This elbow strike combined the explosive forces of both Shot Form and Step Form, coupled with the huge range of attack and rotational force of Swing Form. It was a powerful blow, and Garen struck with all his might.
Even an armored tank would be instantly wrecked.
The strong gust from the force blew against Duskdune Shura's beard. His expression didn't change. He stretched both palms out and—although it seemed slow, it was in reality, extremely fast—tapped the underside of Garen's elbows.
Tap tap! Two crisp sounds were heard. Apparently, his knuckles dabbed at the underside of Garen's elbow twice.
The originally violent and strong elbow strike was instantly elevated. It deviated from its original trajectory and flew over Duskdune Shura's head.
Another palm hit Garen's chest.
Garen took two steps back, and a strange expression was on his face. He looked at Duskdune Shura's methods and recalled the numerous unique small sects in his past life on Earth.
"You're using Gentle Fist?"
"Gentle Fist? I guess you could call it that." Duskdune Shura calmly nodded. "This phrase is a good summary of it. To be able to become a Grandmaster of Combat at such a young age, it must not be by chance."
He stood with his hands behind his back.
"This is Spiritual Hoop Fist of my own invention. It's the most appropriate counter against Body Hardening Technique experts like you who only know how to use brute force."
Garen touched his chest. The stiff tension that he had relieved by inflating his body with the explosive Body Hardening Technique had now re-emerged.
His chest felt frigid; it seemed to have been drained of sensation again.
"It looks like I can't deal with you without using some real skills."
Garen took a deep breath. His body vibrated suddenly and started inflating again.
He grew from 190cm to 245cm!
He was now two heads taller than Duskdune Shura. Facing each other, the contrast was stark, like an adult and a child.
"The peak of Body Hardening Technique…" Duskdune Shura's expression changed slightly. "You…" He had barely started his sentence when he saw Garen's palm reaching over to grab him. Like a fan coming down at him overhead, the hand blocked most of the light from above. He hurriedly raised his arms to block.
This muffled sound made everyone in the chapel dizzy.
Su Lin stood with his sister and father. All of them huddled close and were protected by the soldiers, colonels, and a few military officers.
When they saw Garen frighteningly expand to twice his original size, they were instantly stunned.
"So… so powerful!" Aris covered her mouth and gave a low cry. She didn't expect Garen—who merely looked quite buff—to suddenly transform into such a terrifying size. He swiped at the skinny old man like an eagle preying on a chick. This was too stark a visual contrast.
Aris could already visualize Garen smashing the old man with a palm.
"The peak of Body Hardening Technique?" Crohn exchanged looks with his big-bearded old partner, and they both saw a trace of shock in the other's eyes. They had trained in some traditional martial arts before, but never imagined that martial arts actually had a Body Hardening Technique with such a terrifying effect. Just by the look of his size, they could guess the intensity of strength of his palm strike now.
"It seems that we have underestimated traditional martial arts before. In close combat, the efficacy of martial arts could match elite gun skills!" The thought flashed through Crohn's mind.
Su Lin stood stunned by his sister's side; he felt a strong sense of impact at this sight. Even though he had heard rumors about Garen previously, it wasn't as shocking as personally witnessing it.
But these weren't even the main reasons he was stunned.
The main reason was that Duskdune Shura—by raising his arms in defense—had managed to firmly block the palm strike!
After the loud muffled sound, Duskdune Shura's legs had sunk into the cement floor, almost knee-deep.
The sounds of a mammoth growling and a lion roaring mashed together and reverberated ferociously.
As a martial arts practitioner, Su Lin could clearly see that in the duel between Garen and Duskdune Shura the aura on both of them fiercely entangled and clashed like a mammoth and a lion.
A snap was heard, and both of them were instantly separated.
Duskdune Shura pulled himself out of the ground, leaped a few steps backward, and stood firm. Now, there was shock and doubt in his eyes when he looked at Garen.
"What kind of Body Hardening Technique is this? I have seen all the prevalent Body Hardening Techniques, but I've never encountered yours!"
"White Cloud Gate, Mammoth Secret Technique!" Garen wasn't exactly comfortable either. The moment he struck at his opponent's arms, the terrifying counter-vibration force generated by his opponent in that instance had unsettled his Qi and blood; he felt a faint sense of fatigue.
All Grandmasters of Combat who were Elite Fist Artists grasped the essential skill of close combat: counter-Vibration. It was obvious that his opponent's counter-Vibration was one league above his own.
A bell rang outside the chapel.
Duskdune Shura's face sank.
"Hand it over! Otherwise, be prepared to die!" He suddenly turned to stare at Crohn who was heavily guarded. His terrifying Bravery started to expand and superseded Garen's in an instant; it heavily suppressed Crohn and the rest.
Crohn looked grim. He scanned the room and deduced that the situation wasn't going in his favor. Without hesitation, he proposed. "Duskdune Shura, with your martial art skills, there is no need for you to endanger yourself in battles like these every day. Why don't you join the Special Agent Bureau? The Confederation will soon carry out a reorganization of the special experts. By then, I'll be the first minister of the Special Agent Department. If you join us, I can promise you a position as the deputy minister!"
Duskdune Shura threw a look of disdain at him, like a tiger staring at a pig, and then utterly ignored the raging Crohn.
"Time is running out, I need to finish this quickly!" His gaze fell on Garen who was blocking the exit, and he could sense Yoda was hiding in the dark. Yoda, with his guns loaded, had been waiting for the right timing. Compared to opening fire, this gave Duskdune Shura a stronger sense of restraint and threat.
