A huge crowd gathered around the courtyard of the Circling Dance Gate; some martial artists had even jumped onto the walls for a good spot to watch the fight from. Others who were watching the fight were the inhabitants of the tall residential buildings in the vicinity.
The members of the Celestial Circle Gate stood in front of the courtyard, and following behind were the Seven Moon Gate and the Red Obsidian Gate.
The few girls of Circling Dance Gate stood at the entrance of the wooden door of the dojo.
Everyone's sights were nervously pinned on the two people in the middle of the field.
Andrela rushed towards Garen, his figure creating black lines. He plunged his sword in.
Ding ding ding! A series of metallic clashes rang out violently. In a flash, numerous sparks erupted from the rapier on Garen.
Andrela did a backflip and jumped away, narrowly missing Garen's hand chop. The green and black arm, as thick as a concrete pillar, crashed onto the earth on the ground.
The fine, grey dirt exploded violently, as though a bomb had gone off. The huge amount of grey dirt, under the intense force, turned into countless of shrapnels which flew ruthlessly towards Andrela.
With another rain of little tinkling sounds, a big mound of earth and mud had all come before Andrela and defended him...
A silver mirror seemed to have materialized in the air before him in that instant. Blocking all the finely crushed dregs.
The silver mirror disappeared, turning into a rapier pointing towards the ground.
Having had their first turn against each other, they resumed their positions, a few meters away from each other.
Garen lowered his sight to look at where he had been stabbed. Dabs of blood had appeared indistinctly on the skin there. Clearly, some tiny blood vessels had been cut.
"You are able to hurt me, surprisingly... Not bad... You are indeed the opponent I have been waiting for!" The corners of his lips curled into a deeper grin unconsciously. A surge of turbulent emotions shook in his chest, ready to erupt at any time, like boiling hot lava.
Andrela held his sword, as though he had yet to make a move, standing in his original position, his long hair flowing.
"One who can receive a full-strength blow from my sword in my normal state. You are definitely the person who killed my brother." He spoke slowly, in a low voice, but his tone did not weaken and was heard by everyone clearly.
"Tenstar Ni is your brother?" Garen was stunned but he immediately recovered. "No wonder you have come in person, I see that this is the reason. As for killing Tenstar Ni, I do not regret it. It is difficult to avoid getting hurt or dying in a contest of combat. If you wish to avenge him, I stand here. Come and kill me yourself, if you can."
There was a flash in Andrela's eyes.
"Life and death are inevitable on the path to the truth. What a pity. If we had not met under such circumstances, we could have been really good friends... Although now, I still do not wish to kill you..."
He lifted his rapier; a greenish black piece of muscle, shaped like a cross, protruded suddenly from the back of his hand, exactly the same as had happened with Tenstar Ni.
"Big brother is using his secret weapon already?" At the Celestial Circle Gate, Xin Luo exclaimed, somewhat astonished, "He should not be needing to use this against Garen, right? Even if he can't pierce through the other parts of the body, but he should be able to pierce through the ears and the eyes, no?"
"What do you still not understand?" The Elder, standing on the side, said in a deep voice, "Take a closer look at Garen's stance."
Xin Lo and the other two took a moment to look over, with fixed concentration.
Garen's entire body had formed a strange V shape; at the same time, both his arms were slowly moving, continuously in a gentle motion. His entire body had blended into one harmonious figure.
Wisps of white vapor were released from his nostrils, surrounding his body in vague, blue forms, flowing slowly. From afar, he looked as though he was shrouded in the body of a huge, white elephant. Every slight movement he made came with the faint sound of a mammoth's neigh.
The expressions on the three people shifted slightly.
"Such powerful bravery!"
The Elder nodded, looking grave and solemn.
"His secret weapon is to unite his body into one; the blood qi of his entire body becomes incomparably sensitive. No matter which point you attack him at, it will be deflected easily by his excellent combat skills. After all, however fast you are, can you be faster than that slight move of the shaking of his head?"
