AST 1601 - Destroy the Thunderbird, Lei Ming's Defeat
The shock Lei Ming felt was hidden by his calm façade. With a careful look at Qing Shui, he hoped to detect any unease in his expression—perhaps something that would show that he was struggling.
Instead, Lei Ming was disappointed by what he found; now he had truly placed Qing Shui at the same level as himself. The gigantic thunder wings on his back were even clearer and the aura that they emitted rose even higher.
With a smile on his face, Qing Shui brandished the Golden Battle Halberd in his hand and sent the Art of Pursuing towards Lei Ming, decreasing the latter's speed by 30% in that instant.
The Art of Pursuing had always been deemed by Qing Shui as a paragon, and while it wasn't as great as Emperor's Qi, it wasn't that inferior either. There was a limit between their disparity and the battle technique was strong in execution.
Lei Ming grew frantic by Qing Shui's Art of Pursuing—the 30% reduction in speed was terrifying for a martial artist like him, who relied on speed to gain an edge. Panic flashed across those deep, fierce eyes of Lei Ming.
This was a battle where a single slip-up could cost your life. The Inheritance of the Thunder Roc Condor Demon King focused on an increment of speed, and it was the basis of his sudden surge of anxiety. Still, Lei Ming had his own trump card.
With that, Lei Ming's speed increased by 30%, cancelling out the effect caused by the Art of Pursuing. From the beginning of their duel, Lei Ming had not used this battle technique of his inheritance.
Qing Shui's eyes shone from the action. The Inheritance of Thunder Roc Condor Demon King was mighty indeed—with speed as its core strength, along with the Skyrocket skills which could furthermore increase it, he would be able to wipe out their opponents based on this alone. With their advantage in speed, the Thunder Roc Condor Demon King would have almost secured their victory, to have the freedom of attack and defense as they pleased.
Watching as his opponent's stats returned to normal, he unleashed the Nine Palace Laws.
Right after, Qing Shui charged towards Lei Ming. The Golden Battle Halberd in his hand struck forth with immense strength—the Nine Stances of the Ancient Divine Battle Technique could split and smash anything in its way, being flexible in its usage. Qing Shui was unreserved in his might when he smashed it towards Lei Ming.
From the attack before, Qing Shui had already realized Lei Ming's potential. In short, there was no way he would be able to penetrate Qing Shui's defense and Qing Shui wasn't too shabby in speed when compared to Lei Ming either. It was the reason behind Lei Ming's difficulty in dealing with his rival.
The enormous thunder wings flapped on vigorously, allowing his speed to increase ever so quickly. The Violet Lightning Sabre in his hands was also surrounded by a violet light.
Evading Qing Shui's attack, which would have been enough to split the Heaven and Earth, Lei Ming's thunder wings shot a long and slender bolt; the Violet Lightning Snake.
The two, dozens of meters long Violet Lightning Snakes slithered towards Qing Shui, their speed being a hundredfold faster than Lei Ming. Qing Shui was taken aback by this, summoning the Nine Continents Mountain in a knee-jerk reflex.
The Nine Continents Mountain was circled by the violet electricity but it could still be commanded by the subconscious without obstacles. However, the Nine Continents Mountain had been thrown back from the impact of their collision. Just as those Violet Lightning Snakes began attacking aggressively, Lei Ming unleashed his full powers in his attack as well.
The Violet Lightning Sabre could land an attack over a few dozens of meters away, fast as lightning when it pushed towards Qing Shui. Lei Ming's movement roared over like a Thunder Roc towards his opponent.
The atmosphere was covered by the violet lightnings while Qing Shui was within the Nine Palaces, in the midst of a gathering of lightning. Every strike of his Golden Battle Halberd made contact with the Violet Lightning Sabre.
Their energies were neutralizing each other, exhausting their strength. In spite of this, Qing Shui's greatest strength lied in his endurance and he still had his trump card. The same couldn't be said for Lei Ming; not only was endurance not a forte of his, but the exhaustion of might deep within the Nine Palace Laws caused fear to stir in him as well.
Violet Lightning Snake, Violet Lightning Halfmoon Sabre!
Lei Ming's attacks were relentless. In contrast, Qing Shui was like a mountain that couldn't be moved, countering each attack as it came. He had found his stance, control, consumption—the longer this dragged on, the more beneficial it would be for him. If he could drag it out, he would be able to clinch victory.
Hence, Qing Shui wasn't hasty in advancing his attacks and the Nine Palace Laws were exhausting his opponent's might ceaselessly. It had been fifteen minutes into his advantage and the attacks that were sweeping away couldn't inflict any damage on Qing Shui. Even the Violet Lightning Snakes were being obstructed by the Nine Continents Mountain innumerable times; this frustrated Lei Ming.
Above Lei Ming, an enormous Thunderbird made its appearance; it was a beast surrounded by violet lightning. Both its wings were at least 500 meters in length, the lightning energy in its body blazed on as ferociously as a miniature sun.
"You've got to be careful now."
Violet Lightning Snake!
The two streaks of Violet Lightning Snakes struck towards Qing Shui once more. He knew what his opponent was up to and swiftly summoned his own beast to take defense ahead of him.
The Thunderous Beast was a Divine Beast of the electric type; while it might not be fully immune to electric-type attacks, Lei Ming's Violet Lightning Snakes wouldn't be able to injure it.
At that moment, Lei Ming and the Thunderbird were already on the move. Qing Shui shifted the Nine Continents Mountain to smash towards Lei Ming as he summoned the Dragon Slaying Beast to tackle the Thunderbird.
As though it felt threatened, the lightning energy in the Thunderbird converged, drowning their surroundings into a piece of a horrifying lightning domain. With the roaring of thunder, the sight would cause goosebumps to form on anyone.
