Book 25 Chapter 10 - Revitalization of Prestige
It was when the 'Heavenly Lord' Xi Ying landed on the grass that Xu Ziling realized that Xi Ying was very tall, more than a cun taller than he was, plus his imposing manner was intimidating; with his two legs supporting him on the ground, there was quite a mountain-top, highest-peak bold and powerful imposing disposition, the gentle and weak scholar impression was gone.
The mysterious appearance with which he was standing was very peculiar; even though he was standing as steady as a mountain, there was also a strange impression that he might drift to a certain position at any time.
On the scroll that Yue Shan left behind, there was a detailed reference about Xi Ying's demonic school's brilliant skill of Purple Cloud Heavenly Mesh; otherwise Xu Ziling would not have known that when this demonic power has been successfully mastered, the practitioner would appear to have purple eyes and fiery eyeballs.
Purple Cloud [orig. purple qi] did not refer to the color of the true qi at all; rather, it referred to the skin pigment when the power was activated, hence it was called purple qi.
The most formidable aspect of the Purple Cloud Heavenly Mesh was that when the power was at its peak, the released power was able to form layer upon layer of nets of qi all around the enemy like woven cloth, constricting the opponent like the fish in the net, so that it would be difficult to escape death.
If Xi Ying had really been able to train to the highest level where he could spread the net according to his wishes, then he would be the first person who mastered the Ziqi Tian Luo in nearly three hundred years.
Although in the scroll that he left behind Yue Shan theorized on all kinds of method to defeat the Purple Cloud Heavenly Mesh, yet even he himself did not have any confidence that it would work; let alone when he and Xi Ying fought, Xi Ying's Ziqi Tian Luo has not been mastered yet.
Xu Ziling was sizing Xi Ying up; Xi Ying was also examining him carefully, by walking and stopping around him, increasing the threat and the pressure indefinitely.
Practically Xu Ziling was not afraid Xi Ying would attack from behind. Relying on his spirited and acute senses, he would immediately feel it and come up with counterattack.
On all four rooms of the west wing, the windows were full of shadows; nobody wanted to miss this life and death decisive battle between the top martial art masters of Jianghu.
After two complete circles, Xi Ying stopped right in front of Yue Shan, with a hint of disdainful smile leisurely escaping from the corner of his mouth. The purple light on his eyes growing stronger, yet the tone of his voice was surprisingly calm. Shaking his head and sighing, he said, "Since Ol' Xi made a breakthrough in the Ziqi Tian Luo, the number of those who can stand as my opponent really can be counted on one's fingers. Yet even though Ol' Xi knew that Yue Xiong is still in the world of the living, Yue Xiong does not have enough qualifications to be ranked among them. However, a figure like Yue Xiong dropping by to give Ol' Xi an opportunity to test my moves, Ol' Xi is still extremely grateful."
From the purple qi emitted by his eyes, Xu Ziling was able to confirm that Xi Ying's internal energy was of a common origin, yet different from Zhu Yuyan's Tianmo Da Fa [demonic great method].
When Tianmo Da Fa was executed, it would create a vacuum-like phenomenon. But Xi Ying's Ziqi Tian Luo was just the opposite; with Xi Ying at the center, the qi power was swelling in wave motion, as if space was unceasingly expanding.
Actually, when Xi Ying was circling twice around Xu Ziling, it was extremely deliberate. On one hand, he was feeling out the opponent's real situation and seeking for any gap to exploit; on the other hand, he was luring the opponent to make the first move. Who would have thought that although Xu Ziling did not make any hand pose, in essence, the true qi within his body was already forming the Great Vajra Chakra pose; as steady as Mount Tai. Although he did neither attack nor defend, the fact was that he did not reveal the slightest amount of gap.
Hearing Xi Ying said that, he laughed hoarsely and said, "Xi Xiong, you are arrogant and conceited, and that still hasn't changed. You need to take this move first before expressing your gratitude!"
Under the eyes of everybody upstairs looking down, Xu Ziling slowly raised his hand. He started with his five fingers open, and then slowly closing the hand into a fist. In a split second he created a condensing qi that rose violently like a river and mountain peak.
Such martial art, not only it was never seen, it was never even heard of.
For the first time that night Xi Ying showed a grave expression.
Only he could understand that the opponent's every move was targeted at the marvelous move of his Ziqi Tian Luo.
Just now, when he was bragging that Yue Shan did not have qualifications to be his opponent, he was not being arrogant and conceited at all; rather, he intentionally wanted to provoke the usually hot-tempered and ruthless Yue Shan to make his move, so that he would fall into his trap.
Purple Cloud Heavenly Mesh could be compared to weaving spider web using qi; whenever a prey bump into the web, the more it struggled, the tighter it would be entangled inside the web; it was weird and sinister to the extreme point.
If the opponent grabbed the initiative by attacking first, Xi Ying might lure the opponent to have a free hand in violent attack, and then he would spit out a thread of power, using soft to control hard, until the opponent had his hands and feet bound, having power but unable to unleash it, and only then would he kill the enemy in one move.