He watched the strong and ferocious Garen from afar: "Looks like everyone underestimated this young lad from White Cloud Gate!"
On the other side of Circular Dance Gate, a few people, including Jaimae Lilliette and Imogen Lilliette, had become solemn after seeing this scene.
"These two people have such strong bravery!" There was an uncontainable shock on Jaimae Lilliette's face. "Indeed! Garen has indeed become an Ultimate Adept of the Grandmaster of Combat!"
"Mummy, what is bravery? Senior Brother Garen looks so powerful, but that Andrela does not look weak either. Will Senior Brother Garen be alright?" Imogen Lilliette asked in a small, anxious voice.
The other disciples also looked to the dojo master doubtfully.
"Bravery is the combination of a martial artist's physique, technique, spirit, released as a single aura. Or, it can also be called a sort of threat! A sense of danger! You should know, every living being has natural responses to danger. As for elite martial artists, they have a method to blend everything in and of themselves together, giving off a fierce, threatening feeling. This method is called bravery. When you see a venomous snake, would you feel that it is dangerous, highly toxic? Your entire body would then be nervous. This is a similar principle."
Jaimae Lilliette watched the two people in the field, with mixed emotions reflected in her eyes.
"As for excellent martial artists, having such an ability lets them display their strength, and can even achieve an exaggerated effect without having to resort to battle, making their opponents desist from having thoughts of retaliating! This is to achieve victory without having to fight. Look closely at that Andrela."
Imogen Lilliette and the rest paid close attention to Andrela for a moment, and indeed, vaguely discovered that his long black hair was flying all around his body; there was a delicate sound of windchimes echoing slowly around his entire body. At the same time, both his arms were raised up before him, making a strange hand gesture. It gave them a very weird feeling.
"It looks a bit like a black cross!" Imogen Lilliette blurted out.
The two people in the courtyard, one a giant, white elephant, and the other a black cross, were facing each other; a huge horrifying and threatening aura was spreading out, unrestrained. Some martial adepts nearby had a momentary misconception, as though even with the great distance between them, they were still in danger at any given time. They automatically retreated, one after another, only relaxing when they had backed off quite a bit.
The members of the Seven Moon Gate, furthest in the back, were the ones watching the confrontation between the two people in the field with unusually mixed feelings right then.
The Second Elder, leading the team, stood at the forefront. Next to him were Shia and Rampas.
"This is bravery…!" His voice was dry, "Bravery that only an elite martial artist can have."
It was not only him; all the other higher-ups of the Seven Moon Gate had complicated looks in their eyes; they were all the higher-ups whom Rampas had pleaded for mercy before. Now, looking at Garen's terrifying and humongous bravery, they were momentarily rendered speechless by an indescribable, mysterious feeling.
"That's Senior Brother Garen! No wonder the news from the exchange gathering states that he is the most powerful one amongst all of us in the Southern Twelve Gates!"
"With him, we the Southern Twelve Gates will not sink!"
"Senior brother Garen!" A disciple shouted.
"If only I can be as strong as Senior Brother Garen!"
Most of the disciples of the Seven Moon Gate were ignorant, and were still exceptionally excited, all looking proud of Garen.
"Elder, why didn't Senior Brother Garen rest with us at Seven Moon Gate when he came to Dinah City? After this contest is done, how about you invited him over to give us some tips on martial arts?"
"Oh yes, Elder, it's not every day that we Southern Twelve Gates has a master who can fight the number one of Celestial Circle Gate. We must invite him to be our guest at the Seven Moon Group!"
The emotions of the disciples, who had been shamed by Andrela, had burst out all at once; now seeing that Garen could face off directly against the Andrela who had defeated even their Elder, their excitement was on fire, as though it was a senior brother from their own Gate who was in battle with Andrela.
Seeing the excited disciples, the Second Elder and a few of the higher-ups were temporarily speechless, unable to voice out their concerns.
Were they supposed to tell these disciples directly that, this Senior Brother Garen of yours had actually come over to the Seven Moon Group before, only that we had completely disregarded him and chased him out the door as though he had been a beggar?
