All Marked Warrior Adepts are strong; they have superior fighting skills because of the Rune Energy cultivation. Their bodies are also emblazoned with strength-enhancing Marks. They can certainly attack with impunity.
(Note: Okay, this is where I get confused. I'm not sure this time if the FuZhou the author is referring to the Artificer class or an Energy related to Runes/Spells being absorbed. In this instance, I'm guessing he refers to the energy instead of the class. I'll try to backtrack to the first few chapter later, but for now I'll use Rune Energy until I find the correct term or find a cooler name. Kindly share if you have thoughts about this FuZhou.)
Huo Bao's presence as a Marked Warrior Adept was imposing. With matchless strength, he opted for a direct attack.
In response, Guo Shier moved slightly sideways and let the punch in. He then quickly stretched out his hands to seize Huo Bao's wrist, pulled hard, and tripped him with his outstretched foot.
Huo Bao flew and fell on all fours.
He hit the floor hard. This got him angry. He was about to stand up when he heard someone shout, "Be careful!"
As it turned out, Guo Shier has rushed to Huo Bao's side to attack his turning face with a knee dash. Huo Bao felt Guo Shier's knee crashing directly into his head. Before he could process what just happened, he found himself laying on the ground again.
While Huo Bao was trying to recover from the dizzying hit, Guo Shier quickly pointed a sharp knife on his neck. “You lose!”
Confused, Huo Bao looked at the dagger. “That doesn't count! You're shameless!” he complained.
"Oh, tell me—why do you say I'm shameless?" Guo Shier replied, putting the dagger away.
Huo Bao got up. “You dare not fight me!”
“What, am I stupid?" Guo Shier said, half laughing. Why would I exchange hits with you? You're Marked Warrior Adept—an inherently combat-type profession. I will surely be defeated in a head-on exchange. But with my method, didn’t you lose?"
“That doesn’t count!” cried the Huo Bao. "That's not counted! Let's try again! ”
Luo Jie nor Qi Nanshan didn't say anything. They couldn't conceal the amazement in their eyes.
Ying Mo was dumbfounded. He certainly could see that Huo Bao was riled up. Guo Shier's moves were really weird and seemed to have been set up like a trap—a trap that Huo Bao fell for. The moves were clean and tidy. They were skillfully executed. He couldn't wait to see how Guo Shier would deal with Huo Bao again. No—now was not the time to interfere.
Hong Shi and Chen Bing couldn't hide their amazement, either. They didn’t expect Guo Shier to win. As for Chen Hong, she was all for Guo Shier. She didn't only applaud—she also cheered. “Shier, come on! Knock over Little Bao!”
Winning have Guo Shier a burst of confidence. "Bring it on!" he dared his opponent, laughing.
Not this time, Huo Bao thought as he raised his hands for the next match. He was still in disbelief.
Guo Shier sprang up first, taking advantage of his rival's inattentiveness. He suddenly rushed towards the warrior's chest, expertly angling his feet to obstruct his legs.
Huo Bao sneered as he felt Guo Shier slam into his chest. He was planning to step back and smash him down, but he never thought that he would trip from his obstructing foot. He fell on the floor, flat on his buttocks.
Guo Shier once again used a knee dash on Huo Bao's face. The warrior was momentarily disoriented. Before he knew it, he was feeling a cold dagger being pointed under his jaw.
“You lost again!” declared Guo Shier.
Huo Bao shouted angrily. Unbelievably, he was knocked down twice in row. It was too hard to swallow. He felt like a fool falling for his opponent's tricks.
Guo Shier proudly put away his dagger and pulled up Huo Bao. Grinning, he cheekily said, “Do you submit?”
Huo Bao howled. “I'm not submitting. You're too insidious!"
Guo Shier didn't expect that answer. He took a step back. “Okay, then. Let's go again!”
Huo Bao was going crazy. He didn't want to let Guo Shier achieve victory by 'cheating.' He refused to submit and wanted to continue fighting.
His goal was to show Guo Shier that Marked Warrior Adepts were powerful.
As for Guo Shier, all he wanted to do was fight Huo Bao a few times to test if he can destabilize a Marked Warrior Adept's body. If Huo Bao's strength proved too overwhelming to shake with his skills, then he would stop—there was no sense in continuing the fight.
Fortunately for him, he defeated Huo Bao in succession. He felt relieved.
Now he had the confidence to confront the warrior head-on.
Huo Bao held back his tears. Strength was his identity. He has always possessed superior vigor even as a child and never imagined that he would ever lose in his field of expertise. How could he accept this? The fact that Guo Shier only had rudimentary knowledge in martial arts made the situation even more embarrassing.
I have to be more careful this time, he thought. After all, he already lost twice. Although Guo Shier used the element of surprise—a tactic that he considered 'cheating'—it was still his fault that he fell for it. He was careless.
Guo Shier called out him. “Come on! Come on!”
Stepping forward, Huo Bao stared intently at his challenger, who seemed indifferent—even relaxed.
He didn’t know why, but a sudden surge of anger went straight to his forehead. He almost burst into tears.
This time, he did not spring out as usual. Instead, he slowly controlled his swelling anger and anxiousness, determined not to mess up. His plan was to slowly apply direct pressure on Guo Shier.
Meanwhile, Guo Shier looked as stable as Mt. Taishan. He stared seriously at Huo Bao, but deep inside, he really wanted to laugh. He thought that Huo Bao looked funny, grinding his teeth and looking all vicious.
It was obvious—Huo Bao was hell bent on winning.