How could he know that Yue Shan, who seemed to become another person altogether, appeared to be able to see through his mind, so that in this one move he seemed to be on the offensive yet not exactly attacking, he seemed to be in the defensive, yet not exactly defending; he appeared to not using the least bit of amazing stroke, yet he made Xi Ying completely lose the initiative, and momentarily was at a loss of how he ought to cope with it. Without any better option, he had to stay unmoving, waiting for a change.
A hint of smile escaped from the corner of Xu Ziling's mouth; suddenly he shouted, "En garde!"
The fist closed.
Like running water the true qi flowed through the thousand streams, a hundred rivers of the meridian and acupoints within his body, converging into a powerful current. Although he did not strike a pose of sending out a punch, an enormous, swift and fierce qi power unexpectedly shot out of his fist, heavily striking the strongest point on Xi Ying's invisible, yet real - Heavenly Mesh qi net; so accurate that Xi Ying was extremely shocked.
Upstairs, no one who watched this scene unfolded was not dumbfounded. Nobody could even imagine that Xu Ziling would be able to apply his energy and send out his power like this. His entire body was like a ten-thousand-catty boulder - formed entirely by true qi - that was launched by a trebuchet.
Qi power collided.
Xi Ying's entire body shook severely; he was pushed one step sideways.
Xu Ziling's upper body only swayed slightly, not because of his power surpassed Xi Ying's, but because his power was concentrated on his fist, while Xi Ying's power was distributed over a larger area's net, hence he gained the upper hand.
Finally Xi Ying's countenance changed, knowing that if he let Xu Ziling continued to take the initiative, in the end he would only fall into a one-sided situation where he could only take a beating.
Letting out a sharp whistle, Xi Ying's legs moved with strange footwork, while the purple cloud was starting to appear on his face; he drifted indeterminately several steps backward to snatch the position to the left of Xu Ziling. His right hand swiftly chopped. It looked like an ordinary, nothing special move, but everybody upstairs felt that his palm strength was as powerful as three armies storming together, carrying a no-one-can-resist potential. It did not matter who was blocking it, he could only momentarily withdraw.
The more shocking thing happened to Xu Ziling; they saw him unexpectedly closing his eyes, and taking the palm by moving sideway, as if he already knew what would happen. His two palms coming together, all ten fingers made an exquisite, mysterious-beyond-human-comprehension - movement, like a blossoming flower without yielding at all he met Xi Ying's world-shaking palm chop one step ahead.
The instant the Heavenly Lord Xi Ying evaded the fist by moving across, Xu Ziling was able to clearly grasp the movements and the shift in the central core of Xi Ying's entire Heavenly Mesh Qi Net; thereupon he might as well close his eyes so that he would not be confused by his footwork, and meet this fierce-without-equal move head on.
Xi Ying let out a stifled grunt and flew back, as if he was afraid that Xu Ziling might seize the opportunity to pursue and attack.
Xu Ziling still had his upper body swayed backward, before returning to his original posture, which was as steady as Mount Tai. At the same time, he made a big decision.
Just now he was using the Inner Bound and Outer Bound, two poses from the Jiu Zi Zhen Yan Shou Yin [nine-character incantation handprints]; first, it was to take Xi Ying's qi power as is, which he channeled via his fingers and disperse it out. And then he fiercely used someone's spear to attack his shield [idiom: turning a weapon against its owner, attributed to Han Feizi (c. 280 - 233 BC, Chinese philosopher of the Warring States period 'Chinese Legalist' school], by piercing Xi Ying's Heavenly Mesh Qi Net, which was coming to envelop his body. Even with his brilliance, Xi Ying's only way out was to withdraw immediately.
After retreating for about a zhang, Xi Ying stopped. His eyes flashing with ominous glint, he spoke coldly, "What kind of ghost school way was that?"
Xu Ziling smiled and said, "Ziqi Tian Luo is nothing more than this; if your, Xi Ying's, skill is limited to this, than this date next year will be the anniversary of your death."
With a loud shout, he sent out a punch across the empty air.
Upstairs, the crow and peacock made no sound; simply because until this moment, nobody was able to tell clearly which side had the upper hand.
Seeing Xu Ziling took the initiative by sending out a punch, instead of alarmed, Xi Ying was delighted. Lifting both arms high like a giant roc spreading its wings, his ten fingers spread out and then rapidly closing together, he wrapped his arms around his own chest, while at the same time he took quick steps forward to meet the powerful wind of Xu Ziling's no-stronghold-he-could-not-overcome fist momentum; this move was extremely weird.
Letting out a long laughter, Xu Ziling said, "You fell into the trap!"
Abruptly he pulled his fist back; the fist turned into a palm, the palm turned into fearless image. The qi power, in spiraling manner, was pulled back into the hollow of his palm, forming a vacuum similar to the Tianmo Gong.
He stole this technique from Wanwan. That night at the Da Shi Temple, relying on Tianmo power, Wanwan not only made Yang Xuyan not daring to press his attack, she also seized the opportunity to pursue and attack An Long, storming at him so that he escaped in panic.
But were it not for on the plank walkway the other night this 'jiejie' [older sister] transmitted her power via his channels to deal with You Niaojuan, he would not be able to grasp the profound mystery within it.
I feel bad for not finishing the battle, so I'll try to post the rest of the chapter tomorrow.