"Sealed fist a year ago? Sir Palosa, I am also a Sky Warrior of Southern Sky Holy Fist Gate. Don’t you think that shouldn’t apply to a friendly exchange with a fellow member of the sect?"
"Listen, kid. My fist technique is completely different from yours. Your Secret Fist Technique is almost at the highest mastery. I can tell, your Body Hardening Technique is almost as good as Duskdune Shura’s. At your age, you already achieved what Duskdune Shura can only achieve at his mid-life. With only that, you are at the top of the whole Confederation. At this stage, whatever you’re trying to prove, I understand. However, I’m not the direction you’re after. What you wanted to see, I want to see too."
Garen silenced, he heard the underlying meaning behind Palosa’s words. He hadn’t been able to step further into the Martial Arts Realm as well.
"I would still like to witness the legendary, unbeatable White Bird Holy Fist."
"White Bird Holy Fist, it’s only a name my colleagues gave me. I only knew one fist technique, and that was White Bird Fist." Palosa answered with a smile. "I’m not like the prodigy Duskdune Shura or the terrifyingly talented Watson Langley. What I am good with is White Bird Fist. I spent my whole life, all my energy into this fist technique. I have sealed my fists, I will not fight you, but I can show you once."
"Show me?" Garen squinted.
"The Martial Arts community has been weaker and weaker for past generations. Garen, is it? I will show you with a tenth of my power. Don’t blink an eye." Palosa smiled warmly while he slowly walked to a mossy boulder on the left.
"Watch carefully, this is where I am with fist techniques!" Palosa lifted his right arm with his index finger pointing forward.
Everything around seemed to have stopped in time.
The air, the water, the worms, the grass, as well as all sorts of voices that came from afar.
Even the massive waterfall halted for an instant.
Everyone stopped in that very moment. No thoughts, no actions, as if they were covered with solidified amber. There weren’t able to move or think, time may as well have been frozen.
A black Bravery burst out of Palosa’s body like a shapeless smoke. Black smoke congregated behind Palosa, forming a giant silhouette about ten meters tall with a formless lower body.
Garen was able to see, the upper half of that silhouette was definitely Palosa with the same features and the same age.
However, it looks different. The Palosa formed with Bravery held a twisted grin, distinguishing itself from the kind man Palosa had appeared to be.
"This is… Bravery solidified!"
Garen’s mouth dropped and haven’t been able to move it since. Of all the people, only he had been trembling violently, trying to break free of this frozen state.
"This is my White Bird Fist." Palosa murmured softly.
His finger pressed against the mossy boulder standing two meters tall in front of him.
With that, the alarming pressure disappeared. Everyone had recovered their ability to move.
Cracks appeared on the mossy boulder. There was no explosions, no bursting into powder, nothing superfluous.
However, as soon as cracks formed, it still gave everyone a shock seeing the crack.
Centering on where Palosa touched, cracked flared out all over the mossy boulder, forming a complex network of sort.
Cracks crossed each other and made their way to the other side of the boulder, meeting at one point on the left side of it.
All the cracks converged into a single spot, with a deep hole appearing on that spot on the boulder.
Garen looked at the spot Palosa tapped, there was only a small thumbprint on it.
He went quiet.
"Silent Redirection Punch?"
"Oh, you knew that?" Palosa turned to him, "I’m already too old, or I could have given it a hundred cracks, instead of ninety-nine."
He caressed the surface of the boulder.
"This is my White Bird Fist. I need not break people’s defense to be able to redirect the strength, in order to attack the heart of my enemy from all sides."
"This is the most heinous assassination punch. Before me, all the heir for this technique were natural butchers who had felled people like woodcutters do trees. With every punch they make, another person dies. Even I couldn’t contain my Bravery when I use this fist technique to fight. Do you still want to fight me?"
The solidified Bravery disappeared from Garen’s senses abruptly.
When normal Grandmasters of Combat show their Bravery, it’s gaseous. Stronger ones have their Bravery concentrated to a liquid state, like Duskdune Shura and his current state. This is the first time ever has he seen one with solid state, one so powerful it could almost stop time.
"Confinement Bravery, Bravery is the Spirit of a Grandmaster of Combat, compressed. To be able to achieve the solid state, the strength of your will and Spirit are hard for people to comprehend." Garen was not able to break out of the solid Bravery, but he as a Grandmaster of Combat cannot be scared away with just a few words.
