Anjun declared loudly, “This battle has ended! Li Qingshan wins!”
The giant lumberman Mu Kui struck the bronze gong, declaring the end to the battle.
Cheers rang out from the spectating platforms as they chanted Li Qingshan’s name. Even quite a few confucian disciples chanted along.
This was not due to Li Qingshan alone. During the few months Chu Tian had spent in the academy, he had flirted around with female cultivators as he ordered male cultivators around. Every second word he spat out was either genius or talent, basically mocking them as hard as he could. However, they were unable to do anything to him. They had all erupted with their resentment with this opportunity.
Hao Pingyang raised his arms and called out. He cheered the loudest. Zhang Lanqing held his hands emotionally, while He Yishi had become ashen in the corner.
The two girls who always followed Chu Tian around rushed over to his side and sobbed.
“Big brother Tian! What has happened to you, big brother Tian?”
“I don’t accept it! I don’t accept it! You despicable cheat! I haven’t lost! I haven’t lost!” Chu Tian jerked awake violently. His eyes were bloodshot as he stared right at Li Qingshan, as if he wanted to stand up and fight him again.
He utterly refused to accept this outcome. He still had not used that yet. He still had powerful trump cards he had yet to use. As long as he unleashed just one of them, Li Qingshan would never be his opponent.
On one hand, he was reluctant to expose this before so many people, while on the other hand, he was confident. He believed that he could finish off Li Qingshan with techniques alone, but never did he think that the situation would reverse so swiftly and quickly.
He was like a general who had been slain by the sacrificial soldiers still muttering about the army of a hundred thousand strong he had yet to mobilise, but his head had already been tossed high into the air, dying a regretful death.
“Yeah. Big brother Tian, you haven’t lost.”
“No, you’ve lost!” Qian Rongzhi cut her off.
“Rongzhi, you!” Chu Tian was stunned. Recently, he had shown plenty of goodwill towards Qian Rongzhi. She was unlike the other female cultivators too, who expressed great disgust towards his womanising behaviour. He thought they were friends already.
“Qian Rongzhi, you bitch!” One of the girls swore.
Qian Rongzhi ignored them. She crouched down and held Chu Tian’s hand. Her gaze was filled with motherly, gentle sympathy, as if she felt bad for him from the bottom of her heart. She said softly, “Little Tian, everyone loses. It doesn’t matter if you lose once as long as you can stand up again. You’d better get some rest first!”
Chu Tian felt warmth flood the bottom of his heart. Her gaze was so gentle, as if it could comfort any and all pain within a person’s heart. There was no mockery or contempt, only sympathy.
At that moment, she seemed like the most beautiful woman in his eyes.
PS: No scamping on labour, no scalping on content, no watering down. A total of nine thousand characters, a mortal defeats a celestial. It’s a good omen. For the wild ambition of painting a dragon, I need to work hard this month. May the lords lend me the strength as we advance together.
1. Comes from Sun Tzu’s Art of War. Partially borrowed from Lionel Giles’ translation.