He suddenly rushed forward to trample Guo Shier, immediately took two steps to cross the distance between them, then let out a punch.
Guo Shier couldn't possibly trick me this time, Hu Bao thought. This punch contained all of his strength.
Guo Shier knew he would not survive this hard punch. His bones would not be able to handle it. He swiftly reacted, stretching out his hands gently upwards, his palm resting on Huo Bao's arms, while turning his body slightly sideways and stepping away from the strike zone. With minimal effort, he let his opponent punch empty air.
Huo Bao had some foresight this time, though. He had a plan in case this punch failed.
So he suddenly twisted his waist, pulling back his punching arm. And like a steel whip, it drew an arc towards Guo Shier.
But Guo Shier's instincts took over. He ducked forward, out of Huo Bao's attack range. He dodged the blow with minimal movement and just went opposite Huo Bao's rotation.
The next few minutes showed a battle of juxtapositions. Huo Bao's wild and violent attacks strongly contrasted with Guo Shier's graceful ducking and dodging. Each burst of full-on strength was effortlessly evaded using precise sidesteps.
Huo Bao kept attacking, but none of his hits landed where he wanted.
He knew that once his strength was depleted, he would have no room to maneuver. And true enough, in less than 10 minutes, he was panting like a dog, wheezing with each breath. His exhaustion was evident.
Guo Shier's combat strategy was very simple: He wanted to drain the opponent’s physical strength.
Huo Bao, after all, only recently advanced to Marked Warrior Adept and had not learned efficient ways of attacking. Most of his moves were straightforward punches that required strong physical exertion.
Guo Shier has long figured out some of the flaws of the Marked Warrior profession. With the dodging techniques that he learned from his previous life, he had no problems skillfully deflecting Huo Bao's attacks with minimal effort.
When it became evident that his opponent was worn out, Guo Shier launched an attack.
Huo Bao nearly fell on his face.
Disappointed and tired, he sat on the ground and cried.
Guo Shier was suddenly dumbfounded. He walked to Huo Bao's side and sat down. “Bao-zi, what are you crying about?"
The spectators did not speak—they were just looking at the two.
Luo Jie smiled slightly, while Qi Nanshan looked bit unhappy.
As for Ying Mo, he had never been more stupefied. He couldn't figure out how an Artificer beat a Marked Warrior Adept in a physical exchange. What was going on?
“I have no use,” cried Huo Bao. "Even you can beat me."
Guo Shier was dismayed. "Should I lose, then? Why—because I am not a Marked Warrior Adept?”
“That’s right,” said Huo Bao. "Wu wu." (crying sounds) "You… I… Wu wu, this is too embarrassing… ”
Cold sweat started to come out of Guo Shier. “Do you know why you lost?” he asked.
“I don’t know why I lost!!” replied Huo Bao. This time he could no longer say that Guo Shier was shameless, because from start to finish, he was fighting one on one with him until he got exhausted.
Chen Bing, Hong Shi, and Chen Hong sat down with their fellow warrior. The all reached for Huo Bao's shoulder to comfort him.
Guo Shier smiled. “Little Hong, give him a handkerchief."
Chen Hong grinned and took out a silken handkerchief. She passed it to Huo Bao and said, “Stop crying, you big man. Wipe it off.”
Huo Bao turned purple due to embarrassment.
“Losing is nothing to be feared," Guo Shier said. ""What is terrible is the absence of confidence. What is terrible is not knowing why you lost."
He then went on to lecture Huo Bao.
"You lost because of three reasons. First, you lost because of carelessness. You underestimated your opponent. Second, you lost because you were unconvinced instead of analyzing why you just failed. And finally, you lost because you only applied physical strength without a strategy to back it up.”
Huo Bao just sat silently.
Guo Shier continued. “Use your head when you fight, especially if you have not advanced to a Grandmaster level," he said sincerely. "Your strength is still very weak. Maybe you have this power to suppress me. But if you meet someone stronger than you, how will you deal with it?"
Huo Bao let the words sink in. He wiped out his tears and said, “Shier, I was wrong.”
Guo Shier smiled and patted him on the shoulder. “When I win against you… you don’t lose face because we are partners. Regardless of winning or losing, this has nothing to do life or death. But outside, winning or losing is dangerously connected to your life."
Huo Bao, now convinced, was finally open to suggestions. “Shier, I couldn't figure it out. Why can’t I hit you?"
“Idiot, I don’t want to get hit!" Guo Shier chided him. "Of course, I'll try to avoid your punches. I’m not stupid. You're a Marked Warrior Adept, and I know that your strength is greater than mine. Your skin is thick and able withstand my blows. If I don’t dodge, I'll be dead, won't I?"
Everyone couldn’t help but laugh.
Huo Bao smiled bitterly. “I felt bad that I couldn't even hit you—not once. Ugh!”
Qi Nanshan joined the discussion. “Shier, what else can you do that I don’t know? I was surprised to see that you can overcome a Marked Warrior Adept. Where did you learn these skills?"
Guo Shier smiled. “You can win fights with sharp eyes and nimble hands. What's so strange about that?"
Luo Jie, sensing what Qi Nanshan was getting at, stepped in. “Da-Shan, don't even think about it. You cannot fight Shier," he said.
Qi Nanshan chuckled. “Why, old timer? Are you protecting your precious apprentice?"
“I am not guarding him–I’m protecting you," Luo Jie replied, smiling. "Be careful when you're speaking with Shier. You might anger him."
Qi Nanshan laughed. “Alas," he said. "What a pity!”
“Pity what?” asked Luo Jie.
Translator: Glasses TangGu