At this point, they were so far away from their initial location that it was impossible to tell just how far they’d traversed.
The cliff shot up from the earth below, a face of white contrasted against a surface of dense, dark green pine trees densely clumped together.
Both of them stood firmly on the rocks found in between those pine trees.
Duskdune Shura was standing up above cliff with Garen just below him.
"Not running away anymore?"
Duskdune Shura wiped a blood stain off his cheek.
"Do you want the Blood of Eternal Life?"
Garen was taken aback at the sudden comment.
Duskdune Shura laughed and said.
"You and I both stand at the edge of body hardening technique. In this world, how many others are there just like us? Why must you fight me?"
"You almost killed my friend’s family, as well as I. This is my reason." Garen shook his head as he explained. "We hold no grudges against each other. Perhaps we can even be friends in another world. If only…"
"Yes… If only…" Duskdune Shura sighed in accordance with him. He then raised an arm and revealed the blisters that covered all over his hands. It was the effect of the Red Jade Palm. "Have you met Palosa?"
"What about him?"
"The current you reminds me of him in the past." Duskdune Shura brought past memories to mind. "Palosa was like you before he became the Saint of Fist Technique, undefeated among the younger generation. He was not much weaker than the Grandmaster of combat of the older generations as well. Unfortunately…"
"Unfortunately what?" Garen stared at him calmly.
"Unfortunately you’re not as magnanimous as he is."
Garen’s eyes narrowed.
"Are you implying that I’m taking advantage of your injury? Isn’t it logical to make good use of an opportunity presented before you?"
"You’ll never surpass him." Duskdune Shura said with a gentle smile, pointing his toe and leaping backwards, landing on the very edge of the cliff.
"It’s plain logic to grab hold of any means to an end. If that were not the case wouldn’t have become what you are today.." Garen followed him closely upward. "That was your friend was it not? I’ll send him to your way once I’ve finished dealing with you."
"You don’t understand." Duskdune Shura shook his head slowly. "That is the difference between you and I."
His head tilted to look at the vast blue sky.
"The undefeated and the unconquerable. No one is a match for him as long as he lives, be it the top of this generation or the next. I look forward to our next encounter."
He smiled and fell backwards, disappearing beyond the edge of the cliff.
Garen, in shock, swiftly rushed to the top, his gaze following the sheer drop.
His eyes met Duskdune Shura gripping his black sword with both hands, blade sliding down embedded into the cliff wall. A deep gash followed his wake as he screeched downward.
There was another black knife further down the cliff. Mimicking his previous action, Duskdune Shura swiftly went down the sheer cliff of a few hundred meters. Two jet black horses met them on the cliff floor.
The person in a black coat on one of the horses looked up and stared at Garen.
Garen could see his opponent’s face from afar.
It was the face of a beautiful woman, an eyepatch covering one of her two eyes.
"King Charlotte the third… " Garen muttered. "It must be you in the forest just now. Unfortunately, you’re too late. How much can Duskdune Shura recover with his current age?"
Duskdune Shura had heat injected into his body by his Red Jade Palm. In a further aggravation of his injury, he did not have the time to treat his wound as he was being pursued for an extended period of time. It would definitely leave a mark for someone his age.
Garen started toward the way back, as he knew it would be pointless to keep up the pursuit.
He needed to get back to Celine and Su Lin immediately. Although the werewolf clan’s target was Flamingo and not them, there was no guarantee that they would escape the crossfire unscathed.
Garen put his hand into his pocket and fiddled with the Golden Sword Throne along the way back. This item the size of a pen holder was unharmed during the intense battle as he was keeping an eye out to ensure it was kept out of the way.
Garen’s mind flowed like a pleasant, incessant breeze into his mind.
His attention was on the attribution table, which was shaded in maroon while on the journey back.
His attribute points kept increasing at a steady pace. Although it was not as fast as the time he touched the Antique of Tragedy, it was still a considerable rate.
After the intense battle with Duskdune Shura, his potential stats were at 200%
‘Strength 2.66, Agility 1.82, Vitality 2.15, Intelligence 1.53, Potential 214%.’
"It looks like I wasn’t even strong enough to keep a heavily injured Duskdune Shura. He must have been horrifyingly strong in his prime. He is indeed the best in his generation." Garen felt a twinge of helplessness in his stomach.
"Should I increase my attributes first or my secret technique?" He hesitated. He currently had two secret techniques, the Mammoth Secret Technique and the Red Jade Palm. The remaining secret techniques had been absorbed by the two primary techniques for an enhancing effect.
"With the Red Jade Palm, I can barely manage to injure Duskdune Shura if used as a surprise attack. However, even so the damage isn’t heavy enough to determine the battle’s outcome. It could be used as a normal combat technique with an additional effect. If I can amplify the Red Jade Palm, its effect should be much stronger than the Mammoth; the only problem being that the remaining training lies with Celine. It might be troublesome if she finds out that I mastered the Red Jade Palm in such a short amount of time."