Palosa represented the ultimate fighting ability of the human community, no matter what, Garen would want to try and fight him. That was his initial goal after all.
"Really?" Palosa furrowed his brows and stared at Garen.
"This is what I came for." Garen returned the stare with his own.
"Once I start, I can’t guarantee I have control over myself. If I accidentally killed you…"
"Kill me?" Garen interrupted, smirking. "If you are able to do that, try." Garen was fuming by now.
"I really don’t want to touch another fellow sect member’s blood any more." Palosa winced in pain, "Leave. If I couldn’t control myself and crippled you… I have made too many mistakes in my life."
Garen was seething in fury.
"If you crippled me, that’s my fault, I’m not strong enough, I have a death wish, nothing to do with you! Stop the dilly-dally and fight me!"
The old man was still acting nice and kind, but he kept provoking Garen with his tone of voice.
"Kid, you’re still young. If you are handicapped by this, it’ll be a burden to your family and friends. If anything happened to you, I will not be able to face your parents." Palosa said, placing his arms behind his back.
"I will be responsible to myself! This is my choice. As a Grandmaster of Combat, I will take on all my responsibilities!" Garen’s voice gets stronger and louder as he went on. "Weren’t you only waiting for this?" He smirked. "If anything happens, I will take full responsibility for my actions, not you!"
"You’re sure about this?" Palosa finally took him seriously.
"Of course." Garen started with White Cloud Gate’s default stance, condensing a large amount of Bravery around him, preparing to fight at anytime.
Seeing they finally wanted to start the fight, everyone else stepped out of range to make space for them.
Garena and Palosa stood facing each other on the white boulder. In black and white respectively, it was almost too easy to tell them apart.
"Lemme see what sort of fist technique the legendary White Bird Holy Fist is!" Garen changed his stance, opening his arm on different height, as if ready to grapple, and sank lower from his waist, changing into the default stance of another fist technique.
After maximizing his intelligence, Garen was able to analyze the different techniques of different schools, and developed this unique improved fighting technique, he took the three forms of Mammoth Secret Technique, as well as other techniques like Red Jade Palm, Fiery Claws, Golden Statue Technique, and combined them into his own unique battle skill.
This particular default stance referenced the Golden Statue Technique, it is, after all, the strongest technique within those he learned. The battle skills in it were very suitable for fighters focusing on physical enhancements like Garen.
"Golden Statue Technique?" Palosa recognized it. "If that really is the Golden Statue Technique, then I will find out how much of a golden statue you are!"
Before he finished his sentence, a massive amount of Bravery rushed at Garen, attempting to slam him down.
The solid Bravery became a gruesome psychological stress, stunning Garen in his tracks.
He felt a dull pain shot through his chest. When he had come to, he was already halfway falling backwards.
Between Palosa’s speech and his falling backward, the period when he was stunned was at most one second.
Palosa approached him with a charge, his palm softly pressed upon Garen’s chest.
From the viewpoint of the audience, Palosa only hopped forward and lightly pressed his palm onto an unmoving Garen. They immediately separated after that, and Garen was suddenly flying backward.
"This again!" Mid-air, Garen hit the air twice with his palm in the opposite direction of his momentum.
Generating a strong counter force, Garen’s body stopped falling backward and started landing immediately.
As soon as he balanced himself on a boulder, he saw Palosa leaped at him with his right palm flexed, ready to strike as if he’s a lamb waiting to be butchered*.
"Double Shot Form!" Garen countered with both his arms, as if using two hammers to take on Palosa’s palm strike.
"Don’t blame me." Palosa looked at Garen with pity before utilizing his Bravery again.
Thud! Thud! Thud!
On the boulder, Palosa hit Garen once more, and immediately jumped behind him to hit him from the back.
He kept doing the same thing, like he’s just hitting a baseball.
Garen’s whole body was aching from the strikes, his body doesn’t even need to be stunned by Palosa’s Bravery anymore, even the strikes could disable him from counterattacking. Every single hit from Palosa landed exactly where he wanted to block.
Luckily, after the Body Hardening Technique fused with his Spirit, it had evolved further. When hit by Palosa’s palm strikes, his body will naturally filter out most of the Hidden Power, allowing only a tiny part of it to enter the body wreaking havoc.
However, Garen’s body and visceral organs were far too strong from normal humans, the Hidden Power didn’t hurt him much at all.