"I can't believe I actually encountered someone with the peak of Body Hardening Technique here! Unfortunately, I'm running out of time." Duskdune Shura looked at Garen, a trace of admiration flashed across his eyes. "Move aside, young man. I have no intention of killing you!"
Garen was now experiencing what the Pink Pupil Royal General felt. His opponent's aura was like the ocean, encapsulating his own Bravery in waves. His aura was restricted to his own body. He restrained his aura and monitored Duskdune Shura's every move as he felt like he was a flying insect, stuck on a spider web.
He had a bad feeling about the situation.
The Mammoth Secret Technique was a supreme Body Hardening Technique fortified by layering the skin hardening on one level, and Qi and blood stabilizing the other; despite the layered fortifications, his opponent completely disregarded it.
"You are indeed a top martial arts expert of the previous generation. But you're still not good enough to have me move aside!"
He had always wanted to see what the next level of martial arts looked like. Now that it was in front of him, naturally he refused to retreat. Moreover, he had heard rumors about a link between Duskdune Shura and the Immortal Palace Alliance; it was impossible that he would let this opportunity slip.
Duskdune Shura narrowed his eyes. A hint of danger emanated from him.
The strike of a bell could again be heard coming from outside.
Duskdune Shura was startled. At this moment, thunderous gunfire broke out.
It was Yoda!
Eight sniper rifles simultaneously fired, all aimed at the positions that Duskdune Shura could possibly dodge towards.
Suddenly, Duskdune Shura's body shortened. His entire body size had shrunk by one fold, turning him into a dwarf. He gave a muffled cry; obviously, he had been injured.
"You're gonna pay!" With a roar, Duskdune Shura swung an arm out; there was a purple handgun in his hand and he started firing it.
Yoda, who was concealed in the distance, let out a cry of pain. His right shoulder was hit and the wound was bleeding.
At this moment, Garen stomped his foot and started spinning his arms.
Serial Swing Form!
"The first Dragon Gate!"
At the same time, Duskdune Shura gave a low growl as his entire body inflated by a few folds of his original girth. There was a murderous look in his eyes. He pointed a finger and stabbed it towards Garen's Swing Form arms.
He intended to fight brute force with brute force!
Then another gunshot was heard.
Yoda had fired another shot while struggling.
Duskdune Shura was late to react. He was in the midst of a duel with Garen so he could not evade in time. Suddenly, his body had swelled to quadruple its original girth! He had transformed into the body of a muscular and fit man, only slightly smaller than Garen; he too had attained the peak of Body Hardening Technique!
Garen felt a pain in his arm and saw the murderous look in Duskdune Shura's eyes as the latter leaned in and gently struck his chest with a palm. That last shot had no effect on him whatsoever.
"The second Dragon Gate!"
Duskdune Shura struck Garen in the chest with his palm and then, with a swivel, appeared behind Garen.
"The third Dragon Gate!"
A backhand slap hit Garen on his left shoulder blade with a whack.
The three palm strikes seemed heavy, but Garen didn't seem to budge even the slightest after being struck consecutively.
What the others couldn't see was that Garen's whole body felt like it had been frozen by something; he couldn't move a muscle, and the Qi and blood in his veins seemed to be blocked and couldn't flow freely.
His heart pounded fiercely; his body seemed to tremble with each heartbeat. An intense dullness, palpitations, and nausea—all these negative states—surged towards him in that instant. His heart felt like it could explode at any moment.
He staggered a little and was almost unable to stand firmly.
"The last palm: the fourth Dragon Gate!" Duskdune Shura coldly raised his right palm, and struck hard towards Garen's forehead; Garen stumbled and evaded it awkwardly.
Duskdune Shura's expression changed slightly. He retracted his hand and took a step forward.
A large amount of cement slag sputtered from the ground behind him; he whacked it with one hand and it instantly transformed into a secret weapon and enveloped towards Yoda, the Eight-Arm Dragon King in the shadows.
Yoda didn't manage to react in time. All he could do was block with a rifle in front of his body. He was injured in a few spots, but fortunately, his vital parts were unharmed.
"Seven Dragon Gates! Duskdune Shura… You've finally…managed to attain it!" He watched with his bloodshot eyes as Duskdune Shura darted out of the chapel in a few leaps. Unable to hold it in any longer, he covered his mouth and coughed up mouthfuls of fresh blood, which flowed through his fingers.
Garen fell to the ground embarrassingly. He wanted to stand up, but couldn't exert any considerable amount of strength.
"If I had encountered this person alone, I would have been dead!" In that moment, he could still calmly analyze his and his opponent's true strength.
He supported himself up and half-knelt on the ground. His gaze tracked Duskdune Shura as the latter darted out the door.
"Is this the true strength of a martial arts practitioner at his peak? He exhibits such a powerful true strength even though he is pushing 80!" He thought he had reached the peak of a martial arts practitioner; he couldn't believe he just encountered a supreme expert like Duskdune Shura who was far stronger than he was.
When he and Yoda arrived, Duskdune Shura had defeated two generals from the Special Agent Bureau and massacred a large number of siege troops; he had obviously been injured. Afterward, he dueled with Garen—using brute force—and was hit twice by Yoda's opportune shots.
Even so, he still managed to apply Explosive Force in the end and almost killed Garen. Moreover, he seemed like he was rushing off somewhere. Otherwise, everyone here would probably have died!
Duskdune Shura didn't even use his full force, and it was likely that he was only slightly injured.
Garen's heart was filled with an inexplicable sorrow.
Duskdune Shura was also a Grandmaster of Combat with peak Body Hardening Technique like him, and in fact, was even more skilled!
"If he had applied Explosive Force earlier, and we dueled in our peak states… I would have been killed in an instant…" Garen felt bitter about it, but more than anything, he was excited!