If this got out, not only would their reputation crumble in an instant, but even the image of the entire Seven Moon Gate would receive a great negative impact.
Rampas watched the excited looks of the fellow junior brothers and sisters around her with an emotional heart; even the strongest Junior Brother Shia was gritting his teeth and staring at Andrela, and at the same time, giving Garen encouragement.
There was an unspeakable surge of emotion in his heart, for a moment; it caused his eyes to tear up a little.
There was a sudden roar.
The entire Seven Moon Gate immediately fell silent; everyone's sights were set on the Great Elder on the stretcher at the back.
The Great Elder had changed into a set of clean, white clothing, and at the moment he was so angry that his face was completely red, and his beard was shaking.
With a loud crash, a terrifying, great howl sounded out from the Circling Dance Gate courtyard.
It was like the howling of a mammoth into the skies.
The Great Elder was shocked by the sound; he had initially wanted to speak, but instantly, a gulp of air got stuck in his throat as his eyes rolled over and he fainted.
Every martial artist in the area had their eyes focused on the two people in the courtyard.
The crazy howl of the mammoth was still erupting and had not stopped. Those were the fierce noises made by Garen's arms and entire body piercing through the air.
Garen stood, unmoving, his white, strong upper body surrounded by a black flow of air which was swirling around him wildly. That was the optical effect caused by Andrela being too fast.
The two of them, one unmoving and one striking, were in a crazy tangle.
Every stab of Andrela's sword landed clearly on Garen's body, but at most had drawn only a bit of white mark. The attacks occasionally went to his eyes and ears but were easily deflected or blocked.
Furthermore, Garen's body now was slowly swelling up; although it had not reached its full strength, it had reached a point where the Boulder Martial Art was about to burst out. His height, which had originally been 1.7 meters, was now almost 1.9 meters. His entire person had become stocky and imposing, like a beast; just moving simply about was enough to move the airflow and disturb his opponent, and at the same time, he could even hit out a noise not unlike the roar of a mammoth.
But he was completely unable to catch up with his opponent's speed, and could only tightly cover up his vital points. As for the other parts of his body, he depended on the hardening of his skin and the stabilizing his blood qi to harden himself up. It was all he could do to forcefully maintain this condition, undefeated but also unvictorious.
The clear sound of the wind chimes rang faintly in the midst of the roar.
This deadlock was not maintained for long; the black lines drawn by Andrela instantly pounced off, and landed on the rockery of the courtyard, crouching down. His long black hair fell gently onto the greyish white rock, like a satin cloak. The silver rapier was pulled to his side.
The calm fire in his eyes had increased, which was unusually conflicting.
"Looks like ordinary swordsmanship has no effect on your body's defense now. Be careful, this next sword is one of my three great secret swords. I hope you do not die to this..."
Garen moved both his arms, and once again, subtle airflow roars began to permeate around his body. "Three great secret swords? You are indeed the number one of the young southern generation! Definitely much stronger than the typical garbage!"
The corners of Andrela's lips curved up gently again. His long rapier moved steadily, seemingly slow but actually rather quick, and drew the silver outline of a fan.
"Celestial Secret Weapon..."
He jumped up lightly and flew towards Garen.
Immediately, silver moonlight shone in between him and Garen.
The silver moonlight was so bright and glaring, that all light in the area seemed to be sucked in, condensed together before erupting in a flash.
All the spectating martial artists were speechless; they dared not even breathe heavy, afraid of breaking the beautiful, silver-white crescent moon in the courtyard.
Two crescent moons flashed in both of Garen's eyes momentarily; the silver light pierced his sight. He was completely unable to see.
Instinctively, he raised up both arms before his head.
An extremely sharp, icy cold breath hit him outside of his arms. In that instant, Garen felt a sharp pain in his arms. He did not even think.
A roar erupted from his throat.
A violent howl exploded instantly.
The courtyard was shaking, the ground was also shaking! Every martial artist was shaking, and even the dojo house began to make a creaking sound, huge clouds of dust fell with a swish.