In comparison with the Thunderous Beast, the Thunderbird didn't seem at all inferior; while they were both Divine Beasts, the Thunderous Beast was more controlling while the Thunderbird was more fitted for combat.
Violet Lightning Soul Lock!
The Thunderbird flapped its wings, emitting gigantic lightnings that looked akin to an electric dragon, whizzing towards Qing Shui. There were dozens of them and each of them were thick, intertwining with each other while combusting into sparks at each contact.
Qing Shui was strong but even he was unwilling take the risk. With a wave of his hand, he set his Art of Pursuing and Emperor's Qi loose towards the Thunderbird.
Qing Shui and the Dragon Slaying Beast were both nimble in their movements, able to forego even the Nine Palace Steps. After all, he had reduced their speed by half; the speed of the Thunderbird's lightning attacks and its responsiveness were both greatly reduced.
Qing Shui worried for the Thunderous Beast as well and eventually decided to keep it by his side, attacking the Thunderbird with its lightning strikes. In the end, Qing Shui unleashed the Emperor's Qi upon Lei Ming as well.
The arrogant Emperor's Qi reduced all of Lei Ming's might by 20% and made him feel as though his powers had fallen short of his desires. At this point, Qing Shui made use of his Five Elements Divine Refining Technique to tackle the Thunderbird. Along with the Thunderous Beast, the Thunderbird was caught in a tight corner.
Even though Lei Ming had sustained the battle this far on, the situation was beginning to worsen for him with every passing second. Likewise, he could feel himself growing inferior—Qing Shui's attacks were getting more ferocious, as though the battle that led up to this had not exhausted any of his combat strength.
Qing Shui didn't summon any other beasts, choosing to lay low; keeping some tricks up his sleeve could prove to be the fatal blow he needed to clinch victory at the most critical moment.
Still, there's a limit to how much one should conceal or you might just be the one to be killed in battle. When it comes down to that, it would be too late to even weep. Thus, under the circumstances when one wasn't confident with their probability of winning, they should give it all they had with every attack lest they regret.
Violet Lightning Strike!
Out of the blue, the Thunderous Beast used its Violet Lightning Strike against the Thunderbird, freezing it to its spot. Like a shadow, Qing Shui charged towards the opponent with his Golden Battle Halberd, aiming for their vital passage.
With an abrupt, high-pitched cry from the Thunderbird, its wings brought upon a strong thunderous gust, transporting Lei Ming away as it evaded Qing Shui's attack.
In order to protect Lei Ming, the Thunderbird exposed itself. At this time, the Dragon Slaying Beast seized the opportunity and lunged towards its heart at the speed of light.
The Dragon Slaying Beast's attack was fatal with every strike.
The size of the Dragon Slaying Beast was about the size of an adult camel but its physique was much sturdier and stronger like a diamond. It was incomparably sharp and in just a short moment, a hole was dug through the Thunderbird's chest, around where its heart resided.
However, with a violet lightning, the Thunderbird struck back at the Dragon Slaying Beast, refusing the burrowing into its body, but the former had still incurred a great amount of damage.
The area where the heart resided was still the weakest after all. After that tackle, the Thunderbird's might was greatly reduced once more. Along with the previous reduction in speed and strength, it was no longer much of a threat and if it fell into Qing Shui's clutches again during this battle, it would likely meet its demise.
Lei Ming's heart ached for his Thunderbird and had acknowledged the fact that he wasn't Qing Shui's match—he could concede defeat but doing this would bring a great impact upon his clan and a shadow that would follow him thereafter. It would be hard to break through this in his road to cultivation.
If he continued to fight, he may risk both his and Thunderbird's lives, but if he won then he would have a bright future ahead. He achieved the might he had today after the numerous False God Tribulation he faced; he knew about the joys and sorrows that came from such tests.
Even if he didn't continue with the battle, his might would still prosper but he would never be able to enter the gates of the Divine. Even so, the probability of victory was slim.
Just as he was caught in a trance, Qing Shui rushed towards the Thunderbird with the Dragon Slaying Beast in tow. Lei Ming was taken aback by the action—if the Thunderbird dies, then he would be defeated without suspense; he didn't have any choice now.
"Stop! I admit defeat!" Lei Ming roared.
The Thunderbird was simply too important to him.
A smile tugged at the corner of Qing Shui's lips but Lei Ming's shout made him uneasy. For that, he tackled one last time at the Thunderbird but the Dragon Slaying Beast penetrated its previous injury once more…
Even if the Thunderbird's physique was enormous, it wouldn't be able to tolerate such an attack. It let out an agonizing cry. The Thunderbird was strong, but it couldn't withstand the Dragon Slaying Beast's devastation. On top of the attack from before, its heart suffered a huge blow.
The Thunderbird fell; whether it would live or die was no longer a certainty. Qing Shui and the Dragon Slaying Beast looked relaxed in eliminating the Thunderbird but Qing Shui knew the terror which Lei Ming and the Thunderbird could be when their forces combined. If it hadn't been for his tough body, as well as the assistance of the Nine Continents Mountain and his two beasts, Qing Shui reckoned he would only play a part in getting beat up.
Lei Ming let out screams after screams of indignation. Both his eyes were bloodshot when he charged towards Qing Shui with full intention of giving up his life in order to fight him. At that moment, however, a stern voice rang out.
"Come back. Haven't you had your fill of embarrassment?"
The voice wasn't loud by any means but it was enough to reverberate in one's mind. Lei Ming's advancing stature stopped in his tracks. In just an instant, drawing the metaphor of a squashed eggplant, Lei Ming looked as though he had lost half his spirit.