Chapter 506 - Blazing Shooting Star
Compared to the frightened people at the foot of the mountain, those in the Metal Basket Sword Pagoda were much calmer. Closing their eyes and listening carefully to the sword chime, they sensed the aura Ai Hui gave out.
This faint aura was a new change that emerged after Ai Hui was severely injured.
The aura was very weak, like a gentle wind revolving around the Metal Basket Sword Pagoda. If he were to walk out of the pagoda, it would become undetectable. Gu Xuan was the first to sense Ai Hui’s aura. Everyone else only realized it after they were told.
Later on, everyone also realized that the special wave motion that Ai Hui emitted could help them with their rhythm and synchronization.
They had not expected to have already acclimated themselves to the countless bizarre conditions that Ai Hui’s body had been going through. Only Gu Xuan was aware that this unusual undulation wasn’t an elemental energy wave motion.
Could this be the reason why Ai Hui was able to control numerous sword gleams?
Gu Xuan started paying more attention to this mystical wave motion. Gradually, he realized that this wisp of weak aura could more easily resonate with a sword. In reality, it was not the swordsmen who felt the aura, but the swords in their hands that responded to it.
Gu Xuan was astonished that such magical swordplay actually existed. It was to the extent that he was uncertain if this aura could be categorized as a type of swordplay.
At this moment, Gu Xuan was even more in tune with his perception. Many details that were usually difficult to detect during actual combat were now like cobblestones exposed on a dried riverbed.
Yet another sword chime sounded.
Everyone almost instinctively waved their swords.
Those who were watching from the foot of the mountain witnessed this bizarre sight. Layers of sword gleams were lit and piled up like shiny toothpicks, forming a small hill. Seven sword-gleam-made hills at different heights illuminated the mountain peak.
The next moment, all the sword gleams converged.
They gathered so quickly that it was difficult for the naked eye to detect. Even with their eyes wide open, they couldn’t figure how the sword gleams came together. Like silver lightning, a dazzling gleam tore across the night sky and was reflected in their eyes.
A blood-curdling screech echoed!
A sharp sword hiss followed that almost ruptured their eardrums. 300 meters away, east of where the Xiahou brothers stood, a rock exploded together with some flesh.
The brothers’ faces were ashen, their palms wet with sweat.
If the targets of that sword gleam had been them, would they have been able to dodge it?
Trembling in fear, Xiahou Jie asked in a low voice, "How does he know?"
They hadn’t sensed the presence of those who had been hiding behind the rocks so close to them, yet Ai Hui, who was at the mountain summit, had actually located them. Xiahou Jie was dumbfounded, as if he’d seen a ghost.
Xiahou Jun was terrified as well. He’d thought that this would be a battle between hunters. Who would’ve known that the real enemy was actually the prey whom they’d thought was harmless.
Another terrifying sword gleam struck, ripping through the air and darkness.
Almost simultaneously, a loud scream sounded, but was drowned by the sharp sword chime. The sound of exploding bodies destroyed the Xiahou brothers’ last wisp of fighting spirit.
"Withdraw!" Xiahou Jun ordered without the least bit of hesitation, not placing their faith on luck.
Like a flash of lightning, both leapt off their feet.
Not only the two of them, but all the other ambushers couldn’t care less, fleeing away in disarray. Everyone was very experienced, so their escape routes were meticulously chosen and the distance between them had increased. Some of them directly soared into the sky, while others stayed close to the ground, taking cover and frantically escaping in a zigzag pattern.
Ai Hui, who was in the sword pagoda, had bandages covering his face, so one wouldn’t be able to determine his expression. However, it could be seen from his exposed eyes that he was looking coldly at those furiously fleeing figures at the foot of the mountain.
The Edgeless Sword in his hand was as before, its rhythm unaffected. Methodically arranged, a sword chime sounded.
Under the stimulation of victory, the others were in an exceptional state and practically made no mistakes. Wave after wave of sword gleams repeatedly lit up like a tide.
The steel monster situated atop the big rock on the mountain peak spat fatal sword gleams, ceaselessly claiming lives like a machine.
Gu Xuan was one of the few who managed to stay clear-headed. He was the strongest, so he felt the impact the deepest. His sword moves were regular and thorough, still without any elegance. The sword moves remained simple and crude, but everybody increased their speed. Their rhythm became increasingly coordinated, and the sword gleams’ resonance also strengthened.
The sword gleams were much finer than before, but their light was more condensed and substantial. They had become much more powerful and mighty.
Ai Hui’s rhythm was calm and unruffled in the midst of chaos, as if he had no regard for those escaping enemies.
Gu Xuan knew that wasn’t the case, but rather, Ai Hui had already gained complete control over the situation. The intervals between each wave of attack were brief and negligible.
Perfect sword gleam!
Executing the perfect sword gleam was something they found difficult to achieve in daily training. Yet, it was so effortless during battle.
Gu Xuan knew that this was because Ai Hui wasn’t holding anything back at this point!