He felt the limitless flow of energy emanate from the Golden Sword Throne.
"Whatever. I should stabilize my injury first. I definitely had some internal injury from Duskdune Shura’s last punch after he sealed me with two of his Seven Dragon Gate punches.
He quickly focused his vision onto Vitality in his attribution stat.
0.3 points of Vitality were added instantly, jumping from 2.15 to 2.45.
His whole body temporarily numbed. He started feeling an itch within his bones and a cold breeze flowing out from his brain onto his whole body. It felt as comfortable as taking a cold bath in a hot sunny day. The internal injury he had on the palm of his hand quickly faded as well.
"There are a few points left." Garen felt the increasing flow of potential flowing but didn’t use it after some deliberation.
There was no difference between adding the attributes and improving the body’s potential in the long term. He will definitely become stronger and stronger in the future. He would be extremely powerful even in his normal state.
Increasing the skill level of a secret technique grants the practitioner an immediate boost in strength. However, the power of the secret technique is not limitless, and once capped would be very difficult to increase any further in the long run. Though secret techniques could be combined to achieve an even greater effect, realistically, the power level was fixed, and one would be less than powerless when stripped of his secret technique.
The main point was that with good innate talent, one was able to surpass a majority of fighters, no matter the secret technique. The foundation of one’s body surpasses that of any secret technique.
The increment of the secret technique might improve the body’s quality but it could be limited as it was still dependent on the prowess of the secret technique itself. It would only see a dramatic increase in its early stages.
One was preparing for the long run, one was preparing for what was ahead.
"I’ll think about this once I collect more points." Garen resisted his impulse in using the attribute points as he sprinted into the Pinehill forest.
Soon, the grave of the ancient ruins behind the abandoned village crept up from the horizon. The innumerable corpses of the werewolf clan began to come into view.
The leader of the werewolf with the black mane could be seen hanging above a big pine tree with a silver sword nailed into its body.
The landscape was showered with blood; the ground a blend of crimson and grass green.
Blood was prevalent across the scene. Werewolf corpses were strewn across the ground, Some beheaded, corpses still. Yet others were split into half from head to toe, and some were cut clean from the waist. The ways that the werewolves died rivaled their many corpses.
Death reigned the field.
Garen felt like he was stepping onto a thick wet carpet as he trudged onwards. His boots would ripple with the sound of water as his feet made contact. It was none other than the sound of blood.
The smell of it was so strong that Garen furrowed as he walked past through the sea of corpses to the entrance of the grave.
It looked like it had been caved in; the entrance was blocked with gravel.
His shouting continued as he walked towards the village’s houses.
"Su Lin, Celine! Are you guys dead yet?!"
Soon, Garen went back to the building that they were hiding in. It was completely silent inside. He trotted towards the staircase and went upstairs.
He went up to the second floor, and then the third floor and finally to the room they were all initially hiding.
The door creaked as he opened it.
On the ground laid three bodies. Celine and Su Lin were among them. There was another young man who seemed like the policeman that he met from the Demon Hunters.
All three of them were supine; whether they had any injuries was a mystery.
Garen knelt down to examine them closer. They were merely unconscious, and apart from torn garments, there were no physical injuries at all.
He was relieved to see they were unharmed. He walked to the far end of the room and begin kindling a fire with several pieces of wooden furniture and a piece of flint he had in his bag.
He used a metal can to boil some water as the fire burned.
He sat silent, waiting for the trio to come to.
After a while, with a painful expression on her face, Celine was the first one to moan as she slowly got up from the ground.
The first thing this fellow checked was her shirt when she got up.
She had the same white tee shirt and jeans as Garen, except it was torned and holes could be seen everywhere.
"When did you return?" Celine looked at Garen who was sitting in the corner.
"Not long ago." Garen poured out the hot water into a paper cup and blew gently as he waited for the water to cool down. "We’ll wait for the other one to wake up and leave. The werewolves will never stop now that so many of their kind had died. We better not get caught up in this."
He noticed a few fresh cuts from Celine’s shirt and asked, "You fought?"
Celine rolled her eyes. "Of course I did! Those two would be dead otherwise! That sword wielding Flamingo person is too strong…"
Traces of fear still lingered as she recalled her fight.
"His sword technique was inhuman!! There were red beams coming out from his sword as he simply waved the sword around. The red beams cut down whatever was in its path! It was horrible." Celine caressed a singe mark on her supposedly white belt.
"This was where I managed to block Flamingo’s sword strike. We were lucky he did not use that crazy sword technique often and used ordinary sword techniques most of the time."