Ai Hui never used his full strength during daily trainings. Gu Xuan’s impression of Ai Hui had become more enigmatic. He was still unaware of how Ai Hui could’ve possibly noticed the enemies.
Looking at the desperate escapees being eliminated by Ai Hui, Gu Xuan suddenly realized the reason Ai Hui ordered them to light up the whole of Fishback City.
Fishback City was the bait.
This bait’s purpose wasn’t to expose the hidden enemies, but to lure and gather them into the vicinity. In other words, Ai Hui had long since noticed and locked onto these targets.
He also used the city as bait in order to bring the enemies closer to them while increasing their escaping distance.
Ai Hui had planned to get rid of every single one of them right from the start!
Gu Xuan was frightened by his realization. Goosebumps appeared all over his body. This… was too scary. Among the many infiltrators, there wasn’t a lack of Masters, so where did Ai Hui get all that confidence from?
Ai Hui’s voice wasn’t loud, but Gu Xuan was startled nevertheless. He quivered and quickly looked toward Ai Hui. There weren’t any walls to obstruct the Metal Basket Sword Pagoda, so he could see him immediately.
Ai Hui looked at him and only saw a head wrapped up in bandages and a pair of inquiring eyes.
Gu Xuan immediately squeezed a slight smile out to express an apology and to indicate he was all right. He, himself, was probably unaware that he now had more respect toward Ai Hui.
These few waves of attacks had been perfect.
In terms of effectiveness, they were also perfect and not one sword missed. Nine sword gleams claimed more than nine lives, including Masters and pseudo Masters.
Ai Hui was also very pleased. The might of the sword pagodas was much better than he’d expected. It also proved that Masters could be eliminated through cooperation as long as suitable methods were employed.
Of course, if someone else was in his position, the result would not have been as ideal. After all, locking onto a Master was an extremely challenging task.
Ai Hui wasn’t affected by changes in elemental energy, so he could easily lock onto a Master. It wouldn’t be so easy for other elementalists. Nevertheless, the Metal Basket Sword Pagoda’s formidable power had been validated.
Gu Xuan’s guess was accurate. Ai Hui’s plan, all along, was to wipe the enemies out.
So far, the battle tempo was completely under his control and moving according to his plan.
The enemies had no chance.
If they had been brave enough to close in on the mountain peak from different directions and sacrifice some lives, Ai Hui and the others would’ve been the ones being massacred.
However, fundamental trust was lacking between enemies. The first thought upon meeting with danger was to wait for others to make a move first while they fled. Joining forces was impossible.
If they had all moved as a team, Ai Hui wouldn’t have been this reckless.
But this time, he won the bet.
Only three enemies were left, and the furthest one was already six miles away. Ai Hui wasn’t anxious, however. Instead, he instructed, "Take 10 breaths and get ready for the second form."
Everybody shuddered and quickly recalibrated their state of mind.
Earlier, they had executed the first form, which Ai Hui had given a name that they simply didn’t know how to evaluate. It was called the [Great Sword Gleam].
Had he come up with that name just because the converged gleams appeared very big?
Even this perfunctory name was in line with Ai Hui’s style.
The second form had a much better name: [Blazing Shooting Star].
All right, it was equally perfunctory.
The second form was pretty complicated as the long swords in their hands had to undergo three changes. Other than that, the pace was similar. They had to complete a swing of the sword as they turned their bodies while standing in their own positions.
This was exactly why the training for the second move was much more challenging.
The slight increase in difficulty of the second move would make it a few times harder for more than 200 swordsmen to move in sync.
The chance of success for the [Blazing Shooting Star] sword gleam was currently only about 60 percent, despite their diligent daily training.
On the other hand, their chance of success for the first form, [Great Sword Gleam],
was more than 90 percent. They rarely failed.
Everyone shuddered upon being told to get ready for the second form. Even Gu Xuan threw away all distracting thoughts, composed himself, and focused wholeheartedly.
He knew that inattention would easily lead to failure.
10 breaths passed in the blink of an eye.
Everybody maintained rapt attention as another sword chime sounded, this one completely different from before. Each sword form produced different sword chimes. The second form of the sword gleam was shorter, but more intense.
Hula. A ring of sword light appeared and curled around everybody.
Ai Hui’s eyes remained still. With a light tremble of his Edgeless Sword, another sword chime echoed.
A sword gleam shot up into the sky like fireworks.
The fireworks kept soaring, but the gleam gradually dimmed and eventually disappeared.
At almost the same time, a grain-sized speck of light appeared over Xiahou Jie’s head. It fell rapidly and grew increasingly brighter. In the blink of an eye, it illuminated the sky like a meteor.
Xiahou Jun eyes were about to pop out. "Dodge it!"
Xiahou Jie did not hear his brother’s voice. He only noticed that there seemed to be a sun rising overhead, casting his shadow onto the snow-white ground before him.
What is this…